Month: December 2004

And now, the end is near

2004. Not a bad year, not a great year, but probably better than average.

2005 is creeping over the horizon (depending where you are reading this it may already be 2005) and I’m already looking forward. What will the coming year hold for us? What do I resolve to do this year?

Well I don’t do resolutions, never really seen the point. Sure I could resolve to lose some weight, spend more time with friends, less time on the computer, read a book a week and so on and so forth, but I won’t. I always have dreams and aspirations they don’t just appear on Hogmanay so I never really bother with the whole resolutions thing, life’s just too short to wish it away.

If anything this time of year brings on a certain melancholia, and I have to fight to not look back at the mistakes of last year, I guess that sums me up. Despite all the wonderful times we enjoyed last year, and there were many, it’ll be the low points that I remember. Maybe I should resolve to have a more positive outlook?

Anyway, enough of that. The Sky+ people are here!

Evil Empire

I’m a happy Telewest customer. They supply a good, reliable cheap phone service (my in-laws live in Spain now, so 2p a minute isn’t to be sneezed at), a reliable broadband service which isn’t the cheapest around but isn’t too far off the mark and all the TV channels we (don’t really) need. So why am I considering switching to Sky?

Well a couple of reasons, firstly Telewest recently dropped Nickelodeon. No, we don’t watch it, but the background as to WHY it was dropped is slightly worrying. Seems like negiotiations of carrier charges broke down, Nickelodeon started showing ads saying that Telewest were dropping the channel and to switch to Sky, so Telewest yanked the plug a day later. It’s thought both parties were in breach of contract for their actions but either way it doesn’t bode well for the future.

Secondly, I subscribe to Sky Sports as they only show NBA basketball on Sky Sports Extra*. However I’ve been watching the Champions League as well and as a Telewest user I don’t have the option of the six “extra” channels that they show the other games on. In fact “red button” support on Telewest is flaky at best (kills the set-top box at worst).

Thirdly, I want to do away with our video recorder. We hardly ever use it, although we’ll record some movies and stuff over Christmas, and this is all despite the few hundred movies we have on tape in the loft (No, not THAT kind of movie. Well not ALL that kind of movie.. hang on, my Mum reads this…).

And finally, I’m planning on getting a new TV in April next year, as we should have some extra funds then, and I’ll be handing back our, currently hired, TV and video. So either I buy a new video, or look at the alternatives one of which includes Sky+. I’ve done a bit of digging and I’m pretty sure that it’ll be another year or so before Media Centres (Centers) are established, and the other option is a combined PVR and DVD writer. Tempting but still pricey so again I’ll wait a while until they are better integrated into the mainstream. I will NOT be Betamax’d!

So, if I just put the fact that I’m fueling Murdoch’s Evil Empire to the back of my mind, I don’t see any problems. Any Sky+ users out there got any advice? Good or bad?

* I DID spot some on Channel 5 last night though, need to find out if that’s gonna be a regular thing.

2004 lists

I don’t normally do these. I’m not a great fan of looking back at the past, but then I don’t make resolutions so I guess I’m not so fond of the future either. Live for today and all that!

Still it was a pretty good year, and I DO have some plans for next year… and I’ve got nothing better to do (emm… except tidy up) ohh go on then. Read on for my “Best of 2004” lists.

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Asia Quake

Still awake. Still processing the news. The horror doesn’t wane. I didn’t mention it before because surely everyone is aware, everyone is thinking the same thoughts. Three days on, numbers rising, still only fleeting moments of comprehension. It’s so safe and warm in my house, surrounded by Christmas gifts, material items. So easy to put this news aside and just keep score. 40,000, 50,000, 60,000. As one reporter said, the numbers overwhelm, easier to focus on the father holding his dead daughter, the mother who lost four generations of her family in an instant.

Aid organisations are being co-ordinated through the U.N., so I don’t think it matters hugely WHO you give to, but if you want to help, here are a few starting points:

Cafod
Care International
International Federation of the Red Cross
Medecins Sans Frontieres
Oxfam
Save The Children
Unicef
World Vision

The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog has much, much more information should you require it.

Survived

Home again.

Christmas morning spent an hour packing the car. Picked up my Gran and headed to my parents. Gifts, food, and wine. Headed to brother-in-laws at 7.30pm. More drinks, food and gifts. Got to bed a 2.30am (earlier than expected).

Woke on Boxing Day with same headache that had been threatening to develop all of the previous day. Went back to bed at 2.30pm, woke at 5pm. Watched TV. Finally felt human(ish) at 9.30pm – too late to go and meet friends. Majorly pissed off.

Luckily managed to meet couple of friends for lunch yesterday, planned extravaganza for next Christmas. Home late evening, just in time to receive phone call from Susan. her husband had fainted and split his head open. Rushed them to casualty, a few stitches and back home in an hour.

Today, sofa, tv, movies, waiting on pizza.

HO HO HO

baubles

Right, I’m signing off for a couple of days. I don’t trust myself to post whilst full of turkey and copious amounts of alcohol. Thankfully my parents house, where we are staying for a few nights, is broadband enabled so I MAY post between now and when we get home on Tuesday, don’t hold your breath though.

This evening, once I’ve extracted myself from the pub, my darling wife has threatened to drive me to Coalburn to see the lights. But aside from that, it’ll be our usual Christmas Eve. Snuggled up on the sofa, candles, wine and the Muppets Christmas Carol. Hey, it’s our tradition and one of the best bits of Christmas.

Tomorrow we pick up my Gran in Rutherglen, and drive to Dumbarton. Pressies, food and booze for the day and then off to Louise’s brothers in the evening for the chaos that will include my sister-in-law and her four kids. It’ll also include more booze.

Boxing Day we’ll be at my mate’s house to meet up with some friends, sadly one of my mates, Scunner, is working but I’m sure we’ll have a drink (or five) for him. Monday we’ll spend the day relaxing at my parents house and have a wee night in with them. Home on Tuesday as Louise is at work on Wednesday.

Whatever you are doing, wherever you are going, wherever you are, however you spend Saturday I hope you have a great day. I realise I’m quite lucky to be able to visit friends and family for Christmas, but whatever you do, try and have a good one.

As they say in various parts of the world: Nollaig chridheil huibh, Joyeux Noël, Nollaig Shona Dhuit, Vrolijk Kerstfeest, Mo’adim Lesimkha. Chena tova, Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Nadolig Llawen, and Merry Christmas!

Revelation

Let me set the scene (ohh and if you’ve not glanced over my recent post, 4×4, then go there first).

I was walking home last night, having completed the last last-minute shopping, it was cold and raining. I was cold and wet. I got to a busy road and stopped to wait for a gap in the traffic so I could cross. I waited, the wind blew, the rain fell. I cursed, the wind blew harder, the rain got heavier (that’ll teach me to blaspheme).

Finally, just as I’d uttered another curse at all those inconsiderate car drivers, one of them stopped to let me cross. The wind fell, the sun came out and a bird sang. I hurried across the road, waving thanks to the driver.

Of the 4×4.

Merry Christmas

…or Seasons Greetings or Bah Humbug!

Whilst I’m not going anywhere, I realise that a lot of people will be sans interwebnet access over the coming days so, to one and all, have a good time and remember a reindeer isn’t for life, it’s for Christmas!

KABOOM

Gordon’s brain is slightly overloaded at present, it asks that you please excuse the following.

I’m shifting through some outstanding work issues, trying to collate a short document for myself so I don’t forget to do anything when I come back in January, I’m trying to remember the name of something that I still need to buy Louise – it’s an art kit but can’t recall the right name, and I’m trying to figure out if I’ve got enough time to nip to the art shop AND go for a curry at lunchtime seeing as I’ll be heading home at 4ish tonight (but hey, I was IN the office early!).

I’m trying NOT to think about the redesign for this site, the HaloScan Wiki, my mate’s site design and, despite it being a passing comment, my brain is already leaps and bounds ahead of me and wondering about redesigning another site for someone else (don’t worry Peter, it’s just the way my brain works).

And then there is the mental Christmas checklist that is constantly running; Do we have enough booze? – last count 20 bottles of wine, one box of Miller (it doesn’t give me a hangover), one box of Guinness (it does but I love it so), 3 bottles of Southern Comfort (ditto), 1 bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream, 1 bottle of Bombay Sapphire gin, plenty of mixers… HIC – Have we bought all the presents? I’ve still to phone Gran and arrange picking her up on Xmas morning, we are seeing friends this evening to exchange pressies, tomorrow we should get away for a half day so it’ll be a pub lunch but is there anything else needing done in the afternoon? WHAT HAVE I FORGOTTEN!!!!!

Heh. Reading back that last paragraph I think it’s fairly obvious what my priority is this year. Eat, drink and be very merry!

I digress. I currently have nine posts sitting in draft state, titled: Fat, Single Malt, Put it off-itis, Evil Empire, 2004 lists, Hic, Fairies, Beep beep and Merry Christmas (ignore this one, I know when I’ll post it). I really should post some of them but which ones? Should we have a Scaryduck style vote?

This post is presented as a lesson in creating something out of nothing. Also known as The Brain Dump.

Memo?

Did I miss something? Is there a reason that there are only two people in the office, including myself?

I came in early as I need to leave early to get that last present for Louise, but even by 8.30 am there are usually at least three or four people in the office.

Did I sleep too long? Is it Saturday?!

UPDATE: 9am and now three of us.

Ohh there is one advantage to a quiet office, I can actually hear when the kettle is boiled now. Admittedly that’s because we got a new one that whistles when it’s boiled but it is SO very quiet in here. Kinda spooky. Think I’ll put some music on.

UPDATE: As you were. Office now at expected capacity. At 9.15am. Lazy buggers.