Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Farewell, 2013

Well, here we are. The last day of the year. Alas, there will be no revelry for me tonight, as I have to be at work at 11:45 PM. Sigh. I'm not much of a New Year's Eve party person, I must say, but I would still much rather be at home watching the ball drop and raising a glass to the new year. Ah, the things I do for science. Well, I do have access to incredibly precise clocks at work, so maybe that will be fun? Even if they do all run on Universal, rather than local time.

Anyway. This would seem to be the time to look back on the rapidly ending year. 2013 was certainly interesting for me, probably mostly in the Chinese curse sense. Significant but less-than-fun events included: The government shutdown. Losing my elderly cat Happiness, as well as Mickey and Newt's feral mother (who really does appear to be gone for good). Dealing with medical issues that, while not terribly serious as such things go, are pretty annoying. And the excitement of realizing that holy crap, water is flooding into my bedroom!

On a much more cheerful note, this was also what I've been thinking of as the Year of Space Tourism, in which I paid a couple of visits to relatives and was able to thoroughly indulge my inner space geek in the process, with visits to Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, not to mention the chance to get close to a real, live (OK, decommissioned) space shuttle.

And almost all of these things contributed to the other main theme of the year: me getting to watch my savings dwindle and my credit card debt rise. But, you know, I'm still doing OK. I'm still here, still being me, still enjoying the things I enjoy, with a job and a roof over my head, and family who care about me. And 4,000 books. I figure everybody in the world should be at least this lucky.

I hope the new year sees all of you alive and well and doing things that make you happy, too. I'll catch you in 2014!

Monday, December 30, 2013

There Be Dragons

I finally got the chance to go see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug tonight. And I very definitely enjoyed it. It's got some really exciting parts and some parts that are a bit silly but a lot of fun; the whole thing looks incredible, as usual; and Smaug is sixteen different kinds of awesome. Unlike the first movie, though, this one did feel as long as it actually was. I must say, I am increasingly questioning the necessity of extending this thing out into three movies (and not just because this one ends suddenly at the most annoying possible moment, although that probably does have something to do with it). All the added material is interesting, and I have no fundamental problem with any of it. Heck, when it's all finished, people with lots of time to spare are going to be able to watch all six movies back-to-back and get some kind of coherent, unified story out of it, which is probably pretty cool. But I'm not entirely sure that's worth the all the added length.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Subjects Of My Christmas Presents And Doctor Who Are Related, Because My Mother Got Me "The Mind of Evil" On DVD.

Merry Christmas! And happy holidays in general, whatever holiday or holidays you may celebrate this time of the year! And a great big thank you to the various members of my family, all of whom sent me lovely and useful presents.

As I write this, I'm about 20 minutes from the start of the Doctor Who special, and I am experiencing a veritable roller coaster of emotions. I can't wait to meet the new guy! But I don't want Matt Smith to gooooo! But a new Doctor is so exciting! And I'm expecting to like this one! But... But somehow, despite decades of experience, I am finding it impossible to imagine not having Matt Smith anymore. I didn't feel this way last time, you know. I liked Tennant's Doctor, but by the time he regenerated, I felt, well, entirely ready for him to go. But I think Smith could continue doing this for the next decade, and I still wouldn't be ready to say goodbye to him. Such are the conflicts of the Whovian mind.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas is Coming!

My work schedule over Christmas and New Year's this year pretty much sucks, possibly to make up for me being able to take so much time off over Thanksgiving. So, no grand holiday plans for me this year, but I am fully prepared to enjoy myself in my own, quiet way. Tonight I'm working night shift, so I'll be sleeping until well into the afternoon on Christmas Eve, but in the evening I'm going to make myself a nice holiday dinner, complete with pie, and maybe watch A Muppet Christmas Carol while I eat it. (Blackadder's Christmas Carol is actually my traditional holiday viewing, but I think I might have finally gotten to the point where I've seen that once too often.) Then at midnight, when it's technically Christmas, I'm going to open all my presents, and when I'm done appreciating those, I think the rest of the night is going to involve candy canes and hot cocoa and a vanilla-scented candle, and curling up cozily with a book. Then on Christmas, there will be Doctor Who, and I should probably call my relatives. Then, as soon as it's technically no longer Christmas Day, I have to be back at work again, but I should be well topped up with the introvert's version of holiday cheer by that point and ready to be a functional human being again.

In the meantime, here is a sort of a video card for you all:

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Few Random Links

It's been way too long since I've done this. You would think I'd have more links. Well, whatever. Have these!

“Without the imaginary, we can’t function” – In conversation with Neil Gaiman: A lovely little interview with Gaiman, whose The Ocean at the End of the Lane is definitely one of the best books I've read this year.

'Gravity' Spinoff: If you've seen the movie Gravity, you'll remember a scene where Sandra Bullock's character talks to someone back on Earth whose language she doesn't speak. This is the other half of that conversation.

How Many People Are There In Space Right Now": A wonderfully simple website that tells you how many people there are in space right now. If you scroll down, it will also tell you their names and how long they've been there.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Feral Kitty MIA

I have not seen my resident feral cat -- Mickey and Newt's mother -- since just before Thanksgiving. I've been putting food out regularly, anyway, and it does eventually disappear, but I've only seen birds eating it. It's been terribly cold lately, and I'd like to think she's found somewhere else to shelter from the weather, but sadly I suspect she has likely succumbed to it instead. Especially as the last couple of times I saw her, I didn't think she was looking particularly well, as if she barely had the energy to get up and run away when I came too close to her, the way she usually does. Or did. I'm not sure how long I should keep putting food out until I give up, but I fear it may be getting to about that point.

It seems this has not been a very good year for cats.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Isn't That Robot Body Ready Yet?

Well, the good news is, I survived the anesthesia and everything, and, with the exception of some rather horrific side effects from the medication they made me take the night before -- which I won't get into, but suffice it to say that I am never, ever taking that particular drug again -- the experience wasn't too awful. Not pleasant, by any remote stretch of the imagination, but not too awful. The nurses were super-nice, which, in that sort of context, even generally misanthropic me finds helpful.

The bad news is, apparently my stupid uterus is so full of growths that the doctor thinks I am going to need a hysterectomy, because there's not much short of that they can do with it.

Stupid useless troublemaking organ. I think it's annoyed because the kidneys and the liver get to do stuff, while it just sits there not having babies month after month, and it's decided it wants some attention.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Also, I'm Told It's Thicker Than Water.

One pleasant side effect of having to deal with medical crap is that I've finally found out my blood type, a piece of personal information I've been curious about ever since I took high school biology, tried to determine it genetically based on my family's types, and discovered that I had an exactly equal chance of being any of the four positive blood types. Turns out I'm B+. I'm trying to take that as a sort of friendly, blood-borne piece of advice: "Be positive!" (Based on aforementioned high school genetic analysis, that also means my genotype must be BO. But I'm not going to translate anything out of that.)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Last-Of-The-Year Currentlies

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Blue sweatshirt with a map of Alaska on it. White socks. Black belt.

Current mood: Kinda lethargic.

Current music: I haven't been listening to any music lately. Instead, I've been inhaling episodes of Brian Cox and Robin Ince's The Infinite Monkey Cage podcast as rapidly as possible. And wondering why on Earth I didn't know about the existence of this thing before.

Current annoyance: There are many, but the biggest one is that I seem to have slept on something wrong a few days ago, and ever since the muscles of my neck and shoulders have been one massive knot of pain. I can get it to loosen up some during the day, but every time I sleep, or even lie in one place long enough, everything stiffens up again. (Insert standard rant about wanting to know when I'll finally get to upload myself to my robot body here.)

Current thing: I was playing a lot of Kingdom Rush Frontiers, but I tend to kind of hunch forward intently when I'm playing that, and it just makes the pain in my neck worse, so I've mostly stopped for the moment.

Current desktop picture: I just switched to the picture of the TARDIS with a wreath on the door that I usually use this time of year. Maybe it'll help put me into the holiday spirit. Two and a half weeks 'til Christmas, and I'm really still not feeling it yet.

Current book: Fool on the Hill by Matt Ruff, an entertainingly offbeat fantasy novel.

Current song in head: I have had "The Things We Do for Love" by 10cc in my head for days now. I have no idea why. Heck, I didn't even know who sings that. I had to look it up just now.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I need food.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, World War Z. Which... meh. It did have some decent moments, and it kept my interest enough that I didn't have to fight the impulse to wander off and check my e-mail every ten minutes (which seems to happen a lot with me and movies these days). But it didn't impress me. The plot was about a thousand shades of dumb, Brad Pitt was weirdly bland, and the zombies did not scare me.

Current worry: My rescheduled ladybits surgery is coming up on Tuesday. It really shouldn't be much of a big deal -- hell, I'd say it barely counts as surgery, since they're not even making any new incisions in my body -- but I am a tiny bit nervous, anyway. I'll be glad to have it over with.

Current thought: According to LibraryThing, I now own exactly 4,000 books. I feel as if I should hold some kind of party for Book #4000.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Time Lords And Turkey

I hope all the Americans out there had a lovely Thanksgiving! (Well, I hope all the Canadians did, too, but that sentiment is even more belated for them.) I was actually able to take several days off over the holiday, which was nice, since my ol' buddy "Captain Chlorophyll" was back in NM again, and we were finally able to do the Doctor Who marathon we'd been talking about forever. Because he hadn't seen any of the Matt Smith episodes, and that situation simply could not be allowed to stand. Although, sadly, we did not quite manage to get him as far as the Pandorica opening, mostly because I insisted on showing him Tom Baker's classic "The Seeds of Doom" first. (Because, dude! It's Captain Chlorophyll!) But that's OK. I'm sure there will be a next time.

Meanwhile, speaking of time, here it is the beginning of December already. I'm not sure exactly how that happened. And yet, I am already feeling tired of winter. One weekend of snow is entirely enough for me. Ah, well. In the spirit of the recent holiday, I am attempting to focus on the things I am grateful for (food! shelter! books!) rather than complaining. If only complaining were a little less easy.