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 MiƩville
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...