Gwnewch y pethau bychain

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A wish for you on New Year’s Day

Hello, and welcome to 2007.

In 2007, may you spend more time looking forward, not looking back.

In 2007, may you spend more time making grand plans and executing them, inviting your soul and being creative, and living life to the fullest.

In 2007, may you spend more time doing small, special things for your friends, your family, your loved ones.

In 2007, may you spend more time laughing, and making music, and increasing the joy in the people around you.

In 2007, may you spend more time helping each other, and holding each other, and saying “I love you” to each other.

Best wishes to you all. The best is yet to be.

The 12 -isms of Christmas

This one goes out to all you art majors out there — and anyone who ever had to sit through an art history class. Thanks to sotto_voce for pointing it out to me!

Warning: while visually SFW, it does contain some bad language.

(Here’s the link to the page on YouTube)

Tis the season

With the Thanksgiving holiday behind us, it’s time to look forward to December. I love this season, no matter whether it is Christmas or Solstice or Hanukkah or something else entirely, or even if it’s just December. Folks just seem more decent and nice to one another, and the days seem cheerier, and the world is a brighter and happier place. So, in that theme, some holiday oriented links to get the season off to a good start:

  • Tris McCall’s Christmas Abstract
    Ok, I know I post this every year, but I just love this entire essay. Tris McCall runs down all the popular Christmas music and offers opinions on them, according to a very specific and idiosyncratic criteria. I don’t agree with everything there, but it’s compelling reading. Some excerpts

    Linus and Lucy

    Speaking of Peanuts, I consider A Charlie Brown Christmas the high point of Western civilization. Okay, I’m kidding. A little. No, really, since Christian theology has been the font for monumental artistic expression from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel to Of The Heart, Of The Soul, and Of The Cross, it’s possible to see the Peanuts special as a sort of crown — a succinct and poetic articulation of ancient principles. If you can understand why Charlie Brown chooses the tiniest and most unhealthy-looking tree in the lot, you’re at least halfway to the proper spirit in which to approach the Gospels. Incidentally, the famous Linus speech I alluded to in the last entry is Luke 2.8-14, straight from the King James Version. I don’t think that is made clear during the program. CBS certainly knew, and they were shitting bricks that audiences would find the special too preachy. This was 1965; in 2003, a project like this one doesn’t even get out of the gate. Thank God it’s been grandfathered in as an annual event — by now it’s too much of an institution for the seculars to gripe about St. Schulz, and really, how much Heatmiser can a person take?

    Have A Holly Jolly Christmas

    God, what a retarded song. What the hell is a “cup of cheer”? It must have taken the composers all of three minutes to put together this lyric. Here are the rhymes, or what passes for them: year/cheer, street/meet, see/me, hear/year. It is a damning critique of our culture that it makes songs like this inescapable for a full twelfth of our lives. Anybody who thinks there’s any ground for substituting “Holly Jolly Christmas” for “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” — on progressive grounds or otherwise — deserves to have to listen to records like this. “Have a holly jolly Christmas/ and in case you didn’t hear,” it wraps up, before it repeats the title as if there are only five words in the whole world. I heard.

    I love Christmas music, so a huge long catalog of the best and worst of the genre is always worth revisiting.

  • Speaking of revisiting, if you’ve ever wondered how some of those Christmas classics came to be written, here’s a wonderful article that goes into just that history. Definitely fun reading.
  • Atlanta’s free altweekly newspaper, Creative Loafing, has a great article this week on Seventeen ways you can make a difference, even if you’re broke. The specific contact info for various volunteer organizations tends to be Atlanta-specific, as is to be expected, but the ideas given here are universal. If you find you have a little spare time or energy this holiday season, see if you can’t find some inspiration here to go and make a difference in someone’s life.
  • Finally, just for enjoyment, absolutely the coolest home holiday lights display I’ve ever seen. Thanks to danea for pointing me towards it.

    I hope everyone has an utterly fantastic holiday season!

Catching Up, Part the Second

When last we left our intrepid ACat, it was the week before Christmas (and all through the house…) and I had intended to write another post within 24 hours that caught everything up to the current day. Having failed to do that then, I shall endeavor to do it now. Isn’t this so much better than six geese-a-laying?

Falling off the face of the earth

Wow, i really did disappear. I didn’t mean to, honest. And for once, I can’t say that the reason I haven’t been writing is because things have been boring and nothings going on. Rather the opposite, in fact. So, rather than try to write six weeks worth of LJ in a couple of hours, which would probably bore us both to tears, let me explain.

No, there is no time. Let me sum up…

  • OVFF was all kinds of fun. By this point, most of my enduring memories are going to be rather dull to the majority of you (and tend to fall mostly in the category of “Mmmm, she’s snuggly”), but I did have a marvelous time surrounding myself with the music, and even played a little more during the weekend than I usually find myself. The pirate hallway circle alymid, joecoustic and I started was an especial highlight.

    There were some people I had wanted to spend a little more time with, and didn’t get to for a variety of reasons, but on the whole I had a marvelous time and miss everyone terribly already.

  • kitanzi and I attended the first meeting of a proposed monthly Atlanta poly discussion/support group, which was both entertaining and interesting. We’ve really enjoyed getting to know some of the people in the local poly community ever since we discovered there actually was such a thing. New friends are always a blessing, and and many of these folks are just plain fun to be around. I’m glad we’ve met them, and look forward to getting to know them even better as time goes by.
  • khaosworks came over to spend the weekend with us over Thanksgiving. kitanzi prepared a rather impressive spread of food, including a delightful Chicken Roulade stuffed with apricots and cranberries, ginger sweet potatoes, broccoli and cheese, chestnut stuffing with gravy, and yeast rolls. There was easily enough for 6-8 people, so we had leftovers for a few days. It was all kinds of yummy. We played a lot of City of Heroes, watched a lot of Sex and the City and Dead Like Me on DVD (we’re only just watching both series, the former thanks to Netflix, the latter because I bought it after many recommendations).

    khaosworks also brought along several of his Dr. Who DVDs, giving me the chance to see “Tomb of the Cyberman” for the very first time. I always was a big fan of Troughton’s Doctor, and this is one of his finer stories, only recently restored after being recovered in 1992. Great fun.

  • Went to a party at the home of baiku and celticmoni, which was a lot of fun. The invitation asked us to bring Christmas music, so I burned my entire Christmas music folder of mp3s to a DVD-R — slightly over 2 gb of songs. I hope they get some use of it, since we never did get around to playing any of it at the time, but there was good food and company, so it was well worthwhile.
  • We made it to the first Atlanta housefilk since before Worldcon in December. (Not that there haven’t BEEN any…we just hadn’t made it to any. Well, we tried to attend in November, but no one else showed up. But I digress….) Had a lot of fun swapping songs with mrpsyklops and hilfy and everyone else who managed to show up for a wonderful evening of food and music at Dave and Signe’s.
  • JediMUD’s coder retired on us in November, leading us to search for a new one. In the course of trying to work my own friends network to find possibly interested people, I asked a good buddy of mine if he knew anyone who might be interested in a coder position on a mud. Turns out, he was. So bardiclug is now in charge of the 1s and 0s at Jedi.

    We’ve been having some very interesting talks about the future, and what we want out of the game. The next 2 years should be quite an interesting time for us all, but I’m very excited about some of the things we’re thinking of doing.

  • Work has variably stressy through this entire period. We finally got in some new equipment to alleviate some performance issues in one of our systems, which has resulted in my working 3rd shift for the last week and a half, as we transfer data to the new equipment in stages after hours when customers are busy sleeping and dreaming.

    It’s funny, because I enjoy this sort of thing in small doses. It’s quiet, I get to work from home, and I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. But nearly 2 solid weeks of it gets tiring, and I feel disconnected from everyone. I’m hoping that tomorrow will be the last batch of this project, so that I can go back to normal hours on Monday. Especially since…

  • eloren had her baby on Saturday, and we all welcomed Rachel Shea into the world. When I talked to her on Sunday, both mom and daughter were doing well, and I got to have the fun of telling everyone at work on Monday when I went in for our department meeting, but it DOES means I’m going to miss her for the next few weeks while she is on leave and doing the whole new mom thing.

And that catches us up on the really big stuff, I guess, up to last week, and I think I’ll break off here and try to start some more regular entries from this point forward. 🙂

Sorry to vanish for so long. I’ll try not to do that again.

A Bit of Cheer, A Bit of Melancholy

We’re 2/3s of the way towards establishing a tradition of seeing a movie on Christmas Day. Last year, we waited until the 25th to see The Two Towers, so this year we decided to go see Return of the King. Since khaosworks was in town and hadn’t seen it yet either, we offered to swing by and pick up him up from Bedlam House.

When we arrived, the entire Sutton family was in the middle of doing their Christmas morning gift exchange, so we sat awhile to wait before dragging Terence away. I spent some time playing with the baby and keeping him in good humour while wrapping paper and bows flew every which way and people reacted to their gifts.

At some point, both kitanzi and I were struck with a real sense of…displacement. We were observers in the middle of this wonderful, warm family dynamic, an interweaving of traditions and customs born of years of love and care and we became painfully aware that we didn’t have anything like that in our life. I haven’t been home for Christmas in 15 years, for a variety of reasons that no longer seem important. I doubt it matters, since I’m sure that my family is no longer doing the big get-togethers like they used to do when my grandfather was alive, anyway.

Still, for all the feeling of nostalgia for something i never actually have been a part of, it was really wonderful to watch the sheer joy of the season enacted in a living room between a family only starting to expand into its next generation. This is the family Christmas of post cards and story telling, and it’s really happening in at least one house in Atlanta. If someone ever manages to bottle that, send me a six-pack.

Happy Christmas everyone!

Yes that’s right, today is Christmas. So even if you don’t celebrate it, have a merry one, ok?

Speaking of Christmas, one of the lovely things about the season is the music. No, really. And yesterday, I came across this lovely dissection of various Christmas music and carols by Tris McCall. Wonderful, biting commentary, some surprisingly deep thoughts on religion and spirituality (of which more in my next post), and a good time for everyone. oreouk especially needs to see this one!

If you ever wondered how some of those Christmas classics were written, check out this cool webpage

Ah, Christmas

Because if the season is about anything, it’s about being traumatized by a large bearded man in a red suit

Seen on Usenet

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best
wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible,
low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, celebration of the
winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable
traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or
secular practices of your choice, with respect for the
religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or
their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions
at all… and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and
medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally
accepted calendar year of 2004, but not without due respect for
the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions
to society have helped make America great, (not to imply that
America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the
only “America” in the western hemisphere), and without regard to
the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith,
choices of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This
greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely
transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It
implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of
the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited
by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual
application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until
the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes
first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or
issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Yes, Virginia…

“Besides, to believe in Santa Claus is to believe in magic. The belief in magic in many respects is a pernicious thing. Because of it you’ve got countless multitudes thinking that aliens abduct people, that Elvis is alive, that you can earn big money stuffing envelopes in your home, and that the TV preacher can cure you if you send him 50 bucks. A certain class of persons, of whom your columnist is one, will go through their lives attempting to extinguish these foolish hopes. No doubt in the main it is good that we do so. But even the sternest among us remembers the wonder we felt as children to think there was a force having a kindly interest in us that wasn’t bound by the rules of this drab world. Wherefore if there’s someone who’s going to say flat out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist, it’s not going to be me.”
–Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope

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