Thursday, January 03, 2019

January Currentlies

Here I am in 2019, checking in the same way I've checked in every month for who knows how long.

Current clothes: Jeans. A gray sweatshirt featuring the definition of the word "abibliophobia": "The fear of running out of books to read." Aka the reason why I have 922 unread books on my shelves. Well, OK, one of the reasons. Also, white socks. And bunny slippers, because my feet are cold.

Current mood: Not too bad. A little rushed-feeling. I'm working evening shifts this week, and it always feels like there's not enough time to do very much before I have to leave.

Current music: Nothing, really.

Current annoyance: There are many, but the dominant one is the weather. Temperatures that drop down towards the single digits (yes, Fahrenheit). Snow that doesn't melt before more snow falls on top of it. Treacherous ice everywhere. What is the point of living in New Mexico, I ask you, if I have to put up with this sort of thing? Fortunately, next week looks like it's going to be warmer.

Current thing: I don't know if it counts as a New Year's resolution or not, but I'm going to at least try to spend less time on stupid time-wastey stuff and more on things I actually want to do.

Current desktop picture: It's still the TARDIS with a Christmas wreath. Time to change it again!

Current book: Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke. It's the final book in a trilogy of kids' books. It's a good story (and one that appeals to my book-loving soul), but overlong, especially this volume.

Current song in head: "Good King Wenceslas." Which is weird and annoying, because I know barely any of the lyrics, because I honestly have no idea who Good King Wenceslas even is or why I should care about him, and because Christmas is over, already!

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I must have some lunch soon.

Currently watching: Most recently, the Doctor Who New Year's special. It occurs to me that I haven't talked about my thoughts about the most recent season of Who here. I hate to say it, but I've found it kind of disappointing. There are lots of specific things I've really enjoyed, mind you. And I think Jodie Whittaker is good, and I love the new companions and the way their relationships with each other and with the Doctor are being handled. But Chris Chibnall's particular weaknesses as a writer, especially when it comes to plot, seem to trip my annoyance triggers hard. And while I think this incarnation of the Doctor being a kinder, nicer version makes a lot of sense in character terms (and manages to avoid feeling like a gender stereotype, fortunately), I long for Whittaker to be allowed to have just a little bit more of an edge to her. Now. All that having been said, I actually really thoroughly enjoyed the New Year's special. In fact, it got me feeling all excited about the show again... just in time to launch us into a hiatus of more than a year. Sigh.

Current happy thing: I always get weirdly happy at the turn of the year about having a whole new year's worth of reading in front of me. This time I'm going to make even more progress through the TBR shelves, I'm sure of it!

Current thought: A raise of the glass to all of you who have been really loving the current era of Doctor Who so far. Lots of people are, and I am delighted for them! And am trying not to be jealous. After all, in Steven Moffat's run I already got a version of the show that -- while I certainly can't say it never made any missteps -- hit my own personal fannish buttons really well and made me feel very satisfied and happy. And it's somebody else's turn for that now. That's pretty much just how Doctor Who works.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year!

I may not be posting here much, but I could hardly neglect to check in on the last day of the year, could I? I hope everyone out there has been having a warm and lovely holiday season, and I'd like to wish you the very best in 2019.

As far as my personal life goes, I don't know that 2018 seemed like an exceptionally eventful year. To be honest, I think it mostly passed in kind of a blur. Far and away the most significant thing is that I got my new fake tooth properly installed, and eventually even got to the point where I could confidently chew on it without thinking about the fact that it was fake and worrying about something going wrong with it. And very glad I am to have that whole dental saga behind me.

I did accomplish a few things, too. Like finally getting my aging sewer pipe replaced. And the skylights, once they started leaking. And I made it out to California to visit my mother, for the first time in a decade or so. (Not that I hadn't seen my mom plenty of times during that decade. But, well... Let's just say that I very much owed her a return visit.)

Yes, well, I never claimed to have the world's most exciting life.

One thing I do claim to do, though, is to read a lot of books, which brings us to the traditional end-of-the-year book roundup. You can see a list of all the books I read here. There were actually fewer of them this time than in other recent years. But, despite that, the one-in/two-out method of trying to tame my out-of-control TBR has been working quite well: I now have 34 fewer unread books on my shelves than I did at the start of 2018. Admittedly, at this rate it'd still take me about 27 years to get it down to zero, but I'm counting it as progress.

As is also traditional, here's a list of the best books I read in 2018, or at least which ones I gave at least 4.5 stars out of 5 on LibraryThing:

FICTION

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip bu George Saunders
Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

NON-FICTION AND HUMOR

The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande
Science: Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness by Zach Weinersmith
Big Mushy Happy Lump and Herding Cats by Sarah Andersen
The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
M.C. Escher: The Graphic Work by M.C. Escher
The Habit of Turning the World Upside Down by Howard Mansfield
But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman

Which I swear is an even more motley assortment of books than my usual.

Anyway. That's it for 2018, for me. I'll be back sometime in the next few days with the usual monthly thingamajig. I'm figuring on continuing to do that for the foreseeable future, if only because I'm far too lazy to think of anything else to do with this blog.

Until then, and once again: Happy New Year to you!

Saturday, December 01, 2018

December Currentlies

I suppose the most significant thing that happened to me in November is that I got my roof leak fixed. Again. Actually, this time it seems it wasn't the roof, but the skylight. I have two skylights, and they were both in very bad shape, so I had them replaced. I also had the water damage from the previous roof leak fixed, finally. I really, really should have taken care of that ages ago, but it's good to have it done now. Well, mostly done, anyway. The ceiling in that room will need to be repainted. But I figure I can do that myself. I mean, how hard can it be? Right? Right?

Current clothes: I just got out of the shower, so I'm wearing a bathrobe and bunny slippers. I may have gotten up earlier than I should have this morning -- see "current annoyance" -- but that doesn't mean I'm moving fast.

Current mood: A little tired. Also see "current annoyance."

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: Yes, it's my sleep/work schedule again. This past week I worked until midnight, which is fine, except that I had to keep getting up early for things like having my roof worked on. Which not only means that I haven't been getting an ideal amount of sleep, it also means that I haven't been able to start adjusting myself for the night shifts I'm working next week. Last night, I had plans for various things I could do to keep myself up later -- computer games! DVDs! vacuuming the house! -- but when I got home, the power was out, presumably due to the high winds we were having. I read by flashlight for a while, then gave up and went to sleep. And then woke up earlier than I should have, because my nose was stuffed, and the cat was yelling about being hungry, and I had to pee. So I gave up again and got out of bed. Sigh.

Current thing: Honestly, it's probably doing far too much stupid, time-wastey stuff, while neglecting all the actually useful and important things I should be doing.

Current desktop picture: Since it's December, I've changed it to my usual holiday image of a snow-dusted TARDIS with a wreath on the door.

Current book: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I picked this book up because I heard a lot of praise for it, but I left it sitting on the TBR shelves for a long while, mostly because I wasn't sure it would be my kind of thing. I find the Odyssey infinitely more interesting that the Iliad, personally. But now Miller's got a new one out that is based on the Odyssey, which I really want to read, but I figured I should get to this one first. And I'm so glad I did, because it's just terrific. Really well-written and absorbing.

Current song in head: It's been a weird medley of stuff this morning, but right now it seems to mostly be dominated by "Just What I Needed" by the Cars.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I should make some tea. Or maybe think about having lunch, after I get dressed.

Currently watching: Season 1 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Which... I dunno. It's cute, but it's still a little too, well, sitcommy for me. Which I'm aware is a silly thing to criticize when you're watching a sitcom, but still.

Current happy thing: It really is good to have that ceiling fixed! It had, if you'll excuse the pun, really been hanging over my head for quite a while.

Current thought: It bothers me that I am constantly so hung up on the rapid passage of time these days, but still: How the heck is it December already? How is it nearly the end of 2018? Where does it all go?!

Friday, November 02, 2018

November Currentlies

So, here we are in November. I don't have much to say about October, though. Probably the only thing worth saying about it is that it ended in the middle of me taking a little time off of work, partly because they lowered the number of hours we can carry over from year to year and I have to burn up some vacation time, but mostly because I figured I really needed a break for some low-key rest and relaxation. Although I don't know that I've been all that successful at relaxing, to be honest.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A gray long-sleeved t-shirt featuring a travel poster for Saturn's moon Titan. White socks.

Current mood: Not super relaxed. Mostly because last night there was a terrible, terrible smell of sewer gas in my house, which is not an experience I recommend. It's gone today, and maybe it's just that a disused drain dried up, but it sure did not smell like that's where it was coming from. I've got a plumber coming by on Monday just to make sure there's nothing weird going on with my sewer vents or anything.

Current music: I'm going out tonight with some people from work to see Bohemian Rhapsody, so, in anticipation of that, I was watching a video of Queen's performance at Live Aid.

Current annoyance: My house smelled like a sewer! Also last week, the roof leaked a little. Again. In the same spot it used to. Why must I live like this?

Current thing: Trying to relax. I think maybe I'll just spend all day tomorrow reading. That sounds extremely relaxing. Right?

Current desktop picture: Believe it or not, I actually changed it! It's not the 12th Doctor anymore! Sadly, I do not yet have any wallpaper of the 13th Doctor, though. So right now it's this amazing image that won an astronomy photograph of the year contest. I might change it soon, though. It's gorgeous, but my desktop icons don't necessarily show up all that well against the bottom part of the image.

Current book: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell. I feel like I should say something about it, but honestly I have no idea what. It's an odd book, and I don't think I can really pass any kind of judgment on it until I've finished it.

Current song in head: Thanks to abovementioned video, it appears to be "Radio Ga Ga."

Current refreshment: Root beer.

Currently watching: So, I'm on the fifth and final season of Alias, and... I'm not sure what just happened, but I think I've reached the point where they realized they'd been canceled and panicked. Unless they really, really pull something amazing out of it, based on the episode I just watched I am fully prepared to hand them the Worst Retcon of All Time award. And that's got to be a pretty high bar.

Current happy thing: Not working for a little while is good. It's extremely good. I am not knocking it.

Current thought: You know, there's a terrible paradox to Queen. Freddie Mercury's voice is so inhumanly amazing that you sort of just want to sit there and listen to it undiluted, and yet their songs are so freaking catchy that it's often physically impossible to keep yourself from singing along.

Monday, October 01, 2018

October Currentlies

I honestly don't know what business it has being the first of October already. But since it is, here I am again.

The main event in my life in September was that I spent a few days in California visiting my mother. It was a very low-key trip. I helped her with some stuff around the house and we sort of hung out. It made for kind of a nice break.

Anyway. On to the usual stuff.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A t-shirt with a picture of various Doctor Who monsters crossing Abbey Road, which was given to me by someone who knows me entirely too well. Also Doctor Who socks with a TARDIS image on them. But I bought those myself.

Current mood: Kind of tired. It may be Monday for most of the world, but I've already had a long workweek, and it's not over yet.

Current music: More completely random stuff. This morning, the musical algorithm gave me Pink Floyd, Fairport Convention, Klaatu, Tom Lehrer, and some guy with a filk song about Seinfeld. My music collection, ladies and gentlemen.

Current annoyance: My foot continues to bother me, but it seems just enough like it might be getting better that I still can't decide whether I should make a podiatrist appointment or not.

Current thing: I have instituted a plan I call the Whole-House Cleaning Project, in which I will, little by little, often in small spare moments, clean my entire house, including all the little nooks and crannies that never get any attention, as well as doing various organizational and repair tasks that might need doing. I'm starting at the front of the house and working my way around in some sort of orderly fashion. Or that's the idea, anyway. So far, it's been over a month, and I've cleaned, basically, the front door (inside and out! with the screen door!) and a small section of wall around it. So it's going to take a while.

Current desktop picture: Still the 12th Doctor. But we will have a new Doctor soon! Maybe I will replace it then.

Current book: The Best American Essays 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat. Yes, 2011. It takes me a while to get around to these things.

Current song in head: Toto's "Africa" keeps getting stuck in my head, largely because I keep encountering it everywhere. Which bemuses me. I'm not sure which of the songs from my youth I would have predicted getting huge amounts of love in 2018, but I'm pretty sure it would not have been that one.

Current refreshment: Peppermint tea.

Currently watching: Just started season 3 of Ash vs. Evil Dead.

Current happy thing: I have some more vacation time coming up soon. Which I plan to spent just not working. Not working being my all-time favorite thing to do.

Current thought: New Doctor soon!!! I am stoked. But also, as I always am, a little trepidatious, especially because I'm still not 100% sure how I feel about the new showrunner. Mostly stoked, though.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

September Currentlies

Since I do seem to be pretty much using this meme to check in here once a month, I've decided to start doing it on the first of the month, or close to it, rather than a week or so in.

August was not terribly interesting for me. Somehow, it never is. It's like this big, blank, empty stretch of the year I can never seem to remember much about once it's over. We did finally start getting a decent amount of rain after a particularly dry start to the "rainy season," though, so that's good.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A light tan t-shirt from the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. Blue denim short-sleeved shirt unbuttoned over that. White socks.

Current mood: A layer of perfectly okay, spread over a deeper layer of anxiety and irritation that pokes through to annoy me at random moments.

Current music: Nothing much.

Current annoyance: Yes, it's the ol' human body again. My plantar fascitiis is flaring up, so I've been walking a lot less, which I think may be one source of my lurking irritation. Walking is good for both body and mind! Also unquestionably contributing is the fact that the calendar of my life has finally flipped over to a new and unpleasant page, and I am getting freaking hot flashes. Like, constantly. This, too, is both physically and psychologically uncomfortable. Sigh.

Current thing: I'm sort of trying to make my current thing getting stuff done around the house, but I have to admit I'm not trying very hard.

Current desktop picture: Still the 12th Doctor.

Current book: Gil's All-Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez. Which is okay, but not brilliant. It's a horror-comedy, and the horror-comedy sweet spot is really hard to hit (although wonderful when it works). The author did a lot better blending pulp SF and detective noir in The Automatic Detective, so I'm finding this one mildly disappointing by comparison.

Current song in head: There's been a lot of stuff bouncing around in the brain lately, some of it more annoying than others, but right this second it appears to be Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall".

Current refreshment: Nothing at the moment. But I'm thirsty.

Currently watching: I've started watching Matt Groening's new show, Disenchantment, on Netflix. I've only seen the first two episodes, and so far it's no Futurama, but it's not bad.

Current happy thing: I may not be trying super hard with the "getting things done around the house" thing, but I did actually have a fairly productive "weekend" this week on my days off. I was able to cross a number of things off the to-do list, including one that had been on there for a long, long time.

Current thought: I really want a vacation from the world. I am gonna do that staycation where I lock myself in the house and spend a few days lying on the couch reading books. I have plans... Just, not quite yet.

Monday, August 06, 2018

August Currentlies, And Stuff

So, I was thinking that if these days I'm mostly just stopping by this blog once a month to do this "currently" meme as a way to keep up on the state of my life, I should move it to the beginning of the month and maybe add in a little recap of what I've been up to for the past month. But, for one reason or another, it's still taken me this far into August to get to it. Oops.

Well, there's not a whole lot to say about July, anyway. The main event of note was that I turned 47. Which is maybe not that big of a deal. Certainly I seem to have long since reached the age where I barely pay attention to the number. Mind you, I have little doubt that will change soon. The idea of being -- gasp! -- fifty is just hard to wrap my brain around. It feels wrong, somehow. Fifty is not who or what I am!

Well, I guess I've got a few years yet before I have to face the thought of being wrong about that. In the meantime, here:

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A t-shirt from the National Air and Space Museum's Udvar-Hazy Center, where I got to see the space shuttle Discovery a few years ago. It's got a nice picture of Discovery on the back.

Current mood: OK, but a little, I dunno, rushed-feeling. I had a very busy weekend -- some errands and a much-belated birthday lunch with a friend in Albuquerque on Saturday, and a frenzy of housework and grocery shopping and other annoying but important things on Sunday -- and I do not feel ready to go back to work this afternoon. I want more weekend!

Current music: They Might Be Giants' Flood, a perennial favorite of mine.

Current annoyance: Besides not having more weekend? Well, there are a lot of things I could complain about, but maybe the most significant one is that my plantar fasciitis has been flaring up a little bit again. It's not too bad at the moment, but it always worries me when it does that. Stupid feet.

Current thing: Honestly, probably buying too many things I really don't need. I mean, OK, look, I know I have more than enough coffee mugs, but how could I not buy myself this one?!

Current desktop picture: Yes, yes, it's still the 12th Doctor. Don't act surprised.

Current book: Neutrino Hunters by Ray Jayawardhana.

Current song in head: "We Want a Rock" by They Might Be Giants. See "current music" above.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I should have some lunch soon, though.

Currently watching: I am still on season 4 of Alias. And I still can't quite decide whether it's a good show or a bad one. I suspect the answer to that may be "yes."

Current happy thing: Birthday lunch consisted of a cheesesteak at this place, which was like a wonderful, delightful little taste of my long-lost home. *happysigh*

Current thought: Everybody wants a rock to wind a piece of string around!