Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Dedicated to Aunt Brenda

On the 5th my aunt Brenda passed away after a long period of illness and today was the funeral. We had travelled over the previous night to avoid the potentially nightmarish Reading-to-Kent-via-the-M25 breakfasttime traffic - being late to a Brown event was par for the course for us so this time would be different. Unfortunately we hadn't made allowances for Samantha's organisational skills (no medicine packed) and we spent the time between breakfast and the service waiting in a doctor's surgery to be seen.

The funeral ceremony was a tad too traditional and impersonal - nearly all the priest's oratory was around the transition from life to death with hardly any about the person we loved and had come to remember.

Afterwards we moved to my cousin's house for the wake and a chance to meet up with people we hadn't see since last year's garden party. It's tricky to get the conversation right - you're there because someone has died but you are enjoying seeing everybody again.

One lasting memory from Brenda is that she introduced me to the idea of the bathroom library - every loo should have a bookshelf of comedy books to help people pass the time away:

Monday, February 18, 2008


You're based where?

One advantage of working in a team where people travel around is that a lot of sweets and snacks come back from wherever they've been. Like the 440g box of "hazelnut centerfilled candy" from the middle east that I have recently finished off (well, no-one else seemed interested in them; pistachio turkish delight next...).

What I found amusing was the address of the manufacturer (Anata) - 6th kilometer of Tehran Road, Tabriz, Iran. Made me imagine delivery trucks carefully starting from the city centre and counting the kilometres as they ticked past on the odometer to work out where they were picking up from.

Sadly I couldn't find a hi-res satellite photo of the place on Google Earth - this area obviously isn't one the Americans plan to bomb.

Friday, February 15, 2008



Just got back from the cinema watching "Cloverfield". I'd seen the trailer while looking for a film worth going to see and thought the film showed a lot of promise as long as it wasn't too "twentysomething".

"Cloverfield" is short (84 minutes) and apparantly cost US$25M (comparable to "Atonement" at US$30M and way short of the US$200M for "I Am Legend") which I expect was soaked up by the impressive CGI. It has a good block of character-building at the start, some impressive large-scale action and several quick scary scenes where you're not sure what's going to happen.

I do like my SF films to be believable - if I can get through without too many "you wouldn't be able to do that" or "who are they trying to kid?" then it's a success. Just like in life, it's the mistakes that stick in your memory, so the fewer the better means enjoyment all round. Fortunately there are not too many - maybe 900 kg bombs aren't as destructive as a I thought.

And should you ever feel the need to try and rescue your loved one from a disaster area, don't. You'll only make your friends feel obliged to help you which means they'll end up dead too. Remember, you can always find a replacement loved one.


Sunday, February 03, 2008


Last Christmas I gave you my heart...

A bit late but I thought I would document my attempt to fill all the pockets in Sue's Advent Calendar last Christmas.

Here we have a home-made "key to your heart", a banana truffle, a dead bug key-ring, some really sharp tweezers, mints from "But Is It Art?", eyeliner and a customised d6:

During December you would have also seen an Archers miniature, a little toy I've forgotten the name of, some bubbles to blow, cleaning balls from Heelas, a Slinky, eye shadow, a highlighter and some funky earrings:

Followed by a duck that likes peering down from shelves, a key cover and a necklace:

And a mini paper note holder thingy:

That's 19 items (of which Sue helpfully supplied 4) - there may have been more but I'm pretty sure I didn't manage to reach the magic 24. Finding tiny presents is HARD, especially when you try not to repeat the items from previous years. Maybe I should have made more by hand. Here's one from the first year I took up the Advent Challenge:

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