Aidan Williams - High Acuity

High Acuity is the personal weblog of Aidan Williams, a London-based Web Producer/Designer/Front-End Developer


July 10th, 2010

Wall of text. Too long – did not read.

In some of the best news we’ve had in a long time, I received a call from my girlfriend’s father this evening basically giving his blessing to us being together. Most of you know that my girlfriend is Muslim and we’ve had a long struggle to get her parents to accept us being together. I’ve always got along very well with them, but they’ve always struggled with the idea of her being with a non-Muslim. Her mum returned home after spending the day with us and apparently they had a discussion about us. He called me to have a man-to-man chat to say that they’ve accepted that I’m not going to convert to Islam, but they really like me, can see that I take very good care of their daughter and would like me to attend more family events.

This has lifted such a huge weight that has been on both of our shoulders for years. Family is very important to us both and I’ve never wanted to compromise my girlfriend’s relationship with her family so I cannot express enough how happy her father’s phone call has made us both.

Twenty20 Cricket at the Oval cricket grounds

On Friday night I went to my first Twenty 20 cricket match at the Oval cricket grounds after Sanj and John boxed me in on the train and refused to let me get off at my stop. I’m not the biggest fan of cricket but Twenty20 is certainly the most bearable form of the sport, lasting three hours rather than an entire day, or five days if we’re talking test cricket! And you can’t really fault the setting: a gorgeous British summer evening in central London with a few drinks and a pack of mates: Mark, Paul and Nathan joined us at the grounds. The rules are pretty easy to grasp and it’s just a wholly enjoyable sport to watch with a bunch of friends and casually chat as the game goes on in front of you.

I’ve been meeting up with David at Borough Market every Saturday we can arrange it lately, and each visit always starts with the best coffee in London (according to The Times) at Monmouth. Seriously, if you’ve not tried this coffee yet, you should. Flat Whites in Soho – another award-winning/highly acclaimed coffee shop – buy their beans from Monmouth coffee. Last weekend it was just him, his baby son Michalis and myself – a proper lads morning out. Rather than having our usual German sausage for breakfast we sought out the ostrich burger stall and I have to say it’s one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in a long time. Just pure ostrich meat that is low fat and healthy, with wholemeal mustard, mayo and rocket in a bun. I always end up buying a ‘hangover cure’ from the juice stall as well: orange, lemon, kiwi, fennel and apple in a layered drink. If you’re using a straw and start from the bottom, you get a sharp hit of the lemon and apple at the bottom to wake you up and then as you reach the top you get the sweeter, softer orange and kiwi. It’s very nice!

Borough Market Organic Juice Bar

I was out in with John today – he’s just finished working on Inception and watched the Cast & Crew screening on Thursday (and didn’t invite me this time, the b*****d). He says it’s the best film he’s seen/worked on in the last five years though so go see it!

 

I’m a dork

So we’re in a meeting with an incredible new client: five really great, intelligent, creative, funny, nice people and we’re really enjoying working with them. I get out my laptop and set it up on the table so that we can look through the designs, websites, etc, and one of them leans in to type in a URL on my laptop but then, I’m guessing out of politeness, pulls back and puts their hands in their lap. So I say “Please feel free to type in any websites you would like to check, it’s fine!” and gesture towards my Macbook.

As soon as the words come out of my mouth, I get a flash of every website I’ve ever visited and my heart sinks as I remember that I’ve not cleared my browser history. I mean anything could be in there… nerdy games I occasionally play, inappropriate jokes, or, you know… other stuff.

What do you do in that situation? Do you brush away their hands as they reach for your laptop? “Actually, don’t touch, I have cooties!!!” Or before anything can happen do you immediately say “Excuse me for one moment.” and very obviously clear the browser history, at which point, you might as well just announce to everyone in the room “I visit websites that I don’t want any of you to know about.” But I don’t say anything.

Instead, every single time one of them leans into my computer I freeze, sometimes mid-sentence, and stare intently at the suggestion URLs that come up as they start typing in each URL. I swear my heart stops beating and I hold my breath each time as Sanj stares at me with a noticeable frown on his face like “What is wrong with you and why do you go beetroot red every time they touch your laptop!? This is going well! Don’t mess this up for us or I swear I’ll kill you.”

As they tell me the name of the URLs right before they type them in I’m playing word games in my mind trying to assign hundreds of potentially inappropriate websites that start with the same letters. What if they accidentally click one of them? My real fear that fills me with the worst kind of dread is: what if they accidentally click to visit one of the disgusting websites that you guys send to me every day??? You know exactly what I’m talking about so don’t even pretend like you don’t. I’m talking about those sites that are so shocking that they screw up your entire day after you’ve even had a glimpse of them.

As one particularly funny website pops into my head my eyes glaze over and two seconds later I realise my mouth has inadvertently morphed onto a big stupid grin that is not remotely appropriate for the atmosphere of the current discussion and I try to get a hold of myself. I pull it together and the meeting goes off without a hitch. I think I really like this client – they’re a lot of fun to work with.

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June 8th, 2010

Oh hello!

* casually walks past the blog and then notices you * Oh hello! You’re still here huh? Wow… I guess it is about time I gave you an update.

So last year when I called my mum, she casually let me know that she had been invited to visit the queen for her services to Cruse (bereavement, relationship and child counselling) and Samaritans. My mother is sickeningly modest – virtually no one in the family knew about this and I really don’t understand why she didn’t tell anyone, but I’m very happy for her.

She reminded me of a few other family members who have met the queen. Such as my father who was presented to the queen in 1979 at Queen’s College Cambridge University for his contributions to the university and his college, generally being a good student, president of the debating society, etc. Or my grandfather who was awarded an OBE by the queen for his role at the Institute for Hospital Administrators in helping to start the NHS, as well as a St George’s Cross for his bravery in World War II. And my grandmother who was awarded an MBE for her work in travel for British subjects in the commonwealth… No, I don’t really understand what that means either.

So, since I will never have the opportunity to win any such awards, it’s nice to remember these things. I don’t think winning the award for most profitable person of the year at my last agency is quite on the same level. Close though! Close.

Wait what’s that? This blog is about me and not the ancient members of my family? Dude! I just slipped in an immodest mention that I won some sh*tty award a few years ago, what more do you want!?

Alright alright… The start of this year really sucked for me. At the end of what I’ve officially declared the worst week of my life thus far in which every day was twice as bad as each previous one, I was out with the guys and while they were very generously attempting to cheer me up, my bag was stolen… This was the real icing on the cake for that week. This included my new Macbook Pro, my white iPhone 3GS, my wallet, my umbrella, etc. The response from the police was wholly pathetic and I won’t get into the details of that, since I’ve heard from many friends that seems to be pretty much par for the course. But I will say that I’ve decided to run for prime minister and when I get into power, I will change the system so we only pay the police when they get results. Now THAT will save the taxpayers a lot of money. I hope the criminals who stole it at least got something good out of the deal, otherwise that’s just a huge waste.

17" Macbook Pro with i7 processor

I have since replaced the Macbook with a 17″ Macbook Pro with i7 processor. Sanj and I created an un-boxing video as an experiment to see how many hits it would get on Youtube. But it will most likely never see the light of day as it hilariously features Sanj shouting at me for five minutes as I do various things wrong… Sanj: “What are you doing!?!? Sniff the manual! They all do it! Sniff the f***ing manual!!! This is so wrong; I feel like a porn director.”

On the good side, my girlfriend has been incredible throughout this year, just as she has always been. I’m constantly amazed by everything she achieves, and that she still has energy to come home and look after me at the end of each day. Sanj would be annoyed that I mentioned him at all but he’s also been pretty incredible this year, as has Andy, and I want them both to know that I appreciate them both just a little bit more each day * little tear *. Hey it’s my first blog post in a year, I’m going to talk about this crap, okay!?

Burgh Island

My brother also had a truly beautiful 1930s styled wedding weekend on Burgh Island (where Agatha Christy wrote her books). I could write a novel on what an incredible experience this was for everyone attending, but instead I would like to thank my brother for choosing such a wonderful venue. During the day you can walk across the beach to the mainland and then in the evening the tide comes in and you’re marooned on the island, inside this very beautiful art deco styled hotel. The highlight for me was the best men’s speeches, which reminded us all of what an amazing person my brother is. I really don’t think we give him enough credit for everything he has achieved in his life. If he sets a goal, then one way or another, he will achieve it. He’s also kind, generous, intelligent… Sorry, one second, a little vomit just came up into my mouth.

Wow this is getting sycophantic. Oh well, I might as well go all out, right!?

Well kids, I think it’s about time we put this post to bed, don’t you? But if there’s one thing I would like you to take away from this post, one life lesson that you take with you for the rest of your days, it’s that I WON AN AWARD FOR BEING THE MOST PROFITABLE PERSON OF THE YEAR B*****S!

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July 14th, 2009

Say hello to Archer…

Ever since I first met my girlfriend she has wanted a cat and last weekend I finally agreed. We both grew up in houses with cats and I think she’s really missed having one since we moved to London five years ago. We’re pretty settled in our new place so I figure now is a good time.

On Sunday we took a train out to Harlow, just outside of London to see family with a litter of kittens and instantly fell in love with a gorgeous grey (or ‘blue’ as they’re called) male kitten. The children told us not to take him because he was mean and wouldn’t play with them, but we couldn’t help it – he’d already stolen our hearts.

He clearly didn’t enjoy the ride back to our flat, but as soon as we let him out of the carrier, he had a blast exploring the flat and is becoming more and more affectionate (and mischievous) every day.

John’s comment on one of Archer’s pictures:

“I see Aidan insisted you got him in Chrome with the blue LED eyes. Much nicer than the inferior black or the white options. Did you max him out with all upgrades? I want an iCat too!”

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