We all know about my spotty memory, right? So this is more of an attempt at a list than a true reckoning, but I thought I'd play anyway. You'll notice that almost all of my "new" movies are old hat to everyone else. I have to wait for them to come to the movie channels.

Books
Lords and Ladies - Terry Pratchett
Carpe Jugulum - Terry Pratchett
Thief of Time - Terry Pratchett
The Truth - Terry Pratchett
The Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
Snuff - Terry Pratchett
The Folklore of Discworld - Terry Pratchett & Jacqueline Simpson
(I'm still only halfway through the Discworld books. I want to work on that this year.)
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
The Walking Dead: Compendium One - Robert Kirkman
The Walking Dead: The Rise of the Governor - Robert Kirkman
The Help - Kathryn Stockett
The Lost City of Z - David Grann
The Lands of Ice and Fire - George R R Martin
Zoo Borns and Zoo Borns: The Next Generation (Yes, I'm counting those)
Drift - Rachel Maddow (but I'm still working on that one.)
Plus I reread all of Pratchett's Watch series and the first two of the witches series.

Movies
The Station Agent
The Hunger Games
Small Town Murder Songs
The King's Speech
Moneyball
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Melancholia
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (I & II)
Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
In Darkness
Silent House
Hanna
The Tree of Life
The Help
Appaloosa
Hidalgo
The Bridesmaids
Dream House
God of Love (Short film, won Oscar last year. Hysterical.)
Margin Call
The Ides of March
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane
Jane Eyre
Shutter Island
2012
There are more, I'm sure, but that's all I can pull out of memory now. As you can see, there's a prominent lack of action movies, bro movies, and comedies in general.

And just for the hell of it: TV shows I loved last year.
Treme
Boardwalk Empire
Nashville
The River (yes, really)
The Walking Dead
Hell on Wheels
Project Runway
Game of Thrones
Nurse Jackie (Excellent season)
The Rachel Maddow Show
Up with Chris Hayes

Huh. Now that I see it all written out, I did pretty well for myself. Cool.
Both Miss M ([livejournal.com profile] darlong's daughter) and I have birthdays in May, so Dar bought us tickets to see 42nd Street at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival. The tickets were for June 2, and when she gave them to us at the end of May, I knew that date meant something else. It finally hit me that one of the members of our alpaca fiber consortium was having an open house, and they'd asked me to take souvenir pictures of visitors posing with our friends' alpacas. I had to cancel out on them, but Dar had bought the tickets many months ago; the Shakespeare Festival tickets sell out early.

The play was a lot of fun, and they did a great job of transferring a sprawling Busby Berkeley musical movie onto a small stage with only a dozen actors. We had third row seats on the side, which is the best of both worlds: We were up close and personal with the actors, and I could see parts of backstage, too. I love being able to watch what's happening off stage - or at least that bit of it available to that sight line. Partway through the last act, I realized I could also see the conductor stationed at the back of the theater - so that was fun, too. I know; I'm a freak.

The bad part about sitting so close to the stage was that I'm sure they saw me nodding off and falling asleep briefly several times toward the end of the first act. I'm still having a bad time with fatigue, but I really thought having a bunch of people energetically tap dancing about 12 feet away from me - with an orchestra going full blast - would have been able to keep the fatigue at bay. But no. In addition, fighting off fatigue brings a lot of nausea with it; I'm not sure why that is, but it's what happens with me anyway. I took some meds during intermission, and that did the trick. I still felt as if I should have hung around and apologized to the actors.

I never did get to see The Hunger Games, and I had no interest in The Avengers. I did some digging around spoilers for Prometheus, and based on those I'm going to skip seeing that in a theater, too. I'd get too drawn into it if I saw it on a big screen, and I know that there are some scenes that I really do not want to have to watch or even sit through. It's easier to distract myself if I'm watching it on TV. Honestly? I'm not sure I could sit through a movie anymore. I tend to catch movies when they're finally released to HBO, but I find I have to watch it several times because I'm called away by something else - or I fall asleep. *hangs head in shame* Based on what happened at 42nd Street, I'd probably fall asleep in the movie theater, too. I am no fun anymore.

I finished The Lost City of Z a while ago. It's a great read, and I highly recommend it to you all. I can believe that Doyle based his Lost World characters on the real-life adventures of explorer Percy Fawcett. On the other hand, I just finished Redshirts, and it was a struggle to get through it. I ended up scanning most of it for anything interesting. It's got a good premise based on an in-joke with Star Trek fans since the show first ran in the '60s, but Scalzi (the author) can't deliver on it. I know I'm in the minority here; it's getting loads of good reviews.

I still have my Rachel Maddow book waiting for me, but it's going to be a busy summer. I'm not sure I'll be able to dig into something that's going to require some close reading. Not only do we have a hundred million babies coming (or maybe it just feels that way), but we also have a number of shows to do. The consortium has rented a booth at the big St. Jacob's Farmers Market; it'll be staffed three days a week, so we'll be rotating through shifts there, plus there a few other venues we're booked into this summer.

We're expecting record-breaking heat and humidity for the next few days. It's not a great time for the babies to be born; they're in as much danger of dying from heat as they are of dying from cold. So of course we can expect a few them to be born in the 100+ degree weather. Because that's just how our girls roll.
I keep bemoaning the lack of activity on LJ, but I'm one of the problems. There's a quote about trying vs. doing, and I think Yoda is somehow involved. Anyway - here we go.

1. My record of reviewing new shows and having them die a rapid death still holds. First there was The River, and now I have Missing. I can pick 'em. Actually I like both of those shows, warts and all, and I wish they could have another chance. Missing is still on, but the ratings are plummeting, and the word is it's to be canceled. It's really got a lot of potential; the story started off slowly, then became quite gripping. The acting is great. The locales are gorgeous. It suffers from horrible marketing. As did Prime Suspect, which was far and away my favorite new show. I'm still kind of bitter about that one.

I realized that I'm way outside of the mainstream fandoms (even though that sounds like an oxymoron). I never got into Bones or Castle or House; I tried, but none of them took. I hate Sherlock Holmes. (I don't care if Bumbersnatch is to die for. Get another role, please.) Fringe turned me off right from the get-go because they decided to go with lots of gore, at least in the beginning. It may be better now on that score; I know it's beloved by rabid fans, and it does sound really interesting, but it's waaaaay too late to jump into it now. I avoid Big Bang Theory. I have to leave the room when Sheldon is on: I've had roommates like him - they are in no way funny or endearing. However, I really, really like Leonard. Likewise, Chevy Chase's character drove me away from Community. I have a very low tolerance for assholes, especially on TV. Again: not funny, not endearing.

I don't actually watch a lot of fictional TV. Of course I'm damn near welded to the TV when Game of Thrones is on; the same goes for Treme and The Walking Dead. I also try not to miss Dexter or True Blood or Nurse Jackie (love!!). The thing all of those shows have in common? Short seasons and they're not on network television. That appears to be the way to my heart.

In bookish things, I'm almost finished with The Lost City of Z. What a page turner! It's a fascinating read, and it just astounds me that it's all true. It is nearly unbelievable what those explorers put themselves through. [livejournal.com profile] darlong has been on medical missions to the Amazon with Doctors without Borders, and she vouches for how deadly the area can be due to insects and parasites. I had to stop reading the book before bed because it was giving me nightmares.

Even more horrifying than the diseases that struck down so many explorers is the brutality that the European and later North American conquerors inflicted on the indigenous people in the Amazon. The stories of the horrors inflicted on those poor people - by the millions - is the true stuff of nightmares. How does anyone get to be that savage, that callous about another human life? Or about animals, for that matter? I'd like to think we've evolved beyond that point, but I'm not so sure we have.

I don't mean to make it sound as if it's a horror show from page one to the end, but it certainly has those elements to it. Mostly it's exciting and instructive, and now in the final chapters it's showcasing the reality of the people and tribes who were spared contact with the early (and more recent) invaders - their civilization and culture and their advanced knowledge of homeopathic medicine. Fawcett (the main subject of the book) was one of the first Europeans to spread the word about the real Amazon cultures and to try to change the prevailing perspective of the "natives" as being stupid, brutish, weak and sickly. He's a larger than life character, and they truly do not make them like that anymore.

Next up is Rachel Maddow's Drift (thank you again, [livejournal.com profile] caerwynx!). I've heard nothing but praise for this book - even by conservatives - and I kind of worship the ground she walks on, so I'm anticipating a great read.
There is snow everywhere; the sunshine is streaming in around the edges of the window shade in my room, and the Rocky cat is snoring happily next to me on my bed. CBC Radio 2 is playing a lovely assortment of choral music; I'm trying not to nod off to sleep amidst all of this contentment.

I've just come back from spending a few hours in Lancre with Granny, Nanny, Magrat, "our Shawn," and a truly vicious horde of Lords and Ladies. That's it for unread Discworld books in the house. Now what do I read? I have a gift certificate to Amazon.ca, but I'm having a lot of trouble deciding on what to order. Top choices: Catching Fire (the second book in The Hunger Games trilogy), The Lost City of Z (a true travel/adventure book about an expedition to the Amazon), or any number of still unread Discworld books. You see my dilemma. Of course it's not as though I get this one choice and then will never be able to order any other book ever again in my life - ever. But that's how it feels when it comes time to place an order. I don't have this trouble in an actual bookstore, only online. And that is why I am considered to be a classic neurotic. (I do love the classics.)

I have a job. Or at least a job title. I'm now Executive Producer at The Voice of TV. Dar is an executive producer, too; we have different specific duties but identical general ones. My stuff doesn't actually kick in until the new site is launched in March, at which time I'm supposed to be a liaison with various networks and studios, scheduling set visits and interviews and such like. I'll also continue with reviewing and editing. It is a nominal salary for the time being, but that's fine with me. It's interesting, and it keeps me off the street corners.

I'm reviewing The River on ABC right now. Have you seen it? I like it, but then I like horror stories. This show is not a gore-fest, for which I am very thankful, but it has a wonderful eeriness, and they make great use of sound and all of those multiple camera angles. There are some squeamish moments for me - it takes place in the Amazon, so there are big bugs. Do not do big bugs. But other than that, I'm enjoying it.

I'm gearing up to review Game of Thrones when it returns April 1. I guess that the producers are sticking with GoT as the series name; the actual second book is Clash of Kings, and the whole story series is A Song of Ice and Fire, but I think most viewers haven't read the books.

Next up for reviewing is Missing, again on ABC; it stars Ashley Judd and Sean Bean! And you'll never guess what happens to Sean Bean's character in the very first episode. He gets killed! No, really! Hahahahahaha. That's no spoiler; it's built right into the story line, btw. But just the thought of Sean Bean's character being killed again . . . I just have to watch this show. And they're going to have to update the Sean Bean Death Reel.

In not so amusing death news, the oldest alpaca on the farm died on Jan 31. Daniel belonged to Deb, and he was one of the top alpaca studs in Canada. He'd been sick for a good part of the winter, but Dar nursed him back to health. We were all breathing sighs of relief that he was back to his old grumpy, adorable self when he suddenly just dropped dead. We think it was a heart attack or stroke. The only good news is that he went very quickly, and he went while he was grazing in the winter sun. We miss him terribly. As does our white suri boy, Ozzie, who lived in the paddock next to Daniel, and who was his best friend. After Daniel's body was taken away, Ozzie paced the fence line, crying. Dar let him into Daniel's paddock; Ozzie searched around Daniel's little house for him, and then sniffed out where Daniel died. He spent some time there and then went back to his own paddock. You cannot tell me that these aren't sensitive creatures.

The rest of the alpacas are doing well. It's been a relatively mild winter here, for which we're thankful on the alpacas' behalf. Most of the adult females are seven or eight months pregnant now, and Dar said she's seen cris movement in some of the pregnant moms. We should start seeing babies popping out in late May.

I haven't even picked up my camera in weeks. It hasn't been the greatest winter for me as far as health goes. I went completely off prednisone in late November:just in time for the cold, windy, wet weather to kick in. My joints were not pleased. Then I got hit with the world's longest lasting cold last month. It just finished with me a few days ago. Not that health was the only reason for not using my camera. The battery is going on it, and it's not working all that well. I really want a new camera, and I'm hoping to get one in a few months. I'd like to go back to a smaller Canon. We'll see.

And that's about it for now. Oh, hey, I just realized that I do have one more Discworld book squirreled away: Wintersmith. And The Walking Dead compendium, too. I can has books! To read, it is good.

The rest of the alpacas are doing well.
1. It went down to 1C/33F last night. Dar and I got pelted with ice stuff while trying to wrangle Sandstorm back into the paddock yesterday. (He's quite the Houdini, that little boy.) Dar says it was hail, but I think it was sleet. Four days ago we were frying with the heat and humidity, and today I was rummaging around looking for a warm jacket.

2. We did very well at the Knitters' Fair last Saturday. From opening until about 3PM (it closed at 4:30PM), we were constantly busy. There would literally just be a matter of seconds when no customers were at our booth. The big sellers were the items that Dar had come up with - various types of hand-dyed yarns, kits for crocheting rugs, and kits for thrum mittens. Those last items were just about flying out the door, as they say. Dar had knitted up one demonstration model of the mitten, and we kept having to toss it to each other across the crowded booth, because everyone wanted to try it on. It got pretty funny. Dar will be knitting another demo mitten before our next show :)

3. [livejournal.com profile] puffgirl_two is here for a visit from Toronto. It was very warm when she left home, so she didn't pack for the sudden cold spell we've been having. Poor girl :) We've supplied socks, shoes, and a jacket so she doesn't freeze when she steps outside. The weather system is very like that in New England - very changeable.

4. OK, really (rereading that second to last sentence) - how many of you have given up on the serial comma? I just can't bring myself to let it go.

5. I'm down to 1.5 mg of prednisone a day now, and my body is not happy about this. My asthma has become very, very twitchy, and I never know what is going to set it off. Pretty much any strong scent, that's for sure. I've had to get changed out of my newly laundered pajamas, because the scent of the detergent was setting off my asthma. Perfumes, cleaners, dyes, the alpacas' urine, cat urine, some litters, wet hay, dry hay, damp grass, newly mowed grass, even mildly spicy foods, night air . . . loads of stuff. Oh yeah, and the liquid manure (a mixture of pig and turkey manure) that the neighboring farmer has been spreading copiously around his land. Oh, and dust. This is problematic because I have a dusty room. I need to dust my dusty room, but that just stirs up the dust. You see my conundrum. Although now that the farmer has quit with the liquid manure, I can open the windows; that should help with the dust. That and wear my face mask. Which I wear when I do chores now. Sigh.

6. To go along with the asthma, my body's ability to control my body temperature is just fubar. I overheat very suddenly, and it gets quite scary. It's happened a number of times - always without warning - and I'm suddenly weak and dizzy, confused, burning up, and my heart is racing. If I lie down and cool off, everything returns to normal in about 30 minutes. Conversely, my body temperature can plummet just as unexpectedly. It's been quite the ride.

7. This is in addition to the usual nonsense (pain and fatigue); it means that I'm not doing chores on a daily basis, and then it's a reduced number of chores. I'm not happy. I like doing chores. I like working outside. (OK, not in bad weather, but you know what I mean.) I love working with the alpacas. I also feel guilty as hell watching Dar do the majority of the work out there. Dar says that my body will be wonky for at least another year as it tries to adapt to the loss of the corticosteroids I've been taking. I'm trying to keep myself open to the changes, trying to adapt and roll with them, but I admit that I'm nervous about what may be coming my way.

8. OK! In more pleasant news, I'm about halfway finished with Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Let's just say that I'm inclined to adopt two more female cats and name them Esme and Gytha. I'm also anxiously awaiting the publication of Snuff. It'll be released Oct. 13 in Great Britain, but I don't know how long we'll have to wait to get it here. Not very long, I hope.

9. A little pimping before I go. Dar has become very involved with a TV review site called The Voice of TV. It was started by a young man in the Netherlands, and Erwin's done a great job of building it up. It's grabbed the notice of several of the networks, and everyone is working very hard to make this a success. Dar does a number of reviews there, and I'll be reviewing Hell on Wheels and Game of Thrones when they start their respective runs. Check the site out, please. Sign up. Hell, maybe you'd be interested in reviewing a show that the site doesn't cover yet. It's volunteer status right now, but perks include screeners for the shows and the possibility of interviews with the cast and producers. And the occasional set visit. (Dar was at the Suits set, watching the shooting, meeting the cast.) Just throwing that out there.

10. I made it to ten! Bed time for this Bonzo. I hope that y'all have a great weekend ahead of you.
Hey! How the hell are y'all?

1. Fatigue is my reason for not updating. Guilt is my reason for updating now.

2. I finished A Dance with Dragons two days ago. I've been reading the Song of Ice and Fire books for months now; it seems very strange not to be reading them still. I like the latest book, but I agree with whoever it was who said that he needed a good editor.

3. Now completely enthralled by Terry Pratchett's City Watch series. Just finished Night Watch this morning, and I'm ready to pick it up and read it again. BUT . . . I have THUD! sitting here, luring me in. I love his writing, love his outlook on life and the whole ball of wax. Basically, I want to immerse myself in the Discworld and leave everything else behind for a while.

4. We named the newest cria Dexter, and he's doing very well. The next youngest, Cosmo, has an ulcerated eye, so we're giving him eye drops twice a day. Actually, Dar is giving him the drops; I'm corralling him and holding him still.

5. Speaking of Dar, she tripped on a mat in the girls' barn last week and dislocated her elbow. She thought at first that it was broken, but the news was better, happily. She's still sore and babying it, but she's much improved.

6. Two of our yearling boys (Samson and Tango) had to be moved out of the girls' barn because they're maturing and incessantly harassing the open females. I doubt that they could impregnate any of them, but it's annoying as hell and why take chances. There was a little shuffling around trying to find the right place for them, but we ended up putting them in the paddock next to Hannibal and the older suri males. Holy crap - I thought Hanni and the other guys were going to seriously hurt themselves trying to get at the boys. The testosterone was off the charts with those guys, and at one point they started attacking each other. They finally calmed down, but we had to stay there for a while to be sure no one was going to be injured. Meanwhile Samson and Tango were pretty much oblivious to the Macho Fest after the first few minutes. They started to neck wrestle each other and play bite each other's heels - none of which was helping to settle the older guys down. Males.

7. The weather finally broke. It's positively cool tonight, although today was dreadfully humid. In fact, we haven't had a break from the humidity for weeks now, but at least for tonight we don't have heat added onto it. No major thunderstorms, either. We had a few showers today, but we're still pretty dry hereabouts. I think there's a ban on open fires, too.

8. LJ is still being wonky for me, but at least it's letting me in. Not all of your updates are showing up every time, so I do a lot of refreshing. I'm just grateful that it's back in whatever form it is.

9. I really have to close my bedroom windows. Yay! Pixel is enjoying the cool breeze, but I'm more of a wimp. Have a good one, guys!
I just got into LJ. I'm guessing that there are still people who are locked out, mostly because I don't want to believe that I was the last one in :)

Huh. Lady Gaga is performing on So You Think You Can Dance as I type this. It's the first time I've seen her perform. OK, she's good, but I don't get the adulation. But then I'm old. And speaking of SYTYCD, I am loving this season. Melanie! Marko! Sasha! Tadd! That's my top four, and I'd be happy with either Melanie or Sasha winning. No, I take that back. I think Melanie should win. Did you see that leap she did last night? It literally took my breath away. The courage and passion that took - it boggles my mind.

We had a surprise baby yesterday. Conchita had a little boy! It didn't seem like she was in labor, so Dar and I took off into Waterloo to run a bunch of errands. We were about 15 minutes away on our way home when Dar got the call that a new cria was seen in the pasture. Uh-oh! We zoomed home to find this lovely brown baby boy. It was a hot and humid day, and he was dehydrated but otherwise OK. Dar got him back up to speed with liquids, and today he's nursing like a champ and trotting around checking everything out. I have pictures which I will try to post.

We got the heat wave up here, too. That surprised my brother; he thought we never got hot weather. Ha! Would that it were so. With the humidity, the temps were around 100 each day. Most of the time we had at least a breeze, sometimes a wind, but then there were the calm days when it was just grueling to move. Doing that many days without access to a/c took a toll. Dar (who has chiari) was having some brutal headaches due to the humidity; I was having a hard time dealing with the heat because of lupus. But we did it, and the alpacas made it through, too. Today was massively humid, but at least it was mostly cloudy so the temperatures didn't go as high as they could have.

Don't I lead a fascinating life?

I'm about halfway through A Dance with Dragons. It's certainly the darkest of the books, and I find that it can't be the last thing I read before I try to go to sleep. I switch over to the City Watch books from Terry Pratchett before I nod off, because I'd rather dream of the Night Watch than the Night's Watch. Although I would kill for a collaboration between Pratchett and Martin on a crossover between those two groups. Vimes and Carrot on the Wall! Nobby, Colon, and Sam! Gaspode and Ghost! C'mon - it's perfect :) Seriously, I wish I had my writing joint back, because that would make for some great stories.

I just heard tonight that HBO will only commit to 10 episodes per season because of the intricacies of the production. My heart sank. There is no way they can do the series that slowly. The stories expand and intertwine and diverge and add so many new characters that it will take a decade to get even most of it in, and there is no way they can follow the arcs with Arya and Bran over that length of time. The young actors are going to age way past the point that they continue to play those characters. Ah, it makes me sad.

Other things. I drove Dar to a nearby farm to check on a pair of alpacas who had been doing poorly in early spring. What a cool place it turned out to be. The couple who live there love animals, so they have their own little menagerie. There were the two alpacas (who are doing very well now), two llamas (one of whom seems to be pretty pregnant, much to the surprise of the owners), a donkey, a pony, pigs, cattle, chickens, two farm cats, a newly adopted quartet of the cutest kittens ever, and an older girl dog named Spot who has the patience of a saint. One of the kittens took to Spot like a magnet to metal; at one point the kitten had wrapped all four of her legs around one of Spot's front legs, and used it to hoist herself up enough to chew on Spot's ear. Spot just kind of sighed and took it. BTW, Spot looks to be a beagle/basset hound mix. Kind of soulful-looking and low to the ground. It was adorable. All of the animals are well cared for, and outside of the alpacas who have their own fenced-in enclosure next to everyone else, all live peaceably with each other. It was fun to visit.

And what the hell is going on back in the States? I've been following things pretty closely, and I can barely believe that things have come to this pass so quickly. I don't understand why the Democrats won't stand up to the Republicans. The conservatives have trashed the country that I knew, and they seem intent on bringing it to a total collapse. Why won't someone stop them? There are still a few moderate Republicans left, and even the bluest of Blue Dog Dems should be sicked and frightened by the rapid attacks - and victories! - against women's rights, workers' rights, and the basics of a compassionate civil society. I'm heartbroken.

OK, now I have to shake this off somehow. City Watch to the rescue, I think. I just bought Jingo. Maybe I'll just leaf through the book and find the pages that have Lady Sybil in them. Truth be told, she's my favorite character of them all. I adore her, and I cherish Pratchett for bringing her to life.

Yup, that's the note to end on. (On which to end, OK?) Heh.
I really am alive, just very busy and very tired. I need to make it through one more week. But what a hell of a week.

Was out doing chores this afternoon when a major thunderstorm hit. I got stuck in the boys' tent, and Maddie was in the girls' barn. Torrential rain, incredible winds. I thought at one point that the tent was going to collapse. Not really any possibility of that outside of being hit by a tornado - which, to be honest, I was keeping an eye out for. It's that time of year. No damage done except for some flooding of the paddocks. More thunderstorms on tap for tonight and tomorrow.

I'm enjoying the hell out of Game of Thrones. I can't wait to start reading the books, but that won't be for another few weeks. And speaking of books, I'm half way through Pratchett's Men at Arms, and I'm loving it. I think I love it more than Guards! Guards! GG had Vimes and Errol the dragonette and Sybil Ramkin, but this has Cuddy and Detritus - and dragonettes! And Carrot! And Gaspode! And Angua!! And Vimes and Sybil! Sometimes there aren't enough exclamation points, you know?

I have no real life, so there's nothing to report there. Someday maybe. Not anytime soon.

Bed now. Have a good one, guys.
1. Dar is really coming along with her recovery. She has another check-up with her surgeon tomorrow, but I'm betting it'll be either the last one or else scheduled for another month instead of another two weeks.

2. Winter has returned. We had snow last Sunday (there's still snow on the ground) and more snow showers today. The big news is the incredibly strong winds that we've been enduring. Remember that scene in "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" where the space ship was hovering and the stop sign was winging back and forth like a crazy thing? Yeah, well, we got to see it in person - minus the space ship. Right down the street from us, the stop sign was vibrating so violently that it looked as if it were actually revolving. Craziness. We lost power for a few hours early on, but after that we've been lucky. It's been a royal pain in the ass to be out working in it, though, and the alpacas are very much not amused. We had a brief respite from the winds yesterday, but they're back in full force today. And it's a bitterly cold wind, too.

3. I decided to see if the hype for Game of Thrones was justified - and it was! I really liked it, and I went out scouring the interwebs for more info on the story. I found it, along with a butt load of spoilers, but such is life. My memory is so wonky that I won't remember most of them anyway :) It's great to Sean Bean on TV again, and I must say that he's aging well. And there are wolf puppies who are all gangly legs and big ears! It's certainly sparked my interest in reading the books.

4. Speaking of books, I'm reading Terry Pratchett's Maskerade. Outside of Guards, Guards and Good Omens (which he co-wrote), I haven't read any Pratchett. I know, I know. I especially avoided any of the books that centered on Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. I know! But in my defense, I've rarely come across a male-authored book that dealt well with elderly female characters, and these are witches on top of it. But . . . they're wonderful! I want to hang out with them, not that Granny Weatherwax would hold with that :) Anyway, this has opened the door to diving into the rest of the series.

5. Since I have to get up at 5:30 tomorrow, I'm going to get the going-to-bed routine in gear. You'd think it would just mean getting into PJs and falling into bed, but you would be so very wrong. There are steps and routines and cats who will not be denied their customary night treats. So . . . I'm off. Good night, my sweets.
Yeah, still awake. (Drugs don't fail me now.) But I solved the dilemma of what to read next Finished LOTR about 30 mins ago - straight through the appendices, I might add. I had to give up on the family trees because the print is too small. Want to read something else substantial, somewhat historical but with a nice mix of humor, whimsy, drama, and most of all, great story -telling. i went shopping through my one poor bookshelf (now mostly holding non-fiction and reference works) and there - shoved behind some language books - it wiggled it's gold and purple cover to attract my attention.

T.H. White's The Once and Future King! Of course! Arthur shall rise when he's needed. OK, that's so supposed to be needed by Britain, but I was born in New Britain, so there's absolutely both a tie-in and a loophole. I love you, ARthur. Let's show these newbies to Arthurian legend what it's really all about.

The bunny listening to the wireless has nothing pertinent except to add some whimsy. And maybe get me to smile as I all asleep.
I finished The Hunger Games last night. Very good read, and I can add Katniss Everdeen to my list of favorite female characters. I'm not saying that we're soul sisters - I'd have been dead about 10 minutes into the game - but we share a similar outlook; several times during the book I found myself nodding in agreement to some decision she'd made or a reaction she'd had to a (usually personal) situation. I hear that they're planning on a movie, and I can't wait to see it.
1. I got a copy of Book 1 (trade edition) of The Walking Dead for Christmas. I really like it, and I like how the series has made the stories and the characters its own, too. It'll be interesting to see both play out.

2. No pictures of the alpacas in quite a while. It's so cold out there that I'm afraid to keep my camera outside for very long. I was hoping to pick up a smaller point-and-shoot that I could keep in my pocket, but that hasn't happened yet. Just know that all the 'pacas are doing fine, and the babies are getting ginormous. The weather is supposed to warm up this weekend, so I'm hoping to get some pics in then.

3. My hair is finally long enough to cover my ears! I can't tell you how excited I am by this. Remind me never ever ever to get my hair cut really short right before winter sets in. That was a very dumb idea.

4. I have a sore throat. I haven't had a sore throat for many years now. Thanks to Sjogren's Syndrome my throat is usually very, very dry, but it hasn't hurt like this. I was just on Facebook garnering people's favorite remedies to ease the soreness, and honey/lemon/hot tea won by a landslide. No booze, people? You disappoint me. I may take a shot of something just for the hell of it to help things along.

5. Have you all been dug out from the blizzard? I was reading/seeing pictures of the disaster that is NYC - or at least the boroughs outside of Manhattan. There are many, many street that haven't seen a plow yet. Yikes! We've been dealing with drifting snow for the past few days. These high winds can stop any time now. No, really. Just . . . stop.

6. I also got a copy of The Hunger Games for Christmas. Which I'm going to dive into as soon as I sign off here. So, ciao, babies.
Had a nice visit with [livejournal.com profile] sffan this weekend. Also got a close look at her mutant blood cells. Seriously - she has something remarkably resembling a Romulan Bird of Prey circulating around there. It's nothing more than an indicator of food allergies, so no big worries.

Dar also appears to be allergic to wheat now and possibly all gluten. That makes two members of the household. Guess we'll all be going gluten free; it's easier and more fair. Rice cakes for everyone!

I'm still smelling burning plastic at varying degrees of intensity. It's been weeks now, and it's nothing I'm really going to get used to. I'll be calling the neurologist tomorrow. He said to let him know if I developed any new neurological symptoms, and I'd say this qualifies. In fact, another bout is hitting now. Joy.

Without really intending to, I've started rereading The Lord of the Rings. I initially just wanted to read the section on the race to the bridge in Moria, but then I got caught up in the story again and went back to the beginning. Thanks to the movies (which I adore almost beyond description), I can now read the sections with Sam in it without wanting to throw the book across the room. Obsequious little toady. OK, I guess I still have to work on that part.
1. I was pretty sick last weekend, so I spent most of the day Sunday dozing off in bed. Was OK Monday and Tuesday, but I'm starting to head downhill again. Must rally, because I'm working The International Plowing Match on Saturday. Woo! Our fiber consortium has a booth, and it's the last day of the match so it should be busy, busy, busy.

2. Dar is a reviewer at series.nu for this season's Dexter. They sent her preview tapes for the first three episodes, and we watched the first ep yesterday. Very good opener. Not exactly light entertainment considering that it picks up just where last season ended, but it was enthralling. Check out her review here. And don't be afraid to leave a comment :)

3. I have a colonoscopy next Tuesday. Yay? I've had them before but not since I've developed lupus & friends and been on all of the meds that I'm currently taking. I take low dose aspirin every day because I've acquired an antibody that makes me susceptible to strokes and heart attacks; I can't take the aspirin anymore until the colonoscopy is done. And I'll be off the prednisone for a day because I need to take it with food (lots of food), and I won't really be eating anything solid the day before the procedure. So either I don't take it and deal with the pain, or take it and deal with the big time nausea. Decisions, decisions.

4. We had wild weather last night. The day was actually pretty nice, and we weren't expecting storms overnight. Wrong. So very wrong. Strong winds, crazy lightning, booming thunder. And power outages. Maybe three times. Then there was the power surge that set off all of the smoke alarms around the house. Not the best sound to wake to. I think our power grid on the front lawn was hit by lightning during the storm. When I went out to check the mail this afternoon, I noticed that the cover to the unit was laying a few feet away looking pretty scorched. So what is it with this property and lightning strikes, anyway? At least the alpacas made it through in one piece.

5. I just finished reading Never Leave Me by Kazuo Ishiguro. I liked the story, but I was less happy with the execution. I don't like his style (I'm sure he's crushed), and I have a difficult time with grown men writing young girls and young women. They just never get the voice right. I've just started Coronado, a collection of short stories by Dennis Lehane, and I'm very much enjoying it. If that's seen as proof of my plebeian taste in literature, so be it. I've been looking in used books stores for his other works (Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island), but people are hanging on to their copies. It finally dawned on me to check the little library in town, and lo and behold - they carry Lehane. I'll have to wait for a few of them to be returned, but that's not a problem. I'm just excited to be reading something new again.

6. Happy Autumn! It kind of snuck up on me this year. I think it ranks as most people's favorite season (although I can think of a few exceptions on my flist), and it certainly is mine. So Happy Crisp Weather and Colorful Foliage to you all!
I finished about 30 minutes ago. I'd shut my computer down, did my getting-ready-for-bed routine . . . and then had to reboot to say a few things about it.

Cut for those who may wish to read it later )
Well not so much on the run as on the lie down. Which I'm getting ready to do.

The good news is that Dar had her doctor appointment yesterday, and her hemoglobin not only held but is somewhat higher than when she finished the chemo. Yay! She'll have to have it checked every three months, but if it stays at these levels, no more chemo.

It's still bitterly cold here; the temperature is only in the low teens, and that's without the wind chill. The wind is still whipping in out of the north, and that just makes everything more miserable. I got to stay inside all day today, but that doesn't mean that I can't have sympathy for everyone else who has to deal with it.

I'm not exactly sick, but I've mostly lost my voice. I've had a sore throat for a few days now, and I've been terribly dry; together that adds up to alternately squeaking and croaking when I talk. I think it's a Sjogren's flare, and to be honest I have no idea what to do about it. All the doctors talk about what to do about the lupus, but they're pretty silent about the Sjogren's. But then that's why the FSM gave us the internet. Google to the rescue! I hope :)

I'm still casting about for something to read, and I think this may be the ticket. I'm just going to lift the pertinent part from another post on my FL:

Excerpt from a review of Ouroboros by Michael Kelly and Carol Weekes: "Whether I would recommend this story to the casual reader is uncertain. This story is too heavy, too deep for the reader looking for a simple ghost story. This is for a reader who craves a story that is on the dark side; a story that probes into that reader’s heart, where the uneasy questions about life and existence are stuck at the very back of her consciousness, only to surface as she tries to go to sleep at night. I guarantee you, I will probably lose some sleep over this story."

Sounds right up my alley, as they say.
I took an oxycontin, oh, three hours ago. Still hasn't kicked in. Or should I say it's kicked in as much as it's going to, and that's not much at all.

Dar and I did a lot of running around today (yesterday now) to finish up last minute Christmas stuff. Afterward we both felt, as she said, as if we were beaten by baseball bats. I normally don't go for the heavy hitters with pain meds, but tonight was really calling out for something powerful. And . . . not that much relief. Damn.

I've been whiling away the time by finishing off my umpteenth rereading of To Kill a Mockingbird. I love that book. I can't imagine a time when I will not love that book. I also caught the last 40 minutes or so of my favorite version of A Christmas Carol - the one with George C. Scott as Scrooge. His Scrooge is perfect, and the story is much closer to the written piece than any other version I've seen. And I've seen a lot of them. I will also go on record as saying that I have never ever seen a performance of Tiny Tim that didn't make me want to throttle him with his own crutch. Admittedly it's a thankless role, but someone out there has to be able to put some humanity into the part. Who was the kid who was in The Sixth Sense? He would have acted the hell out of that part. Of course he's probably about 30 now, so it's a moot point.
A. Jane fell off of the railing on the deck and into a big pile of snow. She wasn't hurt, but the snow was so deep around her that she couldn't find a way back up onto the deck. I did a little rescue mission out to the back to retrieve the silly cat.

B. I'm paying today for the busy day I had yesterday, not that I moved mountains or anything. I did use the snow blower, and that got wacky. I'm a bit dyslexic, and the snow blower is controlled by varying combinations of six levers, three on each handle; you might be able to see how problems could arise. At one point I almost ran over myself in reverse :) Along the way I also did the snow blowing equivalent of spitting into the wind and ended up covered head to toe in wet snow. Fun! But I got it done, and the driveway and walk looked all clear and tidy - right up until it dropped another three inches on us overnight. It. Snows. Every. Freaking. Day.

C. I finished The Two Towers last night. Aragorn! Theoden King! Eowyn! I could go on exclaiming, but you get the idea. It's my favorite of the three movies, and considering how much I love the other two, that's saying a lot. I should clarify that I really don't like the Ents sequences, but the Rohirrim more than make up for those, and the Battle at Helm's Deep still blows my mind every time I see it. Just masterful film making.

D. I've been nodding off a lot today due to fatigue, but Dar did rouse me to watch the CNN breaking news about the debacle in IL. How stupidly, unbelievably arrogant can one man get? I did laugh, though, when they had Mayor Daly on screen not looking at the camera and playing innocent. He's a hell of a lot smarter than Blago, but you could see that he was running with the interior mantra: "God, don't let me be on those tapes. God, don't let me be on those tapes." Hee. I wonder who was trying to buy the Senate seat that Blago was auctioning off? And even though it's clear that Obama was not involved, I'm sure the right wing nut brigade is going to take this and run with it throughout Obama's term.

E. I haven't even started my Christmas shopping, and I don't know when I will get the chance to do that. I've never been this late ever. I can't even work up any angst over it. I think my Angsto-meter has maxed out. Win! Of a sort :)

F. I received some interesting recommendations for new reading material, so thank you to those who chimed in. I probably won't actually get to do any reading until after the holidays now, but I have some good choices. I think I'm going to track down a copy of The Discovery of Heaven by Harry Mulisch. While it doesn't sound as if it is either light or fluffy, it certainly has a lot of what interests me: historical fiction, theology, WWII and the Holocaust. And if that's just way too heavy for me now, then I'm off to start on the Eyre Affair books and/or Tanya Huff's Keeper trilogy and the Dresden books. Or maybe I'll just keep mainlining the LOTR movies :)

G. Q drove me into Waterloo yesterday to see my neurologist, Dr. Bashir Dr. Mendonca. He agrees with my self-assessment that the peripheral neuropathy I have waxes and wanes depending on my stress and fatigue levels, and there's not really too much to be done about it except deal with it. I don't have to go back to him until June. Yay! Not that I ever minded going to see him, because he is such a nice young man (as my mother would say.)

H. And while we're on the medical thing, I seem to be losing my voice. I've lost the upper register except for a whisper that's very difficult for me to get out. When I call for the cats to see if any of them are still outside, I sound like Mercedes McCambridge doing her Exorcist schtick. It's no wonder that they don't come traipsing gaily back. "I'm not goin' up there! She's gonna puke pea soup all over me!" Mendonca doesn't believe that the cause is neurological, so it's probably one of the autoimmune nasties. Thanks, AIs; I've been meaning to brush up on my sign language!

I. Against my better judgment and all that I hold dear, I've actually started watching House on a semi-regular basis. I like this group of assistants much better than the original crew, and I like them better in their current roles than when they were battling with House all of the time. I think it's another sign of my personal Apocalypse.

J. I haven't seen the alpacas in a week, and I miss them.
Seriously. If it weren't for the TV schedule, I'd really have no idea about what day of the week it is. And even with that it's a crap shoot. But if last night was ANTM, then tonight must be Lost, and that must mean it's Thursday. It must, mustn't it?

Winter is still banging away around here. It snowed Monday. Q and I shoveled out the (long and wide) driveway Tuesday. It snowed Tuesday night and drifted. I got my freakin' car stuck in the freakin' drifts in the freakin' driveway on Wednesday. Q heroically shoveled and salted and we both sanded and the damn thing finally came unstuck. Today it was light snow and ice pellets but with a wind that caused the snow already piled up to drift dangerously across some of the roads. I almost spun out at one point, and I passed a truck that had gone off the road and into a ditch.

I had more blood work done yesterday, and today was a bone density scan. I'm thinking of making a list of all of the types of tests I've had, because it's getting to be pretty impressive in an oogy sort of way. Add in the ones that Maddie and Dar have had, and I think we set some sort of group record. Win! I don't expect anything unusual to come back from the blood work, and the bone density test showed that my bones are just fine, thank you very much. I owe it all to that extra weight I carried around for all of those years. It had the decided benefit of producing dense bones on par with working out with weights. Win, again!

Unfortunately it has been all win. I've been in a lupus flare for a couple of days, and that's been a drag and a half. I don't know what kicked it off, but it can stop any day now. I manage to get up and out to run necessary errands or do the doctor stuff, do some household chores, but it's like I'm dragging a small mountain behind me when I do it. Plus the weakness, nausea, headaches, and other fun stuff. Same old, same old, eh. So if I've been remiss in commenting, it's not that I don't care - it's that I can't think :)

I've been trying to play Scramble just to keep the brain sparking, and let's just say that some days go more smoothly than others. Take today for instance. There are times when I have no control over what my fingers do once they hit the keyboard, which can be a real detriment when you're playing Scramble. (It's pretty much an online version of Boggle: make words out of randomly selected connected letters.) I'd see the word on the board, but I couldn't type it out. Gibberish would appear. I ended up bitching at the screen, "Not d, t. T. No! Not d. TTTTTTT!" Just substitute different letters for that little rant, and you have my game experience this afternoon. Not the highest scorer online, as you might imagine. Heh. And typing this is not much better, except that I get to backspace and correct. I can't tell you how long it took me to type Thursday up there toward the top. Fun with fingers! Except not in the perverted way that many of you are imagining.

And speaking of perverted imaginings - Chloe is in heat again. She does the cutest little butt dance. Really. She's all furry and pudgy and she sticks that little furbutt up and starts just shaking it hoping something is gonna happen to make her feel better. But all she gets are appreciative "Awwwwww"s because it's just so damn cute.

Jumping topics. I'm about halfway done with the first Dexter book. I started off thinking I wasn't going to finish it, because I saw the series before I read the book. It's a somewhat different voice, and that threw me off a bit, but now I've settled into it, and I have to say that I'm enjoying it.

My hair continues to annoy. Damn, this is one hellaciously bad haircut. The left side is both thinner and shorter than the right side - noticeably so. It has had one unlooked for effect, though. I'm going to dye my hair again. Between the cut, the texture, and the wildly uneven graying, the whole effect is just . . . ratty. A dye job will at least help with the texture and the color. Ain't nothin' but time gonna help the cut. Every once it a while it spikes nicely, but mostly it looks like someone took a blender to my head.

And now my choices are to sit here and watch Rocky lick the fur off his belly (it's all pink because he's a neurotic groomer), or go out to the kitchen and empty the dishwasher. Decisions. Decisions.

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