Yearly Recap

Hey.  A whole year has passed.  Time is a tricky thing. 

There are nearly 52 weekly recaps up here so there is not much for me to do in a yearly recap.  But I will nonetheless.  

I’ve been watching the eldest kids of my closest friends.  This is the year that they are turning 12 and 13.  It is fairly spectacular.  Over the course of the next year they are going to stop thinking of themselves as kids and want to be smaller adults instead.  “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”  so much change.

I on the other hand turned 40.  Certainly far, far from childhood.  So another quote.  “When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.” – C.S. Lewis.  All in all I don’t see a big difference from being 39.  

As usual the big activity for me this year was work.  I started at the government in 2011 with the express purpose of seeing a major project go live.  At the start of 2013 we did go live.  Two years of work had finally paid off.  Then by March of 2013 the project was cancelled.  That was a heck of a roller coaster.  But new projects… it took about 6 weeks for new projects to emerge.  Some of those are also already complete.  I also had some big anniversaries at work.  It is my 16th year working for government.  That means that in 2014 I get more holidays and that in November they finally gave me my 15 year anniversary pin. 

Everything at work is still a bit hush hush due to security.  Always weird that I’m unable to talk about the stuff that I spend the most time doing.  But most of y’all wouldn’t care anyway.  

My immediate family are doing well.  My parents siblings are slowly growing aged.  Unfortunately that means, among other things, weakness, illness and the passing of some beloved family members.  Hopefully the next year will see a remission… 

My own disability has been a challenge this year too.  I thought it would be a big year of change, but so far the change has been slight.  Mostly that is because I’ve been waiting for 6 months for my wheelchair to arrive.  Without it I’m still toddling around.  It is in town, but stuck awaiting programming and assembly at the vendors until the New Year.  But standing and walking at all is a trial now.  So next year I think there will be other changes as week as it becomes difficult to do transfers entirely.  To that end I’ve starting to look at moving sometime early in the new year.  It is hard to plan because without the wheelchair I do not really know what I need… but the darn thing has taken so long to get here that I need to start looking at the next step even in its absence.  

All in al 2013 has been a year of fairly dramatic change or, it areas, the preparation and anticipation of change.  I hate change.  So it hasn’t been the most comfortable year overall.  

Often this blog seems to be a catalogue of woes or a recitation of the trivial.  Not being able to talk about work is part of that since that is where I’ve had the most success.  But day to day life has been pretty good.  Those things that give me joy are still all around.  Friends and family for the greatest part.  

But other things:

Gaming – we resolve a huge campaign and started a new one.  It looks like the new one will peter out at the end, but it was still a lot of fun.  I just need to put the capper on it.  

Books – Several of my favourite authors released new books this year.  Neil Gaiman, Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, Guy Gavriel Kay, Cory Doctorow, Daniel Abraham (especially as James S.A. Corey with a cowriter) – all had great releases.  The end of The Wheel of Time was particularly exciting for me since I’ve been following the book since it started in the 90s.  I also found new authors.  Connie Willis is likely the most exciting.  

TV continues to be very exciting too.  The first season of Broadchurch is my highlight for tv for the year.  But new seasons of Luther and Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey and Justified all made it a fun year to watch tv.  Old standards like Doctor Who continue to be fun.  And, of course, there was the incredible end to Breaking Bad.  

Comics was the year of Marvel Now and of Image.  I was sucked into some big crossovers that I quite enjoyed this year, but the best books are more idiosyncratic ones from creators: Young Avengers, Hawkeye, Private Eye, Lazarus, Velvet, Saga, Avengers Arena, Locke and Key.  There was some really good stuff there.  

And finally movies.  I saw one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life this year.  It was horrendous.  But there were good shows too. So many really.  Go look at top 10 lists on the web.  There are dozens of them.  

OK.  Thanks to all.  To all of everybody who made this year pretty cool.  Enjoy the last hours of the year and i’ll catch up to you in the new one.  

 

Wait. One more cat thing?

The cat was not loud, but he was persistent. The sound was not a meow. It was not pleasing. It was a low growl at its start; a rumble in the back of his throat. It ended in a plaintive tone.

The cat was underfoot. Each step I took included having the cat press against my leg. His tail wrapped around my calf.

The whole time the cat was always making noise. He demanded attention.

You see, five minutes ago I put the wrong food in his dish. My torment will continue until I provide edible food.

Or until the cat tripped me and ate my face.

Weekly Recap

I had an eventful week, but this is really about The Hobbit.

Spoilers

I watched the new Hobbit movie yesterday. Most people are saying it is an improvement over the first. Less walking, less dinner parties, more fighting.

Meh. As a fan of the book I was unimpressed.

There is a lot to impress during the action scenes though. I’ve waited my whole life to see a dragon on screen as impressive as those in my imagination. Smaug is just plain cool.

Legolas and Tauriel are completely kick butt. They do something awesome every moment they are in action.

But they are also a symptom of my issue with the movie. Instead of a charming kids book where Bilbo success using wit and courage, there is a giant action movie.

No talking animals. Lots of orcs. When Smaug queries Bilbo it is just a prelude to an action scene rather than the centre of the whole story.

Plus they worked a love triangle into the story. It is an echo of a dropped subplot in LOTR. It kinda works, but it is still completely extraneous.

Go for the spectacle. But not its fidelity to the book.

Cat – a third story

The cat sat. One of her rear legs was lifted so that it pointed straight up as she groomed herself.

The cat paused with her leg still up. She looked straight at me and held my gaze for a moment. “It is rude to stare,” was the message I received.

She flexed her leg, turned from me and went back to cleaning. It was a dismissal.

Weekly Recap

The weather is beating me down. This might be short.

I was watching the news and was excited to hear we have seasonal temps today. But then my aide came in and said it had snowed. My drive will still be a nightmare.

I skipped the one Christmas party I wanted to go to on Saturday. A combination of the cold and the lateness. It just seems foolhardy to go out.

The worst was my trip to work on Friday. It lasted just under 3 hours. My first bus broke down. It just stalled out. It was a nightmare day on the roads with accidents at the river for both the Henday and the Whitemud. So the replacement bus and coordinator took a while.

Then the lift on the second bus wouldn’t deploy. A repair crew had to come out to extricate me.

In good news my chair has been ordered. We are just waiting on delivery now. The stated date is before Christmas.

That gives me new worries in and of itself, but I’ll leave those for another time.

Watched no movies worth noting. The book I’m reading is not good. Comics were quite good. Really it comes out as a meh week for entertainment.

This week will be better. Just need to make it to work.

Take care. Have a great week.

Winter Roads

Come the snowfall we begin to complain about winter roads. It goes on longer than winter itself since it segues into spring potholes with no pause.

How long should residential blading take after a snowfall?

How long should it take to clear windrows?

How long should arterial and bus routes take to clear?

How close to pavement should they grade?

Why does residential blading suck (windrows on driveways, only 1 lane plowed, etc.)?

All that seems certain is that the city is not meeting expectations. The only real question I have to ask in this blog is this: Are our expectations unreasonably high?

If you’ve gotten stuck you won’t say yes. If you’ve had to shovel to get out of your driveway after a plowing. You’ll be rightfully annoyed. If your commute is three times longer than normal, the city announcing clearing delays will no doubt annoy.

But we live in Edmonton. There are no magic snow fairies creating oaths. Every mind numbing meter of our roads is cleared by people. Each meter takes time. Each meter is some poor fellow who might be pulling a double shift to meet expectations.

The sprawl of the city doesn’t help. I’ve noted this before. We create new roads every year.

We should demand more. We can want better. Why can’t windrows be cleared at schools as they are created? There is no great reason why driveways should be blocked.

But the snow will be here until April. We will be inconvenienced. I don’t have to like it, but I need to accept it.

Ah. Let’s be honest. I’ll complain anyway for the sake of complaining.