Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, December 12, 2010

My new Windows Phone (which I dislike as I have said several times) has one good feature: it can hold a load of music.  I have literally hundreds of CDs and inevitably some have got stuck at the bottom of piles.  I had ripped some to my PC but I have spent several hours this weekend ploughing through the collection trying to get them all on PC.  That is more than will fit on the phone, but I am selecting favourite albums (and some greatest hits) as I go.  It is a slow process as I am having to manually enter track listings for most of the classical ones.  I also have a few obscure ones like Cab Calloway which it didn't recognise.

As I write this, West Side Story is in the drive.  That isn't one of my favourites.  Next up is John Rutter's Requiem which is followed by a Grieg collection.  The "classical" ones had been stacked separately.

The phone has some classical (The Four Seasons, Verdi Requiem, some Mozart, several organ compilations) but mostly it is rock.  For listening on the move I prefer something which is engaging and preferably loud to drown out travel noises.  It'll be fun over the next few weeks rediscovering some CDs I had forgotten.

On top of that a friend (thak you) has sent me a CD of things I might like to try out.  There are 600 tracks on that.  I'll listen to that over the next few weeks as well.  I'll then buy the full CDs of any groups I like on there . I believe in supporting the artists by buying anything I am going to keep.  Hopefully that will add some new things to my phone over the next couple of months as well.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, December 09, 2010

I bought a bottle of Covet EDP, the first time I have ever bought a celebrity perfume.  I got it really cheap, so no tester.  I was meeting up with my friend Andrea so we both sprayed it on.  If you read the reviews below, you'll see a huge variety of opinions.  The smell on my skin was totally different to that on Andie's.  For her it settled don't very quickly into a fairly simple vanilla. Initially the vanilla was overlaid with sweet floral notes but they faded quickly.  It was never anything special.

It behaved totally differently on my skin.  The florals were totally absent.  I got fresh green which dried down into fusty geranium with the very faintest hint of chocolate.  The chocolate was never intense.  I also don't get the vanilla.  It's amazing how vastly different it was for the two of us.  I wouldn't say it was hugely complex for either of us; however on me it is very pleasant and quite chic in it's own way.  I won't wear it often, but when I do wear it nothing else I have would do instead.

PS After about 12 hours it settled into the vanilla for the last couple of hours.

PPS I added a more detailed Covet review and resource page on Squidoo.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, December 07, 2010

One of the regulars from the pub ran a Vie party last night.  I was rather more impressed than I had expected to be ... and learned a few make up tips as well.  She did a really good job.  Of course, I bought quite a few things. Some are for presents but the moisturiser  for instance is for me.  I have been using Lancome Hydra Zen but as the weather turns cold it hasn't been providing the moisture my skin needs, so I bought a night cream to try.  I added a day one as well.  The other big advantage is that they are half the price of the Lancome products which is worthwhile.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 26, 2010

The announcement of a new Buffy movie should be great news but is instead a tragedy as Joss Whedon is not involved in the project at all.  What a disaster.  The man is a genius.  He and Sarah Michelle Gellar made Buffy into the special series that it was.

Worse, it probably means Joss himself will never no do any sequels.   Fran and Rubel Kuzui who owned the rights have passed them to Warner Bros. 

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 26, 2010

So tomorrow we have tickets for Jools Holland with Alison Moyet as support.  So I got nostalgic and started hunting for some 80s favourites on YouTube.  I'd almost forgotten this one but is a really great rock-pop tune - and I'd certainly forgotten the sax solo!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, November 05, 2010

How did Microsoft ever decide it was not needed on the Windows Phone? I miss it terribly Grrrr

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I've been writing WordPress plugins for a couple of months.  I have published one myself on the World of Glyphs.  That is where it will need to stay because it uses a font which I cannot licence under GPL, but I wanted to get one in the main WordPress repository.  That proved rather harder to achieve than I had expected, but it's done and my Taxonomy Picker WordPress plugin is now uploaded to the the WordPress plugin repository.  Full details are available on a Squidoo lens I set up as a home for Taxonomy Picker.

It was very hard because Vodafone mobile broadband, upon which I rely, has become hideously unreliable and keeps dropping connections.  Worse, the WordPress repository requires a strange type of connection to upload plugins and the Vodafone proxy doesn't handle that.  Fortunately I worked out that I can avoid the dreaded Vodafone proxy server by using HTTPS.  If it sounds complex - it was.  I'd no longer recommend the Vodafone mobile broadband to any serious business user.

Anyway, Taxonomy Picker is now available so we'll see whether anybody else downloads it and uses it but it feels good releasing free open source software and putting something back as I use open source software so much myself.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 22, 2010

Here in Britain one of the current subjects of discussion is a modern trend towards multi-tasking such as watching television and working online.  I've always done it and find I work better that way with the exception that I cannot multi-task and listen to classical music because I lose myself in it.

My concentration is unusually deep.  I work best by concentrating in snatches.  If the problem is straightforward like this blof posts then my concentration switches off an on quickly.  I'll plan a few words then switch off.  My mind can then do other things while my fingers catch up.  At the moment I am listening to a 3 CD collection of Status Quo tracks.  It's ideal.  It's not demanding music but while my fingers are engaged there is something for keep my brain interested.  In fact I find it hard to concentrate in a library because there is nothing to keep my mind busy between the bursts of concentration.

In terms of television, trashy is best.  Something like Eastenders or maybe Dannii Minogue Style Queen - I quite enjpy them but they are hardly fully absorbing.  If there is something I really want to watch like the final of Celebrity Masterchef, I'll put the computer to one side.

As problems get more advanced my concentration bursts become longer up to about 15 minutes.  During that time I'll take in very little of external events and media.  However, then I'll need gaps of the same sort of size in between when I am resting and perhaps listening to music and typing material which doesn't require deep thought.  The exception is exams when I need to concentrate much longer continuously.  It's why I dislike exams: it doesm't suit me.  I'll still usually take a 5 minute break every hour or so and just sit and relax.  I don't fully concentrate for an hour though.  I still surface every 5 to 10 minutes, I just usually multi-task on the exam itself so my surface attention can be thinkiing ahead, planning time schedules, keeping  track of likely marks etc.

I've been working recently on displaying Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs online for a couple of new sites I am working one - an Ancient Egypt magazine in partnership with Andie Byrnes and the World of Hieroglphs, my very latest site dedicated to Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.  Both are still under construction.  For the magazine, Andie wanted a way to display hieroglyphs online and I got very into it and wrote a parser for something called the Manuel de Codage.  So into it that I decided to start the World of Hieroglyphs as well which will be the home of my new parser ..,. and another, much simpler one, I wrote yesterday morning.  Analysing the topology of Manuel de Codage and desiging the algorithm for the main parser, called Glypheer,  was the most complex thing I have done in over 25 years.  While concentrating on aspects of that, my concentration was going deep for periods of 30 - 45 minutes at a time.  That really is unusal for me. 

I have a love-hate relationship with things that require parrticularly deep concemtration.  They can be very rewarding but I guess it's like the sport of deep diving.  Before a dive you need to pre-breathe and I find the same with concentration.

Right, I'm about to take a break now. The Waaderer should be about to start soon and I love that so I'll listen and head bang to it!

(PS I think I'll schedule this post for tonight.)

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, August 15, 2010


For a while they were top of the Premiership.  That was unexpected.


Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I don't mind living beside a busy road. I'm used to the trams. Late roadworks aren't great but I can cope.

But they have done something to the tram bed and the late trams sound like jumbo jets on take off and it's gone midnight.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, August 07, 2010

I'd a date with a guy over 3 weeks ago. Of the two hours we were together in the pub, he spent well over half telling me about his marriage breakdown. I waited a few days and when I'd not heard from him, I sent him a brief note thanking him for the date and said I'd like to see him again if only no-strings theatre trips.

I've still not heard from him. Well frankly good riddance if that's how he behaves. I don't mind him not wanting to see me again. Nobody can legislate for chemistry. If it isn't there for him, it isn't there. I'm also aware I'm an independent-minded woman and not all guys like that.

I do object though to lack of courtesy for other people's feelings - in this case mine. It would have cost him nothing to send me a very brief text message thanking me for the date but saying he hadn't clicked with me and didn't wish to see me again.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, August 06, 2010

My bathroom scales are a mystery to me. They insist I'm the same weight with or without PJs. Now if I had a skimpy nightie on, that might make sense, but not PJs that weigh at least 1/2 kilo.

Either way, I don't like what they are saying :(

By the way, I went back in the old Bradford and Bingley. The woman in there was sweet and helpful and everything done in a couple of minutes.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, August 05, 2010

I had some Bradford and Bingley accounts. The telly adverts stress it's all Santander these days.

It's not. I went in to a Santander branch and they can't cope with my account. I have to go into a Bradford and Bingley branch. How are customers supposed to know which they are? It's totally different to the telly adverts.

Bring back Bradford and Bingley who had great customer service.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, July 16, 2010

To those who are asking, he was a great guy - a really nice person.  I'd like to see him again, but I doubt it will happen.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, July 15, 2010

No matter how old one is, first dates are a nervous time. Inevitably so I think. How could it be otherwise unless one is apathetic about the outcome, narcissistically over-confident or take the other person for granted? So I'm nervous.

Will he like me? Who is so self-secure they don't wonder that?

But we all have our quite personal concerns. Some people may worry whether they will be able to keep the conversation going; I worry whether I'll remember to let him get a few words in. I worry that he won't wish to see me again; I'm equally concerned that I'm so busy next week that fitting in a second date will be tricky and I wouldn't wish him to think I wasn't keen - assuming by then I still am keen.

It will, of course, be OK. It should be fun. I enjoy talking with new people, especially intelligent ones. And, if there are reasons for me to be nervous, there are reasons for him to be nervous as well if he's the right guy for me.

I'm also open-minded about outcomes. An exclusive relationship would be fun; another friend for the occasional dinner would be good too. One mistake I made when younger was not dating until very seriously interested. At that point transitioning a platonic friendship into something more is fraught and rarely successful. I'm sure it's much better to see someone and from the start be open to any outcome. That way there's no need to push at a relationship, just let it go where feels natural

What's his name? Now that would be telling, and I won't. I'll talk about myself here but it would be terribly rude to talk about someone else.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I was doing some Internet traffic analysis to find out how mant people search for gingerbread cookie cutters, as one does - lol!  (It's my latest Squidoo creation - I'll do a couple of proper posts about my work on there sometime soon).  Just before turning off, I thought I'd see how many people a month search for Phizackerley on Google.  Apparently about 1,000 people a month do that.

What suprised me is that it displayed the largest related search which is Kate Phizackerley.  That's searched for140 times a month.  No of those I might account for 3 or 5.  Once a week or so I do have a look to see whether my Business blog has been notices for instance.  The other 135 times aren't me - nor are any searches on Bing which are extra to these figures.  Now I have worked out that there are at least two other Kate Phizackerley's, one of whom was part of the Phizackerley inheritance tax case (which has nothing to do with me) so I doubt that 135 people were all looking for me, but I guess some probably were.  I know my various writings are read by a few thousand people each week, but people searching for you in Google is still a strange sensation.

I know many people dream of being famous.  I don't.  I'm flattered by the number of people who read what I have to say but were I a famous Hollywood actress (dream on Kate - you've neither the talent nor the looks!) then I'd be like more like Greta Garbo than Katie Price - picking two opposites.

Incidentally the next biggest Phizackerley search is John Phizackerley with 91 montly searches.  That surprised me as I guessed it would be (leaving aside the fact I hadn't expected Kate to be first) Stephanie Phizackerley who is (or was) a senior manager at PWC.  I've never met her but I am told she is a nice lady.

So  that was my strange tangent from my research into search patterns for people wanting to buy gingerbread cookie cutters.  I guess many of you are wondering how many people search for that phrase?   That's a surprising 5,400 searches a month.  An amazing 14,800 searches a month for gingerbread cookie cutter (singular).  Wow!  Maybe though the odder one is that 1,600 people a month search for horse cookie cutters.  I hadn't realised they even existed.

I know you think it's sad that I can find numbers interesting but I am a mathematician at heart and numbers are interesting.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Monday, July 05, 2010

I only follow one 'celebrity' on Twitter, Ruth Lorenzo. I'm anxiously awaiting her album.

I'm seriously impressed by Ruth. Most of her Twitter feed is normal stuff - love of her mum or excitement at the latest date. In and amongst she'll promote some of the charity events she attends. I suspect she does more charity work than many of the stars.

Very occasionally she'll promote her own work but usually it's not self-promotion at all, just excitement at a gig that went well.

I love her voice but increasingly I follow her tweets because I think Ruth is a genuinely nice person.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, July 01, 2010

Are we finally set for a hot summer? We can hope so. I even bought a new sun dress. The only problem is it has narrow straps and, since I hate visible bra straps, I don't wear one under it. That's fine - I have great natural shape ;) I'm just afraid of dropping out of it. Sitting down is the most dangerous as it pulls the dress down at the back ...

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I've just had a Government body admit their treatment of me has been unlawful. We'll overlook that they didn't feel that meant they should apologise - a victory is still a victory for me and the others affected by a long-standing policy.

So I'm celebrating with a double stack burger with all the trimmings.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, June 10, 2010

What a find! The Suvudu Free Book Library is offering free science fiction books for download. The idea is that the first in a series from an author is made available so that people then go on to buy the rest of the series. What a fabulous idea!  When I have more time I need to do some serious browsing of that site.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, May 16, 2010

I've been cited by name as a source in the Wikipedia article on Sitamun. That's a first for me - at least so far as I know - and not my doing.

As my Web presence builds, I increasingly find pages I've written returned in Google results. It sounds flattering but really it's irritating. If I search for something, I'm interested in finding about what I don't know, not what I already know and have written about!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Sunday, March 21, 2010

I've been playing with the blogs. Andie is doing the main backgrounds but I wanted something for the Building Egyptological section and possibly for the About so for the first time I attempted to create tiled images in PhotoShop. I was surprised at what I managed. The image above really does tile! You can see it on the development site although it will probably get replaced so don't delay! It's very busy - I'm not sure whether it's great or one of those images that will come to irritate me in time.

And just for good measure, here's another I did for another part of the site

If you wish to use either of them, feel free so long as you identify them as © Kate Phizackerley and link to

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Friday, March 05, 2010

If you'd told me 2 weeks ago I could be corresponding with leading academics I'd have said you were mad. But that's where I find myself. The consensus seems to be that my paper on the DNA of Tutankhamun's family has much merit but that reviewing it properly needs a specialist in ancient DNA. Someone has suggested a professor in Adelaide. I'll contact him and hope he's willing to take a look.

I think I'd like an academic to take it on and prepare a proper peer-reviewed paper. There's no point me trying to do it. I lack the experience to do the subject justice and don't have the credentials to get it published even if I did write it up with full academic rigour. Fortunately I've never been possessive about ideas so I wouldn't mind someone else take it on if that's the right way to proceed.

Who'd have thought.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Saturday, January 23, 2010

I'm increasingly spending time writing.  I have just bought the Writers handbook (altough I have just looked on Amazon and it's way cheaper there - mistake!) in London.  There is definitely a novel bubbling.  I've an outline in mind and will try to get it down on paper.   It's temping, but I am worried that a novel is a very big amount of work, with a fairly low chance of selling many copies.

I will hold that idea in reserve, I think.

I did have an idea for a children's book though.  That was a surprise.  I've started drafting that.  It's why I bought the handbook as I need to try marketing it.  All the advice is that it is almost as hard to find an agent as it is a publisher - until you have been published the first time.  If I could get the children's book finished, then that should help me find an agent.

At present the idea is fiction.  I'll need to spend some time on it.  It's only when it's refined that I'll decide whether it really does have commercial potential or not.  I hope so.  I would also like to write a non-fiction title for children but I need to do some research first to see what the competition looks like.  Writing books is a commercial activity, as much as it is an artistic one, and there is no point writing a book which isn't commercially viable.

I'm also intending to look into writing commissioned articles - I have done it before, I just need to develop my own set of contacts.  I think I might also offer to write marketing material for professional services firms.  I just enjoy writing.

It's looking almost certain as well that the Egyptological Magazine will go ahead with Andie Byrnes and I as editor.  It'll be a lot of work setting it up, but experience as an editor would be very good for me.

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, January 14, 2010

I'm very jealous of these women.  George Clooney is f---ing gorgeous, and that phrasing is chosen carefully.  There's something about his smile, and his eyes, and his sense of humour ... and he's the perfect age for me.  I wish!

Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Wednesday, January 06, 2010

In advance of launching a potential new site, I've been looking at my web stats for my main blog (News from the Valley of the Kings) and pages (mainly Squidoo). There are now nearly 4,000 people a week reading what I write - and that's unique people, not page views. Wow that feels weird. Pleasing, really pleasing, but also really, really weird.

I really appreciate your attention, thank you. I’ll try to live up to it in 2010!


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