Archive for the ‘Christmas 2010’ Category

For KB

Look below. I knew I was gonna get harassed for my crappy pictures.

So here, for KB, is as good a pic as I am going to be able to get. The ornament was suspended off a wooden spoon between two tall glasses of equal height. Thus do I achieve professional status.

If they still aren’t good enough KB I look forward to the new camera you will buy me. Cos a good workman always blames his tools. :

And here I am playing around with the light, first above the crystal


and with the light below…


So KB, and I regret this even as I type this, do I pass?


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Worth The Wait

So to explain yesterdays cancellation; this post was meant to be for yesterday and, as you will be able to tell, was dependent on me thanking  Wesley and Trey for their gift. I managed to be able to thank Trey but not Wesley, so didn’t want to put this up until I had done so.

I still havent technically……

Wesley and Trey are both snowed in at the lake house. Trey would love this however it will slowly drive Wesley insane as he is missing work.  Personally I would have KILLED to have been snowed in there. Snowmen, snow forts, snow angels and keeping warm in front of the fire. They had power cuts so have been unable to talk on the comp or charge the cell, hence the lack of contact.

All of my friends are experiencing weird weather conditions. I may have to blog about it.


Remember THIS?

When Wesley posted my birthday card, it took 3 months for it to arrive to me. In fact, it became something of a joke whenever we would talk: “Got the card yet?” “No” “Sigh…”

So, with trepidation on Wesley’s part, my Christmas present was posted to me on 23rd December. Now Blind Freddy knew it wasn’t going to arrive in time for Christmas – This was never part of the expectation (and to be fair, he posted it Express). I was assured by the disorganised one that Christmas had twelve days and it was still deemed not late if it got to me before the 5th. I wasn’t worried. I was just thrilled to be getting a gift.

So the conversations begin again around the 2nd Jan: “Got the present yet?” “No” “Sigh…”  By the 10th we were beside ourselves. Not being anyone’s fool, Wesley had insured the present and had it tracked. According to the US tracking system the parcel had arrived at my local post office in Newton. According to Newton post office, (and, believe me, I looked at their books), the parcel definitely hadn’t arrived there. So that was money well spent on tracking postage.

Anyways, long story short, after both of us expecting ANOTHER 3 month delay, the parcel finally arrived yesterday, 21 days after it had been sent. Now I asked the reason for the delay of the fine people at Australia Post however, God love her, the person serving me was somewhat of an oxygen thief and had put her jumper on backwards and, to no ones surprise, didn’t have a clue.

Not to worry. The important thing is it arrived, and despite having fragile marked all over it, arrived in one piece. And it was beautiful. It was seriously beautiful.

So in pics:

The parcel itself; first impressions…. nice!!! It’s big.

No clue as to where its been. There’s no postmark anywhere to indicate when it arrived in Australia.

This is inside. At seeing the wrapping I had a serious epiphany. Sorry,  private.

And when I showed  the wrapping to my Sister in Law  she had the exact same epiphany.

And inside, in addition to a beautiful card…

…. there was the beautiful gift.

The really beautiful, thankfully received gift…

So Wesley and Trey, thank you soooo much for the beautiful present. Puts my Snowman DVD to total shame.

And Wesley, thanks so much for posting it so well. Please don’t feel that the slow system of getting it to me should stop you from doing so again. It was SO worth the wait.

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Concluding the positives of 2010 then, from yesterday.

Dead Eye Dick

I have been chatting to Ray online for a good ten years now. Excellent lad and we get on well unless you discuss two issues which we have agreed to disagree on. George W Bush and Gun control in America. So it amused me greatly that I thought I should put my money where my mouth is and see what all this gun fuss is about. So off we went to a shooting range and it amused me even more that I was a good shot. Really good. Especially good when you consider I’ve never shot anything more than a pop gun before. I smelt of gun powder for days. We still disagree about gun control though.

A Completely Magic Weekend in Cardiff.

Ok so going out on the gay scene was like playing spot the person not dressed like it’s still the 80’s however,  other than that, the weekend in Cardiff was epic. Firstly Cardiff is beautiful and one of the places in the world I could see myself living. Secondly it houses (sadly now defunct) an amazing Doctor Who Exhibition which was completely and utterly brilliant, he said, his geek flag flying.

And finally it was the site of the most surreal day of exploration, all to see the shrine for a dead character in an average television series. Most people visiting whom were Ianto’s Shrine were like me, bemused and intrigued. You could tell the true fan though as they were already crying as they approached. People were crying as they put up poems etc on the shrine. Kissing the poems.  Weeping more. It was most delightful and amusing to my blacker than soot  sense of humour. Evidently the shrine still continues, so if you want the most delightful day out, to witness what people with too much time on their hands get up to, this is the place for you.

The Best Morning Ever


Burned into my memory, those mornings.


There is this weird sensation when you go somewhere and you know you’re meant to be there. Never knew that until this year. And it’s like everything falls into place.  Nothing is easy though.  Welcome to my life.

Best Till Last

I was hesitant to put a person as the best thing of last year, largely as its rather personal and hopefully not too embarrassing. However there was no denying the reality. All in all, if you asked me to define one event that was continuously delightful in 2010; whether it was from daily tie pictures or 6 am videochat soul-searching or email tag or constantly nattering throughout each day or blubbing over the tele  or being taught so, so many things, it was the growing and amazing friendship with Wesley. When I did a list of the best things that happened to me last year, he was at the centre of most of them. In the spirit of the best of companions, I have learnt so much from him already and have so much more to learn. Hopefully this is a two-way street.

So GM, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your friendship and love this year. I look forward to years of our new, really old bond, wherever that may be. As ever, I got your back.

And it’s pronounced Mah Crah May.

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Wow, yesterday was a downer huh. Word must have gotten around cos no-one read it. Brad calls me a hit whore cos I will stand in front of the stat counter and hit refresh all the time. There is a sad element of truth to that. So no one came visiting yesterday, except for Wesley, bless him. Fortunately today’s post is less suicide inducing.

Moving onto the positives of last year, of which I am pleased to say there were many. It’s the first year ever I flew overseas twice for holidays. Normally I don’t take holidays which is why I have so many holidays up my sleeves. It’s also the year of the newest addition to the Vanstone clan. And some seriously amusing highlights. Speaking of:

Disneyland At Christmas

I make no apologies for being a Disney Kitsch lover. I love rides, I love theming, I love kitsch. Disney is a natural  fit. I timed my visit in November perfectly. The Halloween ornaments had just been removed and the Christmas Decorations were being put up. Disneyland Christmas was in full swing. When the park closes there is clearly an army of people working on decorating the place, as each day more and more decorations were evident.

And they looked really pretty.

So considering I love Christmas and all its kitschness, Disney, Christmas and me were a superb fit. Next year later in the year so at to see parades etc.

The Most Beautiful Moment


I still get teary when I recall that moment. And the joy of it was its spontaneity and being in the right place at the right time. It’s possibly one of those had to be there moments however, for me anyway, it was so beautiful and worth revisiting.

An Addition to the Top 10 Wonders of the Food World

I am still finishing up entries from the last trip to the US ( I know, right. I couldn’t organise the (insert your choice of event) in a (insert your choice of venue)) so I haven’t told you about the fantastic night I discovered these. Let me just say this.

Fried Pickles are the Food of The Gods!

Oh my Lord,  it was a revelation. They are pickle chips fried in a buttermilk batter and taste heavenly. Seriously they are the most amazing thing. They are one of the reasons I am returning to the US.

Speaking of Food of the Gods

The Burger that is Bubba

Oh man. Bubba Burgers, a burger in the shape of Texas and the best tasting burger in the US. I tried these  for the first time at Wesley’s birthday and I was completely hooked. I insisted we have them when I returned in November and they were as delicious as ever.  They now have turkey burgers which I havent tried yet but considering how much I love turkey and how much I love Bubba Burgers…….That’s a no brainer.

Lauren Emily

My newest niece. Completely gorgeous and the most docile baby you could ever hope for. My brother and Sister in Law are running around not believing their luck. This is the child that will squeal happily as her three-year old sister mashes her cheeks in with unrestrained strength. She is the picture of placid, until she is hungry. Then she is a typical Vanstone.

Way more to go (it was a great year!) but this one is running late. So Part 2 tomorrow.

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You know, all in all, 2010 was a pretty good year all told. I had some of the worse episodes of feeling depressed in my life in it (I hesitate to call it depression, more a pity party that needed a good slap) however, looking back, the pros far outweighed the cons.

I’ll get to the good stuff tomorrow, for the moment some of the things that sucketh last yeareth. Interestingly, and thank God, most of these things seem to be single events as opposed to long-term drawn out things. For this I am extremely grateful and blessed and even more embarrassed about the pity party.

Moving offices

I don’t mention work at all, or rarely, and certainly not openly disparagingly. However the move in locations from run down but functional building to previously condemned building that had been “spruced up” where the water was undrinkable for 5 months and the toilets didn’t work for 7 was a cause of considerable distress for all concerned. Even trying to be  buddhist about it wasn’t working. The workplace hasn’t recovered really. I am actually glad to be on nights cos morale here is in the (non functional) toilet.

Sam’s Death

My brother-in-law in law died this year after an extremely long battle with cancer. He left behind his wife and two children.  I would not dare to say his death had the effect it did on his immediate relatives however our families are so entwined now his death was incredibly hard. And so young. Fortunately, his was the only significant loss that directly affected me last year, for which I am extraordinarily grateful. Unfortunately this year looks like it’s going to be harsh already as I was told two of my friends had been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer on New Years Day.

The Bionic Bum

I made light of it but my gluteus tendonitis was absolutely agonizingly crippling at one point. I literally couldn’t walk a step without crying, the pain was so intense. And I wasn’t being stoic either. Lord if there had been drugs available I would have downed them in an instant. The worst night of it, when I couldn’t walk without screaming, I spent on my bed, sobbing with pain all through the night and feeling so sorry for myself. Much of it was pain related however there was also the realisation that if I had died no one would have known and certainly no partner I could rely on to help me out. So I just lay there in bed, a sobbing mass of pity, feeling more alone than I’ve ever felt in my life. Fortunately the next day I could walk without screaming and I could get to the phone and get some help (and wonderful help came) but wow, that night…. that night was harsh.

Making a total cock of myself

Oh I am good at that! I actually am including this only cos the last entry was so rugged. I am well used to making a total idiot of myself, despite my best intentions. Whether that is urinating loudly in front of the Queen Of North Carolina (incidentally, that post went ballistic. People I had never heard of wrote to me to tell me how funny that post was); wearing the wrong eyewear in the cinema; taking my entire extended family to one of the worst outings of their lives (so bad all other outings are measured by it : “Yeah, it was bad but it wasn’t Cadbury World bad.”), setting off alarms in the middle of the night or killing my mother in a walk across London, basically I will make a twit of myself if I can. Welcome to my life.

Absent Friends

Most days that’s the hardest one of all.

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Resolute 2011

Another year, another set of failed promises.

I long ago gave up the idea of New Years Resolutions. Two reasons; firstly I never kept them and my psyche was fragile enough without THAT particular guilt trip; secondly, if you need to do something/ change something/ improve something then you should do it now rather than wait for a self-imposed day on the Gregorian and/ or Julian Calendar.

I thought though that if I made my resolutions known to the world, ie on this blog and the six people who read this, then that possibly would keep me more motivated and/ or neurotic. More importantly, it gives me blog posts in the future as to how the progress is going or not. And, as anyone who has done a daily blog knows, topics for blog posts are worth their weight in gold. So it’s all a win.

So with that in mind I, Nigel Vanstone, resolve to:

Not Resolve to lose weight. I resolve to lose weight every fricking year and every fricking year I get larger. I am hoping by not resolving to lose weight I will break the cycle of weight gain. (Also known as: Vanstones, superstitious lot)

I will send my bestest bud a food diary each day. There will be no excuses as to not doing this. ( I may not resolve not to lose weight, doesn’t mean I will sit on my butt about it either)

New years resolutions start on Jan 4 – there is no point starting on Jan 1, you are destined to fail. (see: Vanstones, superstitious lot)

Right, boring ones out the way. Fun bits. I found my diary from 1980 (I know……)which, even then, I was doing resolutions that I wouldn’t complete. I did 21!!!!! I’ve included some of them less hideously embarrassing ones here.

1: Lose weight

Ohmigod!!!!! Even then!!!!!! This has been the curse of my life. Why oh why couldn’t I be one of those people who thinks it’s fun to do a 20 mile run when I am stressed as opposed to comfort eating.

3: Take Tammy for a walk every day

Tammy was our pet dog, a German Shepherd ( German shepherds rock!!!) who, bless her, loved our family despite the fact none of us ever exercised her. I did try this for a few days but, as this was 30 or so years before the Dog Whisperer, I was unable to control her as she would run me through the streets in her search for naughty adventures.

7: Kiss a person.  Like that.

I love the way I say “like that” to describe french kissing. It took me about thirty years to be able to call it that without giggling like a schoolgirl and going beet red. As for discussing other things, I am still in therapy for that. Also, note the use of the gender avoidant pronoun.  14-year-old Nigel knew back then ( actually he knew when he was 4 but that’s another blog).

13: Stop buying comics and be more cool

Nope, didn’t do this one either. I worked out that people who didn’t think comics were cool were people I didn’t want to know. Also there was NO WAY I was giving up collecting 2000AD which is the best comic ever. This comic rocks. Also, you know that realisation you get when you realise you will never be cool….

14: Learn all the lyrics to the Abba – Voulez Vous album

This was pretty much my wake up call. I was never going to be cool. The irony of course is that I wrote this immediately after expressing the desire to be cool. I gave up this resolution after learning all the lyrics to When I Kissed The Teacher. No one asks me to sing that. Everyone wants Dancing Queen.

21: Write every day in my diary.

I lasted  till February 7th. A personal best.

Evidently I spent much of the Summer at my friend’s Andrew Pearce’s house watching Jaws on his film projector. Then we would listen to the Jaws music score on his parent’s stereo and make the ground vibrate with the duh duh  theme music. The  Jaws theme tune still makes my feet tingle. Evidently we did that for two whole weeks before we got bored. Never gonna be cool.

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Happy 2011

I hope you had a fun/ peaceful/ eventful in the right ways start to the New Year.

I  was going to write a piece about my new years resolutions and how I never keep them ( and I probably will still do that tomorrow) but I am really over it right now. No one is around, everyone is doing their New Years recovery so I shall do the same.

I will divulge a Vanstone tradition/ superstition on the way out though.  We Vanstones are a very superstitious lot. (This comes from my Gran, God rest her soul, who had a litany of superstitions she practiced. While I logically know these superstitions are silly, out of respect for her I still observe them.)

Essentially you cannot wash your clothes on New Years Day less you wash a relative away (ie a relative will die).  Now my family has practiced this all my life and my grandparents before them. I looked up on the internet where this came from but no clue there. Logically I know it makes no sense either.

However, my sister-in-law firmly believes that the whole thing is codswallop and, in a flagrant act of  living on the edge and flaunting her disbelief,  she has deliberately washed her family’s clothes  on New Years Day.

My mother is looking at funeral plans for herself.

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Two Hundred

This is my 200th Blog Post.

Yay Me.

That’s kind of scary and sad and awesome all mixed into one.

So to celebrate that and 2011, which I am going to own,  a new look. It’s still a work in progress, the redesign. I’d like the font colour not to be green but can’t work out how to change it yet. Ah well, challenges, challenges.

It is New Years Eve and I will be working. I know. I rock!!!! I’d like to write something about 2010 however there will be navel gazing galore over the next few days. 200 posts seems more than enough of a milestone.

So to all the people who may be reading this; it is an hour and fourty minutes from being 2011. I hope you have a fantastic new year and that all your deepest desires come true. And thank you, as ever, for reading this silly little thing.

Next year will be even more ramblings. I pity you already.

And to all the police I am about to send out on welfare checks of the sad, drunken people who ring me tonight, on this night of nights for suicidal drunks, my deepest apologies. Let me know who you are and I will buy you a drink. If you’re cute and in uniform, I’ll buy you two.

Happy 2011.

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Firstly apologies, my two parter planned event for today couldn’t happen as something happens tomorrow that threw my entire schedule off. You will have to return tomorrow to see what it is. Oh, the suspense. Try not to lose sleep, it aint that interesting. So this was something quirky that I can throw in here. And put what was intended for today in tomorrow, or the next day. Or the day after that.


Little known fact, or a fact possibly not really worth knowing. Films don’t magically get nominated for Oscars by the Academy. Nope. Film studios spend millions of dollars to get their film under the noses of the Academy to even be considered for nomination. That’s millions BEFORE the film is nominated. There is even more spent after a film may receive a nomination.

The concept, therefore, that a film wins under its own merit is ludicrous. The best films out there may have abysmal Oscar marketing and therefore not get considered. Obviously the major Studios, who have more financial power, have more chance of scoring nominations. Doesn’t the whole Oscar winners make more sense now?!

Having said that, to even be considered for a nomination means the marketing of the film has to be incredibly clever to make them stand out from all the thousands being presented to the Academy at the same time.

With that in mind, presenting Pixar’s Toy Story 3.

Pixar is aiming to be nominated for Best Picture this year. While their nomination ( and eventual win) of Best Animated Picture is certain, Pixar is aiming for the top spot. This would be neat from a couple of points of view. Firstly,  Disney has never won a Best Picture Oscar yet. They’re completely overdue. Secondly, it probably really does deserve the title of Best Picture, it really was a top film.

To remind the Academy of this, Pixar have come up with an excellent series of full-page ads, currently being run in Los Angeles. The focus being comparing Toy Story 3 to previous Oscar winners. Full marks for cuteness.

Here then, for your amusement,  are some of the better campaign posters (click on them to embiggen them):

And my favourite:

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Nick Cola

If you respond to my blog, eventually you’re gonna be part of it. Wesley, Brad and Trey have discovered this. Today was Nicola’s turn.

Nicola invited me to her birthday dinner tonight. I am not sure how old she is and as I am a gentleman I do not ask, however I would guess late twenties. I cautioned her that I was on nights. However, as the event started at 6 and I had to be to work for 8, theoretically there was a decent enough time frame to get there, eat and move on.

I am a crap friend though. Anyone who knows me knows getting together with me is fraught with drama. Either I blissfully  plod along in my own little world and then realize six months has passed since seeing people or else I make plans to see people and some crisis (deaths, work, meteor showers, work, plagues, work) occur and I am left floundering or cannot make it (See, Christmas party last year and the reason KB is not on this blog yet).

So today I sleep in. I am wide awake throughout the day as it is hot and the air con is still on the fritz and so sleep is a sweat infused fidgeting aerobic session. As ever with these things, I fall asleep ten minutes before I am to get up and sleep through the alarm. I ring Nicola 20 minutes after I was due there and race through showers and driving and get there 50 minutes late. This for me is not too bad. Thank God I don’t have an anxiety disorder about time keeping.

I order a steak on the telephone  through Nic and by the time I get there the meal is ready which works out well. I am able to briefly catch up about important things like this blog and the christmas movies ( my life is soooo small!) Nicola is worried the Snowman will be scary which, when she finally watches it, will make her laugh at her neuroticism. Evidently, as I like scary films, I am not a source of good tele watching. If it had been The Snowman of the Dead then maybe I could understand the concerns. As is… HA! You are going to be embarrassed, Nicola.

I manage a whole hour of quality time before I have to run off to work. I do manage to snap this picture which I know doesn’t flatter either of us but is at least in focus. The really nice picture of us that I thought was in focus was hopelessly fuzzy but iPhones are so small you can’t tell. Curse you iPhones.

So Happy Birthday Nic. Look forward to breakfast soon, barring meteor showers.

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