The Kodak EasyShare Z1012 IS

It’s the biggest bang for the buck! As Em says. It’s our big joint Xmas present for this year. We just took delivery of it 3 days ago and it’s AMAZING. HD stills AND HD video! Amazing quality. I want share some of my fave pics and videos taken with it already. Of course, everything can be viewed on my Picasa site.

But here’s a taster.

 

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Children In Need 2008.

Well now Christmas is TRULY on its way now another Children In Need is done and dusted for another year.

The theme for this year was “do something different”, did that extend to the BBC One program itself? Hell no!

Still hosted by one of the world’s worst presenters in God’s universe, Sir Terry Wigon (Wogan) (Eurovision is a totally different matter – he’s sort of in his element there) along with Tess Daly – who actually held it together and helped to make it a little less shambolic.

Everyone elses favourite female presenter, Fearne Cotton, was helping out too (she seems to be universally hated, but I like her).

The night started off with *yawn* McFly doing a song. And it just kept descending from there.

The cast of The Bill doing a Blues Brothers style musical medley.
Performances from Duffy, Girls Aloud, Take That, Sugababes, Boyzone (yawn, yawn, yawn)
Thank GOD I wasn’t up late enough to see Jason Donovan’s performance!
The cast of Eastenders doing a “songs from the movies” themed musical medley – Lord help us all!
Terry Wigon and Tess Daly having a Strictly Come Dancing dance-off.
The BBC newsreaders doing a ABBA-esque-cum-Mamma Mia style musical medley (help!)

I think by the time the newsreaders came on I thought, “I’m off to bed”. I don’t know why I do it to myself every year. You’d think I’d have learned from last year that it’s just awful and cheesy and full of crappy music acts that I don’t want to see, etc, etc. I NEVER LEARN!

Apart from a passable special episode of Q.I., the best part of the show, and the only REAL reason I kept enduring it, was this.

Now isn’t THAT interesting?! SO cannot wait for Christmas now!!!

I Spoke Too Soon

Despite what I said in my earlier post, there ARE no repeats of the second series of Doctor Who. I stupidly thought there would be because it ended on the David Tennant – 10th Doctor Christmas Invasion episode last week. But that, sadly, seems it. Godammit!!

So now, apart from Einstein and Eddington coming on towards the end of the year, I WILL have to wait til Xmas for a DT fix…well, actually airing on TV anyway!

Bankruptcy, Hospitals and Christmas.

Where do I start? For starters, Em goes to hospital on Tuesday for surgery. She’ll be there for about 5 days and will need 4-6 weeks recuperation time.

Next. Money woes. We are BEYOND broke. But these days, who isn’t? We’ve seen Citizen’s Advice and they will be helping us negotiate with creditors. We need to change bank accounts and may eventually have someone else operating an account on our behalf. In the New Year we’ll no doubt be officially bankrupt, but bizarrely it’ll probably mean we’ll cope better than we have done in recent years.

The down side is that this year will be an extra lean Xmas. I mean we’ve not been extravagant by any means in recent years. We would just indulge a little on having nicer food (IE: buying from M&S rather than ASDA). But it’s going to be really tight this year so not even nicer food will happen. Keeping a roof over our heads is just a TAD more important!

Despite all this, I feel upbeat. We’re doing stuff to sort out our debt. Em’s surgery will hopefully result in her improved well being. And Xmas is all about being thankful for your lot and (not forgetting) celebrating Christ’s birth.

I know there are people out there still FAR worse off than us. How can I be anything but upbeat about our future?

I Tell Ya, It’s Political Correctness Gone Mad!

Oh my Lord! What is the world coming to when Santa’s can’t “Ho, ho, ho” any more?!

Australian Santa’s have been told to no longer “Ho, ho, ho”.
Read the story here.

HAPPY Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving. Sounds like everything I love about Xmas, only without the presents…as far as I know. I’m not up on Thanksgiving history/culture.

It does seem odd that in such a God-fearing country as America is, a lot more people seem to put more emphasis on Thanksgiving than on Xmas. As far as I know, it is when the turkey dinner is traditionally eaten, not as it is in Europe and in particular Britain when it’s at Xmas. Families seem to try harder in the U.S. to be together for Thanksgiving. People don’t feel pressured into exchanging presents, as we do with ever increasing financial strain, year after year at Xmas. Lastly, it doesn’t seem to be an overtly religious event (despite it being called Thanksgiving – IE: giving thanks to God – I assume – for a plentiful bounty and all the “good things” in our lives), despite the name of the holiday.

I wish we had Thanksgiving in England.

But then, maybe not.

I do love some of the aspects of Xmas. I think the time of year is better. It’s just that little bit later into winter. Not so ideal for shopping, but lovely for Xmas eve and Xmas day, sitting around the fire, having lovely, big and hot meals that make you feel like you’ve put on 10 pounds in 1 hour! I love Xmas decorations, trees, garlands, wreaths. As a kid I use to LOVE making paper chains! And of course, although I rarely get them these days, I LOVE the presents.

I love sending cards. And although some are religious, and although I’ve been a total hypocrite and been to church a few years back to enjoy them, I LOVE Xmas carols and Xmas songs. We have a church not 5 minutes walk away, and we went in 2005 for the carol service. But it was really lovely. It’s a non-domination church, and it was quite liberal (as churches go), not doing lots of preaching and stuff. It was a really nice service, and we all sang carols. It was lovely.

As much as I love Xmas though, there are things that are overbearing about it.

The compulsion to buy presents. The more expensive, the better. And the relentless ad campaigns that go with it. I mean, it’s in full swing on TV (and all other media) now. The supermarkets started filling their shelves with Xmas themed food weeks ago. I haven’t been in a supermarket for about 6 weeks (last visit, early October), but the last time I went, there was already stock on the shelf. The campaigns on TV will just get more and more manic. Soon the Xmas songs will start (mostly in shops and that, so I have been spared so far, as I really don’t get out much these days), and so by the time Xmas day comes, you’ve heard “White Christmas” at least 50 times (subliminally, and non-subliminally), Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody” about 100 times, and the new favourite for “playing to death”… The Pogues “Fairytale of New York” what feels like 500 times, but is in reality probably only 150 times!!

Supermarkets start to look like we’re heading for The Blitz at around December 18, and if you’ve missed something off the shopping list and don’t remember it until Xmas eve, you might just want to write out your last will and testament before heading off to the supermarket for that last vital thing, because you may just die there, waiting in the queue!

One last thing that I use to hate about Xmas as a kid. The only thing in fact. Australia. I HATED living in Australia at Xmas. Xmas in the northern hemisphere looked SSOO lovely. And all the stories whilst growing up were all northern hemisphere biased. All the little things like Santa arriving by coming down the chimney! HEEEELLLLOOOO…no house in Oz that *I* ever knew of had a chimney. How was Santa ever going to leave our presents? Break in through a window? Then of course there was the sleigh and the reindeer. Rudolph with his shiny red nose. Not because it was minus 10 degrees in Oz, but because it was more like bloody 25 degrees on Xmas eve NIGHT! Silent Night? Silent night…on a tropical evening in Sydney?! Doubt it!!

The one nice thing that Oz has for Xmas though is Carols by Candlelight…outdoors! That’s nice. Although, again, traditional carols are a bit northern hemisphere/wintery themed. Very odd to sing “Winter Wonderland” on a summer’s evening in 25 degree heat!

I really do love my winter Xmases though. They are the best.

So, happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it. Xmas, the steam train, moves ever closer.

Typical Me.

I accept my “Person of the Year” from Time Magazine for my blogging, and then proceed NOT to blog for three weeks. Although I at least have the excuse of it being the Xmas/New Year period.

It was a quiet one, hence me having time to actually WRITE an entry for December 26! We stayed home and just had a nice dinner here. I felt bad as Em had had the opportunity to buy me a couple of little surprise presents. I wasn’t able to get her anything. Not even a card.

New Year’s Eve again was quiet. I had a few Bailey’s with a hint of caramel drinks. Em actually managed to stay up after midnight (just), which was a feat for her! We saw a bit of the London fireworks on TV (and saw a bit of Sydney’s earlier on in the day) and watched the rest of Jool’s Hootenanny. I went to bed around 1am. Then listened to the radio for a while. I couldn’t sleep and so at around 3am made a request for a song via text. I was still awake at 4.15am to hear my name being read out, so that was cool.

After the New Year, it was just a count down to the Embassy World Darts which has been on TV since Saturday. I just SSOOO love the “walk-on’s” of the players. Sorry, but there is NOTHING on YouTube, I’ll have to try and get something up myself. My favourite player is Martin “Wolfie” Adams. The announcer/MC, Martin Fitzmaurice announces Wolfie’s arrival by calling out “Iiiitttt’s Wooolllllllffffiiiieeee!!!”…and creepy-like music plays, with a howling wolf, which Wolfie mimes to. Then Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like The Wolf” starts to play. It’s just brilliant!

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(Ted “The Count” Hankey)

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(Martin “Wolfie” Adams)

No New Year’s resolutions. What’s the point? Maybe one (although not officially given) is that I will really rope in spending this year – it won’t really be hard, as we have next to nowt anyway.

Well, that’s me for now.