Have you ever read the plot synopsis to a horror movie and thought to yourself “that sounds like possibly the most disturbing thing imaginable?”

And do you then find yourself wondering whether to watch the movie or not? On the one hand, a part of you wants to watch the movie, because that kind of terror can be quite exhilarating, in a way. You want to test yourself, not to see how much of a man you are, but to see how capable you are of understanding that it’s all make-believe. But then the rational part of your brain says “Hold on, once you’ve watched that film, you’re going to have a hard time thrashing the image out of your brain. Heck, it’s making you feel queasy just imagining it in your mind’s eye. Surely this is a no-brainer?”

What would you do?

About Me Blogging Music

Resolution Conclusions 2007

*Hey, I did this last year too! Maybe it’s turning into a “thing”?!*

1: Blitz “to do” and “to buy” lists

Karen and I have a big “todo” list. It used to be a handwritten sheet of paper, pinned to the notice board, divided up into “things to do” and “things to buy”. Nowadays, it’s on a wiki, and it is basically divided up into “tasks for Karen” and “tasks for Pete”. The principle is the same.

Anyway, over the course of the year we’ve really kept on top of this list. Sure, lots of things have been added to it, but we’ve managed to keep it at roughly the same size, and there are very few items on there that have been on since the start of the year. I’m quite pleased with this.

2: Less computer time, more films

The most crucial point here was to spend less time surfing the Internet, pretending that absorbing all this data is good for me. Instead, I wanted to spend more time watching films, basking in the unashamed brainlessness of it all. I think I’ve succeeded, more or less. I’m sure that next year’s resolution will be something along the lines of “Less films, more blah”. Maybe computer games. If Rockstar released a “GTA San Andreas Stories” for the PS2 I’d be in heaven.

3: Quality, not quantity. Less reading and writing blogs

I’ve certainly managed to write less, and I feel like the quality is higher. However, I’m still reading more blogs than I need to. But it’s hard to stop myself, when there’s so many well-written sites out there.

4: Make more music

My actual resolution set a much more specific target, which I am not going to print here, for reasons of my own. Suffice to say, I have failed to meet this target in the most magnificent manner possible, despite having revised it downwards twice during the year. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

5: Stop being afraid of strangers

Who are you? Get away from me! Argh!

6: Keep writing with my pen held properly

Back story here. Towards the end of last year, I started making an effort to improve my grip. Basically, this resolution has been an unquestionable success. I now hold a pen like a normal human being. This is so fucking awesome.

7: Less nostalgia

Another success. I used to dwell on the past, thinking about all those good times that passed me by in the blink of an eye. But now I realise that one day, I’ll look back on today (or hereabouts) and wish that I hadn’t wasted so much time being nostalgic. There was the threat of a vicious cycle there, but I’ve managed to break it, and now I am able to appreciate every moment as it happens.

8: Be a leader, not a follower


9: Stop worrying about other peoples’ blogs. Their spam comments, botched templates and missing alt-tags are their own problems


10: When someone sends you a link saying “Click this, it’s really funny/cute” then don’t, because it’s just that sneezing panda yet again.

As mentioned here. Haven’t seen the sneezing panda since.

11: Get some exercise


12: Get a project

Had one, but it went away again. I’m not sure whether that counts as a success or not. I should have been more explicit in my statement of the resolution (ie, “Get, and keep, a project”).

13: Improve posture

*Straightens back.*

Uhm… yes.

14: Don’t be so crap at making new friends. Actually, just see #5

Marginally better. But I’m still very bad at this whole “small talk” thing. Maybe I should see this as a strength, rather than a weakness.

15: Learn a bit of Polish

When we were contemplating a short weekend away in Warsaw, this seemed like a very worthwhile resolution. But then we changed our plan and decided to go to Center Parcs instead, so the resolution seemed less important. Still, I’d like to learn some Polish one day (I’m a quarter Polish, by the way) so it’s still something that I’d like to do.

16: Don’t keep getting up from the table in the middle of meals

On Karen’s request (though I added it to the resolutions list voluntarily). I am getting better at this, but I’m not yet perfect.

17: Take time in conversation

By which I mean, don’t just blurt out any old nonsense. Stop, think, come up with an intelligent response. This doesn’t really sit well with #14, as small talk needs to be relatively rapid-fire, so I don’t think that I’ll be able to do both. If you take too much time coming up with a carefully-executed reply, you tend to find that your audience has walked away. Meh, their loss.

18: When on the phone at work, replace “Cheers” with “Goodbye” and “No problem” with “You’re Welcome”

A bit more formality is probably appropriate in this environment. This one was quite a recent addition to the list, so will probably be carried over to next year.

Top Photos



UPDATE: It’s a Amanita Muscaria



cows and sunrise

This is what my commute looks like these days.



fallen leaves

I think I may have opened a can of worms. I recently decided to stop keeping every photo that I take. Previously, I would take 100 shots of the same subject, with the intention of keeping the best one, but then I’d keep all 100 anyway.

But now I seem to have gone to the other extreme. Upon uploading the contents of my camera to the computer, I will go through the photos of various subjects, decide that none of them are worth keeping, and nuke the whole lot. I can’t decide whether I’m doing the right thing or not.

Last month I upgraded from a point-and-shoot digital compact camera to a DSLR. I still use the old camera (Pentax Optio S30), but the new one is my main camera (Nikon D40). It’s made me realise how much more I have yet to learn about photography. Perhaps this is why I’ve been deleting so many photos lately – because my expectations of myself have soared, and my talent is now lagging behind.

Ultimately, I don’t think it matters whether I keep the photos or not. I’m taking lots of photos, I’m looking at them on a 19″ screen, I’m figuring out why they suck, and hopefully learning from that. Just think, back in the old days, people used to have to spend a fortune in camera film to get through this larval stage.

In The News

Fatty ate all the pies, ner ner ner ner ner

> Parents in England may be warned if their children are found to be overweight, under government proposals.

There used to be a (admittedly somewhat flawed) system in place for dealing with childhood obesity. It was called “peer pressure”. But that was deemed to be too cruel, so it was outlawed, and surprise surprise, kids started getting fatter. Now the government want to send letters back to the parents that say “YOUR CHILD IS OFFICIALLY A LARDARSE. FEED IT FEWER PIES.”

There is quite clearly no way that this could possibly have unintended consequences.



Next, I shall teach him to say “Cowabunga”

Yesterday, I taught Bernard to give a “high five”.



It’s tragic that I’m always whining about the same things. Instead of making the same complaints over and over again, I’d like to refocus my energy onto coming up with a solution.


The Bathtime Routine Revisited

About a year ago, I wrote about Bernard’s bathtime routine. I stumbled across the entry just now, while looking for something else, and marvelled at how things have changed, and how glad I am that I wrote it down for posterity.

These days the routine goes something like this…

Shortly after 6:30pm, I pull up to the front door and fumble about in my bag for my keys. Bernard waddles towards the front door in a futile attempt at escape, and Karen holds him back while I park my bike in the garage and take off my cycle helmet. I am not allowed to sit my sweaty ass down on the sofa until I have had a quick shower, so I usually do this.

We read books until about 6:55pm, at which point we announce “tidy up time!” and all the toys and books go back into the appropriate boxes. We open the stairgate, and lure Bernard towards the stairs. One of us goes ahead, to start the bath running, while the other follows Bernard, just in case he slips (which never happens, but you can’t be too sure). Once upstairs, we close the top stairgate. Whoever went up ahead closes all the doors on the landing except for the doors to Bernard’s bedroom and the bathroom, to prevent him from going off and finding lots more interesting things to do. The landing light and bathroom light are switched on, Bernard’s bedroom light is left switched off.

Bernard is usually either on the landing at this point, or stood by the bath throwing toys into it. He is undressed, his nappy is removed, and by now the bath is ready, so he is lowered into it.

He may or may not sit down in the bath. We generally take turns to give him his bath, though if the other person is nearby, they may help with the rinsing of the hair. When he is clean, he is hoisted out, wrapped in a towel, and I brush his teeth.

He is then released back onto the landing, and encouraged through to his bedroom, where his new nappy is put on. We then sit him up to put his arms into his pyjamas, lie him back down to tuck his legs in, sit him back up to put his arms into his grobag, stand him up to tuck his legs in, sit him back down to zip it up.

He then climbs onto my lap and selects a book for his bedtime story. Karen goes to change into her pyjamas, and then comes back through and sits down on the POÄNG. When Bernard decides that he has read enough for this evening, he leans towards her and emits a little whine. We put the book away, he is hoisted up on to Karen’s lap, I kiss him on the head and wish him goodnight, and head off to do the washing up. Karen feeds him, and he goes to sleep. For a while.

About Me Peril

Boo! Waaargh!

Today’s “Basic Instructions” is entitled How To Deal With Trick Or Treaters. Panel three says:

> Don’t try to scare trick-or-treaters. You’ll either traumatise a child, or be made fun of by a child.

Boy, I wish I’d had that advice last year.