eregyrn: (Greenman)
As promised, I selected just 24 photos to represent the year, and hit every month except for April and September, I think. Click any to embiggen at Flickr.

Let's see if I can get one of those new-fangled LJ Collapse things to work...
I think I got it... oh it's just the old LJ Cut... )
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)
So on the morning of Xmas Eve, I drove down to my Mom's house on the Jersey Shore. The plan was that my brother and his brood would come down for lunch on Sunday, and on Monday I'd leave to go visit [ profile] raqs and [ profile] literalman, and then return home. Those of you in the U.S. and who have been paying attention will realize the snag in this plan: a gigantic blizzard that arrived on Sunday.

We turned out to be in one of the heaviest-hit areas, and it was something to behold, let me tell you. It also trapped me there for like 3 days, and my brother and his family never got down (even on the rescheduled Tuesday), and I didn't get to go see Raqs and Literalman either. :( Boo. (It would be more accurate to say that I got cold feet -- hah! -- about visiting Raqs and Literalman; I *could* have gone, but the second-worst hit area was That Fucking Island, and I honestly didn't want to deal with Long Island traffic complicated by 2 feet of snow. Also that by that time, I was peopled-out, having just spent four intensive days holed up with my mother, who was a bit squirrelly about the whole blizzard thing.)

Disrupted holiday plans and the annoyance of dealing with the snow aside, it was kind of neat, in a "wow, this is the worst storm anyone can remember, isn't it?" kind of way.

Below, I will share with you three videos and a number of photos, if you'd like to click.

More this way... )
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
Seriously, man. There can be no finer childhood Christmas remembrance than the new post by Hyperbole and a Half, The Year Kenny Loggins Ruined Christmas.

Go. And remember, Axe-Murderer Santa says, "MERRRRRY HO HO HO!" (or else, I guess)
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
A very happy and joyous Solstice is now past, spent in the good company of friends and lots of music and singing and dancing. Am off to my Mom's for Christmas. Until later!
eregyrn: (Arctic Fox - very small)
'Fess up -- who out there has been dreaming of a white Christmas?

Whoever it is, KNOCK IT THE HELL OFF.

(Okay, actually, it's still very pretty to walk through falling snow. And at least it's *warmed up* to the 30s. And the inch or so of snow that we got over the ice definitely gives better traction. But still.)
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
You know what the definition is of "BAD CAT"? A cat who removes an ornament from the tree and has to play with it, loudly, at 4:27am. A cat whose name is MORGAN.

(This was, luckily, one of the styrofoam ornaments that I hang on the lower branches with just this eventuality in mind. I'm a little bummed, though, because -- and [ profile] raqs will know what I'm talking about -- it's the only blue one left from the set of ultra-cheap styro balls wrapped in shiny silky floss that we bought at, like, Ames or something a skillion years ago. I have lots of red ones left, but just one blue and one green. They're very shiny! I like them on lower branches, and on the window-facing sides of the tree. I wish I knew where to get some more.)

I can't brag about my shopping prowess today, because Someone is likely reading this LJ. But I can say that there are certain stores that are really, really dangerous to go into at any time, and it was only with a great effort of willpower that I got out without purchasing many more things. (Hah! Let 'em wonder!)

You know what I hate? How when you go back to the same vendor to buy a pair of jeans to replace the jeans you love but that unfortunately have finally developed holes in strategically inconvenient places, you [a] have to buy the next size larger, even though it can't just be your Ever Expanding Ass's fault, because the old jeans still fit perfectly well (are a bit LOOSE, even), so, BITE ME, Gap; and [b] are seized with the suspicion that these new jeans are somehow flimsier than the old ones, and honestly, the old ones are not THAT old, what gives? Grr.

It's not just my jeans, either. My gloves, which have done yeoman's work for something like 4 or 5 years, finally developed a hole after shovelling on Sunday. *sigh* And my BELOVED GREEN VELVET SCARF (which [ profile] raqs brought for me years and years and years ago, from Germany) is developing a lot of holes/splitting/rips in its silk lining, and I just don't know what to *DO*. *sob* (Also, the gloves perfectly match the scarf, which is sad, because that particular nice shade of dark olive is so hard to find.)

I wish my clothes would get the memo that it's a week to Xmas and replacing key items of my wardrobe wasn't on my agenda.

ETA: What do you do when your bosses give you a holiday gift that is genuinely very pretty, but difficult to actually use/wear? I've just been given a lovely ethnic-y woven scarf, and my feeling is that I would like to figure out some way to use/wear it around the office in future, but... it's very *short*. Difficult to wear in practical terms. And I deeply suspect that if I do wear it the only way I can figure doing so, it will look like nothing so much as a prayer shawl.
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
Last night [ profile] raqs called me to report that I have apparently been identified as an Enemy Combatant in the War on Christmas by one B. O'Reilly. Because apparently, having a Christmas tree with white lights, instead of COLORED LIGHTS THE WAY GOD INTENDED, is an assault on Christmas Values, or some damn thing (thanks to [ profile] neodods for the link). Of course, folks who've seen me post pics of my tree will know that I strongly favor all-white-lights on the tree, which was a perennial battle with [ profile] raqs and [ profile] my_tallest, who favored multi-colored lights, and who are apparently not GOING TO HELL, according to O'Reilly. Unlike me.

And all I can say to that is: WOO-HOOOOOO!!!!!

I mean, honestly. Nothing brings me GREATER JOY this holiday season than the idea that my cherished traditions make Bill O'Reilly foam at the mouth. NOTHING, I TELL YOU!!!

So, anyway, my subject line: here's the deal.

Approximately four years ago, I woke up one morning to discover that the radio station whose morning show I listened to had, without warning, decided to entirely change their format, get rid of the DJs, and also get rid of things like on-the-hour news reports and weather... which is a great deal of the reason that I listen to the radio in the morning at all. Mightily disgruntled, I defaulted to the morning show of Boston's "oldies" station, reasoning that while the morning team there was a trifle too studiously "wacky" for my tastes (the previous station had been blissfully straightforward and without wackiness), they and the music they played were largely harmless.

This lasted for nearly a year, and then we came to Nov. 29, 2004. Ah, I remember it well. The Monday after Thanksgiving. And the oldies station very suddenly switched to an ALL CHRISTMAS MUSIC FORMAT.

*gack* Now, look. I may not be Christian any more, but I actually like Christmas. I like it for a lot of its traditional trappings. But I have strong feelings regarding the holiday season. MY STRONG FEELINGS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM. It boils down to this: too much of any good thing ceases to feel special, and starts feeling mundane. A fairly simple notion, no?

Not according to the people who advocate putting up Christmas decorations in malls starting in, like, October. :P

As far as I'm concerned -- call me a traditionalist (although Bill O'Reilly would disagree, obviously) -- "the Christmas season" starts on the first weekend of Advent (which is usually the first Sunday in December). That ca. 3.5-4 weeks' worth of Christmas is itself a trifle long, but at least that contains it within a reasonable boundary. For me, keeping the trappings of Christmas confined to a specific period like that is a way of keeping "the holiday spirit" from getting diluted and not-special.

I have another point, though, and it's this: when it comes to "modern" Christmas music of the sort that an oldies-rock station is likely to play, a little goes a LONG WAY, people. Most of it, I'm just not that fond of. I mean, it's okay, but I don't CHERISH it. I can hear it a couple of times, and then, you know, I'm good. You know what I don't need? A selection of the same dozen or so modern Christmas-rock songs played every morning for a month.

So, within 15 minutes of ascertaining that the radio station had indeed switched formats for the duration, I turned the dial on the radio in the bathroom to another local classic-rock station that has its own wacky morning show (no, not that one; the OTHER one, the one that isn't helmed by guys trying to be "Howard Stern Lite"). I mean, that should be okay; I like classic rock, so sue me. Also, most importantly? They weren't playing Christmas music. As the month progressed, they never switched over to a Christmas-music FORMAT until, like Christmas Eve. Yes, they occasionally busted out with a classic-rock seasonal song, or played the Adam Sandler Hannukah Song, or one of their own "wacky" Christmas songs. Whatever. I can take the odd intrusion here and there, as long as it's not wall-to-wall "festivity".

Yes, that morning show and I had a good 3-year run, there. You will notice that I use the past tense.

Now, I want you to take a look at the date. Go ahead, I'll wait....

*tap tap tap* Yes. It's November 13th.

And this morning? My formerly sane (more or less) classic rock morning show started up with, and I quote here directly from their website: "[station] celebrates the Christmas season by playing Boston's Favorite Christmas Songs all day and night through Christmas day."


So, that's it. Farewell, Other Classic-Rock Morning Show! As I did before, I'm walking away and not looking back. (Although, this time, I fired off a highly irritated email to the station president, program manager, and morning show DJs; for all the good it will do, which I suspect will be "none whatsoever".) I'm not sure what morning show I'll select tomorrow morning, but it damn well won't be one playing Christmas music, I can tell you that right now.
eregyrn: (Default)
I didn't do much but huddle for Valentine's Day (for the usual reasons, but also because there was a giant storm socking the Boston area that day) -- but I did this, for a group I'm in. This way to comics-geeky EQ fanart... )
eregyrn: (Default)
Yeah, I've been quiet lately. I do have stuff to post about (various things: went to a Canucks game on Thurs! an SGA ep write-up; etc.), and maybe I'll get to that over the lovely week off that I have coming. And thanks to having gone to Revels last night, I now feel at least a little bit of holiday spirit (The theme this year was German, and it was actually fairly successfully christmassy, which other regular attendants of the Cambridge Revels know is sometimes less the case than more.)

In the meantime, a look at the kind of stuff I do in my spare time that I don't generally show to LJ, which will also serve as a blanket holiday "card" to all of you -- yes, it's geeky, and if you aren't familiar with comics you probably won't get it, in which case, just admire the tree, because that, everybody should get. ;-)

Welcome, Yule!
Welcome, Yule!
(RTH Holiday 2006)

(Click on the thumbnail obviously; then click again to get the actual full-size version.)

So, Merry Whatever You're Celebrating to everybody on my flist! Ho ho ho.
eregyrn: (Default)
Marine Biology Mystery Solved: Function of "Unicorn" Whale's 8-foot Tooth Discovered
Harvard School of Dental Medicine Researcher Announces Findings Today

This is from a couple of days ago. Kind of neat, actually. Of course, I'm sure that orcas regard narwhals as snacks, but still, they're pretty wacky and interesting.

ETA: I feel I ought to state for the record that despite impugning them, to date, neither of the cats has so much as removed a single (unbreakable plastic) ornament from the Christmas tree, despite several being hung within easy reach. Hmm.

Oh, and I *did* find a metal display-thingie, which enabled me to put my grandmother's antique glass ornaments up, in a place the cats can't reach.

ETA2: Also, if you go and look at my previous entry, the YouSendIt link for some nostaligic holiday music ("The Heat Miser Song") is probably still good.
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
Time that Xmas tree has been up: 15 minutes.

Number of times cats have been up on the table to investigate/mess with it: 5 (3 for Morgan, 2 for Emily).

*sigh* This tree is goin' over at some point this holiday season, I can just FEEL it.

Due to some furniture rearranging, I didn't think that I would have room to put up the Big Tree this year, so I just went out and scoured Target for the 4.5' model that I could put on my lovely Turkish tile table. Pre-strung with white lights, natch. But it makes me nervous, because table + tree + windows = endless temptation for cats, apparently.

Speaking of whom, I also realized I had a problem. Last year, I decorated the tree entirely in Scandinavian straw ornaments, which was nice, (although [ profile] raqs pronounced it "pallid", what with the straw and the white lights). The cats (for which, really, read "Morgan") systematically removed a great number of the ornaments and turned them into cat toys. Any they could reach, that is. And some that I would have thought they couldn't.

Now, that was my first Xmas with Morgan. And I just realized... I don't know that I can risk putting my grandmother's glass ornaments on the tree, given the possibility either of it being knocked over or of intrepid cats fishing the ornaments off for toys. Again, I have to blame Morgan, because Emily's never really bothered them that much. But now I'm all nervous, and... I don't want to lose any more of those. They're too precious. (Perhaps I shall get one of those ornament-tree thingies for display and put it where the cats never look and never go and can't reach. That could work.)

Anyway, so, I needed unbreakable ornaments. Do you know how hard those are to find? Geez. Eight skillion choices of glass ornaments, oh sure, but you'd think that our mastery of plastics technology would allow us to make more choices of ornaments that LOOK like glass but, important, AREN'T.

So it's a little tree, and I need to fix myself some highly alcoholic eggnog before decorating it, but it's not the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, so that's okay, I guess.

(NOTE: Urban Outfitters is selling, no joke, the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. If you go to their website -- I'm too lazy to link right now, maybe later -- you can probably find it. It's, like, the little wooden cross-stand with the single branch with about three clusters of long-needle pine, and a single red bulb. I'm not sure whether that's charming or appalling.)

ETA: Huh. Weird. Yes, they're selling the tree, but it's not actually on their website. I had to hunt up the catalog to be sure it wasn't just a prop. But if you go HERE you can see it at lower right. Except if you click it, it takes you to a place where... it isn't. Although they *do* have a 6' pink tinsel tree. o.O
eregyrn: (Default)
If anyone out there can give me a hand remembering what it was I was doing *last* New Year's Eve, I'd appreciate it. My mind's a blank, though probably not for any terribly exciting reasons. I'm just like that. But it's really bugging the hell out of me. I clearly remember the New Year's *before* last. Just, not last year.

I apologize in advance if I actually spent it in the company of anyone here who might reply. My lack of memory doesn't mean you aren't scintillating or that I don't love you. Truly. Although really, anyone whom I might actually have spent New Year's with probably already knows about the way my brain works, or more precisely, often doesn't.

Ho Ho Ho

Dec. 25th, 2004 12:41 pm
eregyrn: (Little Deer)
It would appear that some kind of Xmas-y post is de rigeur for LJ, so...

Like a bunch of my friends, I have been finding it hard to really feel Christmassy this year (right up to and including today). I don't really blame anyone; it's something as much inside of me as it is due to the fact that nobody seems particularly up for it. I've been having a fairly low-key and low-effort holiday, therefore.

-- Revels was lovely, as I've reported, and *almost* Christmassy, despite the way my description sounded. Almost.

-- I like my tree. [ profile] raqs (who visited briefly yesterday, which made for a really nice day because we also had lunch at the Iguana with [ profile] tafkarfanfic and her lovely husband; and then we watched three episodes of SG S3 that she had somehow never seen, and how can you *be* a Daniel fan and not have seen "Maternal Instinct"? But I digress...) pronounced my tree "pallid", which I think is fair, although I prefer the term "golden". Also, "cat-safe". It is nothing but golden-white lights and golden straw ornaments, which the cats are perfectly free to take down and turn into cat toys, since they can't hurt them; and which they do with great frequency. (I would post a picture except I don't think I can upload it to my webspace from here. Or at least, I don't know how.)

-- good lord. I just realized that I had a dream last night in which I caught the larger cat, Emily, actually jumping up and climbing up INTO the tree. This is something neither has actually done yet, to the best of my knowledge, although I did actually catch Emily standing up into the tree, so that only her hind feet on the ground were visible underneath it. Huh.

-- I watched "Sense & Sensibility", which is not Christmassy, but which is possibly my favorite movie and which makes me feel gooey inside. Last night, I also watched the 1984 George C. Scott "A Christmas Carol", which is my favoritest version of that story EVER, as everyone to whom I have ever subjected it knows. That *does* make me feel Christmassy.

-- And! It's not Christmas without a Christmas Miracle! In my case... I have this cassette tape that [ profile] raqs and I bought in like 1992 called "Handmade Christmas Music", produced by this tiny little private folk-music place. I got the tape in the divorce. For years now we have been saying that we ought to try to get it digitized so that we can both have good copies. I tried really, really hard to do that this year, but that's another story (a comedy of errors about a bunch of hapless help-desk guys and an equally technologically hapless middle-aged woman on the day before Winter break). Suffice to say, I didn't get it done this year.

Last night, after I had taken [ profile] raqs to the train station, on a lark, I typed "Handmade Christmas Music" into Google. Please understand, I have done this before. I think I did it only a year ago, without luck. Last night, however -- the first link that popped up was a link to the website of the guy who had recorded this tape, and lo and behold (cue choir of angels), not only was there finally a CD version of this album for sale, but ALSO, a SEQUEL. You do kind of have to really like instrumental versions of Christmas carols played on folksy instruments like hammer dulcimer and harp and banjo ("Duelling Jingle Bells" -- no, not kidding), to like these, but we do. I have now ordered them in the hope that they'll actually come soon, while it's still really the holidays, which makes up for my having been a moron and not doing this Google search on a lark a couple of weeks ago, say.

-- Tonight I will take my friends to the traditional Christmas dinner at a fine Chinese restaurant. And that will be nice. Then I will come home and read [ profile] raqs's new draft of "Two Sides", because honestly, that story is probably my favorite Christmas present this year, and I don't care what anyone else thinks.

So, merry Christmas to all, whatever you're doing. I hope that no matter how you celebrate the holiday, or even if you don't, that it's a good day, the kind of day you want it to be.
eregyrn: (Axe-Murderer Santa)
How true that is.

Tonight being the Solstice, [ profile] flos_campi and [ profile] hedgies and [ profile] my_tallest and I went to the Christmas Revels. While the Quebecois-themed performance this year was not precisely Christmassy (apart from a group-sing of "Les Anges dans nos Campagnes" and the Usual Revels Favorites), it was at least UPBEAT, which is close enough. (In sharp comparison to, say, the somewhat dour Scottish Revels last year.) And it inspired the following sequence of comments:

"Satan. What could be more Christmassy?"

"Frolicking skeletons. What could be more Christmassy?"

"You know, it just isn't Christmas without a Werewolf."

"Truly, it just isn't Christmas without a jousting Werewolf."

"Yeah, it just isn't Christmas without a jousting Werewolf playing baseball." (Yes, this involved a Red Sox pennant.)

"Ah, it just isn't Christmas without Napoleon."

"What says Christmas more than the Gates of Hell?"

"With skeletons?"

And yet, let me remind you -- this was definitely the MOST UPBEAT Revels we'd seen in years. And we were saying that without irony.

So here's to a happy Holidays for all of you. May the Christmas Werewolf bring you all good things. Axe-Murderer Santa says so.
eregyrn: (Default)
Okay. Tell me there's nothing creepy about displaying festive Christmas flowers that were originally meant as a sympathy gift but which were delivered to my address by mistake, even though the addressee does not live here.

In my own defense, I went so far as to try to look up the addressee to determine if she in fact lived nearby, and was willing to *take* the flowers to her, if I could find her. Having failed to find her, I then looked up the name of the guy who sent them, and called him to tell *him* that I was willing to redeliver them if he could figure out where they should go. I suspect that he's a funeral director, actually (as no normal guy answers the phone at 8:30pm on a Thursday night with "hello, Brasco and sons"). And since pointsettia plants probably cost $1.50, he told me not to go to any trouble, and to keep and enjoy them, and he'd try to see if they could find the intended recipient. So, you know, permission and all. Not stealing them.

Still. Sympathy flowers. Though not lillies, thank goodness.

Now I have to figure out how to keep the cats from eating them. (Morgan has already tried. Twice.)


eregyrn: (Default)

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