Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

It was a last-minute decision, but I managed to post most of my Christmas cards today.

That'll be nine of them then.

Every year I tell myself that I'll be better organised this time, that I'll post the overseas ones nice and early, and that just this once I'll be able to save money by sending the whole lot second-class.

But no. This afternoon found me furiously scribbling away to but a handful of UK friends which, frankly, was a big improvement on the last half-decade. Even the cards were bought for Christmases yesteryear, some of them bearing a price-tag in New Zealand dollars from Paper Plus.

Just then an email arrived. One very smart old friend from 1996 had sent all of his via the internet, thereby simulaneously both saving a fortune, and avoiding any soul-searching about who to stop writing to this year. Well-organised, that's what he was. In exactly the same way that I wasn't.

His e-card was an Acrobat file detailing his family's exploits over the year just ending, complete with full-colour photos and electronic signatures. Ahh, the Christmas round-robin. I sent one of those once...

It was about ten years ago. I neatly folded a sheet of A4 paper into my 50-odd cards that year that, once unfolded, simply read in small letters "Nothing has happened this year." It was something of an anti-review. And it was a big success! Years later, when I would catch-up with some of these people, they would still quote it at me!

This year, it could not escape my notice (and no doubt yours if you read this blog regularly) that once again I had done nothing. Earlier in 2008, Herschel had actually warned me, "Don't let 2008 be the year you do nothing, like '66 was for Kubrick."

So, having ignored his advice as usual (really, who listens to advice from a klown?) last week I'd wondered, was it time to do another "anti-review" again?

I thought about the 'annual reviews' that I receive each year. What did they all have in common that I could rebel against? They tend to be from couples, on one side of A4, and concentrate on just a few journeys that they have undertaken, often to the weddings of distant relatives. This can, I find, inadvertently give the impression that the authors have, after a tremendous amount of organisation, actually achieved very little this year either.

So I decided to tell everyone who I thought would get the joke about all the many and varied things that I have achieved this year, mainly through very little effort.

The following is what I sent them, embellished here with hyperlinks, where available:

Movies watched:

They Live
I Married A Witch
The Last Dalek
10,000 BC
The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
High Heels and Low Lifes
Lost In Translation
The Miracle Maker
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Charlie's Angels
March Of The Penguins
Charlies Angels: Full Throttle
Donnie Darko
Mystery Men
Sky High
Ben-Hur - A Tale of The Christ (1925)
Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)
Leeds Bridge (1888)
Accordion Player (1888)
Man Walking Around A Corner (Homme au Coin d'une Rue) (1888)
Duck Soup
Batman Begins
The X-Files: I Want To Believe
Batman: Gotham Knight
The Shawshank Redemption
Starship Troopers
Naked Gun 33⅓ - The Final Insult
One Week
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Bedazzled (1967)
Ben Hur – A Tale Of The Christ (1959)
The Faculty
Safety Last!
The Kid Brother
The Fifth Element
Felix The Cat – The Movie
The Railway Children
The Avengers
Shaun Of The Dead
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
V For Vendetta
Elmo's Christmas Countdown

Doctor Whos watched:

Doctor Who: The Dominators
Doctor Who: The Mind Robber
Doctor Who: The Invasion
Doctor Who: The Krotons
Doctor Who: The Seeds Of Death
Doctor Who: Castrovalva #1
Doctor Who: Mawdryn Undead #1
Doctor Who: The Parting Of The Ways
Doctor Who: Pudsey Cutaway
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Revenge of the Slitheen
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Eye Of The Gorgon
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Warriors Of Kudlak
The Sarah Jane Adventures: Whatever Happened To Sarah Jane?
The Sarah Jane Adventures: The Lost Boy
Doctor Who: Daleks in Manhattan / Evolution Of The Daleks
Doctor Who: The Lazarus Experiment
Doctor Who: 42
Doctor Who: The Infinite Quest
Doctor Who: Human Nature / The Family Of Blood
Doctor Who: Blink (outstanding!)
Doctor Who: Utopia / The Sound Of Drums / Last Of The Time Lords
Doctor Who: Time Crash
Doctor Who: Voyage Of The Damned
Torchwood: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang
Torchwood: Sleeper
Torchwood: To The Last Man
Torchwood: Meat
Torchwood: Adam
Torchwood: Reset
Torchwood: Dead Man Walking
Torchwood: A Day In The Death
Torchwood: Something Borrowed
Torchwood: From Out Of The Rain
Torchwood: Adrift
Torchwood: Fragments / Exit Wounds
Doctor Who: Partners In Crime
Doctor Who: The Fires Of Pompeii
Doctor Who: Planet Of The Ood
Doctor Who: The Sontaran Stratagem / The Poison Sky
Doctor Who: The Doctor's Daughter
Doctor Who: The Unicorn And The Wasp
Doctor Who: Silence In The Library / Forest Of The Dead (twice)
Doctor Who: Midnight
Doctor Who: Turn Left
Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth / Journey's End

Other TV shows / DVD programmes watched:

The Alchemists Of Sound
America's Most Wanted (the Homer J Simpson one)
Battlestar Galactica 3 hour pilot
Dad's Army (various episodes, 1 in junkitcolour)
The IT Crowd (14 episodes)
Losing It – Griff Rhys Jones On Anger (both 2)
The Marx Brothers – A Documentary: Time Marx Is On
The Passion (all 6)
Prisoner And Escort
Seinfeld (various episodes)
The Simpsons (various episodes)
Sledge Hammer! (various episodes)
Souvenir of Singapore
Spaced (all 14 + most extras)
"Weird Al" Yankovic - LIVE! -

Radio / Spoken Word audio listened to:

Doctor Who Unbound: Sympathy For The Devil
Goble On Friday (2 editions)
That Anzac Day Feeling
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency: The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul (all 6)
Torchwood: Lost Souls
Real Life (3 editions)
Audio Adventures In Time & Space: Conduct Unbecoming

CDs / Cassettes listened to:

Alapalooza – "Weird Al" Yankovic
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey – Music From The Motion Picture
Dr Who – Music From The Tenth Planet
Escape From Television – Jan Hammer
Even Worse – "Weird Al" Yankovic
Girl In A Suitcase
Gratuitously Groucho
Greatest Science Fiction Hits IV – Neil Norman And His Cosmic Orchestra
Juice – Taste The Music
Mochaccino Moments – Bruce Murray Singers
Natural Born Fillers
Saturday Morning – cartoon's greatest hits
Signor Rossi: Herr Rossi sucht das Glück – Music by Franco Godi
songs in the key of springfield - The Simpsons
Unforgettable – John Mann

Books read:

The Bible (twice)
The Calvin and Hobbes Collection: Something Under The Bed Is Drooling
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy – Movie Tie-In Editon (afterword only)
On The Mad Magician's Trail by Josie Goble (currently at draft stage)
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.D. and Spencer Johnson, M.D.

Comics read:

Star Wars Comic #33
Marvel Comics and The Electric Company Present – Spidey Super Stories #1
Marvel Comics and The Electric Company Present – Spidey Super Stories #2
The Amazing Spider-Man #155: Whodunit!
The Amazing Spider-Man: Fusion!
Super Spider-Man TV Comic #473
Super Spider-Man #493: The Mistake
The Fires Down Below
Spider-Man: A Hero's Welcome / Darkness Encroaching / On The Town! / Death Line
Fantastic Four # 262
Web Of Spider-Man #26
The Amazing Spider-Man #251: Endings
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1-12
The Amazing Spider-Man #252: Homecoming!
The Amazing Spider-Man #253
The Transformers: Man Of Iron
The Mighty Thor # 383
The Adventures Of Superman #8
the prisoner – books a, b, c and d
Fantastic Four Adventures #1
Fantastic Four Adventures #2
Free Comic Book Day: Bongo Comics Free-For-All! 2007
X-Men First-Class #11
Futurama Comics #49: Doctor What

Computer Games played:

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
The Italian Job
The Simpsons – Road Rage
Sock And Awe
SSX / SSX Tricky
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe

Board Games played:

Haunted House
Monopolyopoly (6 Monopoly boards)
Top Top Trumps (12 packs)

Went To:

Conservative quiz night, ETNA
May Fair, Richmond
Bowls, Cambridge Park
Alex's birthday party
Homeless breakfast at Waterloo
Conservative Christians meeting, Teddington
REM - Live at my house (yes they were that loud)
Andrew Watson's leaving do at St Stephen's Church
Milton Jones at the Bearcat Comedy Club
56th British Film Collectors Convention, Ealing
Happy Days by Samuel Beckett
Comic exhibition in Richmond
Thunderbirds Are Go! Barry Gray Centenary Concert, South Bank
SPUC coffee morning, Richmond
My mum's home group

Friends seen and properly caught up with:

Gideon, Scottish Dave, Fraser, Kevin, John, John, Alistair, Tim Harrison, David, Michael, Herschel, David, Steve K, Richard, Keith, Perry, and Jo.

People I met but don't know:

Gerry Anderson.

Other trivial stats:

Sketches written: 2
Sketches performed: 3
Blog entries written: 344 (ish)
Blog posts posted: 376
Times sighted in New Zealand: 1 (jogging through Highland Park)
International phone-calls made: 2,500 approx.
Church services attended: maybe 5?

Other experiences:

Telling on Election Day
Playing lawn bowls at Cambridge Park
Having my NZ residency appeal turned-down
Rescuing old TV reels from certain destruction
Selling my childhood train set for £235 to a German on Ebay.

Most surreal experience:

The attached story.

Of course, after posting this off, I remembered that I'd forgotten to include having watched St Elsewhere, One Foot In The Grave, Hill Rise Blues and Brideshead Revisited, but it has been such a busy year, that there's just too much to fit in a letter really...


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