Well on Friday I decided not to attend my own Christmas party. Most of my colleagues, with whom I had hoped to socialise, had decided to boycott the event either because it was in London and therefore not local or because it was a Friday and therefore their own time. So rather than turn up at an event where I knew nobody I skipped it and focussed on Penny’s Christmas party on Saturday.

It had a few benefits:
1) I could actually go with Penny. My party didn’t include partners
2) I actually knew some people there, even if only vaguely
3) I got to dress up in evening wear. My do was 80s themed. *shudder*
4) Penny’s do had a rockin’ band. Mine was going to be… 80s music.
5) Let’s be honest here, the eye candy was always going to be better at a travel company than at an IT company!

Getting ready to go out was a lot of fun. Well, it was funny, but only for me. Penny was getting ready at her sister’s place as she was doing her hair. And then the power went out for two hours. Luckily power was not needed for the actual hair styling but it did need to be done by candlelight. Considering the lack of light, I must admit Donna did a spectacular job. Hopefully I can find some pics… My own outfit was simpler, donning a tux in the dark is fairly easy. But there was no way I was going to be able to tie a proper bowtie in the dark, so had to settle for a fake pre-tied one. Oh well.

The event itself was perfectly fine and fairly fun. We left the festivities early-ish but I’m glad we did.

The last week
This last week I’ve been listening to the a lot. I know I’m a good few months behind the times, but not listening to the radio a lot meant that I didn’t really hear their best known track “Bet you look good on the dancefloor” until New Years Day in Andy’s car, where Radio 1 was playing the most successful tracks of 2005. It’s a cracking track.
Okay, I’ve not really been watching it on TV, but the principle is there. I’ve been enjoying Lost immensely. I caught the first 3 episodes when it first came on telly, but then missed the next three, at which point I gave up. You’ve really got to watch all the episodes concurrently. However over the last week I’ve been watching the episodes I’ve acquired. I’m up to episode 17 (Hurley’s past and the mysterious numbers) and can’t wait to watch more. Then I get to watch them all again because Penny wants to see them now.
Penny’s been reading Memoirs of a Geisha recently because she wants to watch the movie next weekend. She’s been enjoying the book a lot and is hoping the film will do it justice. Me, I’ve been reading rubbish in the form of a couple of re-released novels. Good fun, historical pulp fiction that’s entertaining and occasionally educational. The ones written in the seventies are the best though, the style goes downhill after that.
Sadly nothing, though I’m looking forward to the next when it comes out this week.
A bumper crop this Christmas just past. I went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire again, because my dad is a huge fan of Harry Potter films. In terms of DVDs, as previously stated I got Existenz, Memento and Appleseed from. I watched Memento with my parents, but it really wasn’t to their taste, unsurprisingly. I love it though and I’ve still to watch the other two movies, both of which I’ve yet to watch.
was my graphic novel gift from Penny. The first collaboration between Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, and what a treat it is.
Last Year
Last year was a good year for music and films. Here are some of my highlights.
My favourite cinema movie of the year had to be Sin City. Honourable mentions should go to Batman Begins and Harry Potter.
My favourite independent movie of the year, regardless of format, had to be , which I was fortunate enough to see at the London Film Festival.
What a year in music! There was music in the charts that was actually worth listening to! What’s that about?
Arctic Monkeys, Kaiser Chiefs, Kasabian, Killers, Razorlight… All good bands. Album of the year has to go to Green Day with American Idiot though.
I can’t really decide on which were my favourite books of last year, but I thought I’d mention that I was very pleased to have met both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman and got them both to sign my stuff.

Well, it’s been some time since my last blog post. Resting for Christmas and all that. And so I shall now give you the summary of transpired events.
Russel’s 30th Birthday
I know I already covered this months ago, but I found a picture on my phone of Russ’ birthday cake, complete with picture of a juvenile Russ in his lurid school uniform, on my phone and uploaded it to Flickr.
Christmas was good. As usual I spent it with my parents in the Netherlands, although this time taking the very reasonably priced train all the way there. Less changes, less time and less money. Why fly?
Christmas at my parents’ is definetly a feast season, the pinnacle of which is the Christmas Day meal itself, with the traditional goose, red cabbage and dumplings. Mmmm….
My mum takes Christmas very seriously indeed and reverts to a five year-old. A five year-old with free reign to decorate the house. Don’t misunderstand though, it’s utterly brilliant and it’s impossible not to be infected with the seasonal mood. Evidence can be seen here.
Presents were good. Everything from books to a lava lamp to my much-desired coffee bean grinder from my parents. From Penny I enjoyed recieving the Violent Cases graphic novel, and the movies Existenz, Memeto and Appleseed.
New Year
New Year meant the second trip up to York within a month. This time though there was no drinking in the care, but there was a Penny. It was a great event though, starting with some excellent food at the Dormouse and then copious wine and conversation. And the alledgedly-secret Santa which resulted in me gaining A T-shirt emblazoned with “Arrrrr!” from said christmas mystery person and a bad film from Santa-Hoff.
It was good that Penny was able to come to the New Years Eve celebration. We hadn’t spent Christmas together and also Penny hadn’t seen everyone for months.
Last Week
Last week I had to spend the Bank Holiday Monday in the Fleet office. Not too much of an issue except that with everyone there seemingly ill with some virus or another, and the air-con cranked right up I ended coming down with something. So, it meant that I was not in work all the rest of last week. That also means thattoday is my first day back in the office.
More posts to come soon!

If I hadn’t been roped into another end of day meeting again I’d have sloped off already. For today is my last day in the office for a while and tomorrow I’m off to see my parents in Holland. And so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you and yours a great Christmas period, many presents, much Yule-time cheer and as much over-indulgence as you can stomach!
I look forward to seeing you all in the New Year or on New Years Eve!

Well, technically the Christmas period began on the first of Advent, but it’s close enough. Especially as the weekend was mostly utilised to do all of my remaining Christmas shopping. Some Amazon purchases and a day off on Friday exploring Guildford and it’s many bookstores and I’m done. No more Christmas stress for me! (And yes, I do feel somewhat smug about it. Usually I’m a total last minute shopper) Incidentally, the games and comics store in Guildford is manned by the archetypal Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons.
Saturday night was Penny’s works Christmas party, to which I was invited. It was too dark at the event to take pictures, but my housemate took a couple of pictures of us pre-party, which can be seen here. It was a fun party and for once the music didn’t completely suck. Most of the music was provided by a band who, after a couple of cheesy numbers, decided the time and the corwd was ready to be rocked at. There may have been Nirvana and Green Day.

Well, it was gaming weekend! Unfortunately, due to Tim’s poorliness, there was no Aberrant. So, after the customary drinks and lunch at the Wetherspoons in Canary Wharf, it was Vampire time. I’ll admit there was some mild trepidation considering the last Saturday game of Vampire involved Bryce eating pot pouri (out of character of course). There was none of that this time; in fact I thought it was an excellent session with lots of in-character play, some experience, some revelations and a derangement. All is well with the world…
Sunday was a hangover day, not just for me, but also for Kev, the allegedly hangover immune. So, after some dawdling around, it was homeward bound. Penny had spent a considerable amount of time acquiring an advents wreath, a German and family tradition, which was greeted with much child-like joy, just in time for the First Sunday of Advent.
I really couldn’t be bothered to go into work on Monday so I took a lieu day which I constructively spent not doing a lot. There was some reading, some watching films and lots of playing computer games. Bliss! Penny had the day off too and spent most of it reading ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Plan for the rest of the week? Well, I want to get a little further towards completing Dungeon Siege 2 and I have to finish my Christmas shopping come payday. Oh work? Three day week for me as I have Friday off too, all of it spent in the UK.