Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bye, 2016! Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Ass On The Way Out.

So, here we are. In my time zone, at least, we're less than 24 hours from the end of 2016.

And, man... You know, every year, it seems like there is a chorus of voices bemoaning all the terrible things that have happened in the last 365 days and suggesting that it's been a much worse year than most. I'm usually pretty dismissive of that. After all, every year has its share of deaths and bad news, and those things tend to loom larger in our minds than the events of past years only because they're more recent.

But 2016, it seems to me, really has been a giant tire fire of a year. It just kept burning and burning, and the longer it went on, the more noxious fumes it poured out onto all of us. I would like to say that I'm relieved it's almost over and that I'm anticipating much better things in 2017, but, of course, the truth is that 2017 will be shaped by the choices we made in 2016, and I'm not feeling too optimistic about those. Well. Here's hoping that it'll exceed expectations, eh?

In my own personal life, I suppose 2016 is memorable mostly as the year I finally got my driveway resurfaced, so I guess there's that. And one genuinely good surprise this year is that my beloved elderly cat Nova is still here with me at the end of it. He's down to skin and bones and very much showing his age, and to be honest I hardly expected him to make it to his 17th birthday -- round about June -- never mind still being here on New Year's Eve. But here he is, still getting around OK, still happily scarfing down bowls of that super-expensive prescription cat food, and still sitting on my lap and purring. That, at least, is one thing that does make me feel warm and glad at the end of this year. I think I will take it.

And I guess that's it for me for 2016! See you all next year, when I'll be back to do the usual roundup of my year's worth of reading, if nothing else.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Tis The Season

Is it Christmastime again? Man, the years really are just rolling right on by now.

Anyway. Here's wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and/or a generally wonderful holiday season!

I don't have any extra time off work this year -- just the weekend, which I would have had off, anyway. But I am enjoying it. The holiday makes for a lovely excuse to just relax. I spent all morning in my pajamas finishing a book, which is thoroughly good for the soul. Tonight I'm going to make myself a nice dinner, and then I'm going to follow my usual impatient custom of opening all my presents at midnight. Tomorrow I'm probably going to get together with some people from work who are also hanging around town for the holiday and don't have family here, and we're going to play some board games. Can't stay too late, though, because of course there'll be new Doctor Who tomorrow evening. It would hardly be Christmas without Doctor Who! Even if I still can't quite believe I now live in a world where I get new Doctor Who as a present every Christmas.

I hope everyone everyone reading is having at least as nice a time as I am, however you're spending these days. And, hey, we're almost ready to be done with 2016!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Belated December Currentlies

This is way later in the month than I usually do this. I'm not dead, I promise! I just seem to have had very little time for anything lately. I've been working long hours, and when I'm not working, I'm trying to catch up on the giant to-do list of things that have that piled up while I was working, or else I'm completely out of energy because I've been spending all day running around trying to catch up on the to-do list.

Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. A t-shirt that says, "Screw reality, I'm going to the bookstore," which might just be my new official motto. White socks.

Current mood: Somewhat better, as it's a relief to finally get some time off. But also kind of tired. From, y'know, running around all day trying to catch up on the to-do list.

Current music: Nothing at the moment, really.

Current annoyance: There are many, but primarily the aforementioned lack of time. Including the fact that I woke up today determined to Do All The Things, and instead have only done a few of the things, because most of the things seem to have taken at least twice as long as they ought to have. Sigh.

Current thing: I just listened to the entire backlog of the Lexicon Valley podcast -- about a hundred episodes -- in the course of, I dunno, maybe about three weeks. Except for the most recent episode, which I turned off because it was going to have spoilers for a movie I haven't seen yet.

Current desktop picture: Still this lovely bookish image.

Current book: Clockwork Angels by Kevin J. Anderson, which is sort of a novelization of the Rush album of the same name. It's... not good.

Current song in head: Well, snippets of Rush songs keep popping in there, because Mr. Anderson thinks he's incredibly clever for constantly working them awkwardly into his prose. But otherwise, not much.

Current refreshment: Some kind of zero-calorie sparkling orange-mango drink.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of season 2 of Broadchurch. Which I have heard argued did not need a second season, but I'm liking it so far.

Current happy thing: Man, it is nice to finally have a proper weekend. A three-day weekend, even! Also, I finally have my thyroid medication again, so that's nice.

Current thought: I'm sure I had something profound to say here, but it's completely gone out of my head. So, um... Happy holidays?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Feel Free To Insert Your Own The Exorcist Projectile Vomiting Reference Here.

Annnnd, so, as if to punish me for daring to try to find things to be thankful for in this year of constant, worldwide crap, I came down with an industrial-strength case of post-Thanksgiving food poisoning last night. Although I'm honestly not sure whether it was me uncharacteristically cutting a food safety corner or two when cooking my meal, or something to do with the tacos I ate for lunch yesterday. (I did think a couple of bites of those tasted off.) Apparently incubation times vary.

Anyway. I'll spare you the details, if only because recounting them is likely to make me want to hurl all over again. I'll just say that it was UNBELIEVABLY AWFUL. At least the vomiting part only lasted a few hours, though. Long, awful hours, but still. I'm still feeling kind of shaky and sick now, though. But at this rate, hopefully I'll be up and around and eating some kind of solid food by tomorrow. Wish me luck.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Marking The Occasion

I'd like to wish a very happy Thanksgiving to all my American friends, and to express the hope that all of you may find you have many things to be glad about this year.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Belated November Currentlies

Current clothes: Red sweatpants. A black t-shirt that says "I may look lazy, but on a molecular level, I'm quite busy." Black socks.

Current mood: I won't lie, it ain't been good. Everything from global-scale events down the the minutia of my own life seems to have been conspiring lately to make me feel upset and stressed, in a lot of different ways. I am at least feeling a little better today than I have been for the last few days, and I'm trying to hold onto that. But I am still very much feeling that strange sense of unreality, of having somehow ended up on the wrong timeline. It's almost exactly how I felt the time I rolled my pickup truck on the highway. I just sat there afterward convinced that there had been some mistake, that that couldn't possibly have just happened, and that at any moment some cosmic editing process would kick in and put reality back to what it was supposed to be. Except that wore off after a few minutes. I suspect this time it's going to take a lot longer.

Current music: Leonard Cohen's You Want It Darker. Which I didn't even realize was out, until I read about it in his obituary. Speaking of things that upset me.

Current annoyance: The whole damn world, at this point. But, more particularly, if more pettily... I've taken this week off of work, something I arranged several weeks ago. I needed to burn some use-or-lose vacation time, had some things I needed to get done around the house and such, and felt like I desperately needed some time to de-stress, having not had a real vacation in over a year. Well, the list of things needing to be done has kept growing in both magnitude and importance, and the de-stressing thing now feels like a bitter joke.

Current thing: Disillusionment. Also, the never-ending quest to prevent rainwater from coming into my house. (This time, the problem was sagging gutters.)

Current desktop picture: I finally replaced Death and his kitty with the old book image I used to use. Don't know how long I'll keep this one, though. I like it a lot, but I don't know that I'm in the mood for it.

Current book: Excession by Iain M. Banks. I generally like Banks's Culture books, but I'm feeling a little impatient with this one. It's got fun world-building (as usual), and what looks to be an interesting plot hook, but I'm 200 pages in, and so far it feels like it's all endless setup and no actual story.

Current song in head: Some incidental music from the video game Don't Starve, which I was just playing a little while ago.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I need some breakfast.

Current DVD in player: I've been trying (with only partial success) to catch up on stuff on my DVR lately, so no DVDs at the moment. I think the most recent one was Captain America: Civil War. Which was... OK.

Current happy thing: Wellll.... OK, not having to work is good, even if I do want to pout about it not being quite the relaxing/productive break I had planned. And tomorrow is the $5-a-bag library book sale in Albuquerque.

Current thought: They say we get the government we deserve. Apparently we're a nation of assholes. In retrospect, I don't know why that surprised me.

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Wait... What?

What I want to know is, what freaky-ass alternate timeline have I just landed in, and, for the love of all that's sane, how do I get back to a reasonable reality?

What the fuck, America? Just... What. The. Fuck.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Don't Blame Me. I Voted.

New Mexico starts early voting in mid-October, so I have now done my duty and cast my ballot. That means the election can be over now, at least for me, right? Right?

Friday, October 07, 2016

October Currentlies

Current clothes: A brown t-shirt with a picture of a groggy-looking owl holding a cup of coffee. (It seemed appropriate today.) Sweatpants in a mossy green color. White socks.

Current mood: Mostly okay, but with some lingering feelings of annoyance from yesterday (although some nice relaxing time today has enabled those to fade some) and a certain amount of tiredness. I stayed up late last night because I have to switch onto night shifts for the weekend, but then I woke up early, anyway, which is very non-ideal.

Current music: Some forgettable random-shuffle stuff on the iPod.

Current annoyance: Well, there's having finally hit the last straw with the people at my doctor's office. But also the fact that my work hours are starting to really get to me, and I am coming to the conclusion that I really need some time off.

Current thing: Wondering where the hell the time goes. Lately, things that happen monthly seem to be taking place approximately once a week. I know time speeds up as you get older, but I can't be that old yet, can I?

Current desktop picture: Still Death and one of his cats.

Current book: The Passage by Justin Cronin. Which isn't bad, I guess, but I don't know that it's exactly good, either.

Current song in head: Right this minute, "The Boxer" by Carbon Leaf, but give it ten minutes and it'll probably change.

Current refreshment: Nothing.

Current DVD in player: Disk one of season four of Community.

Current happy thing: Well, I've heard that my people in Florida are all fine after the hurricane, as well as their property, so that's good. And while I'm talking about weather, there's also the fact that here in New Mexico we've hit that all-too-brief time of year when it's neither too hot nor too cold, and that's always lovely.

Current thought: I really should take some time off. Especially as I think I'm actually close to my vacation rollover maximum, and the year is zipping by at near light speed.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

And Just To Put My Stupid Problems Into Perspective

I've been looking at weather forecasts for Florida, and that is one scary-ass hurricane. I have family members on the Florida coast who've had to evacuate, and am very glad to know they're safe on higher ground. Here's hoping their house comes through okay, as well.

Good luck, Floridians. Stay safe.

What The Hell Does Somebody Have To Do To Get Some Goddamned Levothyroxin Around Here?

Anybody have any recommendations for doctors in Socorro or Albuquerque? (Or somewhere in-between?) I think I've just hit the absolute last straw with Socorro General Medical Group and their incompetent administrative staff. Which, admittedly, I should have done after the time my doctor told them three weeks in advance that she wanted to reschedule my surgery, and they didn't bother calling me until a few days beforehand. (At which point my boss already had every one on an altered work schedule to accommodate my absence, and my mother was packing to fly out to stay with me.) Then, of course, there was the time they submitted the wrong version of a fantastically expensive and time-sensitive drug and ignored my insurance company's repeated attempts to check whether that was what they really wanted. Or the multiple times they sent me repeat prescriptions for drugs I was only supposed to take once. Or the time they made me an appointment with a nurse after I insisted, several times, that I wanted to see an actual doctor. Or... Well, yeah, you get the idea.

Today's saga, just because I have to vent about it somewhere:

Over the weekend I noticed I was low on my thyroid pills and submitted a refill request to Wallmart (which is now the only pharmacy in town, something that comes with its own share of suck, but never mind that now). There's a note that they have to confirm the refill with my doctor, which might take an extra day. They're supposed to text me when it's ready, but for the next three days, I hear nothing. When I check, the automated phone menu and website say the refill order doesn't exist. I try putting it in again. Nothing. I call back today to check it again, and the computer tells me the pharmacy wants to speak with me. They tell me the refill has been refused by my doctor.

I call the doctors' office. The woman I talk to -- who sounds like she has no idea what she's doing, and ums and ers and reads things aloud to herself under her breath like she's trying hard to understand them and immediately has to go and "ask the nurse" about something -- tells me the refill was refused because it's been more than six months since I had my thyroid levels checked. It has been five and a half months, but OK, it's reasonable that they might not want to order the refill until it's been checked again. Now, the doctor whose name is on the prescription isn't there any more; she left a few months ago. This is all too familiar, as this practice has a constant revolving door of physicians (which is another strike against it). I'm told that one of the new doctors will have to see me before they can order blood tests or refill my pills. Which is also reasonable; doctors don't want to order tests or drugs for people they haven't seen in person. But the problem is that because they never bothered to inform me of this when they got the refill request four days ago, I am now out of pills. I just took my last one.

Now, when they do the blood test, what they're testing is whether the medication is working properly, or whether the dosage needs to be adjusted. If the levels are where they should be when I'm on the medication, it's fine. If they're off, we probably need to change it. But that only works if you do the test when I've been taking the pills. So, after the woman offers me an appointment on Monday so we can do the blood test sometime later, I explain to her why this is a problem, and ask her if the doctor is aware that I'm out of pills. She just repeats that she's going to make me an appointment for Monday and the policy is that I can't get a blood test or the pills until then. Yes, I say, but is a doctor aware that this is going to be a problem? Can she talk to them and see what they have to say about it? She can't talk to them, she says. They're all in rooms with patients. OK, can she talk to them when they have a free moment and maybe give me a call back? No, she's not going to do that. She will make me an appointment for Monday. Yes, I say, but the doctor really should be aware of this. Does the doctor know I'm out of medication? She assumes the doctors know, she says. They probably aren't going to do anything differently. (Although, in my experience, the doctors themselves are generally very good at being flexible and accommodating, and, in any case, they should be warned about the problem.) "Probably," I say. "You assume. That means you don't know. Can you check?" No, she's not going to do that. This is the policy. I sigh and ask if there is someone else I can speak to. "Yes," she says, "But they're just going to tell you the same thing."

She transfers me. I explain the situation again, and about the other person's refusal to help. Oh, yes, says the new person, they can absolutely check with a doctor when one is free, and will give me call back before noon.

Someone calls me back before noon and says that, actually, one of the doctors has a free slot this afternoon, and I can come in at 2:45 so she can see me so I can get the blood test. Hooray!

An hour later, someone else calls me, and tells me that one of the doctors is putting in a 60-day refill order for me, and I just have to make sure to make an appointment before the pills run out. "Great! I say. Um, does that mean I shouldn't come to the appointment today?" The guy sounds befuddled. "They made you an appointment?" He checks. Turns out, the person they made the appointment with doesn't even take my insurance. So, yeah, let's cancel that. I should just make an appointment later, he says. I tell him, uh, I think I may actually want to see a different doctor, instead, and ask about what I need to do to transfer my medical records. So now, I guess, I need to find a new doctor in the next 60 days.

And, man, I really, really hope they actually send that prescription in. I won't be remotely surprised if they don't.

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Always "Getting Ready," Never Actually There

Why is it that lately I seem to be spending half my life waiting for Windows to update?  And is it ever going to decide it's finally up-to-date enough? These are the burning questions in my mind as I watch my laptop reboot itself for the umpteenth time.

As for its promises to take care of business during an "inactive time," I can only laugh. Windows, I guarantee you're not smart enough to figure out when I'm likely to be awake and wanting my computer. Even I am barely smart enough for that.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

You Can't Take The Quiz From Me.

This week's geeky social activity: the Geeks Who Drink Firefly theme quiz, which was held in Albuquerque last night. (Well, and also in lots of other cities, but I didn't go to those.) We came in third! Which didn't win us anything, but it was not too shabby at all, considering there must have been thirty teams, and that the winners reportedly only missed two questions all night. Now, those are some big damn heroes!

Win or lose, it was an entertaining evening, and a good excuse for a re-watch, something I hadn't done in years. Of course, now I'm annoyed at Fox for cancelling the show all over again. Some grudges truly never die...

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Still Trekkin'

After my post on Star Trek the other day, someone linked me to this piece of music, which combines the theme songs from the original series, TNG, DS9, and Voyager into one amazing whole, and I thought it was just too great not to share:

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Keep On Trekkin'

I could not possibly let today pass without wishing a happy 50th Anniversary to Star Trek. Who would ever have predicted, back in the day, that a show that had trouble even staying on the air for three years would still be something we'd be talking about half a century later? Let alone that it would have such a tremendous influence on science fiction, on pop culture, on millions of people, and even on real-world technology?

I sometimes like to describe myself, only half-jokingly, as a lapsed Trekkie. There was a point -- OK, it was pretty much the entirety of my teens -- when Star Trek, with its humanist philosophy and its much-discussed optimistic view of the future, served me pretty effectively in place of a religion. These days, Trek and I have drifted apart a little bit. I've found myself disappointed with some of the later entries in the franchise, eventually giving up entirely on both Voyager and Enterprise. And I can see problems with the original series that weren't remotely obvious to me as a youngster, from the disturbing implications of Kirk's interpretation of the Prime Directive as something that only applies to societies he approves of, to its unexamined 1960s sexism.

And yet. And yet, I still maintain a deep, abiding, nostalgic affection for Kirk and company, and (in a somewhat different way) for their Next Generation descendants. Not to mention a strong appreciation for the tragically under-rated Deep Space 9, which, despite a rough first season and the occasional plot or character misstep, was and remains a damned good show.

I may not think about Star Trek obsessively the way I did when I was, oh, thirteen. And I'm pretty sure I've forgotten more Trek trivia than even Gene Roddenberry ever knew. But the swelling notes of that classic theme song can still stir my heart, and the role Trek had in shaping my life really cannot be underestimated. I feel like I should feel embarrassed by that, somehow. But I'm not. If nothing else, I'll always love Star Trek for giving me Mr. Spock as someone a lonely little nerdy kid to look up to and adopt as a role model, as he was for so many nerdy little kids like me.

Live long and prosper, Trek. Not that you need the encouragement from me. Whatever I might think about all the twists and turns you've taken over the years, you seem to be managing that just fine.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

I'm Still Here! And It's September Now, So Have Another Iteration Of The Usual Meme

Apparently I haven't posted anything since I did this meme in August. Well... That's August for you, really. It's just one long month of nothing. Anyway, here's the state of things in September:

Current clothes: My wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey Doctor Who t-shirt. Blue shorts. White ankle socks. Black leather work boots that really need to be polished. Or even just cleaned, really.

Current mood: Not too bad. Kind of sleepy. I think the shift work has been kicking my ass more than usual of late.

Current music: Nothing much at the moment. Boring, I know.

Current annoyance: The pump on my swamp cooler seems to be having problems, and there are just enough too-warm days left in the season for me to want to do without it.

Current thing: I've been playing a lot of Don't Starve. Which is a fun game, and rather addictive, but also a bit frustrating. I think I may give it a rest for now. My little guy managed to survive for 66 days on my last attempt, and I'm not sure I can face the thought of doing all that all over again just yet.

Current desktop picture: Still Discworld's Death and one of his kitties.

Current book: In the Company of Cheerful Ladies by Alexander McCall Smith. It's number six in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series, which I came to late, but am enjoying. I'm making my way through it slowly and intermittently, though, as I fear the books could lose their charm if not spaced out enough.

Current song in head: Snippets of some obscure song about Charles Darwin that I'm feeling far too lazy to look up the title and artist of.

Current refreshment: Mango passion fruit tea.

Current DVD in player: I'm just about to start the last disc of season 1 of Broadchurch. I'd been meaning to get to this one for a while, but bumped it up the queue when Chris Chibnall was tapped to take over Doctor Who after Seven Moffat leaves, since I've found his writing work on Who kind of forgettable but wanted to see what he could do as a showrunner. I must say, I've been surprisingly impressed by it.

Current happy thing: I'm still happy to finally have my driveway work completely done. All the more so since they finally showed up to seal the cracks in my little concrete porch area, which was the last thing waiting to be done. (Well, the last thing on that job, anyway.)

Current thought: I probably shouldn't have eaten quite so many tacos before sitting down to write this.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

August Currentlies

Because it is August.

Current clothes: Black ankle socks. Khaki shorts. A black t-shirt that says, "I spend my life crushed beneath my TBR pile." For you non-biblioholics, "TBR" stands for "To Be Read," and what the shirt says is true. I spend my life crushed beneath my TBR pile metaphorically, and I will not be entirely surprised if I end my life crushed beneath it literally.

Current mood: OK. Lately I've kind of been in that state where I find it hard not to stress out about all kinds of stupid stuff -- I'm mostly blaming the disruption of the driveway work this time -- but I think I'm feeling slightly more relaxed today. We'll see if it lasts.

Current music: Nothing notable. I don't remember what the iPod last served me when I random-shuffled it.

Current annoyance: So many. So. Many. But if I have to pick one, let's go with having actual humidity in the air. I am not used to this, and I don't like it. Sweat should evaporate immediately, not hang around soaking through your clothes! Plus, the A/C in my house is evaporative cooling, which means that when we get days that are both hot and humid, I'm pretty much screwed.

Current thing: Trying to get big home improvement projects done. Buying too many books. Also, fictional skeletons. I don't understand that last one, either.

Current desktop picture: In honor of my current thing, and my ongoing re-reading of Terry Pratchett, I have finally replaced my favorite Time Lord with this awesome artwork featuring Death and a kitty cat.

Current book: I just finished The World in Flames, a memoir about growing up in a doomsday cult. Next up is Pratchett's Thief of Time.

Current song in head: Songs have been flitting in and out of my head like crazy lately. This morning I woke up with "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett in my brain. I have no idea what that means; it didn't have anything at all to do with anything I was dreaming about.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I'm kind of thirsty.

Current DVD in player: Just finished disc 1 of season one of The Expanse (meaning I've seen up through episode three). In principle, I like the idea of this show a lot. This kind of solar-system-based hard(ish) SF thing has never really been done on TV, and I feel like the medium is probably ripe for it. In practice, though, I'm having trouble getting interested in it. The characters and the plot are kind of generic-feeling, and some of the worldbuilding stuff seems over-exposited to me while other stuff is a little hard to follow. But I've been warned that it starts out this way, and assured by at least a couple of people that it eventually gets more engaging. And so far I'm liking it at least a little better with each episode, which is encouraging. I am curious to see what they do with it.

Current happy thing: Even if there has been a lot of stressful stuff around it, I do have a new driveway! Yay! That so, so needed to be done.

Current thought: Ummmm.... Hang on... I'm sure I can come up with one...

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Parking On The Driveway (Not Driving On The Parkway)

Since I was asked to post a picture of the new driveway, here is a picture of the new driveway!

Unfortunately, it has been rainy and muddy here, and it thus did not stay pretty and pristine for long. But, look! No cracks! No grass growing in the middle! Now if they'd just repave the road in front of it...

(Hopefully this time the picture will work.)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Pretty Big Pile Of Concrete

Well, the work on my driveway has finally started. Of course, in true Murphy's Law fashion, it got delayed long enough to happen just as I'm about to go back onto night shifts. Sigh. But I'm very, very glad it's finally getting done. And I'll be even gladder when it's finished and I can mark it down as one less thing to worry about.

Here's what has become of my old driveway:

[ETA: Apparently the photo wasn't showing up for anyone but me, because Google Photos does really annoying, non-obvious things with permissions. Sigh. I miss Picasa. Anyway, it should be visible to the world now. Right? Right?]

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.

    Monday, June 06, 2016

    I Aten't Dead! Have Some June Currentlies.

    Current clothes: A bathrobe. I just got out of the shower. Once I'm finished posting this, I'm going to go and put on... I dunno. Jeans and a t-shirt, like usual.

    Current mood: Not bad. A little slow-moving, in that heavy, slept-too-much kind of way. Which I've been doing a lot, lately. Maybe it's the summer weather. Sometimes my body just seems to decide it wants to estivate. Not that I'm complaining (or at least not much). Too much sleep is better than too little, especially when I'm on night shifts.

    Current music: Nothing, really.

    Current annoyance: The company that's going to redo my driveway has been taking a while to figure out exactly when they're going to be able to schedule the work. They just got back to me with "sometime in early July, exact date TBA." I hope they don't end up wanting to do it the week I'm on nights. Or that they'll at least let me know soon enough that I can arrange for someone to cover for me. I really don't want to work all night and come home to the sound of jackhammers outside my window.

    Current thing: I guess I have a couple of current things, other than sleep. I've started re-reading some of Pratchett's Discworld books, in between all the other books I have to read. Starting with the Death novels, because Death is awesome. The character, that is, of course, not the phenomenon. I'm also back on a little bit of a making-household-improvements kick. I've finally replaced a bunch of window screens that were shredded nearly to uselessness by time and cats, for example. Which is good, even if I am a bit annoyed with myself for accidentally ordering the wrong color frames.

    Current desktop picture: It's still the same Doctor Who picture I've had for ages now. I should probably stop pretending to myself I have any desire to change it.

    Current book: Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen by Lois McMaster Bujold. Which is pleasant enough, I guess, but kind of dull. Never thought I'd say that about this particular series.

    Current song in head: Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time," ever since a few days ago, when I stumbled across this parody on the subject of entropy.

    Current refreshment: Nothing. But I'm thirsty. And maybe a little hungry.

    Current DVD in player: I just finished season 4 of The Wire. Which was amazing.

    Current happy thing: Looking at my work schedule for tonight, it looks like, unless something goes horribly wrong (which is always possible), it should be a nice, quiet night. I am very much in favor of nice, quiet nights.

    Current thought: Between the window screens and the driveway, my next household improvement project is going to have to be shopping for mattresses. Since it finally occurred to me that part of the reason why I wake up with an achy back far too often probably has to do with the fact that my mattress is 16 years old and saggy. This, I am not looking forward to.

    Saturday, May 14, 2016

    This Is A Test. This Is Only A Test.

    Nothing to see here, just me testing the Blogger app I installed on my phone, because trying to use the Blogger website on a phone is ridiculously awkward and difficult, and it finally occurred to me that, duh, of course there's an app that's actually designed to be used on a phone. (Not that I update from the phone often, anyway, but, hey, when you went to, you want to.)

    Anyway, This seems way easier. Yay.

    Sunday, May 08, 2016

    I May Have Some Currentlies

    Current clothes: Olive green sweat pants. My Doctor Who wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey t-shirt. White socks. Black leather boots.

    Current mood: Not bad. Today has been that combination of relaxing and productive I most like to achieve on the weekends, marred slightly by the fact that my days off just seem to slip by faster and faster, and today has not been an exception.

    Current music: I was just listening to random-shuffle stuff on the iPod while doing some housecleaning. Last song was something by the Goo-Goo Dolls.

    Current annoyance: That thing about my time to myself going by too fast. Slow down for a sec, time! I have things I want to do with you! (Stupid wibbly-wobbly stuff. Sigh.)

    Current thing: Some of that time (OK, probably too much of that time) slipped past while I was playing Slither. That game is stupidly addictive, I think mostly because it's one of those games where every time you lose -- and you will always, always lose - it feels as if you almost didn't, and all you have to do next time is not make that one stupid mistake, or be just a little bit faster... It's so hard not to just click "play again" to attempt to prove it.

    Current desktop picture: Still the same Doctor Who one I've had for ages. I really, really should change that. Will it happen before I do this again next month? Probably not.

    Current book: Pretender by C. J. Cherryh, book 8 in her Foreigner series. Someday, in the distant future, I will actually make it through all of this series.

    Current song in head: "Temporary One" by Fleetwood Mac, which came up on random shuffle yesterday, and has been playing in my head ever since.

    Current refreshment: Diet cream soda.

    Current DVD in player: Crimson Peak. Which, like all of Guillermo del Toro's movies, is extremely visually impressive (albeit a bit gory in places), but, like most of his movies, I'm not sure how impressive it is or isn't in other respects. It's got its good points, but... Well, if it's a bit slow, a bit stilted, and more than a bit ridiculous, is that a flaw, or is it just really, really good at capturing the sensibility of the Victorian Gothic stories it's paying homage to? I honestly can't tell.

    Current happy thing: No work today! And later I will have pot roast. Mmm, pot roast.

    Current thought: Happy Mother's Day to all you motherly types out there (at least in places where it's celebrated today). Me, I'm going to continue spending today reveling in the inestimable joy of not having kids.

    Tuesday, May 03, 2016

    Game Of Spoilers: Or, I Would Rather Know Nothing About Jon Snow

    I just finished watching season 5 of Game of Thrones on DVD. (And was surprised by how caught up in it I got, too. The last couple of episodes, there was a lot of very loud yelling at certain characters.)

    Of course, being just about exactly a season behind, that means I got to the end of season 5 just in time to be hit by an avalanche of season 6 spoilers, everywhere I turn online. Honestly, what is it with this show? I thought Doctor Who spoilers could be tricky to avoid if you waited too long, but GoT fans and critics seem to go out of their way to make sure nobody can miss them. Years later, I'm still shaking my head in bemusement about the article I saw on the prevalence of GoT spoilers that had a spoiler in the title.

    I'm seriously beginning to suspect that HBO is planting this stuff somehow, in an attempt to get people like me to subscribe.

    Sunday, May 01, 2016

    Oh, Look, It's May!

    And thus endeth the exercise known as Blogs-A-Lot April. I'm never entirely sure if said exercise feels like it has all that much of a point, but one thing I did notice, this time, is that it sort of forced me to pay attention to every day as it passed, which means that, unlike a lot of months lately, April did not pass by in a blur, but seemed to take its time and to go by in something that felt at least a little more like a steady, regular way. And, honestly, if I was going to pick any month to do that, April seems like a good choice. Despite a few oddly chilly days this year, it is, for the most part, a brief, beautiful respite between the major New Mexican seasons of Too Cold and Too Hot, and it's good to enjoy that while it lasts.

    Anyway. It being May, you will probably hear much less from me now. You may breathe a sigh of relief if you wish.

    Saturday, April 30, 2016

    I Guess It's Just Crappy Old Invisibility for Me

    By the way, I forgot to mention it in the last post, but you know what's really annoying about having very poor visualization skills? My absolute number-one most desired superpower, with no question, is teleportation. I frequently long for the ability to just be places without having to deal with all the incredibly tedious, frequently expensive, and, in the case of cars, genuinely dangerous traveling in between.

    And, of course, every time I've heard a description of how teleportation works in fiction, it inevitably starts out with, "OK, first you picture the place you want to go..." Sigh.

    Friday, April 29, 2016

    Maybe It's Because I Can't Put Glasses On My Mind's Eye

    I recently stumbled across this article, "Aphantasia: How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind", and got kind of a kick out of it, partly because this guy's realization, astonishingly late in life, that other people's brains are doing a weird thing his doesn't is strangely hilarious, and partly because it's incredibly gratifying to be able to say, "Finally! Someone who's even worse at visualizing things than I am!"

    Because I don't get pictures in my head, either. Or not much. When I try, I might get something really vague. Maybe something a bit like seeing a scene through thick, not-quite transparent glass, where you can get a sense of colors and where things are, but not actually see any details? Except even that seems like too visual a description. Once in a very, very, very great while, I might actually get something like a photograph flashing across my mind, but it's always gone in a split second before I can really look at it, and it always leaves me kind of weirded out. I can imagine colors well enough, though. It's not exactly like seeing them, but I can remember what they look like, if that makes any sense. And other senses are no problem. I can imagine smells and tastes and touches, not perfectly, but well enough. And my auditory imagination is great. I can recall or imagine voices in great detail and at will: pitch, pauses, and everything.

    But visuals? I took the quiz linked to in the article, and found it immensely frustrating. OK, I might be able to come up with something vaguely resembling a mental image for some of what they're asking me for, individually -- the color and texture of storm clouds and flashes of lightning are surprisingly doable, by themselves, although the sunset they start out asking me to imagine is almost just an abstract idea of a circle on a flat horizon -- but to ask me to imagine a picture, see it in detail, focus on those details and then change them? Yeah, I'm kind of with this guy: How do the rest of you weirdos do that? (The quiz, by the way, told me I was part of only 5% of the population who sucked this bad at visualization tasks and asked me if I wanted to be part of a study when I was done. I'm not sure if I do or not.)

    I do think this is at least part of why I'm not great at faces and why I'm really, really bad with directions and navigation: I don't have a good visual referent in my head to match a person or a street up with.

    He also mentions people asking him about whether he's a good speller, which seemed like a weird, out-of-left-field question to me a first, but apparently, when a lot of people are trying to remember how to spell a word, they see the letters in their mind? When I need to think how to spell a word, I imagine myself either typing it or writing it, often with my fingers twitching slightly. So, like the guy says, it's muscle memory.

    And now, suddenly, all I can think of is how I read that book called What We See When We Read a little while back and spent the entire time indignantly going, "Whoa there, buddy, what do you mean we?!" Speak for yourselves, you mind-picture-makers, you!

    Thursday, April 28, 2016

    Real Life Is Annoying. I'd Rather Just Sequester Myself Somewhere And Read.

    I seem to have reached one of those not-infrequent points in my life when I've got a bunch of things that need to be done all at once, all of which have to be scheduled around each other and my weird work hours. I'm working on getting the ball rolling on my driveway replacement, and I need to get my swamp cooler up and running, and I have to make a dentist's appointment (because I still have a filling that needs to be replaced, and although I really wanted to just blow that off for a while after the root canal, the dentist is bugging me about it), and I have to go in for my semi-annual blood test before I run out of my thyroid medicine, and I've got the exterminator coming soon (because it's spring and attempted roach incursions have begun).

    I'm trying to let my attitude be, "Yay, look how much I am getting done!", rather than "Aargh, too many things! Too much stress! Want to hide from the world!" I'd say I'm having maybe a 65% success rate.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2016

    Windows And Driveways

    Oh, right, I forgot that thing Windows 10 did the last time it upgraded, where it kept constantly telling me I had to re-enter my "most recent credential" for my Microsoft account. I'm trying to remember how I dealt with that last time. I think, after trying everything the internet told me to try, I just finally told Windows to ignore the message. Oh, Windows.

    In other news, I now have an estimate for my concrete work, and I'm possibly more surprised than I should be by just how close it is to my own rough guesstimate for how much this was gonna cost me.

    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    WTF, Computer?

    After all the wailing and gnashing of teeth that Windows 10 caused me last time, until I finally gave up and went back to 8.1, my PC has suddenly decided, with no permission and no warning, to "upgrade" itself again. What the hell, Microsoft. What. The. Hell.

    Sigh. Dare I hope it'll behave itself better this time? Dare I?

    Monday, April 25, 2016

    Sunday Is TV Night

    I've been watching the Walking Dead spinoff, and it's... Well, it's not awful, but, I have to say, some part of my brain is tempted to just skip it and watch the aftershow, because the episode they're talking about always sounds slightly better than the one I just watched.

    Also, they keep showing ads for Preacher, which intrigues and bemuses me, because I'm pretty sure one of my main thoughts after reading the comics was that, of everything I have read in my life, that was the least likely to ever be filmed.

    Sunday, April 24, 2016

    Maybe I Need A Beryllium Atomic Clock.

    Speaking of Doctor Who... It was just brought to my attention that next month marks the 20th anniversary of the Paul McGann TV movie. Which I am having no small amount of trouble wrapping my head around. How is it that I am so constantly blindsided by the steady, predictable passage of time?

    Saturday, April 23, 2016

    Welcome Aboard The TARDIS!

    Although there's not going to be any new Doctor Who until Christmas -- *sniffle* -- the BBC has just announced that they've cast the new companion. (Apparently they made a big announcement during halftime at a soccer match, which seems a little odd, but, I guess, very, very British.)

    They've also provided a little snippet of video for us, in which we don't learn a whole lot about the character, but do at least get to see that she is amusingly irreverent towards the Daleks:

    I'll be looking forward to getting to meet her for real! Even if it won't remotely be soon enough.

    Friday, April 22, 2016

    RIP, Grunk. Or Not.

    My half-orc barbarian only lasted a few weeks, after all. She went down last night, fighting an annoyingly well-armed vampire. And then, just to add oddly hilarious insult to injury, the creepy sorcerer in the party re-animated her as a zombie, so her corpse is still following us around.

    I really need to finally bother learning how the magic system works in this game, so I can be the one standing in the back throwing fireballs.

    Thursday, April 21, 2016

    I Ant That Impressed

    Yesterday's viewing: Ant-Man. I have to say, I didn't find this nearly as engaging as most of the other Marvel movies. A lot of the humor felt like it was trying too hard, and the "dramatic" dialog was terrible. Plus, the whole concept is so silly that even acknowledging up­front how silly it was didn't make it feel less silly. Well, at least it did have one or two fun little action-y moments. Unfortunately, though, mostly it just made me think about how much I hate ants.

    I really, really hate ants.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016

    Random Things I've Been Up To

    Some random things I've been up to:

  • Our team won the pub quiz last night! Apparently our perfect knowledge of fictional orphans made up for our pitiful inability to name more than three Denzel Washington movies from the last decade.

  • I watched the season finale of Better Call Saul yesterday, and it was fantastic. You know, on one hand it's not remotely surprising that a Breaking Bad spinoff, brought to us by the same people, would be really, really good. On the other hand, though, elevating your comic relief to the status of tragic anti-hero in his own prequel drama (even one that also features a lot of humor) seems, on the face of it, insane. So I'm still impressed that it works as well as it does.

  • I had to go into work today, on my day off, for a lecture on cyber security, which they require us to do periodically. So now I can warn you all: don't pick strange USB drives up off the ground and stick them into your computer. You're welcome.

  • Tuesday, April 19, 2016

    This Just In: Customer Service Is Not Entirely Dead, After All.

    So, I called the concrete company back, and they said they'd tried to call me but hadn't gotten through. I'd given them my cell number, and didn't have any missed calls, so I think what happened is they had my phone number wrong. This time, I was able to talk to the relevant person right away, and he actually apologized for not being able to come down today, because he had to go to Santa Fe. But he's going to come on Monday. Whew! Maybe I'll finally get this done, after all. (And then I can move on to all the other things that need to be done around this house.)

    Monday, April 18, 2016

    My Concrete Is Abstract

    I've been needing to get the deteriorating concrete of my driveway and some areas around the side of my house replaced for ages now, and, needless to say, it's just getting worse with time. Last year, I tried calling a concrete contractor here in town. The guy told me he'd be around the next day to give me an estimate, then never showed up, and every time I tried to call, I'd either get no answer, or I'd basically get blown off with "We've been busy, I don't know who you are, the boss will call you back later." Which, of course, he never did.

    So, on the basis that the rainy season was coming and that seemed like a bad time to pour concrete, I put it off until, well, about now. Last week, though, I finally got off my butt and tried contacting a different contractor. This one is in Albuquerque, but the person I talked to said she thought they'd work down here, and that someone would call me back about an estimate. That was Wednesday. It's now late Monday afternoon, and, guess what? Yup, nobody's called. Sigh.

    I'm starting to entertain paranoid ideas about having been blackballed by the state's entire community of concrete contractors for some reason unknown to me. But when I mentioned this to a friend, he suggested an explanation that's, sadly, much simpler and more believable. Namely: "Eh, it's New Mexico."

    And again I say, sigh. Well, I'll try calling them back tomorrow. But, really, you'd think it would not be this difficult to get someone to take a few thousand dollars from me.

    Sunday, April 17, 2016

    Admittedly, I Read This Book 20+ Years Ago, So Mostly All I Remember Now Is That It Was Great.

    Not much to talk about today, this being one of those weekends where I don't really have much time to do anything but sleep and work. But I figured, for anybody who might be interested and hadn't heard this yet, I'd pass along this recent bit of news that made me happy: Neil Gaiman has said he'll be wring a TV adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett's novel Good Omens. That article also talks about some other Pratchett-based adaptations currently in the works, which I am feeling pleasantly optimistic about.

    Now, I just need to do start that Discworld re-read I keep saying I'm going to do sometime...

    Saturday, April 16, 2016

    Our National Ordeal Is Over For Another Year.

    I hope all my fellow USians got your taxes done in good time and in good order, and didn't encounter any nasty surprises. Me, I hate filing my taxes beyond the telling of it. Something about those forms just makes me feel colossally stupid, as if I will never understand money at all. Even though my taxes are really, really not that complicated.

    I was afraid it was going to be even worse than usual this year, too, as I have an HSA now, plus the e-file site I used last year closed down. But it turns out that H&R Block has free federal and state filing for people who make as little as I do, and their interface turned out to be mercifully easy to use and generally really well put together. So it was at least much less painful than it might have been. Whew!

    And now I am not going to think about this again until 2017.

    Friday, April 15, 2016

    No Images For You!

    Fortunately someone pointed out to me that they weren't seeing the picture I included in my last post, or I might never have realized that, in the process of all my uploaded pictures being transferred automatically from the now-defunct Picassa, everything that was once shareable became inaccessible to anybody but me, as does anything new that I upload, unless I specifically put it into a shared album. Which makes sense from a privacy point of view, I guess, but, man, that was not a graceful transition. And figuring out what had happened and what I needed to do about it was just confusing, since the description made "shared albums" sound specifically like albums other people could upload to, not just ones whose pictures you share with others. Turns out, when you make one, it asks you if you want to allow that uploading by others as an option. Would have been nice if that were clearer upfront.

    Anyway. I think everything is working now. If you have any problems seeing images here, though, including in older posts, let me know.

    (P.S.: Anybody know how to correct Google's mistaken identification of lots of non-car things as cars?)

    Thursday, April 14, 2016

    Goodbye, Gareth Thomas. No One Else Could Have Pulled Off Those Puffy-Sleeved Shirts Nearly As Well.

    Has this really been a much, much worse year than usual for hearing about the deaths of people I've never met, but whose work I care about? Or is it just that I've been paying attention more, after a couple of especially hard-to-ignore examples early in the year? Or maybe just that I'm reaching an age where it's beginning to be inevitable? Probably some combination of the three, I suppose.

    Anyway, today it's a sad farewell to Gareth Thomas, aka Blake of Blake's 7, a show that reached the coveted status of my #1 fannish obsession for a surprising number of years, long after it went off the air. (And now I've got the last scene of the series playing over and over in my head. I can't decide whether that's appropriate or awful, but I suppose it's pretty much inevitable.)

    Thanks for fueling my imagination, Mr. Thomas, and for helping to bring me so much fascinatingly grim-yet-campy entertainment, ever since that first day I saw you on PBS.

    Gareth Thomas as Blake, in the first episode I ever watched.

    Wednesday, April 13, 2016

    I May Feel Less Self-Conscious About People Looking At What I'm Reading Now.

    And today's random thing, just because it made me laugh way more than it probably should have: fake book covers on the subway. (Warning: some of these are pretty crude.)

    Tuesday, April 12, 2016

    I Suspect It May Be Very Different If You Play It In A Reasonably Sized City.

    Today's time-waster: Corpseburg, which lets you enter an address and then uses a map of the surrounding area as the basis for a simple zombie survival game. I tried playing in my town, and discovered that apparently my strategy for the zombie apocalypse will involve ransacking a bunch of churches and then wandering around in the desert at the edge of town looting abandoned cars until I get bored. Good to know.

    Monday, April 11, 2016

    Yay, I'm Only Twelve Years Behind On My TV Viewing!

    My current Netflix watching: The Wire, season 3. And this show continues to be a constant cavalcade of, "Hey, it's that guy from that thing!" Look, it's Littlefinger from Game of Thrones as a smarmy, scheming politician! Well, nice to see that he's not being typecast at all...

    Sunday, April 10, 2016

    Welcome To My Library

    This is pretty cool! LibraryThing, where I catalog all my books -- because how else am I going to keep track of them? -- just came out with a spiffy new interface that makes searching through a collection of books really simple and easy. It's mainly aimed at lending libraries of various kinds, and they have to pay a fee to use it, but they've made it available for free to people who use the site to catalog their personal book collections. Which means that if you want to search through my books, say to check if I have a particular volume you'd like to borrow or to make sure I don't already own a book before you get it for me for Christmas, you can go here and pretend I'm an actual library!

    Saturday, April 09, 2016

    Sorry, But The More Often I Blog, The More Likely You Are To Hear Me Complaining About My Sleep Schedule.

    Ugh, I've been having some stupid sleeping patterns this week. No matter what time I go to bed, I have some trouble falling asleep, and no matter how long I sleep, I have trouble getting up. Days when I'm able to, I keep falling back to sleep once or, more likely, twice before I make it out of bed and end up oversleeping, which often makes me groggier than if I'd just gotten up. This was annoying on those days off when I was trying to get things done around the house, as it meant fewer hours up and about to accomplish things. It's even more annoying days like today when I have no choice but to haul my butt out of bed stupidly early for a day shift.

    I think this is yet another manifestation of the fact that the older I get,the harder it is to switch myself off night shifts. And, once again, I find myself missing the days when we had enough personnel that it was possible to make a schedule that would let us stay on the same shift for two weeks in a row.

    Friday, April 08, 2016

    Not That Axe-Murdering And Characterization Are Necessarily Mutually Exclusive.

    Followup to yesterday's post: I went to the D&D game feeling like I'd made my peace with the kind of game we were playing and ready to just enjoy pretending to hit things with an axe for a while. Two minutes after I arrived, everybody was deep in a conversation about how maybe we wanted to do something with more role-playing instead. I'm honestly not sure if it's me that has terrible timing, or everybody else.

    Oh, well. I did do a lot of hitting things with an axe after that, anyway.

    Thursday, April 07, 2016

    I Might Finally Have Enough Hit Points

    Tonight's social activity: Dungeons & Dragons. I haven't really done much tabletop gaming in years, and D&D was never my favorite game to begin with, but a co-worker wheedled me into joining his game a few months ago, and, hey, at least it gets me out of the house, right? It's also not the sort of campaign I usually like: very hack 'n' slash dungeon-crawl-y, with characters that are essentially disposable. Very video game. I was always much more into unfolding stories and actual role-playing, but, alas, my crazy work schedule makes trying to participate in that sort of game an exercise in frustration. I've tried.

    I feel like I'm finally getting into the spirit of the thing, though. After playing a series of doomed half-assed rogues -- half-assed in part because I found the Pathfinder character creation a little confusing and tended to err on the side of screwing myself over -- and a couple of fighters who could dish it out but not take it, I got some help from some handy character generating software and rolled myself up a half-orc barbarian who is easily the most munchkin thing I've ever played. We'll see how long this one lasts!

    Wednesday, April 06, 2016

    Almost But Not Quite As Good As Finding A Big Stack Of Money

    Story of the day: Mysterious Stacks Of Books In NYC! Well, they're not all that mysterious. I mean the article includes the name of the guy leaving the stacks of books around and some quotes from him about why he did it. So... Kind of the opposite of mysterious, really.

    Anyway. My bookish heart finds this utterly delightful and is thrilled to know that there are such things in the world. My practical brain, however, can't help kind of agreeing with the people in the comments suggesting that leaving books sitting around outside is probably not the best thing in the world for them.

    Tuesday, April 05, 2016

    April Currentlies

    I got nothin' else today, so let's go with this.

    Current clothes: Gray sweats, Rush concert t-shirt, black socks.

    Current mood: Not bad. Halfway between being happy at how much I've gotten done lately and mildly stressed about how much I haven't gotten done. But I'm leaning slightly more towards the positive, moodwise, I think.

    Current music: Norm Sherman by Norm Sherman. Which is... an interesting album. Let me put it this way, I listened to it for the first time immediately after an episode of Welcome to Night Vale, and I'm pretty sure it was the weirder of the two.

    Current annoyance: No matter how much time I have, the amount of time necessary to do all the things I need or want to do is always greater.

    Current thing: I'm taking a little time off this week, since my schedule easily allows it for once, to try to get caught up on various things I've fallen behind on... Housework, yardwork, etc., etc. And I am making progress, but... Yeah, see "current annoyance."

    Current desktop picture: Still the same Doctor Who image. I suppose it may actually be time to change it up soon. Even if it is pretty awesome.

    Current book: I just read The Adventures of Tintin: Explorers on the Moon, which a friend lent me, earlier today. I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to read next. Something non-fictional.

    Current song in head: The "Whalers on the Moon" ditty from the second episode of Futurama. I blame Tintin. Mostly.

    Current refreshment: Orange spice tea.

    Current DVD in player: Most recently, Spy. Which was cute. Not amazing or anything, but cute, and worth a watch. Also, man, is it nice to see someone who looks like Melissa McCarthy starring in a movie like this. Hollywood generally not only doesn't let us ladies of the rounder persuasion do any ass-kicking (even of the comedic kind), it generally prefers to pretend we don't exist at all.

    Current happy thing: Not being at work.

    Current thought: We're whalers on the moon! We carry a harpoon!

    Monday, April 04, 2016

    I Don't Think The Spinoff Is Going To Help.

    Dear The Walking Dead,

    Congratulations! You are now a serious contender for the title of "most frustrating season-ending cliffhanger ever."

    I just cannot remotely decide whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

    Sunday, April 03, 2016

    Yes, The Eggplant Thing Is A Real Book I Actually Bought.

    Yesterday was the local library's big (well, big-ish; it's a small library) Friends of the Library book sale. As always, I told myself I was going to be restrained, and mostly just look for stuff that was already on my wishlist, and, as usual, I left with a big pile of books I had no intention of buying, anyway. There's just nothing like a $2-a-bag price tag to make you suddenly convinced that if you don't go home with a copy of something called Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant, you will somehow regret it for the rest of your life.

    Well, at least I can say that my books acquired total for the year is still smaller than my books read total. So far. I did intend to help that along by spending the rest of the day reading, but I was so tired from getting up at noon to buy books after working all night that I had trouble keeping my eyes open. Ah, well. I have the rest of the year to spend working on it, right?

    Saturday, April 02, 2016

    Sometimes I Think We'd Be Better Off If We Just Dropped The Mic On April Fool's.

    So, did everyone survive April Fool's Day? I have to say, it is not my favorite day of the year. I quite like jokes that are funny, clever, and creative, and most importantly obviously jokes, and which have no consequences of any kind. Think Geek's fake products, for example, are always good for a chuckle. (And when those have consequences, they're actually the good kind. I mean, enough people loved the idea of the tauntaun sleeping bag that they ended up making it for real, and how cool is that?) Pranks and deceptions, on the other hand, I do not like. Even the most harmless ones are mildly uncomfortable, and the less harmless ones can be incredibly bad ideas.

    On that note... Any of you guys get caught by the Gmail Mic Drop? In case you didn't and don't feel like clicking the link, they introduced this new "feature" supposedly for use when you were fed up with a conversation. It'd e-mail a gif of a Minion dropping a microphone and stalking off to all other recipients, then ignore the rest of the conversation forever. They yanked it pretty quickly, after a bunch of people accidentally hit the button on important work-related e-mail. Which isn't too surprising, as it was right next to the usual "send" button, and apparently actually replaced a "send and archive" button a lot of people habitually use. (I don't see that on my mail, myself, though. Maybe you have to deliberately set it up?)

    I damned near got caught by this thing, myself, actually. I saw the button show up (on, it's probably worth pointing out, the evening of the 31st in my time zone), immediately figured it was an April Fool's thing -- Google's actually done some really great ones in the past, of the harmless and obvious kind -- and went to their blog to see what it supposedly did. Mildly cute, I thought, if not exactly up to their usual standards. And I went back to click on the thing, because I was curious to see whatever funny "Ha, ha, April Fool's, obviously we wouldn't actually do that!" box would pop up. I damned near did it on a conversation I was in the middle of with a friend, but common sense prevailed, and I tried it out instead as a reply to some link I e-mailed myself ages ago and did not care about. Boy, was I taken aback when I realized that it actually did what it said it did. "Huh," I thought to myself. "That seems... dangerous." And very, very carefully avoided it after that.

    Making it all worse, even though they removed it quickly, once it was there for you it didn't go away unless you reloaded Gmail. I certainly saw it on mine all night, until I finally thought to try that.

    Just say "no" to stupid April Fool's pranks, boys and girls. Especially if they involve screwing with services used by people all over the world for doing lots of serious and important things. I wouldn't think this would need saying, but there you go.

    Friday, April 01, 2016

    April Showers You With Blog Posts

    So, the last couple of years, in honor (kinda-sorta) of this blog's anniversary month, I've run the experiment of posting at least something, no matter how short, for every day in April. It's a good antidote, I suppose, for my tendency to just wander away for weeks at a time and forget about this place. So, I'll be trying that again this month. Get ready for lots of posts about... things. Of some kind.

    Right. That's one day down! That was easy.

    Monday, March 28, 2016

    Not A "10"

    So, my verdict on Windows 10, for the record, is that it'll be pretty nice if they ever get it to actually work. In the meantime, my desktop is now back to Windows 8.1, and Microsoft owes me back the day of my life I spent dealing with that crap. Gaah.

    Friday, March 18, 2016

    Welcome... to NM.

    Guess who's got tickets for the Welcome to Night Vale live show they've finally -- finally -- decided to bring to New Mexico, and which will be playing in Albuquerque ON MY BIRTHDAY?

    Yep! Me! Whoo-hoo! Gonna be the best birthday ever! (OK, admittedly, it's not until July. I could get hit by a bus before then, or swallowed up into the depths of the existential void or eaten by eldritch horrors or something. But I will confidently predict it to be the Best Birthday Ever, anyway, because we must always live in optimism.)

    I'm extra amused that the show is called "Ghost Stories" and they've managed to book the purportedly haunted theater. See, guys? You come to New Mexico, we receive you in all appropriate style!

    Friday, March 04, 2016

    March Currentlies

    This is at least a couple of days earlier in the month than I usually do this, but I'm working ridiculous hours for the next few days, plus I hardly blogged at all in February. So what the heck. Here we go.

    Current clothes: Gray sweatpants. Blue t-shirt from Carlsbad Caverns National Park. White socks. Black leather boots.

    Current mood: Okay, I guess. But tired and a little out of it. I've been tired and a little out of it all week. It's not that I haven't been getting enough sleep, more that the shiftwork is increasingly kicking my ass. Last week I did seven days in a row of night shifts, and I'm still not quite recovered from it, somehow.

    Current music: Nothing much, really. Well, except for this happy, upbeat version of the Walking Dead theme music. I just listened to that a few minutes ago, and it was weirdly creepy in how not-creepy it was.

    Current annoyance: The usual having-a-human-body stuff. Most notably it's unambiguously spring here now, and my allergies are starting to notice. Mercifully, there's not too much of the sneezing-and-snotting right now -- I like to think that's because I got proactive and started the Flonase early, but probably it's because pollen season hasn't really started in earnest yet -- but my sinuses are already giving me problems. Although, come to think of it, they did that sometimes during the winter, too. Basically, sinuses are evil.

    Current thing: This is shaping up to be an amazing year of reading so far, both in terms of quality and quantity. Between that encouraging fact, and the tiredness and evil sinuses sapping my energy, all I want to do is cocoon myself on the sofa and read forever.

    Current desktop picture: Still the same Doctor Who image it's been for months.

    Current book: Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich. Because who doesn't want to read a Christmas story in March? I don't know that I'm enjoying it as much as the Stephanie Plum series proper, though.

    Current song in head: The last couple of days, it's just been random stuff that's dissipated quickly. Which is an immense relief, since before that I had Jonathan Coulton's "Nemeses" stuff in my head for, like, a week and a half. That's a fun song, but not when it's playing on continuous loop night and day.

    Current refreshment: Raspberry ginger ale. Which is an interesting combination of flavors. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about it. I mean, it's good, but I think maybe I like regular ginger ale better.

    Current DVD in player: Nothing right now, but yesterday it was the classic Doctor Who episode "The Brain of Morbius." It's a lot of fun to go back and revisit some of the old Fourth Doctor eps occasionally. And Tom Baker was my first Doctor, as he was for a lot of Americans, so he holds a special place in my heart.

    Current happy thing: Allergies aside, the weather really is lovely. Also, I finally got the permanent crown put on my tooth, and after a year of sensitivity and root canals and all kinds of indignities, it's quite a relief to be able to chew on both sides of my mouth now without pain or worry.

    Current thought: Seriously, all I want to do is sleep and read and read and sleep. But, noooo. I have housework to do, and I've got to go get a haircut, and then I've got some 12-hour shifts to work, and... Bah!

    Monday, February 29, 2016

    Felicitous Calendrical Adjustment!

    Happy Leap Day! I hope everybody has enjoyed their extra bonus bit of February. Me, I spent mine working, then sleeping (more than I really should have), then finishing a good book, then watching last night's episode of The Walking Dead. So, a very full life, really.

    Monday, February 08, 2016

    February Currentlies

    Yes, it's time for this again! And I have taken my own and others' advice and finally replaced the "current worry" with "current happy thing." Because it's much better for my brain to think about happy things than all the stupid stuff it likes to worry about. Anyway:

    Current clothes: Gray sweats. This Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy t-shirt, which I bought recently because there was a "buy a t-shirt, get a free pair of socks" sale, and how could I resist? Gray and green wool socks (not the ones I got free with the shirt).

    Current mood: Meh. Kind of tired and out of it, since I got less than three hours of sleep today. Basically, I got off my night shift, took a nap, and then got up again. Which at least will make switching over to days happen easily. Well, OK, not easily, but it will make it happen. I'm also trying not to be stressed, which is harder to do the less sleep you have.

    Current music: Nothing much. Oh, wait, I guess this cut from the Mad Max: Fury Road soundtrack that a friend linked me to because we were discussing the movie. (I just started playing it again. Man, that is waking me up!)

    Current annoyance: Having a house and a human body, both of which are aging and need all kinds of maintenance and repairs.

    Current thing: Being a responsible adult and getting important stuff done, even though what I really want to do is to go back into book-hibernation. Yay, me.

    Current desktop picture: Still this (spoilery) Doctor Who picture. Because I am not tired of it yet.

    Current book: I just finished 21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology, edited by Christopher Golden. Which was okay, but nowhere near as good as his first zombie anthology. I'm now about to start Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich, because Janet Evanovich is perfect reading for when you've had three hours of sleep and need some fun, mindless distraction.

    Current song in head: There's been a lot of stuff lately, but right now it seems to be "Every You Every Me" by Placebo.

    Current refreshment: Nothing. But I should drink some water or something, 'cause I'm kind of thirsty.

    Current DVD in player: Most recently, disk 2 of season 2 of The Wire. Which is still very good, although I sometimes feel like I'm only pretending I'm actually following all of it. And I forgot half the characters' names again between seasons.

    Current happy thing: In an amazing and inexplicable triumph of willpower, I have bought no books yet this year. Zero! None! I'm starting to see tiny little gaps open up on the TBR shelves where books have come off and not been replaced, and it's terribly gratifying. I won't swear it'll last very long, though. Especially as I have a doctor's appointment in Albuquerque tomorrow, and I may very well talk myself into a stop at Page One while I'm there.

    Current thought: I really should get some things done around the house now, and have some food, and take a walk... But I cannot decide what order I should do these things, in, and the indecision is making me want to just give up and flop on the couch instead.

    Friday, February 05, 2016

    Song Of The Day

    Because you want to keep a sense of humor about these things.

    Thursday, February 04, 2016

    The Word Of The Day Is "Root."

    Well, my sewer has now been de-clogged and my tooth de-pulped. And I am weirdly amused by how fundamentally similar those two procedures actually are.

    Anyway, the root canal was long, tedious, uncomfortable and tiring, but not painful (except for the needles at the beginning), and definitely nowhere near the top of the Worst Things I've Experienced in My Life list. And, holy crap, the pain is gone! I'd gotten so used to it that now every time I pull air past that tooth or take a drink of cold water, I feel genuinely shocked that it doesn't hurt. Mind you, my poor jaw definitely feels like it's been held open with clamps for three hours. But I'm sure that will pass.

    The sewer problem, by the way, turned out to be due to roots. It seems that at some point I really ought to have the old iron pipes replaced with PVC, otherwise they're likely to cause more problems down the road, but for now I can flush my toilet with impunity again, and all is well. Whew!

    Wednesday, February 03, 2016

    Two Not At All Great Tastes

    You know what's even more fun than contemplating having a root canal tomorrow? Hoping that the plumbers I just called will be able to get my sewer line unclogged before my root canal appointment tomorrow. Yay! There is nothing more fun than having your tub back up when you flush the toilet! (Fortunately, I think it's only a partial clog, as this sort of thing is not happening every time. But it did happen last night, and today when I tried to take a shower my toilet started gurgling, so, yeah. Something clearly needs to be dealt with here.)

    Seriously, life, do you just think it's funny to pile the most cliched imaginable awfulnesses up on me all at once, or what? SIGH.

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    Good News, Bad News

    So, today I found out I have to have a root canal. But, on the plus side, I also found a way to keep my shoes from coming untied all the time.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    I Aten't Dead

    Oh, dear, I've been neglecting this blog long enough that people have started to e-mail me and ask if I'm all right. I'm fine! I'm sorry for disappearing! I think two things have been happening this month that explain what I've been doing instead of blogging. First, I kind of went into this state where all I really wanted to do all day was lie on the sofa and shove words into my face. Sort of the book-lover's equivalent of hibernation, I think. So I mostly did that for a while, and then I had to scramble around doing all the responsible-adult things that piled up on me because I neglected them while I was book-hibernating. Which I'm still in the middle of. (Next up: dentist's appointment! Whee!)

    I feel like I should have something else to say here, though, so I will offer up a random thought.

    Random thought: I have heard that in some places there is a tradition/superstition that if you don't take down your Christmas decorations by January 6, the Devil will come and get you. I am strongly in favor of adopting this here in the US. Hell, I may almost be ready to start believing in the Devil myself if it will get people to take down their Christmas lights. Come on, guys! It's nearly February!

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    New Year's Currentlies

    Current clothes: Green sweatpants. Gray sweatshirt with an Edward Gorey picture of a cat lounging on a pile of books and the words "books. cats. life is sweet." (Because, really, what more do you need? Not even capital letters!) White socks.

    Current mood: Very good, happy and relaxed. I spent the entire morning in my pajamas, doing nothing but reading a good book until I finished it. Man, I need to do that more often. It's very good for my psychological health. (The shirt does not lie!)

    Current music: Nothing much. Once again, most of my listening-to-things time is going to trying to keep up with a bunch of podcasts. Or at least not fall further behind. My podcast backlog hasn't remotely reached the out-of-control state that my book and DVD backlogs have, but it is constantly threatening to expand in that direction.

    Current annoyance: I was totally prepared to say winter, and that I'm entirely ready for it to go away now. Except, uh... it kind of did? The temperature suddenly shot upwards today, with the result that there was a veritable waterfall of melting snow pouring off every roof in town.

    Current thing: It's a new year! So I'm going to be more creative and more productive and healthier and just generally all-around better at living! Right?

    Current desktop picture: Still this spoilery promo picture released before the Doctor Who season finale. I might leave it up for a while, I dunno. It is a pretty awesome picture.

    Current book: I've just started in on a bit of local history with Elfego Baca in Life and Legend by Larry D. Ball.

    Current song in head: Nothing at the moment. Although Brain Radio has been unusually suggestible lately, and I fully expect something new to set it off and get it playing something annoying at any moment.

    Current refreshment: Mellow Moments tea, which is a really nice delicate blend of peppermint, spearmint, chamomile and, I dunno, some kind of spices and stuff.

    Current DVD in player: Disc 5 of season 10 of Supernatural. About which I appear to have no opinions whatsoever. Well, OK, I definitely have opinions about it, both positive and negative, while I'm watching it. But the moment I turn the TV off, I entirely cease to care.

    Current thought: Maybe next time I do this, I'll add in "current happy thing" or something to take the place of the "current worry" entry that I eliminated last time. (Which, I must say, was a very good idea.) Seems like it'd be a little redundant this time, though, as it'd just be feeling good and having the day off of work and getting some quality reading-in-the-PJs time in.

    Friday, January 01, 2016

    2015: The Year In Books And Other Stuff

    Happy New Year to all! I hope 2016 is bright and happy for all of you, and brings you many good things.

    2015 was, I suppose, a messy, turbulent year for the world at large (although I'm not sure if there are actually any years that aren't), but, looking back, it seems fairly sedate for me, personally. The big event of the year for me was having family visiting and doing the Balloon Fiesta and various trips around New Mexico, in October. Well, that and rain flooding in through my floor again during the summer. Looking back over the blog, I'm not sure I even talked about that here... It was extremely annoying, although fortunately not too difficult to fix: I just had to caulk up a crack in the concrete slab floor. Also on the subject of water being where it's not supposed to be, I think my roof might finally be fixed for good this time, so that's definitely a plus for the year. I also got a new oven, a new dryer, and a new couch and loveseat, so my house is overall a nicer place to be now than it was at the beginning of the year, even if it is continuing to age. Oh, and, yes, I am going to brag about winning that Doctor Who trivia contest forever.

    I also read a lot of books, as always. My total for the year was 137 books. Interestingly, 2014's total was 138, and I have no idea how the heck I manage to be that consistent about it. I'm not consciously trying to be! You can see my whole year's worth of reading here.

    As is traditional, I include here a list of my favorite books of the year, or at least the ones I gave the highest star ratings to on LibraryThing. It's a pretty good list this year, I think:


    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
    Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise by Gene Luen Yang
    Sweetland by Michael Crummey
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
    Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
    Tenth of December by George Saunders
    We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
    Putting on the Ritz by Joe Keenan


    What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe
    Confessions of a Sociopath: A Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight by M. E. Thomas
    I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
    Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
    Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thomspon
    The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession by David Grann
    Size Matters Not: The Extraordinary Life and Career of Warwick Davis by Warwick Davis

    A little of both

    The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2012 edited by Dave Eggers

    We're not going to talk about how many books I acquired in 2015, though. Not at all.