Saturday, December 31, 2011

Well well, Christmas In Review (sort of)...

Yeah I noticed that my Christmas entries were a bit sparse, and didn't really emphasise how nice it was to be able to get together and spend time with everyone, in a spirit of cheerfulness and Christmassy whatnot.

I'd have to say that the highlight of my year, this year, was our trip to London, where we spent ages and ages wandering around an awesome christmas market, seeing the talking moose (which my brother and wife (his not mine)) did actually see (!) and browsing wonderful Christmassy stalls.

We'd not been back 8 hours before we were up again, on our way to Gainsborough as always, and that was nice too.
At our traditional Christmas Eve food shopping, I had to go back to the car to fetch the forgotten shopping list, and took my ickle nephew with me. As a result, we more or less ended up split into two parties each doing our own seperate shopping, but we got back together in time to pay.

Christmas day itself was great fun, and though I didn't get a single thing on my Christmas list (I did write one, and indeed left it on the fridge for 6 weeks beforehand), I was only mildly annoyed, becuase I got lots of other cool stuff.

More importantly, everyone seemed to like the presents that I got them, which always brings a smile to my face :-).

Christmas dinner was great, tasty, yummy, and though I took ages, I actually ate every single thing.

Boxing day was another fun occasion, with almost everyone coming round to share in our awesome little banquetty buffet thingie which we have, and again it was nice to get together as a family.

I can't remember too much of the two or three days after that. A few days ago I made some nachos with the awesome nacho dish thing that my brother and wife (his not mine) got me. With it, I bought some beer. After the beer ran out, I started on the Mead.

Awesome nachos, nice cold beer, tasty mead, awesome Skyrim (there is no other kind), and awesome music (that fits quite well with Skyrim, and has almost become its surrogate soundtrack), well that sounds like my idea of a good night in. Which is awesome really because it's exactly the night in that I had.

I'll do it again soon. This time round I'll be able to get into the spirit of things a little more authentically hehe (Image is not my property but I'm stealing it anyway because it hasn't arrived yet).
All I need now is a few steel ingots placed around my room, some wolf pelts on my bed, and I'll be all set.

So yeah, that's about it. I've got to reinstall everything on my PC because my awesome shiny solid state drive, having spent too much time hanging around on street corners with dysfunctional Xboxes, is now in the habit of giving me the shiny orange finger, a surefire signal that something is not quite right.
At least I managed to pull my Skyrim saves onto another drive before the SSD went skyward. I would have been annoyed had I had to restart.

That said, I will probably have to restart again anyway. It's a continuing source of consternation/mirth, depending on how seriously you take your gaming, the first thing each patch for Skyrim does, is to fix the damage the last one caused.
Seriously, one game patch made the dragons fly backwards. No, the video is not playing in reverse, the waterfalls are flowing the right way. See?
I can't watch that video without giggling. In the game, dragons are bad news, no matter how long you've been playing, but they look slightly silly wobbling around in a rearward fashion.

This bug is even more awesome.

But hey, tomorrow, today in fact, is going to be fun. 5 hours of absolute crazyness, wobbling around on my pizza scoot, swerving to avoid drunken idiots in the street, getting silly string squirted at me, etc etc etc. Fortunately, I'm back in time to celebrate the new year with my family.
Can't do much drinking though, I'm back out tomorrow night. Then I've got my semester 3 exam on wednesday. It's all happening! Yikes!

But, once it's done, I shall get some more yummy mead, make more awesome nachos, buy extra awesome beer, and have another big lad's (singular) night in. Woo!

Oh well, I'm off to relax and suchlike. I've been studying most of the night :-\.
Have fun!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day - Yay!

Well, Up nice and early - ish (8am) - , after not being able to sleep particularly well, and now I'm tired, cold, and looking forward to a nice cup of tea and some fun laying all the presents out :-). Let's get it done hehe.

I think that may be the name of a voyager episode...

Yep, all the presents are unwrapped, I got some shiny cool stuff, plenty of cool new clothes, not a bad day so far really. I've got a couple of things that I'm now going to be able to pick up for myself in the january sales, not the least of which are the skyrim soundtrack, the skyrim game guide, and an awesome drinking horn.

Everyone seemed to like the presents I gave them, and so far, the day has passed off without any arguing or shouting. Cool stuff :-).

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve

Prologue-y Bit: 23:47, on the 23rd...

Well, I'm sat here with my lovely cold 660ml bottle of Stella and my two lovely (too hot) pepper steak slices. The camera battery is on charge, and early tomorrow morning we're off to the supermarket-that-looks-like-a-castle, for our traditional and lovely Christmas Eve shop :-).

I must remember to get some more Mead :-).

So yeah, I've finished for work for this year (apart from 5 hours on new year's eve) so now there's just college, and christmas to concentrate on. Yay!

More to follow. I'm going to finish my supper and have a nap before I do anything else :-).

06:20, Christmas Eve:

Yikes it's cold. Not cold enough to snow obviously, because that sort of thing only happens to people who don't want snow.
But hey, I'm up now, a little bleary eyed, sure, but it'll be nice to go Xmas food shopping again :-).

09:06: Shopping Done...

Well, we've just this minute returned from the supermarket-that-looks-like-a-castle, and we've not had a bad time. I found my yummy mead and bought two bottles, plus some japanese lager and some Hoegaarden which is very nice at Christmas time. I bought another Chocolate Orange because it is the law that you have to have these at Christmas, and I got the ickle guy some Buenos, one of which he kindly gave to the cashier at the checkout :-).

Now I suspect I have tidying up and things to do. Yay, Christmas!

12:06: More Stuff...

Oooh, exactly three hours since last I wrote. Spooky. Well, the christmas cards are delivered, the new neighbours are identified, the rooms have been cleaned, my mead has been photographed, and now I'm in the process of tidying my room so I can have a bit of a nap later on :-).
I might bring forward that nap actually, I'm super sleepy.

16:39: Nap! And Santa!

Well, I eventually had a small nap, despite the best efforts of the dog which would not shut up. I've just been woken up by my cute ickle nephew, and we're going to see santa in 10 minutes, on his van :-).
Aaaand, we're back. I have a very poor quality picture of Santa and his (this year) Land Rover driven sleigh :-). I think the Elves get together each december and buy him a new car as a christmas present.
Yikes, it's become very windy, and pretty cold too. But hey, it's shaping up quite well so far :-).
PS: Wow, my mum's quiches are amazing, as always!

Well Then (23:22)...

Well, nearly time for bed. I've brought all my pressies down to be collected by father christmas so that they can be delivered in the morning (;)), and I'm sitting about with some lovely mead, waiting for the opportunity to finish clearing stuff out of the dining room, so that my services are no longer required and I can retire to bed :-).

Or retire to my lovely mead and ale, it seems. Buying mead is always a gamble because everyone has a different idea of what it should taste like. You never really know what you're going to get.

Fortunately, this Harvest Gold stuff is quite nice, if a little bitter in the aftertaste, and at 13%ABV I picture many happy nights full of Mead ahead.

Today went pretty well, if a little tiringly (no sleep). I went downstairs this morning to find everyone else already up. Helpfully putting the shiny new star on top of the tree, we wandered down to the car and off we went.

Seems that lots of people had the same idea as the place was fairly crowded. We wandered round for a while, finding cool stuff like super noodles, mini mars bars, the lovely aforementioned mead, and some japanese lager.

the lil dude found a pick and mix area, where I managed to catch him on video as he took a cup, compared its size to the cup next to it, then put it back and took the bigger one.. Made me giggle.

We disappeared off to the cafe afterwards, where I had a sausage roll and some juice. After that, off home for some cleaning up, preparing the house, and - for me - delivering the cards.

I had a little nap, and was woken up later on by my nephew, who we took to see Father Christmas. I swear the queue to see him gets bigger.

Ever since, I've been playing Skyrim, as always, drinking yummy mead, listening to cool tunes, eating quiches, and bringing my presents down so they're easier to hand out tomorrow.

So there we go.
I've now no doubt got other stuff to do, but shortly I'm gonna have a nice shower, drink my special Christmas beer (hoegaarden), have some more yummy mead, and go to a warm cozy mead-induced sleep. Some things never go out of fashion it seems...


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sign goes up, snow stays up...

Well, a few days ago, the awesome little sign on the corner went up, proudly proclaiming that Father Christmas would be around on his Nissan Navara driven sleigh. Not only that, but Santa has sent a personal message, just like last year, to my amazed lil nephew.
Also, just like last year, my sister's fiancee (Brother in law?) took me to the local shopping mall for some last-minute emergency shopping.

Yep, thanks to various things such as college and work, and hangovers maybe, I've done precious little Christmas shopping. Not to worry however, as we generally do last minute Christmas shopping, and I had quite a few ideas for things to buy people.

A couple of these ideas were (displayed here because I didn't buy them due to them not being available/due to me being told that the intended recipient wanted something else more);

1. A rather lovely aromatic diffuser, that was nice and shiny, that made everything nearby smell nice, and that looked pretty cool. I didn't get this because I was told "Don't get that, this [other item] is what XYZ really wants".
2. An awesome Thrustmaster Ferrari GT Wheel and Pedals... I have been using one of these for a while, and my dad showed a strong interest in having a bit of a play with it. I had been hoping to get him one of his own, but the local game stores don't seem to sell them anymore.

Not to worry, I bought plenty of cool stuff, I avoided slipping into the "buy them anything, it doesn't matter" trap, and after spending ages searching for various stuff, came away from it all with a load of presents that I'm pretty confident their recipients will like.
Good stuff. We spent 7 hours out and about looking for lovely pressies for folks.

Along the way, we had a lovely meal in TGIs, relaxed, and took the little guy to see some jellyfish in a [jelly]fish aquarium in one of the local restaurants. I bought some silly putty, which is incredibly clever stuff, which is why it's taken me the best part of 40 minutes to write this stuff, and yeah, it was a nice, if hectic, day out.

On the way back, I got robbed inside the local convenience store, and by that I mean that I was charged £9.50 for three razor blades. Absolutely insane.
Still, since I've been using blunt blades since september 2010, it'll be nice to be clean-shaven again.

So yeah. The snow still hasn't arrived, but things are going more or less to plan, and I'm beginning to feel pretty Christmassy. I've got the college christmas do tomorrow, which should be fun. If not I'll just leave early and go to the off licence, hehe.

Some pickatures. Just one in fact, as the others aren't great.
It is a picture of my ridiculously large burger I got from TGI Friday's.

Have fun. Christmas Eve, soon :-).

Monday, December 12, 2011

White Christmas? Where??

Okay this is getting silly now. It's less than 2 weeks to go until Christmas and while everyone farther north has been thoughtfully and kindly pretending that they hate their large amounts of snow, we, here, are again snowless. I seem to remember this being a recurring thing, except we're about a month behind schedule in the weather scheme of things.

That's not to say that the weather hasn't caused any problems however, as on the friday just gone, it was so cold that the roads started to ice over at 6pm. This being a day that I was out riding a small scooter here there and everywhere, meant that I spent as much time riding with my feet just above the floor as I did with them on the running board or whatever it's called. "Crappy bit in leiu of footpegs", maybe. This was to stabilise the scooter just in case the wheels decided they wanted to go in different directions, as they did when I was zooming down a hill. Quite an, erm, interesting experience I suppose.

It did actually start snowing at one point, but only extremely briefly. Blink - for ten or twenty seconds - and you'd have missed it. So yeah, we're due some more "severe weather", but I doubt that any of that will include snow. Ho Hum.

However, we have been taking part in our regular festivities, which this year included our lovely trip to Kelham Island Victorian Christmas Market Thingie. We had plenty of fun, wandering round, buying miniature presents and whatnot, and the weather was amost not rainy at all.
The place was fairly packed, but we managed to see what we wanted to see. We saw people in period costumes, soldiers, chimneycleaners, maids, lovable street starfishes and thieves. People sold all sorts of cleverly homemade stuff from various stalls. Such stalls sold things ranging from exotic looking rugs, clothing made from recycled denim, home-made cupcakes (a family favourite it seems!) and jewellry

This being the UK, I had a traditional English Christmas snack, a burrito.
There's a joke in there somewhere, but no, it was a pretty nice burrito. Vegetarian chilli though, so it was a little lacking in, I don't know, presence. Still, I casually drizzled it with "medium" salsa (which, while fanning my mouth and trying to find the soured cream, I later described as "nothing medium about it"), and it came with free tortilla chips, so I didn't mind.

Even as we stood outside eating, the Don Engine powered its way through its 5 minute demonstration, the exhaust steam billowing out through the pipe in the roof nearby where, upon meeting the cold winter air, it immediately condensed into water which rained on us quite merrily.

A decent time was had by all, I believe, and after a brief visit to the fairground rides (which included a travelling exhibition making some of the most insanely outlandish claims I've ever heard (Siamese twin monkeys from the amazon! See the puma with 2 bodies, 8 legs, 1 head! Where they got this stuff from I have no idea), we made our soggy way home.

Last night was fun. I went with my lovely mum to a christmas concert, which we seem to enjoy going to each year, and again, it was a really nice occasion.

So yeah, things seem to be proceeding okay, apart from the annoyingly un-christmassy weather. The christmas party at college is tiptoeing closer, and at home, our christmas decorations are down, waiting to be put up (mine already are up). So there :-).

Have fun folks :-).

EPILOGUE: 14th December!

SNOW! Snowww! Snoeeee! Et al! Yes, as if in apology for its late arrival, the snow seems to have been coming down fairly heavily for the past hour or so. Woo, snow!

It's actually settling pretty well. Already, some idiot car driver has left tracks in it.

And so, is this year's snow song. Dunno why, it seems epic enough to remind me of epic snow.

Sums up the mood awesomely. After a disappointing winter with no snow, all of a sudden it comes dramatically out of nowhere, with colours flying.
It'd bring a tear to the eye, of a scriptwriter could take the time to write it into a movie :-)