Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Ho ho ho no more?

SYDNEY, Australia - Sydney's Santas have been asked to stop using the traditional "ho ho ho" this holiday season. It was reported that they were instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead.

One disgruntled Santa told the Daily Telegraph that he was warned not to say "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to a U.S. slang term for a prostitute. (WHAT?!!)

More here.

Question: Would you say the world's slowly going mad? Or is it me?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Greet ten people for peace!

21 November 2007 is the 35th annual World Hello Day. Anyone can participate by greeting ten people. This demonstrates the importance of personal communication for preserving peace.

World Hello Day begun in response to the conflict between Egypt and Israel in the Autumn of 1973. Since then, World Hello Day has been observed by people in 180 countries.

People around the world use the occasion of World Hello Day as an opportunity to express their concern for world peace. Beginning with a simple greeting on World Hello Day, their activities hopefully send a message to leaders, encouraging them to use communication rather than force to settle conflicts.

As a global event World Hello Day joins local participation in a global expression of peace. The World Hello Day web site address is

A big HELLO goes out to all of you on this very special day!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Black, black humor

Earlier in the week Loops and I went to the movies to see Death at a Funeral, a black comedy starring, among others, Matthew Macfadyen (of Spooks fame), Rupert Graves (V for Vendetta), Alan Tudyk, Andy Nyman and Peter Dinklage. It tells the story of two sons who come together with their family to bury their father, but are also joined by a man who claims to be the dead guy's gay lover. When the stranger attempts to blackmail them, they go to extreme measures to keep his mouth shut.

OK, it's not the best (black) comedy I've ever seen, but the acting is very good and there are several laugh-out-loud moments. Shame the whole thing doesn't quite come together, although we'd probably have enjoyed it more if the theatre hadn't been so boiling hot and the leather seats so uncomfortable. I might rent it out at some point to watch in the comfort of my living room and see if I like it better. Actually, I suspect it's just the film to rent when you've got friends round for drinks - the alcohol would make it appear funnier. As a reviewer very eloquently put it over on Rotten Tomatoes: "Death at a Funeral has enough slapstick silliness to overcome its faults".

I reckon if you liked Borat and Shaun of the Dead, you'll like this too. If not, well, best not to bother.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The unhappier you are, the more ice cream you get

Dr. Whippy is a new concept for vending ice cream. The machine asks you a series of questions to analyze the stress levels in your voice. Depending on how unhappy it thinks you are, it serves you with the amount of ice cream you need to feel better.

Dr Whippy was designed by Demitrios Kargotis and was exhibited at the Ars Electronica exhibition in Austria.

I've always known ice-cream would be used as a cure one day :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Lazy Sundays

Sundays have always been super-lazy days in my personal diary. I've never had the inclination to go out, do things, or see people. Even walking to the corner shop for the Sunday papers requires too much effort, as it means I have to get dressed.

In years gone past, when hubby and I went out on Saturday nights until late, we used to buy the Sunday papers on the way home, wake up at midday on Sunday, have brunch, read the papers then relax until it was time to prepare dinner - which we did together following a fancy recipe we'd found in a magazine or cookery book, with ingredients we'd bought the day before during our weekly shop. These days, the week's super manic, Saturdays are spent chilling out with take-aways and DVDs, and Sundays tend to be the days when we do the week's housework - washing up, laundry and ironing, occasionally also tidying up, hoovering and dusting. And they say life gets better when you're older?!

Today I've started the day with a jumbo cup of "orange spice" coffee from the selection I gave hubby for Christmas last year. It's pretty revolting to be honest, but I fancied filter coffee and we'd run out of coffee beans and ground coffee. Once I finish drinking it (which could be days, at the current rate) I'm getting stuck into this Sunday's projects, which are:

1. Return kitchen to kitchen-like status (as opposed to current something's-exploded-in-here state);

2. Continue counting unread books (I gave up temporarily when I reached 45 after doing just one room);

3. Cook something nutricious for dinner (veggie soup or pasta are the only options here, as there's nothing else in the fridge and going to the corner shop means leaving the house);

4. Place an order for groceries to magically find their way to our front door sometime next week (you've got to love internet shopping).

Special project: tidy up the little table in the hallway where we dump our post and anything else we happen to be holding in our hands when get home, making it impossible to find it again on the misshapen pile.

Hmmmmm. I wonder how many of these I will have achieved by the end of today. If I don't manage any of them, I'll just have to rationalise. Wish me luck either way.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is blogging taking over your life?

I saw this and thought it was so funny, I had to share it with you. Hehe.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Is this normal?

I read this in the paper the other day and couldn't help wondering if people go out of their way to be awkward at work. I don't know the details of this story, but I imagine it went something like this: You like fish and would love to work next to a tank containing your favourite little nemos. Your colleagues are tolerant guys and gals, who don't mind your fish in the office. So far so good, and very lucky you are too. Then, your fish die. For whatever weird and wonderful reason, you decide to leave them in the tank in the office. People probably think you're a bit strange to say the least, but cut you some slack. After all, someone I work with told me they knew someone who took two weeks off work with stress because their dog had died (two weeks - I ask you!).

A few days/weeks later, your fish start to pong and now people don't just think you're strange, they say it to your face. They also ask you to move the fish to a more appropriate place. Say, the fish cemetary. Or the bottom of your garden at home. You refuse. Your boss asks you to move the fish (why they just don't bin them when you're not around is beyond me, but hey - each to their own and all that). You also refuse. The whole situation escalates, HR get involved, there's a lot of hoo-ha, and you end up losing your job over a smelly fish tank with dead fish in it. Then you have the cheek to complain that your dismissal was unfair and take your ex-employers to a tribunal.

I ask you, is this behaviour normal?! I'm currently reading this really interesting book about great psychological experiments, and I'm wondering if anyone has researched why people do silly things at work? If this story is anything to go by, there must be plenty of subject matter out there.

To be honest, if it was me who had to work next to a fish tank (even if the fish were alive, let alone one that contained dead ones) I'd be tempted to bring my cat to work with me.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Anyone for luuuuurve?

A couple of hours ago, hubby was settling down to watch CSI and as I didn't fancy lots of blood and gore, I thought I'd go to bed with a DVD instead. I looked for something that was likely to entertain me for half an hour or so, and deliberately chose Wimbledon from my list of unwatched DVDs (which is almost, but not quite, the same size as my list of unread books, but that's a different story).

I'm no fan of tennis, having never watched a whole game (I know, shock horror) and I only bought the DVD because it was £3 in the sales - barely more than rental price. I never for a moment thought that I'd watch it all tonight, but there I was, 98 mins later, hubbie long asleep next to me, watching it to the very end and finding myself enjoying every minute of it.

I was going to write a review, but I found this on Amazon which is spot on, and I'm shamelessly copying it:

This is a film with no hidden depths. Tennis purists are unlikely to find the matches all that convincing and this may irritate. Yet I've given it four stars. I went to see this film wanting to be cheered up and to relax, not having to think too hard. It is a light-hearted romantic comedy which delivers exactly what you would expect from its genre. It is predictable and it is fun. If you want to be challenged then this is not for you. Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst are engaging with the backing of a supporting cast of quirky characters. Some of these work better than others. Overall however it is a film which presses all of the buttons you expect such a comedy to press. If you liked Love Actually or Bridget Jones or Notting Hill I'd expect you to like this. If romantic comedy isn't your thing then this isn't going to change your mind.

Just one more thing to add - as the film's shot in London, it will appeal to the Capital lovers amongst you (you know who you are ;-)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Growing old disgracefully

I've just finished reading Virginia Ironside's latest novel, rather imaginatively titled No! I Don't Want to Join a Bookclub. I bought it while browsing at my local bookstore, on the basis that I liked the sound of the first paragraph (a selection method I often use for books I know nothing about). Well, what can I say, other than it's been the first time in a long, long time that I've enjoyed a book so much *and* identified so closely with its main character. Marie Sharp is refusing to take old age lying down (quite literally, as she's thinking of giving up sex). We follow her life via her diary for almost two years, during which time she turns 60, becomes a grandmother, acquires a lodger, loses friends, grumbles about everything and ultimately, falls in love. Ironside's writing is witty, funny and engaging, and on several occasions I laughed out loud, thinking Marie really is so much like me, and I'll probably be exactly like her in 30 years or so.

To give you an idea of the style of the book, here is one of my favourite extracts:

(Marie, a Londoner through and through, has been invited to spend a weekend in the country. She's arrived and is now getting ready for dinner.)

A huge array of parties had been arranged, and, it seemed, dozens of other people were staying, and as I dressed for dinner, my heart sank. I would have to meet People from the Country. They hear you come from London and before you know it they're asking if you've been to the theatre recently. In my experience hardly anyone in London ever goes to the theatre. The theatre is full of tourists, Americans and People from the Country who think that going to the theatre is a sophisticated London thing to do. Like lectures on Chinese glazing at the Royal Academy. Most of my friends in London rarely go to the theatre or lectures, but People from the Country can tell you whether Simon Russell-Beale's performance of Hamlet at "the National", as they call it, was better than Ian McKellen's Lear at "the Vic", and, worse, take a whole evening explaining why.

Sometimes I feel like asking if they've mucked out any good pigs recently, or turned over any fields to arable. But I, unlike country people talking to Londoners, am too polite.

I *am* Marie Sharp. Not in 30 years' time, but now. OMG.