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Feburary 1st 2009
Happy February, everyone. I hope you're not too cold. Anyway, to business: I think it would be a good idea to look through 'Affirmation' by Savage Garden, and see how much I agree with. OK, fair enough, it's an entirely pointless endeavour and it's about a song that came out about a decade ago, but I was listening to it today and thought I'd go for it. Read on.

I believe the Sun should never set upon an argument
I don't like arguments, full stop. The Sun doesn't really come into it; if anything, artificially ending an argument moments before sunset is odd.
I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands
We certainly do. Or, at least, I do - even people I barely know.
I believe that junk food tastes so good because it's bad for you
That's probably true. Though some stuff that's bad for you doesn't taste good, like fried parsnip or bitumen.
I believe your parents did the best job they knew how to do
Yeah they did. Cheers Mum & Dad!
I believe that beauty magazines promote low self esteem
This one is more true for women, I think. Though I'm more sensitive to insult than most, I generally couldn't care less if people disparage my beauty. But then, I've never read a beauty magazine.
I believe I'm loved when I'm completely by myself alone
I do. But I believe it more when they're there.

[Chorus]
I believe in Karma: what you give is what you get returned

No. I don't believe this. Easy.
I believe you can't appreciate real love 'til you've been burned
My experience tells me that you can never understand someone else's love, so I'm sure you can appreciate real love without having been burned (figuratively, I assume). But certainly the burning makes you appreciate real love.
I believe the grass is no more greener on the other side
I disagree. I think it is sometimes.
I believe you don't know what you've got until you say goodbye
This is probably the most true of everything here - and it's probably the way it should be. When you truly appreciate something, you tend not to know how lucky you are.

I believe you can't control or choose your sexuality
Er... no idea. Pass.
I believe that trust is more important than monogamy
This one interests me - I'd say that, in marriage, they're probably both pretty vital. Maybe the point they're getting at is that monogamy without trust isn't good enough (cf. Othello).
I believe your most attractive features are your heart and soul
No. My most attractive features are my eyes. Specifically the eyelashes.
I believe that family is worth more than money or gold
Yes, I agree with this one. I've never been overly bothered by either money or gold.
I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair
I've never really thought about this, but I suppose he's right. Man should be born free.
I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires
This is clearly pre-recession. The millionaires are scared too, now.

[Chorus]

I believe forgiveness is the key to your own happiness
Yes! Both the forgiveness that God offers, and being able to forgive others. You may be right and they may be wrong, but it'll eat you up inside if you don't forgive.
I believe that wedded bliss negates the need to be undressed
This is clearly nonsense. If and when I am happily married, I still plan to take my clothes off before showering.
I believe that God does not endorse TV evangelists
By and large, I reckon this one's right.
I believe in love surviving death into eternity
I'm a Christian, so yes I do. But that's love as in Agape. Talk to a Greek, they'll sort you out.

[Chorus]

So there you have, my thoughts on the song. Apologies if you've never heard of it, but I reckon most of you will have come across it sometime. If not, it'll be on Youtube or some such... I'm just glad to have read the proper lyrics, since I'd always wondered why the singer reckoned forgiveness was the key to someone's unhappiness.
Tune in next time for more thrilling song analysis! Either that or I'm going to detail my ironing pile.

Feburary 7th 2009
Spence, Teddy & meI join you fresh from Wolves' latest attempt to throw away the Championship, having lost 2-1 at Coventry. We did it in style, at least, conceding the second just minutes after equalising, and missing a penalty deep into stoppage time. To borrow a phrase from last time; "I believe we place our happiness in other people's hands".
But on a cheerier note: snow!! Yesterday was a snow day for me, so Spence and I built a snowman, as you can see below. Actually, he's more of a snow bear. Please give special attention to the necklace made of frozen peas, and the expertly crafted arms.
But we weren't the only ones who made a snowman, as the creatures that represent us in this house also got in on the action. Sadly their snowbear was rather more shortlived than ours - cold our porch may be, but not cold enough to support such a structure for 24 hours. It was a sad group who were sat around a cake tin of water this morning.A snowbear!
I should really explain these little creatures, since I don't think I've done so before. My lovely household comprises me, Spence and Steve, and we have a system whereby we can tell who is in and who is out of the house. In this system, we each have a cuddly toy representing us; mine is a Wolves bear (his chest bearing the Wolves crest), Steve's is an Ipswich Town bear, and Spence's is a... golly. Golly indeed. I was taught as a child to say 'golly' rather than 'golliwog', but I fear that these days either may be off limits. Spence, you see, is 'of dual heritage' (I still reckon that anyone who was not the bi-product of incest, or a non-Harry member of the royal family, is of dual heritage, but there you go) so he chose a golly to represent him. Letters of disgust to the usual address. I'm just going to say that Carol Thatcher made me do it.
Anyhow, the snow frolics did not end yesterday, as our home group brunch ended in sliding down a hill, building a snowwoman and throwing snowballs at each other.
Which brings me neatly (though with scant regard to the correct usage of paragraphs, something which has held me back since the memorable occasion in Year 2 when my English Key Stage 1 SATS paper was bereft of them) to snowball fighting. I quite enjoyed it today, but by and large I do not like it. Maybe I'm just more creative than destructive, but while I am rarely more happy than when constructing things out of snow, throwing balls of the stuff at other folk - and being hit in return - just strikes me as the opposite of fun. What does it say of the human condition that, when faced with an unusual phenomenon, one of our first instincts is to throw it at other people? It's like the Iron Age all over.

Feburary 14th 2009
Valentine's Day again, and I can think of no better way to celebrate than by sharing some words from Dr. Cox:
Relationships don't work the way they do on television and in the movies: will they, won't they, then they finally do and they're happy forever. Give me a break. Nine out of ten of them end because they weren't right for each other to begin with, and half the ones who get married get divorced anyway - and I'm telling you right now, through all this stuff, I have not become a cynic. I haven't. Yes, I do happen to believe that love is mainly about pushing chocolate-covered candies and, y'know, in some cultures, a chicken. But you can call me a sucker, I don't care, because I do. Believe in it.

Feburary 22nd 2009
Lent is fast approaching (that's just funny. Laugh, dammit) and this year I am giving up cryptic crosswords.
Now, I'm not entirely sure of the pros and cons of giving things up - as a Christian - but I know that most people assume one is supposed to give up things that are bad for you for Lent. When I tell people about this - and I will, since my life is not full enough that this doesn't constitute 'hot goss' - the first question most people will ask will revolve around why I think crosswords are bad. So, I'll make one thing clear: I do not think cryptic crosswords are bad.
New paragraph. I think I need to emphasise how much I don't believe the Times cryptic crossword to be bad. It is one of the great things, and infinitely superior to sliced bread.
Anyhow, I side with the Victorians when it comes to discipline. They may not have had much in the way of rock'n'roll, and Dickens was a bit of a hack, but we could learn a thing or two from their attitude to discipline - by giving up the Times crossword (and, indeed, the Independent, Telegraph, Sun, Mirror... and so on, and so forth) I am exercising that self-discipline. Wish me luck.
In other news, there's a fair amount about suicide notes in the Times of late, as an old murder case is being re-investigated. In this case, the 'suicide note' was rejected as a fake (sort of... I won't go into details), but the relevant expert now reckons he was wrong. This gives me to wonder exactly how someone can tell whether a suicide note is real or not, and , by extension, what would I put in such a thing?
This is the kind of diary entry that makes Mum send me concerned emails, so I'd like to clarify that I am not actually suicidal. But I wonder why so many notes (of the few I've seen in the papers) contain hackneyed phrases like 'I want to end it all'. This is your last chance to tell the world your story, and you can be pretty sure that at least someone is going to read it. I don't mean to be flippant, but surely you'd want to put your personal mark on it? The extracts from this particular note looked so cliched that I'm not surprised it was rejected as a fake.
In non-suicide news, Ant was over this weekend, and managed not to arrange being at a party in Leamington halfway through, unlike last time. We partied (seriously, we actually went to a party. No kidding), we pub-crawled (again, seriously. Three pubs) and we did the projector at church. So a good time was had by all. When we rock, we rock hard. But we didn't get round to rocking.

Feburary 24th 2009
An update on the abandoned cupboard I mentioned a few weeks ago: someone took the second door a hundred metres down the road and left it outside a mechanic's. How come stuff like this doesn't make the Bristol Evening Post?
In other news, today is Ash Wednesday, and hence my first crossword-free day. I must admit that I was up at 11:57 last night, engaging in the crossword-making Facebook group of which I'm a member... cold turkey is hard. Indeed, one of the things I do when I'm trying to persuade my brain to let me go to sleep is create crossword clues in my head, and I had to stop myself doing that last night.1-0 to Boston. That's what I'm talking about.
Anyhow, I was at Tom's place yesterday, so we rather expertly made pancakes, a reuniting of Team Thomas (y'know, what with it being his first name and my last name) that was a triumphant as most of the rest.The pinnacle, of course, was when we beat Arsenal with Boston on Fifa - world class setting. See picture.
In other news, I was in an actuarial student meeting today, ably led by Darren (who may well be reading this. Hi Darren!) which was rolling along merrily until it came to the question of bonuses, salary and what-not. I have to admit that I work in the financial sector and, yes, I get a bonus. But I'm not a banker - unlike the aforementioned Tom - and I can't really be blamed for all the rubbish that's going on in the economy, considering my day-to-day work is agreeing (or otherwise) to cheap pensions for folk. Anyhow, our bonus structure has been changed a little (ably. By Darren. If I say it enough times, my bonus will go up), and people weren't happy... I may be in the minority, but I find it odd that people making around 30-35k a year are moaning about losing out on a few hundred pounds. I've been accused of parsimony on many occasions before, and while it's true that I buy my clothes from charity shops and see no reason to buy any other than Sainsburys' cheapest meat, I'm not a miser. As I've said here on a previous occasion, I've never had either enough or little enough money to worry about it unduly.
Even now, I'm buying two DVDs and a CD. Which reminds me, can I ask my loyal readers to back me up in the correct pronunciation of Kirsten Dunst's first name? I must have mentioned here that it's 'KEER-stun', not 'KUR-stun', and if you believe me I want you to clap your hands now. Ben tells me I'm wrong. Me!

what was I listening to?
The Remote Part - Idlewild
what was I reading?
Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince - J K Rowling
what was I watching?
Escape to Victory
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