Christmas movies and TV shows

I’m well into my movie-watching, as anyone who knows me can attest to, but when it comes to my holiday viewing pleasures I tend to stick with the tried-and-true stuff – movies I know I’ll like – rather than risk wasting time one something I’m not sure of.

In the US and the UK there’s a big emphasis on making the holiday programming easy for the various TV channels, and they set the computer to fill a day of programming with consecutive episodes of things like Bond movies, nature shows, documentary series and that sort of thing – kind of like how on Memorial/Remembrance Day the channels are stuffed full of WW2 documentaries.

I’m not really sure how Bond movies came to be a Christmas/Thanksgiving staple, but whatever – I think it’s because it’s the longest-running movie series the programmers can get the rights to.

I do like how the British TV shows have holiday specials…and I don’t mean a Christmas-themed episode of Friends or CSI – I mean it’s a common occurence to have the cast and writers from a long-defunct TV series get together to make a special show, long after the series ended. If you’re familiar with the The Office (UK) or The Royle Family, you know what I mean. Even less-popular shows I like such as Still Game (a Scottish show about two old Scotsmen) have a couple of holiday specials here and there. Every show doesn’t have a special, but sometimes when a TV series ends and the fans want to know ‘what happened next?’ and the creators of the show want to get together again, a really good follow-up holiday special gets made.

So anyway, here are the movies I like to watch every Christmas, in no particular order:

A Christmas Story (the one with the leg lamp and the kid who wants a BB gun)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (the animation is amazing, the songs are fun, the story is great)
Trading Places (an Eddie Murphy classic, and set around Christmas/New Year’s)
Elf (one of Will Ferrell’s greatest flicks)
…dammit I can’t think of any more! I’m going through my DVD set tonight to pick out movies to watch during the Christmas break, so I’ll add any more I find.

MIDI Christmas songs

Remember ye olde days of the internets? The tubes were filled with MIDI music and beeps, boops and chirps were the order of the day.

Especially around Christmas time!

Now you can enjoy the best MIDI versions of Christmas classics, including:

The 12 Days of Christmas

Beginning to look a Lot Like Christmas

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Silver Bells

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

and even
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Check out more here holiday favorites!

No-Buy Month

March is going to have to be a ‘buy nothing month’ for me…

I used to buy stuff on a whim and ended up with loads and loads of things that were just conversation pieces and nothing else.

Living in the UK, in a small house and crammed into a small room (I rent one room in a 1900’s Victorian terraced house, and keep loads of things in the damp basement), I’m forced to be a bit sparing with the amount of crap I get. Every now and then I go on eBay selling sprees or Freecycle giveaways, so I’m happy to get rid of stuff I admit to myself I’ll probably never use again, but stuff just still seems to pile up from time to time.

Worse still, when I have it in my head that I want to do or get something, I’ll just go on Amazon or eBay, find it and order it. Hardly a week goes by at work that I don’t get something in the post. It’s like Christmas every week and some days I have to tell my workmates that I don’t even know what all these packages might be.

Maybe I’m a hoarder? I’m not as bad as the eBay lady that had a house literally crammed full of unopened boxes full of stuff bought on eBay (was a popular series of photos on the internet a while back)…but I do admit that I *like* getting stuff and opening it and seeing what it is. It’s just a thing about me. That in itself isn’t a problem, though. My problem is that I *buy* these things and eventually I run out of room for them all.

So: for all of March I have set a goal for myself that I WILL. NOT. BUY. ANYTHING. I spent enough in February for Valentine’s day, I have loads of books to read, plenty of video games to play, all the RC gear I need, so enough is enough. Other than rent, food, gas and necessities I won’t be buying anything. No games, books, hobby stuff, clothes, gear, whatever for a whole month.

We’ll see how I do.

Note that I didn’t choose the shortest month of the year to do this 😉

Colin, you shall be remembered

Colin McRae is dead.

Another motorsport legend goes out, not in a blaze of glory on the racetrack, but in a helicopter accident which also killed his 5-year old son and two family friends, one of whom was a young lad as well.

I don’t remember the first time I heard about Colin McRae, but I certainly remember eagerly scanning the World Rally Championship highlights for  ‘Colin McCrash’, who  seemed to be able to set the world on fire with a normal-looking street car on wet, gravelly roads. It’s a pity his run of success wasn’t longer, but he did get to enjoy his fame and fortune, which I certainly didn’t begrudge him.

I’m sure that many folks will be firing up their rally console games this week and in months to come and remembering fondly all the antics, crashes and wins  of Colin…I certainly will!

Here’s to you, Colin!

I am sick of hearing about Diana, Princess of Wales.

I am so tired of hearing about Diana and her death. Yes, she is perhaps the most famous person to have died in a car crash in the last 25 or so years, but NO ONE else I know at work is the least bit interested in the concerts (which just happened a month or two ago!), the specials, the articles, the papers, the magazines, the books, the clothes or anything at all. So why does it come up every month? Does anyone else care less than me and pretty much everyone I know?

At the time Di was really active with her good causes I was thinking ‘that’s great, good job’, but since the car crash it’s been all about the supposed conspiracy, the controversial books and more. There’s a whole industry of Diana that has been built up and shows no signs of slowing. If, tomorrow, Paris Hilton ran over Lindsay Lohan while Britney held a gun to her head and then the car went over a cliff, maybe that would dominate the news and we could all get sick of that, but eventually things would come back around to Diana.

Just so you know, I’m not heartless. I give to charities at work – at least a few quid a month on average, plus I’m a continuing member of the National Trust & English Heritage. I”ve donated to PBS. I used to be a member of the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy and a couple other environmental groups. I give to a different charity every month for a year – the RSPCA and Trust for the Blind in the past. I buy the RSPB pins and things. I shop at Oxfam. I donate my clothes instead of selling them. I buy fairtrade whenever possible. I’m also considering a trek on the Coast to Coast path for charity.

edit: Here’s a picture I snapped last Friday at my local Costco, just to show you the overall shove-it-down-your-throat level of Di-love we get here:

original here