Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A look back at 2009...

Here's my roundup of 2009:

- The year started off quite badly with Wifey's mum succumbing to cancer on the first of February. It's hard to believe she's gone and that it's nearly been a whole year.
- The beginning of the year also saw me start my own blog - and I'm still doing it (just!).
- We took on responsibility for leading our church homegroup. This has been a humbling and scary task - but worth it.
- In March, I moved into new offices in Cardiff Bay, working more closely with my business partner. It was a bold step, but definitely the right one.
- July was when we sold our house in a week. We still haven't moved, though. Boo!!
- In the summer we had our big fat family holiday in central France. A well-earned and much-needed rest in hot sunny weather was the order of the day.
- JKY turned the grand old age of 2 in August. He is growing up fast!
- We also got to see U2 in August, which totally blew us away. I have got to see more of this stuff.
- My parents sold their beautiful house in the country. They will be moving out next month.
- We sold our annoying Ford after having months of grief. We have replaced it with (hopefully) a more reliable Skoda.
- Christmas 2009 was an enjoyable family affair, with too much eating and drinking (as usual).

Overall, 2009 was a tough year, with a few tiny gems of happiness, joy and wonder popping up now and again along the way.

Let's hope 2010 will be a gentler year...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Happy Oreo-ness!

Wifey got me some special edition Oreos for Christmas and I've just done a road test (all for the sake of consumer education, you understand). They are a regular Oreo coated in white chocolate - two of my favourite processed food products - and taste, as JKY would put it, DEEEE-LICIOUS!

Actually, I've had these little treats before a few years ago when we went to the States to see relatives. In America, you can get just about every possible variation on an Oreo as you can imagine (strawberry flavour ... coffee flavour ... broccolli flavour ...). In fact, it's darn hard to get normal, regular everyday Oreos.

Originally costing something ridiculous like £2.99 a box in Tesco, wifey got them on special offer half price so I was well chuffed when she bought then for me. I suppose she'll want to sample some herself ... maybe I should get her her own box?

Check out my other Oreo post: Oreo Ice Cream Sandwich!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Films I've seen of late - December

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Alec Guinness gives an epic performance in this epic film set in the South East Asian jungle. Gives an interesting portrayal of two very different cultures coming up against each other in a hostile yet beautiful environment, the climax is both excruciating and majestic. 9/10.

Revolutionary Road (2008)
Rose and Jack ... er .... I mean Kate and Leonardo are back together again and this time it's not about a ship hitting an iceberg, it's about a marriage hitting the rocks. A cliched 50s relationship comes under the strain as Leonardo commits adultery while his perfect wife makes cakes. Bizarrely, their two kids are hardly referenced throughout the film, and the overreactions just seem unconvincing. I agree with Mark Kermode who's asked for someone to make a film about a 50s married couple who have a good time for a change. Depressing... 5/10

The Reader (2008)
Kate Winslet turns her hand to playing yet another troubled soul in this intriguing story about a young man falling in love with a much older woman. Fine performances from both leads carry this sad and doom-laden tale to its fatalistic conclusion. Not exactly fun, but a worthwhile watch all the same. 7.5/10.

Poseidon (2006)
Oh dear. Why oh why oh why did they make this? What was the point - seriously? The only (slightly) impressive thing was the gigantic CGI cruise ship. Everything else was wooden - from the sets to the actors - while Bad Science reared its ugly head numerous times in the name of advancing the so-called 'plot'. Leave the classics alone, please! They have better actors playing better characters. You see, that's what a film should be about - the CHARACTERS, not the CGI!

North by Northwest (1959)
Ah, this is much better. You can't really go wrong with a bit of Hitchcock. Not as dark as some of his other pieces of work, but has a sinister undertone nonetheless. Grant is brilliant as the cocky ad exec thrown into the middle of cold war espionage. The innuendo and sexual references, though tempered by 60s standards, are surprising to find in such an old movie - while the overuse of rear projection is slightly off-putting. Those are, however, minor criticisms of a film that's 50 years old and knocks the socks off many modern filmmaking efforts. 9/10.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trig Trog

When I was a kid at primary school, I always ended up getting involved in the Christmas play. For a couple of years I remember having fairly minor roles, like fourth choir singer at the back. My opportunities as a thesp seemed fairly limited.

Then, for some reason, I ended up being the star of at least two plays. In the first one I played a black man in a play tackling the issue of racism (I don't think it was for a Christmas concert, though!). In the second, I was asked to be the lead in a Christmas concert called 'Trig Trog'.

I don't really remember anything about it, but I think it was about a mysterious Arabian traveller or something who somehow gets caught up in the events of the first Christmas in Bethlehem.

I remember wearing uncomfortable curly-tipped shoes and a big turban-style hat. I also remember concentrating really hard as I delivered my lines - I think I had the lion's share of the script and it was probably quite a lot to recite for an eight year old.

Not so long ago, I did a Google search on Trig Trog and nothing came up, which took me by surprise. I have just tried again and lo and behold some author has scanned in the story as re-written by his younger self from 1983. I've also discovered that you can also buy a book of the songs, so presumably our concert was a musical number (they usually are though, aren't they?), not that I remember singing any songs.

One day, when JKY's in school, perhaps I'll encourage his teacher to dig out the Trig Trog story and use it for Christmas.

Who knows - maybe I could make an appearance as Trig Trog's father....???