29 December 2005

up but slow

My father should not be allowed to drive. It's quite frightening. So's my mad aunt's driving. When she talks, she veers.

I'm up. And sort of in one piece. My knuckles are still white.

Finished the Bryson book - brilliant. Read it. Honest.

Dial-up connection veeerrrryyyyyy sssllllloooooooowwwww...


Up north again...

Up to Scotland for New Years. So there may not be many posts. Or there may be. I don't know. No idea what my 'net connection's going to be like.

In other news, a friend from uni just played Princess Diana in a terrible ITV drama. She was very good though.

If I don't speak before, have a happy new year all!

And If I do... well, have a happy new year anyway.

28 December 2005

Flakes of Death! Sun of Doom! ...and some more culture binge

As much as I embrace this island as my adopted home, there are certain things that I will never understand. For instance; the British reaction to weather confounds me. It is winter and it is snowing, and not very much for that matter (6 inches is the deepest), and it is as though the weather apocolypse is upon us. At least according to the meteorlogical media. Every news channel greets the snow as if each flake had the number of the beast on it. Which is impossible as everyone knows that no two snowflakes are the same. Unless it's in different fonts?

In any case, it seems ridiculous. It is winter. Winter is when it gets cold and snows. Remember? There's a reason that Christmas cards have snow on them. Yes, you have to be careful driving in the snow. Yes, there will be people who are not careful and their cars will flip over. Duh. The seasons just work this way. Has it gotten to the stage where any weather report that isn't either, "partly sunny with a chance of rain" or "partly cloudy with a chance of rain" is greeted as though Jack Frost himself is the new axis of evil, bent on bringing proper seasonal variation to Britain?

The proof comes not only in winter but in summer, when these self same weathermen & women hyperventilate that it's warm. Now, I know that the UK doesn't have the best weather in the world, but it's not rocket science that there will be days in the summer that it's pretty hot. And yet it's still treated as front page news. Sometimes I think everyone on this rock would be happier if it were 15°c with a shower or two and intermittent sun breaks every single day of the bloody year.

I went with crazy aunt and slightly batty mum to the Tate Modern today to see the Henri Rousseau exhibition and came out with mixed feelings. Some of the work was very impressive and others not so much. He had a gift for light and yet rarely used it. In my humble opinion at least. Worth going to see as it is very different. As is the massive Main Hall exhibit by Rachel Whiteread, Embankment. Very cool and somewhat spooky to walk around.

On the way I saw the family of swans that hangs out on the river and while there I took some London pics... herewith (the last one is of the Whiteread thing):

27 December 2005

The tie pic and other stories

• Ta da! The penguin tie - isn't it cool? Well, I think it's cool. So there.

• Someone's stolen a bun from a shop in Nashville that's meant to look like Mother Theresa. Check it out. I think it more looks like Nick Park's (head dude at Aardman Animations, and creator of Wallace & Gromit) version of Mother Theresa to be honest. Decide for yourself. In any case I think both having a bun that looks like Mother Theresa and stealing that bun is moronic. But that's just me.

• There's a contest to make your baby look like an iPod. Pretty speechless about that. Cute kid though.

• December 31st will technically be the longest day of the year. Weird huh? They put an extra second onto the day to compensate for variances in the earth's rotational speed. So 24 hrs and 1s. Or an extra second of New Years revelry, depending on your plans for the evening. Does this mean the countdown for the Times Square apple will be from 11, in a Spinal Tap type way? That would be cool. But pretty unlikely.

• I'm reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It's a fantastic book, especially for someone who, when the fork appeared, chose the arts instead of the sciences, and occasionally wonders whether they made the right choice. Read it.

Let it snow...

It just snowed for like, 15 mintes. And now the sun's come out - no fair.

I'm resuming normal exercise today having had a 6-day hiatus. It's going to suck. Like, really.

I've got to send my iPod nano back to Apple because the screen's gone funny. And not because of pansy scratch marks but it seems to be possessed.

And speaking of possession, the belfry is kind of a weird home sometimes. You see, there are lots of trees whose branches come into contact with the roof and windows and general structure of it. And trees, well, they can make some pretty weird noises. Branches scratching on windows and all that. And they groan. That's spooky. There have been a fair few nights and early mornings that I have been officially creeped out. There have been times when I've crept down the spiral staircase, my old cane in hand for defence, convinced that someone's opened the door downstairs. It's a good thing there wasn't, for I looked ridiculous on every occasion.

The snow is now one of those microscopic flurries that, were it to continue, would provide about an inch of snow after about a million years.

26 December 2005

Fun stuff...

If anyone out there is a fan of The Office (the original UK version not the rubbish US version), then check this out - it's very, very funny. You can subscribe to it in iTunes as well.

heh heh.

Ho ho ho...

Nobody fought.

The food was amazing (I did the stuffing, the gravy for the beef and an apple, pear and plum crumble).

There was A LOT of food.

Those new to Christmas at mine were welcomed with open arms and had a blast.

I got a cool tie.

I'm serious - one of my favourite presents was an awesome tie. And no, that doesn't make me boring.

My parents danced like teenagers.

I got lots of hugs from pretty girls.

Look - it's a navy blue tie and it has all these penguins on it - half the penguins are skinny and half are fat. And next to the skinny ones it says, "A fairy hat penguin" (it's wearing a fairy hat) and next to the fat ones it says, "A hairy fat penguin" as it's furry. I love it. So there.

Nobody got too drunk.

The port was lovely. As was the stilton.

Fats Domino replaced Christmas carols just in time!

Everyone was genuinely on good form.

I think most of us were pretty shocked by how well it all went. Reading into that sort of cynism? Well, I think I'll just leave it and be happy we had a brilliant Christmas.

Some pics, taken with my brand new Canon EOS 350D digital SLR (tied with the tie as best present):This is me with Alia & Kath - old friends who were a brilliant addition to Christmas fun an not only enjoyed themselves but pitched in big style.

Looking out the window onto the river on Christmas afternoon. I like this shot. Getting used to autofocus. It's weird and makes funny noises.

One of the best gifts of the day: Freudian Slippers. Slippers with Freud's face and your toes are in the tongue. I'm sure whoever invented these was a genius. Someone gave them to my aunt (who has consumed the vast majority of my Green & Black's Butterscotch) I want a pair for myself. I would wear them with my new tie.

My aunt and my mother dancing to Fats Domino for my dad. My aunt kindly did loads of washing up (as she'd done no cooking) - hence the blue rubber gloves. My mate Ali in the background helps himself to the port while enjoying the floorshow.

They were dancing and I nearly caught them in the act but I didn't but it was still sweet and lovely.

Today has been a day of many leftovers. And a walk to the pub for a pint. In the pub were American tourists arguing over whether Leicester was pronounced "lie-sester" or "lie-chester". Fingernails on chalk would have sounded far better. The beer tasted ace though!

25 December 2005

Almost there...

Presents wrapped, lots of food, midnight mass attended...

Never did get those hobnobs though... hmmm...

Happy Christmas all!