My week

Junk mail

Within two days of me writing all about the Who’s Who thingy, and their associated US$951 membership fee, well knock me down with a bulldozer, but what should arrive in the (analogue) mail? A letter from them again! Exactly the same as the first one, but with a later date! I guess I’m back to step one.

I’m never going to escape, am I. It’s like being on a Reader’s Digest list. They’ll keep sending me stuff for decades, all promising great stuff if I just acknowledge them by sending something back. I’ll have to fake my own death to get off their mailing list.

Since this terrific offer is here in front of me once more, here are some choice quotes:

"Dear Daniel Bowen" – ah yes, number one sign of a mail merge. All they’ve got is my name and address. No "Dear Daniel", no "Dear Mr Bowen", nothing like that, because their computer doesn’t know if I’m a Mr or a Ms or what. Later, there’s "Specifically, Daniel Bowen, …." Just thank God they don’t have it clumsily printed like Reader’s Digest do, with the line including my name in it done in a different font.

"As a highly respected professional in your field…" – of course, they have no idea what my field is, apart from the fact that they’ve already sent me one of these forms which I was foolish enough to send back last time.

"PS." – wait for this one… "There is no cost or obligation on your part for your inclusion in the International Who’s Who directory". Ha! (See 10/5/98).

And well well well, they even have a Web page. Obviously they couldn’t get a domain name remotely related to their company name. But hey, apparently Ivana Trump is on the Board Of Advisors!


On Thursday at work I met and worked with a thoroughly nice Scottish bloke for a few hours. His surname is pronounced Coe-burn, but it’s spelt Cockburn, something which I was thankfully forewarned about. You wouldn’t want to be handed a business card and blurt out your presumed pronounciation before being told.

We got on like a house on fire, and by the end of the afternoon, were about ready to start up a mutual appreciation society. In some ways it’s nice working in a place where nobody else knows much about what you do, because you get to be hailed as an exhaulted guru, but it’s also nice to once in a while come across somebody who’s on exactly the same wavelength.

The Paul Kelly concert on Thursday night was awesome, as one would expect. And just so there’s no confusion, no, it’s not the footballer, or the political journalist. Who’d have thought there would be three famous people with the same name?

This PK is definitely the most musical of the three, and I’m determined now to get his latest album. The only reason I haven’t yet is that I’m waiting to see if L won it by subscribing to HQ magazine. Maybe I should go on a spending spree and stock up on his back catalogue instead.


Isaac’s third birthday was on Friday, and on Sunday we had his birthday party. We took over one of the local parks, flooding it with Isaac’s friends.

Isaac had told everyone who would listen, in his none too subtle way, that he wanted extra track for his Lego Duplo train set. And by golly, some people did listen. He ended up with about half a dozen boxes of the stuff, and he now has a train network that dominates the livingroom. Ah, takes me back to my own childhood.

Thankfully, some people got him other stuff – including his parents (of which I am one) who got him a bike. Now, if I can just explain to him what the significance of the pedals are.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.