There won’t be blood

I donated blood today. It’s something I do every 56 days (or as soon after 56 days as I can). Today was nothing unusual: Hb 14.9, BP 122/82, total bleed took 4 minutes and 38 seconds. I’m still alive. And hopefully so will someone else be thanks to my donation.

In fact there was only one unusual bit in the whole experience. This:

“Please approach our staff if you have any questions (but expect them to rapidly back away when they find out that you were in Wuhan for Christmas)”.

Thankfully, the closest I’ve been to China was Newlands’ Tai Ping a couple of weeks ago. Delicious food, lovely evening, no ongoing respiratory symptoms. And thus I was free to donate.

Seriously though, I’m impressed that despite the fact that there has been no 2019-nCoV reported in South Africa, and even if there was, there is no evidence (and actually virtually no chance) of bloodborne transmission, the WCBS has already got this sign up to greet you as you walk into their unit.

2019 wrapped – My Spotify

Spotify has let me know which artists and songs I listened to most this year. I’ve been VERY protective of my algorithm, so it’s delightful to note that neither Ed Sheeran nor Taylor Swift made it anywhere onto any playlist.

My top five were:
Death Cab For Cutie, Seafret, Dry The River, New Order and First Aid Kit.


My top genres were:
Indie Rock (obvs), Electronica, Britpop, Chamber Psych (eh?) and Rock.


And my top five songs were:

Atlantis by Seafret
Song for a Seagull by Teleman
Time by Angelo de Augustine
Please Don’t Die by Father John Misty
and this: Apocalypse by Cigarettes After Sex

This is a very fair representation of my 2019.

First used words

Dictionary guru and all-round lovely lady Miriam Webster (yes yes, I’m joking) has a very cool time-traveler feature whereby you can find a number of words that first appeared in any given year. I had a look at my birth year (because why would you look anywhere else?) and here are a few examples from that amazing 12 month period.

They range from the technical like: “ACE inhibitor”, “bunyavirus”, “cDNA”, “neuropeptide” and “somatostatin”.

To the interesting: “Watergate”, “affluenza”, “global positioning system”, “pro-choice”, “duct tape”, “automated teller machine”, “magstripe” and “LCD”.

Via the outright bizarre: “Antarctic Toothfish”, “dinger”, “sea monkey”, “quango” and “Joe Six-Pack”.

And the inevitable childishly amusing underwear, sex and general innuendo stuff: “autoerotic asphyxiation”, “radical cleavage”, “bralette”, “underwire” “nonorgasmic” and “deep throat” (which obviously has more to do with the above Watergate than… ag… never mind).

Post-it notes continue to be popular

Indeed. And what’s possibly more amazing than that is that someone managed to get a FT article out of the fact.


Mmmm! Catchy URL!

And how do you get enough data to write a FT article about Post-it notes?

I have spent much of this past year asking people in tech and tech-heavy companies about their Post-it habits.

And it seems that they continue to be popular.

Who knew?

Phone tracking

I read this very interesting NYT article and thought that I should share it with my readership.

Obviously, I have many apps on my phone that use my location to offer me better, more accurate services. Indeed, some apps rely solely on tracking my location and sharing it with others. And for me, that’s really not a problem: the benefits far outweigh any potential negatives.

If I was in a job where that sort of information could compromise my security, then yes, I would be concerned.

But if anyone can weaponise my weekly visit to Pick n Pay by hacking into the logs of my location pings, then good luck to them.