Hot water!

I'd intended to try posting more this month, as December was sadly fallow, but I've been distracted by the attempted coup. :/

Our wonky water heater has finally been replaced – we'd nursed it along for as long as we could, but it was getting harder and harder to deal with, so we finally bit the bullet. We were going to have our regular plumber do it, but they quoted a price that made my eyes cross, so I found a small company that specializes in tankless water heaters and nothing else, which gave me a quote for a third less. So we have a shiny new heater with a good warranty, and we can run the hot water for as long as we want, woohoo!

I made a raised flower bed for bulbs, and am waiting for the bulbs to come up. I ordered them late (planting for spring bulbs in this zone is September through January, and I didn't get mine in the ground until this month) so I probably won't see anything for another couple of weeks, sigh.

We were informed at work that as employees of a health care company, we're eligible to sign up for covid vaccines. However, I work in an office, with minimal contact with other employees, and no patient contact at all. And I'm not in any of the high risk categories, so it seems pointless for me to get one when there are so many people who need it more. Besides, the appointments to get them are backed up for a month or more, so meh. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

New Year miscellanea

Christmas came and went mostly without incident; we had one friend over, and phoned a couple of others. I had the week between Christmas and New Year's off, and we caught up on a lot of TV series: the Mandalorian, ST Discovery, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, Dragon Prince, Hilda, the new She-Ra, and just this weekend, the Doctor Who New Year's special. I really enjoyed all of them, in different ways. The biggest "Oh, WOW!" moment was on Discovery, when the...let's say the entity that they took Georgieau to revealed who/what it really was. Both Kathy and I literally shouted "Oh, WOW!" at the television. But the last episode of The Mandalorian was a close second.

One subtler thing that pleased me was on the Dragon Prince. See, over the last year, we'd also watched Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, which was produced in the 00s, and we're still going through the new She-Ra (because we're only watching it once a week with a friend, it's going slower) which was produced in the mid-teens. Both of those shows have same-sex relationships. In The Legend of Korra, it's on the order of Ivanova/Talia in Babylon 5; it's there, but if you blink, you'll miss it. The characters barely interact in the season in which they supposedly fall for each other. The romance is not so much subtextual as absent, and you can easily read it as them being just good friends.

In She-Ra, the characters have a much more intense relationship, and the romantic subtext is much more front and center. The subtext finally becomes text only in the very last episode of the show.

In Kipo, and in The Dragon Prince, which were produced over the last two to three years, the characters in same-sex relationships are just. In them. They're married. Or dating. Or fighting to the death over a lava waterfall but at the last minute saving each other because OBVIOUSLY WHAT GENERAL AMAYA NEEDS IS A HOT SUN ELF GIRLFRIEND.

And that, especially for someone my age, is seriously cool.

(That said, all the people who were trying to sell me on Kipo when it first came out and said I should watch it because it had great representation, what you should have said was, "The main character is a WERE-MEGA-JAGUAR, and it's got great representation." Always lead with the were-mega-jaguar.)

And on a final note, if the shenanigans of the Republicans actually do result in postponing the inauguration, and we get President Pelosi for even a few hours, I am going to laugh my ass off. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

All right, let's do this December meme thing!

1 How do you feel about snow?

Snow is great if you go to visit it for a few hours for one day a year, and then go someplace warm and have hot chocolate. As an everyday thing it would drive me nuts. I get cold if it drops below 75F.

2 If you were a toy, what would you be?

Probably a stuffed animal of some sort, which a kid was once fond of, but outgrew, and has been sitting in a box gathering dust for awhile.

3 What’s your current weather situation, and how is it affecting your day?

Cold and rainy. Which is fantastic, since it's been over a hundred days without measurable rain here.

4 What was the last live performance or concert you attended?

I honestly don't remember. We don't go to many concerts.

5 What is the most offensive thing a person could say to you?

Huh. Well, the thing that offended me most when someone said it was when someone accused me of cutting corners on characterization. That's stuck in my craw over the years far, far more than any other insult or slur that's come my way.

6 Do you take compliments or praise well?

Not really. I mean, I like getting praised; I would rather be praised than not praised; but part of me always feels that I don't deserve it. However, I realized a long time ago that blowing off sincerely-meant compliments is annoying to everyone, and insulting to the people giving them, so I can fake taking them well with reasonable facility.

7 Who was your first teeny-bopper celebrity crush? Did you have posters on your wall? Did you ever see them in concert or meet them in person? (Pictures, please! Gotta have that pin-up poster on the wall.)

I don't generally get celebrity crushes. And if I do, the last thing I want is to meet the object thereof. The first fictional character I was ever obsessed with was Spock on Star Trek TOS.

8 What is your morning routine like?

Get up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head. Take my thyroid meds. Get dressed. Fix some kind of breakfast, pack lunch, head off to work.

9 What is your evening routine like?

Put off going to bed as long as possible. Clean the cat boxes, put out dry food to minimize midnight screaming on Cairo's part, brush teeth, take my vitamins, shower and wash my hair if needed. Then lie awake in bed for a minimum of half an hour.

10 Of the four personality temperaments based on the ancient Greek humors—sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic, which one best describes you?

Phlegmatic. I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

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Not how I expected to spend the evening. :(

Ma-San is gone. On Sunday, when we got up, she was crouched out in the kitchen. Which was really odd, because she seldom leaves her corner fortress. For the rest of the day, she wandered around the house, crying, going in circles, bumping into things. She seemed to have lost her central vision. Monday morning she was worse, and by the time I got home from work, she'd been wedged behind a door for most of the day, had lost control of her bladder, and except for apparently autonomic twitching of her legs, was completely unresponsive. We took her over to the emergency vet, who said it might have been a seizure, but there was no way to know for sure without extensive, expensive testing, and even if they found out what was wrong, there was virtually no chance of her recovering anything close to normal functioning. So we did what I'd figured all along we'd have to do, and said goodbye.

She was a cranky, annoying old lady, and none of the other cats will miss her, but I will. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Things and Stuff

This has been an... interesting month. Election week was incredibly stressful, and I don't think I'll fully relax until they drag the orange menace out of the White House in January. Not even then, really, because we've got to start planning for the 2022 midterms. God, I long for the days when I could safely ignore politics.

In the meantime, we'd bought a couple of pie pumpkins back at Halloween, and when we cut them up to boil down, we discovered that some of the seeds inside had started to sprout. So I planted a dozen of the best-looking sprouts in a flowerpot, and this weekend I transferred the seedlings to a plot in the backyard. I don't know if they'll survive long enough to set fruit (normally you plant pumpkins in the spring) but this is supposed to be a warm winter, so they might surprise us. It will be interesting to see what sort of pumpkins they turn out, if they do set any, as these are just randomly pollinated seeds rather than carefully created seed company hybrids.

We also built a fire pit in the backyard, out of concrete pavers. It was almost a disaster, because I mismeasured, and the concrete base I poured for it was too small. But I managed to extend it by cutting up a couple of spare pavers with the tile saw and mortaring them onto the edge of the base. No one would mistake it for a professional job, but it will do – and it's way better than the little metal dish thingy we'd been using.

We're having a very small Thanksgiving this year, just the two of us, one friend, and my brother. But then, we always have a small Thanksgiving. Regardless, there WILL be pie. We made pecan pies today, and I'll make a blueberry one Tuesday.

I have absolutely zero ideas for Seasonal Spuffy. Sigh. Hopefully I can at least come up with a drabble for the last free for all day. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

One Day More

Saturday morning we went to Trader Joe's for groceries – TJ's is pretty conscientious about limiting the number of people in their stores, so it's not unusual to have to stand in line for a few minutes. This time, there was a little group behind us, two women and a man, who were probably in their sixties, ten or so years older than I am. They were complaining loudly and bitterly about having to wear masks and stand in line, because covid was no worse than a cold and Kids These Days were weenies who wanted the government to take care of them. I wanted nothing more than to turn around and tell them that they were the worst bunch of whiney, entitled crybabies it had ever been my displeasure to share a line with, and they had some nerve complaining about Kids These Days when they themselves were so delicate that they were unable to deal with the minor inconvenience of standing in line for ten minutes. But I gritted my teeth and confined myself to muttering "Three more days," under my breath.

Saturday afternoon I spent several hours working on the fire pit for the back yard, which did not go very well. I decided to give it a rest and tackle it again next weekend.

On Halloween evening, we had a very small, socially distant get-together with our weekly gaming group – first time we've seen each other in person since March. It was fun. We'd left a bowl of candy on the front porch with a "Please Take One" sign; I rather expected that someone would take all the candy, but they took the bowl, too. :P It was a cheap plastic bowl, so no big loss, but this is why we can't have nice things, people.

Sunday we delivered as many of the GOTV flyers as possible – when I synced my address list, some of them had already voted (yay!) and a lot more of them, unfortunately, lived in apartments on the interior of gated communities, which I had to mark off as inaccessible. But we did our best. Bo was much aggrieved that I kept turning around to get addresses I'd missed – in some ways, electronic lists are awesome, but it's damned hard to read a cell phone in full sun.

I'm going to spend the next few days gnawing my fingernails off. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Twelve More Days

I've been meaning to post for awhile, and keep blowing it off. So before I forget again...

I had a cool thrift store find a couple of weeks ago: a set of hand-blown art glass tumblers – the kind you see at art fairs, with all the multicolored swirly glass. I've wanted a set for a long time, but they usually cost twenty dollars a glass or more, and couldn't really justify it when we have plenty of perfectly nice glassware already. I thought at first that this set had to be mass-produced, because you don't usually see hand-blown art glass at Goodwill for two dollars a pop. But upon examination, they had the artist's initials etched into the bottoms. So I snatched them up. There were six tumblers and two tall glasses that I guess are for cocktails, not that we ever have cocktails. We got rid of a few cheapass wine glasses to make room in the cupboard.

In my quest to do something constructive about the election, I volunteered to drop off get out the vote leaflets in my neighborhood. I downloaded the list of addresses the local legislative district sent me today, and I will do that this weekend -- all the addresses look to be within three blocks of our house, so it shouldn't take long. It's all no-contact stuff, just drop off the pamphlets at the front door and skedaddle. Which is infinitely better than the stuff we did before the mid-terms, which involved (shudder) talking to people. We also plan on running over to Lowe's and picking up some curved pavers and a few bags of sand, because we're finally gonna start building the permanent fire pit in the back yard.` comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Doggy Dental Adventures

Bo went to the vet today to have his teeth cleaned, and have one bad molar extracted. He's home and doing fine, but he's all groggy from the anesthesia, and his hind legs are wobbly. For awhile he kept getting up, wandering around, and collapsing, from floor to couch to floor again, but he's finally fallen asleep. We'll have to wake him up before we go to bed to give him his pain meds. The vet said he could have a little food tonight, but he hasn't shown much interest.

He did blithely attempt to kill me before I dropped him off in the morning. There's a landscaping strip between the vet's office and the Starbuck's next door. The vet's parking lot is a good six inches lower than the Starbuck's lot, and the curbing around the landscape strip is about twice as tall as the normal curb height around here. I was letting Bo sniff around while waiting for the vet to open up, and he went up into the landscaping. I started to step up after him, and right as I was lifting my foot, but hadn't lifted it quite high enough to clear the tall curb, Bo smelled something interesting, and pulled on the leash. I felt my toe catch on the curb, and had time to think "God damn it, not again!" as I fell gracefully to the ground, bashing my knee on the curb in the process. Bo, with his usual lack of empathy in the face of human suffering, paid absolutely no attention to my muffled curses, and kept sniffing the sage bushes while I clawed my way to my feet.

At least I didn't drop the leash. 😛 Luckily, I had a cold pack in my lunch box, so I could put that on my leg when I got to work. comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me

Fic Search

Does anyone remember the title or author of that fic series where Spike has a pet flying snake that was not at all borrowed from Alan Dean Foster's Flinx series? comment count unavailable Rants Talk to me