About weddings

This is for special friends of mine who I love so much and I even miss them more…

Two Years Married – Celebrate With Cotton

Congratulations on your 2nd year anniversary. Whilst life is busy and you may be under tremendous stress with work and home responsibilities, you may now have a settled routine and be comfortable partners. The second wedding anniversary is chance to take a break from these responsibilities, giving you an opportunity to recall the memories of your wedding and the promises that each of you have made to each other for the future.

It is not known precisely when wedding anniversaries were first celebrated, but it is believed the tradition goes back to the Middle Ages. In 1937 the American National Retail Jeweler Association published the first comprehensive list of symbolic gifts to mark every year of marriage up to the twentieth anniversary and every 5 years after that. This list of traditional gifts and wedding anniversary meanings remain in use today.

The gift of cotton

Celebrate your second-anniversary with the traditional gift of cotton. Cotton signifies strength, comfort and adaptability. Choose a gift that shows how much you love her. Simply putting a little thought your 2nd anniversary gift can go a long way to showing her that you care about her, prize your relationship together, and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. Your gift does not need to be expensive and it can be unique. Never forget, the best gift you can give to each other is time.
Together, you can decide if you wish to purchase your gift as a couple, or whether you would rather receive a surprise. Here are some great 2nd anniversary gift ideas for you to choose from.

1. Jewelry
You might think that cotton is an unromantic and dull anniversary gift, but you can create your own unique gift for your partner. Jewelry in a velvet (velvet can be made out of cotton) pouch with gold trimming is a creative way to give a glamorous gift that still sticks to tradition. A matching set of pendant and earrings that include a miniature rose bud made from glazed natural rose petals, which are gold-trimmed in 24k gold (you can check them here www.silveranniversarygifts.co.uk), make a unique and everlasting gift to mark your special day. Choose the color that compliments your beloved best from red, pink, white, blue and purple.

2. Bedding
Popular second wedding anniversary gifts include luxurious Egyptian cotton bedding from which you can whisper sweet nothings to your sweetheart. The most luxurious sheets are 100 percent Egyptian cotton. Second best is 100 percent pima cotton. If a label simply states “100 percent cotton” it may have a rougher feel. Feel the fabric before you make a purchase to see if you will like it and remember, if you’re on a budget, there is nothing wrong with buying cotton-blended bedding. If you are concerned about the environmental impacts of cotton farming, look for eco-friendly organic cotton as your gifts. They cost a little more but are a caring gesture. To mark your second wedding anniversary, the best gift you can give each other is a good nights rest, so if it is time to replace your old mattress, now is the time for an upgrade and romantic frolics.

Slip between the sheets with adorable cotton lingerie, boxers or briefs is a sure way to spice things up in the bedroom with compulsory fashion show and strip tease, which can lead to quite another anniversary gift. Or celebrate your beloved with cotton pajamas with an amusing print to make her smile. And seal the romance with plush terry bathrobes for you to wear as you cuddle up on a Sunday morning with your filtered coffee. Cotton is used in the making of coffee filters, so a new coffee machine is an appropriate gift too on your 2nd wedding anniversary.

3. Cotton clothing gifts
Other 2nd wedding anniversary gifts allow you to show that you appreciate your partner’s individuality. Present her a T-shirt displaying a favorite music group, sports team, movie or hobby. Cherish your partner with a T-shirt with a significant poem or song, perhaps something that was shared as part of your wedding day celebrations. You may want to personalise a T-shirt with your names and the date of your wedding day. You could also find a T-shirt that has meaning to both of you, such as one from your honeymoon destination. Matched with a pair of denim jeans (denim is cotton) you will look and feel great. With cotton lingerie or boxer shorts underneath, the clothes may come off and you’ll be under the cotton sheets!

4. Cooking and eating
If your wife loves to spend time in the kitchen, a cotton apron is the perfect gift. For comedic value, you may consider an apron and chefs hat for the barbecue king or queen. When the aprons come off, you can sit for a romantic meal served on a plain damask (cotton mix) tablecloth and fancy cotton napkins, cotton place-mats and runners can be a lovely gift for your second anniversary. Pick colors that match your home or apartment that can be used at other special occasion meals. Decorate the table with an ornate and classic vase for a single stem rose, a token of admiration throughout history reflecting true beauty and blossoming love. Or capture the beauty of a rose forever with a colored bloom that has been preserved with glaze and trimmed with 24 karat gold that can grace your table at every romantic meal. From traditional red to vibrant blue, with 18 beautiful colors to choose from, there is certain to be a rose in her favorite hue that she can treasure for a lifetime.

5. Hobbies
Does your bride enjoy sewing, knitting, embroidery or crochet? Cotton and cotton-mix threads are available for these hobbies and a bag (cotton, of course) with a range of threads is a thoughtful and loving second wedding anniversary gift. Perhaps you can create a patchwork quilt from your collection of old T shirts from important events, thus creating a new family heirloom of your favourite times and a piece of art to snuggle up in. If you are a décor enthusiast, a bespoke wall tapestry with your names and the date of your wedding may be a welcome romantic addition to the home.

6. Vacation

Whilst it may be too soon to have a second honeymoon, with brand new canvas luggage, you will soon be going somewhere. Monogrammed towels are the perfect 2nd wedding anniversary gifts whether you are heading for the surf or the shower. A cotton beach bag will be the perfect item in which to carry that luxurious new towel. If it is difficult for you to take time for a vacation, an anniversary gift of a cotton-lined picnic basket allows you to say “Let’s go spend the day together, I packed lunch!”. If you enjoy camping, now is the time to invest in a new tent. You may not know that cotton is used in the manufacture of tents. If you enjoy fishing, cotton is also used in fishing nets.

If you’re planning a vacation around your second wedding anniversary, perhaps you can visit New York and walk past the New York Cotton Exchange headquarters in Lower Manhattan. Or maybe jet off to visit one of the most important cotton-growing regions in the world: Texas, USA, Eastern China, India, Pakistan or Australia. A cotton paper journal would be a perfect record of your time away.

I hope that you have enjoyed my suggestions for your 2nd anniversary wedding gifts – whether you choose a unique rose, a snuggly bathrobe or a new T shirt, we wish you a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY and blessings for the years ahead.

End of the hiatus

How are you old friend? It’s been a while huh? Those months rolled on by. Where have I been? Well, the Hipstery got busy so I was working on that. We opened a store now here in Berlin, which is fun, at least some of the time. I also went away to write my book, which is finished or at least I think it is, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with it and so I’m not sure exactly where it is in its journey since I don’t know what its destination looks like. But I’m planning to relaunch this blog and put it all up online so anyone that’s interested can read it. In the meantime for the inpatient, I started sharing a few chapters from it over at Figment.
With the book project all but over I began a new one on the 1st Jan, learning German. I know I’ve tried that about 700 times already and always horribly failed. So why is this time going to be different? I’ve no idea. I can’t promise that it will. Sure I’ve approached it far more vigorously and seriously than before, stopping speaking english with anyone fluent in german, but a week is just a blip, in a battle of the war against my linguistic ignorance. It’ll take me a year at least to get halfway decent, so I’m 1/52 of way through. Ouch. I should avoid statistics in future. They can be sobering. Internal bias and fuzzy logic only from now on.
I’m also trying to write in German as well, its a hideous car crash but it helps me try and shift words from my passive vocabulary, maybe I’ll blog occasionally in German as well so I’m not writing completely in vain, German speakers can read it and grimace at the strangulation of their beautiful language. Here is one to start with:

Deutsch mit Doof

Fur die letze woche ich habe nur deutsch gesprochen. Auch wenn ich normalerweise im english gebloggen, ich denke das ist helfst meine deutsch wann ich muss im deutsch schreiben. Auch wenn es hat nur eine woche deutsch sprechen ich fuhle es hat verbessert. Die problem ist das Deutsch hat zu viele worte und kombination und schweirig grammatik, und ich bin nur eine mann mit nur 24 stunden per tag. Kennst du das im deutsch sie hat eine wort speziell fur wann man eine bahn wechseln – umsteigen. Unglaublich! Nutzlos! Viellecht es ist gut das wir hat die krieg gewinnen, oder alle mann muss lernen wort wie umsteigen.Das nehmen zu langer. Jetzt ich habe night die genehmigung zu korrigieren mich, fur das erste monat ich nur spreche, spreche, spreche, und meine vokab verbessen und spass haben. Zweite monat viellecht ict beinngt die langweilig sache ähnlich grammatik oder theorie. Ich denke das zu verstehen meine duetsch, man muss hat endlos geduld und gut verstehen auf English, weil ich nur im meine kopf eine fur eine übersetzen.
Ok, jetzt ich muss schlafen. Genug.

An experiment in fiction.

I thought it was about time I try and write a little fiction. Here is my first attempt.

Simile Quarterly Autumn 2010

A letter from the Editor.

Brothers in allegory,

It is I Dr Van Der Kampf once more, like the proverbial bad penny I return to you, with another thrilling edition of Simile Quarterly (which cost you barely more than a bad penny due to its criminally low yearly membership fees but unlike an OAP telling a war story, I will not digress).

No doubt you associate receiving this fine publication as a child might a bicycle shaped christmas present, that is to say – with joyous enthusiasm. However, in just the same way the Police might break up the loud late night revelry of boisterous young folk, we have to interrupt our usual light hearted lexical banter to address you regarding a most serious matter! The misuse of our beloved simile’s….

Even a weapon as deadly as the English languages may have its sword blunted through repetition. This is precisely what is happening to certain similes.

The power of a simile to pluck the strings of ones imagination becomes reduced with each use. Remember last December at our yearly meeting where I described the atmosphere as being jubilant, “like a bbq with Jesus”. As a simile, rolled out like the reddest of red carpet for which your imagination may stroll – it deserved the warm applause it received. But were I to use “like a bbq with Jesus” (which you may, I only ask that you attribute it to me should it be received warmly by your conversation partners), every day, trivally to express my happiness at it being sunny, at there still being Orange Juice in the fridge, well it would become, to borrow another over used simile that emphasises my point well – damp like a squid.

Every day people, people without your linguistic flair and sensibilities simply do not understand this. Reveling in their ignorance, like a hedonist in a happy meal. It is up to us to educate them. Each time they are used like Superman near Kryptonite, similies lose their powers. What is left is nothing more than empty cliche. Non-speak. Hollow like a Chocolate bunny. Empty like a vacant apartment. Redundant like a laid off worker. Useless like my brother Toby.

Don’t believe me? Think I exaggerate as a teenager might of his sexual escapades? Consider this short story:

Last night I went to a pub. There I met a young lady, she was as good as gold, quiet as a mouse, cold as ice, deaf as a post. Just the way I like them. The atmosphere was electric. Cool as a cucumber, clean as a whistle, with the cunning of a fox…I approached.

She rejected my advances saying she was busy as a bee, and I dull as dishwater, mad as a hatter, the conversational equivalent of watching paint dry, slippery as an eel and when her boyfriend returned I would be Dead as a dodo, with the certainty of death and taxes.

Fear not young damsel, you and I are peas in a pod, I am brave as a button, proud as a peacock, tough as old boots, wise as an owl! Fearing only fear itself.

The boyfriend returned, I stood correctly. He was larger than life, big as a bull, strong as an ox. I ran as fast as the wind back to the bar. Where I drank like a fish, ate like a pig, smoked like a chimney, sang songs like an angel, retired (alone) to bed sleeping like a log, Steady as a rock, Flat as a pancake, feeling light as a feather having worked like a dog.

Today I awoke Blind as a bat, head clear as mud, looking white as a sheet, sick as a parrot, after a hard days night.

While I’m stretching of truths elastic band a little, it is not far from how the common man speaks these days. We must rid ourselves of such innane utterance. Since the Government has still resisted our pleas for the creation of a centralised Simile Taskforce we remain powerless to punish offenders. Should you overhear anyone, be them friend or foe, using such redundant phrasing I suggest you polite inform them you need such banality like you need a second hole in your anus. It is firm, but I believe still fair.

The English language has always been a most wonderful, wonderful gift. Lets not turn it into socks from grandma.

Revering you as always, as the sailor loves the sea,

Dr Van Der Kampf (BA Hons)

They make cueballs with shoulders now?

There’s only so long you can be losing the war before its polite to surrender….

That day came two weeks ago. The battlefield was my head, the winner alopecia. I’d been losing the fight slowly for the last 10 years, although far less slowly in the last two. It wasn’t an easy decision to make, many men hide in combover-toupee limbo denial for years. Last time I went to the hairdressers they actually gave me a discount since it was over with so quickly, that was a sign. Watching the video of me giving the talk at Next Conf and barely recognizing myself, that was another.

I asked Annett to tell me when the time had come incase I wasn’t brave enough to make the decision. It seems she had also become comfortable in denial though since she never gave me the ‘the time is right’ nod. I made it easy for her

“In 30mins you’re shaving my head”

The reaction was not what I expected, she burst into tears. I thought that was my job?

The atmosphere during was strange, not happy or sad but with an underlying tension, as if we suspected at any moment one of us would be required to kill a puppy.

Don’t even start, I know what you’re thinking….

So that’s what a black Moby would look like!

Did he forget to rotate that photo? It’s upside down

Isn’t that one of the bad guys from the Super Mario Bros movie?

Dr Evil has a turkish cousin?

You shouldn’t mock, I’m saving 5 minutes each morning in washing and styling, plus 4 hair cuts and a pot of wax per year. That’s a cool 30hrs and 45eur a year extra in which to spend moping and feeling sorry for myself! Excellent.

Actually I don’t mind it to be honest. That’s good news since I don’t have too many options anyway, which makes me wonder if that’s why I think I like it, it’s a self defense thing. Similarly when were were stuck in that bus in China for 47hrs with almost no food or water I wasn’t hungry or thirsty at all, I think since there was no option to get either of those things so my body didn’t bother to bug me about needing them. Yet now I can’t go more than about 7minutes without it strongly requesting chocolate and a Dr Pepper….denial is a special thing, the toupee and combover guys were on to something all along after all.

That’s regrettable

Hello guvner, got a piece of bad news for you old boy.

Oh dear. everything okay with the project though right?

Oh yeah boss, absolutely golden. Nothing but green lights.

Great, good to hear. So what’s the problem then?

The end date….

The end date?

The end date.

The end date?

The end date. Going to need a little flexibility there?

What sort of flexibility?

Two and a half years.

Two and a half years!!! How long was the original project again?

Not sure guv, not to good with dates you see.

Evidently! Originally I think it was only supposed to be a 7 month project. I’ve already prepared the unveiling, I’ve booked the mayor to open it.

The Mayor? Diamond fella. Did a bit of work for him last year back, paved his driveway. Turned into a bumpy project that one though, forget I mentioned it.

The project was ‘bumpy’?

Yeah, the driveway as well by the time we’d finished hahaha. Subsidence most likely, slippery thing subsidence, less said about that the better. Actually, just  forget I mentioned it.

Doesn’t subsidence only affect houses?

Could be. You’re the expert on that one, you tell me.

So what about my grand unveiling with the mayor and a brass band and…

A brass band you say? Paid the deposit on that on already?

Just yesterday.

That’s regrettable.

No I’m sorry, a delay is completely out of the question. A deadly of 2.5yrs is unfathomable.

Fair play, I hear what you’re saying. I’ll tell you what I’ll do like, since you’re being so agreeable.

I’m not agreeable.

Hang on, let me finish. Since you’re going to be so agreeable about the whole ‘delay’ thing. The boys and I will pull an all nighter, save a day.

Great, so it’ll be finished on the Sunday instead of the Saturday then? I’m sure the Mayor will be fine with that.

Yeah the Saturday, no problem at all. One day earlier, two and a half years later. Right now that’s all cleared up I best get back to it, walkway’s not going to build itself now is it?

Woooh, wait a second. It’s still going to be 2.5years late?

Yeah, but a day earlier.

What do you mean earlier? That’s one day less late, out of about 850.

True I suppose. That’s a question of perspective though I propose. I see your a glass half empty type of individual. That’s regrettable.