Saturday, 29 November 2008

strange bedfellows

Walking home to K's tonight I saw Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas, the gift-bearing children's friend Santa Claus was based on, at the local Scientology chapel.

What in Xenu's name..?

balance

Isn't it strange that after buying an apartment and having the first mortgage payment taken from my account my bank balance seems to be in better shape than it has been for years? Of course I still need to buy stuff for the house, but I'm planning on doing that gradually.

From taking money out of my - originally very healthy - savings account bit by bit until there was nothing left, I've gone to finding myself thinking this morning "I really need to move some of this to a proper savings account" (I do have an account next to my checking account that yields some interest.)

There's got to be some big cost that I'm forgetting about.

Friday, 28 November 2008

stacks

Yes, I am still around, don't get your hopes up!

Last night my parents visited without, for the first time, any plans for major construction (i.e. no electrical tools were used) so after my father dumped a few things they needed to store somewhere in my downstairs lockup, we just sat down on the sofa, had tea and talked about my TV. Even about some of what was on it, i.e. a five-minute discussion about who was in goal in which my Dad was talking about the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper and Mom about the NEC goalie. To give them credit, they were both right.

So after they left I checked how little storage space I now have left for K's winter tyres (they're still in Sunshine's parents' garage; Sunshine and K broke up, so it wouldn't do to leave them there too long) and noticed the books Dad moved. They were among some of the ones I got from K and (through him) from Bob and Marian. (By the way, less than a year after Marian moved back to the US, the other namegiving partner in her lawfirm has also left, to become Minister for Integration for our Labour party.)

Perusing the stacks I picked out David Leavitt's While England Sleeps and Bob Spitz' Beatles biography. I enjoy discovering new books and with this library I'll never have to turn them back in...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

tagged!

I've been tagged by Willym to participate in another book meme. Fortunately for him, those are just about the only ones I respond to. These are the rules:

Open the book nearest your computer (and be honest not something artsy-fartsy so you can impress everyone) turn to page 56. Post the 5th sentence in italics plus one or two before and thereafter for context.

So here it goes:

The nearest books are in a pile within an arms' length of the computer, consisting of - from top to bottom - a King James Bible, A Chosen Faith about Unitarian Universalism and a UU songbook, Singing the Living Tradition. I've italicised the fifth sentence of the KJ text, other italics are as published:
EXODUS 21
Laws Regarding Oxen
28 If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his fless shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.
29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.
30 If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom of his life whatsoever is laid upon him.
31 Whether he have gored a son, or have gored a daughter, according to this judgment shall it be done unto him.
32 If the ox shall push a manservant or a maidservant; he shall give unto their master thirty she'-kels of silver, and the ox shall be stoned.
33 And if a man shall open a pit, or if a man shall dig a pit, and not cover it, and an ox or an ass fall therein;
34 The owner of the pit shall make it good, and give money unto the owner of them; and the dead beast shall be his.
35 And if one man's ox hurt another's, that he die; then they shall sell the live ox, and divide the money of it, and the dead ox also they shall divide.
36 Or if it be known that the ox hath used to push in time past, and his owner hath notkept him in; he shall surely pay ox for ox; and the dead shall be his own.

I must say using pot as a way to control vicious oxen was new to me, but having thought it over, it just might work... A Chosen Faith starts a new chapter on page 56 and besides the title ("The Known and the Unknown") it only contains the following two quotes. Count carefully and you'll see that there are only four sentences on the entire page:
Who are these Unitarian Universalists, standing around the coffee table on Sunday morning discussing last night's movie and next fall's election; reviewing the morning sermon, designing tomorrow's education, storming over next century's oceans? Joyful celebrants of the gift of life, mixing nonsense with the quest of the ages, turning secular need into concerned action, serving wine on the lawn and petitions in the foyer?
-- Betty Mills, Unitarian Universalist layperson

Keepers of the dream will come again and again, from what humble places we do not know, to struggle against the crushing odds, leaving behind no worldly kingdom, but only a gleam in the dark hills to show how high we may climb. Already there have been many such heroes - women and men whose names we do not know, but whose words and deeds still light the path for us.
-- H.G. Wenzel, Unitarian Universalist layperson

And now for some music! Singing the Living Tradition doesn't have pagenumbers, you tell the pages by the numbers of the hymns. Number 56 is called "Bells in the High Tower". It has four stanzas:
Bells in the high tower,
ringing o'er the white hills,
mocking the winter,
singing like the spring rills;
bells in the high tower,
in the cold foretelling
the spring's upwelling.

Bells in the old tower,
like the summer chatter
from darting bright birds,
as the grapes turn redder;
bells in the old tower,
now the wine is brimming,
new life beginning.

Bells in the stone tower,
echoing the soft sound
of autumn's mill wheel,
as the wheat is spun round;
bells in the stone tower,
see the bread is yeasting
for time of feasting

Bells in the cold tower,
'midst the snow of winter
sound out the spring song
that we may remember;
bells in the cold tower,
after the long snowing
come months of growing.

Again, four sentences. And I'm not artsy-fartsy, I'm obviously a religious nut!

No bitching about the editing, Joe!

gently introduce nose to grindstone for optimum result

Funny how after a week off work I feel like I've been away for months. Best remember to set my alarm again...

packages

Perhaps I can keep on switching cable providers every two weeks...

I don't know about other countries, but over here the cable companies try to sucker you into buying the extended packages by giving them to you for free the first couple of weeks. That is how it came to pass that last night when I was idly paging through the their guide, I came across an 'interesting' movie.

The premiss of The Hole is that there is a video tape out there that will turn men gay seven days after having watched it. Of course they all need to test whether they're really gay - on one occasion a "straight" friend helps one guy out. Then a Swedish reporter from the San Bernadino Examiner tries to get to the bottom of the story...

Apparently over here the mainstream movie channels are not averse to showing gay porn at night. Hence my opening statement. ;-)

EDIT: On a more serious note, this morning I watched Das Leben Der Anderen. Wow! That Oscar was thoroughly deserved.

Monday, 17 November 2008

you people write too much

You go offline for a few days and there are 680 new items on your Google Reader. Sheesh!

Just be good for GOODNESS' sake

goodness

No matter what philosophy, creed or religion you adhere to, please heed the above message. You know it makes sense.

(via Joe and the American Humanist Association)

i CAN has the internetz!

Hi there! I knew I could do the techie part myself! Here I am with my modem installed and connection with a new provider sorted, I'm so proud of myself...

I need to grab an extension cord to hook up the bread maker and the microwave and the washing machine is not working yet (the drain needs to be fixed, but apparently all it needs is a 10" piece of pvc piping) but apart from that, everything is in working order and all I need to do is sort out this mess and add a few details (a toilet brush, for instance, and dishwasher tablets).

I will make time to catch up with all of y'all's blogs later, but for now rest assured I'm back. Just try to get rid of me!

Hugs and kisses. Now I'm off to buy the corniest picture postcards I can find to send out with my new adress.

PS. If you want a card too, you'll have to send me your adress!

Friday, 14 November 2008

moving

I've been a busy bee the last three days, moving box after box after box into my new apartment, even unpacking a few! The kitchen is practically done, but almost everything else is still sitting on the floors, including me.

Actually, right now I'm in my old home, waiting for my father to arrive with the van. Tomorrow morning(and perhaps tonight) we will load all the big furniture into that so that we can take it to my new place. Almost all the books are already in the cellar, waiting for my bookcases to be put up - the horizontal planks are there already, they're only 60 centimeter (2 feet) wide - and for me to sort them all out. It seems daunting...

Today my washing machine and TV were delivered (my parents had said from the start that I would get the former from them, but then a few days ago my Dad said - okay, Mom told me first, but I was sworn to secrecy - that I could have a 32" TV on them too). Unfortunately, they couldn't install the washer and I was just busy installing digital TV on my old set so I told them to put it down for the moment too. But it'll all work out.

I think I may have to get ready for the arrival of père Knife. 'Night all!

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

hello, goodbye

Hello pumpkins, this is your Queen speaking!

Actually, all I wanted to say is that tomorrow I get the keys to the apartment and I may not be able to get online for a while. Don't worry, nothing's happened. And I sometimes overreact terribly, so you may not even miss me.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

why I love QI

Dorothy Parker called her parrot Onan because it spilled its seed on the ground.

I found that Quite Interesting, I didn't know it. (At first I thought I must have missed that episode, until I realised I was watching Bonus Bits & Bloopers on YouTube.) Let's take a look at the King James Bible:

And Judah said unto Onan, Go in unto thy brother's wife, and marry her, and raise up seed to thy brother.

And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother's wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

And the thing which he did displeased the LORD: wherefore he slew him also.

Genesis 38:8-10
(This links to a different translation than the one quoted above, try out other versions by using the pull-down menu.)

Which sounds to me that someone was pissed off at Onan for not impregnating his brother's wife, rather than for masturbating...

In fact doesn't it sound as if he pulled out? In Dutch we call that "leaving the church without singing".

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast

NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While publicly supporting Palin, McCain's top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent "tens of thousands" more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.

A Palin aide said: "Governor Palin was not directing staffers to put anything on their personal credit cards, and anything that staffers put on their credit cards has been reimbursed, like an expense. Nasty and false accusations following a defeat say more about the person who made them than they do about Governor Palin."

McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request.


(From "Hackers and Spending Sprees" on Newsweek). Also interesting from the same article:

Palin launched her attack on Obama's association with William Ayers, the former Weather Underground bomber, before the campaign had finalized a plan to raise the issue. McCain's advisers were working on a strategy that they hoped to unveil the following week, but McCain had not signed off on it, and top adviser Mark Salter was resisting.


I received the results of my latest shopping spree yesterday: two underwire bras (one blue with silver stripes, the other black), six panties (two the same as the marine bra, four black) and some pantyhose...

Good morning America how are you?

Obama

(on the cover of the special late edition of Metro)