Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday morning things

* Something is definitely wrong with the garage door; it's hanging asymmetrically and I can see a cable hanging down, which should not be. I just pushed it up manually (having previously decoupled the door from the driver) and left it up - there's really nothing in my garage worth stealing, and the garage is 100% detached from the house so no one could gain entry to my house from it.

I have to call the guy but meh. It's still cold and I still am lacking motivation. It's not an urgent issue; I can operate the door manually if need be for a while.

* I read a bit over break. The one book I finished was Freeman Wills Croft's "The Hog's Back Mystery." It was a moderately interesting Golden Era mystery, though I admit I was mentally yelling at the inspector who did it (and I was right) long before he apparently figured it out. (Well, actually, it was two somebodies working together, but I pegged one of them). Another thing Croft does: at the very end, he took a chapter and PAINSTAKINGLY (with page references even) went how the Inspector figured it out. I....don't know about that. I mostly skipped it. I know some of the Golden Era writers were obsessive about "playing fair" (as in: the reader is given all the clues necessary to figure out who did it and why) but it seemed a bit much.

I also started "Sergeant Cluff Stands Firm" but gave up on it a few pages in, and in fact, even left it at my parents' house, because it was depressing. Or at least I found it depressing in subject matter (a woman who had been a spinster marries "late in life" (in her 40s) to a younger man, then she's found dead, everyone figures it's suicide because she had just passed menopause (so the police doctor states) and realized she'd never have kids). The depressing part to me wasn't so much the "hey, I'm kind of like her, except for the younger husband" but the "of course no woman without children can be happy" assumption. Also the style was different - more spare, more gritty. I read a description of a barmaid who had a "side hustle" that, while the Oldest Profession, would have technically been illegal, and thought, "This HAD to have been written in the late 50s or early 60s" and flipped to the front matter and....yup. Written 1960.

I also read - mostly, while waiting for the very delayed train in Mineola - "Murder for Christmas" by Francis Duncan. This one features Mordecai Tremaine as sort of an amateur consultant-type detective. It was an interesting story - not great writing, but certainly enjoyable, and some of Tremaine's personality quirks (he loves reading romance magazines because apparently he has a romantic's heart, despite being an "old bachelor" himself) are kind of endearing, so I might track down more in the series at some point and read them.

I also started - and am continuing on with - "Young Titan," which is a biography of the early years of Churchill's life. It's interesting, both in terms of the circles he moved in, but also in the sense that he was in some ways like every young man - he had a lot of unsuccessful romances, he tended to be a bit full of himself and what he could do, he had that "typical 20-year-old" attitude ("I'm going to fix this bad old world and I know how!").

* It seems lots of people around here are sick. Some of the school districts have closed down for the rest of the week because of flu and/or strep throat (one of my students is out with strep - her kids brought it home. She e-mailed me the doctor's note....) I dunno why this is a bad year for both - well, the flu is because the flu shot is a bad match for the common strain (though they say that if you get the flu and had the flu shot, you will be less sick, and I really wonder if one of the URIs I had this fall/winter was actually a weak bout of the flu - perhaps the one in November, I certainly had the body aches and chills with that one. If so, I would definitely rather get a post-flu-shot flu than a no-flu-shot flu, remembering how sick I was more then 20 years ago now when I got full-blown flu before I started getting regular flu shots....)

I'm wondering if the cold snap affects things, too: more people indoors, in possibly-overheated and too-dry places, their mucous membranes get dried out, and it's easier to get viruses then.

* My Susan Branch calendar claims today is "Visit your local Fabric Store Day." I confess I am contemplating making a run to Lulu and Hazel's - because they're here, because I don't celebrate these funny little holidays enough, and because I'm hoping they might have one last little thing (maybe even some notion with their brand on it) for the swap package. If nothing else, I can see what they have in that's new.

I really don't need more fabric though. I need to use what I have. What I should try to do is set aside a half-hour a couple afternoons a week and work on the birb quilt, or work on hand-quilting the top currently in the frame. I am not sure what top I will make next once I am done with the "birb" quilt - maybe dig out one of the precut packages and use it. I have one of "Texas Wildflowers" I have put aside for a just-simple framed-square quilt, and the colors in it are nice, especially now, when everything is grey or tan for the winter.

I don't have lab this afternoon (no intro labs the first week) so I do have that time....though I also need to make those edits and re-make those figures. (Then again: the figures should not be as bad as I feared, as I originally made them in SPSS, so I should have all the coordinates in a file that I might even be able to dump easily into Excel - which is how they want the graphs made, which puzzles me, because many journals dislike Excel graphs, but whatever.)

* This word from Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. (My paraphrased definition below):

Anthrodynia: That feeling of being so fed-up with how lousy and mean people can be, that anything that is just simply nice, or earnest, or that exists without snark an irony, becomes something you love deeply and cling to, as much for its contrast with the cruelty of many humans.

(the original definition contains one harsh word....)

But yes. Oh, yes, that. I do get tired about how mean people can be, and how for some folks, a state of constantly acting jaded at the universe is a THING....which is perhaps why I tend to go overboard on my unironic love of some silly things like fairy lights and Hello Kitty and My Little Pony and fuzzy blankets and those sorts of things. And why it's so welcome to me when I have that ONE person in a class who is as excited about the subject as I am, and who actually cares about it and wants to know more, not because it will earn them more money in some nebulous future, but because they think it's cool and interesting and that knowing stuff is fun....

(To an extent I also feel this way about the incandescent anger that exists in our culture right now. I get that there are a  lot of things to be angry about - shoot, there are things I could be angry about if I had the energy - but by and large I'm just exhausted by it and I wish things were such that people could be happy instead.)

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