What is Valentine’s Day?

Oh, let us not focus on this day in particular, arbitrary as it is! But for a question that came up earlier: why today? Why ‘Valentine’, purportedly a priest made Saint, for whom today is named for in the Roman Catholic Church’s feast calendar?

And so the internet provides: Wikipedia’s page on Valentine’s Day essentially states “for no good reason.”

And indeed, the tradition of sending Valentine’s cards, apparently propagated and popularised by none other than Esther Howland, stationer’s daughter, by whose name today is awarded the “Award for a Greeting Card Visionary.”

If that doesn’t send the cynicals up you, perhaps it is the profusion of Saints named Valentine, of whom, err, nothing much is known (Other than they are dead, and saints for it), would help to cement the impression.

(Secondary research is ever so easy.)

So, named after an unknown priest of ancient times, landing on the former ‘pagan’ Roman celebration of Lupercalia (when young men dressed in goat skins ran through the streets of Rome), mythologised by some unknown sources, ends up being Valentine’s Day, a celebration of love, lust, and all good things chocolatey and wrapped in pink.

Far be it for me to be cynical…

Ah well, a celebration of love, arbitrary as it may be, can only be welcomed by the romantics. Next year, mayhaps.


  • Went to see Les Miserables. Not a bad performance all round, but found the amusing bits better than the emotionally-heavy parts.
  • Also went to see Wicked, which retells the story of The Wizard of Oz fantastically. Wish I could understand the high-pitched singing though.
  • Find musicals strange as ever. Why would people randomly start singing?! Resolve to go see more plays at some point.
  • Went to Oxford last week. Not what I expected, though not in a bad way.
  • Been ticking off some of the things-to-do-in-London I still hadn’t gotten around to.
  • Witnessed the protest by Project Chanology yesterday in London. Quite amusing to see all those geeks protesting (c’mon, they had a banner saying ‘lol Xenu’, and ticked the stereotype boxes of pasty, skinny, acne-fied, long hair… some effort, guys!) A couple of photos to be uploaded soonish.
  • Happy Chinese New Year! The festivities were in full force in London on Sunday (Thursday doesn’t do well for a day out for the family). Absolutely nuts, fireworks so loud I was deaf for a good couple of minutes.
  • Work as usual.
  • Going to HK for a week long business trip where I get to train users and listen to their complaints about how the system doesn’t do this or that or the other thing that the other, totally unrelated and far better resourced system does/has. Yaaaaaaaay.
  • On the other hand, my new passport will get fancy new stamp on it! Need to start filling it up already :)
  • Finished Arrested Development. While I wish it would have had more epsiodes, they worked really well within the confines and ended it in style. This is the kind of show I could re-watch over and over just to try to remember the quotes. Sufficient to say, Hermano, Come on!, I’ve made a huge mistake and Steve Holt’s double fist pump are now part of my phrasebook. In the AD style. Coz, you know, they say it differently.

Trying not to bang on about it

As much as I have been mentioning what today is all about, it’s even less online than it is in real conversations around the office. There’s been nothing else which has been a consistent topic over the last month at least, save perhaps considerations of the future beyond today.

Today also marks my 2 year anniversary at work, which is kinda scary in itself. Sure, actual date might be the 6th, but it’s the same week, the same first Monday of February, and that counts more for me.

But back to the topic at hand. Why the constant attention? It’s all about what it means. It’s like report day back in school – it’s a reflection of how your year went, and what you got as a result. As a ‘graduate’, the number is partially arbitrary, but today is also promotions day, which is just as relevant, if not more so. There’s talk from many of quitting if various parameters aren’t met, but that’s got to be a scary step to make.

It’s not like school, where you’ll just be graduating at the end of a fixed term. It’s not like uni, where you have to tick all the minimum requirements boxes to cash in. It’s so much more vague and undefined, just as you need someone to point the right way.

Maybe it’s just me.

Also, Portia De Rossi has still got it

Arrested Development is the most intelligent humour I’ve seen in years for an American TV show.

Lindsay: “You know, maybe if you stopped judging her, he’d trust you. Look, if you say no, you’re just going to drive him right to her.”

George Michael, walking in: “Oh hi Dad, can you drive me over to Ann’s house?”

Michael: “Nnnnnn… yeah.”

Maybe it’s just me, or maybe you just need to watch, ‘kay? How about this one (same ep):

Pastor Veal: “Oh, are you a churchgoing man?”

Michael: “I am. Sometimes. Yes. I don’t go religiously.”

Cut tragically short, though I’d swear the spirit lives on in 30 Rock. Or at least it did, before this writers’ strike (c’mon guys, we’d only just shaken the whole ‘reality’ thing off, and then you go and strike?!).

Coincidental good news, everyone: talks are underway to make an Arrested Development movie! Hooray!