Weekend in Amsterdam!

Last weekend was spent back in Amsterdam. The highlight was probably Tony’s Lame SuperHero Birthday Party. Helen has more photos on her blog. Tony messaged to say that everyone was meeting in Dam Square, and when we arrived there was a crowd of superheroes standing around – capes billowing. Tourists were coming over and asking to have their photos taken with the group. It was all too funny. I went as Pi Man, a super hero who’s special power is the ability to recite Pi to 2 decimal places. I also had the lamest costume.

Recurring Economic Falacies

Historian Scott Trask of the Mises Institute has published a great article on 10 economic falacies that have permeated their way through public thinking. Myth #1 was the broken window, which is basically the idea that a disaster has a positive effect on the economy. He also discusses the myth that war is a boon on the economy. The basic idea behind the myth is that a disaster like an oil spill gets double-counted when calculating GDP, because there is the initial outlay in the oil and also the cost of cleaning it up.

Back from New York

Helen and I arrived back from New York to utter chaos at Heathrow. The British had arrested a bunch of people planning to blow up flights en route to the US, and as a consequence airports across the country were on high alert. People trying to fly out of Heathrow had been let through to the departure lounge after checking in all their carry-on luggage. Most of the outgoing flights were subsequently cancelled, so everyone was forced to go back out through immigration again. Consequently the queue at immigration snaked across most of the airport. I was quite surprised that it only took us an hour and a half or so to clear immigration. This was despite flying on emergency passports, as I had lost our passports in New York, along with my new MacBook, my video ipod, and my PSP *sigh* Oh well, all technology should be disposable, neh?

So I’m back to using my old 17″ powerbook again, and my old iPod. I’ve tried to cheer myself up by buying an external La Clie 1Terabyte drive… you know what? It worked!

We had a fantastic time in New York. It’s been 10 years since we lived in an apartment on West 60th and the city has changed quite a bit, besides the obvious lack of the twin towers. For some reason it didn’t seem quite as high octane as I remember it. Maybe that’s because I live in London now, so my standards for intensity has gone up quite a bit. I love all the high buildings littering the place. Central Park is also a wonderful thing to have plonked in the middle of your city. I also remember New Yorkers as being a lot ruder. Everyone we met was very nice and polite.

Calamity in New York

Last night we arrived in New York, and in my jet-lagged state I left my bag containing our passports and my notebook in the back of the taxi 🙁

Helen and I are staying at the Hotel Elysee on 60 East 54th Street, phone (212) 753 1066. If you find my bag and passports there will be a reward!

The Sultan’s Elephant

A huge elephant striding towards Piccadilly Circus, while a giant girl reclines in a deck chair in St James’ Park.

Splashing the crowd! A giant child Barrel Rocket

Helen’s mother and aunt had just arrived in London so we took them for a walk. We were lucky enough to bump into the biggest piece of free theatre London has ever seen – the Sultan’s Elephant! The elephant was absolutely awesome, surrounded by a human tsunami as it stomped it’s way down Piccadilly. It was brought to life by an army of puppeteers who had complete control over it’s ears, trunk and legs.

We walked down to St James’ Park, where another part of the production was unfolding. There was a giant girl, blinking and yawning, before reclining in her deck chair. She was obviously tired after her flight. The barrel rocket is half her size, so she must have been flying economy! Apparently this production was last performed in Nantes in 2005. I’ve put more photos on Flickr.