Charlotte Diary October 2000

August 29th September 9th September17th October 9th

Monday 9/10/00   

Back to the sun

Greetings Charlotte, Queen City of North Carolina. I'm back for a fortnight's stretch this time.

I collect the hire car, now with two weeks' grime. Get the thing cleaned in an amazing Avis Car wash. None of the amateur drive through rubbish we have in the UK! No, the car is hauled through on a track, and dried of by an amiable Mexican.

Bob and Pete

Barney wanted to come...Bob, and his mate Pete, have taken over my apartment. Swines. Still Pete knows how to take the piss out of Bob - a Geordie. That's always worth a laugh.

We drive to decent restaurant in the centre of town. Steak and Seafood and beer is consumed... best thing for jet lag is to get totally tired out!

And then to the Mens' Club. A sad place proclaiming "Sport, food and Pussy Galore". Sad because of the embarrassed men that need to go there. Still, I'm no prude - the girlies do have nice titties!

Barney wanted to come to the Men's Club too. I refuse - he is marketed as a morally correct toy, unlike those 'Telly Tubby' perverts.

Tuesday 10/10/00   

We have sun

Weather is really extreme. From freezing in the morning to the 80's (F) in the afternoon.

Microsoft DevDay

Bill Gates is still waving the .NET flag. A call to homage is being held at the local Hilton hotel. Good, he hasn't changed his mind. Been there, seen it, cut the code, so I leave after a couple of hours - after eating my $139 worth of lunch.

Wednesday 11/10/00   

Finland V England

Bob and I meet with Jeff at an English Pub. Bizarre. Brits watching footy. You can order Shepard's Pie or Roast Beef. Home from home.

Thursday 12/10/00   


Culture in CharlotteBob and I have a cultural evening in Charlotte. We take in Hamlet. Bob is keen to emphasize that not all people from the North East are thick and unread.

Directed by John Hartness. Betrayal. Murder. Lust. Vengeance. Universal themes in possibly the greatest play of all time.

We find the theatre: it's tucked away in a dark isolated industrial estate.
"What's goin' on here, like?" queries Bob.
Thoughts of the Men's Club cross my mind.

The dubious surroundings of the exterior is contrasted by the friendly welcome inside. The director / Gravedigger invites us in - beer at half time. There's already 30 or so people in the auditorium. I guess around 100 people could be seated.

The sets and costumes were simple and achronistic. Chain mail made from ring pulls; the opening scene had the guards in combat jackets, smoking a joint.

The acting was excellent - the atmosphere draw us all in to the play. Bob, literally, as the King slaps him on his back during the performance.

Osric, a courtier, played by Britt Nipper, is portrayed as a camp, effeminate, raging queer - very good! The actor also performs the "Player Queen". Some of the audience could not handle this: there was some embarrassed sniggering.

Disgraceful. Where I come from, men in tight leathers, or in a dress, is normal! Hicksville USA!

Friday 13/10/00   

Concord Mills

Just up the I85 from work is a large shopping mall, Concord Mills. Yes, even bigger than Central Milton Keynes

Bargains to be had: A couple of portable "walkman" CD players at $54 a pop (35) seems a bargain for 2 spoilt dudes back home.

The outdoor shop is amazing. You name it you can get it. (OK, no they didn't have any thing ecological like wind generators or solar panels. "Use a generator, dude.") 

I buy a multi socket strip. I've plans for it...

Charlotte Sunset

CharlotteDowntown charlotte is pretty, But I'd rather be at Nina's party!

Saturday 14/10/00   

Fall in North CarolinaSolar House Tour

Today is the Nationwide Solar Tour Day organized by the AES.

During the tour I say hello to one of the host's neighbours - a Top Band Merchant into QRP. These yanks do have disposable income! His double garage is full, floor to ceiling, of radio kit.

BasketBall Video

An silly DVD, with the creators of Cartman et al. 6/10. We are amused by the references to the word dude.

Sunday 15/10/00   

Myrtle Beach

Spot BobStriking house in South CarolinaBob and I hit the beach. Yes, it takes 3 hours to get there - so what? Cruising on the American roads is fun.

We pass cotton fields. The Geordie thought cotton came from worms' arses. No. I show him. The cotton fields do remind me of South India.

We travel down the I52, through some really isolated, remote towns. In Society Hill we pass amazing old houses - this must be a film set.

At Myrtle Beach we walk several miles along the water's edge, stopping for the ubiquitous ice cold beer.

It's a bit like Margate: a bit tacky and seedy, only the beach must be 20 miles long.

Monday 16/10/00   

Concord Mills

I complete the shopping tour from last Friday. Out comes the credit card...


Time to buy another toy. A Garmin ETrex GPS receiver. As I write this up I'm currently at 40 51'N, 73 29' W 545 miles from Charlotte, on a heading of 64N, a speed of 578 MPH, at 37000 ft, flying over a large city. (Name that city and win a prize.) New York

The receiver is lightweight, and intuitive to use. It cost me 82! I should have brought back a bag full.

At The Oaks Set a waypoint at the pool, and drive to work. At Verbatim Seems to work!

(Hmmm it's version 2.07 - must download 2.10 - that version shows the satellites!) 

(There's a bit of setting up to do for use in the UK: set the Position Format to "British Grid", and the Map Datum to "ord srvy GB".)

SanDisk digital camera card reader (USB Imagemate)

Another toy and it really does 'plug and play': I plugged it in and it worked! The camera images can now be read very quickly. No more slow transfers from the camera using arcane bundled software.

I use this reader for a more devious use. My work's laptop was used with an account that applied the corporate policy of "don't connect to unauthenticated networks." This now means I cannot connect the laptop to my home network and share drives. That's where all my web stuff is! I install the card reader on the laptop, and copy image and web pages files from the laptop to the 64Meg ram card. The card was then plugged into a pc on my home network, and the files transferred! Done.

I remember when 780k floppies were big!

Indian Restaurant

The Diamond India 3200 Monroe Rd. Serves food that's ninja hot! It's served spicy HOT! We're used to the Indian's in the UK serving subtle South Indian dishes. This serves HOT North Indian food. Be advised: if you go there, ask for mild!

Tuesday 17/10/00   

It's pumkin time in the States!Evening Pint with the Main Man

The Coliseum is lousy with young girls - some boy band,  NSYNC, is playing at the stadium. Lee is being the caring father: his daughters are at the event. He requested that his staff be with him while he waited for the band to finish. Bob and I volunteer. The usual large quantities of food are served.


The shops are full off them - Halloween is a coming...

Wednesday 18/10/00   

Mobile Phone

This turned up - I wish I had it when I joined in August! Sophisticated thing, can handle email too.

American Movie

Another DVD that's an interesting 6/10. It's a documentary on making the budget film Coven. Some really weird people there.

Thursday 19/10/00   


I leave with the engineering team doing good things, and I feel quite positive about the place.

Jeff and I do lunch at Midtown - discuss the future and things like that.

Return Flight

I'm flying back Club class. You can use a laptop here - impossible in cattle class.


Hey! It's raining - I've just had 10 days of solid sun!