Finance: it is really exceptionally annoying that I have spent the last 10 years NOT over-stretching myself, saving my money and working hard to have it all blown by the government on baling out those who squandered it all away, something we are all going to have to pay for from taxes for the next fifty years. AND savings are only getting 0.2% return (I was reading yesterday that it is possible that savings might attract negative interest, in other words, paying the bank for holding your money. It has happened before, though not in the UK.)
War: a bunch of idiots. The vast majority of people in Palestine and Israel do not want fighting, wars or death. Typically, it is dogmatic religion - and not a little "blood and soil" nationalism - which, once more, leads to destruction. The Palestinians and Israelis are the same flesh and blood with more in common than separates them. Their leaders should grow up, ditch their outmoded beliefs and realise that things are not going to change unless they do.
Celebrity Big Brother: it is not "news", it is "entertainment" (supposedly). It should not be reported on in newspapers, on the radio and on television as such. Self-serving, self-obsessed buffoons full of their own self-importance, unable to accept that their "careers" are over do NOT deserve reporting in the same manner as actual matters of life-and-death.
Workshops: Not working. After 5 working weeks (seven if you count the holiday). The plus side of that is that I've been forced to work with the Oxy-Hydrogen microwelder and the micro-TIG welder, which has been interesting.
A package which was posted to me in early October finally arrived after having been given up as lost. It was from my colleague, Dee, in the US and had some little tiny bird-skulls made from polymer clay:
She very kindly also enclosed an incredible piece of polymer clay which immediately made me want to make something with it:
Inspired by my vague memories of Dante's "Purgatorio".
In addition, I was part of an online "Secret Santa" swap for contemporary makers. I made this piece for Alisa Miller in the US:
Which generated this blog post from Alisa!
I got a Sony Reader at Christmas. It's great. An e-book reader with a display which looks like a proper book: no backlight, so - unlike a laptop - it is possible to read it for prolonged periods, as one might a paper-based book. I've downloaded loads of my favourite Victorian literature for it: mostly Wilkie Collins and Jules Verne. There is something very pleasing about using an electronic book to read that master of future-fiction, Jules Verne!