Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here We Go, Ready Or Not.

Well, here we are, rapidly nearing the end of 2017. Very rapidly, in fact. I swear, this year has gone by like an eyeblink. I thought I'd accepted the fact that everything seems to go by faster as you age, but it's the rate of acceleration that's getting to me. I figured by the time things seemed to be flying by this fast, I'd be in my 70s, at least.

But however much it might seem to me that we can't possibly be at the end of the year yet, we are, and I guess that means it's time for a look back. I'm not going to talk about the year in the world at large, though. To be honest, at some point in 2017, I kind of got tired of hearing from the world at large and told it to go away and not bother me for a while. I should probably try to be a better, more up-on-current events world citizen in 2018, but we'll see whether or not I'm up to it. For now, all I can say is that, in broad outlines, 2017 seemed like about what I expected after 2016, and that that's not a compliment to either year.

In my own personal life, 2017 was the year I lost a cat and lost a tooth, so maybe there's not a whole lot to recommend it there, either. But it was also the year of my grandmother's 90th birthday celebration, which I'm very glad I was able to make. And I am coming out the other side of the year alive and whole and doing all right, which is all I really ask.

Anyway. I hope all of you have a good and safe New Year's Eve, however you are or aren't celebrating. (Me, I'm not celebrating, as I'm stuck at work. Which on one level I don't mind, as I've never been a New Year's Eve partier, and it's not like I have anything that much better to do. But it does seem like a bad start to the year, somehow. Alas.) And I wish everyone, especially anyone who's been having a tough time in 2017, the best and happiest possible 2018.

See you guys on the flip side of the calendar.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Looks Like It's That Time Of Year Again

Merry Christmas!

I don't have any big plans for the holiday this year. I'm working today (although I get to do an 8-hour shift instead of a 12-hour one, so I guess that's something), and I'm working on Tuesday, so I'm mainly intending to spend Christmas itself relaxing and, y'know, not working. I figure I'll follow the tradition I've established in the last few years of staying up until midnight tonight and opening my presents then, then sleeping in on Christmas morning, that being the sort of luxury that not having children or houseguests affords. (Even if I can't sleep in too late, since I do have to be into work early the next day.) I also have a nice meal to cook, and pie, and a selection of festive beverages. And, of course, there will be Doctor Who, which, let's face it, is the important part of the holiday.

Anyway. Here's wishing a lovely, warm, happy Christmas to everyone who celebrates, in whatever capacity, and a lovely, warm, happy end-of-the-year season to everyone in general.

And don't call me while I'm watching Doctor Who. ;)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December Currentlies

The last time I will do this this year!

Current clothes: Red sweatpants. A black t-shirt that says "Please go away, I'm reading." Black socks.

Current mood: I've been in a really good mood for the last few days, which I credit to actually getting plenty of sleep. Of course, I'm about to go onto nights, so that probably won't last. But at least I'm on course for adjusting my sleep schedule.

Current music: Nothing, really. I'm still spending most of my listening time trying not to fall any further behind on my podcast subscriptions.

Current annoyance: I've had a far bit of annoying minor (or at least deal-with-able) computer problems lately. My laptop keeps complaining that it can't install a mouse driver update, and I keep telling it "good," because the last time it tried installing that update, the keyboard and the trackpad both stopped working. And then the monitor on my desktop died and I had to get a new one. Of course, living in the middle of nowhere, I had to order it on the internet, and it took a few days to get here. But at least it's here and working now.

Current thing: Working on getting lots of little tasks of varying degrees of importance done. Buying too many t-shirts. Playing Fallen London, which I just recently discovered and don't really understand, but am enjoying quite a bit.

Current desktop picture: It was still the 12th Doctor, until this question reminded me to change it to the traditional seasonally appropriate TARDIS-with-wreath wallpaper.

Current book: Where I'm Reading From: The Changing World of Books by Tim Parks. Because books about books are the best kind of meta.

Current song in head: After going crazy for a day or two, Brain Radio seems to finally be mostly quiet again, but when I listen carefully, sometimes it plays Kermit the Frog singing "The Rainbow Connection" for me. Which is pleasant enough.

Current refreshment: A little water.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, Labyrinth. When I heard the news of David Bowie's death, I figured I'd re-watch this in memory. The fact that it took me from then until now to actually get to it is testament to how backed up I am on things to watch, as well as on everything else. But I have watched it now, for the first time since I was a teenager. And, wow. What a weird, weird mixture of the really cool and the really terrible that movie is.

Current happy thing: New Doctor Who Christmas special trailer! Words cannot express how excited I am to see this. (Although whenever I get too excited, I remember that it'll also mean saying goodbye to Peter Capaldi, and then I feel sad on top of it.) Warning: trailer contains spoilers for the end of last season.

Current thought: I just had wax cleaned out of my ears the other day, and, holy crap, I can hear so much better now that it feels like I've gained a superpower. It's actually a little disturbing.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

There's Always A Relevant xkcd

This is what I do for a living, only without the dogs:

Thursday, November 23, 2017

You All Know What Day This Is

Thanks right. Happy Doctor Who day!

Oh, and, yeah, happy turkey day to my fellow turkey-eating Americans, as well!

Monday, November 06, 2017

November Currentlies

Might as well do this while I'm thinking about it, even if I feel slightly guilty about typing this instead of working on catching up on my e-mail.

Current clothes: Dark blue jeans. White socks. A white long-sleeve t-shirt that says, "Too many books? I think what you mean is not enough bookshelves." Although, really, my bookshelf space is adequate at the moment. I may be getting close to reaching the limit of what I can fit in my house, but I'm not there yet.

Current mood: Kind of tired and out of it. I really don't want to go back into work tonight, although I suppose one always has to eventually. I'm not thrilled about the fact that I'm going back to a 64-hour week of night shifts, though. And I slept pretty badly today, and not really as late as I would have liked.

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: Aforementioned circadian woes. Seriously, I'll be lucky if my relief doesn't come in in the morning to find me face-down on my keyboard, snoring.

Current thing: Still trying to get back into the swing of things after my vacation. Although maybe not trying very hard.

Current desktop picture: Yep, still the Twelfth Doctor.

Current book: Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior by Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman.

Current song in head: "Ride Like the Wind" by Christopher Cross. Although I actually had no idea who sings it until I looked it up just now. I think I randomly heard it on a radio somewhere in my travels, and bits of it have been stuck in my brain ever since.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I'm kind of thirsty.

Current DVD in player: Just re-watched the Doctor Who episode "The Husbands of River Song," which was just as delightful this time.

Current happy thing: Delightful Doctor Who, I suppose.

Current thought: Speaking of catching up on e-mail, I am really not looking forward to the very full inbox of work e-mail I'm going to have to wade through tonight.

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Circadian Woes

You know what's really fun? When you've just traveled a couple of time zones westward after a trip on which everybody went to bed stupidly early, you now have to switch yourself over to night shifts, and Daylight Saving Time is ending.

My life really is a ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff, and it's making me very, very sleepy.

[ETA: Apparently I initially typo'd "night shifts" as "night shits." I was almost tempted to leave it.]

Saturday, November 04, 2017

And I Am Back!

Actually, I was back Thursday night, but I've been busy catching up on things since then. That's the problem with vacations. Your whole life seems to pile up while you're gone, and everything wants your attention when you get home. Especially the cat.

Anyway. The surprise party for my grandmother went really well. My aunt put out a heck of a spread, a truly impressive number of people showed up, and Grandmom was genuinely surprised and apparently quite moved. And, no, she did not keel over from a heart attack at the surprise, the way everybody I told that we were having a surprise party for a 90-year-old woman worried she might.

As well as catching up with family, we went some interesting places while I was there, including the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia, where my scientific curiosity fought a pitched battle with my natural squeamishness, with variable results. I do recommend it, though, for those whose squeamishness doesn't always win out.

We also took a tour of the Herr's potato chip factory, which was oddly delightful. Man, I miss Herr's chips. At least I got to have some of those on this trip, as well as other Delaware Valley delicacies, including Tastykakes, soft pretzels, a Philly cheesesteak (emphatically not to be confused with anything you might have seen labeled as a "Philly beef sandwich" or some other ridiculous, inaccurate thing), and a Wawa hoagie. Mmm-mmm.

And because this blog never really does have enough pictures for modern sensibilities, some photos of me:

Here's an embarrassing one of me trying on my aunt's Halloween costume.

And here I am having a staring contest with a monitor lizard at the Delaware Natural History Museum. Which was tiny, but pleasant, and looked like a great place to bring kids. The museum, that is, not the lizard. The lizard looked like it might want to eat your kids.

(Hopefully people can see these pictures. I still haven't quite figured out how Google Photos handles permissions.)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Where I Am

In case anybody is wondering where I am, I am in Delaware.  I flew out here on Friday, because Saturday was my grandmother's 90th birthday. My family threw her a surprise party, and my being here was part of the surprise. Hence why I didn't post about it ahead of time, even though, honestly, the odds of my grandmother seeing anything whatsoever on the internet are exactly zero.

Anyway, more when I get back. But at least you know I'm alive and well!

Monday, October 09, 2017

October Currentlies

Because time keeps marching on...

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A souvenir t-shirt from Hawaii that my mom insisted on buying me when we were there a few years ago. It's red, with a picture of islands and flowers and palm trees.

Current mood: Bleh. It seems to be taking longer and longer these days for my circadian rhythms to recover after a week of night shifts. I think I actually got a roughly adequate amount of sleep last night, but it sure doesn't feel like it.

Current music: Nothing right at the moment, but earlier in the week, I was listening to some Tom Petty and feeling sad.

Current annoyance: Teeth. Things may have healed up really well where my tooth was pulled, but the gap is still driving me crazy. And today I have an appointment to go in for a new crown. (Actually, I need one new one, and one old one replaced.) I am not looking forward to it. Crown prep is only slightly less annoying than a root canal.

Current thing: Moaning that I have way too many damned things to do, and then putting them off. Sigh.

Current desktop picture: Still the Twelfth Doctor. Probably I should give him a rest soon. But he is so great!

Current book: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

Current song in head: "Time to Move On" by Tom Petty. *sniffle*

Current refreshment: I just put the kettle on a few minutes ago, and then forgot about it. BRB, getting tea. ... OK. Now I have mint tea. Or I will, as soon as it's finished steeping.

Current DVD in player: Just finished disk 1 of season 1 of The Guild

Current happy thing: Um... I'm actually doing pretty good at buying fewer books than I read lately. That's something, right? The two-out/one-in system is really helping, somewhat to my surprise. Even if I have let myself get a little bit ahead of where I should be on it.

Current thought: Don't eat sugary snacks, kids! I am a bad dental role model.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Boldly Going Places I'm Not Going To Pay To Follow

I just watched the first episode of Star Trek: Discovery. It took me a week to psych myself up for it, because it seemed like, however I might feel about the show, this was going to be your classic no-win scenario. (And, alas, when it comes to no-win scenarios, I am no Captain Kirk.) I figured, either I wouldn't like it, which seemed very likely given that I haven't been entirely happy with any new entry into Star Trek canon since Deep Space Nine, in which case I'd feel disappointed. Or else I would like it, and then I'd probably feel even more disappointed, because I'd have no way to watch the rest of it without paying yet another monthly fee for yet another streaming service, and that is not happening. No way, no how.

So, yeah, I can't say I went into it with the greatest mindset. And how did I feel about it after watching? Kind of shruggy, to be honest. I mean, it looks really pretty. And it's got a nice diverse crew, thus upholding an important Trek tradition dating back to 1966. On the other hand, only one of the characters so far has gotten any development or definition at all, and I can't quite decide how I feel about her. And while the plot seems to be trying very, very hard to be tense and interesting, I mostly wasn't really feeling it. Plus, hoo boy, did the beginning of this have the worst case of Bad SF Expository Dialog Syndrome I've seen in a long time. Which is saying something.

But, of course, it's entirely possible all of that is attributable to the difficulties any pilot/first episode faces. You have to establish all the setting and backstory stuff and introduce all the characters while trying to tell an engaging story from the get-go, and you have to do it with actors who haven't settled into their parts yet and writers who haven't had the chance to see how any of it plays on the screen. So, I'd certainly be inclined to give it some time and see where it all goes, if, you know, it were actually available on my TV. Or anyplace else I am already able to watch stuff. Oh, well. Probably it'll be available on DVD or something eventually, and I'll finally get to see how the cliffhanger comes out. Assuming I still care then.

I will say, though, that despite being the jaded old fan that I seem to have become, and the fact that I've been deeply disappointed by Trek shows in the past, I did still get a teeny little thrill at hearing the familiarly Trekkish notes of the theme song and seeing the credits sequence start playing (even if it was kind of a weird-looking credit sequence). There is something touching, I guess, about seeing something that you loved from childhood still surviving and taking on new forms.

By the way, speaking of new forms, I'm a little taken aback by the new look of the Klingons. Something in the back of my brain keeps complaining that they're just wrong, like I've fallen into some weird uncanny valley of Klingon makeup. But, given the history of the Klingons and their look, that seems like a really dumb thing to complain about. Well, probably I'd get used to them. If, y'know, I could actually watch the damned show.

(Sigh. You know, a quarter of a century ago, I used to dream about future developments that would let us watch anything we wanted, any time we wanted, thanks to the magic of computer technology. I imagined some central storehouse of media that we could pick and choose from and download at our leisure. And for a while there, I thought I was so prescient! But it never remotely occurred to me that what we'd eventually get instead would be a zillion different independent services, each wanting a separate subscription fee to watch their particular crop of shows. Even though in retrospect, it seems like it should have been predictable. But, really, it's always easier imagine the technology than it is to anticipate all messy real-world stuff that factors into how we use it.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

September Currentlies

Current clothes: A white t-shirt with a picture of a T-Rex wearing a monocle and holding a cup of tea, with the caption "Tea Rex." Which I find delightful, although scientifically inaccurate, as the T-Rex probably should have feathers, and it doesn't. Then again, it's wearing a monocle and holding a cup of tea, so scientific accuracy is clearly not really the number one priority here, anyway. I am also wearing blue jeans and white socks.

Current mood: It's an odd sort of mood I get sometimes, especially when I'm on night shifts. A sort of pronounced but not entirely unpleasant lethargy, which makes it hard to feel like I want to do anything. I am mostly fighting it.

Current music: Not much. Last thing I listened to was some Bowie, I think, but I don't quite remember what.

Current annoyance: Having fewer teeth than I'm supposed to. Still. Although it does seem to be healing up well. I found myself accidentally chewing on the side with the missing tooth a little today, and it was fine. I still worry constantly about it, though, which is annoying and probably unwarranted.

Current thing: The abovementioned state of lethargy seems to be mostly it this week.

Current desktop picture: Still the Twelfth Doctor. Who I am already preemptively missing.

Current book: Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson.

Current song in head: It's pretty quiet in my head right now, which is a blissful relief after having the same damn song stuck in my head for at least the last two weeks. (I will not name it for fear of summoning it back.)

Current refreshment: Mint tea.

Current DVD in player: Disk 3 of season 5 of Sons of Anarchy, which I am still making my way through at a pretty good clip. It's a show with a lot of flaws, some of which seem like they should bother me probably more than they do. (I mean, so many women in refrigerators. So many.) But I keep finding it compelling, anyway. I think it's all the Shakespearean scheming. I'm a sucker for some good Shakespearean scheming, apparently. And perhaps especially from the kind of people you wouldn't necessarily expect to see that sort of thing from. Like, y'know, bikers. Plus, the cast is fantastic.

Current happy thing: Um... I got paid overtime for having to labor on Labor Day? And my tooth hole really does seem to be healing up well. And my current state of mental apathy is actually making it pleasantly difficult to feel anxious about any of the stupid things I usually find to feel anxious about. So that's all good, I guess.

Current thought: I don't care how much I just want to sprawl on the sofa and binge-watch violent TV shows, I have things I need to do before work tonight, and I am going to get up and do them. After I post this. And finish my tea.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Well, It Looks Like The Dragon Spit The Sun Back Out, At Least.

So, how was the eclipse? I, uh... I slept through the entire thing, by virtue of getting off work at 8 AM and collapsing from exhaustion for five hours and change. Well, it was nowhere near totality here, and I have seen a partial eclipse before. Still. This probably comes under the heading of "you know you're getting old when..."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

And Now, For Something That Has Nothing To Do With Teeth (Aside From A Reference To The Fourth Doctor's Teeth And Curls)

I am going to see this tonight! Should be awesome. And excellent for taking my mind off the state of my mouth and/or the world at large.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

One Week Later. (Well, Eight Days, Because I Had To Work Yesterday.)

Had my follow-up appointment on my tooth today. The doctor and I did not sit down and have a long talk about best practices in dental medicine. But he did assure me that the tooth socket is healing up well, the gum tissue looks healthy, and the bone graft looks good. So that's reassuring, at least. I think it would have been just my luck at this point to have things go horribly wrong with the healing process.

I've still got to be careful with it for another ten days or so, though, until the wound is completely closed up and there's no chance of the artificial bone stuff inside washing out and making a bid for freedom.

Sigh. I miss being able to do things like chew and brush my teeth without having to think about them. That was nice. I did not properly appreciate those days when they where here. Isn't it always the way?

Anyway. After this, it's going to be another three months before they can start the process of giving me a fake tooth, thus taking me the first step of the way on my journey towards becoming a cyborg. (Hey, I have to look on the bright side and make this sound cool somehow, right?)

Friday, August 11, 2017

August Currentlies

This is definitely later than I usually do it, but what can I say? Things have been a little weird lately.

Current clothes: I'm still in my pajamas: blue plaid lounge pants, a nightshirt that says "So Many Books, So Little Time," bear claw slippers. I'm trying to take it very slow and easy today. My brain and body both probably need it.

Current mood: I don't know. Mostly OK, I guess. I'm feeling less tired and out of it than I did for the first day or two after the tooth thing. And I'm mostly doing well at staying kind of zen about the whole debacle, but I am experiencing intermittent flare-ups of stress, which are no fun. And not being able to eat properly is really, really annoying me.

Current music: Most recently, Leonard Cohen's Old Ideas.

Current annoyance: Yeah, see above. I'm not supposed to eat anything hard or crunchy or hot, and I really don't want to eat anything I have to chew too much. (It doesn't hurt, but it feels a little weird, and I'm super-paranoid about food banging into the wound and maybe disrupting the clot.) This is getting very old very fast. I am starting to crave steak.

Current thing: Between the tooth and being given the wrong glasses prescription, I seem to be suffering a personal vendetta by Murphy's Law against my ability to carry out normal bodily functions like seeing and eating.

Current desktop picture: Still the Twelfth Doctor.

Current book: At Winter's End by Robert Silverberg. Which is OK, but far from his best.

Current song in head: "Melanie" by Weird Al Yankovic. Which is a slightly creepy song to have stuck in your head.

Current refreshment: Room-temperature coffee. Yum.

Current DVD in player: Nothing at the moment. I have season 4 of Sons of Anarchy; I just keep not getting around to it yet.

Current happy thing: Um... Give me a minute, I'm sure I'll think of something.

Current thought: I miss my tooth. It was a terrible tooth, but it was mine. And it was the first body part I have lost that I actually wanted to keep. (The wisdom teeth and the uterus were just pointless annoyances, but I was using that tooth, dammit!)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

So. That Happened.

I went for my dental procedure today, and... it did not go as anticipated. Mainly because the endodontist apparently, like, 99% of the time ends up pulling teeth with these kinds of infections, so when he came into the room to do the operation that might save my tooth, he forgot that's what he was supposed to be doing and fucking pulled it instead.

Yeah. I kid you not. And, man... It seemed to me what he was doing was weird and not what I was expecting him to do, but I figured he knew what he was doing and there was a reason for it... and the next thing I know, there are pieces of my tooth all over my mouth and I'm trying to process what the hell just happened.

Needless to say, it was pretty freaking upsetting. I mean, there was a really good chance it was going to end up getting pulled anyway, but I was not prepared for it to happen today. I think I started to freak out a little, but then I sort of had to calm down, because I realized the dentist was trying not to freak out, too, and I found myself thinking, "Oh, man, I need to be calm so he can be calm, because he still needs to finish this up." Which was actually pretty useful, because I had to drive for an hour and twenty minutes to get home after that, and I needed to be functional.

Anyway, I guess the bad news is that I now have fewer teeth than I had this morning, which is NOT WHAT I WANTED OR AGREED TO.

The good news is, I saved the $130 he refunded me for the procedure, and I get a free dental implant if I want one. Because he was all, "It's OK! I will fix this! I will give you a new tooth! It will be better than your old one! I WILL MAKE IT RIGHT! Please don't sue me." Well, he didn't say that last part, but I think it was pretty much implied.

And, hey, I guess it could have been worse. At least he pulled the right tooth.

Still. This was not exactly the best day of my life. Send ice cream. Since I think that's one of the things I'm actually able to eat right now.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Can See!

I have my new glasses! Again. The opticians were kind enough to mail them to me this time, since I live so far out of the city, and since the frames had already been adjusted for me. And the prescription is now correct. Hallelujah! It's amazing how much difference that makes. I don't know how I ever thought for a second that the previous ones could have been right.

They are going to take a little adjusting to. This is pretty close to my last prescription, but just enough different that I have to fine-tune my head-tilting impulses all over again. It does seem to be a change for the better, though, as I'm already noticing that it's easier to read fine print. The fact that I kept finding myself taking my glasses off to do that is what made me realize it was time for new ones in the first place. More annoyingly, I am getting a bit of queasiness, especially when I turn my head too fast. I think I had some of that with my first pair of progressives, too, though. Hopefully it should go away pretty quickly.

Otherwise... Well, I am second-guessing my choice of frames already, but too late! They are a part of me now, and this is my face for at least the next couple of years.

Anyway. I'm glad to finally have that taken care of, finally. Now on to all the other stupid things...

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Adventures In Modern Dentistry

I just got back from my endodontist appointment. They took these really cool 3D x-rays that let the doctor zip around and zoom in on and rotate my teeth on his computer. Very 21st-century!

Anyway, even though the infection is pretty big, he says it is confined to the area around one root, which makes me "a good candidate" for the apicoectomy procedure. Which still gives me maybe a 50-50 chance of saving the tooth, but I'll take it. Also, it costs less than I was expecting; with the insurance it looks like I'll maybe be paying less than $100. And they were able to schedule me for it on a day when I actually shouldn't have to work, despite my current stupider than usual work schedule. Plus, he confirmed that with a local anesthetic, I can drive myself home. Admittedly, I generally prefer to be unconscious any time someone is doing something invasively medical to my body, but it seems like it shouldn't be too bad, and he says it might only take maybe ten minutes to do. I figure even I can suck up my weeniness that long.

So, all in all, pretty good news! My only complaint is that my appointment is at three in the afternoon, and I don't particularly want to go from having oral surgery to driving through the city at the onset of rush hour, especially as the office is practically in Rio Rancho. So hopefully I really will get out of there pretty quickly.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Doctor Who?


I've seen one or two people saying they'd maybe rather not know who it is until they turn up on the show if they can help it, which... Well, good luck with that. But just in case, I'll be vague here for anyone who doesn't want to watch the video. (But if you want to get spoilery in the comments feel free, and we'll call that read at your own risk.)

Anyway. Wow. I suspect I would be surprised by any choice, but I'm really surprised by this one. I know this actor from precisely one thing -- it's probably not hard to guess what -- and based on that I'm not 100% sure how I feel, as that was very much not a Doctor-ish sort of role. But I am cautiously excited. I think this is going to be interesting.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Various Things

A few random things, numbered even though there is no actual order to them:

1. I am now 46. It doesn't feel any different from 45. In fact, I had to stare at the date for a while re-checking how old I actually am, because apparently I'd already been thinking of myself as 46 for a while in anticipation.

2. I was doing really well with my one-book-in/two-books-out method of TBR control, but my birthday trip to Barnes & Noble set me back a bit. And today there is a library sale here in town. I am trying to be strong, but I fear I might succumb. Does "it's my birthday" still work as an excuse a day later?

3. Today's excitement: a wildlife encounter in the middle of my dining room! Well, OK, don't get too excited. It was just a frog. (We get spontaneously generated frogs here every time it rains hard enough in the summer to leave puddles. Or at least, they sure seem spontaneously generated. Apparently they dig down into the mud and go dormant underground between rains.) It was perfectly still, didn't even move when I gently poked at it with a rolled up bit of napkin, so I figured it was dead. I tried to scoop it up on a piece of cardboard, because I didn't want to touch it, at which point it suddenly hopped at me. I am embarrassed to report that I emitted a high-pitched yelp at this point. Zombie frogs are startling! Anyway, it has now been relocated outside, but I'm trying to figure out how the heck it got in. I know I have cracks in my house big enough to admit bugs (hence my regular employment of an exterminator), but frogs? Did it maybe just hop in the door with me when I came home, and I somehow didn't notice? I mean, WTF, frog?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

July Currentlies

A bit late in the month for this, but the time really has been slipping by me lately. Anyway:

Current clothes: Gray shorts, a t-shirt that says "Please Go Away, I'm Reading," white socks.

Current mood: Aargh. Today is supposed to be a day to decompress, do some reading and catch up on some housework, between finishing a 56-hour work week and making yet another trip up to Albuquerque for yet another appointment. And yet, my brain does not seem to want to let me relax and enjoy it. Instead, it seems to want to get irritated over every single stupid little thing, and if it can't find something to be irritated about, it makes something up. Chill out, brain! Yeesh.

Current music: David Bowie's Blackstar, which I just got for my birthday.

Current annoyance: Seriously, everything and nothing. At this point, my own annoyance is annoying me. I hope I will be able to get my brain to snap out of it soon.

Current thing: Just muddling along, really. Which is much better than not muddling along, so, hey.

Current desktop picture: Stil Peter Capaldi's Twelfth Doctor. I want to keep him for ever and ever and ever.

Current book: Mastodonia by Clifford Simak, a pleasant-enough SF novel from the 1970s.

Current song in head: Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl," courtesy of this week's episode of Preacher.

Current refreshment: Nothing just this moment, but I'm going to go have some leftover pizza for lunch soon.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, disk 2 of season 3 of Sons of Anarchy. I'm making my way through this series pretty quickly.

Current happy thing: Well, not having to work today is a good thing! And I've gotten some cards and gifts for my upcoming birthday, which is nice (and very sweet coming from some folks who really didn't need to get me anything at all).

Current thought: You've got nothing to be pissy about, brain! Eat some pizza, watch some good TV, go accomplish a few useful things, and get over yourself.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

OK, I'm Done Wallowing.

After all the whining I've been doing lately, I figured I should pop in to say I'm feeling much better now. Not that lots of things aren't still irritating, because they are. But I'm approaching them with more equanimity. The Doctor Who season finale really did cheer me up immensely, because it was amazing. Also, this may be 100% the power of suggestion, but I think it's possible that tooth infection just had me feeling a very subtle, low-level kind of crappy for a long time, a kind of not-feeling-top-notch feeling I tend to just blame on my sleep schedule. But whether it's pure placebo effect or something else, after a week's worth of antibiotics, I actually feel a much greater sense of well-being. Even if I am still tired.

And hopefully someone will be here to fix my swamp cooler soon. Not living in a sweltering house will surely also help improve my mood.

Oh, and I also just saw what I think is the little cat that was locked in my shed! I'm not entirely positive it was the same animal, but I think it was. So it's probably still alive. Yay!

Sunday, July 02, 2017

In Which I Just Give Up And Wallow In Self-Pity

Aaaaand, now my swamp cooler's stopped working. I got up in the middle of my sleep period to pee, and discovered it blowing warm air into my house, because the pump wasn't pumping. The same pump I just had replaced a few weeks ago. Well. Looks like I'm in for a very hot 4th of July. And, of course, I was so pissed off after that that I couldn't get back to sleep, so now I need to work a 12-hour night shift on maybe four and a half hours of sleep. Sigh.

Well, at least it means I have time to watch Doctor Who before I have to go to work. But first, I need coffee. SO MUCH COFFEE.

Friday, June 30, 2017


So, I just got a call from the eye doctor/optician's office. Apparently they think maybe they screwed something else up besides my prescription and they want me to re-take my eye exam. Which means yet another goddamn trip back and forth to Albuquerque on a day when I'd rather be doing something else, this time on my fucking birthday, because that's the day they had available when I'm not working. (I'm working a hideously extra-long week just before that, because of course I am.) And I still need to make an appointment with the endodontist, too. I tried to do that today, once I finally got my work schedule for the next month, but apparently they close early on Fridays. I probably won't be able to call them until after the holiday. And who knows when I'll even be able to schedule that appointment. I'm willing to bet it won't be the same day so I can only make one trip. Then, of course, I'm going to have to schedule the actual endodontal surgery, and god knows how that's going to work out with my schedule. I just really, really hope I'm allowed to drive myself home from that, because it's not like I've got anybody to bring with me, not on a weekday.

It's enough to make me want to smash my forehead into the keyboard.

nmj m, m,bynjhm

Hmm. No. Don't think that helped.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Eyes And Teeth

So, I took my eyeglasses back to the eyeglass place, and it turns out it was made with the wrong prescription. They were very apologetic about it, and in time-honored tradition, they blamed it on "the new girl." I'm actually kind of glad that it was something that blatantly obvious and didn't involve having to re-take various fiddly measurements. (Although they did double-check where my pupils were centered on the lenses, which is probably a good thing.) And, despite the (not inconsiderable) inconvenience, it may actually have been for the best that they have to remake the lenses. Because I got anti-reflective coating on them, and almost immediately remembered why I didn't get anti-reflective coating last time. They make the lenses ridiculously easy to smudge, and extremely difficult to clean. And the smudges bother me way, way more than the reflections ever have.

In other news, I have been taking antibiotics for my tooth abscess, and now the inside of my mouth tastes like dead bacteria. Yum!

Upsetting Event of the Day

Upsetting event of the day: I was standing in my kitchen, and heard meowing coming from somewhere outside. I looked out, and there was a cat pawing at the doors to my shed like it was trying to get at something in there. And the meowing was coming from inside. From inside my hot metal shed, which hadn't been opened in days. I keep the doors secured with a bungee, and it had snapped, and the doors blew open in the wind. When that happens, I usually check to see if anything's gotten inside before I re-secure the doors, but apparently I didn't look hard enough. Because sure enough, there was a cat in there. Well, probably a kitten, really. I don't think it looked quite big enough to be full-grown.

I was hoping to catch it and take it to the vet. I didn't get a very good look at it, but from what I saw, it didn't look to be in great shape, and it must have been terribly dehydrated. But catching a small cat in my shed is no easy feat. It's full of randomly stacked junk with lots of little cat hiding places. And before I managed to corner it and grab it, it was out and off.

I feel terrible. Also, the inside of my shed now smells like a cat was trapped in it for days.

Man, I hope the poor thing is okay. I left some water out just in case it comes back.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Tooth? I Can't Handle The Tooth.

So, I finally got to the dentist, and sure enough, I have a tooth abscess. I have a very bad tooth abscess. (Really, it's never a good sign when a medical professional looks at you and goes, "Yow.") Hopefully the tooth isn't going to have to be removed, but salvaging it is going to require a bit of oral surgery. Specifically, an apicoectomy, where they clean out damaged tissue and snip off the end of the root. Aka, yet another unpleasant, expensive, annoying thing that's going to be hard to work in around my work schedule and require multiple trips into the city. SIGH. This being human gig is getting old fast.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wait, I Don't Think That's Just Me

Seems like the new glasses are actually wrong, rather than just needing time to adjust to them. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have to tuck my chin all the way down into my chest to clearly read a sign five feet away. SIGH. Why can't anything just work properly the first time?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Various Things

Because I haven't been updating much lately, here is one post about various things.

1. I was really sorry to hear about the recent death of actor Stephen Furst. I loved his character Vir in Babylon 5 so much I named a cat after him. After I heard the news, I sort of just went and stared sadly at the cat for a while.

2. My car is now in the shop getting the damage from being scraped in the parking lot fixed. Meanwhile, I have a rental, a Hyundai Sonata. This is a much more high-tech car than my Fit. It greets me with a little musical fanfare when I get in, which I honestly find somewhat unsettling. It seems like a decent car; it's got a pretty good ride. But it has led me to a new appreciation of one of the Fit's selling points: visibility. I've got a lot less of a view of the world around me in this one. I keep trying to adjust the rear view mirror for a better view and then realizing, no, that's just all the window I've got back there.

3. I also have new glasses. They are strange and uncomfortable and slightly nausea-inducing. Probably just because I need to get used to them, not because there's anything really wrong with them. It's worse with the progressive lenses than with the regular kind. Stupid aging body.

And, OK. Three things is probably enough for now, right?

Monday, June 05, 2017

The Southwest, Like Space, Is Big.

So, I did call to make arrangements to have the repair work done on my car in a couple of weeks. (Per one of the many things I complained about yesterday under "current annoyance.") Progressive, as usual, has been really good to deal with, but I am always amused by the reactions of people who don't live out here when I encounter them in situations like this. The insurance agent, judging from her area code, is in Ohio. And when she went to look up which repair services they have on their preferred list, the conversation went something like this:

HER: Oh, wow, I don't see one within fifty miles of your zip code. Well, you can choose any repair shop you want that's nearby...

ME: Yeah, I doubt there is a body shop within fifty miles of me. I really do live in the middle of nowhere. Check in Albuquerque.

HER: *does so* Oh, but it says the nearest one to you is seventy miles.

ME: Yep. That's Albuquerque. That's where I was expecting to have to go. It's the nearest actual city.

HER: I can't believe you'd have to drive that far!

ME: Eh. I know people who drive that far to get groceries. Oh, by the way, my policy covers a rental car, right? Because I'm going to need one of those to get home.

Heh. I've seen plenty of amusing stories about European tourists coming to the US and thinking they can, like, fly into NYC and take a quick overnight trip to visit the Grand Canyon or something, but even people in other parts of the country don't necessarily understand how very big and empty it is out here. I know it sure took me a long time to get used to it.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

June Currentlies

OK, this is a bit earlier than I usually do this. But, as tends to happen after I spend a whole month posting here in April, I mostly sort of disappeared in May. So I figured it was time to put in an appearance.

Current clothes: Blue denim shorts. A dark gray t-shirt that says "Please Go Away. I'm Reading." White ankle socks.

Current mood: Mostly OK. A little low-energy. It's warm, and my swamp cooler isn't working, and I think it's making me slightly wilty. Also my brain is now suddenly trying to worry about stupid things. Or possibly not-stupid things. Not knowing whether the things I'm worrying about are stupid or not is one of the things I worry about.

Current music: Nothing, really.

Current annoyance: There are so many things I have to arrange and make happen, and my work schedule does not make it easy. I still need to get my sewer pipe replaced, and that really needs to happen pretty soon. And now I need to get my swamp cooler fixed, too. I need to pick up my new glasses in Albuquerque, since I have to go there for glasses now that the eye doctor in town retired. I also need to go to the dentist. (Which is the thing I've been worrying about, because there's this lump on my jaw over where I had the root canal. It's been there for quite a while, I think, and it doesn't hurt, but I just noticed how disturbingly big it is and it's probably nothing, but of course now my brain is all, "OMG, if it's not some horrible abscess that is going to make me lose the tooth, it's probably jaw cancer!" Shut up, brain. But I am due for an exam and a cleaning, and I should have it looked at.) Oh, and I need to arrange to take my car in for repairs, because somebody scraped up against it in the Walmart parking lot the other day. It's only got minor damage, and because it was unambiguously not my fault I don't even have to pay the deductible, but it is going to mean having to get it into a body shop, probably in Albuquerque. And I do not know when I'm going to get all this crap done, especially as I'm on night shifts next week, and nothing happens during the day when I'm on night shifts.

Current thing: Based on the above, I'm going to say having too damned much to do and not getting it done.

Current desktop picture: This great image of Peter Capaldi as the Doctor. I am going to miss him so much. Even if that last episode wasn't actually very good.

Current book: I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains (Real and Imagined) by Chuck Klosterman. I'm not very far into it, but so far I'm liking it.

Current song in head: Nothing much at the moment. I know, so boring.

Current refreshment: Lemon-ginger tea.

Current DVD in player: I just finished season one of Sons of Anarchy. And I'm surprised my how much I enjoyed it. Man, if somebody had just told me this was basically Biker Hamlet, I would have started watching it years ago.

Current happy thing: I'm not working today! That's always good.

Current thought: Real Life is annoying. I just want to go read some more.

Monday, May 08, 2017

May Currentlies

See, I didn't disappear forever at the end of April. I am back to do this thing again!

Current clothes: Blue jeans and a brown t-shirt with a picture of a very groggy-looking owl holding a cup of coffee, which will probably be an accurate depiction of me come the morning, since I'm starting a week of night shifts tonight.

Current mood: OK. Slightly out of it in that way I sometimes am when I'm starting nights and have tried to make myself sleep too long.

Current music: Nothing much. I'm back to trying to catch up on podcasts again.

Current annoyance: The jeans I'm wearing feel a little snug. This is annoying. There is entirely too much of me filling up my jeans already.

Current thing: Well, I'm still having a fair amount of success with the "one in, two out" TBR management scheme. I am a couple of books ahead on the "in" entries, admittedly, but I should be able to make that up soon.

Current desktop picture: Still this. But I should check and see if the BBC has any wallpaper of the current Doctor and companion. I really want to spent some time looking at them before they're gone.

Current book: Just finished When the People Fell by Cordwainer Smith, I'm now about to start The End or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis.

Current song in head: "First of May" by Jonathan Coulton. Which has been stuck in there since at least the first of May.

Current refreshment: Nothing, but I'm really, really hungry. I need to go and eat lunch, or dinner, or whatever you call it when I eat pizza at 4:30 PM when I'm on night shifts.

Current DVD in player: Most recently, Arrival. Which made no scientific sense, but otherwise wasn't bad.

Current happy thing: I had a really great weekend, at least by my own introvert standards. Watched a couple of movies and some great TV, did a little reading, took some walks, played some computer games, got a bunch of things done in ways that made me feel like I was really accomplishing something... What more could one ask for?

Current thought: Sooooooo huuuuuuuungry.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

The End (Of The Month) Is Nigh.

Well, here we are! The last day of April, and, thus, the last day of my daily blogging exercise for at least another year. Possibly longer, if I finally decide I've gotten tired of it. Which I might. I dunno. I can never quite decide whether it feels entirely worthwhile or not.

One thing that is interesting about it is how, come the last week or two, every time I had to sit down and write a new blog post, I found myself thinking, "Geez, it seems like I've been doing this for ages. Isn't April over yet?", even while other parts of my brain thought the time was just flying by and couldn't believe we were this far into April already, given how little I seemed to have accomplished so far this year.

Humans' relationship to time is just weird. Or at least mine is. Which is something that's becoming more and more noticeable the older I get.

Anyway. Yeah. So, long April, and so long, Blogs-a-Lot April! And I'll see you all, uh... sometime later.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Go, Endurance Readers!

So, today is the day of Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, an internet-based challenge in which, as the name implies, participants read for 24 hours straight. Every time this comes to my attention, I think, oh, it would be really cool to do that sometime. And every time it actually happens, either I've forgotten all about it, or my work schedule doesn't remotely permit such shenanigans.

This time out, it actually would have worked with my work schedule, but, alas, I'm still not doing it. Partly because I didn't want to get up a 6 AM, but mostly, I think, because I only realized it was this weekend a couple of days ago. If I'd had more time to psyche myself up, and to stock up on snacks, well, maybe.

As it is, though, I think perhaps I will engage in a show of solidarity by spending a good-sized chunk of today sitting around and reading. It's the least I can do, right?

Friday, April 28, 2017

WTF, Weather?

It's snowing today in a surprising number of places here in New Mexico, and it's supposed to get down into the 30s tonight where I am, and even lower tomorrow night. At the end of freaking April! This is because I was extra proactive this year and got my swamp cooler up and running a week or two earlier than I usually do, isn't it? The Weather Gods are clearly punishing me for my arrogance. Guess I'd better turn my wall heater back on...

(Seriously, though. By the end of the first week in May, it's usually unambiguously summer here, and already getting freaking hot. Why is there snow?!)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right, But Two Wrights Make An Airplane.

Speaking of books, I'm now reading a biography of the Wright Brothers, and I'm enjoying it well enough. But I can't help thinking that maybe there need to be more biographies of dumb losers who never do all that much with their lives, because reading about hyper-competent history-making people only brings home to me the fact that I am not someone who ever would have been capable of inventing an airplane.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I Sort Of Love How Ridiculously Low-Tech This Is.

My attempt at the "two out, one in" method of controlling my TBR shelves seems to be going pretty well so far. Those book subscription services I signed up for aren't helping, but avoiding the library sales definitely is. Here's what the book log I've been keeping looks like right now:

Although possibly the only thing to really be concluded from that is that I have books with odd and interesting titles.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

More TV

I just watched the second episode of Class. And if I had somewhat mixed feelings about the first one, I enjoyed this one much more thoroughly, mainly for the characters and the sense of humor. Although I am more than a little surprised by its positively Torchwoodian levels of gore.

As for the most recent episode of Doctor Who, my opinion of it is much the same as it was of the last one: the plot's not much, but the character stuff is fantastic, and the new companion is an utter delight.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Well, Really, There Had To Be At Least One Post This Month Complaining About My Sleep/Work Schedule

Yeah, I got nothin' today. I'm switching from a weekend of night shifts back onto days (briefly), I've had less than five hours of sleep, my circadian rhythms are screwed up, and there is not enough coffee in the entire world. Man, the older I get the more I find myself thinking that there may be a limit to how long I can do this rotating shifts thing. At least on the crappy, short-handed schedule that's now our permanent status quo. Bah.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Yeah, Science!

Of course, April 22 was not just Earth Day, it was also the day of the March for Science. I gather there were some activities going on for this where I live, and I have to say, even that though I am chronic non-joiner and find it extremely difficult to get off my butt even for things I strongly believe in, marching for science is something I might have made an exception for if I weren't working today. (You know, doing science.) As it is, in a vague gesture of solidarity, I wore my shirt with the Neil DeGrasse Tyson quote: "The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it."

CNN has some pictures of amusing sciencey signs. I particularly like the one that says, "What do we want? Evidence based research! When do we want it? After peer review."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

It's Where I Keep All My Stuff

Happy Earth Day! Remember, it is extremely important to take proper care of the Earth, as the relocation costs are entirely prohibitive.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Operation Don't Get Killed By My Airbag Is A Go!

Today's fun activity: getting the airbag inflator on my car replaced. I went online and looked up some information on the recall, and it turns out to be huge, and has even been called "the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history," with more and more cars being added to the list over the last few years, and the company that makes the airbags possibly paying as much as $1 billion in penalties. Well, I guess that's what happens when your safety equipment occasionally impales people in the face...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Why Are There So Many Crappy Planets?

Today's random link: Seedship, a simple but strangely addictive text-based game in which you play a starship AI tasked with finding a new colony world for the last cryogenically frozen remnants of humanity. I finally founded a colony that not only survived, but developed into an enlightened utopia on the eighth try, then decided to quit while I was ahead.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Betty's Watching, Part Whatever

Today has been a badly needed rest day. I slept in, spent some time reading on the couch, took a walk, ordered a pizza, and watched some television. Bliss!

But it leaves me without much to talk about today. Except television. So, some comments on things I've been watching lately:

Class: I did watch the first episode! It feels, well, maybe a little too obviously aimed at teenagers for my own middle-aged tastes. To be honest, I can probably count the number of TV shows set in high schools that I've ever really enjoyed on two fingers. But it was pleasant enough, and while the first episode feels like a lot of setting things up, what it's setting up is potentially interesting, so I'm tentatively looking forward to the rest of it, and to seeing how it all shakes out. I'm not sure, though, whether it's a good sign or a bad sign that my interest levels in the first ep skyrocketed the minute the Doctor showed up.

Better Call Saul: The spinoff that seems like it should never have worked continues to work wonderfully well, but maybe that really shouldn't be much of a surprise given the sheer amount of raw talent both in front of and behind the cameras. Although possibly even more entertaining to me than the show itself is a comment Vince Gilligan made on Chris Hardwick's show after the season premiere. When asked about filming in the hot New Mexico sun, he said that New Mexico is like that original Star Trek episode with the space hippies: it's really beautiful, but then you realize everything is trying to kill you. I must say, of all the Star Trek episodes to find myself living in, I had not expected "The Way to Eden!"

Samurai Jack: I had forgotten how amazing this show was until it suddenly and belatedly came back. The revived version definitely has a bit of a different feel to it, but it's kept the same stylistic brilliance.

Once Upon a Time: Still the show I am most embarrassed to love unequivocally (if not unreservedly). I've heard rumors of possible major cast shake-ups, though, and perhaps a revamping of the show to accommodate those, and the way things are currently going in the storyline seems like it might be entirely consistent with something like that. I... am dubious about whether such a thing would even remotely work, but I guess we'll see. Maybe.

The Expanse: I never read the books this was based on, and I'm thinking now that was an oversight, as I'm really liking the series. It started off slow, but it's definitely holding my interest now. Although I do think it's one of those shows that may be better binge-watched, as the plot is pretty intricate, and I do keep finding myself forgetting important details from week to week. And it's interesting... I can think of very few space TV shows that are strictly solar system-based like this, and it may well be the very first genuinely hard SF TV show ever. But this is a subgenre that seems to be having a surprising pop cultural moment. A friend of mine suggested, when I brought this subject up, that that may have a lot to do with the fact it's much more feasible to do special effects involving zero-g and such than it was in the past, and I imagine that does account for a lot of it. But probably not all of it. It certainly doesn't account for the startling mainstream success of The Martian before it was ever adapted to film, for instance.

I may be watching other things, too, but if I am, they're either on hiatus right now, or have slipped my mind entirely. That's probably more than enough, though. Too much actually interesting stuff on TV is cutting way into my ability to work my way through the Netflix queue.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I'm Sure He Would Have Very Much Enjoyed Sniffing Them, Too.

The vets sent flowers. I'm really rather touched. I almost want to cry again. But in a good kind of way.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Belated Easter Well-Wishes

I hope all of you out there who celebrate Easter had a good one. I don't much, which is probably just as well, considering I had to work all day. I did eat entirely too many of those malted milk eggs with the chocolate candy coatings, though. They are stupidly yummy.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Doctor Is In!

My non-spoilery reactions to last night's Doctor Who season premiere:

There wasn't much to the plot, really, but I don't particularly care. I enjoyed it a lot. I'm very much liking the new companion so far, and I am intrigued by what looks like some very interesting setup for episodes to come. I also may have made some undignified noises at certain classic series continuity nods.

But mostly, Peter Capaldi is still great, and I still do not want him to leave.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

RiffTrax Who

Speaking of Doctor Who, I am definitely going to go see this in August:

Friday, April 14, 2017

Whoo Who!

Tomorrow we finally start the new season of Doctor Who, after a long dry spell punctuated only by one special episode at Christmas. I'm excited for it, but also a little sad, since this will be the last season of Peter Capaldi's stint on the show, and I'm not remotely ready for him to leave yet. Hell, I've only just finally gotten over losing Matt Smith! This is a side effect of the life-speeds-up-as-you-get-older effect that I had not anticipated and do not like: at some point, all your Doctors seem to last barely an eyeblink.

Tomorrow is also the US premiere of the Who spinoff Class, which I've been looking forward to for quite a while. The timing of that is annoyingly bad for me, though, as I'm working all weekend, and while I'm going to try very hard to make time between my 12-hour shifts to watch Who, I'm probably not going to be able to get to Class until Monday. (My work schedule is irritating in many, many ways, but some days the worst of them seems to be how much it interferes with my very important TV-watching schedule.)

Well, to tide us all over until then, here's a trailer for the new Who season, for anybody who hasn't seen it:

Tell me that doesn't look exciting!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Normal

I can't deny that, in a lot of ways, having only one cat is a heck of a lot easier. I can get up in the morning (or, depending on my shift, the afternoon), dump some food in Vir's bowl, and then just walk away. No need to stand there between two cats while they eat, thwarting their constant attempts to steal each other's vet-prescribed food. No more claws-out scuffles over who gets to sit on top of me when I'm sprawled on the couch reading or watching TV.

But it's also rather melancholy, of course. I suspect it's going to be a while before I stop thinking I hear a noise and turning around to see if it's Nova about to jump up on my computer desk, or feeling a pang when I put an empty cereal bowl into the sink instead of onto the floor for him to lick.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Up And Away

On a happier note, I will point out that today is the 56th anniversary of the first human spaceflight.

Way to go, Yuri Gagarin!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I Knew This Was Coming Soon. I Really Did. Still Very Sad, Though.

So. Yeah. The cat news is bad.

There's still masses of stuff in his bowels preventing him from being able to defecate properly. The vet hasn't been able to get the rest of it out at all. He says at this point, he could put the cat under general anesthetic in order to be able to get at it and get it out, but...

But, well. That'd clear him out for now, but it's very, very likely the problem would come back again, maybe in a week, maybe in a month, and it would probably keep coming back.

And... Nova is about two months shy of eighteen. He has lost so much weight that he is down to nothing but skin, bones, and fur. He seems to have lost a lot of his hearing. His back legs, which have been growing stiffer and weaker gradually over the past couple of years, have gotten noticeably worse lately, shaking and faltering under him as he strains to evacuate. And none of that is going to get better. Up until now, he's been deteriorating slowly, but has still been able to enjoy the pleasures of his life. (Which mostly consist of insisting on sitting on my lap while I'm at my computer desk until my legs go numb, or licking I Can't Believe It's Not Butter off the knife I've just used on my toast. (I don't know whether he believes it's not butter or not, but he loves that stuff.))

But at some point, though, there's discomfort and pain than pleasure left, and I fear we've reached that point. I don't want to put him through any more of it.

So, yeah. I'm going in to the vet in an hour or so, and I'm going to say goodbye. I was going to post this afterward, but I'm not sure I'm going to be up to it. I definitely don't think I could type the above stuff as easily in the past tense. And I need something to do until it's time. So, here we are.

Nova's been a good kitty. He's a sweet, beautiful, ridiculous kitty. And he's had a very good run, from that day in 1999 when my next-door neighbor knocked on my door and held out a tiny, sickly, bedraggled little kitten in one hand and said "I found this in your yard. Is it yours?" I looked down at him that day and said, "Well, I guess he is now." We've had a pretty good time together since then, I like to think. I like to think I've mostly done right by him.

I'm gonna miss him lots.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Poor Old Cat

And Nova is back at the vet. Getting another enema.

This... is not looking good for him, poor kitty.

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Books On TV (Although Not Necessarily On Mine)

This trailer for American Gods looks amazing:

And the trailer for The Handmaid's Tale looks depressing and terrifying (so, probably pretty true to the source material):

Annoyingly, though, both of these are going to be showing on channels/services that I don't have, and which I am not going to run out and subscribe to. (Sigh. Perhaps it was inevitable that the new Golden Age of Television would also be the new Age of Not Being Able to Watch the Things You Want to Watch Unless You Subscribe to at Least Half A Dozen Separate Services. But that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it.) Anyway, I will look forward to seeing both of them if and when they're actually available to me.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

April Currentlies

Well, time for this now, I guess.

Current clothes: I'm on night shifts, so it's still morning for me, and I haven't showered and dressed yet. Which means I'm currently wearing black-and-white plaid pajama pants, a gray pocket t-shirt, and bear paw slippers.

Current mood: More or less okay, I guess? Various kinds of anxiety have been trying to invade my brain after a really lovely period without them, but I've been fending them off with at least some small degree of success.

Current music: "I'm Reading a Book" by Julian Smith, because sometimes you just have to play your theme song.

Current annoyance: Shitty kitty butt. (Although I think he's finally getting better on that score. I'm a little worried he might still be having some trouble peeing, though, so he may be going back to the vet on Monday.) Also, you know what my very favorite thing is after I've worked a full week of night shifts? Immediately following them up with more and longer night shifts! Followed by just barely enough time to sleep-deprive myself into a change of schedule before having to show up for work at 8 AM. Yeah, that's a blast!

Current thing: Needing a vacation, I think.

Current desktop picture: Still this.

Current book: Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff, a YA novel I'm liking way, way better than I expected to.

Current song in head: Various things have been floating around in the ol' brain. For much of yesterday it was "Something to It" by Great Big Sea. Or parts of it, anyway.

Current refreshment: Orange spice tea.

Current DVD in player: Disk 2 of Life's Too Short, a show in which Warwick Davis plays a jerky loser version of himself. (Which is definitely acting; I've read his autobiography, and he seems like a lovely person.) He's frequently joined by other well-known actors playing similar self-mocking versions of themselves. It's one of those odd British comedies that's often funny, but even more often uncomfortably embarrassing. I'm not sure I quite understand those, to be honest. I think it's a cultural thing.

Current happy thing: Well, less cat diarrhea is good. I hope.

Current thought: Did I mention needing a vacation? I think I probably need a vacation. Or at least a staycation, which is all I could manage at the moment, anyway.

Friday, April 07, 2017

Total Recall

I just got a recall notice on my car. Apparently there is a small but non-zero chance my airbag could kill me, which I think we can all agree would be non-ideal. But, sigh, that's one more annoying thing on my to-do list, since I'm going to have find time to drive up to Albuquerque to get it fixed. And somehow all I can think is, how ironic would it be if I got into an accident and was killed by my airbag on my way to fix my airbag? Does that qualify as genuine irony? I think it does. Being killed by your safety equipment definitely does. So, yeah, I'll try and avoid that. Interesting as they can be to read about, I think an ironic death would just be embarrassing.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

All It Takes Is One Step Forward And Two Steps Back! That's Usually Easy.

In non-cat feces related news, I've decided I'm going to give this method of reducing one's TBR pile a shot. It looks so simple, so easy, so mathematically inevitable! How can it possibly fail? Well, knowing me and my slightly worrying book-buying habits, probably fairly easily. But I'm trying it, anyway. I really don't want to face the shame of my unread books total hitting quadruple digits.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

The Joys Of Pet Ownership

Well, Nova is back from the vet. They ended up keeping him two days and letting him go this morning, saying he seemed to be doing better.

But, oh, man. You know, when I picked him up this morning, I thought he smelled kind of bad, but I was half asleep, having just worked all night on too little sleep, so, after making sure he'd had something to eat, I just staggered into bed. This morning, I got up and realized he didn't just smell bad, he smelled really bad. The treatments they gave him to get his bowels running again clearly did something, because his entire back end was covered in crap. It was awful. It was so bad that when I tried to feed them, before I realized what the problem was, Vir just hissed and refused to stay in the room with him.

And now my entire house smells like cat crap. Especially the sofa and the spots on the carpet where he likes to sit. Except, of course, for the part of the house that smells like the bleach I used to clean the tub with after I washed him off. Which, needless to say, he did not like any more than I did.

It's a good think I like these animals, that's all I have to say.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Poor Kitty

So, I did get Nova in to the vet this afternoon. (Or yesterday afternoon, maybe. Since it's past midnight now, and thus time for another post.) Poor thing. He isn't just backed up, he's very backed up, and he has a urinary infection. Which he quite handily provided a diagnosis for, as he peed on the scale a little when they went to weigh him, and the veterinary assistant immediately looked at it and went, "Oh, there's blood in the urine!" (Which I wouldn't have been able to tell, myself. It was slightly discolored, but not noticeably red.)

Anyway, they're keeping him overnight, at least, and will give him antibiotics, and an enema, and some fluids. Poor baby. With luck, he'll be looking up a little in the morning, and I'll be able to take him home when I get off work. But we'll see. He's so old, and in such poor shape generally, that it always seems possible to me that any blow to his health might end up being the one that knocks him out for good. Which... well, it worries me, but given that I'm honestly surprised he's made it this far, my feeling about such a possibility is more resignation than fear. And he's in good hands for the moment, at least.

Monday, April 03, 2017

I Did Not Starve!

So, what else am I doing besides fretting over a constipated cat?

Well, my big accomplishment for the month so far is actually completing a level of Adventure Mode in Don't Starve.

Don't Starve is a computer game in which you're deposited on some freaky island by a demon (apparently) and challenged to, well, not starve. And not get killed by monsters, and not freeze to death, and not die in a fire, and... Well, you get the idea. It's a pretty challenging game, especially at first. And it's ideal for situations like last night, when I wanted to stay up as late as possible to switch onto night shifts. I mean, you know how games like that go. You get too busy concentrating on them to notice you're tired, and next thing you know it's 4:30 AM.

Anyway. The game has two modes: regular survival and Adventure Mode. In the regular mode, you just hang out on your island surviving as long as you possibly can, until you die or get bored and quit. In Adventure Mode, you're presented with a series of different worlds with special challenges, and you have to get through all of them to win. They're not easy, and I'm in the position right now where, after many hours of late-night gameplay, I'm good enough at the game for regular mode to get a bit boring, but not remotely good enough for Adventure Mode not to kick my ass. Repeatedly. Except last night, after many trials and tribulations, I finally completed the first Adventure Mode world! My poor little character is a bit battered and bruised, and perhaps not entirely sane, but he made it! Of course, there's a very good chance he's going to die immediately on World 2, but by the time I got there, it was actually my bedtime, even with my night shift schedule. So we'll see.

Hey, take your accomplishments where you can get them, right?

Sunday, April 02, 2017

It's Possible This May Be A Long Month.

See, the problem with blogging every day is that if I come here and tell you about what's in my mind, you get to hear about my cat's constipation.

Because poor Nova kitty is all blocked up again. I've been seeing him straining in the litterbox, which is not good, and straining outside the litterbox, which is even more not good. But no poop emerges. Poor thing is poopless. Or, rather, he is too poop-full. I've been giving him laxatives, and am taking him to the vet tomorrow.

Gosh, what an exciting life I have.

Saturday, April 01, 2017

Actually Posting On This Thing (No Joke!)

Yeah, I know, I've, if not exactly abandoned this blog lately, then at least severely neglected it, pretty much just checking in with the usual "currently" meme thing once a month. Well, now is the time to change that, at least for a little while, as I continue the tradition of Blogs-a-Lot April, in which I make a point of posting something every day for the month of April, before lapsing back into apathetic silence again. Or something like that. Stay tuned for... actually, I have no idea for what. Me talking about my cats and TV shows and complaining a lot about my work schedule, probably.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

March Currentlies

Oh, dear. I appear to have descended into only checking in here once a month. Well, at least I'm here now, right? Let's do this thing again.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. White socks. A light blue t-shirt that says "READ," but the letters are all made of of images of cool things you can read about. Because I am a bookwormy dork, and I own it.

Current mood: Pretty good, actually.

Current music: Nothing much. Once again, my listening time is mostly going towards trying to catch up with podcasts, and failing miserably.

Current annoyance: I've got a lot of things I really need to get done soon, and too many of them are annoying to schedule, or involve complicated logistics I have to work out somehow.

Current thing: I did get a couple of major items crossed off my to-do list over the weekend. That seems like a pretty good thing. Otherwise, my thing continues to be retreating from reality as much as possible.

Current desktop picture: Still this.

Current book: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave. Which doesn't really seem much like my kind of book. I didn't pick it out; it came in a book-related Quarterly subscription box. (Um, possibly one of my things lately also involves signing up for services that send me surprise books.) But I'm always looking to expand my ideas of what "my kind of book" is, so I'm giving it a shot. So far, I'm definitely not having the "Hey, I like this better than I expected!" reaction I'm hoping for, but I'm not very far in yet. So we'll see.

Current song in head: It appears to be alternating back and forth between "Domino Dancing" by the Pet Shop Boys and "Counting Stars" by OneRepublic. Do not ask me why.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I am a little thirsty. I should hydrate.

Current DVD in player: Still Cowboy Bebop. I keep getting distracted from it.

Current happy thing: We are now firmly in the too-brief Goldilocks period between the dominant seasons of Too Hot and Too Cold. It's great weather to get out and go for a walk.

Current thought: Right, I've got a few hours before work. Time to take a walk, cross a couple of minor things off the to-do list, get some lunch, and then maybe stare mindlessly at some YouTube videos for a while. Yep, that's my day all planned out!

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

February Currentlies

Current clothes: Blue jeans. A t-shirt that says, "Science: It's Gotten Us This Far." Because it has. Also science-themed socks with little test tubes and representations of atoms and stuff on them, because if you're going to dress for science, you might as well commit to it.

Current mood: Mostly OK, but with a faint thread of vague irritation underneath it. This is actually pretty common when I'm on night shifts. I think maybe some part of my brain just gets really annoyed at me and/or the world for keeping it from sleeping normal hours.

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: My sinuses. Still. My sinuses have been annoying me since freaking November. I keep feeling like maybe it's starting to get better, but I suspect that may just be wishful thinking.

Current thing: Retreating into fun escapism a lot, I think. Because sometimes you have to.

Current desktop picture: Still this bookish one.

Current book: Just started Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell.

Current song in head: "Little Tin God" by Don Henley. The relevance of which I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

Current refreshment: Nothing. But I should drink something. I feel a little dehydrated.

Current DVD in player: Disc 2 of the complete series of Cowboy Bebop, the classic space noir anime featuring Spike Spiegel, the only bounty hunter in the universe worse than Stephanie Plum. (Admittedly, he's got much better moves. But a far worse capture record.) I've actually seen some or all of this show before, ages and ages ago, but I didn't remember it very well. On re-watch, I can kind of see why the details didn't really stick in my mind. There's a lot more style than substance to it. But it's a pretty cool style.

Current happy thing: Suddenly, winter appears to be over! Because it's February, a notoriously unpredictable month here, I don't exactly trust it, but I'll take this weather for as long as it lasts. (Although it is a pity that I'm not awake during the daylight hours this week to enjoy it.)

Current thought: Um... No matter where you go, there you are?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Nooooo! Don't Leave Me!!!!

Peter Capaldi announces he will stand down as Doctor Who at the end of the year.

This is not the feel-good news I needed right now, BBC!

And Here I Feel Good About Myself If I Manage To Get All The Laundry Done.

One of the cool things about working where I do is that, once in a while, they'll get some really interesting people in as speakers. So I just got to hear a talk by Story Musgrave. Who I always knew was very accomplished, but it turns out that doesn't even begin to cover it. This guy is amazing. He's a farmboy turned astronaut/mathematician/engineer/pilot/mechanic/brain surgeon/about a zillion other impressive things. If you wrote a novel about him, people would complain it broke their suspension of disbelief. He's basically a real-life version of Sam Beckett from Quantum Leap. Only weirder.

Glad I got the chance to attend that.

Friday, January 06, 2017

First Currentlies of 2017

I'm gonna do this while I'm thinking of it, so that I don't have the add "belated" to the post title yet again.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Bluish-green sweater. White socks.

Current mood: Mostly okay, but... I dunno. I'm tired of things. I'm tired of winter. I'm tired of night shifts. I'm tired of the low-level but relentless nastiness that's been camped out in my sinuses for the last two months. I'm tired of not living in a Star Trek utopia.

Current music: Most recently, Determination, a rockin' collection of covers from the Undertale soundtrack by RichaadEB//Ace Waters.

Current annoyance: See above for a list of things I am tired of. I was going to say that it's not an exhaustive list, but, really, I think the last point probably covers just about everything.

Current thing: I've been wasting ridiculous amounts of time lately watching YouTube videos of people playing random videogames, for reasons I don't remotely understand. I think I'm finally starting to get over it, but, then, I've thought that before and somehow kept right on doing it.

Current desktop picture: Still this one.

Current book: The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman. Which I am enjoying. It seems to be exactly the right kind of immersive reading experience my brain needed about now.

Current song in head: Earlier it was "Auld Lang Syne." Um... Way to be late to the party, brain.

Current refreshment: Water. Gotta keep those sinuses hydrated.

Current DVD in player: Just finished season 6 of Game of Thrones. Which I thought started out kind of slow, but ended strong. It's definitely left me wanting more. Although, knowing how this usually goes, by the time I'm able to watch season 7, I'll probably have forgotten half of what happened in season 6, as well as most of the minor characters' names (again). I'll probably also have been at least partially spoiled for two or three significant plot points. Seriously, what is it about this show that sends spoiler etiquette right out the window like [season 1 spoiler redacted]?

Current happy thing: My reading for 2017 has started out well, in terms of quality if not necessarily quantity, and I'm feeling weirdly optimistic about the possibility of actually making some progress through the TBR shelves this year.

Current thought: Well, we're past the winter solstice. Eventually the sun won't be going down just as I'm getting up when I'm on night shifts anymore. That'll be something to look forward to.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

2016: My Year In Books

Well, here we are, all crossed over into the new year and still hurtling forward in time at the dizzying rate of one second per second.

As I alluded to last time, at this point I traditionally like to take a look back at the previous year's worth of reading. I read 146 books last year in total (although a few of those were re-reads), which is respectable number, but one that's pretty much in line with the last few years. We, uh, won't discuss how many books I now have on the To Be Read shelves. Let's just say that if I'm making any bookish New Year's resolutions, one of them ought to be trying to keep that number from hitting quadruple digits. Um.

If you're interested, you can see the complete list of what I read this year here, or, if you prefer a pretty parade of covers, here.

As usual, I have a list of the best books I read this year. Or, rather, the books I rated 5 or 4.5 stars out of 5 after I read them, which is the only way I can compile a list like this without going completely nuts with indecision about it. Although, even so, I can't help feeling that I'd like to add Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky as an honorable mention, despite the fact that, for reasons that made sense to me that the time, I only rated it four stars. Because that's one that's really sticking with me.

Anyway. The Strugatskys aside, here's the Best-Of list for the year:


The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
City of Stairs and City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett
The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
Mort, Reaper Man, Soul Music, Hogfather and Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett
The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Don't Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon
Lives of Girls and Women by Alice Munro
Railsea by China Miéville
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Non-fiction and Humor

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Adulthood is a Myth: A Sarah's Scribbles Collection by Sarah Andersen
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words by Randall Munroe
The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison
Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths
The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Which is a pretty substantial and nicely varied list, and a bigger one that I might have expected it to be. So, whatever else one might say about 2016, at least it was a good reading year for me. Which, of course, is what's really important.

Anyway. Happy New Year to all of you! And may you also have a great year of reading, or of whatever else it is that brings you joy.

Now, if you'll excuse me, my first book of 2017 may be calling my name...