A surprisingly good Christmas

I hope you all managed to have a good Christmas. I have to say, I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed Christmas so much.

In recent years I have enjoyed it just as a nice day off with a big meal. But beyond that I didn’t enjoy them much more than a normal day of leisure. So maybe I’d watch my new DVDs, but I would probably spend a great deal of the day on the internet anyway.

Perhaps it is because I have had such a tough year (not emotionally tough, but physically and mentally). Maybe it was because last year my brother wasn’t here, but it was probably mostly because I have become older, jaded and cynical.

Of course, when you’re young, Christmas is probably the most exciting part of the year. All those presents! Unfortunately as you get older this wears off. One day you find that you have the responsibility to give presents as well, with all the shopping hell that entails. And soon enough you might be earning enough to buy pretty much all of the luxuries you want.

For that reason, I always tell my parents to try and surprise me. They still want me to write them a list of what I want, but that is rubbish. Normally if I want stuff I can just buy them anyway. So I find myself not buying things just so that I can put them on my Christmas list. What a load of old bum. What is the point of knowing what you are getting anyway?

So I was quite pleased when my parents decided to buy me a poker set, which I completely didn’t expect. I didn’t even realise the big box was meant to be for me, so I just left it at first.

Apparently my father didn’t really want to get me it in case it encourages me to gamble. I think that’s a bit rich coming from someone who spends £2 on the lottery every week, but there you go! I doubt I’d ever gamble myself. I am pretty risk-averse and the odds are always stacked against you.

I have kind of hinted at getting a poker set before, but only as a sort of “ooh, wouldn’t that be amusing” kind of thing. I wasn’t dead serious about getting one. But I found myself getting quite excited about it, and we all played a game later in the evening.

I had never played a game of poker before, and I knew very little about it. All I knew was whatever I gleaned from watching Late Night Poker back in the day, which was very little. I only ever watched that because there was nothing else on, and I was mesmerised by the amazing under-the-table cameras.

My brother led us all by the hand, explaining the rules as we went along. My parents were knocked out quickly, and it was just the young’uns — me, my brother and his girlfriend — left. Time flew by really quickly. Before we realised it, three hours had passed and it was after midnight.

And in the end, I won my first ever game of poker! Muhahah!

And this evening, I won at Scrabble. This is in stark contrast to my record on Facebook Scrabble (won 2, lost 8). This winning streak is unusual, because normally I am just one big loser. I should ride the wave and carry these optimistic feelings with me into 2008. It’s a big year, so being optimistic is probably the only way I can get things done from now on, even though it goes against my instincts.

What else did I get for Christmas? Well, most of the other stuff was on my list. A few books to add to the ever-growing pile of books I haven’t yet got round to reading. Jackie Stewart’s autobiography (very hefty looking and thorough — unlike Lewis Hamilton, Jackie Stewart has lived a life), The Long Tail and Dead Children Playing.

My brother got me Dead Children Playing, although I had already bought it for myself and had got it wrapped up. Amusingly, I bought it partly as a backup for my brother in case I couldn’t find him anything better (eventually I got him this). That we both got it for each other is a sign that it was a good present, I think. We are keeping a copy each.

I also got a few DVDs — the F1 season review, 30 Century Man (a documentary about Scott Walker) and Taking Liberties (a documentary about Tony Blair riding roughshod over the constitution).

Taking Liberties I have just watched Taking Liberties and I can very much recommend it. It concisely documents what is happening to this country under the Labour government and why it matters. It demonstrates that this affects a wide range of people and includes interviews from critics of the government across the political spectrum, from all of the major parties. If you don’t recognise the loss of freedoms that is happening in this country, you should watch this film and you will soon enough understand.

The film looks as though it’s only half of the story as well, because taking a look at the list of DVD extras, there is lots more to get through.

Back to normal tomorrow I think. I decided — two days off: Christmas Day and Boxing Day. But deadlines loom. Back to writing essays and dissertations tomorrow. 🙁

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