Happy 2019!

Jan. 1st, 2019 12:39 am
mellicious: Happy New Year! (new year gif)
Shit, how did it get to be 2019 already? I've mostly been home sick the last few days, although I'm better. I think the only time I've been anywhere since the last time I posted is that we went to Chili's kind of late last night, because somebody gave us a gift-card. I tried being true to my low-fat-low-carb thing (because it's doctor-mandated, mind) and ordered a chicken salad and I didn't really like it. But that was Chili's. I didn't like their vinaigrette and I didn't really like the chicken that much either but I think I would be okay with a salad with chicken at other places. Anyway, it was good to get out. Today I'm still sucking on cough drops and noticing that my nose is horribly chapped, but I'm definitely in recovery mode.

(If I go to Chili's in the future - because Rob gets the urge to go there occasionally - hang the diet, I'm ordering country-fried steak.)

We had a horrible thought. Remember how I said the waitress at the breakfast place we went to might have been the one that infected us? Well, I was thinking that that kind of seemed like a short time window anyway, and then Rob said that he actually thought he got the virus from our co-worker, which sets the whole time-frame for him back about three days, so then I probably got it from him before that, because I was feeling a little better yesterday when my sister said they were both feeling horrible. And then Rob (or I) probably infected them too. That fits the overall timeline who got sick and well in what order a lot more neatly than the IHOP theory. But I decided not to tell my sister about that theory unless she brings it up. Really it's useless wondering about where you got a cold most of the time. (But my brain bounces between subjects all the time - I imagine it going ping! ping! ping! sort of like a pinball - and so I'm always contemplating all sorts of useless things.)

Doctor Who episodes keep taping so I've been watching a lot of those. Let's see, besides the ones I know I already mentioned, I watched "A Christmas Carol" and "Blink" and "Let's Kill Hitler" for chrissake (I don't think I'd seen that one since it first came out) and the most recent one, the Battle of Some Random Name. Tonight I've been watching a bunch of year-end news shows, which mostly were not quite as depressing as you might think. Tomorrow we're going to have another try at "Bumblebee" (and we've already got the tickets so that ups the odds we're actually going this time). And it's at 6:00 so we're going to miss the Doctor Who thing, which is at 7 our time. I already checked and it's set to tape, though, and god knows BBC-A will probably rerun it about a zillion times even if it didn't.

Oh, I almost forgot - we watched "Room" earlier. We had never seen it.  I expected it to be good, and it was. I was really afraid the second half was going to veer off and become a courtroom drama, and I am so glad it didn't!

This ends Holidailies, unless I get my shit together and write another entry before midnight tomorrow - er, tonight, officially. I did maybe 15 journal entries, which is not completely terrible. I think I played out on Music Advent somewhere around Day 15 also. I have consistently written nail journal entries. I have been working on my year-end thing where I decide what my favorite polish of the year is. These will start going up tomorrow - it starts with just the list of everything I've worn, as best I can tell, and I narrow it down from there. The plan is to get my favorite up on Friday. I got down to a tentative top three last night so I think I'll get there.

(Hmm, maybe I'll do a Best Movies post! If I get another post done it'll probably be that.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
 Have you ever walked through a door just in time to see another car hit your car? That's what happened to me earlier tonight. Luckily it turned out not to be nearly as bad as it looked. This guy (who I know by sight because he parks by us and apparently gets off work at exactly the same time we do) kind of sideswiped my car - he was trying to back out the wrong way, basically - the spaces are slanted one way and he wanted to go the other way, so he swung wide and my car was in the way. He has a pickup and my car is really low, so he probably couldn't really see my car very well - which doesn't make it any less his fault. Anyway, we opened the door to the parking lot just in time to see it happen. It looked pretty bad. But amazingly, it really did very little damage. Rob said he could see a couple of little fine scratches, but I couldn't see anything wrong. My car is ten years old so a couple of scratches more or less don't worry me. (I just hope it doesn't look a lot worse when I see it in the daylight!) He was very apologetic and I wasn't going to go to the trouble of filing an insurance claim for invisible damage.

I got home and there was a box of nail polish on the doorstep that I'd been feeling guilty about ordering, and I decided that I earned that nail polish (for my trauma, more or less) and I wasn't going to feel guilty about that one any more. It was cheap nail polish, actually, but it's really pretty and amazingly, none of the 12 polishes was broken despite being really really badly packed. (Amazon is notorious among nail polish people for just throwing bottles of nail polish into boxes with inadequate packing materials, and then being shocked when they arrive broken.) This one came with a dozen polishes in a plastic bag stuck into a way-too-large box, with like a couple of little cushiony things thrown in - not enough to make any difference whatsoever. Are they extra-frazzled because it's almost Christmas? The only thing that saved it, I think, is that the plastic bag that the polish was in actually was the right size. (Amazon needs a big button when you order where you can say, "I don't need this til after Christmas, thanks." They do have something like that for some things, but I've wanted it a couple of times in the last week when it was not offered to me.)

We have to work tomorrow, then we're off til after New Year's. Woo! Apparently the students are mostly already gone, because things have been dead the last couple of days. Tomorrow it's going to be even slower, presumably.

I had a doctor's appointment today, and it went okay, but she ordered blood-work because I hadn't had any in a while, and they took about a pint of blood out of me, it looked like. - Ok, well, it was five vials, it probably didn't actually add up to a pint, but still. And my old doctor had retired, and this was the first time I'd seen my new one. I was a little worried about that, but I really liked her, thank goodness. The other one was my age or a little older, and she talked to everybody like they were kindergarteners. It drove me crazy - I think she gave me flashbacks to my mom the elementary school teacher.

Anyway, the day could have gone a lot worse.
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
I've got books and movies to discuss, and I suspect TV is going to wander in here too if I get very far, so "entertainments" it is.

First of all, I finished Queen of Air and Darkness, and it had a satisfying ending, although it continued to be almost unbearably talky right up til the end. Another (more minor) gripe is that I think it's misnamed, because the Queen of Air and Darkness was supposed to be the character Annabel (rather than the Seelie Queen, which was what I expected), who hardly ever showed up. (The Seelie Queen was there about as much as Annabel, for what that's worth.) I kept waiting for something to happen to justify that title. Maybe the idea was that Annabel's actions in the last book (in killing a character who I won't name in case that's a spoiler for somebody!) drove this book all the way through, because a lot of this book was about the process of grieving. Anyway, I'm glad I read it, because it's closure for the series, but at this point I'm even more glad to be done with it. - I don't usually think in terms of how many stars I give things, but on a 1-5 basis I'd probably give this a 3.

Yesterday we went to see what I keep calling the "Spider-verse thing" because its name is too unwieldy to bother with, as far as I'm concerned. It was really good. Easily the best Spiderman movie I've seen, although I told Rob that that's a pretty low bar. I saw at least a couple of the Raimi ones back in the day, they were decent but not really anything special. I never saw any of the Andrew Garfield ones. I would say that the best of the ones I'd previously seen is the one from last year - Homecoming, I think? It was still messy in that way that Spider-man movies seem to be prone to, but pretty good.

In the animated one, we get an origin story for teenager Miles Morales, who eventually runs across an irradiated spider - of course - and then into a confrontation between Kingpin & Spiderman (the usual sort of Spiderman, Peter Parker a few years after his origin story, now in his 20s). Kingpin is trying to bring his wife & son back from a parallel universe, which is how the whole multiverse thing gets started. From there we eventually end up with a whole gang of Spideys - male, female, and in one case, non-human. I won't spoil you past that. It's all a lot of fun, and the animation is wonderful. (Who knew Sony had this in them?)

Before I started on the Shadowhunters re-read, what I read was the first book in the Expanse series, which is also a TV series - it's been on SyFy for several years. We used to watch SyFy a whole lot but in recent years we've drifted away from it, for no particular reason. So I didn't know anything about the series except that it existed. And lately I'd started hearing that the series was pretty good, I guess that's what got me started with this. The TV series turned up on Amazon Prime in the past few months, and I knew it was something that came from a book or book series, and my rule is usually if there's a book and a TV/movie adaptation, I'd rather read (or see) the original one first. So I went and found the book - the first one is called Leviathan Wakes. And man, it was good. So I started wanting to watch the series before I'd even finished the book. Once I got past the first big section of the book (where they're on the Canterbury) I figured that was bound to be as far as the first episode went, and so Rob and I watched the first episode and it was also really good. Anyway, if you're not familiar with this, it's, like, straight-out sci-fi, a space opera set in a not-too-terribly-distant future in which Mars is in the process of being terraformed, and the asteroid belt is being mined and some of the moons of Jupiter & Saturn are starting to be colonized. I'm not going to try to really summarize the plot, which is pretty convoluted, but it has action and a mystery, and I love it. (I love the book somewhat more than the series, but they're both good. I'm only about five episodes into the series, but it's well-done, also. At some point soon I'll probably go hunt down the second book.)

(There's another series or two I've been reading lately, but I'll come back to those later.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
We actually went to the mall tonight. Rob was off and I needed to return something to Sephora (or pack it up to return by mail, which would have been even worse), so we went. I figure if you're going to go to a shopping mall in December, Monday is usually your best bet. And it wasn't bad. The mall near us is usually pretty crowded, but we found a parking place right near the front of Dillard's, and then walked down to Sephora. Sephora wasn't mobbed either. It took a while for me and the clerk to get the return figured out, but we got that done eventually, and then we walked around the mall in a big loop, the way we used to do years ago. Rob saw something shiny in the window of Hot Topic that pulled him in - honestly I don't think I'd ever been inside the physical store, although I did buy a limited edition Funko from them online a few years ago. Rob didn't end up buying anything, but I decided to buy some nail polish since I always liked those skull bottles they have - they were buy one get one free so I got two. I'll swatch them and I might even wear them at some point but really I just bought them to sit around on the top of my little acrylic cabinet and look cool. Both of them together only cost about half of what one of the NailsInc polishes I had just returned did.

So we farted around the mall for a while longer - we went in Paper Source, we looked at the stuff in the window of the Lego store, as one does - and then we went across the freeway to Fuddruckers and had hamburgers for dinner. You can't even really say that we were holiday shopping because we didn't buy any gifts. We've bought what we euphemistically refer to as "our presents to each other"** already, and we're having an atypical Christmas this year - I'll get around to talking about that later, I'm sure - and I'm not really sure I actually need to buy anybody anything at all. (I have my usual assortment of leftovers from mystery boxes and stuff that I will give to somebody - that will probably get divided between several people as usual. But I don't really have to worry about some of the other stuff I usually do, this time.)

**Regarding the above-mentioned presents to each other that we actually buy ourselves:
His - a new leather jacket. He picks these out, always because he's very picky about them (although after all these years I probably could make a pretty good guess at it). He buys about one a decade - or actually not even that often, because he's only starting on his third one and we've been married for thirty years. I think we'd been married a couple of years before he got the first one, but we discussed this and neither one of us really remembers clearly where we got the first one, much less when, exactly - although we decided eventually that it must have come from JCPenney. (And actually he sold that first one for almost as much as he paid for it, that was maybe in the early 00s. It had cat scritches on it but the person who bought it wanted it anyway.) The second one came from Target of all places, and it certainly isn't in any shape to sell 15 years or so in - the lining is all torn out, etc. I told Rob to put it in the hall closet for emergency back-up. Anyway, he how has a third one which he is very happy with and is already wearing so there's certainly no use in pretending to unwrap it on the 25th.
Mine - nail polish, of course. All that stuff I've been going on about on the nail blog lately? That's my present. (I haven't even posted swatches for it all yet, much less worn it. I really need to slow my nail-polish purchases down so I can at least wear most of it before I buy more!)

(If you've noticed what I titled this - I thought "holiday horrors" sounded funny but nothing here is really horrible except maybe the amount that I spent on nail polish - which I haven't added up because I don't actually want to know the answer. But I'm leaving the title anyway because it amuses me.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (yoda)
 I was mentioning that I'm having trouble juggling everything this month - part of that was sleep deprivation, so I'm not making any hasty decisions - but I'm thinking at the moment that it may be Holidailies that are going to go. Or at least, worrying about regular posting there is going to go. We'll see.

(One of these days I'm going to lose momentum on the nail blog and never post to it again, based on past history. But I've been posting practically every day for a couple of years now, so we'll see about that, too. Right now I'm still enjoying it.)
mellicious: (Wonder Woman)
 I always do Music Advent (which happens primarily on Twitter) - I don't know how long that's been going on in December, maybe 5 years? I think other people frankly put a lot more thought into it than I do, but still, I manage. Sometimes I get a few days ahead, but doing a whole playlist in advance? Probably never gonna happen, with me. Anyway, this year the theme is covers. So far I've only come up with famous artists playing other famous artists - hopefully I'll manage to get in some less-famous ones as well. The way I've been coming at this is to look for artists I like, or songs I particularly like. I was actually looking for somebody else covering Pearl Jam, but so far that's mostly led me to Pearl Jam doing covers of other artists, which is also cool (and Pearl Jam does that a lot) but I don't want to just post 25 days of Pearl Jam singing covers, either. (I do have a Spotify playlist with some covers on it so I'll probably go browse around in that eventually and see what's in there. And I'll probably do some Christmas songs later on, because I do have a lingering fondness for Christmas songs still.) 

The first day didn't end up being Pearl-Jam-related at all, it was Prince doing "Creep" at Coachella, ten years ago. I love this song and I'd never heard this cover.

(Note: I've had some trouble with the embeds in past years and I think I'm going to just post them here daily rather than try to do several days at a time like I've done in the past. That seems easier.)

#musicadvent

 

Nail Junkie

Dec. 1st, 2018 01:11 am
mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
Hi, I'm Mel and I'm a nail junkie.
 
Wanna know what I have on my nails right now? It has many layers - base coat, a couple of layers of KL Polish Cozy In There? and then top-coat - that's the first stage. I wore that for a couple of days and it was chipping so I patched up the chips a bit and then I added a new polish: KL Polish Pisces. Cozy In There (yes, it's a Walking Dead reference) is a blue-gray creme; Pisces is a blue-green shimmer (water-colors, see) so they played very nicely with each other. And I had another new polish I wanted to play with, so one thumbnail also has a coat of a top-coat called Rustling Leaves. It's coppery-looking flakes, and it's very pretty. I'm currently contemplating whether to start over or to just slap Rustling Leaves on top of it all for the weekend.
 
(I own a polish called Nail Junkie. It's a Sinful Colors polish, which means you used to could buy it at Walgreen's etc. for $1.99, but they don't make it any more so now you can't.)
 
Anyway, this isn't actually what I was intending to talk about. I was thinking about it on the way home from work and I was thinking about, among other things, the reason I buy polishes instead of getting manicures. (A guy at work asked me once - in the hearing of his girlfriend, presumably because he expected a different answer - if I saved a lot of money doing my own nails, and I said, "Not the way I do it." That's because I own many, many bottles of nail polish, and while I'm partial to buying stuff on sale, I'm pretty sure the average price is considerably above $1.99.)

You could say I have issues with what I let people do to my body. Nails, hair, massages, all of that kind of thing - it's not actually that I'm averse to being touched, so much as that I'm, well, a little bit of a control freak, I guess? I want to control the way I'm touched and whether you buff my nails and what you do to my hair and my eyebrows (do you know how badly some people have wanted to play with my eyebrows? and they didn't seem to realize that that was at all strange). Yeah, I guess it comes down to control, now that I think about it. I'm sure we could tie that back to my childhood and blah blah blah but let's not go there.
 
Hmm, okay, that's not quite where I meant this to go either. But most of the people that are reading this are probably the same people that have been doing (or just reading) Holidailies for years and it's probably not news to most of you that I'm a little wacky. I was tempted to backspace over part of the parargraph above but I think I'll let it sit.
 
So hi, I'm Mel. Don't try to buff my nails.


 (Some links: KL Polish, Rustling Leaves, somebody else's pictures of Nail Junkie, my own nail blog)

Happy 2018!

Jan. 1st, 2018 11:57 pm
mellicious: Happy New Year! (new year gif)
 I'll quote what I just said about Last Jedi in my own comments:

 I think I enjoyed it more the second time, without all those pesky "what's going to happen?" thoughts running through my head. If nothing else, it's really pretty to look at. And I didn't think the middle was especially saggy the second time, either.
 
There were still a good many people in the theater, but nothing like the crowd that was at Jumanji last week. Probably most of the kids have to go back to school tomorrow, come to think of it.
 

(I was trying to hurry so I could make the Holidailies cutoff at midnight, but then I realized they're unlikely to have the cutoff be Central time, anyway, unless they have a rolling cutoff that uses each person's own time zones. I'm just not going to worry about it.)

We saw the aftermath of a horrific-looking wreck on the way to the movie theater (a car basically underneath a pickup) and when we came back through three hours later they were still clearing it up. It looked like they basically had cut the car that was on the bottom apart. I'm trying not to speculate about what happened there.

I stayed up until well after daylight the last few days. I have to go back to work on Wednesday so I need to shift my bedtime at least a little earlier than that! I have no sense of time, that's basically my problem. Sitting here in the living room facing away from the windows I don't even necessarily notice that it's getting light until I get up to go to the bathroom or something.

Which reminds me, I don't really make resolutions, but I want to stop feeling guilty, somehow, for being a night person. People get so judgy about it, and I'm sick of that shit. I like to sleep in the daytime, so what. (I'm not really talking to you guys, of course.) Oh, did I mention that my sister is now on the exact same schedule? She sleeps til the middle of the afternoon just like I do. Apparently at her previous job - which she has now quit - she was mostly working evenings, too. We used to seem so different when we were younger but now we are exactly alike in a myriad of ways, so much so that it's slightly alarming. (What, is my entire personality just genetics?)

mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 So the reason my sister finally invited me to come visit her was so I could go to the Armadillo Bazaar in Austin with her. She'd kept saying, "When we finish the renovations to the house you should come visit!" They have a older house (by which I mean, I dunno, 80s, maybe?)  which sustained a lot of damage in that big hailstorm they had a couple of years ago - so bad it tore all the windows out on one side of the house, and I think part of the roof, too - and the renovations seem to be ongoing, to some degree, but they're mostly done. P. said she had a guest "suite" for me to sleep in (with its own bathroom, is what she meant by that) so that part was fine. (That bedroom faces the other way than all the storm damage and as I understand it, she had her husband slept in that bedroom for a year or so because it was the only one with intact windows!)

I'll talk more about my sister and her husband at some point but right now I feel like talking about the the Armadillo Bazaar. It's technically just a Christmas gift show, but being in Austin it ends up being kinda different. I had been many years ago - I think I mentioned that at some point earlier this month. (Here.) I don't have any clear memory of where it was back then, although I would have said it was somewhere downtown, on the other side of Town Lake. Now it's at Palmer, but it's possible that's where it always was and I'd just forgotten. It's been something like 35 years, after all.

Going to Austin is always a huge nostalgia-trip for me, because college, and then also because Austin is so different from anyplace else. Austin of course has grown up in the meantime and is a big city now (I started college FORTY YEARS AGO, omg, when I think Austin had around 300,000 people) but bits of the old Austin are still there and they were totally on display where we were. Palmer Center has two parts (+ possibly some more that I don't know about), and I went to concerts at both of them back in the day. There's a conventional auditorium and then there's just a big room that I think had bleachers (so sort of like a big basketball court, I guess!), and this was where bands played. It was general admission, and you could sit down on the bleachers if you wanted or you could just stand up in the middle, Which was what most everybody did. I saw R.E.M. and, god, Howard Jones and Frankie Goes To Hollywood there, and more. And that's where this Armadillo Bazaar thing is held.

My sister is back to wanting to try to be a real artist again - if you've been reading here forever you may remember that she's been through this before, and she is actually talented so I don't mean to demean her about that. She does kind of mixed media stuff which is pretty fashionable these days and I think it has possibilities, commercially speaking. So anyway, what she wanted to do was look at other people's artwork and booth setups and stuff, and boy, this was a good place to do it, because this was mostly an art show. There was other stuff but there were a LOT of artists, and it's juried so they were all good. P. is one of those people who can talk to anybody, and she did stop and talk to people in the booths from time to time, and one of the artists told her that they made $18k in eleven days at this thing last year. Which is not a huge fortune but it's nothing to sneeze at, either!

I knew the Armadillo Bazaar had music because I looked at the website, but I was imagining that it was off in a separate room and I didn't think P. would want to sit down and listen. But that turned out to be wrong. The booths are all around the edges of the big room (no bleachers in evidence) and the stage and a smallish number of seats are set up in the middle. So you can walk around and still hear the music - you can't avoid it if you wanted to, in fact. It wasn't so loud you couldn't hear so it was great, actually.

We got there, as it happened, right when the 7pm entertainer was starting, and I knew who it was going to be and the name was familiar - I think he may be one of those people who's hung around the Austin music scene off and on for years - but I don't remember having heard him before. It was Ray Wylie Hubbard, and you can hear a little snippet of his stuff in the video below. I liked him a lot. I insisted on going around to where I could actually see him, briefly. (P. said, "He looks like an old man," and well, that's true. But it just seemed weird to be there listening and never see the guy.) Anyway, it was very enjoyable. I enjoyed the music and I enjoyed looking at the artists, too.


I already posted this video for Music Advent, but here's Ray Wylie Hubbard from several years ago, on David Letterman:

mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
I went to San Antonio to see my sister, and briefly to Austin, and when I got back late Wednesday I was already planning out the entry I was going to write. Then the exhaustion set in. I didn't sleep well in the unfamiliar bed, for two nights in a row, that's the main problem. Plus I drove all the way to San Antonio (which is a several-hour drive at best) in the rain on Monday, and spent more time walking around than I'm accustomed to on Tuesday, before driving back again on Wednesday. I enjoyed the trip more than that makes it sound like I did, but still, I'm tired. Yesterday I still felt pretty much exhausted, but today it's better.

I meant to leave earlier on Monday, but I dawdled around and kept thinking of things that needed doing, and then I lost my debit card and had to go to the credit union and get a replacement one. (I wasn't sure if I had actually left it somewhere else or not, but the old card was having an issue with the stripe and so I needed a new one anyway. I finally did find the old one way in the depths of my purse, last night.) We had worried about me hitting rush hour traffic in San Antonio because I was planning on leaving in the early afternoon. Instead it was four o'clock by the time I left, and I ended up in Houston rush hour instead. It took two hours just to get across Houston in the spitting rain to I-10 so I could go west. Not fun. (I could have skirted around the edge of Houston somehow, but I'm pretty sure anything like that would have taken just as long.)

(I hit enter accidentally - I keep doing that - so I might as well do this in installments.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 I guess I'll do another round of music videos, since I don't know what else to talk about today. I'm distracted because I'm going somewhere tomorrow, but I'll talk about that later. For now let's take another trip back to the 80s.

(I have the wrong Christmas-lights icon for the 80s, what was fashionable then was white lights. The retro lights like my icon were totally out. Tiny white lights were the new hip thing, and no colors were allowed - which is actually kind of weird when you think about it, because so many other things in the 80s were totally colorful.)

I've only posted days 1-6 here so we're way behind. I think I'm going to just post a list with links to most of the videos, unless I decide I really have something to say about a particular song, and I'll pick one to embed at the end. But the embeds have been so wonky that embedding would require doing separate entries for everything.

Quite a few of these songs are great but others, not so much. But this was more an exercise in nostalgia than in picking the very *best* songs,  for me. And while there are some songs here that were big hits, I also wanted to pick some things that everybody isn't necessarily familiar with.

Day 6, to remind you, was Talk About the Passion, R.E.M.

Day 7: Wonderland, XTC

Day 8: Modern Love, David Bowie (I saw Bowie on this tour so watching the concert video was really trippy for me.)

Day 9: Blister in the Sun, Violent Femmes

Day 10: Two Hearts Beat As One, U2

Day 11: One of Our Submarines, Thomas Dolby

Day 12: Oblivious, Aztec Camera

Day 13: A Million Miles Away, The Plimsouls

Day 14: The Metro, Berlin (man I loved this song - but I don't remember ever seeing the video)

Day 15: Cuts Like a Knife, Bryan Adams (see below)

Day 16: Save It For Later, English Beat (or just "The Beat" if you're in the UK)

Day 17: Mad World, Tears For Fears


And I went and hunted around for the old version of the Cuts Like A Knife video in particular, so that's the one I'm embedding. I mostly remembered the empty swimming pool.

mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
NOTE: this is all very hastily written and stream-of-consciousness, and I'm not going to apologize for that, really. But let me just repeat that it is also totally FULL OF SPOILERS. I put it in the title but if you read it in my journal style the title is not very noticeable.


I'm not going to even try to write anything spoiler-free about The Last Jedi. I... liked it pretty well, that's all I can think of to say that's spoiler-free. But it also had some problems, and a hella lot of surprises, and all that is obviously spoilers, so I'm just rolling with that. Oh, also, lemme say that I don't even know the names of a lot of these characters, and I'm sure I'll figure all that out later (because I've watched The Force Awakens about 17 times and Rogue One maybe 10 times, so I think we can assume I'm going to see this in the theater at least one more time) - and probably I'll look at IMDb and figure some of this stuff out, sometime soon. But right now I'm not worrying about all that. 

I love the surprise of it - it just went off in directions you weren't expecting. (There, a whole basically spoiler-free sentence. Although I suppose you could say that that in itself is a spoiler.) Like Luke at the end - and Luke at the beginning, for that matter, with the lightsaber and the crazy. Also the question of which way Kylo will jump, light or dark? And then they give you a false answer on that for a minute, too, and then switch again. Although I do think the answer they ultimately came up with is the one that feels right to me. I don't much buy that he's savable. (I do buy that he would want Rey as his queen or whatever, but it'd never last 'cause she's too mouthy and he'd want to shut her up eventually. He's that kinda guy.)

Can I just say, OH THANK GOD, NO MIDICHLORIANS. I know, it wasn't in the last movie either, but this was the first (and by far the best) explanation of the Force that I've heard since the very first movie. But I hated the whole idea of the damn midichlorians.

And I kind of love the idea that Luke burns (or well, Yoda does) the whole Jedi library, and Rey hasn't read it and doesn't appear to have any training about it either, and she has no clear notions at all about the old Jedi traditions, so from that standpoint Luke is actually the last Jedi. I really got the idea more from playing a Jedi in The Old Republic game than anywhere else, that the Jedi traditions kinda suck. So there will be Force-users from here on out but no old-school Jedi. (ADDED: I saw a video that said Rey secretly saved the library, so all of this may be technically untrue, in the end. But clearly the idea that the Jedi are changing is correct.)

Questions:
-- I kept waiting for them to say that Benecio Del Toro's character was actually the guy they went to find, but no. They don't actually say one way or the other, but as far as we know he's not, really. We see some other guy who's wearing the flower or whatever it was, for like two seconds. My theory was maybe the other guy had stolen his pin and Benecio was the real guy, but who knows?

-- I've watched a couple of YouTube videos and I agree that the whole casino thing slowed the movie down. (I also told Rob that rich people are the new bad guys, because, you know, who else is left, I guess?*) I liked Rose, and I liked Rose and Finn as a team, but that plot was just ill-conceived, I thought. That whole thing seemed like they didn't think they had enough plot so they came up with this whole big red herring about needing codes. (Also, were they implying Rose/Finn there at the very end? Oh, and then you get Oscar being all, "Hey there, I'm Poe," to Rey, and I'm going, wouldn't these characters have met before? That was mainly why I noticed Finn hovering at Rose's bedside in that scene.)

-- Here's another thing: Did Gwendoline Christie just not want to put a lot of time in on these movies, or something? Because I have a Phasma bobble-head, and I feel like she's ultimately such a minor figure that I wouldn't have bothered if I'd known. (I wanted to collect female Star Wars characters, for a while, and I got up to three - Rey, Leia, and Phasma - and then I just kind of gave up on that. I eventually added Obi-Wan and some random robot, and decided to stop there, because Funkos, much as I love them, kind of take up a lot of room that we really don't have.) I thought she would have a big scene in the first movie and then when she didn't, I was expecting it in this movie, and instead you get about 10 seconds of fight and she's dead. (Another late addition: I'm kidding myself to say I "collected" the Phasma bobblehead in particular - I got it in a Funko box and I think it was limited edition, but I didn't actually pick it out. I think it was more that I got the idea from having the Phasma, and then I went and ordered the LE Rey from Hot Topic to go with it.)


*When I was growing up the bad guys were communists. Then later the bad guys were Iranians or Al-Qaeda or something. I'm kind of glad to see them getting away from the whole ethnicity aspect of it, but while I'm complaining about tax cuts for the rich as much as anybody else, I also think that's kind of an easy target, what with Trump and everything. I don't guess "bad guys" as a concept is going away any time soon, so it'll be interesting to see if rich people or Russian oligarchs or something sticks - we could go back to the Russian accents for that one - or if somebody will come up with something else.)
mellicious: Yoda: "Post every day you will" (nablopomo)
I posted a video and some links about the music of 1983 yesterday, and then, because the embed code is apparently wonky, I published another entry with another video. It had a paragraph of text so I went ahead and used that for a Holidailies entry just now, even though I really think that's cheating. It's not cheating by Holidailies' own standards, I know - I remember Jette saying ages ago that you can just post a picture every day if you want to.- but it's cheating by my personal internal standards of what constitutes an entry. I guess I'm a little old-school about that. I don't necessarily think you have to have five random things, as they used to say, but I feel like I have to have at least, say, two or three paragraphs of random drivel before it counts. (Or one long paragraph would do, too, I suppose.)

I'm not even sure how long I've been doing Holidailies. More than ten years, for sure. I think I started in 2004? Or was it 2003? It was 2003 at the earliest - I had no journal before that - and I'm pretty sure 2005 at the latest. It was so long ago that I started out on Diary-X, for god's sake. (I could check my Livejournal, or check the old LJ entries here, for that matter, because I know there was a point where I mention on Livejournal that I was doing Holidailies on Diary-X, but every time I go look at the old entries I fall into an hours-long wormhole, so that would probably end any chance that I would finish this tonight. I have to go to bed before dawn tonight.)

Oh yeah, that - the staying-up-til dawn thing, I mean. I literally watched TV all night last night. That's not really terribly unusual for me, if it's baseball or some movie, but it's unusual for me to watch MSNBC all night and end up going to bed during Morning Joe, at least it is nowadays. I stay up that late a lot, but I don't usually stick with MSNBC that long. I really do love MSNBC, but usually when it starts over with some show that I already paid attention to the first time, I turn it off. But I was transfixed enough by the Alabama election results that I just turned off the sound when they started repeating Chris Matthews' midnight hour (I guess that was at 3am) instead of turning it off, and turned it on again at 4 when the early-morning news started up. I'm not really sure what time I actually went to bed - maybe at 7? I was very sleepy by then, and I got up at 1:30, I know, so that's not really enough sleep. I got through the day ok, but if I do it again I'm going to be very sorry.
mellicious: "I think the subtext here is rapidly becoming text." (Buffy quote - subtext)
Day 6 of Music Advent:
Talk About the Passion, R.E.M.
The video has a later year on it at the end, but the song definitely came out in 1983. I remember well because the album was one of those critical darlings that get hyped all the time and I found it annoying. I'm sure I heard this song in 1983 but I don't remember it as much as I remember "Radio Free Europe" which I liked even as I was annoyed by the hype. I don't think I ever owned Murmur on vinyl, though - I had it on CD which means it came later. (My friend who I borrowed albums from to make mix tapes was a total Anglophile so I don't think he had it either. We were all pretty snobbish about that, at the time.)

(Later on, I came to love and adore R.E.M., but like Echo & the Bunnymen, it took me a while to get warmed up.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
Ok, I linked to videos for the first few days of Music Advent back here, and I just posted day 4 here, because I was seeing if the embed code I finally found would work. So I'll talk a little about Day 4 and then go on from there.

4. The Back of Love, Echo and the Bunnymen
I'm sure I've talked about my love of Echo and the Bunnymen in some past year (most recently here). "Porcupine" was the name of the album that came out around this time. I looked it up the other day but I've already half forgotten - maybe it came out in 1982 but was a single in 1983, or something like that. I knew I had used "The Cutter" which was also from that album in some past year, and I try not to repeat. Also from 1983 is "Never Stop" which came out as a standalone single in '83, but I love that song so much I had already broken my "no repeating" rule and used it in two different years. So I knew that one was out. Luckily this is an excellent song too. (If I ever need another one of their songs from 1982-83, I'm going to have to dig deeper into Porcupine.)

5. Wishing, A Flock of Seagulls
In 1983 I think I loved this more than I loved Echo & the Bunnymen (they were kind of an acquired taste, where Flock of Seagulls is popcorn). Also, I remembered that this guy had a goofy haircut, but I still did a double-take when I actually saw it again. 

(I was going to put another video here but the code is being cranky so I'm going to do a separate entry for that.)
mellicious: blinky lights (holiday lights gif)
 The town holiday parade is tonight. We usually go out to eat on Saturday nights, but we went yesterday instead (on the way home from work) because we knew to go out tonight would be a mess. There's no way out of our neighborhood without running into it.

Rob said, "They act like this is the Macy's parade," and I laughed. People who've always lived here are very fond of this parade, it's true. It's just a little dinky parade, but they come out and score their spots on the sidewalk hours ahead. The first year we lived here, we went and watched it, and we enjoyed it, it's really cute - but I haven't had any desire to go again. I think if I had more ties to the people here, that's what would make it different, but I'm kind of a hermit, let's face it.

So we're just staying home tonight. Rob's watching Fury, that Brad Pitt movie about the tank, and I'm half-watching and fiddling around on the computer. (It was near the end when I walked in, or I'm sure I would have gotten more into it. We saw it in the theater and I liked it a lot, although it's pretty depressing.) Tomorrow we think we're going to see "Coco," and Monday we're both off so we thought we might go to the mall and goof around. I don't like to go when it's crowded, but it ought to be alright on a Monday.

I'm going to go see my sister the Monday after that, in San Antonio, and we're going to go over to Austin and go to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. I went once with our mom, years and years ago - I guess when I still lived in Austin, which means it was in the early 80s. I imagine it's changed a bit since then. And I haven't seen my sister in ages, either - I guess we're both kind of hermit-ish. We talk back and forth but hardly ever get around to visiting. So I'm sure I'll have more to say about that later. I'm off work the entire two weeks before and after Christmas, which is going to be kind of weird. I haven't had that much time off all at once in years. (It'll go by like a flash, of course.)
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
Wow, look at this - same street in August (during Harvey, that is) and yesterday. Yeah, I know it wasn't much snow, but this is Houston. We're not used to seeing snow at all.

When I was last heard from here, 24 hours or so ago, it was snowing, it was just about 32 degrees, and I was all worried about ice and whether we would be able to go to work. When I went to bed it was still snowing, lightly, and there was actually snow on the ground. The thing I was worried about was that there was water underneath that, presumably, because we'd had rain off and on for a couple of days. I figured if we got ice we were screwed. (I had pooh-poohed similar ideas from other people mere hours before that, but that was before the snow started - and continued for several hours.) But basically, my first reaction - the "it'll never stick" reaction - was closer to being right, because by the time I woke up late in the morning it was almost all gone. Any ice that had time to form melted real quick along with the snow.

It did make it look like actual winter, for a while, though - there was still snow on Rob's car when we went to work, and there was snow scattered around on the eaves of buildings. My work did not call a snow day, even though at least one of my co-workers tried to call in. (She was supposed to have been at work about the same time I went to bed, in all fairness.)

I think the snow did stick more somewhere up on the far side of Houston. (Here's pictures and video from Kyle Field, the A&M football stadium, which is only about an hour north of Houston. That looks like a more substantial amount of snow.)

As we were discussing in the comments of the last entry, I don't know if there are snowplows at all in Houston. Even a small snowfall that sticks to the ground is like a once-a-decade thing down here. Probably less than that, even.

Officially I saw 0.7 inches for the snowfall. Right now it's below freezing and I think will be enough to constitute a hard freeze (which we don't even get every winter) but luckily the snow was apparently the end of the wet part of the cold snap. The roads were dry coming home tonight.

We are so spoiled. I was worried I might have to put on socks, which I hate. I do have a decent coat, but I suspect that there are people who don't, and not necessarily just because they can't afford one, either. You just rarely need one - I'm not sure I put my quilted coat on at all last winter.

I'm pretty sure that when I was younger we had more cold weather than we do now, although still not a lot. Global warming is real, as if most of us really doubted that.

Snow?

Dec. 8th, 2017 01:39 am
mellicious: Narnia witch in a carriage pulled by polar bears, captioned "OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!" (m15m - polarbear)
 It has been cold and wet for several days, and they started saying tonight that there was a chance of snow flurries. I drove all the way home from work without seeing so much as a tiny flurry, and I was about to start complaining to Rob when I looked up and decided there was snow mixed in with the light rain. And, guess what, now it's snowing, flat out. It's above freezing and the ground is wet, so I can't imagine that it's going to stick.

The #houstonsnow hashtag is totally blowing up on twitter, so clearly it's snowing all around. On the far north side of Houston they might get snow on the ground, and my sister in San Antonio texted me a video of the snow they had on the ground earlier tonight, but still, we live in the southern suburbs of Houston, and we don't see a lot of snow around here.

I just rechecked the Weather Channel. They have changed the predicted low from 33 degrees (F) to 32. If the snow freezes the wet ground then we are going to have a mess. As somebody on Twitter has already pointed out to me, we don't have snowplows around here. And nobody knows how to drive in snow.

But meanwhile, I'm going back to lean out the front door and watch the snow fall.
mellicious: Astros' very colorful uniforms of the 70s-80s (Astros' rainbow uni)
 I usually end up talking about Music Advent for Holidailies because otherwise I get overwhelmed with all the daily things that I'm doing in December. Music Advent is just a thing that somebody who I was friends of friends with on Twitter started several years ago - it's a tag, basically. You post music videos, and it has had various schemes for what you're supposed to do when, but this year for the first time, you're supposed to pick a year and stick with it. So I did 1983 because that's when I was in my early 20s and totally into New Wave music and I knew that would be relatively easy. I'm thinking of it as "what I was listening to" rather than sticking strictly with things that were released in 1983, although most of what I've posted fits both. I know the Echo & the Bunnymen song was actually released in 1982 but it was a single in 1983, I believe. So yeah, not nitpicking too much about this.

The thing that made this easy for me is, I had a mix-tape back in the day that I know most of the contents of. I spent, as I recall, most of a day making this mix-tape off of my friend Rick's albums and imported singles. I think that this mix-tape is actually in my apartment somewhere but I don't have a cassette player any more anyway, and I would just be going off of the song listing. But I remember what a lot of it was even if I don't succeed in physically locating it! (Yeah, I am a hoarder, I admit it. Rob helps me keep the worst of it in check, thank goodness.)

(I don't seem to know how to embed to get a video to show up directly here, so I'm just doing links to YouTube.)

1. Big Country, In a Big Country
This song was a pretty big hit at the time, as I recall, and it was the first thing on my mix tape, which is why I started with it.. I'm also pretty sure I knew some other Big Country songs at the time, or at least whatever was on the B-side of this single, but I don't remember anything else offhand. I haven't tried to look.

2. The Alarm, The Stand
Stephen King's book The Stand apparently came out in 1978, so it was old hat by then, and it was long before the (pretty crappy) miniseries that came out later on. But this is the only song I know of that references it. (I'm sure there's more by now, somewhere out there.) Anyway, it's still a pretty good song.

3. Cyndi Lauper, Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Everybody knows this one, right? It's the biggest hit out of the ones I've done so far. Like these others was on my original fall-of-1983 mix-tape, The song holds up very well. The middle part of the video is pretty boring but the first and last sections are still kinda awesome.

That's all I have time to talk about right now, but I'm sure I'll come back with more of these later. (All 25 things are not going to be things that were on my original mix-tape. I'm not at all sure that there were 25 songs on it. But they are all things I knew back in the day, for sure.)
mellicious: pink manicure (nails)
 I've just washed my hair, and I've got bare nails and I think I've decided what polish is going on. Tuesday is the start of my work-week, or at least this week it is. And I have to go in relatively early, too, so there's no question of me being able to do some of this when I get up. So expect a rambly entry here, between coats of nail polish.

I know some of you guys know already, and I'm sure others don't, that I have a nail blog. (It's called "Delicious Color" which was a play on mellicious/delicious, see, although "mellicious" itself was just a silly pun in the first place. I increasingly wish I'd thought up a better name, but eh.) I started out just putting up the occasional entry, but for the last year or more I've been posting really regularly, practically every day. Most posts are just a picture of a polish and a swatch, and I talk a little (or occasionally a lot) about the polish in question. I have a really large number of nail polishes - like, many hundreds - so basically the blog has just become my personal reference work so I can remember what's what. I do have some readers but I've never particularly sought them out, and I don't do fancy swatches or try to get PR merchandise or anything. Sometimes I talk about makeup and stuff like that - the last post yesterday was about eyeshadow, which is probably a first.

I've been gradually slowing down on nail polish purchases, since I already have more than I can possibly wear, but I've made up for it by really being obsessed with (mostly expensive) moisturizers for the last couple of years. My latest obsession seems to be fancy (and also expensive) hair products. I bought some Bumble and Bumble stuff and then Sephora had $20 off a $50 purchase for VIBs (which is, like, their frequent buyer program - I hardly ever go into a Sephora store but I do buy far too much online) so I bought some Briogeo scalp stuff that Kathleen Lights was talking about. (That's here, and it's a sponsored post, for the record. I had used Briogeo products before so I didn't care, but I don't want to link to that without saying so!)

I don't remember Sephora doing that $20 off $50 thing before, but it's actually a really smart thing to do this time of year, now that I think about it, because you could use it on a gift or you could use it for a gift for yourself like I did! I don't think I would have bought what I bought at full price. Kathleen had a code, too, and I was looking at that but then I remembered the Sephora promo and I realized that that was going to end up being cheaper from Sephora, even though what I bought was less than $50. (I added a sale item to get it up to $50.)

I keep my nails cut pretty short these days but I still wear whatever crazy nail polish I want. My employer does not judge my choice of nail polish! I took a shoebox-sized box of nail polish with me when I went up to my aunt's a couple of weeks ago - I figured my cousins would be around, and they were - and got them to take most of it off my hands (figuratively speaking). I forget that a lot of the nail polish I have is what other people would consider "out there" - some of my cousins were like, "Oh, I would never wear blue" - or purple, for god's sake, I think of purple as being middle of the road. (I think I'm about to put Zoya Carter on, actually, which is purple and glittery and probably they would think is out there, too.)

I've just put base-coat on so far. I noticed as I did that that my nails are stained pretty badly - it probably has to do with all the orange polish I wore all during October while the playoffs were going on. (Or maybe it was something else - blue is usually the worst staining culprit.)

(If I get a decent picture of Carter, I'll put it up later.) (Later: that's here.)

P.S. I just realized that my fifth blogiversary went by on the nail blog without me thinking to say anything about it. Not that it's a big deal, but I have kept up with it for a pretty long time!

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