Monthly Archives: December 2007

so this is christmas…

So this is Christmas
And what have you done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let’s hope it’s a good one
Without any fear

And so this is Christmas
For weak and for strong
For rich and the poor ones
The world is so wrong
And so happy Christmas
For black and for white
For yellow and red ones
Let’s stop all the fight


And so this is Christmas
And what have we done
Another year over
And a new one just begun
Ans so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young


War is over over
If you want it
War is over
John Lennon (and Yoko Ono?)

Another year. I looked at our xmas tree the other night – little lights, and a heritage of decorations gathered over years and from around the world – beautiful. By the next night carefully wrapped gifts had begun to accumulate, and a few nights later there was standing room only under the tree. How fortunate we are – gifts aplenty, not expensive, granted; but no shortage either. The fridge and pantry are beginning to moan as they become ever more loaded – the entire family joined us today – so we’ve catered for 24 today. Actually, probably catered for 44 – but there’ll be time for snacking, later today and of course, tomorrow.

Thrice blessed then. Food aplenty. Presents aplenty. A safe home for us to enjoy it all. Friends and family. Time off from work (albeit briefly). Technology allows me to chat to friends around the world. These are times of prosperity and wonder – it’s just an everyday thing – but they’re all reasons to be grateful. It’s been such as good year.

The year that was:

Most petulant frenzy – when I couldn’t find the passports. Still can’t. Got new ones instead. And getting the photos – argh – I know you’re not supposed to look well for passport photos – but I didn’t recognise myself in the first lot. How come real estate photos make a shed look fabulous, but passport photos make you look direct from the lab?
Most proud moment – when Zofia scored a role at Christie’s.
Most work, most fun moment – crewing on Drawing Closer, the new movie by Trevor Romain and Carl Theil.
Most arty-farty moment – visiting Ben Livingston’s studio.
Most consistent art – Turnbull Group life drawing – staring at nekkid chicks for two hours every Thursday. That’s all good.
Most unexpected event – visiting Trevor and Amiel Romain and rediscovering perhaps the nicest people on the planet.
Most chinese zodiac moment – almost everyone one I know either changed where they live, or where they work, or, in our case, both. We started working on our home and garden, and we’re even selling my Mum’s house. The year of the pig has been a busy year for domestic property and prosperity.

Finally, to you, my loyal readers and commenters – you know who you are – and to the blog friends whose work I read at least once a day (please feel free to write more) – thank you – you’ve helped make 2007 another wonderful year, another year to be grateful for.

Everyone has something to learn, everyone has something to teach

Way, way back in the 1970s – yep, I had flared trousers and pet dinosaur – I was interested in what we called ‘learning exchanges’. The concept is simple enough. I know how to put in a fish pond and water garden, you know how to write ruby on rails, we get together and swap/share the information. Money may, or may not, change hands. Generally not – the concept was ‘exchange’. Barter.

The weak link in the chain (especially in the 70s) was how to let people know what was available to learn, and what could they offer to teach. The School of Everything has attempted to address this using a Drupal implementation. It’s sort of a cross between a crappy poster in the supermarket for piano lessons and the labour exchange.

School of Everything is a site where teachers can advertise, and everyone can browse for someone to teach what they’re looking for.

It’s free to use, whether you’re teaching, learning or both. To contact teachers or advertise your own teaching, all you have to do is register.

Limitations: UK only (at the moment), teaching is not for free. Not entirely limiting however, and it’s great to see a web-2 variation/inspiration on an old idea.

from exploratory nibbles to big bites…

Image from http://spirithousesafari.blogspot.comI did manage to swim to shore long enough to be convinced that the local bug vendor had some pretty tasty goods and imbibed on some pretty dang yummy fried silkworms!
Ben Livingston

We just got back from a cultural exchange in Austin, Texas. A rich panoply of delights were explored, including the company of neon artist, Ben Livingston, and his delightful wife, Patti. We tripped over them in a tour of the mean streets of the Austin arts quarter, and well, one thing lead to another, and we somehow managed to convince Ben that writing about his experiences and adventures as he travels through Asia in pursuit of photographs and stories of spirit houses would be a good thing. And good thing it is – thanks, Ben, for sharing your experiences – and for not sharing the bugs.