New Year's Day Archives -

Saddam Shame

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So, Saddam’s dead then, which will surely come as a shock if you’ve been living under a large rock this Christmas. But, in these cases, it’s always worth looking beyond the headlines. Robert Fisk has two articles showing the emerging murky facts about the execution. In “Our complicity dies with him,” Fisk notes that the many secrets Saddam Hussein had about the West’s business dealings with Iraq are gone forever. which is handy for George and Tony. In “A dictator created then destroyed by America“, he points out that “Osama bin Laden will certainly rejoice, along with Bush and Blair.” And finally, for those that wondered why the “official” execution video had no sound, IraqSlogger describes the common-sense and divisive conclusions you can draw from the timing of the execution and the soundtrack on the new sneaky mobile phone video of the execution. Nothing’s as it seems, is it? Happy New Year, Iraq!

Catching up with life…

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Over the last couple of months, work has been more than busy. For those who don’t know – and those that usually forget every time I tell them – I’m a Software and IT specialist for a pharmaceutical company that seems to be growing exponentially. My combination of roles is taking it’s toll though. As the company grows, I’m feeling a bit like the last bit of jam at the end of the jam jar – rather thinly spread. Two large IT projects have been launched, while all the time supporting the UK software base, conducting all the training and being a general IT monkey. Getting in at 8am and leaving at 7pm is not a load of fun – and hopefully after a bit of discussion last week things will pan out well in the new year.
And because of this – and the 4 websites I’ve built recently – nothing really happened on, as several readers are at pains to point out.
However, I this the site is due a revamp, don’t you?

New Year, New Shock

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Happy New Year! Time is cracking on and no mistake. 27 years old, and my close friends and I have all decided a night in with drink, food and games is a better and cheaper alternative than going to a crowded, high-charging pub or nightclub. Actually, the “cheaper” part was a false dawn – Michelle and I invited people round and then proceded to stock up with food and drink until the fridge overflowed. Jac, Debbie, Nick and Sarah popped round, and together we eat, drank, played Buzz and sped our way into 2005. Selfishly, Nick and Sarah stole the show. They announced that they were now officially engaged – a fact I’d almost ruined earlier in the day when I spied them looking furtive in a Guildford jewellers. This is a big moment, Ladies and Gentleman – Nick and I used to trawl Guildford nightly for about a year back in my Sun Microsystem-employed days, and the final marital nail and been planted in that coffin.
(pause for sigh)
So congratulations to both of them, and for goodness sake don’t let any more of you get engaged…

And another year passes by…

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“A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.”

The last couple of weeks have been a blur of parties, presents, turkey and trimmings.
There was my first office Christmas knees up since I started there, which went amazingly without embarrassment. There was in fact two parties – one traditional Christmas meal and one booze up in Guildford. My manager and I had tried for weeks beforehand to organise the booze up, and despite having to change the date we all managed to turn up and boogie until 3am on Saturday morning. Our chosen venue was the Voodoo Lounge and the cheesy music enabled me to bop until closing time. Limbs flailing and outrageously out of time, I felt it was only fair to apologise for my dancing to the rest of our group the following Monday. No matter though – all agreed it was good fun, and excuses are now being finalised to have another one…
And then there was Mel’s birthday meal at a pub in Fulham. Being so close to Christmas, it was compulsory to have turkey and trimmings, a fact that our stomachs were most pleased about. Jac, however, had promised his girlfriend that he would be round for Chistmas dinner with her that night, and late in the evening, after his second three course meal of the day, I got a text message: “I fell full. And bloated. And about to explode. I don’t think I can manage the eleventh After Eight of the evening…”
Christmas Day was the usual family-based affair, with the largest turkey I’ve ever laid eyes on sitting on the dining table at my grandmothers house. We tucked in, and barely made a dent. My presents were prolific and wonderful, and amongst many other things I am now the proud owner of a tie rack, a cocktail shaker, several DVDs, an XBOX game and a fibre optic light. Playing on my affection for elephants, I’m also now a proud sponsor of a newborn elephant called Tume, with a complementary ticket to go and see the little rascal. A trip to Whipsnade in the near future, I think…
Finally, there was New Year. My usual plan is to leave everything undecided until the last moment, and accept a party offer at the 11th hour. However, this year no-one seemed to have plans. And why, Michelle and I thought on the 30th December, should we go out, spend loads of money on virtually nothing and not remember a thing? As it happens, Jac and Debbie felt the same, so Michelle and I piled round to Jac’s farmhouse, to be presented with a magnificent 3 course meal on a fully laid up dinign table, complete with Winnie The Pooh christmas crackers. It was a grand effort, and 2005 came round with the greatest of ease.
So, there goes another zippedy fast year. I hope you all had a good Christmas!

Exercise – The Grand Start.

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My idea of exercise is a good brisk sit.
Phyllis Diller
Those of you that have known me for any length of time will notice that I am larger than I used to be. Not just in wit and sheer intelligence (although it’s very good of you to say so), but in sheer physical size. University was the issue – the powerful combination of a student grant and a chinese restaurant within 100 metres overwhelmed me. And now, here I am, 3 stone heavier than I was, and finally determined to do something about it. But it’ll take some doing. There’s a lot of love in those handles.
So this New Year, I’ve resolved to shed those stones. The barely used rowing machine I invested in a year ago (virtually the only exercise it has seen was when I sprained my wrist building the damn thing) has been dusted off and spread out in the garage, accompanied by a heater for the cold winter days.
I write this while still under the severe influence of exercise. 10 minutes on the rower 4 times a week has reduced my legs to lead. Still, onwards and upwards.

Simon H’s world beating gossip

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“Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline.”
Walter Winchell
As I wondered to the pub that New Year’s Day morning, I checked my phone voicemail. “Hello mate, I’ve got some gossip that will top any gossip you’ve had since gossip began,” Simon H promised, and with that I called him back immediately, wondering what it could be – has he won the lottery? Has he split up with Lucy, his fiance? Has Jimmy Saville finally kicked the bucket?
And the news, when he eventually answered, was quite simply astounding, especially to those who have known Simon H, one of my closest friends, for as long as I have. I asked him to repeat it several times. I was so shocked, I had to hang up and phone back several minutes later to congratulate him.
What was the news? Oh yes. Here’s what he said.
“Hello mate. Lucy’s pregnant. 9 weeks gone.”

Strolling Along…

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I’ve been a little sparse (good word) on here of late, having been as busy as a blue-bummed fly. Between booking holidays to Dublin, tickets to Matchbox 20 and Bon Jovi concerts, rugby tickets to see England vs Italy in March, and running my work department on half the usual number of people, it’s been a little hectic. Still, a few things have happened to it would be rude not to mention. First was a free trip to Woking cinema with Michelle, her brother and his fiance (Michelle had won 6 tickets, the lucky tyke) to see City By The Sea. It was more of a private showing really – the first 20 minutes we were the only people in the cinema. Then there was the first visit of the New Year to The Drink nightclub, where we met Alex and Milly for the first time in ages. Alex seems to be still the man to know around town – Champagne flowed freely while he implied that he could get cheap deals for anything I wanted. I took full advantage, and decided to meet him again on Wednesday for a meal. Cracking.

Cheap month

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My New Year economy drive is in full swing. January’s always an awful month – you’ve spent all your money on presents and pubs, and you have to survive an extra week before you get paid… In the last month, I’ve been to 3 parties – one work do paid for by the nice people at Head Office, and two house parties, where I rudely brought no alcohol and proceeded to drink everyone elses. Of course, thing’s never go to plan, and my car decided that now would be a good time to bring up its two bald tyres, broken cooling fan and dodgy rear brakes. Bless it though – got the tyres fixed yesterday, and it bombs along now. Chessington Tyres, I love you. Kind of.
So, what have I been doing without spending money? Well, I’ve been visiting Head Office, which put expensive lunchtime Marks and Spencer sandwiches well out of reach, and carting Michelle and workmates around for their Christmas do, earning ?20 in the process. I combined my chauffering job with a visit to the Cranley Hotel for a long drink with Jac and Shunta for the first time in ages. Jac managed to discover he could balance his beer on his stomach while standing up (previously he could only manage it sitting down – it’s sad, isn’t it), and the evening ended with a beer towel fight. Jac, as ever, has a full decription of the night here.
While Jac and I wondered out of the pub at about 1am, Shunta stayed at the bar till 4am, no doubt informing everyone how his pus-filled abcess is getting on…

Christmas/New Year updates

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In the words of several people this week, “Why the bloody hell haven’t you updated” Well, in true FHM style, here’s the long overdue:

‘What Wibbler’s been doing this week (and a half)’

  • Went with my girlfriend and both sets of parents to the Jack and the Beanstalk pantomime in Guildford. Utterly brilliant (Oh no it wasn’t…) and fully regressed into childhood.
  • Got an extremely noisy Christmas card from Michelle.
  • Got wonderful presents from parents and girlfriend, including a Playboy Zippo lighter
    (all i have to do now is start smoking), a car kit, 2 sets of drinking games including shot glasses, a Yves St Laurent top, a Matchbox Twenty music DVD, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for the Playstation 2, a Projector clock, a mini Ice Hockey game, toiletries, a book and some sweets. And other stuff.

  • Reminisced at drunken youth in Cinderellas nightclub. Ahh, the memories of that shoebox-sized club…
  • Worked. Far too much.
  • Visited aging relatives in Kent, and found it remarkably enjoyable.
  • Developed a new, fruit-themed, minimalist design for
  • Found out at a New Years Eve party in Tooting that a recent friend is the bloke who writes the headline one-liners on Sky News. Cue a night of developing puns for his next day’s work, including: Chink in the Armour (story: Chinese army trouble), Out On A Limb (story: dismembered remains found in London), Water Disaster (story: Floods around the UK), Saddam Shame (story: impending war on Iraq), I Have A Very Large Hangover (story: he was VERY drunk last night).
  • Watched in sheer amazement as Jac blew up a balloon, only for it to explode in his face.
  • Realised that I am surrounded by the greatest, kindest and funniest bunch of tykes I could wish for. And, including my girlfriend, my closest female friends are all gorgeous to boot.
  • Discovered at same party that all Jac and I need in order to have fun is to be in the same room together.

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to wars, global financial depression, and a pay rise…