The local kookuburras woke me up at 4:30 this morning. I don’t know what they were laughing at, apart from maybe the thought of getting the entire building out of bed at such an unholy hour, evil minded beasts.
(Yes, technically they’re birds, but at 4:30am who’s counting?)
Christmas is almost upon us once again, which means that the networks have started their yearly ritual of hurling “Season’s Greetings” adds at us at every hour of the day and night. The majority of these seem to feature a bunch of primary school children (arranged in a suitably ‘Christmasy’ environment of snowflakes, reindeer, angels, candles and occasionaly polar bears) cheerfully belting out some Christmas standard, with a voice over at the end saying that the network wishes us a ‘Happy and Safe Christmas and New Year’, or (in the case of the more politically sensitive stations) ‘Holiday Season’.
If this is as far as it went it wouldn’t be so bad, but – for some ungodly reason known only to those unsavoury individuals that call themselves ‘Station Execs’ – the scope of these adds isn’t limited to the primary school population. Inevitably a number of them will be made featuring ‘pre-primary’ (that is, kindergarten) children. And this is something that no reasonable individual wishing to retain their sanity could ever condone.
The thing is that three and four year old children have no sense of tune. Neither do they have a sense of metre, pitch, timbre, or any kind of vocal control. So what you end up with when you get a bunch of them together to ‘sing’ a Christmas carol is a cacophony the likes of which hasn’t been heard since the outlawing of bear-baiting.
They don’t sing. They shriek. They shriek the words – or something vaguely akin to them – at the top of their miniature lungs in a confused, high pitched warble that comes dangerously close to shattering glass. And rather than alter the pitch up or down as the tune requires they alter the volume up and down instead, and the chorus and first few words of every line are yelled for emphasis. The end result is the kind of noise that could be used to torture rats, and yet it’s put onto our TV screens every night as some kind of expression of ‘The Christmas Spirit’.
Apparently this is because the children are considered ‘cute’.
I’m sorry network programmers, but they’re not ‘cute’ – they’re very very annoying!
OK another brief entry because Rebecca said if I didn’t get a gift list up she was going to buy me almonds for Christmas. So here we go, suitable gift suggestions for anyone who cares to take notice of them…
CDs For the less musically inclined they are listed Album then Artist
- The Dresden Dolls – The Dresden Dolls
- The Spine – They Might be Giants
- Destroy Rock and Roll – Milo
- I’m already Home – Waikiki
- Fingerprints – Powderfinger
- We Shall all be Healed – The Mountain Goats
- Room on Fire – The Strokes
- Back to the Future Trilogy
- Indiana Jones Trilogy
Books (Hmmm, they’re all by Terry Pratchett, how about that?)
- The Science of Discworld II: The Globe
- Equal Rites
- Feet of Clay
- Moving Pictures
- Small Gods
- Soul Music
- Wyrd Sisters
Trade Paperbacks (They’re like books, but you get them in comic shops. A Geek? Me?)
- Hellboy – Weird Tales Volume 2
- B.P.R.D. Hollow Earth and Others
- B.P.R.D. The Soul of Venice and Others
- B.P.R.D. A Plague of Frogs
There, that should do 🙂
Just a quick update to say I haven’t fallen off the edge of the world or anything. It’s just that what with the end of year rush at work, Christmas shopping, rent inspections, getting a loan to buy somewhere to live (Rebecca’s being mean and kicking me out *grin*) and actually finding somewhere to buy I’ve barely had time to do grocery shopping, let alone write anything (and to judge by the extreme pain whenever I drink anything cold I managed to lose part of a filling overnight – which is only going to make matters worse time-wise).
Hopefully things’ll calm down in… oh about two or three months. If I don’t go mad from stress first.
In the meantime though I will say that Terry Prattchet’s latest Going Postal is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. Quite knocked Small Gods off the pedestal as my favourite Discworld novel. The writing’s sharp, the characters are engaging and there’s plenty of geeky detail about how the Clacks network runs (is it sad that I spent four or five hours over the weekend figuring out exactly how you’d send image data over the Clacks, complete with compression? Almost certainly yes). And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that Miss Dearheart is exactly my kind of girl. If I had a girl at all that is. Which I don’t, obviously (did you read what I did over the weekend? *grin*).
OK, back to it then.