Sunday, July 17, 2016

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep

I still don't have a new driveway -- apparently there were some delays, and the most recent word I heard was that maybe they'll be here Monday or Tuesday -- but I do have a new mattress.

And, man, mattress shopping got weird since the last time I had to think about it. (Not that I thought about it very much, then. It was basically: I need a bed, this affordable bed frame/mattress/box spring/headboard combination at the local furniture store seems fine, end of shopping.) It used to be a mattress was a big rectangle full of springs, and all you had to do was pick one that seemed to have the right firmness, but while I wasn't paying much attention there was, like, this bewildering explosion in mattress technology.

Anyway. I got a traditional spring one with a cushiony pillow top on it. Which, after sleeping on it for a couple of nights, I am thinking may not have been the ideal choice. The top is foam, and while I'd heard foam beds retain a lot of heat, I figured one layer of it, which supposedly also features some kind of gel to help keep it cool, would be okay. I can definitely feel the difference in how warm it is, though. It'll be great for winter, but is less than ideal in July, when we haven't had a day that hasn't hit triple digits in over a week. Still, if I replace my comforter with a lighter blanket, I think I'll be fine. (I can't sleep without some kind of a blanket. I feel too exposed, or something.) It's also waaaaaay thicker than my old mattress, which is going to take some getting used to, if only because it means I have to adjust my aim when groping for my glasses on the headboard shelf in the morning.

Unfortunately, I'm also not sure it's helping with the fact that my back often tends to feel a bit stiff or achy when I wake up, which was kind of the point of the exercise. (Although, honestly, the old one did need to be replaced, regardless. It was 15 years old, and becoming noticeably concave.) Likely said stiffness has more to do with my poor posture during the day than it does with my sleeping position. (The ergonomics at work aren't bad, but I have noticed I tend to slump a lot when sitting in front of the computer at home. And I do a lot of sitting in front of the computer at home.) I'm also a little worried, though, that in my paranoia about ending up with a mattress that's too firm -- hard mattresses being the source of some unbelievably miserable nights I've spend on hotel beds -- I might have ended up with one that's just a little too soft. Sigh. How on Earth can the human body possibly be so sensitive to such things? Didn't we evolve to sleep on beds of leaves or something?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tired But Happy

The Night Vale show, predictably, was super awesome. Although it's a weirdly strange experience when what you're used to experiencing as a disembodied voice on a podcast is coming out of an actual human being standing in front of you.

Now I think I'm going to take a bath with some of the expensive bubble bath my mother sent me for my birthday. All in all, not a bad day. Not a bad day, at all.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Another Spin 'Round The Sun

Happy birthday to me! I am 45 today, which... Well, I shall not dwell upon that too much, I guess, except to be glad to have made it this far.

Mostly, I am busy feeling excited about going to the Welcome to Night Vale live show tonight! Although it's also maybe a little bit awkward, because people -- mostly my relatives -- keep asking me what I'm doing for my birthday, and I keep saying, "Oh, I'm going to Albuquerque and seeing a show," and then they ask me what it is, and then I have to try and explain what Night Vale is, and... Yeah, good luck with that.

But! It is going to be very awesome, and I am super-psyched about it.

Now, if I can just finally get my driveway done, it will be a terrific week all the way around. (I was told it would be in the morning, one day this week. Given that the week is slowly running out of mornings, I am beginning to get nervous. But, eh. It'll happen! And that will be one less giant thing hanging around for me to worry about. Which will be an excellent present, so, yay!)

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Space Stuff

Also an eensy bit belated, but hearty congratulations to the Juno team, who are all set now to do some really awesome science at Jupiter. Let us know if you find any monoliths, guys!

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

July Currentlies

Happy belated Independence Day to my fellow Americans! And congratulations to us, I guess, for managing that e pluribus unum thing more successfully than our parent country. Ahem.

Right. Time for the currentlies!

Current clothes: Blue shorts. A Doctor Who t-shirt with the 10th Doctor's (in)famous "big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff" quote on it. White socks.

Current mood: Pretty good. Got lots of sleep today.

Current music: Nothing much.

Current annoyance: They told me "some time in early July," and it's early July now, but I'm still not sure exactly when the contractors are going to be here to do my driveway. Which is understandable, and probably not a big deal. My boss even very kindly re-arranged the schedule so I'm not on night shifts next week, so I'm not faced with the possibility of trying to sleep while people are using jackhammers outside my house. (Unless they end up doing it later in the month, I guess, on the Monday after my night-shift weekend, but that'd probably be more deal-withable, anyway.) But I get really, really antsy when I can't get things pinned down so I can make plans.

Current thing: So, I did finish playing Undertale again, and got my happy ending reward for not killing people. You can also get a very different kind of play-through if, instead, you kill everybody, but there was no way I was going to do that, partly because I didn't want to go through it again, but mostly because of the overwhelming guilt. So I found a YouTube video that'd show me what happens if you do that... and the game still managed to make me feel like a terrible person, just for watching it. Well played, game. Well, played. Anyway. That was definitely worth the ten bucks I paid for it on Steam, because even being done with it, thoughts and feelings about it seem to be lingering in my head and bouncing off each other in interesting ways. Arguably, when you play it as a pacifist, its response is a little too preachy and saccharine, but overall it's a well-aimed commentary on the largely unexamined way that games expect you to progress through violence. And when you put the various possible paths together, there's some fascinatingly meta stuff going on. Also, it has funny skeletons.

Current desktop picture: Still the same 12th Doctor wallpaper.

Current book: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. A good (if perhaps slightly over-hyped) book about a super-depressing subject.

Current song in head: Some of the stupidly catching music from Undertale.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but it's gonna have to be lunchtime soon.

Current DVD in player: I just finished disk 3 of season 2 of Community. Which is slightly weirder than season 1. I am not complaining about this. Truth is, despite the occasional musing about whether perhaps our popular culture is spending a little too much time gazing into its own navel, I actually do love the meta. (With or without funny skeletons.)

Current happy thing: I've been taking a little extra time to relax lately. It is good for the soul.

Current thought: Speaking of funny skeletons, I think I'm going back to the Discworld Death novels next. Hmm. Come to think of it, Discworld is also pretty meta. There seem to be some strange, strange patterns in my media consumption at the moment...

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Some Reactions To Some Entertainments

In the interest of actually updating once in a while, here's some media stuff I'm currently/recently into, and the slightly odd thought's I've been having about them:

  • I've been playing Undertale, the adorable game designed to make you feel like human garbage. (Why is it so hard not to kill things? WHY??!) I actually finished it once, but have started over again trying to do things differently, which apparently is what the game expects you to do if you actually want to not feel like human garbage. I cannot remotely decide whether this is brilliant and thematically deep, or just emotionally sadistic. Probably both.

  • I just finished watching The Wire, which does, indeed, live up to its reputation as a landmark piece of TV drama. And leaves one at the end with the impression that perhaps everyone is human garbage, made so by a crushing and inescapable human-garbage-producing system. (Well, all of us except maybe that one newspaper guy, anyway. And Bubbles, who is so darned likeable one can forgive him anything.) Honestly, I was eager to finally get through this show for sheer cultural literacy purposes, but now that I'm finished with it, I miss it already.

  • I've also been watching Community, which, mercifully, does not make me feel like human garbage, but which does make me wonder: How is it that tired, annoying sitcom plot points and cheesy, annoying sitcom morals-of-the-story suddenly become entertaining again if the show in question acknowledges, tacitly or explicitly, that that's what it's doing? I swear, part of me, watching this thing, is appreciating the show's ironic approach in a way that is itself ironic (because ironic meta is soooo last decade, amirite?), and it is at about this point that I start to wonder if our culture is about to disappear up its own navel, and whether that's a good thing or a bad thing or what. Eh, whatever. It make for an enjoyable half-hour of television, anyway.
  • Wednesday, June 22, 2016

    New Mexico In June: It Makes You Not Want To Be In New Mexico In June

    I still aten't dead. I've just 1) not had anything particularly interesting to say, and 2) not had lots of motivation or energy for blogging, or for much of anything else, for that matter. We've reached that inevitable stretch of triple-digit days here, the ones that leave you with the disturbing feeling that the sun is actively trying to kill you, and that rob you of your will to live, or at least of your will to do anything other than crank up the struggling A/C -- the swamp cooler can make it livable in my house, under conditions like these, but can't actually get it all the way to cool -- and lie on the sofa with a cold drink and a book. I have a to-do list as long as my arm, and I'm really hoping to get at least some of it done on my days off this week, but I don't think most of it is happening. The yard work, which would have to involve getting up very early to get it finished while the yard is still capable of sustaining human life, is almost certainly not going to get done. No matter how tall the weeds are getting.

    Of course, summer is also fire season here. I've already had one person who saw a story about fires in the southwest on the national news ask me about it, so, for the record, no, I'm not on fire, or in any obvious immediate danger of catching on fire. The Dog Head fire, which is the big fire you may have heard about, is considerably north of me. We have had one only a few miles away, though, which I did find a little too close for comfort. The giant, dark plume of smoke visible from here the first day that one was burning was certainly unpleasant to look at, not least because it covered a surprising amount of the northern horizon. It did destroy a couple of houses and some other buildings, which is awful. But I don't think it was in any real danger of coming this way, so the most I personally suffered was some lung irritation from the smoke.

    Honestly, fires are pretty much a fact of life in this part of the country at this time of the year. There's at least one right now that's being allowed to burn for the sake of the ecosystem, which evolved to expect a fire from time to time. It's when they encroach on human habitation that they make the news. And the Dog Head has done some terrible encroaching -- well, a couple dozen houses, but that's beyond terrible, if one of them happens to be yours. I think they have the worst of it under control now, though.

    Anyway. That's the status of things at the moment: I myself am fine, albeit lethargic, but the state I live in basically feels like some cruel child-god is holding a giant magnifying between us and the sun. But monsoon season should be here in earnest any minute. Admittedly, probably just in time to prevent my driveway work from being done, if my luck holds true. But given the state of things, I'm not sure I could even bring myself to complain.