Monthly Archives: December 2007

Compost

There really is no end to the interesting things that you can read about when you come and visit me on my blog.  As a fine example I’ve just realised that I have so far failed to regale you with the fascinating tale of my new compost bin.  Being the wasteful and throwaway culture that we are the hoverFrog family like to do our bit to reverse this trend.  We recycle everything that we can and take our bottles (from The Hildy’s drinking) to the bottle bank.  We really do enjoy the satisfying smash of glass that tells us that we’re doing good.

However we could do more.  That is why I have taken the necessary steps to purchase a compost bin for our biologically degradable waste.  We have noticed that Saffie and the rat ladies go through rather a lot of hay and sawdust and even psycho cat, Riz, uses wood pulp cat litter.  These can all be composted and used to grow good healthy veggies or perhaps tasty fruits like tomatoes or a mini orange tree. 

I expect my bin to arrive in the next week or two.  You too can purchase a compost bin for a small sum from recycle now.  I’ve noticed that the price is less than a third of some high street shops and you get a discount for ordering online.  If you want to do something else good for the environment and for local wildlife you could always follow Flighty’s lead and get a wood pile going.

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Lace

There has been something bothering me for the last few days.  Something that I’ve been having trouble defining.  I’ve just worked it out.

My shoes are laced differently.

You know when you lace your shoes you have a number of options.  I generally lace under the eye and then out and under the next eye to create a crosswork of laces.  Some people lace over and over or over and under.  It doesn’t really matter as long as both shoes are the same. 

I tend to buy identical shoes because one invariably wears out faster than the other, usually the left shoe, and I don’t want to throw two shoes away when one of them is perfectly serviceable.  Yes, I do have several right shoes, why do you ask? 

Anyway I replaced my left shoe on Boxing Day and didn’t notice the shoe lace disparity until just now.  The whole indefinable quality of there being something wrong had actually put me in an awful grump.  Rest assured though that now I have located the problem I can easily rectify it.

If that wasn’t exciting enough for you then you can read more about shoelaces here.

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Filed under Modern Etiquette, Reasons to be cheerful

Mmmm humour

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Filed under Reasons to be cheerful

Tagged about books

Darla tagged me with her virtual tag gun.  Now I’m forced to answer questions on my reading habits or face the prospect of setting off alarms in books shops for the rest of my life.

01.  One book that changed your life   Ah now there’s the crux.  By the very definition every decision I make has some bearing on my life and therefore changes my life to some extent.  However I’d have to say that the book that really changed my life most significantly wasn’t a book at all but a play.  That play was William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and it showed me that there is magic in words. 

02.  One book that you have read more than once  Another tricky question.  I read most books more than once which is why I keep them after all.  I suppose that The Color Purple is one that I read every few years.  It really gets to me and I can see hope rising out of such cruelty whenever I read it.  The film, while excellent, didn’t do the book justice.

03.  One book you would want on a deserted Island  It’d have to be something long and something that I’ve never read.  War and Peace.  The Hildy keeps telling me to read it and one day I just might.

04.  One book that made you laugh  I’m not the fruitcake that laughs out loud on trains while reading.  Really I’m not.  One book that is packed full of giggles is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett.  It’s also one that I keep meaning to reread.  Another was Making Waves by David Hasselhoff.  OK it wasn’t supposed to be funny but it had me in stitches from the beginning.

05.  One book that made you cry  I’m really not the sort of person who cries.  No, no, I am far too manly for such things.  Other than The Color Purple mentioned above I’d have to say that Lovely Bones was one book that was certainly sentimental enough to make me blink a few times.

06.  One book that you wish had been written  All of them.  Every book that I read.  Recently I wish I’d written American Gods but I’m not Neil Gaiman.  I’d have loved to have spent a year researching it though.  It was fascinating.

07.  One book that you wish had never been written  Hard Times by Charles Dickens.  Honestly I studied this book for a degree course and it was so very dull and so packed full of obvious stereotypical characters who were just there to be sneered at.  I hated it.  Alternatively the Bible.  It just seems to be an excuse for all sorts of unpleasantness that humanity gets to inflict on itself.  Yeah, yeah, there are good bits too but someone gave away the ending and I’ve disliked it ever since.

08.  One book you are currently reading  Sadly I am currently reading IT Governance: A Manager’s Guide to Data Security and BS 7799 / ISO 17799.  I won’t give away the ending though.

09.  One book you have been meaning to read Oh so many.  The Book Thief is definitely high on my list.

10.  Now I am suppose to tag 5 people  Oh I don’t know.  Anyone who wants to play.

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Filed under Lazy Blogging, Religion, You decide

I find this slightly odd

If it doesn’t show then you could always click here.

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Filed under Reasons to be cheerful, You decide

Christmas Day Spam

It seems that Spam bots don’t take time off for Christmas.  Come the Robot Uprising we won’t get time off either. 

Our anti-spam software stats show that of 41,501 emails processed 41,025 were automatically deleted as Spam.  It’s the 476 that weren’t that concern me.  Presumably most were automated messages from server to person but someone out there actually got up on Crimbo Day and did something work related enough to email someone here.

I find that a little sad.

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Filed under Pedantic, Reasons to be cheerful, Shitbiscuits, Zombie shelter

Morning World

One more cup of coffee and then I’m off to work.

Why oh why can’t we get a month off to celebrate Every Culture On the Northern Hemisphere Winter Solstice Sure Hope we Don’t Freeze Or Starve Before Spring Ritual Co-opted to Christian Birth of Founder Celebration Co-opted to Consume As Much Electricity, Food and Manufactured Goods as Humanly Possible Day.  It just isn’t fair.

Seriously one more cup.  It’s going in my new mug.  The one I got for Christmas.

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Filed under Modern Etiquette, Reasons to be cheerful

Christmas Eve Humbug

It’s Christmas Eve and I am at work…at least for another hour.  On my way in to work I was enjoying the silence and calm that only occurs when I am out and about before my fellow man is even awake.  No school kids to annoy me with their incessant shrieking, no oldsters hobbling along and getting in the way, no chubbies blocking my path.  It was lovely.

Unfortunately it appears that all these people had decided to go shopping for some reason.  As I passed through the town centre I noticed hoards of rampaging shoppers frantically buying goods and food items.  Clearly they are aware of some impending crisis and are stocking up on necessities.

At work I have been asked a dozen times if I have brought everything that I need.  I’m sure I can manage for one day while the shops are shut.  It’s not as if I’m going to starve or anything.  My answer has been: “If we haven’t got it by now then we obviously don’t need it”.

I’m going to brave the streets again in an hour and I may be forced to stop in a public house to seek alcoholic refreshment.  I may skip this though and just get away from the crowds.

What is it about Christmas that turns ordinary human beings into greedy, obnoxious lunatics?

Is it fair to add Christmas shoppers to my human cull?

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Filed under Bad things happen, Cull, Modern Etiquette

Work

Urgh….I’ve got to go to work tomorrow.

For three hours.

It takes me an hour to get there and an hour to get home assuming that the trains run on time. Ha.

If I just lie in bed all morning do you think that people would notice?

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Filed under Eerie

Some Christmas facts or there’s no Christ in Christmas.

In 596, St. Augustine undertook a mission to bring Christianity to the Anglo Saxons. He and his monks introduced the Christian calendar to Britain, including the Christmas date. The Christian church decreed Christ’s birthday be celebrated on December 25, a decision made by the Pope in 336. As Christianity spread across Britain, pagan celebrations were mainly engulfed by or assimilated in to Christmas ritual.

The word Christmas comes from Cristes maesse, or “Christ’s Mass.” There is no set date for his birth in scripture and it wasn’t celebrated on any particular day. However Christmas was first celebrated on the 25th of December in Rome in 336AD with an aim to replacing the popular pagan winter solstice celebrations

The first Christmas card was designed in 1843 by J.C. Horsley

The twelve days of Christmas are the days between Christmas Day and Epiphany (6th of January) and represent the length of time it took for the wise men from the East to visit the manger of Jesus after his birth. Popular belief holds that 3 wise men visited Bethlehem from the east bearing gifts. However there is no mention in the bible about the number of wise men who visited. Three gifts were brought – gold, frankincense and myrrh, but names commonly attributed to the wise men – Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar were added some 500 years later.

The 26th of December is traditionally known as St Stephen’s Day, but is more commonly known as Boxing Day. The reason it was called this is either alms boxes in church were opened and the money distributed to the poor, or alternatively it was named from the practice of servants receiving boxes of gifts from their employers on this day. Boxing day is NOT named after the practice of throwing out large numbers of boxes after Christmas!

English Puritan leader Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas between 1647 and 1660 because he believed such celebrations were immoral for the holiest day of the year.  Miserable git!

The first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria in 1937

Why decorate fir trees?

This can be traced back to Roman times but was thought to be first introduced into this country in 1841 by Prince Albert. The custom of hanging fruit and baubles is both pagan and Christian. The decorations were originally used to symbolise the fruits of the earth and the fiery sun. Today seen in the form of tinsel and baubles.

Why a “kiss under the Mistletoe”?

Mistletoe has a magical reputation of conferring fertility. The berries grow in pairs on the stem and their milky, translucent appearance suggests male sexuality! A kissing bough would be suspended from a hook at the beginning of the Christmas season and young men were permitted to kiss any girl they managed to draw under the bough. These unsuitable associations led to many churches banning it and this still exists today in numerous parishes.

Why crackers and paper hats?

The earliest crackers were introduced in the 1850’s in order to copy the Parisian fashion of gift-wrapping bon bons. They contained novelties and mottos but did not crack – the chemically treated paper that cracks was a later addition. Paper hats were introduced at a similar time but the tradition of wearing a hat to look foolish dates back to the Christmas plays of the middle ages.

Saturnalia, a very popular Roman festival, was held in mid-December. It was celebrated in countries across the Empire, including Britain which was occupied by the Romans from 43 to the early part of the fifth century. The week long party was held in honour of the Roman God Saturn. Revellers enjoyed feasting, visiting family and sharing gifts. The festival offered temporary social freedom for slaves who were excused from work and allowed privileges, such as the right to gamble.

Father Christmas – was apparently born in Turkey in the fourth century, but no-one is sure when he moved to the North Pole.

Christmas stockings – When Santa lived in Turkey, he secretly gave money to three daughters by dropping it down the chimney. It landed in their stockings which were drying by the fire.

Mince pies – You should eat mince pies in silence, and make a wish with each one.

Christmas pudding – This was originally a type of porridge called frumenty, but more and more ingredients got added through the years.

There will be more lazy blogging later.

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Filed under Atheist, Lazy Blogging, Pedantic