2009 Christmas


So, Tony Hart, who used to present various art programs on Children’s BBC up until early last decade, had a small recurring character called “Morph”:

Produced by Aardman animations, more famous – slightly – for Wallace and Gromit.

For chrismas, I got my very own Create Your Own Morph kit:

(Thanks, Santa)

Which is either the greatest sales thing in the world, or… something else:

It amuses me. And I’m not even sure exactly why.

2009 Christmas

Holiday seasonings to taste

So, today I’m going to talk to you about the True Meaning of Christmas, because right now it’s that or the True Meaning of Art, and there’s a seventeen floor drop outside my flat, and I’d hate to have to throw anyone or thing off of it. Not least because it’s specifically in the Tenant’s Agreement for the entire block, Part Two, Subsection Seven, Thou Shalt Not Throw Projectiles From Thy Balcony. One small paper aeroplane, no matter how tempting, will cause the entire residents association to stop squabbling about the colour of the stairway to the laundrette; the TV Aeriel in the gym and the Legend Of The Missing Sinking Fund and instead come down upon my head like a ton of – tastefully repainted – building blocks. Presumably not ones thrown from a balcony, however.

Anyway, where was I before I started talking about throwing people from tower blocks?

Ah, yes. Respect For Your Fellow Man, and other themes of Christmas.

I’m going to be Privileged here, in the internet liberal sense of the word[1], and entirely redefine a word based purely on my perception of it. I am not religious. I have had the standard British education, which is carefully non-denominational, but is Church of England non-denominational. I sat though a large number of family services while a cub scout and later a scout, and my enduring memories of church are a) standing in the cold and frosty morning waving a flag, and b) not getting the decent parts in Joseph because I didn’t go to Sunday School. I have, over the last couple of decades, carefully formulated my own personalised form of religion which has the useful properties of supporting what I believe to be the case anyway, providing me with a personal moral compass, and being entirely uninteresting to anyone else in the world. In these three things it lacks only the community aspect a more mainstream religion would give me, and this is offset by the fact that I know every follower of my set of beliefs personally.

(I especially like comparing atheism to other kinds of religion. If only I could find some way of drawing electrical power from boiling blood, I’d be set for life. This is filed alongside the idea of attaching basic dynamos to coffins, so that if we’re going to do things like, for example, allow people to publish Hitchhikers Guide fanfic we should at least reap the rewards of Mr Adams’ post-respiratory revolutions).

So, for me the concept of “Christmas” has little to do with the celebration of the Nativity, Lights, Lack of light or anything more specific than “We, and people we like and are related to, and combinations of the above, have survived into the depths of winter. Long may this continue. I’ve thought of you, and would like you to have this gift. Now, lets eat”. Everyone else in the world is free to celebrate whatever they like. Enjoy whatever you celebrate, whoever its with. Even if you’re not in the depths of winter.


2009 Christmas

So there it was

We sit, and we watch.

Today is the 25th December 2009, although it’ll be boxing day by the time this is posted. It’s five to midnight.

Today I woke up early when I got a text message saying my server (which hosts this site, for example) was down. Turns out I haven’t fixed the thing that makes the backup process explode and go crazy. I think I’ve done so now, if you can read this it’s possible.

Shortly afterwards I discovered that Christmas day is the one day a year my girlfriend becomes a morning person. There were small presents, and then there was “wait until sunrise”, and then there were more presents. We got a slow cooker, which will be handy. I got Clare a pony, a kitten and an elegant manor (Well, a hornby model bookshop. It was the closest Hamley’s sold). This is what happens when the answer to “What do you want for Christmas?” gets taken literally.

Once again, I left my Christmas shopping until the last minute, only this time the 23rd instead of Christmas Eve. I recommend it, in a way. It means that “I must find the perfect gift” gets sidelined for “I must find *a* gift”, and since in almost all circumstances the existence and applicability of the gift is more important than its worth and/or contents, this all works out fine.

After that we played co-op Borderlands for a while. Eventually we hit a point where the mission we were on was very obviously over our level and gave up in favour of bacon sandwiches and a walk down the canal that runs close to our flat. Then more games until I went to cook Christmas dinner, which was roast pork with a vast array of trimmings. This worked quite well, slightly overboard on the trimmings, and the crackling didn’t, but it was tasty.

This evening we watched “Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra“, which I highly recommend for the redoing of the William Tell overture alone. While Bailey’s classic song material does work well with an orchestra backing, I think I would have preferred more “Guide” and less older “Bill Bailey”. It’s still both funny and well worth watching.

Then I updated my weblog. It’s ten years old soon.

Christmas Haul

2007 Christmas Imported From Epistula

So here it is

Christmas Current Affairs Imported From Epistula

God hates the world

So, from the people who brought you “God hates fags” comes their Christmas Single. A rewritten version of “We are the world”

This is God hates the world, which I got – via Tamara – from Warren Ellis, who said:

The following spectacle managed to be both surreal and fleshcrawlingly creepy at the same time. I’m fairly sure all the people on screen are related to each other. If you can stomach it, the last twenty seconds are as close to pure evil as I’ve seen today.

He is correct. Even after the fountain of bile that is the main song, the last half minute is just evil.

And not in a good way.

2007 Christmas Imported From Epistula

And Now

And now it’s time for special festive edition of Spot the Ninja:

Happy Holidays!

2006 Christmas Imported From Epistula

Christmas Mashup

(More content next year, I promise)

2005 Christmas Imported From Epistula Personal


Christmas, then.

  • Socks. It is traditional that people get socks for christmas, so therefore the fact that my stocking (Which is the same Snoopy stocking I’ve had for at least two decades now) socks in it, as well as chocolate, a clementine, and the first City of Heroes book.
  • CDs (Yay Music)
  • The entire first season of the Muppet Show on DVD
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars Season 2
  • Yet more chocolate (Yay grandparents)
  • A tumble dryer for the new flat (Okay, I got this a week ago, but it was still a christmas present. It’s good. On the one hand, it’s a tumble dryer and I need a tumble dryer because I can’t live my life drying clothes on the Cat5 strung up in the bathroom, if only because I’ll end up running experiments on how I can monitor the dryness of the clothes by the ping time across the wire. On the other hand, it’s so shockingly domestic I want to go hide under the duvet until the real world goes away again)
  • A combination kettle/liquidizer. Basically, it’s a machine that heats stuff as it mixes stuff, and therefore makes capachino quite well. Also domestic, but in a fun studenty way, rather than a distressing adulty way.

    My brother is one of the limited number of people in the universe to own an XBox 360 at the moment, and the fact that he doesn’t get to play on it until he visits his girlfriend after lunch is the kind of neato-cool torture that elder brothers enjoy more if they are the one causing it.

    Got the Wireless network working, for certain values of. I’m reminded how much I hate dealing with Wireless networking in Windows (Especially when you have the Windows Wireless Wizzard fighting for control against the card’s native software), and the fighting to find an encyption system that both the Windows machines and the Macs (My Powerbook and my mum’s brand new iMac) can talk. I did find one – WPA – but then the Netgear software started crashing on startup. Bastard thing.

    So, presents, check. Movies, check. Socks, check. Tech Support, check.

    Family Christmas. Check. Now to go watch the Muppet Show.

2004 Christmas Imported From Epistula MotW


It’s half past ten. The Christmas dinner was a qualified success (A couple of things were a little overdone) and my new breadmaker is quietly cooling in the background. The Christmas pudding was set alight, and was gorgeous.

I have both port and stilton, new games to play, book to read (Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell). In a couple of days we will be invaded by parents & possibly even siblings (who I haven’t seen since May), and a couple of days after that I’ll wander up to spend New Years with friends.

I don’t post enough when stuff is good and I’m not stressing, so consider this a “Life is good” post.

And, as a Christmas gift from my MP3 collection to you lot, a piece of festive family fun.

Christmas Imported From Epistula Projects


The world has ended. I’ve stopped updating.

Okay, not exactly, but I’ve Lillypadded slightly. I’ll explain in a second, first, the life update:

I’m now on Christmas holidays. I’m on emergency call for work most of the holidays, but the number of things that would necessitate calling me up from Letchworth (…when everyone else lives in Bedford…) is tiny. I can think of two, offhand.

Of course, I haven’t done any Christmas shopping at all. I’m planing on doing it all tomorrow.


Possibly. It’ll be fun, and my feelings for humanity need a blow at this seasonal time…

Tomorrow I have to:

  • Go into town to collect pre-ordered turkey from Friendly Local Butcher
  • Collect FoodStuff from Places
  • Dump it at home
  • Go somewhere with shops (probably Cambridge)
  • Shop.
  • Shop some more.
  • Get lunch
  • Finish the shopping
  • Come home
  • Wrap up presents
  • Tidy up a bit
  • Die from tiredness.

    In that order.

    So, Lilly padding. The Lilly Pad Syndrome, as it was called when I used it to explain what the Prince was doing with his life during the time when it happened (Ye gods, that’s a convoluted sentence. I don’t use aliases much in this journal, really, but the Prince got one early on.) It basically is the tendency of people (me included) to keep an eye on where they want to jump to, at the extreme negligence of the lillypad they’re currently standing on. This means, to overextend the metaphor slightly, they get wet when it sinks.

    In this case, I have a New Thing, which will take a little while to set up (and I’m not sure will be worth the effort). It’s part of my campaign to get back to writing content. Watch this space. Unfortunately it means that instead of thinking of what I’m going to do for this, now, I’m busy working on Pareidol and how it’ll work instead.