Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wishing Wall

We went to the cinema last night (to see documentary about Hunter S Thompson, if you are interested). In the corridor, there was a display entitled "Wishing Wall" where local children had written their hopes and wishes for the 2012 Olympics. Visitors could contribute their own wishes too.

Amongst the dreams of "I wish I had a Gold Medal" and "I want to see Usain Bolt winning the 100 metres without even trying" was my favourite:

"I wish Boris would spend the money on pensioners and buying Woolworths instead".

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Not quite the right word

Radio 5 was doing a vox pop of young people to see how much (or more accurately how little) they knew about the situation in Gaza. Most admitted to knowing nothing or next to nothing about it. Undeterred one young man still attempted to give an opinion. He described the conflicts as:

"a frivolous waste of time"

The OH entered the room at this point and understandably had to ask what the subject was.

Frivolous is not a word I'd use to describe it. Frivolous suggests an activity like shopping for a new hat or spending all your money on cake.

I think he may have meant futile.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bus Load

Psychology is a subject I find fascinating, but I'm not sure about the merits of a piece of research from Salford University that was reported in the paper yesterday. A professor has spent time and presumably money researching what your favourite seat on the bus reveals about your personality.

Top Deck of the Bus:
Back: Rebellious
Middle: Independent Minded, more likely to read a newspaper or listen to music
Front: Forward Thinking

Back: Risk-takers who like sitting on the raised aera because it makes them feel important
Middle: Strong Communicators
Front: Sociable meeters-and-greeters

People who don't have a preference are categorised as "Chameleons" and they feel they can fit in anywhere.

This brings to mind a couple of questions.
1. Where do you prefer to sit? I'm a forward-thinking front of the top deck person
2. What about on single deck buses or the controversial bendy buses?
3. What is the point of this research?

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Cultural Review of the Year 2008

Not a vintage year for culture in the Sanddancer household, but as I've done it each year before, I thought I'd continue the tradition.

Live music was strictly old bands. Jesus and Mary Chain were consistently brilliant, MC5 playing with Primal Scream was legendary, but truth be told I probably enjoyed the WonderStuff the most. I ignored new music again, with the only new band making an impression was Vampire Weekend, mainly because I spent a pleasant lunchtime in a cafe with a glass of wine and a book and they were being played.

I did go to the theatre quite a lot this year, as I was determined to make better use of the free tickets offered at work and I returned to my old amateur theatre. However, I didn't actually pay to see any professional shows this year so it wasn't really that representative of my usual taste. Billy Elliot was probably the best show I saw, although Wicked was a lot of fun too.

The films I enjoyed the most this year were comedies, which again is unusual for me, but perhaps a sign that in gloomy times that is what is needed. I loved Juno and Burn After Reading made me laugh more than anything else I can remember. J K Simmons was in both films, a great underrated actor.

The final series of The Wire wasn't perhaps as good as the previous four series, but was still way better than anything else. The Daily Show with John Stuart became must-watch television, especially during the American election. The SkyPlus Box has changed my life as I can now record daytime detectives.

A new category for 2008 as I read more this year than I have in any year since I finished my degree. I discovered the books of Magnus Mills, a genius of deadpan and inventive alternative worlds, and I read all five of his full novels. I hope in 2009 he will write some more, but I hear he is working as a bus driver. Fup by Jim Dodge and Naive, Super by Erlend Loe were other short, quirky favourites, and I loved Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and Light of Day by Graham Swift too.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Highlights of 2008

I'm not going to dwell on anything negative about 2008, so here are some highlights.

Best Holiday
Most of my holiday time was absorbed by wedding-related activities, but even if I'd been on a dozen holidays, it would have been hard to beat our week in San Francisco. I loved it so much, I'm going back again in 2009.

Best Wedding
Is it wrong to compare weddings? I went to so many, it seems an obvious category. My sister's wedding wins easily. It wasn't the most lavish, the most expensive or even the most romantic, but everyone had such a good day. I spent all day either laughing, smiling or crying! She did have the best cake too.

Best Meal
Brunch of "Vanilla French Toast with Warm Berries" at the Cafe de la Presse in San Francisco. Not something you can eat everyday, but so gorgeous I still think about it months later. A late runner-up would be our meal on New Year's Eve at Jamie Oliver's Italian restaurant in Bath - great service, great food and very reasonable prices.

Best Discovery
The outdoor swimming pool near work. Not that I'm ending the year any fitter, but I did give it a good go at various points and I hope to improve in 2009.

Life is far from perfect but I'm entering 2009 with a roof over my head, a secure job and a great OH and family.

Happy New Year!