| Friday 30th December 2005 22:22MST | → 0 Comments |
Christmas come and gone. Terry and I had a quiet day - just the two of us and a dead turkey that shortly became a cooked, dead turkey. In the afternoon we wandered over to a friend of his for a couple of hours. My presents included towels, a king-size duvet, chocolate, muji products, chocolate, books, a money box enscribed with ‘chocolate fund’ (are they trying to tell me something?) and body shop gift tokens.
Since then, apart from finally buying that suitcase (in pink) at
| Saturday 24th December 2005 20:12MST | → 0 Comments |
| Friday 23rd December 2005 23:07MST | → 0 Comments |
Now officially on holiday, i.e. not ‘contactable’ by work for whatever reason, though they didn’t. However, I did go a my customer’s xmas drinks party in London on Wednesday.
Otherwise I’ve just come back from the hospital. A small scare as I had chest pains and NHSDirect hinted that those and other symptoms (one set of sharper, stabbing pains and feeling faint) might be angina/heart attack related. Fortunately it wasn’t (according to various fun machines I was wired up to) and the belief was it’s stress related and possibly exacerbated by cholesterol. So I have a two stage plan: (1) become less stressed (hah!) and (2) see my doctor for a cholesterol test. Terry came with me and was there all the time. He might have been more worried than me. Because it might have been bad and the chance of having to stay in, I didn’t drive (I wasn’t in agony so though it didn’t warrant an ambulance) and our fantastic neighbour downstairs provided taxi service.
The whole thing was wrapped up in about 1.5 hours and the care I received was fantastic. Terry seemed impressed by the idea that the NHS handles all the paperwork for me and I do literally nothing - I have heard rumours that it’s quite different in the world of US health insurance.
| Tuesday 20th December 2005 23:21MST | → 2 Comments |
On Saturday I was accompanied by Terry to our work christmas party at the . Despite expectations it was adequately enjoyable, even if I did have to wear black tie (Terry wore a lounge suit, as such things seem to be called, as he wouldn’t have his tux posted from home as I suggested - though this caused no problems). Food was good, we received bottles of champagne and a little present (a ‘wine accessory kit’ is how it is best described) and the boss, who wore a kilt, made a little speech where he promised a 7% bonus for all our hard work over the year. I avoided the dance floor, as did most other people due to the DJs deciding that ‘full volume’ was a requirement. We tumbled home at midnight.
I didn’t drink because Terry obviously wasn’t going to. Furthermore, if anyone didn’t know I was queer and learned that night then they didn’t seem to care. What an enlightened age we live in! They’ll be letting us get married next!
Interestingly, Terry has been seconded to do some interior design work for my company. This stemmed from those of us in my office deciding we’d had enough of the clutter and general drabness of the place. Having moaned to the boss, his reply was “Have
| Tuesday 13th December 2005 23:28MST | → 0 Comments |
It has been booked - a week in Rome in February, Terry and myself, flying with Alitalia and staying at the (unusually named) Hotel Canada, which almost right in the centre and just a stone’s throw away from the main rail station. Terry also wants day trips to see Florence and Tivoli.
He’s been poring over guidebooks for weeks now. I’ve told him that I arrange the hotel and flights and he sorts out the rest.
| Sunday 11th December 2005 1:40MST | → 0 Comments |
It’s amazing what you discover when you can’t sleep. In relation to the Law Lords ruling on this use of evidence in court extracted under torture, the UK ratified the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (which was designed to put flesh on the bones of Article 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) on 8 Dec 1988 and lo, what does Article 15 of that convention say:
Each State Party shall ensure that any statement which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked as evidence in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made.
Seems pretty clear to me. Did this government just ‘forget’ or are they following the trend of brazenly ignoring international law set by certain countries with whom they have a special relationship?
| Saturday 10th December 2005 22:13MST | → 1 Comments |
A timely article from The Independent to celebrate Human Rights Day: A casualty of free speech. Some choice paragraphs:
Since the introduction this April of new draconian laws that forbid spontaneous free speech within a one-kilometre radius of the House of Commons, many demonstrators have fallen foul of the legislation. Only three days ago Maya Evans, 25, was convicted of breaching Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 after reading aloud the names of the 97 dead British soldiers next to the Cenotaph on Whitehall.
Voices from across the political spectrum have condemned the Government for trying to suppress free speech and deny protesters their right to demonstrate. In making the case for the war in Iraq, Mr Blair has often stated his ambition that Iraqis should be allowed the political freedoms enjoyed in Britain. But the evidence is that those freedoms are being steadily eroded in the United Kingdom. Speaking at the George Bush Snr presidential library three years ago, Mr Blair celebrated the right to protest, telling his audience: “I may not like what they call me, but I thank God they can.” But in the bitter aftermath of the war in Iraq, the margins of domestic dissent are being squeezed.
Saw Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire with Terry this afternoon. As was suggested, it was certainly darker than previous outings and more satisfying for it.
Someone needs to give Amazon.com a clue: when it comes to creating a category for books on atheism, I don’t think it should really be a sub-category of ‘religion’!
| Friday 9th December 2005 22:22MST | → 0 Comments |
It’s coming up to International Human Rights day and the UN certainly isn’t pulling any punches. The theme this year is “Torture and Global Efforts to Combat It” and it should be obvious to all that it’s a topic aimed not just at usual suspects but squarely at the US given:
- The US administration recasting of overseas torture cells as “extraordinary rendition”
- The UN High Commisioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour, making a speech with implied criticism of the US for trying to re-invent torture as a normal interrogation procedure.
- US Ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, attacking her and pretending the US “… does not engage in torture” and hypocritically trying to deflect criticism onto other countries (despite running something close to a concentration camp and claiming torture is only torture if the victim nearly dies).
Best of all, Kofi Annan has come out and supported Arbour against the bullying of Bolton. Go Kofi!
This will run and run (though it’s equally sad that it had to go all the way to the Law Lords to state that the UK shouldn’t use torture evidence - we really are decending into the dark ages).
| Wednesday 7th December 2005 23:28MST | → 1 Comments |
Pictures of our trip to Windsor Castle on Sunday.
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| Saturday 3rd December 2005 21:48MST | → 0 Comments |
I’ve devolved most of the Christmas activities to Terry. To some degree he wouldn’t need any encouragement anyway as I expected the Xmas tree and random decorations to be installed when I got back from work one day (apprently Americans start Christmas-ifying the day after Thanksgiving). He’s made a wreath for the door too.
However, the greatest achievement, and one that demonstrates the essence of creativity - that is, originality, is all the handmade cards made from materials mostly purchased at ArtyCrafty in Godalming, which seems to have become his favourite shop in the area. I’ve taken pictures of some examples - every one is unique! He’s spent the past few weeks on this project.
This evening he has been wrapping presents and even they have cute (handmade!) bows and silver/gold inked inscribed motifs on the paper. Along with the cards, they all look so nice I don’t want to give them away. Maybe I’ll just send everyone a picture of their card and present.