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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2011
     
    I finished The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher today, and I quite enjoyed it. I was quite taken with certain elements of the book and indeed, I was even inspired to blog about it (see today's post). Thanks again!

    I didn't write about it, but I went to a funeral for a friend of the family a couple weeks ago. He was an old guy and he'd been sick for a while, but he was really great and we all miss him a lot. He's one of the guys we hang out with when my brother and Dand and I go to the mountains, and he was a real character. To many funny stories to relate.

    In other news... there isn't much other news. Well, next weekend, I'm going on my yearly retreat with my Dad and Brother, and it looks like a friend of the family who used to go but who moved far way has returned to the area and will also be showing up, so that should be cool. It's also my niece's birthday this week, and there's a party on Sunday. Good times. Not sure what to get her though. I gave my nieces the Star Wards lego saga for the Wii on Christmas, and that's apparently all they've wanted to do since then... but I don't want to totally overrun my brother with video games. Perhaps just some clothing? Or other toys? I'll figure something out.

    The following weekend will be the yearly fatbowl football game, followed by the superbowl. It's being hosted by someone up north this year though, so I'm not sure if all the Philly folk will be making the trip.

    Otherwise, yeah, not much else going on. 3 books down for the year, which is a pretty good start I think. And hopefully I won't be slowing down anytime soon. Next up: Shards of Honor, by Lois McMaster Bujold (science fiction diplomacy thing, I think, the first in a long series featuring the same characters, though I get the impression that most of the novels are stand-alone).

    I finally started watching the final season of Lost, as it's now available on Netflix Watch Instantly. Got pretty far too. The thing that most strikes me about this season is that the penultimate conflict of the series has pretty much nothing to do with the first four or so seasons. I mean, obviously lots of characters and stuff happened and it's kinda/sorta important, but it's almost like this last season is a completely different story with characters established in another series or something. But that's another post for another day, perhaps when I finish the series.

    The 2010 movie catchup is going swimmingly, though I'm not sure when I'll be able to polish off my top 10. I can get to 8 pretty easily, but filling those last two slots is tough (this happens seemingly every year, though).

    Ok, so some stuff going on I guess. How's everyone else doing? I trust all is well? Excellent? Excellent.

    ~tallman
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      CommentAuthorSpencer
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2011
     
    Yay! I'm glad you liked it. That was a pretty thorough review, and a good one. I have a hard time writing books reviews.

    I've read a few books so far this year, but nothing too taxing. I have two books awaiting me that should have more substance. I'm back to enjoying reading, but I still don't often pick up a book because I know it will suck me in. I have a hard time pulling myself away, and then I end up neglecting chores (not always a problem, except when I need to buy groceries and clean out the litter boxes).

    I'm sick again. This time it's a head cold, which is much more preferable to the illness I had just before Christmas. I've been having the standard allergy symptoms due to the high levels of mountain cedar (actually juniper - Juniperus ashei) pollen in the area. Lots of people suffer this allergy; Central Texas is notorious for allergens. You'd think being born and raised here, I wouldn't be allergic, but I am.
    Today I'm actually sick though. I've had a rash on my chest, stomach, and part of my arms and legs for a few days. The symmetry of the rash tells me it's viral, and I didn't have any other symptoms of a virus until yesterday. The rash is annoying, but it's not usually too itchy.

    I'm tired of being sick. Migraines, arthritis pain, allergies, infections...bah. I tried to donate blood last week, but my heart rate was 120 both days. I've been exercising and eating better, partly in the hopes of lowering my average resting HR. But I might need to consider the medication the cardiologist mentioned.

    You take lots of trips, even if they're fairly small. That's cool though. I'm quite the homebody. But I'd like to take a trip now. Something really easy and cushy, with a super nice hotel room. I think I just want a break from my responsibilities. We don't have room in our budget for a trip though, not unless Charles gets a big raise and/or bonus. That means you all will need to come to me this time!

    I suggest you get your niece books. Lots of books. I always liked that as a kid. And candy, but maybe something she's not had before. How old is she again? I think she's close in age to my oldest niece. I don't understand some of the things these kids like though. Silly bandz? Pfft. My nieces got an XBox 360 Kinect for Christmas from their dad, and while they like it, they didn't seem too impressed. They can't truly appreciate new technology.

    I've been watching Psych and finished the latest season a few days ago. I watched the pilot a month or two ago and didn't really like it. But then when I was sick the last time, I started watching the rest because there was nothing else to do. It turned out to be pretty damn hilarious, though season 5 wasn't as good. I know this brand of humor isn't for everyone, and there lots of 80s references (because the main characters were born in the mid-late 70s).

    Charles got braces last Thursday. They are the Damon system of braces, so they're supposed to be faster and better (no need for tooth extractions). But they're still high maintenance. There are little rubber bands, special bracket brushes, wax, and floss threaders. Charles can't bite down all of the way, and his gums hurt from the teeth being moved, so he can only eat certain things. The orthodontist gave him a list of things he can't eat at all. The first five are things he likes a lot - chips (except extremely thin ones), popcorn, nuts, pretzels, and ice.

    The braces were 100% his idea. No doubt his teeth are crooked, but that never bothered me. It bothers him though, and he does have a hard time keeping his teeth completely clean. Braces are indeed expensive. Dental insurance only covers $1500. We're using a Flexible Spending Account now, so we can at least save income tax on them.

    I'm trying to improve the quality of the jewelry I make. I bought a great book on tools, materials, and techniques. I also have a gift certificate to a bead store that offers classes, so I think I'm going to take at least one class on a more advanced technique (I can not tie good knots for anything). And then I signed up for a UT Informal Class for this April - Beginning Jewelry Fabrication. It's about working with bronze, nickel, and copper metals, and I think it will be so much fun.
    I need to get back into the swing of just making jewelry. I keep getting bogged down with ideas, often things I can't really do because I need to be taught the techniques. I learn best by having someone show me. So I end up making nothing rather than something easier. And that's just dumb.

    Those are the most interesting bits of my life. I guess. I'm trying to keep things manageable so that I stay healthy most of the time.
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      CommentAuthortallman
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2011
     
    So far this year, I've read:

    On Writing by Stephen King
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

    And I'm on pace to finish off Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold this week too. It's a pretty good pace for the start of the year! I know what you mean about getting sucked in, and as a single guy, I have no one to nag me into my chores either. Score.

    Anyway, I hope you feel better. I'm lucky in that I don't really have much in the way of allergies. Sorry, don't mean to rub it in:p

    Believe me, between all the little trips, I'm not doing anything exciting. Pretty much sitting at home most of the time!

    I will most definitely make the trip to the bookstore to see if I can find something she might like. She's turning 6, so she's not quite reading a lot on her own, but she's getting close.

    I don't think I could deal with braces. Pretzels, in all their various forms, are a staple of my diet.

    Good luck on the jewelry making front. Obviously not the same, but I started working on my next homebrew and I think I'm getting a bit more advanced than perhaps I should, but It should still (hopefully) come out ok. Now I just need to find a few unbroken hours to brew!

    ~tallman