Tuesday, January 09, 2018

First Currentlies of 2018!

Keeping up with a ridiculously long-standing tradition.

Current clothes: Blue jeans. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy t-shirt, with matching socks. Because I may be a dork, but, today at least, I am a well-coordinated dork.

Current mood: Pretty good. There are any number of things I could feel unreasonably stressed about, but mostly I'm maintaining my equanimity pretty well. I do feel a little bit rushed at the moment, though. I could use an extra hour or two before I have to leave for work. Ah, well.

Current music: Nothing in particular.

Current annoyance: Amazingly enough, nothing big comes to mind! Not that there aren't a thousand small or long-term things I could complain about. Like having to work for a living. Or the fact that one of my dorky socks seems noticeably smaller than the other.

Current thing: Binge-listening to the Imaginary Worlds podcast. (I'm up to September of 2016.) Trying to stay on top of various responsible-adult things that, sadly, need to get done. Still playing Fallen London. (Although my character's a lot more powerful now, I still don't know what's going on. But it's fun. Except for how I keep getting driven insane by nightmares. Or attacked by bees...)

Current desktop picture: I went back to the Twelfth Doctor. Although I feel like I should go for something new.

Current book: The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande.

Current song in head: A minute ago it was "Total Eclipse of the Heart," I think because I was reading about last year's solar eclipse recently.

Current refreshment: I have french fries in the oven. Soon I will have chicken tenders and fries. Because I am a grown-ass woman, and that means I can eat like a toddler when I want to.

Current DVD in player: Well, it was supposed to be the last disk of season 1 of Alias, a show I finally started watching after vaguely intending to for a ridiculously long time. But the disk stopped playing, and the series isn't available streaming (well, OK, it's on Amazon, but not through Prime, so I would have had to pay extra for it), so now I have to wait for Netflix to replace the DVD for me.

Current happy thing: I finally saw the new Star Wars this weekend, so now people can finally stop asking me whether I've seen it yet. I liked it reasonably well, too, which is always good.

Current thought: "I liked it reasonably well" is, I'm afraid, pretty much the only thing I have to say about the new Star Wars, other than observing that Mark Hamill is a much better actor now than he was forty years ago.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Take A Telescopic Tour

Here's a nice little video featuring one of the radio telescopes it's my job to watch over:

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017: The Year In Books

Happy New Year! It's become traditional for me, on the first of the year, to take a look back on the previous year's reading. And it is now the first of the year, even if we're only a couple of hours in. So.

I read a total of 138 books in 2017, a bit less than the previous year, but a respectable total nonetheless, I'm sure. You can see a complete list here, if you're interested.

As is also traditional, I offer a list of the best books of the year, based on which ones I rated 4.5 or 5 stars on LibraryThing at the time I read them:

Fiction:
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
On the Beach by Neville Shute
Tinkers by Paul Harding
The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015 edited by Joe Hill
Ethan Frome & Other Stories by Edith Wharton
Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, Feet of Clay, Jingo, and Night Watch by Terry Pratchett
All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg
City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 2 by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor
Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

Non-fiction and humor:
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
What Language Is (And What It Isn't and What It Could Be) by John McWhorter
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan
Star Trek Cats by Jenny Parks
Ascent of the A-Word: Assholism, the First Sixty Years by Geoffrey Nunberg
Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir by Roz Chast
Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill Schutt
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Religion: Ruining Everything Since 4004 B.C. by Zach Weinersmith
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Some really good stuff there, although I'm a little surprised by how many of them were re-reads. The Prachett, of course, as re-reading the Discworld City Watch books was a year-long project for me, but also Slaughterhouse-Five, On the Beach, and Ethan Frome. Which, now that I think about it, is a really depressing trio of books. Depressing, but excellent.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go and get started on 2018's reading...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Here We Go, Ready Or Not.

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

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

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

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

See you guys on the flip side of the calendar.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Looks Like It's That Time Of Year Again

Merry Christmas!

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

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

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December Currentlies

The last time I will do this this year!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Current refreshment: A little water.

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

There's Always A Relevant xkcd

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