It’s ALMOST Christmas

So, Christmas is imminent. Well, if you ignore what the retailers have been saying the last few months (Debenhams is so trendy, Glasgow Fort stays open late, MacArthur Glen makes you feel less guilty). All the presents have been bought / made, but I’m a fairly craptastic wrapper. Today is the shortest day of the year. Today is my last day of work before, er, after Christmas. Today is the first time in over three years that I will be getting paid in a non-dodgy manner. Today was definitely the first time the train arrived at Glasgow on time, mainly because it was pretty much empty. Only us plebs who can’t afford the time off have to trudge to work.

At least the weather is milder today.

It’s not my first Christmas away from home, but I think I will miss my family this year. After we left China, I spent three months in Singapore, and I think it’s probably the first time I really got to spend lots of time with my mother. I know she’s received (and opened) her Christmas presents, and my sister’s got hers as well. So I know I’m going to get a bit… sentimental over the weekend because I miss my mummy.

The plans are to see some friends and family over the next couple of days, and spend Christmas with Neil’s family. I don’t really know what to expect; it’s my first real Christmas-y Christmas. Are recipients meant to get multiple presents? What’s the situation with stocking stuffers? If someone doesn’t have a stocking but everyone else does, do they still get the wee presents? And most importantly, how much turkey can I eat before it’s considered totally rude?

I think my favourite Christmas-themed ad on the telly is the Irn Bru ad, a cool animation. The little kid is a total and utter shit for not letting the snowman share his Irn Bru, so he definitely should be dropped from a great height. And he should end up splattered all over the pavement in a splodgilicious mess of blood and guts.

Foodie Friday — Steak

steak, public domain image on Wikimedia

Mmmmm… cow. I know it’s not very PC to be all carnivorous, but I adore steak. My favourite is a nice, rare piece of beef. My top beef steak restaurant in Singapore is the decidedly unglamorous Shaslik, and prime rib is best had at Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus with their lunch deal ($17.90 for three courses). So here is a recipe for marinated flank steak, and I hope that I get to eat a good steak soon.

At the moment, there isn’t a lot of beef being consumed, it’s just not in the lifestyle I have been absorbed into. I know that’s better for me, but I miss steak. I get mince and roasts once every fortnight or so, but it’s not the same!

Cow. Mmmmmmmm.

I wonder if this is the beginning of the end of this case

Stephen Wright has been charged with all five murders in Ipswich. What I found amusing was when DCS Gull announced that the ‘first suspect from Trimley’ had been released on bail, he also said, “We will not be releasing his name at this time.” Um, we even knew his MySpace account (it was fun to watch the papers try their best to glean something insightful from that hellhole that is MySpace) and all the news media have released his photos.

Wow, I knew the US treated enemy combatants badly but I didn’t know the same applied to those who were their friends

Former Navy man works for company in Baghdad. Man detects strange goings-on in company. Reports strange goings-on to FBI. Man is told to leave company. Man contacts US embassy in Baghdad for help. Company gets raided and man is imprisoned in Baghdad for being a security risk and associating with the people he was informing on (via This Modern World).

He said he had also witnessed another employee giving American soldiers liquor in exchange for bullets and weapon repairs.

I want to know what punishment the American soldiers received. Nothing like Mr Vance suffered, I presume. I’m surprised that his friend, who was also wrongfully imprisoned, went back to Baghdad to work, although I’m sure he’d be buggered (pun intended) if he did anything to help the American troops.

Why didn’t they let Vance tell them that he had a contact in the FBI and then proceed to verify his story and then let him go? How did it get so FUBAR’d? I bet it has something to do with no one wanting to take responsibility if they let him go and he did turn out to be a baddie.

I bet this makes Iraqis feel safe about working with the troops in their country.

Outrage fatigue

It sounds so ‘trendy’ but it’s true, I’m just too tired and cynical to be angry about the deceit any more: “So, in the fall of 2002, before going to war, we had it on good authority from a source within Saddam’s inner circle that he didn’t have an active program for weapons of mass destruction?” — 60 Minutes: CIA Official Reveals Bush, Cheney, Rice Were Personally Told Iraq Had No WMD in Fall 2002, informationliberation (via Newsvine)

Target Wii

Um, how about “Don’t let go of the Wiimote during gameplay.”: “Filed in US District Court for the Western District of Washington earlier this month, the lawsuit describes the original strap on the Wiimote as “ineffective for its intended use” and cites reports of the strap breaking and causing damage.” — Nintendo sued over Wiimote straps, Ars Technica

Glasgow Fashion Week

Glasgow’s going to get its own Fashion Week! Apparently, “Glasgow is consistently described as being at the cutting edge for all things fashionable and chic.

I dunno, loads of the things I’ve seen look like Xiamen specials. Plus I’d prefer to see local designers instead of Topshop and Miss Selfridge. Glasgow Fashion Week will be good for tourism, they say. In March? Unless the tourists are from even further north… it’ll be freezing!!

Anyway. I like fashion and new clothes, I’m just not fashionable and really cheapskate when it comes to shopping. But looking at new clothes and making snarky remarks? I’m up for that!

Possibly a very unpopular post

This is gonna be so uncool of me, but I have to say it.

I’m not into the Web 2.0 ‘look’. I don’t like all those buttons and rounded everything with extra drop shadows for added trendiness. I don’t like all these shadows and reflections on every freaking thing. Gradient backgrounds are nice as long as they are few and far between.

Not that I want to go back to the days of neon <h1> headlines and tiled backgrounds of Drew Barrymore (*cough*). All the supposedly Web 2.0 sites kind of look the same, though. I don’t like doing ‘me too’ sites.

That, I suppose, is my main gripe. Web 2.0 ‘design’ is one hell of a large bandwagon. I think my surliness with respect to this new style started with the proliferation of the Kubrick theme on WordPress (mainly because it was shipped as the default — I was so resistant to using it that I enabled the fugly Classic theme and worked like fuck to get my own theme up). It’s one thing for a few bloogs to use Kubrick, it’s completely another when it’s thousands and thousands of the buggers. With only the teeniest of variations to make them ‘individual’.

It’s not sour grapes. I know how to create rounded corners and make drop shadows and gradients. I try to keep up with CSS, but I’m no expert and it’s only a hobby. I’m not an artistic person, definitely not a graphic designer, and am more into the challenge of laying things out rather than making them pretty with whiz-bang illustrations. Although I do wish I did have some artistic sensibilities. I know what I like. I like minimal lines and borders, not too many corners (rounded or angled — hmm, that gives me an idea, though), and not too much orange. And white space. I really like white space.

Disclaimer: this has nothing to do with the technology nicknamed Web 2.0. I like the technology. It got me named Time’s Person of the Year.

It really doesn’t matter what I do

I have a hypothesis, of sorts. For the last three weeks, the train into Glasgow has been consistently so late on a Tuesday that I miss my connection to work. I’m not sure what causes it, there must be some sort of unusual phenomena that cause it, as the train has been much more punctual on other weekdays (excepting weather conditions). Could it be…

  • … conscientious train drivers have powered through the Monday blues and are suffering the effects the next day?
  • … there is some guilt about taking a duvet day on Tuesday?
  • … the train driver’s horoscope for Tuesday said he had to wait longer at each station to get good karma points in order to get laid?
  • … curry suppers for the driver on Monday night and thus the need to make an extra long trip to the loo the following morning?

Your suggestions, please.