Saturday 31 December 2011

Goodbye 2011... And Good Riddance!

Dear 2011,

You tried your hardest to make 2011 the worst year ever for my family didn't you?

You made my brother unemployed and then had his fiancee ditch him (although going by her behaviour afterwards I think he's better off without her so I'll let you off with that one).

You took my Grandad, two of my Great Aunts and tried your hardest to finish off one of my Great Uncles.

Every week you have thrown endless crap our way from the minor (items lost in the post) to the major (cancer), constantly trying to make us crack.

But we are made of sterner stuff than you thought aren't we? We didn't fall apart like you wanted us to?
We picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves down.

Goodbye 2011, don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Now then 2012, give us your best shot!

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Random Thought #34 - Don't Call It That!

So I'm surfing the net (very retro I know) and I come across a book. A book I've never heard of by an author I'm not aware of.

I'm intrigued by it. The blurb sounds interesting. The cover looks great (Try and tell me that you've never judged a book by it's cover).

I start to look up reviews of it, just to see if the blurb is all it's cracked up to be. And then it happens. Something that ruins the whole thing for me.

Someone describes it as "young adult".

I don't know what it is but that phrase "young adult" immediately puts me off a book. I'm sure some of these books that I end up not reading would be very good. I'm sure that some of the books I own are YA; they just weren't advertised that way. The YA label makes me think... I don't know what it makes me think.

It just puts me off reading the book that's all.

Weird, huh?

Monday 26 December 2011

Random Quote #63

*In a letter written to the London Daily Chronicle*

There is a busybody on your staff who spends far too much of his time searching for split infinitives. Every good literary craftsman uses a split infinitive if he thinks the sense demands it. I call for this man's instant dismissal; it matters not whether he decides to quickly go or to go quickly or quickly to go. Go he must, and at once.

George Bernard Shaw

Monday 19 December 2011

Random Quote #62

Butterflies are not insects, they are self-propelled flowers.

Robert A. Heinlein

Friday 16 December 2011

Have I Read this Somewhere Before?

The day of the do-over is here! Hosted by Nicole and her blog One Significant Moment At A Time all you have to do is:

"...on December 16th all of those taking part will re-post their favorite blog offering, or one that never received the exposure it should have..."

It took me a while to trawl through my blog posts from the nearly two years to find one that I thought should have a second airing. I thought about presenting you with the first part of A Tale Of Five Fish but that is the first of a five part series so I decided to go for a stand alone post.

So I settled on this post from 4th December 2010 (you can see it in it's original glory state here).

I give you Snowpocalypse!

I got up on the 1st December 2010 to discover everywhere had turned in to a winter wonderland. Well more winter than wonder really.

I quickly found out that I would have to walk to work as all the buses in the area had been suspended. So on the 1st of December I set off just before eight in the morning and walked to work. The snow was so deep in places it almost came to the top of my wellies. And I measured them and my boots are 14 inches high.

It took me 45 minutes to walk to work in which time my feet had gone numb. Which was good in a way as it meant I couldn't really feel the two large blisters on my heels developing. However once I arrived at work and I began to heat up I soon knew that they were there.
And then I had to limp all the way home again a few hours later. My place of work closed at midday as there were few of us who had actually managed to get to work.

I awoke on 2nd December to find out that once again I would have to walk to work again. But my wellies didn't come with me this time. Oh no, not again. So this time I wore my shorter but more comfortable walking boots to work.
The previous night a snow plough had gone down our road and so there was now a thin strip of road that was more or less free of snow. As the pavement was still a foot deep with snow I decided to walk down the middle of the road.
And so there I was before eight in the morning. Walking down the middle of the road, with not a single person in sight. I felt like I was in a disaster movie of some sort. It was ten minutes later when I hit the main road before I saw another person.
And then as I got closer to the town centre the more 'survivors' appeared as we all seemed to drift towards where the last of the population was gathering.

Now I have told you about my encounter with near apocalypse I have two things I wish to mention.

1) Compeed blister plasters are fantastic - the regular plasters I was using did nothing to help, I might as well not have bothered. But the Compeed ones are great - they do exactly as they say on the tin...and I haven't been paid or given anything to say that it is just my opinion.

2) Now this is just a minor rant at how stupid some people can be. The snow may have been dispersed a little so it isn't quite as deep on the pavement however it is still almost impossible to walk on the pavement so you have to risk your life walking down the road now that there is more traffic about again.
Some of my neighbours have decided to clear their driveways to get their cars out. What is wrong with that I hear you say?
Well they have cleared the snow by shovelling the snow to the sides. So you walk along the pavement and then suddenly you are faced with a wall of snow that is almost two feet high!
So you manage to navigate your way around that one...and then you come across another one, and another.
Some people have no common sense whatsoever. Just as long as they are OK everyone else can go to hell. Now I saw some people who cleared their drives who were putting the snow behind the driveway gates - that is a good idea as you have cleared the drive but not built an obstacle course in the process.

End of rant!

Hope you enjoyed reading about my past adventures in the blogosphere - and for those who've read this before how was it second time round?

Thursday 15 December 2011

Things I Hate About Christmas

 Today is the day of The Bah Humbug Blahgfest over at Grumpy Bulldog's blog. You just have to answer one question:

What are the 12 things I hate most about the holiday season?

Now there are things that I do actually like about Christmas - watching someones reaction when they open a present, fairy lights to name a couple. But there are some things that drive me up the wall.

So in no particular order here is my list:

  • The population seems to triple overnight. There are people everywhere. Where are these people for the rest of the year? Do they not shop or go out any other time than December? And they have no sense. They will suddenly stop dead in your path. They will stop to talk to people they happen to meet seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are blocking the way for other people.
  • I like Christmas decorations and I understand why local councils put their external decorations up in the town centre in November. But that does not explain why people have to decorate their homes in November. You can go crazy with your Christmas decorations once December rolls around but not before. 
  • Because of the aforementioned population increase around this time of year all public transport seems to either run ridiculously late or just grind to a halt because of the weather. It was because of having to wait forty minutes for a bus that was supposed to run every ten minutes, and then being crammed on like sardines last year that I now walk home from work. 
  •  In the UK snow is not always guaranteed at this time of year. We moan if we don't get snow. But if we do get snow the country grinds to a halt. There are other countries that have snow constantly and they manage to carry on as usual but two flakes in the UK and we can't cope. (I do like snow though just not how we cope with it)
  •  When you can actually fight your way in to a shop through the crowds the shelves are fairly empty. Not quite January-sales-been-hit-by-a-plague-of-locusts empty but still fairly empty. It's ridiculous really - any other time of year the latest DVD release or game or whatever would sell but not like at Christmas when it seems to become life or death.
  • Now this might be just my family but when we all gather together there seems to be a certain tension threatening to break through. It isn't helped by what we refer to as The Christmas Day Massacre when my mum and my Uncle clashed and we spent the most painfully tense thirty minutes I have ever experienced before we made our excuses and went home.
  • If you decide against fighting your way in to shops and go for the 'easy' option of online shopping you then have to shop weeks in advance or risk your shopping getting delayed or lost in the post. (OK so I haven't had the best luck with the postal service throughout this year but it always seems to be worse at Christmas)
  • It doesn't seem to matter how much rubbish you eat or awful it makes you feel you still eat more. There must be a switch in our heads that is flicked at this time of year that makes us unable to stop eating. "I couldn't eat another thing. I feel sick." "Do you want a mince pie?" "OK then." *ten minutes later* "OK now I am going to be sick." We'll never learn...
  • Every surface in your house is covered in Christmas cards. You go to get something off the mantel piece and knock half a dozen cards off (although the same can be said of birthday cards).
  • Carol singers - now I'm not talking about the sort of carol singers who can actually sing, who like to sing. The ones that stand in public places, in groups, collecting money for good causes. No not those ones. I'm talking about the ones who bother you at your home, who can't sing to save their lives, and are only doing it in the hope that you'll give them some money to go away.
  • Secret Santa - I can't stand it. Christmas is stressful enough trying to think up gifts for your friends and family without some bright spark at work thinking it will be 'fun' to do Secret Santa. Trying to wrack your brains to think of something to buy for someone you don't know all that well. And it's only when you take part in something like this that you realise how little you know about some people.
  • And last but far from least we come to The Pogues and the Christmas song Fairytale of New York. AARGH!!! I know I'm going to get people disagreeing with me on here, saying that it's the greatest thing since sliced bread but I can't stand the song. And to be honest I probably wouldn't care about it if it didn't get voted the greatest Christmas song ever every single year. Yes the reason I hate this song is because of all of you out there who insist on it being brilliant. You've given it too much exposure. Personally I find it depressing. Some people say it shows that there are two sides to Christmas. That it isn't always a happy occasion. That is true but does it mean we all have to be miserable? (I do realise that it is a bit ironic me saying that when this is an anti Christmas blogfest). I'm sure New York is a great place but you wouldn't have thought so hearing this song.
Right now I've got all that off my chest (can you tell which thing about Christmas I hate the most?) I will go and listen to my favourite Christmas song (Merry Christmas Everyone by Shakin Stevens) and continue counting down to Christmas with my advent calendar (yes I am 26 and still get an advent calendar)

Monday 12 December 2011

Random Quote #61

*Wednesday and Pugsley are running a lemonade stand*

Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?

Wednesday: Yes

Girl Scout: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown, with no preservatives. Are you sure they're real lemons?

Pugsley: Yes

Girl Scout: Well, I'll tell you what. I'll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?

Wednesday: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

The Addams Family (1991)

Monday 5 December 2011

Random Quote #60

Some people get their kicks
Stompin' on your dreams
But I don't let it, let it get me down
'Cause this fine ol' world keeps spinning 'round

That's Life  
(D. Kay/K Gordon)

Saturday 3 December 2011

You Wait For A Blogfest To Come Along...

...and then two appear at once!

I recently mentioned that there was the Deja Vu Blogfest happening on 16th December and I have since discovered another blogfest that is occurring on the 15th December.

Grumpy Bulldog (cool name!) is hosting The Bah Humbug Blahg Fest.

All you have to do is answer one question - What are the 12 things I hate most about the holiday season?

It didn't take me long to scribble down my list!

Friday 2 December 2011

I'm Not Going To Make It!

We only have about four weeks left of this year and I am only on book number thirty eight in my 52 Books In A Year challenge.

Unless I read all very thin books or something I don't think I'm going to hit fifty two by the end of the year.

In my original post way back in December last year I said that I didn't know whether I would find it difficult or not - turns out it is a bit of a challenge after all.

I partially blame NaNoWriMo (which I did manage to finish I might add) - I reckon I would have got through a few more books had I not just spent the last month typing furiously.

But I shall continue up until the end of the year and see what number I end on - hopefully I'll have at least got in to the forties by then.

And I quite like this idea of having a picture of my current book on my blog and a list of what I've read during the year so far - so I think I will be repeating this next year.

How has your reading gone this year?