I am actually doing it…

…and staying at it!

I think this wordpress thing is so good. I made a pledge to myself on my “43 things” page that I’d become a better blogger. It started at my Yahoo 360* site. That improved my blogging proficiency, but I think once I moved to here that I really got going. I used to have a “blogger” account (it’s like a swear word now). I don’t understand why Google wanted it! I’m sorry, but WordPress poops all over blogger! Anyway, on blogger I’d make like about three entries in one week, then couldn’t be bothered to keep it going.

Then someone on 43 things contacted me about something. I noticed they had a Yahoo 360 account and so I went and had a look. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing at Yahoo 360 at first. I found it really confusing, but once I got the hang of how it worked, I began to blog regularly. It really started me on the blogging road. But I wanted more. I wanted more flexibility – and 360 just didn’t offer that. So Em suggested WordPress to me (which is odd as she hadn’t used it herself yet – and has only just started using it now). I looked, and although it also took a bit of getting used to, this is now my mainstay! I love the way you can structure a site on here. I love the idea of pages and posts and that you can have a static page, so it becomes very web site looking.

I’ve been hosting my own web sites for ages. But only this year have I realised with sites like this, you can just buy a domain name (rather affordably) and link it to a WordPress page, and it saves all the hassle involved in hosting a full web site, which is bloody time consuming!!

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I now, as a regular blogger, feel deserving of my title as “Time Magazine – Person of the Year” 2006. It’s a great honour. So, thank you Time, for giving me this great honour. I am very humbled. I would like to thank my mum, Em, the cat…………………..

Five days and counting!

I am SSSOOO not prepared for it this year. Not so much in the sense of being ill-prepared re: decorations, present-buying, card-sending, etc (having said that, I have a sad selection of decorations out – a fluffy Santa fibre optic with advent calendar that I keep forgetting to change the date on, a anamatronic dog that sings the first chorus of Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, and a 1 foot fibre optic Xmas tree – haven’t really bought or sent any presents – haven’t sent out any Xmas cards), but being ill-prepared as in I am just not mentally prepared for the Xmas period.

I keep trying to get into the spirit, but this year I just want it to go away! There’s nothing to celebrate really. We’re stone broke, our car’s gone to pot, and I just don’t feel in the mood for “seasonal cheer”.

This is quite funny. They have been showing this ad for the last week or so, and it just cracks me up EVERY time! The best advertising campaign I’ve ever seen a charity do.

There is such a lovely sentiment behind it too. There was a catalogue that was delivered to our place at the end of their summer with a whole load of “Oxfamunwrapped” gift ideas in it. I thought it was brilliant. Especially the idea of instead getting wedding gifts if you were getting married, having all your wedding guests buy stuff from an Oxfam wedding list. Some things like a whole classroom or a whole village market could be bought with the proceeds.

Well, as predicted by many pundits, Leona won X Factor on Saturday night. Her single gets released today and will no doubt be No. 1 for Xmas. Unbelievably she was in the final with Ray, which meant Simon Cowell had two acts competing in the final. Before anything else, it meant Simon had already won! Her single is a cover of Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This. I think they could have given her an original song! Seems a bit of a cop out to give her a cover.

Here’s her performance of the song on the final of X Factor.

It’s the silly season.

I’m a not-avid follower of the snooker. Sometimes I watch, other times not. I’ve not really been keeping up-to-date with the latest competition, but couldn’t help but hear what happened in Ronnie O’ Sullivan’s match with Stephen Hendry. Hendry was up 4-1 in frames and Ronnie was trailing in the sixth frame by 20 odd points. It was his pot, he failed to pot a red and just left the table, went over to Hendry, shaked his hand and left the hall! He’d conceded defeat just 5 frames into a 17 frame match?!

Strange.

Speaking of strange…but DEAD funny! Em and I got onto the subject of an ad that was on TV here until last year. It’s for a product called Crusha, a flavouring you add to milk to make a “milkshake”. It looks like it’s made of radioactive material when you see it in the bottle – and I must admit I’ve never bought the stuff, but the ad is a hoot!! I HAD to go and try and find it on youtube. Amazingly it was there! lol

Add milk, or we’ll Crusha!
Another festive treat for you. Here is the Baarmy Army sheep singing Jingle Bells!

Birds and Popcorn.

As you may or may not know, I am a couch bird-watcher. That is to say that I love birds and find them fascinating, and dare say have bird-watched, from the comfort and privacy of my own home. I have yet to enjoy the “pleasure” of a true bird-watching experience at a local RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) or similar establishment or park.

Today I was dabbling a bit with the old couch bird-watching from the loungeroom window. It’s been a bit bleak of late, after a lovely little collective of summer visitors. At the moment the resident birds are the ubiquitous starlings, a robin (our first regular robin since moving here, normally only to be seen around Xmas, he has been here since late summer) and a bird that has been making me refer to my birdfeeding book for a while now, in search of its identity. The problem was finally solved today, more in a bit. Also, not as frequently, but still quite often we get a goldfinch visit. We did have a pair for a while during the summer, and it was lovely seeing them visit. A breeding pair seemingly as they were male and female (the male has more red colouring around the head than the female, easy to distinguish through binoculars). After a few weeks, it seemed that only the female was visiting. I thought the worst had happened to the male as goldfinches seem to be seen if not in pairs, at least in number, so to see a lone female was a little worrying. But today, the male was back! Although he didn’t seem to be allowed to eat from the nyjer seed feeder we put out for them, for only she was eating from it and when he would approach he seemed to be told off!

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(male Goldfinch pictured)

As for the mystery bird, I have deduced with the help of my trusty birdfeeder book that it is a dunnock. At first I thought it was a sparrow, but then started to think again, as it was always alone (sparrows are way too a communal type of bird for one to always be alone) and any sparrow “like” features I was seeing on this bird were not prominent enough, and the beak was too narrow (sparrows have a broader, finch-like beak than what this bird had). So after weeks of being miffed about its ID, I had it! I read up on it in my birdfeeding book and what a kinky little bird it is! The book said that during the breeding season it would not be unusual to see a female with two males, or vise virsa or even to have two breeding pairs together, swapping partners! Swinging birds!!!

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(Dunnock pictured)

Another couple of strangers that are only just starting to make a comeback to our garden are blue tits (just the one so far – we used to have a resident pair) and blackbirds (well, just the one again so far). We used to have a regular female blackbird come round (the female blackbirds are actually mostly brown), who was a real hen-pecker, and the odd male, but not as much a regular visitor as she. But I haven’t seen a female in ages and have only just started to see a male in recent days. Also there was a greenfinch. Haven’t seen one of those since the summer!

I miss Australian birds. I miss (rather bizarrely) magpies and (not so bizarrely) kookaburras. I miss hearing their calls in the morning.

Our neighbours next door went away to America for a holiday recently, and came back baring a few gifts for us – which was a surprise as we don’t know them that well, but it was as a thank you for making sure their house was safe (not that we really did bother anyway, one of their parents was coming around checking on the place anyway). We got a pack of mini oreo’s (what is with the oreo obsession? They are just – not very good I might add – bloody chocolate biscuits!), a pack of boiled lollies (sweets) and this thing called Jiffy Pop. It was popcorn in a pan! So tonight we finally cooked up the popcorn. It was brilliant! The pan has a foil top, which inflates like a big foil balloon as the popcorn starts to pop!! When cooked, you just carefully open the foil top and eat straight from the pan! Lovely warm popcorn, just like from the cinema! It was buttery and salty and yummy! It’s like about $1.00 a go in the USA. We can get it here in the UK at a shop called “Cybercandy”, but they want effing £2.80 per pack!!! Bastardosses!

Anyway, enough boredom from me…I’m outtahere!

PS:

The bird calls I miss

Magpie.

The beautiful kookaburra

‘Tis The Season…

To be sad maybe? Sad as in “I have no life!”

I really do look forward to this time of year, although heaven knows why! I live thousands of miles away from my immediate family. My partner is not exactly in what you would describe as a “close-knit” family. We have LESS than no money (we exist primarily on credit cards). I could go on, but I’ll only depress myself. Does the Christmas period account for more suicides than any other time of the year? If it does, I can well understand why. Despite all that…I’m STILL looking forward to it!! I’m a freak, I know!

OK, here is why: The Pros…

Lovely food! I like to spoil me and Em at this time of year. Usually that would mean some M&S food as well, but probably not this time. What it will mean is roast dinners, chestnuts (the best nuts on the planet), deserts, alcohol and lots of warmth.

Presents…when you can afford them. We don’t really do gifts for each other much these days, but rather splash out on a big joint gift. Last year it was a Freeview box with recordable hard drive of 40gb. This year it has been jumping up to a 26″ LCD TV. But I still love getting little personal gifts.

Christmas TV. A chance to see all your favourite old movies and lots of Xmas specials. It’s a dead time for Australian TV, but absolutely prime in the UK. I suppose it’s the weather that makes it that way.

The chance of snow at Xmas!

New Year…an excuse to p!ss up! And have lots of prayers that the New Year will be a better one for all.

The Embassy World Darts in the New Year!!! I LOVE IT! It’s like WWF, but darts! I love the “walk-on’s”, they are brilliant! My two favourites are Ted Hankey, who dresses up as Dracula (he has a darts nickname – The Count), cape and all, with spooky music and sounds playing (he even has the receding hairline – but not a widow’s peak, it’s too far gone) and he picks out plastic bats from under his cape and throws them into the crowd – it’s pure pantomime!!! My other fave is Martin “Wolfie” Adams. He comes out to Duran Duran’s Hungry Like The Wolf and howls and the crowd howls back!! I assume he’s called Wolfie ‘cos he has a lot of facial hair?!

The cons…

We feel compelled to buy presents.

We have to worry about decorations. Normally I’m the first to put them up, but I haven’t got a tree up yet. I’d love a fibre optic tree, but money dictates.

You can’t really be with the ones you love…or you are forced to spend time with family…depending on which side you look at it. I haven’t had a Christmas with my family for 8 years now.

There’s probably actually TOO much to watch on TV.

No snow and just horrible, cold, wet weather.

Running out of some kind of foodstuff and having to go to the supermarket on Xmas eve! aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh

Sending cards by snail mail.

For those of you getting into the spirit, here are my two fave Christmas songs….