Saturday, January 31, 2015


After all that money to fix my roof, it is leaking. Again. Around the skylight. Again. Also, either the ants came back or never entirely went away, because there is a giant, crawly mass of them living in the wall behind my bathtub.

These things can be dealt with. I hope. But, man, I am tired of dealing with things. I am tired of adult responsibilities and long lists of things to do, and my inner child just wants to throw a whiny-brat tantrum about it. "I don't wanna! I don't wanna! My life is so haaaaaaaaard!" Shut up, inner child.

Well, at least I have this woman telling me I shouldn't feel guilty about having so many unread books:

Although I can't help thinking that maybe she really doesn't mean this many.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Glasses Update

...Except now I have a crick in my neck from trying to watch TV while lying down, because I practically have to point my chin at the floor to properly make out words on the bottom of the screen. Apparently the solution to this is, "Yeah, don't watch TV lying down, 'cause your glasses aren't made for that." DO NOT WANT.

Eye Eye Eye!

I finally have my new glasses, with the new progressive lenses. And they're not quite as freaky and disturbing as I kept worrying they would be, so that's good. Although it might be more accurate to say that they're freaky and disturbing in ways that are less constant and a bit more subtle than I was expecting. Looking at a computer screen is mostly OK. Staring straight ahead into the far or middle distance is great. Turning my head or moving my eyes too quickly can be quite unpleasant, though. And looking at my feet or the ground in front of me tends to yield unsatisfactory results.

Still. Tilting my head up and down to change things back and forth from blurry to focused is almost kind of entertaining to do, and I can see how it could become second nature rather than an interesting novelty, given a little time. And while I was coming back from the eye doctor's I even pulled out a book and tried reading while walking down the street. Turned out to be totally doable, despite some slight weirdness if the book jiggles around too much. Which is a relief; that was something I was expecting to have problems with.

Reading while lying on the sofa, which I only had the chance to try very briefly, did seem kinda tricky, just as the internet had warned me it would be. Which is not a great, as lying on the sofa and reading is basically my best thing. But it doesn't seem impossible to do in a comfortable way, just like it needs a little adaptation.

In the meantime, though... Well, my eyes feel kind of weird. And I wish they didn't. Stupid eyes.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Exciting TV Adventures

So, I watched last week's pilot to the "SyFy" Channel's new Twelve Monkeys series. Or, rather, I watched maybe a bit less than half of it before reminding myself that I am not, in fact, contractually obligated to finish watching things that are boring me silly, and turned it off. Part of the problem is that, of course, it's impossible not to compare it to the movie, and it suffers a lot from the comparison. I know it's really not at all fair, but I kept finding myself thinking things like, "Boy, is this guy no Bruce Willis." And "Well, there goes the logically consistent time travel that set the movie apart from most of the genre. I knew it was inevitable, since it probably wouldn't be much of a TV show if there was no prospect of changing anything, but it still makes me a little sad." And, "Wow, does this thing need a Terry Gilliam. Or anybody with any sense of style and originality, really."

That last point is the killer, honestly, because it meant there was just nothing about it that remotely stood out as interesting. Not the characters, not the visual style, not the writing. The only thing it might have had going for it is the premise, if it had been able to provoke some sort of "Whoa, what's going on here?" reaction. But not only does that not work for anybody who has seen the movie version, or even who's read anything about the basic concept of the show, but even if you do somehow go into it completely ignorant, I think it quickly exposits away anything that might have been interestingly mysterious.

Of course, I know pilot episodes can be rough, and seldom give you a good idea of what a series will be like one it hits its stride. But if, twenty or thirty minutes in, it hasn't even given you any sense of future potential, that's a bad sign. As is making you feel bored stiff, even if you did start watching it in a grumpy mood. And I have zero desire to repeat the complete waste of time that was Under the Dome. I mean, I really should have listened to my instincts when they told me I might as well stop after that pilot. So... If 12 Monkeys miraculously gets awesome somewhere down the road, somebody come and tell me about it then, and maybe I'll give it another shot. Until then, that's an hour of my life I'm keeping.

In other exciting TV-viewing news, for those who haven't heard me talking about it elsewhere, I've been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender on DVD. (I'm just about to start season 3.) And, you know, I'd always figured all those folks who seemed to think that this was, at the very least, the best kid-friendly animated series in the history of TV were exaggerating. My mistake! It really is just about that good. Two-thirds of the way through (and with a sequel still to watch), and I'm already feeling preemptively sad about running out of it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Today's Annoyance

Yesterday, I got a message on my answering machine saying my new glasses were ready. It was too late to go and pick them up that day, but I called the office that evening to listen to the hours given in their answering machine message so I could be sure they were open this afternoon. (Since the 21st century has not yet reached much of New Mexico, they don't have a website. Or even a Facebook page.) Then, after working all night, I shorted myself on sleep today so I could be sure to have plenty of time to walk there -- I didn't want to drive home in unfamiliar eyewear -- and for them to make any necessary adjustments. I spent the walk trying to psych myself up for the change, and saying goodbye to my familiar one-focus-fits-all view on the world.

Then I get there, and there's a sign on the door saying that, since they're short-handed, they're closed Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons until further notice. Thanks so much for updating your stated hours, jerks. And, of course, they're closed tomorrow. Screw it. It's gonna have to be Monday. I'm not doing this again on Friday, especially since I'm not going to get much sleep on Saturday, when I'm switching back off nights.

SIGH. I really, really want those two hours of sleep back. One pot of coffee is not remotely enough.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Some Book Stuff

Because I need to link to random bookish stuff here every once in a while: 23 Words For Book Lovers That Really Should Exist. Which is an awkwardly phrased title, as what they really mean is "23 words that really should exist for book lovers." But they are right. I personally am in desperate need of words for most of these things.

Also, I must mention, the new danger in my life. Because... Cheap used books! So many cheap used books! With free shipping!!!! I tried to resist clicking the link to it. But I failed. And now I am doomed. Doooooomed.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Turing Test Gets A Little Easier To Pass

Hey, good news for anybody who might occasionally want to comment on this blog, but who has been entirely too frustrated by the sometimes impossible CAPTCHA tasks.

A couple of people in the last month or so have told me they were able to comment without having to deal with one, which confused me, because I hadn't changed any settings, and hadn't been getting any spam. (And, believe me, the last time I turned the CAPTCHA off, the spam was awful.) Well, here's the explanation!

So since all you have to do now is to click a box, there is no reason not to talk to me. Got anything interesting to say?

My Car Is Mine!

Received in the mail today: the title to my car, all official, along with a letter acknowledging that I had paid it off in full. Man, that feels good. It feels like relief. Relief, and an extra $257 dollars a month. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Eyes Do NOT Have It. The Eyes Are BAD.

After putting it off for far, far too long, I have now been to the eye doctor, and I have an order in for a pair of progressive bifocals.

To say that I am worried and distressed about that, would, I think, be an understatement. It's not "Oh, I need bifocals, I'm getting oooooold!" I did have that reaction when the eye doctor first mentioned the possibility, but I'm long since over that. It's more that... Well, I am in my forties now, and you know what they say about old dogs and new tricks. The idea of having to change my visual habits -- which I am told that, yes, I will inevitably have to do -- is... it's hard to even conceptualize. "Think of it this way," the doctor told me. "It's a tool. And like any tool, you have to learn to use it. Like any tool, it has its uses and its limitations, and those have to be accepted." Which sounds like a good, sensible way of thinking about it, except... Except, it's not a tool. It's a part of my body. By which I mean not just my eyes, but also the glasses themselves. I've worn glasses pretty much every waking moment since I was six, and in my mind, they are a part of me. To ask someone, after four decades, to change how they use a body part, and how they use a sense... That's not an easy thing.

Everyone I know who has progressive lenses has told me that, after an initial adjustment period, they were absolutely fine. I am trying to be reassured by that, but... But when it comes to reading, everybody else is not me. Everybody else does not walk down the street with a book held up in front of their face. For example.

So instead, I try to comfort myself this way: when it comes to reading, nothing has ever been able to stop me. (Well, music and voices can interfere with the process of putting words into my head, but hearing is not the relevant sense here.) I can read in dim light, in moving vehicles, while walking... When I was young, I even used to read upside-down. So, I can read with bifocals. A little thing like having to relearn a lifetime's habit of where I hold things and how I move my eyes, that's hardly going to stop me. Right?

Now, driving, on the other hand, that might be a different story...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Five Armies, Considerable Waiting

I finally got out to see the third Hobbit movie today. And, man... I think it's debatable exactly how much of a mistake it may or may not have been to split this up into three movies, but what I can say for sure is that, for me, this one defintely suffered from the year-long wait between installments, and particularly from the choice to end the second movie right in the middle of the action and then to pick it right back up again in part three. I walked out of The Desolation of Smaug feeling excited (albeit frustrated), but by the time the theater lights faded out onto The Battle of the Five Armies, all momentum was long since lost, and it took me forever to get back into the swing of things again. Cliffhangers, I think, work way better on TV.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

First Currently Meme Of 2015

Current clothes: Dark gray sweats. A t-shirt from White Sands National Monument (mostly black, with a narrow horizontal picture of sunrise or sunset over the sands across the chest). White socks.

Current mood: Fairly well-rested, for once.

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: Winter. This planet is entirely too tilted for my liking.

Current thing: Trying to stick to my let's-not-call-it-a-New-Year's-resolution New Year's resolution about eating better: three decent meals a day, with minimal, healthy snacks. So far, I'm doing surprisingly well at it. The key seems to be keeping myself distracted enough that I'm not paying too much attention to the way my body keeps telling me that it really, really wants to eat an entire box of cookies right now.

Current desktop picture: The holidays being over, I have just gone back to my favorite book-themed wallpaper.

Current book: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Which is moderately interesting, but mostly what I'm taking away from it is that Steve Jobs was a giant ass.

Current song in head: The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun." Wishful thinking, really. Well, OK, it's nice enough out today that we may finally be completely rid of last week's snow by nightfall. But then, I thought that yesterday, too.

Current refreshment: Nothing. I should drink some water.

Current DVD in player: The last disc of season 6 of Mad Men. For the longest time, I couldn't quite get what all the fuss was about with this show, but eventually it more or less converted me.

Current worry: My inheritance check finally came, which means that, for the foreseeable future, my financial worries have largely been alleviated. Which is an immense load off my mind. Now I can stop worrying about money and go back to worrying about my health.

Current thought: Thank you, Uncle Tom, for remembering me in your will. You may not have had any idea just how much of a difference it would make, but I am truly grateful.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

2014: The Year in Books

It being traditional for me, at the start of a new year, to take a look back at the last year's reading:

I read a total of 137 books in 2014. That's actually a handful less than last year, which is a little bit surprising, since I figured that orgy of reading in the downtime after my surgery would make a big contribution to the total. But I think there was a bit of a bounce-back effect after that, where my reading was below average for a few months after I went back to work.

If you're curious to see what all I finished this year, you can find the list here (or here, if you prefer to see a pretty arrangement of covers).

Once again, my To-Read Pile was significantly bigger at the end of the year than at the beginning. I blame those darned library sales.

I did read a lot of good stuff this year, though. Here's my (somewhat arbitrary) best-of list:


Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
The New Dead: A Zombie Anthology edited by Christopher Golden
Locke & Key Volume 6: Alpha & Omega by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It by David Wong
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Attwood
Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers


At Home: A Short History of Private Life by Bill Bryson
Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Shulz

Hmm. Bit light on the outstanding non-fiction there, maybe, but I think the fiction list is entertainingly diverse.

Now, my goal next year is to read everything. Wish me luck!