Deeply Spaced Out

It's a running joke...oh, never mind...

2017 reading list
More first-time reads than last year, not that that was hard to do. I followed up on my desire to read more "classics", picked other titles up on whims, and got burned by a book or two.

Pump: The Island of Lost Maps, Nice Guys Finish Last. Dump: Stranger in a Strange Land, The Round House.Collapse )

It's beginning to not look much like Halloween
Three days with snow out of the last seven, and this fluffy batch is starting to accumulate on the gravel driveway. None have accumulated on the actual road yet, but hopefully KJ gets home from work before it gets serious. The driveway's all the way white now.

KJ has, in fact, gotten a nice little raise. At this point, she's probably making as much as the both of us were managing in Columbia, at least when I wasn't struggling with the dairy department. For that matter, I'm making more per hour than I was at the grocery store except when I was dairy lead. So financially moving has been a good move for us.

Baby has added "ummm" to his working vocabulary. I think he said "red" today, too, in response to his remote control saying "yellow" and "green". He had an infection in his left ear, which made him flop over randomly, but medicine seems to be taking care of that.

I got new shoes. Expensive this time, and half a size larger, and with netting at the front corners that will hopefully ameliorate the wear and tear from creasing. I'll have to walk more carefully and more slowly, but you know what, I can feel myself slowing down anyway. As healthy as I ever was, but I don't have the zing I had in my 20s. Whatever.

We've moved into the house for the winter. I just need to finish bringing in a few last things and the barn will be available for general use again. Hopefully we'll be in a nice big house of our own by this time next year, with a fence for the dogs and cat, and that will be an end to hopping around the Midwest.

Picked up All Dogs Go To Heaven and Songs From A Secret Garden at Goodwill. Songs is nice, not as good as Dreamcatcher but it has most of the best tracks from there so I'm happy.

So Discovery apparently premiered a few days ago, to less than impressed reviews. Hopefully the season gets better. I want it to succeed, lackluster PR campaign and expensive subscription nonsense notwithstanding. One day everything will be online, whether we like it or not, and we'll probably have bundles just like cable and satellite have now. For now, I'm not spending a penny, and sounds like the first episode is unpleasant so I'm not wasting an hour of my life on it. I hope it turns out the creative team knew what they were doing. (The theme/intro is definitely a good one.) Instead, we've been finishing this season of Doctor Who, which is definitely back to knowing what it's doing. That last two-parter, a lot of "wham" moments and it worked much better than Capaldi's first season. So bummed to see him go, but glad Moffat's gone out on a high note, and glad we're going to get one more Christmas episode out of Capaldi and based on the last moments of that last episode I am pumped for wherever they take it. KJ was upset at the lack of a preview and I said, no, that was just preview enough.

Have I mentioned the leaves are starting to change up here? Because they are. The baby's walking, too. He's very happy about it, only occasionally feeling the need to grab a hand for stability, and he's decided that falling on his rear isn't the end of the world after all.

We skipped a Carbon Leaf concert up in the Cities. KJ was just too tired from work and having spent a few days sick with whatever the baby gave me to pass on to her, though I think she got this iteration from work. And between work and her commute and baby and dogs and family and my own distractions, I just don't get as much time with her as I want.

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Date Created:Apr 7 2004
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A mysterious, amorphous figure, NAHTMMM lives in the wild environs of his own little world. When a split personality, he likes to hang out in Dragonsands. He gobbles up pie, milk, in-jokes, and squirmy wormy mana with enthusiasm. Prefers lightning to rapid fireballs; plasma to fusion; classical, oldies, or videogame to pop, rap, or hard metal; and "Home" to pretty much anywhere else.
Strengths: Perfectionism, Inertia, Tact, Prudence, Faith, Logic, Paranoia, The 3 R's, Humor, Insanity, Honor, Flight, Mimicry, +5 to Fire and Cold Resistances, Of Idiot and Advertisement Slaying
Weaknesses: Perfectionism, Inertia, Poor Visual Art, Sloppy, Can't Swim, Allergies (Airborne), Unoriginality, Impaired Killer Instinct, No Verbal Stamina, Poor Focus(es), Punster
Special Skills: Of "Running Gag" Slaying, Unfathomable Subtlety, Chess
Evilly Ouchy Math: 4d8 + 8 + Rand[-2,30]
Insanity: MdN + Bob
Meteor: MOMMYYY!
Summon Tribbles: varies
Possessions: Miniature Library, Sports Cards, Marbles, Possession Spell, Three-and-out Possession

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July has been a good month
Not an entirely good month. My car developed a flat tire, apparently from my moving it over by the barn to shield it from a hailstorm that never actually developed. Because of that, we were a day later in getting our half of the papers signed, so it was a weekend later getting back down south, so we closed on our house a day later than the buyers would have liked. (Not our fault their people took a whole week on the appraisal anyway.) But it's gone now, and we have several thousand dollars in our figurative pocket to show for it. Hopefully the oven behaves for her.

Anyway, the tires got patched and so did the muffler, so my ride's back to being quiet. When fixing the muffler, they found they could reuse a couple of components, so that came in about a hundred dollars under estimate. So even that bad part turned out well.

I found out my brother's having a girl for his family's second child. So then I went on a ramble through about a dozen garage sales in one day and found a few clothes for her. That was fun.

I also now have a job. Orientation tomorrow! It's nothing ambitious for the moment, but it's about the shortest commute possible and there's plenty of room for advancement. I'll work at it for a few months, then when the time comes for us to buy a house I'll have to make a decision. KJ has a moderately long commute right now, so we'd probably move considerably closer to her job. At that point I'd probably start looking elsewhere, specifically at 3M, where a family friend says she'd help my resume get noticed. So I'm feeling pretty good about that -- 3M is supposed to be a good place to work, and I'd be paid quite respectably there. For now, a lot of angst is off my shoulders in that direction, and I can be happy and productive and earn some money toward a down payment on a house.

Baby. What has Baby been up to? Well, yesterday evening he took his first unsupported steps. They were mostly of the "two wobbly steps forward and fall into someone's arms laughing" variety, but they count. He's clearly inherited my sense of caution. I watch him go about standing up or sitting down or whatever and think That's exactly how I would do it. Very deliberate, not leaving anything to chance, fearful of falling down even if it wouldn't actually hurt much -- it's just a little scary and hurtful. Previously we'd been tricking him into standing on his own by giving him milk or something else to hang on to with both hands and letting him go.

We went camping last weekend. It was not the most focused experience, with the dogs getting run back home twice to spend the night there instead of making sleepytime tent unsafe for sleep, but we enjoyed it and Baby did too.

Photobucket -- reading some of the comments, I sympathize. People are whining because they were uploading gobs of eBay photos to PB, making lots of money off of a free account, and now PB cut them off. Pretty sure that's not the use model PB was created for, folks. If I were PB I'd feel entitled to a piece of the action. The rest of us are left out in the cold now, though, thanks a lot. So if there's a picture in a previous post that you want back, just let me know, I'm sure I'll have access to it somewhere. For now, here's Baby camping.

Not a good week so far
violent, computer games, pessimistic, gloomy
KJ got sick with a nasty stomach bug on Sunday, and then it hit me hard last night. This is the first time I've had to call in sick.

Plus yesterday was a really rough morning at work. And there's news that a certain capable actor will be stepping down from his current role soon.

KJ's mom is arriving today, which is usually welcome, but I'm afraid she's walking into a plague house.


2016 reading list
Not as many as I expected to read, since I went on one of my periodic Agatha Christie kicks, but the new books I read in 2016 were:

The Only Pirate At The Party -- Lindsey Stirling and her sister

This autobiography is a quick read, taking just a few hundred pages of large type to cover her childhood antics and growth pains, career path, missionary work, battle with an eating disorder, and the joys and trials of her mini-celebrity life. There are pictures too. One of the purposes in writing the book is clearly to encourage others who suffer from disorders of their own. There are also passages aimed at those who want to achieve some daunting career path of their own, as Stirling takes several opportunities to talk about moments when she had to endure the scorn of others and come out stronger for it. If none of this sounds interesting to you, it's probably not a book for you, but I enjoyed it.

"Live From Cape Canaveral": Covering the Space Race, From Sputnik to Today -- Jay Barbree

What it says in the title -- Barbree was an NBC correspondent from the very first NASA missions up through at least 2007 or so, when this book was published. The highlights include the personalities of the early astronauts and the mischief they got into, a short jaunt with Jimmy Carter, and a look behind the scenes of the Challenger disaster coverage. Unfortunately, with only about 300 pages, unmanned missions scarcely get mentioned at all. Maybe the worst part is when the author confidently predicts that we'd be well on our way back to the Moon by now. Worth a read.

A Separate Peace -- John Knowles

Short novel about boys at a boarding school on the cusp of becoming eligible for the WWII draft. One of them gives in to a moment's spite and consequences follow. Introspective without being plodding or navel-gazing, the novel delves into the adolescent male psyche very realistically. I enjoyed it.

The Small Bachelor -- P.G. Wodehouse

Not one of his Jeeves books, this is about a lovestricken introvert and his antics with his beloved's family, a policeman, and a man with very strict ideas about living. The absurdity of the frequency with which all these people run into each other is part of the fun. Quite funny in narration, plot, and characters, and I hope to read more of his novels in the future.

Ring for Jeeves -- P.G. Wodehouse

Shockingly, this one has Jeeves in it (but not Wooster). It also has horse racing and ghosts and is just about as enjoyable as the other one I read. There's the same pattern of new plot threads appearing and immediately entangling with others to comedic effect, which helps to keep things moving quickly.

Thirteen Detectives -- G.K. Chesterton

A collection of detective stories by Chesterton. The preface makes it clear that Chesterton had Ideas about what makes a proper detective story, and in that context, some of these stories felt more like demonstrations or exercises than yarns. Quite a different feel from, say, Agatha Christie or Doyle. But they are inventive, amusing, and very readable. I think my favorite was "The Hole in the Wall" for its atmosphere, but special mention to "The Donnington Affair", where Chesterton provides the solution to another author's setup so thoroughly that the reader is left without any doubt that this must have been what the original author meant all along. It was also interesting to come across a story that possibly was the source material for one of Christie's books.

Hahaha YES
I came upon a page mimicking various authors, with the conceit that they're ordering breakfast in a diner. I was shocked and then quite tickled to see a certain name midway down the list . . . but I don't think he ever used "perfectly complemented", not even when characters spent half a page pairing booze with food. That's modern, banal, soulless marketer cliche. The actual order is pretty spot-on, though. I actually just finished reading Mossflower to KJ last night and got well started on The Moonstone.

The baby has started to reach for our faces. He's getting better at not spitting up, and sitting up, and standing up with help, but he hasn't figured out crawling yet. KJ started training him to sleep in his crib in the other room, but I guess it wasn't going well enough as she's decided to put it off until after we come back from our trip north.

We went to a Renaissance fair a couple of Sundays ago. The weather was nice and we had a good time, mainly watching several bands and a very entertaining escape artist show, Judas and Marigold. There was a fair bit of pirateness going on.

Only eight trick-or-treaters this year, in a grand total of three groups. The church down the road held what looked like a well-attended trunk-or-treat, maybe that drew more people than last year. Maybe several families moved out. Who can say?

The baby is over 19 pounds now. KJ started feeding him baby food last week, and he took to it immediately. After all the mornings he's watched me eat breakfast, he should know what to do!

I feel a little behind on Christmas shopping. I only found KJ a gift today, and with a pot for Mom that leaves . . . everyone else still to figure out.
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Update baby
The little one is over sixteen pounds and seems to be beginning to teethe. Trying to lick everything in sight, too; regardless of how far away it is, out comes the tongue. Thankfully he's sleeping at night now. Reaching for things is something he's still figuring out. He might be able to crawl if he figures out how to get the legs involved.

He's also putting up with me more, even being interested in what I do (especially if I'm eating), but he's clearly a momma's boy.

Watching him reminds me of how much we take for granted. I see a glass and it's just automatic that I put my hand out like so, and move my fingers like so to clutch it, and then move it to my face like so to drink from it. He hasn't really got those concepts yet. He clutches by instinct, he brings a toy to his mouth, he doesn't have the understanding that would tell him how to turn the toy so he can get his tongue on it.

My current watch is not working properly. It just stops functioning for periods of time. If it were the battery about to die, which I've changed the battery within the last year or so so it isn't, then the seconds hand would still twitch. Target still sells this model, so I'll probably buy another one just like it.

Weather has suddenly cooled down. Hopefully I can get some yard work done this week. I've allowed a few weedy plants to have their fun this summer, since they bloom nicely, but they're getting too big for their roots so out they go.

My car needs new tires. Fortunately a savings bond has matured just in time to cover most of the cost. KJ's talking about finding a scrapyard to buy tires from, since she doesn't expect my car to last more than another few years. Hopefully it keeps going longer than that, but who knows?


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