31 December 2006

Round up of the year 2006: The End

In November

Betty reviewed Fanny Craddock

Pop told us about show and tell at Catholic Kindergarden

DraGnet is Two

Lee covered computer history

December

Presents for the little tykes - Conservatives For American Values style

Becky explained the true meaning of Santa

If you don't read Bad Science already then really you should start now. This blog closely reflects Ben Goldacre's Bad Science column in the Guardian but he often blogs more often than his column appears and it isn't edited for space so he can go into greater detail. I recommend it highly. Like Marcus Brigstock, Ben has his axe sharpened against that awful poo lady Gillian McKeith - snake oil sales woman and emotion vampire, passing herself off as a nutrition expert on C4. The blog entry I've linked to, however, isn't about the old harridan rather it he explains why we should always be careful of statistics.

As Chairman Tao put it July 2007 would seem a good time to plan a holiday as far away from the UK as possible. Beware, Wembley Stadium (if operational) is going to host a "Concert For Diana" It's gonna be ghastly, worse than the awful "Brenda: fiftieth on the throne" concerts for the young people especially as the chances of a bewildered appearance from Ozzy Osbourne are not high. Expect over the hill, middle of the road toadies and that's just the audience, the bands will be worse. Far worse.

Finally the year's Highlight.

We got engaged. :D

30 December 2006

Round up of the year 2006: September and October

September:

Pop about being a day late

I also found a new blog The Razorblade of Life, Z produced this beautiful writing on motherhood.

Sim, did Monsters

You know you have friends when they do something like this for you

October:

Most Wrong Thing Evah

Kim gets the dibs for linking to this

MLIGCS loved her roomie

Russia: it's not always that bad as Val's friend Mila found out

Chixulub would like to warn you not to do this at home. I laughed so hard I hurt myself.

29 December 2006

Papa's Got A Brand New Bag.

It was sad to hear of the death of James Brown on Christmas Day and a bit of a shock even considering some of the problems he had had in the past with drugs and dangerous living.

I first became conscious of James Brown when I lived in the states, MTV had "Living In America" on heavy rotation for a lot of the time, but they never bothered to play his good stuff. This was in the days before MTV had discovered black music or rather that advertisers would still pay good money when they played R&B, rap and hip hop.

I didn't hear any more of James Brown until I got to University in 1989, "The Funky Drummer" had started to feature in almost every tune with a sample in it, even the indie ones. For lunch we used to go to Bar One in the Union, a lot, as it was comfy and cheap. The bar juke box would automatically play sixties soul, Motown and R&B if no one had fed it, we got to hear a lot of James Brown, Smokey Robinson and The Four Tops, as it was music that offended no one, it was rare of a lunchtime that anyone would pay money to listen to anything else. We all knew the words come the spring term, to all the songs. A sight I will always cherish will be of a willowy thin Punk lad who was about 6 foot 6 in his stockinged feet before he spiked up his mohichan, absently mindedly asking all in sundry if he could "take it to the bridge?" in time with James as he queued up for his pasty and chips.

Round up of the year 2006: July and August

In July

I became a tranny pop after several hours of pleading pay off.

Iggy celebrated Independence Day in the states in his own imitable way!

Urban Chick highlighted the latest Edinburgh taste sensation.

Gordon ate all the pasties. Gordon is one of those bloggers who consistently writes at high standards. Worth the visit just for this line: "This is usually said in a tone that suggests that if you don’t place your order in the next three seconds, somewhere a kitten will meet a brief yet painful death. Probably in a blender."

Becky did cartoons

August

Lee pondered the street stoppers. I found Lee through pure luck, I was flicking through flickr when I saw this picture. I had a look at his profile, saw he had a blog which I enjoyed immensely as I bimbled through his archives. Then I saw that not only does he know Kim from Mildly Diverting he had shared a flat with her. Which all goes to prove that really there are only about 5 people in the world.

Not a blog but art instead, Bex has blogged about her and I really admire her work too, check this out - Choose Love by Bridget Love

Dear John letters are so hard to write.

28 December 2006

Oooh Errrr

We are going to see the registrar in a few minutes from now to find out what we need to do legally so that we can get married sometime next autumn.

I'm feeling a bit nervous, which I haven't done before when talking about it with other people but this is official, outside friends and family.

Right all I've got to do is drag Si away from Back To The Future II. (one day I will get to see it all the way through from the beginning)

Round up of the year 2006: May and June

In May:

Wyndham The Triffid reviewed Vidal Gore's Pamplist saving the rest of us the bother of reading the book.

Becky and I watched the "50 Greatest One Hit Wonders" on the box, some of the music was very ropey to say the least but Becky was inspired.

In June:

I could have stuffed this round up with loads of Pluto's cartoons.

27 December 2006

Round up of the year 2006: March and April

March: St David's day and St Patrick's day happened. St Patrick's happened to be more entertaining.

Becky went for the ultimate mash up of overblown popular entertainment ie Queen and Lord of the Rings and gave us this. Lord of the Rhapsody

In April:

Frieya was the first blogger on my particular street to get in with a review of the new Dr Who

Pop at Pop's Bucket enjoyed the Easter Vacation

Johnny Virgil explained stuff

26 December 2006

Round Up Of The Year 2006: The Beginning

I've been keeping careful track over the year of the blog posts that I've enjoyed, been informed by, or just struck by. It's my choice, it's subjective and I make no apologies for it but I hope you enjoy what I have chosen.

In January

Selina placed that bit from Deutronomy in its proper context.

In February

Becky and I went to Amsterdam for her birthday. It was bloody cold and grey but we had a wonderful time, Bex summed it up here Gellizig.

25 December 2006

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas Everyone,

I hope that you have had a peaceful and enjoyable day. For those of you who celebrate Christmas with presents I hope that you liked what you got and what you gave has given pleasure.

I have a rule about presents for Christmas and birthdays, it's simple, easy to understand, of long standing and I like to think grounded in sense. - Don't give me anything for the kitchen - no fancy microwaves, baking dishes, kettles, toasters or bins. I know lots of people love receiving stuff like that, but not me, it feels more like a present for the kitchen than for me, and as far I as know the kitchen has never celebrated Christmas and it doesn't have a birthday.

This rule shouldn't be broken but there are a couple of exception clauses; mugs, cookery books and small silly things don't really count, nor do things that I've pointed to and lusted after.

Like posh espresso coffee makers.

Which is a good thing as that is what Simon got me for my present. I'd been quietly lusting after one for months, it's great I can pretend that I work at Costa (alotta) Coffee, froth milk to my heart's content and make enough espresso coffee to keep the Italian fleet sailing. Si has spent most of the last two hours experimenting with different coffee types, which he has also drunk. As he doesn't normally drink coffee in the evening he is now sat on the sofa lightly vibrating with caffeine, he would have been shimmying a great deal more but for the dampening effects of the Irish coffees he made us not so long ago.

That's all I wanted to say really so night night y'all.

24 December 2006

Not Obsessed

I am not obsessed by weddings!

OK they are something I have thought about in an idle moment over the last 34 years or so but not really even a day dream. There have been long periods in my life when I thought that I would never arrive at the circumstances where marriage was a possibility so even when I did think about it, it wasn't with napkin colour and designs in mind. So now that I am going to get married we've got a lot to decide and think about.

I want to be married to Simon and soonish, I know what is important to me - stating in front of our families and friends that I love Simon so much that I want to spend the rest of my life with him and because it is something that we believe in I want to enter into the marriage contract with him. That is all that really matters the rest is "just fluff"™ However deciding which bits of fluff we want to discard and which bits we want to keep or invent new for ourselves, needs thinking about so I bought a couple of "Wedding" magazines for "inspiration".

They are bloody awful.

Materialistic, obsessed on the trivial ephemera that surrounds weddings, they seem to have an agenda to tell brides that their weddings will be pitiful thin things that no one will have enjoyed or remembered unless a lot of money has been spent on pointless shite . Some are awfully icky - referring to the future groom as "h2b" yuck :-s.

I suppose I was being naive to expect these magazines not to champion the old wedding clich├ęs but I was very disappointed at how light they were on useful information. Personally I don't think just saying you must wear waterproof mascara is good enough, tell us which one is best and prove it. All in all I haven't been inspired just depressed at all the crap that seems to surround getting married.

22 December 2006

Temptation

I've been having a very leisurely day, the shopping has been done, the last Christmas party is going to happen this evening, the presents have been wrapped, the bats have been fed, there is nothing left to do really. So I'm sat here, at Simon's watching back to back Quantum Leap, (bliss) I've been surfing the 'net on his laptop and desperately trying to ignore the huge box in front of me. It's wrapped up with pretty paper and with a small tag with my name on it, this is cruel, I'm an incorrigible present prodder and shaker, massive temptation is being put my way and I'm supposed to ignore it?

As I am not the only one in my family who hasn't a scruple when it comes to the shaking, fondling and sniffing of presents I have over the years developed the habit of not putting names on presents if I'm going to be there to hand them out as there is no point in shaking a present if you don't know if it is going to be yours.

20 December 2006

Sprouts

Well that's it, I've done all the Christmas shopping now, presents and food, it is all over bar the shouting and maybe some hummus if I feel the call of Waitrose on Saturday afternoon. An unlikely event I know but it could happen.

Simon and I braved the local Tescos this evening to do the "big shop" it was surprising less grim that I had first expected although the car park was full the shop wasn't rammed we could manoeuvre around the glassy eyed shoppers who clutched bags of sprouts to their bosoms as the trolley they had been pushing started to buckle under the hundred weight of dry roasted peanuts and cheeses piled within it.

We were able to resist the worst of the temptations and have got our Christmas tree, real, in soil and about a foot high, food and drink for when we are here, a litre of Baileys for medicinal purposes but no sprouts.

19 December 2006

Fog

It's been cold today, the fog never lifted and where the weak sun didn't even get a chance to penetrate, the frost stayed on the ground and wrapped around the twigs and fronds of greenery. Just the right weather for an office party.

Or a funeral.

As the bus slowly whisked me to work this morning, we passed an empty funeral hearse, of the horse drawn type going in the opposite direction. Two undertakers in Victoriana garb sitting on top, black horses with black plumes, the long white plush pad where the coffin would rest. All a stark picture in black and white against the black skeleton of trees and the enveloping mist. Normally I think they are naff but today it made perfect sense.

18 December 2006

It's cold outside

First off, thank you all for your congratulations and best wishes, it's quite overwhelming. I don't think that it has properly settled in yet, I keep looking at my finger and thinking wow "I'm getting married" There will be a lot to sort out, most importantly we have to identify what we really need to do and what is just fluff, Si and I are going to workshop this shortly in the new year. Si's done PRINCE II and I've been at enough bloody "kick off" meetings to be very familiar with most of the brain storming techniques, I've put in an order for a gross of post it notes and a tree's worth of flip chart, I'm going to go to Staples to get the marker pens then I'm gonna sniff them, cos they smell nice.

I promise that I will try to avoid being a wedding bore, but I am reserving to blog anything funny, outrageous, bizarre or "come-the-revolutiony."

Return To Normal Service

I've been feeling a bit of an unwell bunny recently, very sore and tender throat on the left side, jaw ache and ear ache, probably a virus but... it's been going on for a wee while now and it's effecting my sleep and it hurts to lie down.

So I go to the doctor's and get told either it's a virus andthere'salotofitabout or I've managed to scratch my throat eating fish or something. Now I'm quite prepared to accept that I don't need an antibiotic as they won't do any good when the doc says that s/he thinks it's a virus and I agree with the idea that sometimes warmth and plenty of fluids are the best thing but I was told in such a peremptory way. I left the surgery feeling that I had completely missed out on the magical "Seeing The Doctor Will Make It Start Getting Better" effect that I normally get when I've been to see them before in situations like this.

What didn't help was that the sodding bus didn't turn up, I was there, at the bus stop, with about 5 minutes to spare, 45 minutes later I was still at the bus stop, slowly freezing and getting crosser and crosser.

Grrrr.

The bus company is so bloody useless

16 December 2006

The Morning After The Night Before

Yesterday evening was one of the best nights I've ever had, we went to the Christmas Ball, which was superb, good food, good wine, good company.

And we were able to celebrate in style.

Because we have something to celebrate as earlier that night Simon asked me to become his wife. I said yes.

12 December 2006

Christmas Timewasters

Some excellent timewasters on the Advent Calendar and all with a Christmas Theme. Once you get bored with those there is always drunk Santa to steer about.

11 December 2006

Linkage 11 Dec 06

Feeling Listless takes apart some of what is wrong with Torchwood he explains why I don't like most of the characters.

Flouncing Tenor - oh how many stereotypes does storming off stage of La Scala in a huff fulfil?

John Denver and the Muppets - Go one you know you want to.

And if you are not already subscribing to this here's the best on-line Advent Calender you'll find this year.

10 December 2006

Has Anyone Else Seen This?

Radio Five Live's blog about blogs is looking for nominations for unsung blogs you know, the ones you enjoy but don't get the limelight like say Random Acts Of Reality does (and deserves too.)

Anyway here's the link mind you I'm not giving it because I want to be nominated, I really don't I'm not good enough for that sort of exposure, mind you neither is Dooce but that's another blog post I will write one day.

Pinochet Dead

And all I can say is good, it's the end of an evil man. A dictator whose regime disappeared people and tortured and murdered with impunity.

07 December 2006

Bananas

I like bananas but bananas don't like me. I've known that I have an allergy to them for a while now and I've had to reluctantly avoid them.

Yesterday lunchtime I had my lunch in the canteen of one of the contractors I deal with. By mistake I took a pudding that had bananas in it, instead of leaving the pud when I discovered this I thought, "ack, it will probably be OK as they've been cooked or something" It wasn't I had the usual symptom a burning feeling in my mouth and my lips and tongue feeling funny which I've had before and it's dealable with. What was not dealable with was the stomach cramps and diarrhoea that hit that evening and I had cramps for the rest of the night and woke up with them today. So although it now seems to have passed, I was up to work today and I've been feeling more than a bit sorry for myself.

02 December 2006

Tis the season to be jolly?

Now that December has started the party season has too, and for the first time ever, I'm dreading it more than looking forward to it. Normally my inner four year old is running round screaming "It's Chrismiss" but this year someone seems to have chloroformed her.

I cancelled going out on the big group Christmas lunch, mainly because it is one expense too many, but also if I'm gonna spend my hard earned cash on going out I would rather do it where I know I'm going to get a decent meal instead of the dried out slops that pass for Christmas Party Lunches in the hotels in Fenlandshire. I would also rather spend the money drinking with people who are not going to talk about work, who hates who and the imminent disappearance of all our jobs.

I haven't withdrawn from my office party because well, it would get all a bit too political if I did and young Ady wouldn't like it. The organisers were discussing the seating plans the other day, they have hit on the "bright idea" of making everyone swap round seats for each course. A recipe for chaos and my idea of hell. I did suggest that the idea wasn't that brilliant, it was said that you don't get a chance to talk to everyone at the meal. That we all work in the same small office, will be mingling before and after the meal so it's only going to be 2 hours at the most and that by the time the coffees come round people start moving about anyways doesn't seem to have hit them. I have no faith in wiser heads prevailing on this one.

I am still looking forward to the Christmas Ball though because for one thing the drink is free. Also I don't have to mingle with people I've spent all year with. This is why I'm also looking forward to Si's Office Christmas meal because I don't meet his colleagues that often but when I have, I've had a good time. Perhaps it's just a case of familiarity breeding ennui or I've lost the Christmas Enjoyment Fairy.

01 December 2006

So Here It Is Merry erm... Winterval, Holidays erm Yule

Of course it's the holiday season, there is Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year, Bohdi Day, Kwanzaa which is a cultural festival rather than religious, Winter Solstice and Eid Al Adha for starters all in December. So while the UK may be majority "Oh I suppose I'm a" Christian it isn't exclusively and really it isn't polite to wish someone a happy Christmas when you know full well that they actually celebrate Bohdi Day, so if you are not sure what if anything someone celebrates saying "Happy Holidays" although an awkward construction is a safe way of acknowledging there is a holiday in the offing.

But on the flip side we are a multicultural society but to assume that non Christians would take complete offence at being wished Happy Christmas is daft. Most people don't I'm an atheist to my knowledge I've never thrown a strop at being wished happy Christmas. I've never met someone who complains about a free day off. When I lived in the states Yom Kippur was a day off from school, I wasn't offended.

Often, rather than actually talk to someone who is different from ourselves we make assumptions about what will or will not offend them, because it's easier than actually engaging with people who might actually be a bit different from ourselves. That is the truly daft thing.