I know it's Saturday, and the last one of the year at that. But I haven't been keeping up with the internet this past week, and so have nothing Saturdayish for you To Do this morning.
Here's what I'm doing today: cleaning my den. Blogfolk, I have grown to hate it in here. This little room is monumentally cluttered from its job in past months as my study area and, during the Christmas season, Giftwrap Central. There are stacks of things on top of other stacks. Books on shelves are in total disarray. And that's only the things that legitimately belong in here. The other half of this stuff, I don't know why it's here. Everybody heard there was a party in the den, is what I'm thinking.
So if you have plenty of time, pick one room and de-clutter it with me!
P.S. Yes, we're home. Had a great time. Too much driving and we're sick of road food. Bunny actually craved a big plate of steamed broccoli toward the last. Pictures of fish, kelp and otters tomorrow.
Woof! Connecting us to the 'net took all the concentration and perseverance of the waitstaff. They even gave us a change of room. Finally, we prevailed. Do I owe them all a tip? Probably not, as they previously boasted of their high-tech. Decisions, decisions.
Spent a great, but fairly short, first day at the aquarium. For Bunny's fractured foot, they loaned us a wheelchair, with which we have been competing with the double-wide strollers for places in front of the exhibits. Heh.
The aquarium is a very, very busy and crowded place, during this week between Xmas and New Year's. If your neighborhood is missing one family of L.L.Bean-wearing white people with children under the age of seven and one of those double-wide strollers ... chances are, they are here. Not to worry!
Then, off to Monterey. Except it's 3:30 p.m. already, and we've got a 3-hour drive ahead of us, not including a stop for a meal. Bleah!
Must swing by the store for granola bars, apples, sunglasses, and water bottles. And gin! And Turtle Wax! And peat moss! And wheelbarrows! It's a ginormous, all-purpose supermarket, you see. Suddenly, it's occured to me, we have never fully taken advantage of its amazing variety. Goblets! Alarm clocks! Nutrasweet!
See, now you're wondering what the hell kind of road trip this is.
"They" promised us free wifi at our hotel. We'll see. More later ... perhaps ...
Berry Mismatch! That's 'Merry Christmas' after several days of mind-altering coffee and chocolates. Never mind alcohol, tobacco, etc. - you take your drugs of choice; I'll take mine.
It's been a busy few days with my dear family, scattered around California. Now BB's back at work, Bunny's absent, and I'm alone in the house! After days of shopping, decorating, travel, adventure, eating and gift-giving, how unusual to be home alone, with nothing pressing to do, and just
suburban porn HGTV decorating channels to listen to while I putter.
Actually, I'm a little on the depressed side. Nothing productive being done. More like seeing if I can set a personal record for time without a shower. Nice, eh? TMI?
Bunny, we left up at a cousin's house yesterday. When BB and I left, she was in such a hurry to get on with a complicated plot to prank all the teenagers, she barely remembered to say goodbye. She's an only child, so we usually like leaving her with other family whenever possible. It teaches her crucial survival skills she will need later, when she joins a sorority.
Tomorrow the kid and I start a short road trip to Monterey, so I'd better go and see to the car's fluids and the possibility of clean laundry. Oh, and reacquiring the kid ...
To the showers, Army!
BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters Life!) - Ten doctoral students from three of China's top universities have posted an online petition slamming local Christmas celebrations and calling on people to "resist Western cultural invasion," state media said on Friday.
My God!!! I had no idea!!!
The War On Christmas isn't in America - it's in China!!!
Gibson and O'Reilly, your Mission is abundantly clear. The real danger to Christmas is not here, but overseas. You must go to China. Yes! There isn't a moment to lose! You must leave immediately, and get ready to fight the good fight.
Take lots of your friends with you. And be sure and stay there, until the War is won. Stay there all your lives, if need be.
If we never hear from you again, well, that's a sacrifice we are willing to make.
Is it real, or is it ILM? Take the test at Industrial Light & Magic.
Have you ever played with Linerider? Draw a path with your mouse for the tiny traveler. I tried my best not to make him wipe out, but since I'm left-handed, and I can never do fine work with the mouse, I kept winding up with these bumps in the path that knocked the little guy off his sled. Heh. [via]
Oh, this made my day: Gingerbread Man!
Sammy the Reindeer would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas, and asks would someone please come over and take this stupid costume away, before they find antlers that go with it?
Insane: Just as I am getting ready to take major time off from the office, work gets interesting! My supervisor's boss got a promotion; he passed more work onto her; she in turn passed more work onto us. They've been holding out on me: Now I have some research to do, and an issue paper to write. I nearly brought the thing home, but thought better. I wouldn't get paid for it, they wouldn't thank me for it, and chances are I'd forget about it anyway in the Xmas rush.
Bunny and I spent the early morning grooming our respective Neopets accounts, while talking to each other between the rooms. Now I guess we'd better get breakfast and hit the road. I have a lot of catch-up to do.
The exam was as straightforward as I thought it would be. We met in one of the computer labs so we could type our essays. Three questions, two hours. I got done in 1:50 and spent 10 minutes cleaning up my grammar and spelling - aaaand, we're done. I'll probably get an A- in this class, but if they could grade on how well I know this teacher and his education methodology, I'd get an A.
Went to the pub last night to celebrate. Savvy's husband just switched majors and is starting in Public Policy. I know he keeps getting earfuls of (unwarranted?) advice from his wife and from all of us. But he deals with it all with aplomb. That, and he doesn't actually sit down with us!
This morning BB asked, "Are you ready for your last exam tonight?" I said yes. "Are you Sure?" he persisted in his sort of teasing way. And I thought, yes I really am ready, but I am not sure what will happen in the end, grade-wise. It depends on the essay questions, which I don't know yet.
I'm ready for Christmas, that's what I'm ready for. In particular, I'm ready to decorate the house and begin shopping. We've done nothing so far. Well, BB might have been shopping and I'm just not allowed to know it. Together, we've wrapped the few presents that fell into the trunks of our cars during shopping expeditions over the autumn. And I addressed lots of Christmas card envelopes, though now I doubt the cards will get there before the Big Day.
So: not literally ready for Christmas, but emotionally ready. The things I like to do have been put on hold too long.
Do you suppose that one could gain psychological insights into a person's secret desires by accessing their delicious account? I bet there's a paper in this. Mwheh-heh. Look at the latest ten or so entries on mine. I assume the great insight you'll get is, I like (to dream about) Xmas crafting ... big shocker ...
Off to a meeting. I expect a minor beating when I get there, for not getting certain things done yet. Take a number, folks!
It's Saturday, so you have plenty of time to decorate your blog / Xmas greetings / mobile phone with personalized creations via ImageChef! I recommend saving the jpgs themselves rather than utilize their helpful code to post these onto your blog. Cleaner.
To do list:
I'm spending part of today at a study session for next Tuesday's final, followed by a party. Yes, an actual party!
This morning I'd better work on our holiday calendars, as it's getting to that drop-dead date with the postal service.
Also starting to take notice of my little office, and the carnage I wreaked upon it during the West Sacramento report. What a mess. Anybody want to come over and tidy up?
Last night was the last evening of the Land Use course! Maya, Deann and I gave our presentation on West Sacramento. We rocked. There was something in there for everyone. Laughter, tears, a giant plaster horse ... I think the report made us all Better People.
The last ritual of the evening was the course evals. The instructor left us to it, with a few kind parting words about how refreshingly professional she found us grad students, how she enjoyed our writing, etc. Waay too little, too late, lady. I found that filling in dots on a scantron just didn't convey the depth of loathing I had for her instructional style, so I wrote a whole lot on the optional lines. Lest you think I was alone in my beeyotchitude, others stayed behind to write as well. Someone even included a typewritten letter, outlining all the misdemeanors.
And on the ride home, I yelled at nobody, stuff I wish I'd written down. But today? I am the embodiment of serenity. It's over. Aaaaaah.
Have been forced to listen to the all-Christmas channel on the radio by Bunny, my morning traveling companion. She thinks it's good for me. I think it's cruel. But we parents never know when the really important life lessons will come, you know? For instance, she turned up to full volume the infamous "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)". When Yoko came on for the chorus, I think it hurt the kid as much as it hurt me. Lesson learned? I sincerely hope so.
I have a question. Why do half the young tenors out there in Christmas Carol Land try and affect the style of Nat King Cole? Especially on that 'chestnuts roasting on an open fire' song. All of them try and sound like Nat King Cole. Why?
It's time for an intervention. Now, before Jesse McCartney gets any sudden ideas.
Dear Young Tenors:
I know you are recording Christmas carols because your producer said it would make you sound well-rounded as an artist, and maybe give you a piece of immortality, what with radio stations dragging out your songs every December, long after you gave up the dream and became a paramedic or something. And I know you were probably born in 1994 in Tarzana, California, and have never ridden in - nor even laid eyes on - a one-horse open sleigh. I'm sure there was probably a real dearth of open fire-roasted chestnuts in your life as well. But that's not why I'm writing.
It's about your predilection for trying to sound like Nat King Cole. Again, maybe it wasn't your idea. But whatever the reason, please stop it. For your information, the world was already blessed with one singer who could sing in the style of Nat King Cole. He was really good, and gained great fame for his Nat King Cole style. I forget his name right now, but believe me, he had the Nat King Cole sound down. The man could do Nat King Cole like nobody's business. He was the epitome, if you will, of the Nat King Cole sound.
Now, he did pass on, as humans do, after a long and illustrious career. People were very sad when he died, yet heartened by the fact that, before he went, he recorded a plethora of Nat King Cole-sounding Christmas carols. In fact, I would venture to say that all the Christmas carols ever written were recorded by the guy who sang in that Nat King Cole style. And then those recordings were carefully catalogued and preserved. We can listen to them any time we want (unless we can't remember the guy's name when we go to the record store and such).
So we don't need any more tenors trying to do that Nat King Cole sound nowadays. If you really must record Christmas carols, just sing in your own style and be yourself. That way you'll recognize your own work in later years when you hear it on your dispatcher's radio. Thank you!
Why doesn't the curriculum at Hogwarts include Latin? I've always wanted to know. I mean, 99% of all the spells and charms known to magical folk are of a Latin-ish origin. Unlike the situation in most of the world, Latin is a highly relevant language to the wizarding community. You would think that a good, basic grounding in grammar and syntax would be as important in the magical world as it is in Catholic Seminary.
It's illogical to think this is just an oversight on the part of the school's Board of Governors. I've spent a great deal of time and energy pondering this, and the only sound conclusion I can come to is that failure to include Latin in the curriculum was deliberative action on the part of the administration.
We may never know their reasoning, as it is very difficult to obtain meeting minute notes from the B. of G. Transparancy in governance, a concept which we take for granted here in the U.S., is not the norm within the bureaucracy of the British magical world.
Maybe they believe, if they teach the kids Latin, the kids will proceed to make up their own spells. They're afraid of anarchy, or maybe afraid of injurious new spells that Madame Pomfrey can't cure in the Hospital Wing. That sort of thing.
On the other extreme, though, ignorance is not bliss. You could easily get a situation where a student comes across a spell he can't decipher, and uses it recklessly, as HP did in Book 6. What happened, of course, is that HP nearly killed a student on accident.
Is the withholding of Latin Studies really a sound education policy on the part of Dumbledore and the rest of the Board of Governors? Can we afford to continue to stand by, while the next generation of fictional witches and wizards languishes in ignorance?
More research is needed. Starting with Book 7.