Deeply Spaced Out

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

The wedding went very well. Groom's friend sang a romantic song while groom and bride lit a unity candle. I think they're going to have a wonderful life together.

The reception went well too. I even got up and "danced" a little with KJ. There was a 3- or 4-year-old girl who was convinced the correct way to dance was to get out on the dance floor and either spin in place or run around in circles. She couldn't make any sense of the Chicken Dance.

Got my Big Project all hashed out. Still editing to be done, but gritting my teeth and just making the last sections a reality was the big hump to get over. Next week or two is going to be really busy, though.

Also, KJ and I went to see Mr. Holmes at a little non-profit theater. I recommend it very much if you're a Holmes fan. It's respectful of the canon without taking itself too seriously. The ending was a little weird to watch, but narratively it fit. If you're not a Holmes fan, it's still a good movie. I won't say great, because it isn't as good as a certain other great movie it somewhat resembles, but a very good, solid, enjoyable watch. Ian McKellen plays Sherlock. It amuses me that part of the PG rating is for "incidental smoking". How moods change.

Really pumped about getting to finish that big project. And, you know, the wedding thing. That's kind of big too.

Visiting hours
Went to see my new nephew. Cute boy, very sleepy and not whiny most of the time we were there. KJ held him a lot. He likes to be upright.

Penny was doing a bit better than last time, but still has the tendency to just walk around in circles. I'm afraid she's just running out the clock at this point.

Pookie, Tink, and Zane are doing fine. Zane's barking is a work in progress. It's really just a question of how to calm him down the fastest, because his brain is probably hard-wired to be alert and fussy.

Have continued to be very busy with work and freelancing. But I have managed to get the big project in gear again! Going to be visiting KJ's folks for over a week, and I expect to get it finished then, for reals, seriously, no slacking. Maybe not public-ready, but all the gaps filled in (only 6 left!). Kind of expecting it to reach 25k. That's ridiculous for me. Going to be fun I hope seeing the reactions.

Bought some junk food for my BD. Liked both of the Sun Chips varieties (don't care for their cheddar though, it's too much for me). Hubert's strawberry lemonade and mango lemonade are really good.
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Toy soldiers hope for better years
So that's the "short-term" project done. Several months later. Stupid life getting in the way.  photo pd_tongue.gif Yeah, I'm pumped. It would be really sweet if I were to get the other project done and put out this summer. I know I can do it -- I know I could have had it done by this time last year, really -- I just have to get the inspiration and energy and time all together.

On a more important, more serious note, the official word is that Grandma is in the first stages of dementia. This is why she repeats herself so much, and why she insists on us claiming and attaching our names to things around the house. She's getting into the habit of offering random stuff to whoever walks in the door, apparently. I'm glad Mom and my uncle are close enough to check in on her fairly regularly, and that she has enough money (guarded by same) to afford having someone to come in when they aren't around.

The new car is behaving itself. There was a slow leak in one tire, but that was dealt with. It gets 40+ mpg on the highway, which is super-nice as far as that goes.

New cellphone
violent, computer games, pessimistic, gloomy
It was a $15 cellphone on sale for $5 so, like KJ said, what's to lose? Still a Tracfone, but this one has a camera, USB and headphone ports, and more storage space, enough for a few MP3s if I wanted. Plus I think it boots up faster than my old one.

Glad I don't have to work today. Yesterday my tummy got a bit cramped, but it only slowed me down a bit. Today it is busy uncramping. I was going to visit Grandma this morning, before her doctor visit, but I can't be on the road for that long.

Zane didn't bark at the garbage truck this morning. He heard it coming and got in position, but he didn't even whine when it showed up, just swished his tail and watched. I gave him and Tink both a treat, and they saw me getting the kibbles out and went for their kennels, because that's usually what that motion means.

We also have a new power lawn mower. KJ tried to use the old one earlier this week, and apparently it kept sputtering out after a few minutes for her. It lasted Dad for a good number of years and us for a year and a half or so.

Going to take it easy today and sip on some depowdered lemonade.

TimeLife ran one of their music collection commercials, so I went to the website and there was a nice convenient list of songs for me to add to Spotify. So now I have about a dozen more old school country songs on there. Yay!

Busy busy busy
Sorry I haven't been talkative much these past few weeks. Work schedule has been a bit erratic, and I've been getting a lot of editing work, and there was the 0.16 Crawl tournament that took up a lot of my free time for two weeks. I did pretty well there, got one character up to Level 17 before I got myself killed. Still have another character alive, Level 16, though it's in a tricky spot right now. Basically I learned that I have no business playing anything other than a fire wizard.

Pooky went in for a dental and lost her other front upper tooth. Her kibbles get soaked now. She doesn't enjoy the waiting or the resulting taste. We've been putting in a little wet food to make it more palatable.

Penny keeps getting older. She had a small lump removed from her leg, and she's been feeling sick lately. She likes her walks and the occasional squirrel chase, but other than that I don't get the sense that she's very active. Tottering around, being grouchy when someone might be about to touch her in a place that hurts.

KJ got a gym membership. She's been pretty consistent about working out after work the last couple of weeks. She's been feeling the burn, but no pain no gain and all that.
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All signs point to "Yes"
Is it time to officially put Spotify in the category of "bloatware"? It's longer to load now, and drag-and-drop doesn't work reliably . . . yeah, I think we've entered the Microsoft phase where every "update" seems to make things worse.

On the trivia night last night
- The firm involved in the scandal in question was actually Countrywide. The "__ is on your side" jingle is Nationwide's. It's just as well I confused the two.

- Yes, "Amarillo By Morning" does mention losing a wife (and a girlfriend too), but what happens in San Antonio is that George Strait breaks his leg, so no points for that.

- That 'midwest taco' dish was pretty good.

- C'mon, everyone knows what philatelists are, right?

Super Bowl running commentary from last night
Good game, a few good commercialsCollapse )

So, yes, Nissan and the domestic abuse thing win the ads. Honorable mention to Jurassic World trailer. Pizza Hut would be an HM as well, but the groin shot brought back the '90s in the worst way.

2014 Books
The books I posted on WF about reading in 2014, not including ones that I own and reread on a quasiregular basis:

Greatest Short Stories (1915) - I'd like to name a favorite or two, but they all rate a "great" at the least. The only two titles I recognized going in were "The Man Who Would Be King" and de Maupassant's "The Necklace" but there are some big names too. It was a little exciting to finally get around to reading stories by Pushkin and Dumas.

Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger - Interesting/weird perspective on this reread, having about a decade's distance from most of the names involved this time. Tony La Russa had his detractors in St. Louis, but there's no question about his passion for the game.

The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie - This one breaks from Agatha Christie's usual patterns, with a rather high-falutin' narrator and a very different plot structure. I liked it pretty well.

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie - I thought I'd read this one before, but I didn't recognize anything about the contents. Enjoyed this one for the most part, too; although familiarity with her work allowed me to guess out most of the solution pretty rapidly, there were lots of lovely little red herrings and I switched away a couple of times. I like the title, too.

Johnny U by Tom Callahan - Very interesting read, a lot of anecdotes and information about the great Unitas. It gives a very strong sense of the sort of man he was, and a sense of many of his teammates, family, and other associates. Unfortunately, the prose suffers from weak transitions and jumbled ideas, so that it feels a bit incoherent at times. There were also many times I wanted to read deeper into a topic and was disappointed when the author moved on to something else. Still worth a check-out from the library.

The Golden Ball by Agatha Christie - This is the least detectivey book of Christie's I've read. It's a collection of short stories about individuals who have the chance to grasp the golden ball of some extraordinary opportunity. It's sort of divided into two parts, with the first part being largely about people in proximity to crimes and intrigue, and the second part being heavy on the supernatural. I can't say there were any standouts, and there were two or three stories I felt could have used another page or two to fulfill their potential, but I enjoyed the read and re-read.

Litany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe - On another world, one that may yet turn out to be the colony of a colony of Earth, a not-priest receives a vision while playing not-basketball that urges him to save his worn-down not-monastery from being foreclosed. While on this quest, he uncovers unsettling truths about his world and the source of his faith, breaks into places, gets embroiled in political intrigue, and runs into a surprising number of naked women.

I enjoyed reading this book, or rather volume of two books put together, although it was never can't-put-down stuff. The prose is solid, the world-building is delivered in manageable amounts without stopping the flow (and the second half begins with a glossary of names in case you can't keep the gods straight), and the characters are all likable to some extent or another. Wolfe refers to many things by their English Earth equivalents, while mixing in old words that look meaningful or alien enough (patera, azoth) and Spanish terms as well. The story itself is interesting and unpredictable, but not so fast-paced or melodramatic as to get you on the edge of your seat. There's a second volume that I intend to read next, to resolve the plot and world-building threads and because I legitimately look forward to reading more.

Epiphany of the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe - Much the same strengths and weaknesses of the first book/volume/whatever, and quite a satisfactory end to what seems to be, in the grand scheme, currently the middle story of three. I don't feel that the experience suffered from not having read the first story; in fact, I figure it was probably best for me to plunge in and be as in the dark as the protagonist.

Again, the prose is very even-keeled, even as it describes exciting or pivotal events. It works well. As in Litany, there is also a lot of time spent on people talking and figuring things out aloud. Again, it works well here, because the stuff being discussed is interesting enough and characterization is developed at the same time as plot and back story.

The one major criticism I have of this duology/two-part quadrilogy/whatever thing is that there are about five times where I was dropped back into a plotline that had advanced while the narrator was elsewhere, with distractingly unclear results. I like in media res well enough, but if the type is this small and I'm still floundering around for traction after two or three pages while the characters all understand it pretty well, that is not an ideal situation.

I will say that a certain person's speech pattern could be decidedly annoying at times, but in the spirit of the narrative, he is only as Pas made him.

Anyway, I'm glad to have read this, and I recommend it strongly.

Crooked House by Agatha Christie - The second reread on this list. Yeah, this is probably one of her better novels. No recurring characters here, so there's more room for the other thing she does so well: take a bunch of people with distinct personality types, loves, hates, beliefs, and loyalties, stick them in a pressure cooker of close quarters and suspicion of murder, and see what happens. There's even a theme-clue or two in this one: the way that the Leonides ruthlessness crops up in family members.

Uncle Tungsten by Oliver Sacks - Autobiography about growing up in a Jewish family, full of doctors and scientists and engineers, in England about the time of WWII. Which is misleading for me to say, because the main focus is on the author's childhood obsession with all things chemistry (and a little physics and biology), but that's the backdrop. Tales of childhood experiments, book readings, and visits to factories and museums are interlaced with the history of chemistry and atomic physics. It's a straightforward read, with (I think) the science simply and vividly stated, and I liked it well enough.

Terrible Swift Sword by Bruce Catton - Catton's Civil War books are some of my favorite reading. I just love his prose and the way he almost seamlessly glides from one topic to another, bringing people and events to life. This one covers the period from just after First Bull Run to McClellan's final removal after Antietam. It differs from his other books I've read by focusing more on politics and on the Confederate perspective, both welcome additions. It also has more room to be sympathetic to McClellan and Pope.


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