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