Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Year in 2014

So, the end of another year, and time for another end-of-year round-up. As I said last year, these actually get easier to write each time, as the headings are largely the same and it becomes mostly a matter of comparison with what went before.

The major take-away from 2014 is that it was a much better year than 2013 in all sorts of ways. It started well, and although there was never really a high-point as such, the whole thing was generally satisfying. So, I'm happy with that.

My Year in... Work

Work has been hard this year, but it has also been quite successful. My annual report was fairly stellar, which is always nice, and I've been kept busy with fairly interesting challenges. There was no trip to the US, or indeed anywhere else, this year, which is something of a shame, but otherwise it's been good.

My Year in... Health

My health has been generally good in 2014. There have been a couple of IBS flare-ups, including one that was very nasty, but that's just life now. The only other thing of note was that after the car crash in October my neck was once again painful. That's not hugely surprising, and it's much better now, but it was still less than ideal.

Oh, and my aim to lose weight this year failed utterly. That will need to be addressed again in the new year.

My Year in... Gaming

2014 was a somewhat disappointing year for gaming, mostly because I had not one but two games collapse on me: "Star Wars: Imperial Fist" came to a fairly abrupt end when one of my players dropped out, while my 5e test game failed to attract many players to begin with and so was wrapped up early as well.

Likewise, I didn't get far with running one-shots: both "A Lament for Lustivan" and "Ultraviolet: 2XS" failed to attract a quorum. That said, the Christmas game went very well, meaning that the year ended on a high note.

On the playing side, I was involved in two sessions of "Numenera" and one of "GUMSHOE", all of which were very enjoyable. The "Numenera" game still has one session to run, though it's not clear when, or even if, this will happen.

The other noteworthy thing was the release of the new edition of D&D, which has impressed, and Firefly which looks really good.

My hope for 2015 is to run a number of episodes of "Firefly" - essentially a sort-of campaign built from the pre-published adventures for the system, but with a potentially rotating cast of players. I'm not planning a 'full' campaign of any sort, nor do I have any other one-shots in the pipeline.

My Year in... Band

Band has been extremely mixed this year. Basically, the competition season sucked, and (probably as a result of that) I had some real problems dealing with the pipe major. On the other hand, the teaching I've been doing has been very enjoyable, and ever since the band has resumed after the AGM things have been much calmer.

It would be nice to think 2015 will carry on in the same vein as the past two months, but I think I'll believe that when I see it. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the Development Band will be resumed, so that part of the plan is a non-starter.

My Year in... Resolutions

I've posted about my goals already, and am fairly happy with those.

My Year in... Travel

I've been rather remiss in updating my blog about our trips this year, to put it mildly.

LC and I took three trips this year. In April we spent a few days in Belfast to celebrate our second wedding anniversary. This was a fun, quiet trip. We saw the Titanic museum, went on a day trip out to the Giant's Causeway, and took the bus tour of the city.

In July, we took our long-awaited 'real' holiday to Barcelona. Which was lovely, but soooo hot. We spent a full week there, seeing lots of sights and generally having a fun, relaxed time.

And, finally, we spent a few days in Cardiff. Unfortunately, due to school timetables, we had to go the week before the "Doctor Who Experience" re-opened, which probably means we've missed it - it's not worth doing there for that alone, and I think we've now mostly 'done' Cardiff. Still, it was a good trip for all that.

I'm not at all sure what 2015 might bring as far as travel goes. I guess we'll see - it's an adventure!

My Year in... Faith

This year saw me put right one of my niggling issues, which was that for a long time I didn't have any clear pattern of Bible reading. I had read the whole Bible before, of course, finally finishing it back in Part Two when I was living in Yeovil. Since then, however, I hadn't really been in the habit of daily readings - I find it hard to re-read things I have already read, especially things I've already read recently.

This year, I embarked on a second read-through of the whole Bible, following Don Carson's "For the Love of God" (which in turn uses Robert Murray M'Cheyne daily pattern). This has meant reading a few chapters a day, and saw me read the whole of the Bible once, and the Psalms and the New Testament twice, over the course of the year.

This was a useful experience, I think, although I have decided not to repeat it next year, because of what I said before - I've now read it all recently, so it's too soon to revisit it once more. Perhaps for 2016 I'll get volume two of DC's work and start again.

Otherwise, there's not much to tell. Things are proceeding much as they have done this last age.

My Year in... Love

2014 was a marked improvement over 2013. LC completed her probation year, and then found herself a long-term supply job. She's now finished this and starting another job in January, which will run through the year. This has represented huge progress, and I was very proud with the results of the two interviews she had just before Christmas, which resulted in not one but two offers.

The major downside of 2014 was the sad passing of our little hamster Eowyn, who had to be put down due to suffering several small tumours. This was a sad occasion, and left the living room decidedly less squeaky.

Apart from that there's not a lot to say. 2014 has been our most successful year as a couple, but it's hard to express exactly why in words. So: Awesome; that is all.

My Year... Overall

2014 has been an extremely blessed year all around, although not without its hardships. I can therefore look back on it a lot more favourably than 2013, and can look to 2015 with significant hope. I just hope it lives up to it!

Anyway, this will be my last post of this year (I'll post new goals tomorrow), so I'll end off by wishing anyone who still reads my nonsense a very happy New Year, and all the best for 2015.

Books of the Year 2014

And so we come to the end of 2014. The list below is slightly provisional: there's a slight chance I may yet finish one more book and have to update. However, I suspect "The City" is much more likely to be book #1 of 2015 than to be #63 of 2014. Which isn't a terrible thing, as the next novel is a big one!

Update: Sure enough, I did finish "The City" last night, with about 3 hours to spare. So I've added that to the list and made a small number of changes below.

Anyway, here's the list:

  1. "The Commodore", by Patrick O'Brian
  2. "Ten Little Aliens", by Stephen Cole
  3. "Stalking the Beast", by Howard Andrew Jones
  4. "David Copperfield", by Charles Dickens *
  5. "Pathfinder: Herald of the Ivory Labyrinth", by Wolfgang Baur
  6. "The Yellow Admiral", by Patrick O'Brian
  7. "Dreams of Empire", by Justin Richards
  8. "The Dagger of Trust", by Chris Willrich
  9. "The Wind in the Willows", by Kenneth Grahame *
  10. "The Hundred Days", by Patrick O'Brian
  11. "Pathfinder: City of Locusts", by Richard Pett
  12. "Pathfinder: the Half-dead City", by Jim Groves
  13. "A Memory of Light", by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
  14. "Blue at the Mizzen", by Patrick O'Brian
  15. "Festival of Death", by Jonathan Morris
  16. "Skinwalkers", by Wendy N. Wagner
  17. "Scoundrels", by Timothy Zahn
  18. "Pathfinder: Empty Graves", by Crystal Frasier
  19. "The Final, Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey", by Patrick O'Brian
  20. "Little Women & Good Wives", by Louisa May Alcott *
  21. "Fear of the Dark", by Trevor Baxendale
  22. "The Redemption Engine", by James L. Sutter
  23. "The Lovely Bones", by Alice Sebold *
  24. "Pathfinder: Shifting Sands", by Richard Pett
  25. "The Golden Ocean", by Patrick O'Brian
  26. "Players", by Terrance Dicks
  27. "Raising Steam", by Terry Pratchett
  28. "Angela's Ashes", by Frank McCourt *
  29. "Pathfinder: Secrets of the Sphinx", by Amber E. Scott
  30. "Firefly Roleplaying Game: Core Book", by Margaret Weis Productions
  31. "Cross-Stitch", by Diana Gabaldon *
  32. "Remembrance of the Daleks", by Ben Aaronovitch
  33. "The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day", by Terry Pratchett, Ian Stewart, and Jack Cohen
  34. "Ender's Game", by Orson Scott Card *
  35. "The Crusader Road", by Michael A. Stackpole
  36. "Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space Limited Edition Rulebook", by Cubicle Seven
  37. "Solo", by William Boyd
  38. "The Cuckoo's Calling", by Robert Galbraith
  39. "Pathfinder: The Slave Trenches of Hakotep", by Michael Kortes
  40. "Pathfinder: Pyramid of the Sky Pharaoh", by Mike Shel
  41. "Earthworld", by Jacqueline Rayner
  42. "Pathfinder: Ultimate Campaign", by Paizo Publishing
  43. "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck *
  44. "Pathfinder: Fires of Creation", by Neil Spicer
  45. "The Ocean at the End of the Lane", by Neil Gaiman
  46. "Reign of Stars", by Tim Pratt
  47. "Only Human", by Gareth Roberts
  48. "Beautiful Chaos", by Gary Russell
  49. "Pathfinder: Lords of Rust", by Nicolas Logue
  50. "Bleak House", by Charles Dickens *
  51. "East of Eden", by John Steinbeck *
  52. "Doctor Who: 11 Doctors, 11 Stories", by Various Authors
  53. "Pathfinder: The Choking Tower", by Rob Lundeen
  54. "The Silent Stars Go By", by Dan Abnett
  55. "Winnie the Pooh", by A.A. Milne *
  56. "Nightblade", by Liane Merciel
  57. "Red Dwarf: Backwards", by Rob Grant
  58. "Firefly: Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics", by Margaret Weis Productions
  59. "A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings", by Charles Dickens *
  60. "Pathfinder: Valley of the Brain Collectors", by Mike Shel
  61. "For the Love of God, volume one", by Don Carson
  62. "Holy Bible", by Various Authors *
  63. "The City", by Stella Gemmell

So, that gives a grand total of 63 books, including thirteen from The List (technically, the Bible is on The List, though you can discount it if you want). Of these, there are sixteen RPG books, two re-reads (the Bible and "Backwards"), and I've also completed all of my sub-lists for the year. All in all, it has been very successful.

The book of the year is "The Grapes of Wrath". In fact, I'll go one further and say this is actually probably the single best book I have ever read, pushing Dickens' "Tale of Two Cities" into second place. It's really not a comfortable read, but all the more powerful for all that. ("East of Eden" is also a superb book, but on balance I prefer the other. It's close, though.)

The worst book of the year was also an easy choice, being "Outlander". I really didn't like that one!

An honourable mention really must go to the Aubrey/Maturin series, which maintained an extremely high level of quality right to the very end. The final, unfinished volume was something of a disappointment, and so not one I would recommend, but the circumstances behind this provide the obvious explanation. My recommendation would be to stop with "Blue at the Mizzen", which is as perfect an ending for the series as one could wish.

A second honourable mention must go to "A Memory of Light", not because it's a particularly great book in and of itself, but because of what it represents: I've finished "The Wheel of Time"!

Next year I'm aiming to again reach 60 books. Three of the sub-series will continue unchanged: the Pathfinder (12), Pathfinder Tales (6), and Books from The List (12) series will remain intact. Beyond that I don't have specific series planned, though I do have a number of books picked out - there are several new books coming, as well as a number I picked up in 2014 but didn't get chance to read; I'm hoping to tackle the last part of the Musketeer trilogy, which itself is in three volumes; I have several RPG books to read, for the Firefly RPG and the new edition of D&D; and I have the three Shakespearean Star Wars scripts to read.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

End of Year Update on Goals

With the Christmas Game taking place yesterday, I'm now unlikely to make any meaningful progress on any of my goals. Therefore, since I will have several things to post tomorrow, I thought I'd make a head start on the end-of-year wrap-up with my final update on this year's goals:

  • Weight: The first entry is also the worst, I'm afraid: once again I made no progress whatsoever here.
  • Work: This goal was a success, with 2014 seeing me consolidate the good work I did in 2013. Although the last two months proved to be a major slog, the hard work paid off, and I ended quite strongly again. Success!
  • Books: I passed the target of 60 books a few weeks ago, and will finish the year at either 62 or 63 (the former being more likely). I'll post the list tomorrow. Success!
  • Games: This one failed, but only just. I did indeed complete the "Star Wars: Imperial Fist" campaign, although this ended in somewhat disappointing style (actually, the last session was very enjoyable; it was just the lead-up to that that wasn't great). I also ran a short-lived D&D 5e game, but that only made two sessions before again failing. And two of the three planned one-shots didn't happen: "A Lament for Lustivan" failed to draw a quorum at its third and final attempt, and "Ultraviolet: 2XS" disappeared without even a whimper. On the other hand, I did get to play in two sessions of "Numenera" and one of "GUMSHOE", completing that part of the goal, and the year ended very strongly with a successful Christmas Game ("Firefly: Inglorious", for the Firefly RPG). So a narrow failure, with a positive ending.
  • Maintenance: This was done, reopened, done, reopened... and ends the year done. There will be some work needing done on the flat next year (getting the roof fixed, hopefully in January, then lots of little jobs, and a big redecoration). But the goal itself was completed quite handily.
  • Computer: This was completed quite suddenly when my laptop suddenly died on me. This was a fault in the screen, which meant that the hard drive survived, which in turn meant that I didn't lose anything of any significance (possibly a few emails, but even then it was just a few, and nothing vital). Besides, I had backups, so any risk was always minimal. Success!
  • Money: This was also achieved, with me finally paying back the money I owed Dad from buying my car back in August. Of course, this was paid off just in time for the car to get written off when the clocks changed, but that's just coincidence, I'm sure. Anyway, success!
  • Non-Goal #1: Band: I didn't set a goal for band, but I did indicate that I mostly just wanted to enjoy the season. By that metric, I failed. However, there were lots of positives for the band, and we end the year strongly. So, I'm hopeful things will improve.
  • Non-goal #2: The Bible: I also didn't set a goal regarding this, but at the start of 2014 I did set out on a programme of Bible reading, using Don Carson's "For the Love of God". I was a little concerned with this that if I ever missed a day then that would fail, but I'm pleased to report that I've actually completed all but one of the daily readings, with one day to go (the one I've not yet done is, of course, the one for tomorrow). So that will succeed.

So, that's one disaster and one narrow failure, plus one non-goal mixed bag. Stacked up against that there five goals and one non-goal succeeded. All in all, a pretty strong year.

For next year I'll have another set of goals, though I suspect this will be slightly less extensive. In particular, I'll be redoubling my efforts on the weight front, and will want to look again at what I'm doing with regard to gaming. But I doubt that there will be any real surprises in the mix!

Oh, one more thing: this is the 1,200th post on this blog. So add that milestone to the successes for the year!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Yes, it's time for my third and final bitter rant about how they've managed to mess up their adaptation of "The Hobbit" by turning it into a prequel trilogy for "Lord of the Rings"! Complete with parallels with "Revenge of the Sith", and nitpicks of minor characters.


Actually, I'm going to try to be brief, but there are going to be big spoilers from here on out. The non-spoiler version: like RotS, this film has a good start and a good end, but it really lags in the middle. Oh, and that 'good' start and end isn't even all that good - the first was annoying while the second actually left me bored.

Anyway, there are spoilers from here on out.

The film opens with Smaug's attack on Laketown, which is pretty spectacular and generally excellent. I really liked Bard's one-man resistance, and the bit where his son raced to get him the black arrow was also good.

But they messed it up at the end.

Annoyingly, infuriatingly, maddeningly, they decided that it wasn't enough to have their bowman make his one last desperate shot with his last remaining arrow, right in the face of the dragon. No, that wasn't exciting enough. So instead they decided to have his bow break. And so he constructs himself a makeshift bow by wedging the two halves somewhere in the tower he was standing on, and using his son to sight his shot.

And with one spectacularly bad mis-step they undo all their good work to date.

Probably the worst thing about all of this, beyond just the inherent stupidity of thinking you could make any sort of useful weapon like that, is that they actually foreshadowed the way the scene should play out in the previous film - they made sure to show us the ballista, they commented that there were no black arrows left, and then they showed us that Bard did, in fact, have one such arrow. So there's your desperate last stand - after his arrows are done he casts aside his bow to take the desperate last shot with the ballista.

This is then followed by the rescue of Gandalf from capture, which is actually really well done. My only issue with this scene (other than the nitpick that we don't see what Galadriel actually does to that one orc), came with an epiphany about how these prequels could be better...

One of the problems with prequels is that they tie into a story that has already been told. This limits the scope of what you can really do. However, it can be negated somewhat if you can show something that hasn't been previously revealed. And there's an option here:

We know from "The Lord of the Rings" that Saruman the White is both wise and powerful, being the head of Gandalf's order, and his trusted friend. We also know that he comes to betray Gandalf having become convinced Sauron is unstoppable (in the film version, at least). But we never learn how he comes to this point.

So, with one easy switch, we get this fixed: allow Gandalf to convince the wise Saruman of the threat at the White Council. Have Saruman, not Gandalf, go investigate and get captured by the Witch King. (And his motives for going in alone make sense here: he's arrogant in his power.) Show him being tortured by Sauron/the Witch King, and then show him being rescued. And then, at the end of this film, show him holed up in Isengard, bent over desperately crafting his own "ring of power".

And, at a stroke, you eliminate Gandalf's moment of madness in the second film, you tie up a major loose end in the series, and you add an extra link back to both the original trilogy and to the books. Not bad for a trivial character switch, is it?

Anyway, after that we have lots of scenes of Thorin's growing madness, and the build up to the inevitable Battle of the Five Armies. These are mostly good, though they go on too long and are too repetitive. Unfortunately, though, I just don't 'feel' Richard Armitage's take on Thorin. Basically, having spent most of the first film being pretty damn mean to Bilbo, and then in the second film being willing to casually leave him to die, I found there wasn't all that much change between the mad Thorin of this film and the sane Thorin of the previous ones.

And then, finally, we get to the Battle of the Five Armies, which is suitably spectacular... and hugely problematic. Where to begin...

Actually, I'm going to begin with Tauriel, who just sucks. It's absolutely not Evangeline Lilly's fault, but her character shouldn't even be there.

I have two big problems with the character. The first is that we're expected to believe that she and Kili have developed True Luv over the course of the two films - that is, over the course of a few hours spent together across a few days of the adventure, in which time they have one conversation of any depth. And then she's devastated when he dies, thus demonstrating that it's 'real'.

Yeah, that's not love. That's emotional instability. Sorry, I don't buy it, at all.

But the biggest, most damning problem with Tauriel comes with her role as a warrior woman, and is something I've ranted about before. Basically, she's presented as being competent and cool and badass... right up to the point where it really matters. And then, suddenly, she needs a Man to come and rescue her. And, in fact, here she needs two: first Kili and then Legolas!.

Just no. If you're going to feel the need to include a warrior woman because of equality, then let her do her own damn rescuing. Ripley and Sarah Conner did.

As it happens, all the elves are problematic in this film. It's pretty clear, almost right away, that the battle is constructed as it is to show us some cool visuals without any thought to sound tactics or strategy, or even internal consistency.

For example, the dwarves twice form a shield wall in order to repel an orcish charge. This is great... except that both times the wall then gets broken - the first time by elves jumping the wall to engage the orcs in a destructive melee (instead of, I don't know, wiping them out with arrows), the second time by the charge of Thorin and his company... as if adding 13 more dwarves would actually make any real difference. (Actually, in this scenario, it would - lots of dwarves would die unnecessarily.)

Or how about the orcish tactic of using burrowing worms to bring their troops to the battlefield under the earth. That gives us some great visuals. Except... why did they deliver the troops to the battlefield outside the dwarven fortress? Why not burrow past all their defences and attack from within?

And those catapults we see in the trailers, the ones carried by the cave trolls? Those are pretty cool, yes... except that the battle happens during the day and trolls turn to stone in sunlight. I mean, it's not as if that was a key plot point two films ago...

(The difference with the trolls in "Return of the King" is that Sauron has stretched out his hand to darken the day before launching his attack on Minas Tirith - which was also a key plot point.)

See, it's these little details that were so great in the previous trilogy that just don't quite work here, and which are really annoying.

Finally, there's Legolas!, another character who really shouldn't be here. Again, not because of a problem with the actor, or even the character. But he steals the show from the dwarves so thoroughly as to detract from the whole. Plus, this was the film where he stepped from absurd shield-surfing antics to ridiculousness: riding a troll "Ratatouille"-style and then running up a collapsing stairway of bricks.

I've gone on way too long. Truth is, I didn't really expect to like this film, and pretty much for all the reasons I've given. There's not much here that I couldn't have predicted. Ultimately, "The Hobbit" trilogy has proven just to be a big let-down, to the extent that I'd actually rather they hadn't made it (since we now can't get a better version).

All in all, a real shame.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Nevermind Then

I've just received an email advertising the Grand Hogmanay Ball at the National Piping Centre.

"Ooh," I thought.

£95 per ticket.

"Ah," I thought.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dear BBC...

In light of yesterday's weather bombing, with there being significant uncertainty over what will happen with the next weather front, and especially given the somewhat ropey state of our roof, I was quite keen to get an up-to-date weather forecast this morning. Not having time to listen to the inane witterings of the bods on BBC Breakfast (seriously, who does?), I decided instead to access the weather report by using the much-vaunted Red Button, and the extremely handy "Weather" tab therein. So far, so good.

Now, I'm aware that there was a certain amount of controversy surrounding Scotland's place in the UK this year. However, I was reasonably sure that we voted to stay in - partly as a result of being "love bombed" (seriously, what is it about Scotland and bombs this year?). And, indeed, it was the BBC's coverage that was instrumental in an awful lot of people making up their minds to stay, and indeed it was via the BBC that I saw confirmation that that was indeed the result.

What I'm saying is: I'm pretty sure you know Scotland is still part of the UK.

So imagine my surprise, then, when I found that the weather reports in the "Weather" tab accessed by the Red Button from BBC Scotland covered the weather in England and Wales and stopped at the border. As for Scotland (and, indeed, Northern Ireland), there was no mention. Despite us being the ones to have actually had interesting weather recently.

(And, no, the "Scotland" tab didn't have a weather report for us, either.)

So, yeah, thanks for that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


I've just finished my 60th book of the year, thus completing that goal with just over three weeks to spare. Huzzah!

I'm hoping to complete another 3-5 books before the end of the year, so will continue maintaining the list, but that's not a formal goal!

#59 "A Christmas Carol and other Christmas writings", by Charles Dickens (a book from The List)
#60"Pathfinder: Valley of the Brain Collectors", by Mike Shel

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Steph/ven and the Forgetful Day

One cold morning in December, as Steph/ven was getting ready to go to work, he realised that he had to get something out of the freezer for his dinner. "I must get something out for dinner," he said to Lady Chocolat.

"Yes," she replied. "I told you that last night."

"Did you?" Steph/ven asked. "I forgot." And then Lady Chocolat left, for there were eager minds to be filled with all the wonders of English.

As he prepared his breakfast, Steph/ven noted that he had now eaten the last of the Shredded Wheat. (Note: Steph/vens, much like Tiggers, do not like Shredded Wheat. However, as it is awfully good for them, Steph/vens persist in eating Shredded Wheat. Tiggers do not. This may go some way to explaining their respective demeanours.)

"I'll need to go to Tesco to get some more Shredded Wheat," Steph/ven said to himself. "I'll go when I collect that order this evening. That reminds me: I must take the order confirmation with me when I go to work."

Next, Steph/ven had a shower. This created a lot of steam, which filled the entire bathroom, and caused the window to steam up. Steph/ven therefore opened the window. "I must remember to close that before I go. Or else who knows what might get in?" (Although Steph/ven and Lady Chocolat live in a top-floor flat, Steph/ven lives in mortal dread that an organised gang of spider thieves might come in and steal all his webs. Not that he has any webs, being a Steph/ven and not a spider, but how could they know that?)

Later, after he had dressed and taken his neck medicine, Steph/ven left the apartment. He made sure to lock the front door, for Steph/vens also live in mortal dread of non-spider thieves, and went to his car. This was covered in frost, but was quickly cleared, and Steph/ven was on his way!

It was not long, however, before Steph/ven had a horrible realisation. "Bother!" he said to himself. "I have forgotten to close the bathroom window. Truly, I am a person of very little brain."

So Steph/ven turned the car around, and returned to the flat. No spider-thief was going to steal his webs! And so he went all the way back, up up up the stairs, and back into the apartment, and then to the bathroom. He closed the window, went back out the door, locked it again, returned down the stairs, and again left for work.

This time, Steph/ven travelled as far as the M9, that great motorway that connects the great cities of Edinburgh and Stirling, before he again realised his mistake. "Oh no! I have forgotten to bring my order confirmation!"

Alas, it was too late to go back. Steph/ven continued on his way to work. As he went, he recounted the list of things he had to do in the evening, once he returned home: make his lunch for tomorrow, make dinner for himself and Lady Chocolat...

Silly Steph/ven - he has taken nothing out of the freezer! Today really is a most forgetful day!

Monday, December 01, 2014

... is expected to...

In the last few weeks, the Guardian has run several pieces about Gordon Brown being expected to announce that he's standing down as an MP in May. At the time of writing, he is yet to actually announce that he's standing down.

Dear media: any chance you could go back to reporting actual news? Because until GB actually announces he's standing down, what you have isn't news - it's partially-informed speculation.


Lady Chocolat was away this weekend, which provided me an exciting opportunity to get caught up on my general sitting around. Which I did, extensively and with great aplomb. Or something.

Actually, it was a moderately productive weekend. The major task was the long-awaited repair of the bedroom ceiling. I had been holding off on doing this until the council fixed the roof, but the latest update is that this won't be happening this side of Christmas, so I decided not to wait. (It's worth noting that we haven't actually had any leaks since that first night - I suspect that the sheer rate of the rainfall was a key factor.)

The repair job was split into three parts, split across the three days - on Friday I cleaned the affected section of the ceiling, on Satuday I patched up the cracks, and then on Sunday I painted. And I'm pretty pleased with the results.

There was one issue, though - somewhere in amongst the job I managed to get some drops of paint on our duvet cover, a mistake I didn't notice until some hours later, after they'd dried. This is annoying, especially as the washer then didn't get them out, but as LC had already been talking about getting some new ones, it's not the worst thing that has ever happened.

The other big event of the weekend was the pipe band disco. This came out of a discussion at the AGM - some people liked the idea of another ceilidh, some people liked the idea of a dinner dance, so they compromised on a disco. I'm not entirely sure how that works. Anyway, it was an enjoyable enough evening, I guess, though I'm not really a fan of the disco generally. I eventually called it a night at midnight.

Oh, and there was much consternation on Sunday at church - people kept asking me in the most concerned of tones if LC was okay. This was probably because we were on tea & coffee duty last night, and she was conspicuous in her absence (though I was ably assisted by a different, but still glamourous, assistant).

Oh yes, and the Christmas Tree went up, it being the first Sunday in Advent. Although I did consider reverting to my former policy of having a Christmas decoration.

#58: "Firefly: Echoes of War: Thrillin' Heroics", by Margaret Weis Productions