Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Thrilling Conclusion Of Blogs-A-Lot April!

So, we have reached the end of April, and with it, the end of my nearly-month-long blogging-every-day experiment. Whether people who are not me have found this interesting or annoying or anything at all, I have no idea. But for myself, despite sometimes having difficulty thinking of things to talk about and those stretches where all the entries were short enough that I might as well have gone with a Twitter account instead, I did find it worthwhile. Even if the reasons why it seemed worthwhile are surprisingly hard to pin down.

It isn't something I could easily go on doing forever, or even something that I'd want to if I could. But I'm kind of liking the idea of doing it again sometime. Maybe I could even make Blogs-A-Lot April an annual event. April would seem a particularly appropriate month for it, too, since it's this blog's anniversary month. (It's 12 this month! Ye gods, that does not seem possible!) But we'll see how I'm feeling a year from now.

In the meantime, I will at least try not to lapse into silence again too often or for too long. And I'd like to offer up a friendly wave and a "thanks!" to everybody who stopped by and commented this month, whether on the blog or via e-mail. Always nice to know you're out there, guys!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's What's For Dinner.

I have discovered the easiest Crock Pot recipe ever: one rump roast, a couple of cans of beef consommé, some hoagie rolls... Voilà! French Dip! Man, I love cooking that involves hardly any actual cooking.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Everyone Knows It's...

It was pointed out to me that when I referred to the spring weather in New Mexico as "beautiful" a few days ago, I neglected to mention the high winds and blowing sand. I would now like to formally apologize to the wind for this oversight, and respectfully request that it cease its current attempt to make itself the center of attention.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Once Again, Having Run Out Of Things To Talk About Leads To Book-Related Links.

I don't have every problem on the 99 Book Nerd Problems list. But, hoo, boy, the ones I do have..

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Uh... Stuff.

It's probably a good thing that this blogging-every-day experiment is coming to an end in a few days, because I have reached the point where I find myself staring at a blank screen and thinking, "But my life is boring, and I don't have anything I want to talk about here!"

Well, let's see. Things I've been doing with my boring life...

In a break between seasons one and two of Game of Thrones, I've been watching season two of Adventure Time. It is difficult to imagine two shows with a greater contrast. Except that they're both fantasy, I guess. And feature a lot of characters who appear to be royalty. And ice.

On the book front, I am reading David Copperfield. I have been reading David Copperfield for a solid week now, because that sucker is almost 800 pages long, and Dickens, whatever his virtues, is not winning any awards for being Mr. Fast-Paced and Zippy. It is worth reading, though.

I have a very long list of things I need to get done before my surgery, which I keep staring at, but most of it is stuff that I think I should wait until just beforehand to do. Like hacking down the weeds in my yard, because I won't be able to do it again for quite a while, or getting a haircut so that, while I'm lying in bed bemoaning my lot in life, at least I won't have to do it with horrible bed hair. Also, on the topic of lying in bed and recovering, I'm wondering now if I should get myself one of those lap desks so I can use my laptop in bed and bemoan my lot in life on the internet.

This is yet another weekend of working 12-hour shifts. Man, I'm not going to miss those while I'm recovering. Even if, by that point, all the shows I get miffed about not being home to watch on Sunday night will be on hiatus, anyway.

And there you go. That's what's up with me today.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Well, Hey, It's Better Than Owing.

I cashed my federal tax refund check today. All six dollars of it. I think I'm probably going to spend it on candy bars.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's After Midnight, So This Counts As Today's Post.

I just watched Frozen on DVD. And I enjoyed it. It's got some cute, funny moments, and it ultimately subverts some of the more eyeroll-inducing Disney movie cliches in ways I really like.

Also, Pittsburgh Dad's review of it is freaking hilarious:

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

And The Planet Keeps Going Around The Sun

I've got my swamp cooler up and running now -- or, more accurately, I've paid someone else to get my swamp cooler up and running so I don't have to go climbing around on the roof -- so I am all ready for summer! Which is effectively here by May, that being about when it starts getting uncomfortably hot during the day. Usually I put off getting the cooler going until about two days past the point where I don't feel like I reasonably can do without it anymore, but given my exciting drug-induced hot flashes, which are aggravated by being in a warm room, I figured having it all ready to go when needed would be a kind thing to do for my poor old self.

I do wish spring lasted longer here, though. And fall, too, for that matter. They're beautiful, but, alas, they are fleeting.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I Was Warned Not To Get To Attached To Any Of The Characters.

I've now finished watching season one of Game of Thrones. And, well. That... certainly lived up to its reputation.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Blasts From The Bookish Past

Apparently when I run out of things to talk about here, my go-to strategy is to post random book-related links. So, here, have some vintage bookstore photos. Looking at these really makes me want to hop into a time machine and go book-shopping.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hey, Don't Blame Me, I Didn't Come Up With That Pun.

Happy Easter to those who celebrate it!

And, as they say on Skaro, "Eggs-terminate!"

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Today's Adventures In Coffee-making

Today's adventures in coffee-making: I set up the machine last night to brew the coffee automatically this morning. Sily me, though, I assumed the timer was still set the same as the last time I used it. Since, you know, I live alone and the cats haven't yet mastered the art of coffee-making. But apparently, sometime in the last three days, the timer clock reset itself. So Mr. Coffee obediently brewed me up a nice, hot, fresh pot of coffee... at midnight. Needless to say, it was rather cold by the time I got up.

Sigh. It's almost enough to make you want to kick the habit.


Friday, April 18, 2014

I Still Don't Wanna Go Back To Work, Though.

Wow, this having three days in a row off without having to spend any of those days sleeping or any nights struggling to stay awake is nice. I had a very long to-do list for my time off this week, and I think I've managed to either finish or make satisfactory progress on pretty much all of it, with a reasonable amount of time left over for loafing. Now I just need to make time to answer all my neglected e-mail...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dammed Coffee

Here's a tip: when making coffee, do not leave the carafe sitting on the counter, forgetting to actually put it in the machine, press the "on" button, and walk away. Even that feature that shuts off the flow so you can sneak a cup before it's finished will not hold back an entire pot's worth indefinitely. The result... is not pretty.

Between that and the sinus headache I woke up with this morning, I am not feeling optimistic about the direction this day is going.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Hear Winter Is Coming.

So, long after the rest of the world, I have finally started watching Game of Thrones. It's always looked like something I'd probably like, so I really should have gotten to it sooner, but I was thwarted by my own indecisiveness. Every time I'd find myself thinking I should watch the TV series, I'd immediately think of good reasons why I should read the books first, and every time I'd consider reading the books, I'd immediately come up with good reasons why I should watch the TV series first. This conundrum apparently being impossible to resolve, I just kept never doing either one.

But a friend of mine recently announced he was planning on starting up a Game of Thrones-based RPG and asked me if I wanted to play. Sadly, between my highly inconvenient work schedule and the fact that it'll be starting up about the time I'm having my surgery, whether I want to or not may prove to be academic. But, regardless, that served as the impetus to finally break my mental logjam on the issue, and I decided to just Netflix the damned thing.

I've only watched the first episode, but so far, it seems like it's going to be pretty decent. There's lots of complicated and potentially interesting stuff going on, some nice visuals, and what looks to be some thoughtful worldbuilding. And the end of the first ep made me sit up and go, "Yikes!", which is always promising. If I'd known there was going to be quite that much in the way of viscera, I might not have watched it while I was eating lunch, but that's not exactly a problem.

My main reaction, though, is, "How am I ever going to keep all these characters and their relationships straight?!" Seriously. I was desperately trying to draw up family tree diagrams in my head while I was watching, but I fear that by the time I watch episode 2, I'll have forgotten it all and be completely lost again.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Today has been sort of alternately boring and interesting. But now I am tired. So, relevant to my tiredness, have a video with some tips about how to sleep better, a subject that is always near and dear to a shiftworkers' heart:

Tip #2 startled me, rather. I thought I'd invented that one all by myself, back when I was a kid. Although at some point since then, it seems to have stopped working for me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho

Here I am in the middle -- well, mercifully, slightly past the middle -- of what is essentially a 56-hour work week. The one before that was 64 hours. (That's without overtime, of course, since these long stints inevitably straddle two different weeks for payment purposes. I'm not even counting the meeting on my day off that I did get overtime for.) Sigh. I miss the good old days when we had an extra person, and one person (or even two people!) needing to take off or switch their shifts didn't inevitably screw over someone else. In this case, I confess, I kind of did it to myself, by being far too nice when people ask me if I can swap schedules. But it's not like this sort of thing is entirely unusual.

I'm just getting tired of sitting in that chair. Well, mostly I'm just tired, period. These early mornings don't so much agree with me. I've got more of those ahead of me, too, but the good news is that come Wednesday I have three days off, without having to spend any of it adjusting my sleep schedule around. Luxury!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I Call It The Fing-Longer

I just bought one of these, to save myself unnecessary bending and stretching after my surgery:

It came in the mail yesterday, and now I'm having trouble resisting the urge to just walk around the house randomly picking things up.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Everything I Know, I Learned From Watching Sesame Street?

Another weekend of 12-hour shifts. Sigh. In the absence of anything more interesting going on for me to talk about, I'll offer this up as your random link for today, since the Muppets seem to keep coming up in my conversations lately: Millennials just don’t get it! How the Muppets created Generation X. Does this article overstate the influence of the Muppets? Probably. I suspect a world in which Jim Henson had never lived would not be too fundamentally different from this one. But it would be a much, much poorer world, regardless.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some Sad News

Some sad news: I heard yesterday that my uncle -- my dad's brother -- had passed away. I can't say that we were close; I hadn't even seen him since I was a kid. But it's a terribly melancholy thing to hear about anyway, and my heart goes out to my dad.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Like A Really Unexciting Form Of Time Travel!

I don't think I've mentioned it here before, but a while back, I got a three-month shot of a drug intended to help shrink my fibroid, in the hopes that they'll be able to do a less invasive form of surgery than would otherwise be possible. Basically, said drug works by depressing your hormone levels and putting you temporarily into menopause, so I'm currently getting a little foretaste of what life will be like in a decade or so when I'm going through this for real.

I've always had a completely unfounded belief that while many other women might have a hard time with the ol' Change of Life, it would surely not affect me that way. I'm glad to note that this utterly irrational assumption seems to be proving true. I have been experiencing the infamous hot flashes, but they're mild, transitory, and mostly ignorable. They are happening kind of a lot, though, making them slightly slightly more annoying than they otherwise might be. So I am definitely looking forward to having my uterus gone and my ovaries back . (Or, rather, back at their hormone-producing job.)

In the meantime, any time I'm being grumpy or moody, I think having my hormones artificially messed with going to be my excuse. When it's not the usual excuse of sleep deprivation, of course.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

It's A Full Life, If A Trifle Banal.

This blogging-every-day thing is getting to be a little challenging. Because it's not like I do that much that's interesting.

Well, my itinerary for today includes a no doubt very boring meeting at work. On my day off. Sigh. But I am getting overtime for it, and I can really use the cash, so I guess I can't complain. Much.

Then tonight is cheesy British sci-fi night, an irregular and informal event in which I get together with a couple of friends and... well, you can probably figure out the rest. Having finished a run-through of Blake's 7, we're now watching The Tomorrow People (the original version), which I am honestly enjoying a lot more than I expected to. It may not exactly be a crowning achievement of television, but it can be a lot of fun to watch, in its own very 70s kind of way. Although, man, when it's bad... it's bad.

In other news, yesterday's dentist appointment went well. I bought myself some ice cream to celebrate not having any cavities.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

And Now It's Time For This Again!

Current clothes: Rush concert t-shirt. Gray sweats. Black ankle socks. Brown leather shoes.

Current mood: Pretty good, all things considered. It's my day off, and I got enough sleep, so I'm rested and fairly relaxed.

Current music: While I was outside hanging up laundry just a few minutes ago, my iPod randomly served up a Muse song and a vaguely techno-y remix of this. Also, a comedy sketch about a version of Survivor featuring cartoon characters.

Current annoyance: Why is my robot body still not ready?! Among other physical complaints, I have to go to the dentist today, and I don't want to.

Current thing: Repeatedly playing the Doctor Who version of 2048 and obsessively speculating about who might or might not turn out to be related to whom on Once Upon a Time now.

Current desktop picture: It's the same rather silly but nevertheless kind of cool-looking bookshelf wallpaper as it's been for the last couple of months. It's probably time to change it now, though. Maybe to something else book-themed.

Current book: Distrust That Particular Flavor by William Gibson.

Current song in head: I've had Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" in and out of my head for days.

Current refreshment: Just finished a Diet Pepsi.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 1 of Archer.

Current worry: That everything possible will go wrong, somehow. Forever.

Current thought: Wow, this an even geekier "currently" response than usual.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Such Is The Life Of A Shiftworker.

Ugh. Today is that regular occurrence I have mentally dubbed "Transition Day." Meaning that I worked a night shift last night, but I have to be Day Person in a couple of days, so I need to shift my sleep schedule completely around. There are various different ways to deal with this sort of thing, and all of them kind of suck. What I do these days is to get off work at 8 AM and go to bed as usual, but only sleep for four or five hours: enough to function, but not nearly enough to be satisfying. Then instead of fighting the consequent state of sleep deprivation, I sort of nurse it, giving myself a very low-energy, lying-around-on-the-sofa kind of day that, hopefully, will end with a hot bath and a return to bed before midnight. It works surprisingly well, but it's never exactly fun, since it always makes for a short day that feels pretty much entirely wasted.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Still More Books, Yo!

Here I sit in my brief period of downtime between two 12-hour shifts, just trying to suck down enough coffee to stay awake through the night. So, not a lot to say today and not a lot of time to say it, but keeping up with the little book-related theme I seem to have going here, I thought I'd link to what has just become my new favorite YouTube channel, Thug Notes. Each video deals with a different classic book, giving a summary of the plot and some thematic analysis. All of which is delivered in gangsta speak. What really gets me is that this guy frankly does a better of teaching these books in five minutes than most of my English teachers ever managed. Here's a couple of samples:

It makes me weirdly happy to live in a world where this exists. (Just remember kids, there's no substitute for actually reading the book!)

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Mmmm, More Books!

I just got back from the local Friends of the Library book sale. I probably wouldn't end up buying very much, I told myself. After all, I have to work tonight, so I'd need to sleep in, meaning I'd get there late and the good stuff would probably all be gone.

Well. I did not sleep as late as I should have. The good stuff was definitely not all gone. And I am now experiencing that peculiar mix of thrill and shame that only comes after a good book-buying binge. Well, honestly, right now it's mostly still thrill. I got books! The shame will doubtless come, however, when I count them all and take note of what it does to my TBR total.

Friday, April 04, 2014

Mmmm, Books.

OK, it is now after midnight, so I think I can count this as day two of what I have begun mentally referring to as Blogs-A-Lot April, because I have never been any good with pithy names.

But today, instead of random thoughts and boring life details, I offer you bookshelf porn.

(What does it say about me that I actually looked at some of these pictures and went, "Nope, that's just not enough bookshelf space?")

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Blog, Feet, Music

I really have been shamelessly neglecting this blog of late, and, as always seems to be the case with such things, the longer I neglect it, the harder it is to motivate myself to actually post something. So I'm going to try a little experiment here: for the rest of April, I'm going to try to post at least something every day. Most likely it'll be a bunch of weird, random thoughts and boring details about my life -- you have been warned! -- but at least it'll be something, and it'll get me back into the habit.

So, today's weird random thought/boring life detail starts with my feet. I have flat feet, and for a long time, I suffered from some really awful, and increasingly continuous, bouts of plantar fasciitis. (Aka stabbing foot pain.) I finally went to see a podiatrist about it a couple of years ago, and he set me up with some custom-molded orthotic shoe inserts that helped immensely. Since then, I've had occasional very brief recurrances, but nothing remotely like what I was suffering before.

Except now it seems to be coming back, at least in my left foot. So far, it's intermittent, and mild enough that it's more annoying than debilitating, but the fact that it keeps coming back is worrying. I'm not sure if my foot's changed somehow -- it actually feels like that might be true -- or if it's due to the insert having become worn and cracked and maybe not holding my foot rigid enough anymore, or what. I'm hoping I don't have to go back to the podiatrist, not least because I'm never sure if my insurance will cover this stuff. It did last time, despite my policy pretty much explicitly saying it wouldn't, but who knows if I'll get that lucky twice? I have a slightly superstitious fear of calling the insurance company and checking in advance, for fear that'll make them say no.

For the moment, I'm sort of hoping it's just a weird, random flare-up and will go away on its own. Being off my feet for a while after my surgery next month might help. I also have some stretching exercises that help, but the problem with those is forcing myself to do them. My brain apparently thinks that six minutes of leaning against a wall and stretching while watching the clock to time how long to hold position is the most unbelievably, tortuously boring thing imaginable. Like a kid wheedling for five more minutes before bedtime, some part of my mind keeps repeatedly whining at me to put off doing it just a little longer, pleeeeeese!, often with the result that I never get around to doing it at all.

But I really need to make with the self-discipline and just get the damned things done. Listening to music while I'm doing it helps with the boredom factor a bit, fortunately. Especially when I put my iPod on random shuffle and it comes up with weird, weird things. This morning while I was doing the stretches, it played me a medley of Queen songs in Japanese. Which is kind of weird by itself, but what makes it even more so is that I had no idea I had a medley of Queen songs in Japanese on my iPod. I am, in fact, 99% sure I'd never even heard that before. I mean, I think I would have remembered that.

Well, maybe being curious enough about what it'll come up for me next is enough to motivate me to keep on doing the exercises. I can only hope.