Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

It’s getting nearer and nearer to the big day. There’s less than 9 days of gift buying out there and, if like me, you’ve got a lot left to get, here’s some good ideas for gifts and some outright howlers.

Just for laughs and in keeping with the good idea / bad idea mentality:

Good idea: a subscription to an interest-appropriate magazine. Motoring, music, gaming etc.

Bad idea: a subscription to an interest-appropriate magazine: Pornography, fetishism, plumbing.

Good idea: Jewelery. Tasteful, diamonds, gold silver.

Bad idea: Jewelery. Fake, green mark leaving, scratch – inducing, won-from-a-cracker.

Good idea: Underwear. Tasteful, flattering, silky and sensual.

Bad idea: Underwear. Tasteless, crotcheless, body slimming – ‘I think you’ll never lose weight please try hiding it.’

Good idea: Hair care products. Hair straighteners, dryer, curlers etc.

Bad idea: Hair care products: Just-For-Men, ear and nostril hair trimmer – no matter how novelty this is the message is still “you’re sprouting a forest from your ears.”

Good idea: arranging an animal adoption in someone’s name online.

Bad idea: arranging a mail-order bride online in someone’s name.

Good idea: Memberships, a spa membership – ‘pamper yourself’ type treatments.

Bad idea: Memberships, a gym membership – ‘lose weight and shape up’ treatments.

I’m still a firm believer that the Guinness Book of Records is one of the worst gifts to both give and receive. It’s a real ‘I don’t know you at all / couldn’t be bothered to go further into the shop’ gift.

So what is the worst gift idea? Is it the bunch of socks, the “no-Dad Jumper” or the Chesney Hawkes greatest hits CD? Did you ever get worse?


There’s many things in this world that can make you stop and think and maybe question your behaviour. Even, for example, a comment said in jest.

Take, for example, my evening last. Normally, I tend not to get on the computer when I get home. I spend all day on one at work, bouncing around the internet and the social media world so when I get home, I try not to. I try and adhere to the Lee Iaccoca method of disconnecting from work in order to preserve my sanity. Whether it be going down the gym or getting a quick game in with the Xbox headset before the girlfriend gets home and it’s time to prep some food.

That’s normally, it’s not that I set that routine in motion deliberately, it just happened. Last night, though, was different. As mentioned before, I noticed that my garden shed has been letting in water. While it’s not raining now I know that it’s likely to soon, this is England after all. So I need to re-felt it. This isn’t something I know how to do so I decided to look it up online.

Now, typing in something like ‘how to re-felt a shed roof’ on google isn’t itself anything to cause concern, having someone call you “old man” for having such items on your screen is.

I’m not precious about my age but I don’t like the suggestion that my activities are akin to that of someone of superior age. Especially when it makes me think. I mean, is worrying about the state of my shed actually something a young man would be doing??  Re-felting the shed sounds more like something my Dad would do, not me.

And it’s not just the shed! I got to thinking and there’s some more worrying signs that my behaviour has changed too. Christmas is approaching and I’ve already been using these pages to bitch about the number of people in the town.

Not only that but when it comes to Christmas meals and parties I’ve been asking “is there anywhere to park?” Then, and this is the kicker, thinking I shouldn’t be too late getting back as I’ll need my sleep. I used to take pride in how just little sleep I could by on before going back out.

Searching for books and finding those ‘Things To Do Before You’re 30’ books and thinking “chance would be a fine thing.” Chance would be a fine thing?!! Even the phrase itself sounds like one my Dad would use, what is it doing in my head??

Here’s another thing: my Dad has an odd habit that may well not be unique to him but certainly his age group. He waves at drivers with the same car as him. Not just if they let him out of a junction or if he knows them, if they’re sitting behind the same type of steering wheel is they get the wave. Now, he recently got himself a rather nice used Toyota, and this isn’t a rare car. Delightful a drive as it may be, there’s a lot of these Toyotas around, his right hand barely gets a chance to sit on the steering wheel before he’s raising it in a comradery-like gesture at another driver.

While I’m not doing this myself I have certainly started down this road as I know that I offer a knowing smile when I see someone driving the same Alfa as mine. Even when I’m not in it!

I’ve got a family wedding to go to in a week or so. Normally all I’ve had to worry about, aside from the gift decisions, is some relative asking me and my girlfriend “are you two next?” Now I’m worried that I’m going to have one Guinness too many and start dancing like my Dad.

That’s if I’m not too busy enquiring about car parking!

Now, I have something of an interest in certain documentaries. Namely about WW2. Not, I hasten to point out, because I like tanks or tactics, I have a real curiousity about the mindset of the soldiers. How they managed to go day-to-day, knowing the reality of their situation. Now I’m thinking that sitting watching documentaries of a historical note is another sign of age. I didn’t pay attention to this when I was in school, I was too busy doing… other… things. Yet now I’m quite often parked on the sofa watching the History Channel, like my Dad does.

I’m going to have to do something to re-assert my youth before I start saying that policeman are looking younger.

There’s things I love about winter and tied into those are things I hate.

For example, I love the chill in the air, even in the morning. It wakes me up and makes me feel more alive. Yet, as mentioned before, I hate the effect it has on my car’s shine. I’m beginning to lose patience with defrosting it in the mornings.

I also love the gradual build up to the big day.

Don’t mistake this for being as excitable as a child about Christmas. While I’m far from Scrooge, I look forward more to the break and putting my feet up after a big meal and watching rubbish tv. It’s the only time of the year I can excuse the normal television programming. I really enjoy the feeling that builds within as the day draws in. What I don’t like though is the constant reminders in supermarkets and television.

Not to mention the press of people that fill the town centre on weekends during December. This, however, shouldn’t be a problem for me this weekend. Firstly because I’ve only just started my Christmas shopping and will be doing it at various quieter intervals – not having to worry about bedtimes for kids as I don’t have any – and a large part of Christmans will be dealt with thanks to a bit of online shopping.

There’s also the fact that I’m going to be heading down to my local Medway Alfa Romeo dealership tommorow. I know I’ve only just bored you all with the details of how much I love my car but the idea of looking at some new ones is too tempting.

Not that it’s a done decision, I’m taking mine in for a service yet I know I’m going to be sorely tempted to trade up.  This ties into the love/hate thing nicely though: I love both driving and driving my car, though I hate the maintainence side of the deal which is why I hand it over to the dealer to do the job I guess.

I’m often outspoken on what I think is wrong with the automotive industry and it usually boils down to the fact that so many new cars look alike or identical. That’s one of the reasons I’ve always like Alfa Romeos, in my mind they are one of the few brands out there that exert a sense of distinctive and attractive styling.

Plus I say nuts to the fear-mongering press, it’s still a good time to buy a car.  Yes, we’re all looking at the grim end of a recession but how is not-spending and believing the worst going to help? No wonder there’s no consumer-confidence when all the press wants to do is tell us we’re doomed. I’m starting to think Marvin the Paranoid Android is in charge of the press. If we all cower in fear and start hiding our money away how is the economy ever going to recover?!

Can I withstand temptation or will my wallet be confiscated in time?

It’s that time of year again, when I start trying to get hints from beloved and relatives for Christmas gifts and they start outright asking me what I’d like (I admit it, I’m a real pain to buy for).

This year it’s simple. One of my gifts-for-self this year was an XBox 360. Yes, I know: I waited long enough. It’s certainly true that it has kept me from logging in a full 8 hours sleep at night and that I don’t think I got any sleep at all during the first weekend it nestled beneath my tv.

In keeping with my addiction to gadgets and add-ons and accessories my Christmas wish list this year is going to consist primarily of Xbox Accessories like these. Pleeeease Santa, I’ve been a good boy. A pair of the X3 Wireless Headphones would keep the neighbours from banging on the wall too.

Now, given that I’m notoriously bad on picking up on hints, how do you know (without simply asking) what to get others?