Friday, December 29, 2006

It's beginning to feel a lot like not-Christmas

For me, Christmas has always come in two separate bits. There's the Christmas bit, and the New Year's bit. And since I no longer really celebrate New Year's Eve, there's just the Christmas bit. And I know that technically Christmas finishes on the 6th of January, but for me, this year, it finished tonight. Not in a bad way, you understand, but tonight was when we said good bye to Queenie and Himself, having already waved off all the brothers from the parents' house earlier in the day. Now I am back to work and ready to tackle my New Year's resolutions.

For Christmas this year, I got cool things, including a canvas Death Star print, new shelves, and a bluetooth adapter for my phone which is shaped like a very old phone receiver. The effect when I pull it out of my handbag is great, but is slightly marred by the fact that it doesn't work quite as well as I'd like it to. Apparently this is my fault. I also got some lovely necklaces and a nice tea set, and a fluffy blanket. Oh, and loads of yummy treats from Peckham's, as well as various marvels from elsewhere. Excellent work, Santa.

Monday, December 18, 2006

End of year meme alert

I'm not much of a one for memes. If I was, I'd be on LJ. But I like this review-the-year-using-the-first-post-of-each-month thing.

January: The kids on ILE are playing this Dead Pool, but most of the people I wanted to pick are not available and I'm too much of a luddite and a non-joiner to figure out how to add them.

February: .. that wasps are just the creepiest things on earth

March: An Fear Moncai's birthday present to me finally arrived.

April: Things are looking up.

May: Joe Bennett is an award-winning New Zealand columnist and this is his book about travelling around New Zealand.

June: Even though yesterday morning dawned grim and scary in Laytown, with white-suited forensics experts searching the ground outside Pat's supermarket and two young kids somewhere in Laytown missing their nineteen year-old mother, nothing stops the Irish summer juggernaut for long.

July: Daleks and Cybermen together could upgrade the world!

August: When are all my stories back on?

September: I'm not well.

October: I am not a pill-taker.

November: Here are the first 445 words.

December: Madam I'm Adam

There's not a lot we can learn from this, except that all the interesting things that happen to me seem to happen around the middle of the month and therefore do not fall within the remit of this study. I mean meme.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Monday's Panel

It was good to see Richard Dawkins on, particularly because he didn't claim at any point that women have 30% fewer connections between the left and right sides of their brains, like some "expert" dickhead was claiming the other week.

He was everything you want him to be. Unthreatening, charming, avuncular, and atheist. Good job, Panel.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I have ruined Christmas for everyone

I accidentally mailed details of Mister Monkey's Christmas present to a list that he is on.

I am surprised by how loudly I can shout "FUCK!" without warming up my voice.

Monday, December 11, 2006

God bless Newry

It's only a 50 minute drive away, and you can get the lovely English beer there. Like Adnam's Broadside. Strong (6.3 percent), chocolatey, yummy. Also with a picture of a ship on the bottle. Recommended. I'll just have a little nap now.

The true meaning of Christmas

With thanks to the kids at Freaky Trigger.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Trip to Paris

Because it is vital to blog about things that happened a month ago, I am now going to get around to talking about my trip to Paris. Some of you may remember that Mister Monkey and I took a trip there earlier this year, which was a little constrained by the needs of our travelling companion. Our solution was to go again ourselves, and so we did, booking a studio apartment in the Marais and spending a week there in November.

I heartily recommend Paris in November. It's cold but not horribly windy and not always raining like here. The cafes all have heaters outside, ensuring that the national pastime of sitting around and jawing while openly staring at people is still viable in the winter. This is, of course, the thing I love best about Paris. You can spend hours sitting with your lovely notebook and newly-purchased fountain pen (Parisians love their stationery), scribbling away, drinking your coffee and eating your pie and just gawping at the sheer range of people going past.

The other thing I love best about Paris is walking around. We did a lot of this on this visit. The first night we were there we went to the restaurant three doors down from our apartment, which is recommended by the Rough Guide, ate a lovely meal, and then went for a two-hour walk. Another night we took a walk by the Seine from our apartment up to the Champs Elysees, which took us a little over an hour and was great, except for the mice. In fact we bought a carnet for the Metro when we arrived and had tickets left over when we were coming home.

The other other thing I love about Paris is that although the big museums cost money to enter (best value on this trip: The Museum of Modern Art, which costs €10 to visit, but takes at least three hours to cover, and that's with one whole floor closed to the public, and has loads of space in it so you can look at things in comfort. Worst value on this trip: The Orangerie, which costs €8.50 to enter, is completely packed full of people, and takes about an hour to cover before you get sick of it), there are still loads of free things to do. Okay, these mainly involve being outdoors and mostly involve walking, but if you like those things, you're quids in. The nicest free thing (if you don't count the train fare) if you have loads of time is to go to Versailles and visit the gardens. They are extensive and beautiful and even if you forget to bring a packed lunch with you, you can buy a sandwich for only €4.50. Versailles is very romantic, for promenading around hand in hand and all that jazz.

Our eating out wasn't as extensive as we'd planned on this trip, because we were walking a lot so we got tired a lot, and also because we like to eat our dinner earlier than Parisians do. I am always amused by Parisian restaurants. They open at 6pm, are completely empty till 8.30pm, then everyone rushes out for dinner at the same time and sits in the restaurant till 11pm, and then they close. And most of them are tiny. How do they make any money? Ah, the mysteries of the continent.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006