Sunday, November 30, 2008

The start of the christmas season!

Okay, we're getting closer to Christmas now, the temperature is regularly dipping below freezing, and frost and ice are beginning to appear again as they do every year. A few places have got trees, lights and other decorations up already, and everyone is beginning to feel christmassy.

Today, my mum and I indulged in a little christmas tradition, and went to Gainsborough Old Hall, as we do each year. It's nothing hugely special, lots of stalls selling hand made items, jewellry, cushions etc etc, sounds a bit boring when I describe it I suppose, but it's pretty nice. There's christmas music and christmas trees, people in period costumes selling their wares, and in the great kitchen, is a lovely warm fire, where you can sit, listen to the music and eat your mince pie and fruit punch. It's very christmassy and a nice start to the Christmas season, which is I suppose, why we go.

So I looked out of my window first thing this morning to see... well, not much actually. A Blanket of thick, thick fog covered everything, and where it was too low for the fog to reach, ice and frost covered the remainder. Still, after bundling myself into the car (and waiting 15 minutes for my mum to find an appropriate pair of shoes), off we went. A nice uneventful journey later and we were there.

As we made our way to the entrance though, something large and feathered flew from one side of the courtyard to the other, behind some shrubs. Out came my camera and I scooted off carefully to see what it was. I got round the corner and saw a couple of birds, one much larger than the other. Once I was spotted, they both flew away.
After a fashion; See, the smaller bird wasn't so much flying under its own power as hanging limply from the beak of the much larger bird. The larger bird flew back to the first side of the courtyard, and as I approached again, dumped the second bird in a pile of feathers, and flew up to the roof, leaving behind his meal.
And some meal it was too. A huge, massive, fat, adult pigeon.
Or most of one, at least.

The larger bird (I can't tell whether it was a Merlin or a Sparrowhawk - or something else entirely) stared at me resentfully from the roof, as we made our way into the entrance.

The pigeon did not stare at me resentfully, or at the entrance, or even at its killer.
I couldn't say what it was staring at. Not without knowing where the sparrowhawk left its head.

So we went round the building, looked at all the craft stuff, and it was good to see the same familiar faces. We managed to go and get a mince pie and some punch each, and even managed to get a place in front of the fire, during which time we were subjected to extremely bad christmas music, played on a banjo and violin - I suspect he may have been deliberately playing badly to raise a few laughs, but I wouldn't bet money on it.

After this, we went into Gainsborough town itself, stopping for a very nice portion of chips and sausage, as we always do, and then continued wandering round the town, popping into the soon to be defunct Woolworths, where we managed to find another Christmas present for me to give someone. Poor as I may be, I can't see people go without! I also noticed that Woolworths sell VERY LARGE Toblerones, one of which I have asked for for christmas!

Once we'd been round the town, back we came, stopping in at the new retail development (where we found a jeweller's shop with a sign written in a very unfortunate typefac), as well as a local garden center on the way back, taking the opportunity to look through the christmas decorations while we were there. And then home.

So it's been a pretty nice day, I shot loads of video (because I like doing things like that) and got a few nice photos.

Yesterday I figured I'd try out the doughnut maker my sister gave to us, to see if it was any good.
Was it? Well, hmmm, in a pinch, the doughnuts are pretty edible, especially if you glaze them (I didn't). On the other hand, given the choice, I'd rather go to GT News in Sheffield and get a couple of fresh hot doughnuts. I cooked 28, of which about 20 went in the bin. Shame, but they weren't particularly fantastic, and had gone cold by the time my mum got back anyway.

Work on my dad's Christmas present continues, and I've visited pizza hut yet AGAIN to find out why the hell the manager didn't call me on wednesday. He swears (again) that he will call me on monday.

And finally, bits of my laptop are going up for sale tomorrow. Having stripped it down to the last screw, there's not a lot that will earn me much money. But hopefully it might just stop me from becoming destitute.

But hey, let's see what happens on monday! Here are some more sparkly photos for you :). I didn't take the cymbal ones today, obviously.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Help! Christmas Crisis...

Okay, I'm not a happy bunny. Having attended one interview, a two hour "experience session" or whatever the hell they call it, and having made numerous phone calls to my would-be boss, I'm still no closer to finding out whether I actually have a job for Christmas, or not. I'm feeling more than a little fecked around with at this point.

Other than that, there's only so much an unemployed guy who doesn't go out can report. I dug the lego out of the loft, and after six hours of bloody tedious and hard work, I managed to put together something a little special for my nephew :). A little neptune underwater base or whatever he decides to call it.

We also managed to get something together for my sister's Bday, a night out round the local clubs, which went extremely well. Much beer was drunk, lots of dancing was done, lots of music was listened to (too bloody much, we went on saturday night and I've still got slight earache and ringing in my ears on a wednesday!) We got back at about 4:30am at which time it had started snowing, and about 5am, I decided to run home from my sister's house.

It was nice to run back, it was extremely quiet, I think I only saw three cars on the way back, everyone else must have been in bed, and still the snow came down.

Well, let's hope that we can sort something out for Christmas, right now I'm not sure what the hell I'm supposed to do. My nephew wants that airplane.

Still, here's hoping, eh?

Here's his little underwater base :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy Birthday To Fliss...

And I thought I had it bad...

Yesterday (as of about 30 minutes ago) was my sister's birthday. The big two-one. yeah, without me even realising it, my innocent little sister with her b*witched albums and her sponsored dances and her crash bandicoot games and her secret diaries and suchlike, has without me even realising it, made the jump to full fledged adulthood, and as of yesterday, is a genuine real Twenty-One years old.

Christ, that's a scary thought. Obviously I'm generalising, but it feels like the last major thing I remember with my Sis is me trying to play some rally game (i still have it, I'm too lazy to find the disc) while she and her friend practiced for the fundraising dance in ASDA.
Next thing I know, she's going to University, not only that, but she's not even new there, she's carving her way through a university course, and her 21st has crept up on every single damn person in the world, especially me.

Which royally sucks. It seems no one has got her a god-damn thing. I haven't, to my parents it was just another day, my brother might have, I don't know. I've tried to mitigate it by promising something nice for christmas, but I can't even guarantee that.

I've got sick of unemployment, I applied for that scootay job. I got called in for an interview with a dude called Simon - and I think it went pretty well - he's a biker, so am I, he's ex RAF, I'm ex TA, he's a photographer, so am I, okay so I'm not looking to move in with him but there's nothing wrong with sharing your future boss's interests.

Anyway I got called back for an "observation" thingie - I go and look at life in the restaurant and see if it's for me. At the end, I get asked if I like it, I lie, and I get the job.

No, the place hasn't changed since I used to be there, and it used to be a second home last time, I used to be one of the regular staff, and I have a long if somewhat chequered history with that place. It's good to be back doing something that I remember doing :).

So now I'm waiting to find out if I have got myself a temporary christmas job.

So wht else have I been doing? Well, I've been continuing work on my dad's xmas pressie, (it's a lot of bloody work!!) and I've been trying to review bad technology. Yes folks, I've been trying to review the mustek DV4000 mini camcorder, but ultimately failed due to my review being 13 minutes, where youtube only allows 10 minutes.

Still. My nephew managed to go to Disney on Ice last night, and I spose for an ickle four year old, it must have been an awesome experience. I knew nothing about it until about 2 hours before my family were due to set off, but I managed to demand that my mum buy him a slush puppy should the opportunity arise, and sure enough he got one.

He came back last night, with a huge grin, a slush puppy cup in the shape of Nemo, he loved it, I've never seen him so happy.

It was brilliant. I just hope I can make the little guy's christmas. He's told me what he wants enough times, I just hope I can get it for him :).

and since I'm missing the obligatory music video links I'll stick them here.

Here: Nightwish's new vocalist spreads her wings.

And of course, you have to read the misheard lyrics :)

But apart from this nightwish happiness, it seems CoF have released another album without me noticing (rectified now), and it seems to me that at this late hour, their angry screamings are in fact much more mature than their previous offerings, with a lot more emotional depth.

Yes, angry Suffolk based satanic [or not] screamers, Cradle of Filth have released a new album, "Godspeed on the Devil's Thunder" (The life and crimes of Gilles de Rais), a thematic studio album based on the life, (more the crimes actually) of Gilles de Rais, a gentleman who was once a proud French soldier, before succumbing to the dark side of the force (er, more accurately, sodomy, torture, serial killing and satanism).

Now normally neue Arbeit would kill off any mention of serial killing, on the grounds that it's not in keeping with the family model. Torture would be regarded as an infringement of the human rights (or inhuman, as the case increasingly seems to be, these days) of the subject, serial killing would be a stain on the mark of the local police (funny that this album should come from an Ipswich band, I notice with some wry amusement)... As for Satanism? Well we can't have that can we? That's just un-islamic!!!

Anyway I found myself surprised by the difference between the previous batch of angry satanic god hating musical rants, and this latest batch of angry satanic god hating musical rants.

Now before all you so-called hardcore satanists get your fishnets in a twist, I love this album. I've loved previous CoF albums, Thornography perhaps more than Nymphetamine, but this one seems to have all the emotional depth and maturity of nymphetamine with all the energy and general screaminess of Thornography.

Doug Bradley, of Hellraiser fame also makes his presence felt in this album, having also done the narration for Thornography, Midian and Nymphetamine. Also joining the CoF ensemble is the new face, Martin Å karoupka, who, happily, is as talented as the previous guy, Adrian Erlanddson.

Still, give the album a try, you can get one of the tunes here :).

I'm very very tired now, night!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bonfire Night

Hey! What an imaginitive name!

Well, I've just sat down with something to eat and drink, and I'm achey and generally tired. Why? Because yesterday I beat my distance/time endurance record by running 4.56 miles in 50 minutes (I'm going for endurance not speed, so anyone who wants to point out what my average speed is can feck off). I'm also tired because I've come back from 4 hours wandering around a field with my family, watching After Dark 2008, and balancing my nephew on my shoulders for the better part of 35 minutes.

The fireworks display was spectacular, the bonfire was huge, the entertainment was provided by a band called "Craine", who sounded decent, despite being relatively unknown (you heard it here first, folks), the event was well attended, the weather was okay, and the company was ok.

I managed to get the entire thing on video, from start to finish, despite my camera playing silly buggers and the battery level indicator going from "NO BATTERY" to two (out of three) bars repeatedly.

My nephew won a prize on the hook-a-duck thingie, and I successfully resisted te urge to start hitting people after getting tired of people behaving like I had a white striped painted line down my back. My parents also avoided anything like a major argument, which was a pleasant surprise.

So what else have I been up to? Applying for jobs mostly. I'm expecting a call to arrange an interview (going to be a scoot-ay rider for pizza hut just to get some christmas cash together), and my fitness continues to improve.

Other than that, I've been continuing work on getting ready for christmas, and went on another photo trip to Manchester Airport the other day. One photographer made a point of waving at every plane taxiing to the runway, as a result, I have a relatively high number of photos with the co-pilot waving back, including one with the co-pilot with a cheery grin giving us all a thumbs-up. But hey, it's Christmas soon, and I'll hopefully have something sorted well in advance :).

Have fun people :).