Slogan search into the final stretch

The Vietnamtourism search for a slogan, which we discussed a while back, is hotting up. I just had a quick scan through the latest batch of entries and I'm pleased to report that the standard of entries continues to impress. Good luck to all entrants. Here are some of my new favourites:

There's many a tinted window bar in Saigon that might do well to adopt entry 771

  • Vietnam - The more you come, the more you love

Entry 765 plays the ever popular agricultural card

  • Vietnam - Beauty of wet rice civilization

Entry 741 might appeal to sun worshippers and some dermatologists

  • Welcome to Vietnam and come back with lovely brown skin

671 is a little confused, but most endearing

  • Your heart is now in Vietnam / Where are you

Entry number 601 has an educational bent

  • Vietnam - a part of the world

The closing date for entires is 27 September, 2005. There are currently 824 up there, but with the standard continuing at such a high level the judges are in for a tough time of it.

In other slogan news, the announcement of the winners of the Saigontourist search for a slogan, also discussed previously, somehow slipped me by. If you know the winning entry, please post a comment. Saigontourist are now running a snapshot competition. The closing date for entries is 30 September and the first prize is 15,000,000 dong.

Chewing the corn

I noticed this morning that a lot of people are visiting noodlepie having been referred here by the BBC World TV Programme Click Online. The presenter Kate says I submitted my site to them. I'm a bit embarassed to admit I completely forgot that I'd done that. However, I remember I was actualy writing a blog post and watching Click Online at the same time when Kate recommended one of my favourite food blogs eggbaconchipsandbeans. At that moment I fired off a quick email to Kate suggesting the excellent, if odd, Airline Meals website for a future show. I also mentioned noodlepie, although I don't think I recommended it as such. The TV show suggests I author both sites, but they got that bit wrong, I only write this one. In among the compliments, Kate mentions the difficulty of navigating a blog like this,

"Check the category list in the left-hand column to see what it's all about - you'll have to scroll a bit to get there. That's my only bugbear with this kind of site - there is so much information to display that the pages can become really long. Find a better way of doing this guys!"

She's absolutely right. Unless you're a regular, and/or have watched this blog grow from the very beginning, the left and right sidebar business must be incredibly confusing and the categories are a mess. I won't say I pre-empted Kate, but... I pre-empted Kate. I started redesigning noodlepie about a month ago.

It's quite amazing how quickly the content builds up - the flickr photostream alone has over 1,500 photographs - and blogs like this are a very different beast to the blogs I read. Unlike most of those, noodlepie is primarily a resource with addresses, names and prices. If visitors find it hard to access any part of that resource then it needs a rethink. If you don't take a second to step back and look at things afresh every once in a while this whole blog thing can quickly disappear right up its own arse which is a less than ideal place to be.

So, a new look noodlepie is on its way. It's minimal. I fear it still needs a fair bit of work, but I think it looks good and most importantly of all it should be easier to get around. I hope so. I'll welcome any input when it's up and running. Meanwhile, if you're new here, do as Kate says and browse the categories. Over on the left. No. Down a bit. A bit further. There you are. Not that difficult really, was it?

Bittersweet

Images_2A little over a week ago noodlegirl had her five day old Ericsson T630 cameraphone stolen from a function at the crappy Rex Hotel. The phone had three photos of the toad taken the very day he started walking. We hadn't had time to copy these to a computer before the phone was swifted.

We contacted the phone company and then phoned the number of the nicked phone. And so began a series of bizarre 'silent' phone calls to and from the thief. Two Vietnamese friends said this is normal practice in a theft like this and that the robber was trying to extract a bit of cash in exchange for the safe return of the phone. One of the friends repeatedly phoned to say we just wanted the phone back, were willing to pay a ransom fee, dearly wanted the pics of the toad, blah blah, blah... but nothing, just silence.

So we sent text messages to the mystery caller. Still nothing. Finally, we gave up waiting, bought a new phone and bitched about the unknown thief, the loss of the photos and the phone and generally had a 'bad Vietnam' few days.

The other night noodlegirl was away on a business trip, I went out with the toad for a stroll and a scoff in District 1. We returned home, I read him his fave book (Thanks Michelle;), put him to bed, grabbed myself a wee dram, stuck Force 10 from Navarone in the DVD player and settled down for an evening of high octane entertainment. I marvelled at how a small band of wily British soldiers somehow managed to outfox the formidable Nazi death machine with little more than penknife and the contents of a small suitcase. I gasped as the crack unit initiated an ingenious series of spectacular explosions and reaped untold havoc upon a startled enemy in deepest former Yugoslavia. As three of the finest minutes in Edward Fox's glittering film career approached, the door bell rang.

The taxi driver who had driven us home some hours earlier had discovered the toad's drink bottle, still half filled with diluted pomelo juice, in the back seat of his cab. I'd left it there and hadn't even noticed it was missing. The bottle is worth bugger all, but the fact that this guy, who has never met me before, bothered to swing by my gaff and drop the bottle off while he should really be out looking for customers helped heaps to forget the T630 episode. He works for the Gia Dinh Taxi company. I recommend you use them for your taxi needs in Saigon. They can't magic up missing mobile phones, but they clearly employ nice people. Tel: 08 989 898

My questions. Part 2 of a small series

Does anyone know what kinda dish bun sua is? Every other day I pass a restaurant at 169 Tran Huy Lieu Street, in District 8 selling bun ca and bun sua. I'm always in a cab and so I can't really stop off to sniff out the scene. So, tell me: what is it, is it any good? and should I make time to pick some up? I've never seen this dish listed anywhere else before and Google tells me little.

Non-stop slogan party action

Not to be outdone by Vietnam Tourism's search for a slogan, reader emem tells us in the comments that SaigonTourist, the biggest state-run tourism company in Vietnam, are also in the game for a new slogan. Here are a few of the better entries that caught emem's eyes and mine:

  • The obsessive Saigontourist - I love you.
  • The catchy YOUR DECISION OF WISDOM IS TO TRAVEL WITH SAIGONTOURIST
  • The factually correct: SAIGONTOURIST DO NOT CARE FOR YOUR TRAVEL SATISFACTION. WE GUARANTEE IT !
  • The confident, even boastful: Come! And you'll come again!
  • And the sublime How is "No" said? We don’t know!

As emem says, "Having read all entries, I think it will be really a headache for the organizers to find a suitable slogan." I think he could be onto something, you know.

Second chance slogan

Images_6OK. Here's your big chance to make ammends for the last slogan contest that Vietnam held oooh... not 4 months ago. This time Vietnam Tourism are running the show and you've got until September 27th to come up with something that sticks.

“Logo and Slogan Design Contest for The National Tourism Action Programme for 2006 - 2010” is to draw attention of all Vietnamese and foreigners with the aim at selecting a unique slogan and logo for the new promotion and marketing campaign of Vietnam Tourism in the next phase.

The use of the adjective 'unique' is slightly misleading. They don't just want one slogan they want 20+

There will be 2 first prizes, 2 second prizes, 2 third prizes and 14 consolation prizes. Apart from the prizes for the finalists, the organizing board will also present “Logo/slogan of the week/month” awards for online entries received by Tourism Information Technology Center and for newspaper-based entries received by Vietnam Tourism Weekly.

Yup. Everyone's a winner baby. Before you rustle up your entry, you might like to scan through some of the many superb entries already submitted. I quickly zapped through of few of the nearly 400 up there so far and came up with a draft shortlist and suggested target markets. See below verbatim submissions:

Conservationists, botanists and geography teachers get a decent look in:

  • Vietnam – A Lovely S Destination !
  • Vietnam - attractive ecosystem
  • Vietnam _ The marvellous bamboo.

Need cosmetic surgery? Alight here?

  • Viet Nam-enlarging your eyes

The casual and familiar

  • Been Here yet?
  • Funny go and cheery comeback !

Sex tourism:

  • Coming to feel
  • Vietnam, deep inside
  • Viet Nam , not only once you come .

Crime fiction market:

  • Vietnam – More mysterious than what been told
  • VietNam- Push your invetigation

Hippies, new age travellers and dogs on bits of string:

  • Vietnam, a destination of all the trips
  • Vietnam with millions speaking flowers!

For the charitable sector:

  • Tourism of Viet Nam - has waited so long...!
  • viet nam beauty from simples!

And finally for food fans:

  • Vietnam - Sunk in Feast
  • Vietnam - Feast in Feast

I think you'll agree it would be quite a challenge to improve on the excellent entries above, but if you think you can do better, drop your suggestion in the comment box and of course go enter the contest.

My questions. Part 1 of a small series

Does anyone know where in Saigon I can buy an implement specifically designed to mash potato and/or other members of the root vegetable family?

Reader's questions. Part 1 of a small series

Top online chef Fraser of Blogjam fame asked me if this sedate footage of the ever peaceful, organised and well-mannered Saigon people commuting around town is normal. I told him it is. It's not really for me to say this, but what with that and this I reckon blogging the streetscene of Saigon is about as hardcore as it gets. Rock on me. If you're one of the few people who have not yet delved into Fraser's marvellous larder. May I suggest you start with this incredible creation.

del.icio.us noodlepie

Not that anyone's interested. I am starting to use the del.icio.us social bookmarks thing more and more often. If you're interested you can can view what's tickling me on the net here or if you're a bit of a stalker you can subscribe to the RSS feed. However, my bookmark's are rarely food related and probably only interesting to me. I intend to redesign noodlepie at some point in 2005 and make all these feed things clickable somewhere somehow. Dunno what road the design will go down but I'm thinking minimal and I'm seeing urban and gritty.

Catfight concludes

Vna

Pham Thu Hang, the 'Is she or isn't she Miss Vietnam?' contestant at Miss Universe may have failed to capture the 2005 crown in Bangkok this week, but she sure made mincemeat of the other Miss Vietnam Nguyen Thi Huyen here at noodlepie.

54% of noodlepie readers who exercised their right to vote think Hang "would kick seven bells of shit out of Huyen" in an unseemly bar room brawl

That's good enough for me. Congratulations Pham Thu 'Did you spill my pint?' Hang. You're a winner at noodlepie and in these uncertain times that's important. I'd like to thank Thurston Argonaut for agreeing to investigate the story for noodlepie readers.

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Blog begets CD and more

Fellow failed Bloggie award finalist Anthony of Spiceblog in Australia very kindly sent me a CD of Australian pop/rock music recently. His objective was threefold: a) save me from self mutilation, drug dependent depression and Peter Andre b) Highlight Australia's much maligned, misunderstood and yet thriving musical cultural heritage c) Demonstrate that Australian folk are a generous bunch. He did that with bells on. Who knew garage punk was alive, well and feeding back down under? Rock on. My faves from the 24 track CD: The Saints, Spiderbait, Go-Betweens, The Hard Ons and The Triffids. While we're in back slapping mode - a big thank you to noodlepie reader and flickr user, SquishyRay, for the gift of a flickr pro account. Most useful, much appreciated. Look forward to using it.

Goin' the way of the Pope

Jim's not looking good, is he? Think I might have to help him on his way.

UPDATE: Jim departed from the physical world at 8:35AM Wednesday 20 April. A moment's silence was observed.

Jim the chim

Meet Jim. Jim fell from the sky into the spacious acres of Pieman towers on Friday afternoon. He was in a rather raggedy state, but is now feeding well. As can be seen from the snap above, he managed to hop up on to the top of his old mobile phone box on my desk this morning. Jim is now the official noodlepie blog bird. I'm trying to find out what species he is and what he should be eating.

One of SE Asia's leading bat conservationists came round for lunch yesterday, but he doesn't know what Jim is. Although he did confirm that Jim is not a bat. "He's too young to tell. Ring his neck if stops feeding" was the conservationist's verdict. Mashed up mango, pumpkin, apple, garden fruits and soggy street bread seem to be a hit for now. There are pet shops in town selling bugs for birds, think I'll have to pay one of those a visit in a day two.

Blogjam

1402_031204Blogjam is probably the most intelligent, well written and emotionally engaging blog I’ve ever come across. Witty, yet also humble and often deeply thought provoking. Quite frankly, Blogjam is an inspiration. Fraser (see pictured left), who writes Blogjam, is also one of Blogdom’s more revered elder statesman having started blogging way back in December 2000. He just bought me a CD from my Amazon Wishlist, which only goes to show he is also very wise. And he’s got good timing. This blog was one year old the day his gift arrived. If you too would like me to write an honest, heartfelt blog posting about you, it’s really very easy - just buy me some stuff.

 Disclaimer: Praise is directly proportionate to how much you spend.

Slogan catastrophe

Images_2What takes eight months and 500 suggestions? Vietnam's new tourism slogan that's what. And what two slogans out of those 500 suggestions do you think rules? First up:

Smile of Asia

How does that grab you? No? OK, try the other winner:

Vietnam, Flavors of the mind

Any better?

The competition was organised by the Vietnam Economic Times, and "drew the submission of 500 slogans that praised the beauty of Vietnam, its diverse culture, friendly people and rich history." Is it just me, or are these two slogans just plain crap?

Shouldn't some professional marketing company be thinking up a slogan as part of a wider publicity campaign and not a couple of foreign backpackers fresh off the boat? (OK - I'm guessing there) (True) But doesn't it strike you as a bit, well, amateur to conjure up a slogan this way. And how come it took 8 months? Were the 498 other suggestions so bad they had to hold out for eight whole months till these two belters landed on the desk? Malaysia truly Asia, Incredible India, Uniquely Singapore or even Thailand's Happiness on Earth are all part of some fairly slick (like 'em or not) campaigns. What the hell happened here?

Zoo trip

Don't do drugs.

Beatelmania in Saigon

I never thought my life would ever get to the point where I was actually looking forward to, nay excited by, the prospect of an evening watching four be-wigged Australians with fake scouse accents, dressed up as John, Paul, George and Ringo pretending to be the world's most legendary pop/rock combo, The Beatles. But I am. Vietnam is a cultural abyss - no decent cinema, no theatre, opera or ballet and a gig scene that's a fart shy of a total brownout. Our Man in Hanoi tells us things are no different up the road. But, you know, beggars can't be choosers and one thing's for sure at $35 a ticket (inc. buffet plus one drink) there won't be no beggars shuffling around the rooftop of the Rex Hotel waiting for The Beatels (no spelling error) to arrive tonight.

In a nod to foodies who come here, here's the buffet report: I don't like buffets at the best of times and the Rex does nothing to change my mind. The food is below average. I pick though the snails (seen better) and nibble at a spring roll (not a nat's scratch on the street rendition), but my heart isn't in it. To be blunt the food is utter crap. And the one can of Heineken included in the gig/buffet deal ('Ken is very popular in Vietnam, I detest it.) does nothing to dull the dinnertime pain. But, we still have The Beatels (still no spelling error) to look forward to...

They run on stage in authentic Beatle regalia and play the same instruments the Fab Four used to. With an original Hofner bass like Paul Mcartney's round one musician's neck and the rest of the band boasting the real deal equipment-wise, these guys mean business if the anal detail department is anything to go by.

Take a closer look at the two grown men above. From right to left, they're pretending to be John Lennon and Ringo Starr circa 1965. I think you'll agree, the resemblance is uncanny.

The first set took us through the early classics, 'She loves you', 'Twist and Shout', 'All my loving' etc. After the break, the Beatels (Yup really, they spell it that way) came out in full Sergeant Pepper get up and wowed the crowd with 'Penny Lane', 'Come together', 'Let it be' and 'Here comes the sun' among many other top pop hits of yore. I'm no musician (as anyone who's ever listened to my MP3's will know only too well) but pretend-Paul seemed to struggle with the high notes and the John-a-like couldn't quite handle John Lennon's raspier numbers.

This fake Beatles band were better than the buffet, but not as polished as the Fillipino covers band in the Saigon Saigon bar over the road (There's a sentence you'll probably never, ever read again). In their defence, Los Beatels (OK, I added the Los bit) weren't helped any by the lack of volume. Noodlegirl and I could quite easily carry on a conversation during even their heaviest rockouts. Rock 'n' roll does need volume. I think the Rex were trying to be considerate to all guests. In return they gotta limp show.

However neither a lack of decibels nor the school assembly hall seating arrangements could dampen the crowd's enthusiasm. As you can see, they were uncontrollable.

Seenthru in Saigon



I'm no techlover, but this flickr transparentscreens photo pool thing was too great a simple idea to miss out on (via Guardian Onlineblog). Cup of green tea courtesy of Tam Chau from Lam Dong, Vietnam. Top teapot, cup and saucer from Soraksan, South Korea.

Continuing the nonnosh theme - I've added an RSS list to the bottom left hand column of noodlepie.  If you read a lot of blogs/news and aren't using an RSS reader I strongly recommend you start. Simply put, it does all the searching for new content for you. I use NetNewsWire Lite (Mac only) which updates feeds every 30 mins. RSSOwl should work on Windows machines. I flit between a lot of RSS feeds, but the ones I have listed are my current faves. Here's some advice about making a transparent screen, which I did  not follow, hence the crappy image and unimaginative background.

Staying off-topic for a minute. From Intellasia daily newsletter: "Hanoi has been listed as the 29th most expensive cities to live in the world, according to a survey by Mercer, an American human resource consultancy. Hanoi ranks 29th out of 144 cities listed worldwide for their high cost of living, right after Berlin and before other major centres such as Taipei, Guangzhou, Chicago, and San Francisco. Survey of  144 cities worldwide shows that Tokyo, Japan is still top of the living costs charts, followed by London, Moscow, Osaka, Hong Kong, Geneva and Seoul."

More expensive than Chicago and San Fran... Think I know where I'd rather shack up.

The Resurrection

Two weeks ago my Mac spluttered and grumbled its way to a very rapid death. No amount of fannying around with third party hard drive death dodgin' tools could bring my machine back from the grave. Enter KTC at 384 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street in District 3, Apple's only official fixit folk in Vietnam. Hard drive is given a right old seein' to. A grouchy bad sector is isolated and shoved out of harms way. All 20Gb of data is retrieved safely. The hard drive is reformatted and my Mac is back to her old self less than 36 hours from when I first showed up at the door. Mac boffin Mr. Pham Quoc Van of KTC provided exemplary service. Cost was literally naff all. Whilst I'm not overly impressed with Apple, my Mac is barely 6 month's old, I am with KTC. If you're in Saigon, gotta Mac, got issues. This is the only guy to go to. According to this blogger, there doesn't seem to be an equivalent in Hanoi.

Wishlist

Logonoborder1I've been deluged with email begging me to update my Amazon wishlist so, you'll be glad to hear I finally got around to it at the weekend. I've also changed the mailing address as thousands of you have complained about the mailing costs to Vietnam. Your many gifts will now head to the UK. So enough already. Go check it out. Don't all rush to buy the iPod :-)

Free Mojtaba and Arash Day

Ctpb21

Blogger Mojtaba Saminejad "has been charged by the Tehran prosecutor's office and is due to be tried soon". Arash Sigarchi "was arrested on 17 January 2005, after responding to a summons from the intelligence ministry in Rashat. He had been updating a weblog that has been banned by the authorities, Panhjareh Eltehab (The window of Anguish), in which he had spoken out against recent arrests of cyberjournalists and bloggers."

Today is Free Mojtaba and Arash Day. Read the BBC news report. And see how you can help.

It's me what dunnit

It's me what dunnit

You forget to pay one lousy 5,000VD street stall bill and this mob shows up.

Aural pie

Somone's recorded an MP3 called Noodle pie. It's described as "Music to keep reindeers happy" As the author of the song's blogging namesake, I may aswell be the first to take a stab at reviewing it, so here goes - It's shit.

Music in my kitchen*

What is the total amount of music files on your computer?

iTunes says I have 1207 songs, just over 4 days worth. Or 8.5GB

The CD you last bought?

I generally only buy CDs once a year in Europe and then only 2 or 3. There's tonnes of bootleg stuff in Saigon going for less than a $ a disc, I just never seem to bother. Therefore, the needle sticks at whatever I owned prior to 1997(ish) when I split Blighty. However, I was given some CDs by the owner of Skipinnish records when I went to do some work on the Scottish island of Tiree last summer. Of those I particularly like Rachel Walker's Braighe Loch lall. The last one I actuallly bought was probably Spring Heel Jack's Amassed.

What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?

Rag Ramkali from a 2 track CD by Budhaditya Mukherjee. Each track is thirty minutes of sitar. Great background music.

Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you?

B00000dh1401_scmzzzzzzz_I was listening to the Flatlands by Roger Eno a lot when I first met noodlegirl. I had to go and work in Seoul for a few months leaving her in Hanoi. This is what we both were listening to at that time. It's an LP's worth, but it all blends into one long piece. Kind of a strings 'n' piano jam session.

ImagesWhen we recorded the garage punk hooligan roar Hit the East in Rugby in 1996 I had no idea I'd spend the following decade livin' in the east. This always reminds me of Friday nights in Rugby, the great local garage bands, the parties, the 'borrowing' of vegetables from the municipal allotments and foraging hedgerows for wild fodder. For a small English town we really rocked. No, really, we did...

B000003s2q01_scmzzzzzzz_The 30+ minutes of Brian Eno's Discreet Music is one of my all time favourites and has been since my teens. Apollo: Atmospheres & Soundtracks comes a close second, but if I had to single one out, Discreet Music's the one.

B0000649mw01_scmzzzzzzz_Heavy Soup
by Cornershop is the first track from their Handcream for a Generation album. It's also the first song that the Toad took an interest in. Whenever we put it on on now, he gives a big smile and starts dancing. Well 1 year old kinda rocking and shaking, but very cool, believe me. I can see he's got his mother's moves.

SpecialI just checked my iTunes 'Top 25 Most Played' and my Audioscrobbler 'Top Tracks' and JJ Cale comes out top in both. I like most of his stuff, but the 2 minutes 3 seconds of Devil in Disguise will do this morning.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

I'd 'heard' of blogs a little bit, but it was Jeremy Wagstaff's columns in the Far Eastern Economic Review that originally got me more than a little bit interested in them. Plus, I recently found out we grew up within spitting distance of each other.

I actually started a blog just before I discovered FatMan Seoul, but he helped me crystallize the direction I wanted to take noodlepie in. What rocks the Fat stereo?

I suspect Santos has the largest record collection of anyone I know. This'll keep her busy for weeks... So tell me, what's groovy in Guam?

*Alberto of Il Forno was kind enough to ask me these questions because he thought I'd "have some great music stories to tell," how wrong he was :)

Noodlepie gets Googlepied

Logo_smExcuse the indulgence, but I just had to share this. Go to Google and search for "wonderful photos":)

Spacemen 3

071199602402mzzzzzzzOne of my holiday reads this year was the new biography of Spacemen 3. Somewhat bizarrely, and I'm still not quite sure how, but someone from Omnibus Press tracked me down to Pieman Towers, Saigon to inquire about a performance by the band (one of nearly 30 I witnessed in the mid to late 80's) at The Black Lion pub in St. Giles Street, Northampton, UK in 1985. Did I have some snaps from a gig there? Yes, I did. Not that I frequented pubs in my early teens of course... A couple of them appear in the new book and I got a few copies of Erik Morse's 300 page tome through the post recently. If you like Spacemen 3, it's a good enough read. However, there are a few factual inaccuracies that anybody of a certain age from Rugby would spot immediately and adjective-wank about music in itself often has me grimmacing as does overlong drug talk. But, this is Spacemen 3 not the Osmonds. Nitpicking aside I rather enjoyed it.

Election night

Cheeseburger
NB. Non-food posting ahead, bail now if you're not interested in THAT election. To get in the mood for the big one we've put our fast food face on for the evening. The worldwide weight of expectation, dread, fear and hope surrounding tonight is unprecedented as far as elections go. The way the election will be reported and commented upon is also fairly unique. During the recent TV 'debates' I not only watched the two key players live, but monitored bloggers and print journalist's commentary all in parallel on a laptop screen. This is the first time I have ever done this, or ever been able to, and it was kinda fun. An Airport Express connection and NetNewsWire Lite RSS Reader make all the mulitmedia-multi-tasking a doddle.

It's just the Toad and me at the Towers tonight and we'll be listening to the comic British take of all things with an Amercian election flavour on Loose Ends at Toad dinner time followed by The News Quiz. Both are great radio programmes to cook to, but very British. Still on net-media - there's Jon Stewart's Crossfire appearance. I'm not sure if there's anybody out there who still hasn't seen it, but take a peek before you switch on CNN tonight. As one American friend recently said to me, "It's very funny and very sad." Personally, I hope the slugfaced moron in the bow-tie lands squarely upon the ragged end of the 'where are they now' political hack files asap.

If the election organisers can avoid excessive lawyer interference and ballot paper malfunction, I hope to stay awake until the result is announced. To be honest, I do foresee a nap at some point - and tears if the wrong guy wins - but I plan to watch various blogs and follow interesting links during the night. The Guardian NewsBlog team will be blogging live from midnight GMT. Stuart Hughes at Beyond Northern Iraq will be reporting for BBC radio and blogging. I assume Jeff Jarvis at BuzzMachine will be on-air, but then again he's rarely off it. It's difficult to keep up with his rapidfire course through the web. Wonkette supplied hilarious live blogging during the 'debates' and should be fun again. Lastly Electoral Vote is a poll aggregator. They may also be collating exit polls. Could be one to watch.

And for those of you who think this will go down to the wire. Don't forget the much mulled over 'mobile vote'. This might make you think twice:

"Polling firm Zogby International and partner Rock the Vote found Massachusetts Senator John Kerry leading President Bush 55% to 40% among 18-29 year-old likely voters in their first joint Rock the Vote Mobile political poll, conducted exclusively on mobile phones October 27 through 30, 2004. Independent Ralph Nader received 1.6%, while 4% remain undecided in the survey of 6,039 likely voters. The poll is centered on subscribers to the Rock the Vote Mobile (RTVMO) platform, a joint initiative of Rock the Vote and Motorola Inc. (for more information: http://www.rtvmo.com). The poll has margin of error of +/-1.2 percentage points."
Via Complete Tosh

In film news

Completely off food, but topically interesting. Michael Moore's much nattered about film Fahrenheit 9/11 had a US release date of June 25th and was later released in the UK on July 9th. The first shoddy 'filmed in the cinema' copies appeared on the streets of Saigon on July 13th. They sold out well before 7pm on the same day and reappeared in bulk today. Harry Potter's latest made it over before the UK got sight of it. Michael Moore doesn't have a broomstick, but he did get here eventually.

Dead dolphins

This blog comes to a screaming halt until Monday. This afternoon I head off for an interesting assignment in Eastern Cambodia with 4 solid commissions confirmed and 3 or 4 other tentative buyers lined up. There's not much been written about the recent dolphin deaths in the Mekong. Not yet anyhow. But, I won't be going hungry. I hear they do a mean deep-fried spider over the border. Full report upon my return.

Noodlepie is brought to you... somehow...

wires

This blog takes the tough route into the blogosphere. No mistake. There's an ADSL connection or two in there... somewhere.

Diet friday

gapingvoid-cards.jpg

The Hugh Macleod's arrived in Saigon today. She's not the only one who's happy with her new business cards. From order to the front door - 25 days. Nice. Respect to Streetcards for a quality job.

Pieman is on a diet today, he'll be bloggin' up again on Monday.

don't avoid gapingvoid

My first refferer - and a hip New York one too. Buy his cards - I have.

gvoid.jpg

"The best cartoons are the ones that give you these amazing moments of clarity as you draw them. That's the best thing about cartooning, really. Everything else seems rather secondary in comparison."