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September 8th 2012
There are people out there, I believe, who enjoy being angry with other people and positively relish a feud. I am not one of those people. Whatever the reason (I might be able to blame this on being a premature baby), I find that even my righteous anger rebounds on me to make me feel a little... strodgy. Grumpled. Scrawbly. No, none of those are words, but hopefully you get the picture. Anyways, I'm a feeling a few of those things at the moment, after someone I know said something to me about Christianity that was not only offensive, but also manifestly stupid. It's not the first offensive and stupid thing about Christianity that has been said to me recently, nor even the first by him, and I'm starting to get a little tired of it. Hence the strodginess.
Anyways, nothing good can come of lingering on the point, so I shall instead turn to baby names. Not as a precursor to news of my forthcoming fatherhood - don't worry, you'll be the first to know - but to muse on the choices of my various friends who have had children over the last few years. It seems that I am just about passing through the age where oodles of my friends are getting married (no weddings planned this year) and have made the transition to having friends who are adding people to the world. I'm sure I'm going to miss some people out, but off the top of my head these are the names of babies who have been born to my friends in recent years: Abigail, Amelie, Augustus, Barnabus, Boaz, Charlie, Freya, Joel, Joshua, Lara, Layla, Lucy, Noah, Phoebe, Rupert, Sophie, Zebedee. There are seventeen names there; one that I very much like (Sophie, since you ask. No particular reason, I just think it's a damn good name), maybe five or six that I would consider for any potential continuer of the good Thomas name, and therefore at least ten that I, well, wouldn't. Now, I know that some of the name-choosers read this page, so I won't divulge which names are on the candidate list for the person who's going to look after me in my dotage, so you're just going to have to guess. But rest assured that if you are reading this then I think your choice of name is fantastic. And you're looking really good today. Is that a new haircut? It suits you. Good work on that.
In other news, I went to a bee fair today with Ben and Kate (and their son, Charlie, whom you might remember from that exciting list above), and learnt all kinds of interesting things, like the fact that the only kind of honey that doesn't set is... oh, curses, I've forgotten already. But there's only one. Ben is eager to become an apiarist, so I now know two people - the other being my mother - who collect bee-related objects. Ben's got a bee-shaped car air freshener, Mum, so you've got some work to do.

On this day in 2004... A while ago there was a suggested crack-down on these terrorists, but what it basically amounted to is that they're not allowed to persecute people or attack their property... weren't there already laws against stuff like that?

September 22nd 2012
Today is September 22nd and therefore the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins (although it should be noted that the Shire Calendar and the Gregorian Calendar are not one and the same, so some Lord of the Rings fans have taken to celebrating Hobbit Day on September 12th rather than today). I promise you that this is as geeky as today's post will get, and I feel I should clarify that I don't, myself, celebrate Hobbit Day. Unless anyone wants to invite me to something next year, in which case I'm game.
In other news, you can say what you like about Tom Cruise - as a Scientologist he has some very bizarre beliefs, although arguably no more bizarre than that belief held dear by all atheists, that everything in existence just sprang out of nothing - but the boy sure can act. I watched Born on the Fourth of July last night (did you know that Eagle Eye Cherry was in it? Me neither) and A Few Good Men earlier in the year, and was blown away once more by the skill Cruise possesses. I now own 13 films he features in, and from Jerry Maguire to Collateral to Rain Man to Tropic Thunder, the guy always brings it. Well, maybe not so much in Mission: Impossible 2. Anyways, TC has his critics, but he's earned his place as one of the biggest actors in the world.
In nostalgia news, have you ever thought back over your life and wondered how things might have gone had you made different decisions? I'm not necessarily talking in a Sliding Doors / butterfly effect kinda way, in which the smallest occurrences can indirectly cause you to change your hairstyle and date John Hannah, but the really big decisions. Where to live, what to do with your life, and all that. Well, I have, and this is a roughly chronological rundown of some of the greatest decisions I've ever made (the greatest decision of all, of course, was the decision to follow Jesus Christ. I've picked mainly ones that won't echo quite so much through eternity):
1. Pluggy
When I was about three, I was with Dad in a department store and he asked my brother and me to pick out something that we'd like for Christmas. Simon opted for a small hardback book of carols, if I remember rightly; an indication of his later bibliophilia but not something which means that much to him these days, I imagine. I, on the other hand, opted for a little fluffy white bear. He is not quite so fluffy or white as he once was, due to his many adventures over the years, but Pluggy (Pluggy Eater Thomas to give him his full name) is still here, 23-odd years later. A fine decision from my young self.
2. Bovril
I used to eat Marmite a lot, particularly in cheese sandwiches. I enjoyed it a great deal. My cousin Sarah, it turned out, preferred Bovril in her sandwiches, and on one visit (I forget whether they were visiting us or vice versa) I tried it myself, and discovered that it was like Marmite but better. Much, much better. It is a rare cheese sandwich that I eat these days without having some Bovril with it; quite possibly the best food-related decision I ever made. Apart from eating curry, which I'm not counting - because who doesn't eat curry?
3. The 1 album
I was never really into music growing up, and when I was 16 I owned very few albums (The Greatest Footie Anthems in the World... Ever, The Best of Jeff Beck, and part-shares in Now 39 and Smash Hits '98 was about it) but, having heard a few snippets of the Beatles from Dad, I decided to buy the 1 album by the Beatles. It is a collection of all the Beatles' number one singles in either the UK or the USA, and it completely changed my musical listening. I remember playing the CD over and over again on holiday that year, marvelling at the brilliance of Come Together, the beauty of Something, the grace of Let It Be. After that followed the Blue Album, which opened up some darker and more complex seams in the Beatles' music, and gradually I bought all of their albums. I don't actually own the 1 album any more, having given it to a friend to start his listening, but I'm exceptionally glad that I bought it.
4. Warwick University
5. Rootes
I bundle these two decisions into one, as they were both important individually but came as something as a package deal. Having decided to study maths at Uni, I picked Warwick University largely because I liked it when we visited with school (the only university that the school took us to) and the maths department was one of the best in the country. I put Rootes down as my preferred first year accommodation because it was middle of the range in terms of price. I wasn't to know that these decisions would combine to give me the best three years of my life, studying at a wonderful university and meeting many of the best people I will ever meet. Many of my best friends now were people I met on that corridor in Rootes, and the more people I've met since then, the more I've realised how special that was.
6. Cairns Road
I tried a few churches in Bristol before settling on Cairns Road Baptist Church, and while I joke that the reason I stayed was that they gave me free food, it's really that they made me feel very welcome at a time when I was feeling terribly lonely. Having met Ben, Kate and Anna on that first Sunday, I left with a big smile on my face, and since then I have formed many strong and lasting friendships in that place. There are many good churches in Bristol, and I expect I would have found good friendships wherever I'd gone, but I'm certainly glad I made the decision to check out Cairns that day.
7. Olympics tickets
Oympic fever gripped the nation this Summer, and I've written copiously about it already, but too many people commented that they wished they'd ordered tickets when the website first made them available. Although I can't pretend that I knew how great it would turn out to be, I figured last year that the Olympics were going to be pretty special, so I splashed out to buy tickets to three events (later rising to five). It wasn't cheap, but I'm so glad that I made that choice then, otherwise my memories of the Games would have been slightly tinged with regret.

On this day in 2010... It's only a few weeks until I hit 25, which is landmark in the life of anyone who uses the decimal system and can divide by four. I fulfil both of these criteria.

what was I listening to?
The Very Best Of - Rainbow
what was I reading?
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
what was I watching?
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