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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Wednesday, 31 December 2003

Christmas type photos...

Here is our Christmas 2003 photo collection. I've just realised - I didn't take any photos during our unfeasibly brief afternoon pre-Christmas in Bexhill, especially annoying since almost the whole family was down there. It was a bit crazy, with lots of comings and goings, but I'm sure we'll have another opportunity.

In a kind of chronological order, then...

Christopher's pre-school performance took place on the 10th December - I wouldn't have missed it, especially considering how quickly our little ones are growing up. The older and younger groups took part, and we were also treated to some carols by the local secondary school band (on the left of the picture).Pre-school play

Christopher as JosephThe Pre-school performance this year (as, I recall, it was last year, too) was a nativity play, with some Christmassy bits added on the end (such as Frosty being a Snowman and Santa getting stuck up the chimney). Christopher was chosen to be Joseph, which gave us one of those "parental pride" moments, and sat, distractedly, at the front centre of the stage throughout the performance, occasionally coming out of his dream world to sing or poke things with his staff.

Here's the traditional photo of the children in front of the Christmas tree. It was taken shortly after the tree was put up, and before some of the decorations and tree lights were chopped off by small hands in conjunction with unwisely placed scissors.Children and the Christmas Tree

Ella's Christmas DressElla, wearing her Father Christmas costume. The hat didn't stay on for very long.

On the Sunday before Christmas, we took Christopher for a special trip to Gulliver's Land where they had a seasonal theme day. This included a small meal, and a visit to Father Christmas, and unlimited rides. The weather was chilly, but at least it stayed dry. Christopher appeared to have a good time, and brought home a "hungry hippos" type game as his gift - a good choice.Gulliver's Land

Chris and EleanorChristopher (or Chris, as he prefers to be known now!) and Eleanor (or Ella, as we prefer to call her) on Christmas Day.

Here's a picture of Beth and Chris, taken on Christmas Day. It's something of a rarity to see him stationary like this - when there are presents to be ripped apart, he certainly resembles the Taz on his waistcoat.Beth and Chris

Ella on Christmas DayElla on Christmas Day. She can pull herself up to standing now, and climbs between the furniture. She can also crawl at an astonishing rate when the need arises (she can spot something she shouldn't have before we can!)

Chris and his second cousin Sammy played very well together. He's about 14 months older, and a little bossy, but they get on excellently. It's a shame they don't get to see each other very often - Sammy's family live in deepest Surrey.Chris and second cousin Sammy

Ella and PennyPenny, Sammy's sister, was born a couple of days before Eleanor, and they're both tiny for their ages because of illness during their early infancy. It's amazing to see two babies interact, as there are no prejudices, and they are completely natural.

This is one of those "I wish there were toys like this about when I was younger" presents - from Christopher's grandparents, who are also custodians of the rest of his rather impressive miniature Transformer (Mini-Con) collection. It's the flagship Optimus Prime which does some clever electric tricks, converting into a robot almost automatically!Chris and Optimus Prime

So there they are... I'm hoping to keep this more up-to-date as we go into 2004. No promises, mind!

Posted by james at 6:46 PM

Friday, 5 December 2003

junk texts and advent calendar competitions...

I just received this marvellous piece of sales spiel on my mobile phone:

Almost 150 weddings through MobileMatch... and 739 divorces. Just text back "GO" and find your perfect partner. To opt out txt back "STOP". POBox 39822 W11 1NX

  • Almost 150 weddings - well, 1 is almost 150, when compared with 16,344,239. And I bet they haven't even got that.

  • and 739 divorces - SOLD! This text service has been (in)directly responsible for the break up of, ooh, almost 7,500 marriages. So tempting...

  • Just text back "GO" and find your perfect partner - send them a text, and then go and find your perfect partner. The two aren't necessarily connected...

  • To opt out txt back "STOP". - yeah, right. You think I'm that dim? You won't interpret the "STOP" as meaning "there is a human at the other end of this phone. Let's send him more stuff!" I very much doubt it.

  • POBox 39822 W11 1NX - did you know that if you send, say, a breezeblock through the post with a 19p stamp on it, the recepient must pay the penalty postage. Either that or send it back to the sender; to a return address of, say, POBox 39822 W11 1NX...

I Googled for the PO Box number, to find nothing more than a few more whinges, just like this one (one of which brought up the valid point - how do they get my number?) and a football club who are clearly foolish enough to use this dodgy bunch as service providers. So now I will either:

  • Not bother doing anything. Most likely.

  • Create an account on sms.lycos.co.uk and send three free junk mail messages a day back to the number they sent it from. It'll probably not work.

In fact, I'll probably opt for the first option, as I'd never get round to keeping up something like that every day.


Here's an interesting service that turned up while Googling: grumbletext.co.uk. I haven't quite worked out the point of it, yet, though. Answers on a postcard. Or text message, I suppose.

Bad Pensions

I also came across a cautionary tale, en-route to MobileMatch perusal: badpension.com. Best not to get a pension from Zurich Financial Services, it would seem.

Advent Calendar Competitions

Speaking (as I'm sure I was, a bit further up) of things that I couldn't get round to doing every day... there are a number of websites with advent calendar-based prize draws, of which I've managed to do two days. Here are the ones I've visited (all found using the worryingly innocuous www.loquax.co.uk competition portal:
  • www.adventcalendar.net - Loqaux's own advent calendar site

  • Littlewoods - this one's a bit worrying - it needs to download software to your PC for some reason. I don't think I like this one much.

  • www.gm.tv - probably quite popular, therefore little chance of winning

  • www.mykindaplace.com - I think this one's for women.

  • www.nme.com - this one's (obviously) music related, but how on earth does one go about winning?

  • www.paramountcomedy.co.uk - that's more like it - stick my name on a form and click 'submit'...

  • www.tescopf.co.uk - Tesco's finance - even better... instant win. Or, in my case, "instant don't win."

Pretty much all of these sites require an email address to register - I used to have a separate Yahoo! mail account for such things, but now I have my own domain, I tend to use {website}.com@mus-ic.co.uk for each different one, so I can identify where the spam's coming from if/when they sell my email address on.

Good luck...

Posted by james at 1:35 PM

miserable failure

Most amusing...

  • go to http://www.google.co.uk

  • type miserable failure into the search box (leave everything else as it is)

  • click the I'm feeling lucky button.

Posted by james at 9:10 AM

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