Archive | July 13, 2013

Monday, July 15, Is “St. Swithin’s Day” A Minor, Amusing British ‘Holiday’.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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Saint Swithim of Winchester from the Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, illuminated manuscript in the British Library.



St. Swithin, or Swithun, [c. 800 to July 2, 28162] was the Bishop of Winchester (Hampshire) and now the patron saint of the magical Winchester Cathedral, longest nave and greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe.

For 7 years of my life, from 1974 to 1981, I lived close to Winchester. IBM at Hursley, where I worked from 1974 to 1979, just a few miles up the road from Winchester. So I know Winchester and the Cathedral quite well. So I have ‘always’ known of St. Swithin.

Ironically, St. Swithin is best known as a medieval Punxsutawney Phil — a predictor of weather, in particular rain. The sayings (with overtones of ‘the shadow’ goes like this):

“St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain

St Swithun’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ’twill rain nae mare”.

one-dayWhy they would bother with a proverb like this in Britain baffles me. Jokes apart, most of the time, it is difficult to go 40 hours without getting any rain, let alone 40 days (1976, that glorious summer when the West Indies regaled us, being the exception).

But, there is another St. Swithin ‘tradition’ that a recent movie (2011), ‘One Day‘, talks about. St. Swithin’s Day is like “Ol’ Home” day — an anniversary that you are supposed to spend with the same person each year. The movie was fun.


Click to access. From their homepage. If you are not familiar with these Catedral do yourself a favor and at least watch this 4.xx minute video.

Click to access. From their homepage. If you are not familiar with these Catedral do yourself a favor and at least watch this 4.xx minute video.


Not sure how many of YOU know of this 1960s HIT, 'Winchester Cathedral' by the British (of course) 'The New Vaudeville Band'. Again, do yourself a huge favor and listen to it. It will make your day. Just click.

Not sure how many of YOU know of this 1960s HIT, ‘Winchester Cathedral’ by the British (of course) ‘The New Vaudeville Band’. Again, do yourself a huge favor and listen to it. It will make your day. Just click.


As far as I am concerned, and this is probably my Ceylonese upbringing when we, on average, celebrated some kind of holiday, across 4 religions, every 9 days, you just can’t have enough holidays.

So on Monday, take a second to tip your hat to St. Swithin. 

Reasons 106 To 110 Of The 1,001 Reasons I Really, Really HATE DirecTV.

Anura Guruge, June 8, 2013.

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Anura Guruge


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#106. Friday afternoon around 1:40 I turned on the Genie Mini & the TV (using the DirecTV remote) to check the latest news on CNN. The TV and Genie Mini came on but all I got on the TV was a quick burst from the TV indicating that it was in ‘HD’ & ‘480p’. The screen then went blank. Nothing. Just a gray screen. No sound. I was standing right in front of it, so I could see that the Genie Mini was on. Nothing. Tried the volume. The volume ‘slider’ bar appeared on the TV. So I knew that the TV was on. I had to recycle power on the Genie Mini by unplugging it. I was not amused. It eventually came up and said that it could not find the server. That is the 2nd time I have had this message in the 21 days since I have had this untested, poor-designed boxes in my house.

#107. So (#101 above) I had to go downstairs. Was not happy about that. I had things to do. A book to publish. I had hoped to spend 2 – 3 minutes getting a quick dose of CNN. Already I had wasted over 5 minutes and had not seen any news. Get downstairs. Turn on the TV & Philips Sound Bar using the device specific remotes. Then I tried to power on the Genie. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. The bloody thing was dead. I now had to get up from the couch and have a look at the damn thing — and I hate going near it. Looked at the back. The orange light was on to say the Ethernet LAN was connected. So it was getting some power. But the F*er wasn’t going to power up. Had to unplug it and plug it back on. Then it came on. Now nothing had changed in this setup since last night. We had not lost power or even had a brown-out blip. So this bloody piece of junk had just gone to sleep on its own.

#108. I (#102) expected that it would work once it powered up. WRONG. This is DirecTV. Stupidity reigns. Nothing from the box. Pressed every damn key on the bloody remote. Nothing. So pushed the damn red rest button. I am not amused. I had two DISH DVRs for 3 years. Only had to reset one of them during all that time.

#109. The first reset (#103) resulted in a message saying that it was setting up … But, it stopped 2 minutes into this and started all over again. Took about 6 minutes before it was finally up. I had now wasted over 22 minutes messing around with these bloody boxes. This is not funny. 22 minutes is a lifetime for me. I can get a lot done in 22 minutes. DirecTV is ruining my life. I wish I could sue them for all the time that they have already stolen from me in the last 22 days. I dread what is to come. 

#110. So after all this f*ing drama this afternoon, I turn on everything tonight. The Genie seems to be dead again! Finally it powered on, but it took 4 minutes before the remote would function. It is amazing. Did I mention that I really, really hate DirecTV. I know that DirecTV will KILL ME. Yes, Deanna or the kids will find me keeled over with the bloody remote in my hand trying to get this f*er to work. My only satisfaction is that I will dying hating DirecTV. I am not joking.


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