stir up sunday

is it stir up sunday or not? the bbc seem to think it is but other sources seem to think it’s the last sunday before advent and by my reckoning today is the first sunday of advent else we won’t get four of them in before christmas.

whether i’m technically doing things on the right day or not, my christmas pudding is steaming away on the hob. my christmas cake is in the oven too, i think that’s being made a little late but we probably won’t eat half of it until easter anyway.

the whole house smells gorgeous, and i’m contemplating going down to the shop to pick up some bramley apples and making some mincemeat whilst i’m a) in this domestic achievement mood and b) am surrounded by packets of dried fruit. i’ve got a recipe for mincemeat that suggests replacing the brandy with amaretto and some of the suet with grated marzipan and it’s calling to me to be tried out…. (update: this amaretto mincemeat had better be nice; i’ve now got six jars of it…)

Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham

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Excellent second in the series. Will write more about it later…

Ooops, I forgot to get back to this later. Thoroughly good tale though. After how cleverly narrated everything in Sleepyhead was I thought maybe Billingham couldn’t pull something as good off again, but I think he actually managed to do something better this time. This story was less about suspense but it still did the suspense of not knowing quite who the villain was until the author chose to reveal him. I liked Thorne more in this book too I think, though I’m worried he’s going to be one of those detectives who can’t reasonably sustain a series because he’s trying too hard to lose his job in every book. I also thought there were some great supporting characters on the police side of the book too. That’s about all I can remember wanting to say about this book for now! Must remember to write my thoughts down promptly, they’re so damned ethereal sometimes.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 7th August 2003.

national darren day

national darren day

radio 1 have declared it national darren day, which is cool. not cool enough to get me to listen to it but never mind. my darren is lovely every day.

in unrelated and unprecedented news the assistant paymaster general has sent me a cheque for overpaid national insurance. if i could just get another one for the overpaid tax too i’d be happy. (i did my tax return online in july and haven’t received the refund i’m due yet. my business partner sent his tax return in by the very last post to make the 30th september deadline and got a cheque back in about a fortnight. there is something wrong with this.)

sing a song of sixpence

song writing made easy. well the singing bit made easy but erratic, it’s still hard to write songs. it’s kind of like magnetic poetry in that you have to keep refining your idea to fit with the available vocabulary. and my ideas weren’t really up to much to start with. this is the ditty i managed to compose to send to darren at work.

[found via]

time is always there

wise words from erik; there ought to be a proverb that expresses this:

People always wonder where the time goes. It goes nowhere, it’s always right there. There’s lots of it, waiting to be used, but most of the time it disappears without having produced anything.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

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Linnet Ridgeway is one of the richest women in England and Jacqueline de Bellefort is her penniless friend. Jacqueline is engaged to marry Simon Doyle and wants Linnet to help him out by giving him a job. Cut to Egypt where Linnet and Simon Doyle are honeymooning with Jacqueline skulking around making a misery of herself looking like she wants to exact revenge upon them. Take a boat trip along the Nile, Linnet turns up dead in her cabin and everyone on board the boat has some kind of secret they are covering up and Jacqueline and Simon are the only people with unshakable alibis.

Very much what you might expect of Christie but I didn’t think it really had much to recommend it and was sub standard in many ways. The suspects may as well have been marooned in a country house than sailing along the Nile for all it added to the story. I more or less guessed the twist early in the book which isn’t usually a problem but here it was just a case of reading on to see what reasons Poirot would give to suspect each member of the cast in turn. Maybe I was just in the wrong mood for it but Christie has done much better than this.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 4th August 2002.


Many electric underground metro trains can accelerate rapidly from a standing start at a platform. Why are most electric trains running above ground apparently unable to achieve the same rapid acceleration?

sometimes the last word just doesn’t help. there are five answers to this question, all essentially different and i’m more confused than i was before the question was asked.

panic attack

so having posted about how great my isp were and how little downtime i’d had this year i went and screwed my router up big time yesterday afternoon, all my own fault and nothing to do with eclipse. i got it into a state where i needed the default configuration file off the cd to get anywhere. i couldn’t connect to the net to download anything, the cd was absolutely nowhere to be found and i sent myself into a miserable panic.

if i hadn’t done this then i probably wouldn’t have found what should i do if the internet goes down? quite as funny as i do.

what should i do if the internet goes down?

If you find that your connection to the Internet is going to be longer than you can possibly stand, as a last resort, pull out an emergency AOL CD, the one with 910 free hours of connection to the AOL service. Take the CD in one hand…and slash it across your wrist! Suicide will probably be a better alternative than connecting to that service.

fortunately my configuration cd turned up buried in a envelope behind a camera driver cd in a pile of cds i’d already scoured twice.

[found via sore eyes]

Not the End of the World by Kate Atkinson

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Ostensibly this is a collection of short stories but I’d advise doing what I did: start at the beginning and read them through like they’re a book. Because they are, sort of. Very loose and not quite plotted but they work well in order. I’m torn between saying that they are individually nonsense and collectively make sense, or individually quite sensible and collectively quite nonsensical, so I’ll just say both and add that I really enjoy reading Kate Atkinson’s stuff and hope that there’s lots more coming for me to read.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 2nd November 2003.