A little thing that bugs me

•December 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Brought up by watching Buffy. I’ve been binging to go along with my Christmas knitting. Little admission here. I’ve never seen most of Buffy. So it’s fun. I’m discovering all sorts of little things that are sort of native to the geek culture. And finding tidbits that amuse me, like two cowboy vampires who are 100% Dusty and Gareth (long story), or how when Buffy turns into a rat at once point she’s a shoe-in for my pal Bartleby.

But I keep noticing this little details. When Angel’s angst issues come up, everyone’s forever discussing his curse in relation to Gypsies. It’s a plot device. This gang of crazy white people, one of whom has an accent like an American actor playing a ruthless Rooskie communist in an old movie, are all about coming up with the most contrived curse ever in search of vengeance for this most beloved daughter of theirs who’s been dead for a good long time. So many things wrong with this, but of course Buffy didn’t originate this little trend. How many Gypsy curses have you ever run into? They’re a staple. One of my GMs was assuring me a couple weeks ago that some generic evil racists in game would figure you were a Gypsy if you were Eastern European, and he seemed to believe it made sense. Not his fault. They’re a trope (see what I did there?).

TV Tropes gives a pretty decent summary of my rant here. Yeah, exotic, curse-happy Gypsies are all over fiction. They used to have more company, though. You never see their old friends much anymore, or when you do, people get pissed. Modern media generally lacks old staples like, say, a conniving, greedy Jew. That’s because, y’know, reducing an entire ethnic group or race into a cheap storytelling trick is wrong and all. But rather than toss out this archetype or even criticize, normally progressive nerd culture embraces it. Usually kindly. I wince a little whenever some cheery strowler-type tells me they’re a Gypsy. I know what they mean. They’re embracing a romanticized image of a happy, scrappy group hanging out with their colorful wagons and cheery songs. But a positive stereotype is still a stereotype. Gypsies are the nerd world’s Magic Negros. And often the usage isn’t even marked by affection, which is where you get the cursing, thieving hags of Wolfman fame.

“Gypsy” is actually rather offensive. It’s “Roma.” They aren’t generically Eastern European. Their genetic and cultural origins are Indian, and while there’s certainly been a lot of amalgamation with European cultures, and there are certainly some Rom who are as Caucasian to look at as the actors who generally play the plot device, your average Rom is fairly dark skinned and speaks his or her own tongue first and foremost. Their language and religion (generally Christianity, some Islam, by the way nothing more mysterious and spooky) are full of ideas and concepts that bled over from their surrounding cultures, but they preserve an incredible amount of tradition considering the centuries the rest of the world has spent trying to beat it out of them. In much of Europe it’s completely okay to use nasty racial invectives in public forums when discussing Roma. Their communities, not nomadic for a while now in most cases,  suffer a lot of the same trouble minority groups do in most of the world, high crime and poverty rates, minimal education, the usual package.

Maybe I’m being an overly PC pain in the ass here. I did go to Smith, and it’s a specialty of ours.  It just bugs me when a real group is tossed into lazy storytelling, and even good storytelling, as though they were a handy bit of adaptable folklore. For full disclosure, I’ve been researching the question precisely because of a character I love with a Roma background. I don’t by any means think that people shouldn’t use Roma characters and communities and stories as much as they use any other ethnic or cultural group. I’m inclined to say that writers have an all-access pass to play with everyone’s ideas and stories. I’d just rather that people keep in mind “gypsies” are a real people with real problems, not a fairytale trope.


Some Christmas Stuff

•November 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today is the first Sunday of Advent. This isn’t very exciting, really. I’m not the least bit religious anymore, and even when I was, Advent always seemed like a bit of a cop-out in liturgical season terms. It didn’t really mean anything. Catholicism is great for long, drawn out seasons with overarching themes and pageantry and color coding that add some amusement to the child-dragged-to-church experience. Lent has all its ashes and solemnity and there’s some badass stuff at the end with the crucifixion and all. Easter is festive and cheery and if the songs are boring, well, at least it ends with Corpus Christi, an observation always notable (to me, at least) for having a neat-sounding name and nothing else whatsoever going for it. And then there are those vast swaths of ordinary time, which make you feel a little bit cool, if only because “ordinary time” means the rest of the time is interesting, vivacious time.

But Advent? Just kind of sits there. In elementary school we’d learn that it was about waiting, commemorating the pre-Jesus hope for a messiah and the modern hope for a second coming and blah blah blah. What Advent was, you realized quickly, was what they called “before Christmas” when you were in church. It involved a confusing wreath and calendars that I understand usually have chocolate in them. My family’s calenders just had dopey watercolor pictures behind little doors. This may be the root of my disinterest.

The time leading up to Christmas is certainly a thing, important to child Siobhan and current Siobhan and even the few years in the middle there where indolent, snappy teenage Siobhan hated Christmas, because hating Christmas certainly requires as much of your attention as liking it, if not more. The pre-Christmas stuff just doesn’t lend itself to the religious end of things. All the songs and stories and observances are about the day in question, not about an arbitrary four weeks and a bit leading up. All I can bring to mind about the religious significance of Advent is that the pink candle is, for some reason, the third one you light, not the fourth, which I always found deeply confusing.

The lead-up to Christmas belongs to, yes, the commercial end of thing, but also the lauds of Christmas. The best part of Christmas, if we’re honest, and the only part that’s in any way endangered by modern culture. Whatever the ratings people at Fox News say, no one will ever forget that Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s in the name. If you’re Christian even the least little bit (or your mother brings you), you’ll be in church on Christmas. If you’re even passing familiar with western culture as a whole, you know perfectly well that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday. Hindu and Jewish and atheist families that nonetheless have a tree and a glowing Santa in the yard know why there’s a Christmas. The loss of the religious aspect of Christmas is the little moral panic that couldn’t, and I’d like to hear the end of it, please.

But we are losing our celebrations. Carolers are a rare sight. I went once when I was a kid, me, my brother, and a neighbor with his dad’s piano book of Christmas carols. We got some cookies and a dollar apiece. But I’ve never once found a caroler outside my door. And there’s the Yule log and gingerbread and telling our little siblings that for an hour at midnight all the animals can talk on Christmas Eve… Those are the bits that are going away, and those are the bits I’d mourn. Christmas is a huge, screaming big deal, and I’m all for keeping the parts that are actually important.

Important why? Well, a couple reasons. One is that we are a people who dwell in a temperate zone, and when the thick of winter descends upon us, we go a little nuts. We all know now that the sun is a big mass of plasma we rotate around, but something in the primitive part of our brains still panics and fears it might be angry with us and run away forever. We surround ourselves with lights and food and people and we shut out the winter and do what we can to bring summer back. It’s a psychological coping mechanism. You can point out that the observation of Jesus’s birthday came and trampled all over Prechristian rituals and of course it did, on one level, but the fact is that if you live far enough north, you have to do something while the world goes black around you, so everyone was going to be celebrating anyway. Have the Green Man or have baby Jesus. Have both. As long as you’ve got lots of candles lit (or lots of blinky multicolored lights) and some eggnog. Because eggnog is good, damn it.

Christmas is a particular huge, screaming deal in the U.S. Everyone likes them some Christmas, but it’s mostly a modern decision to make it the be-all and the end0all of holidays. We often forget while enjoying the second greatest Christmas story ever that there’s an early sign that Scrooge may not be all bad at the beginning of A Christmas Carol. He gives Bob the whole day off. That wasn’t always a universal truth. Christmas has achieved its heights of defining our holiday culture only in the last few hundred years.

In America, at least, I have a guess at the reason. Here you were in your new home. It was getting around to holiday time. It was winter, and besides, everyone needs their local huge, loud, ridiculous party to blow off steam and be a nice, boring, respectable goodman the rest of the time. Only here the trouble arose. Your hometown celebrated with great vim and excitement St. Spiggensmith’s day, commemorating the occasion when the placid monk transformed into a grayhound and bit the devil’s scrotum. Your neighbor, however, hails from an entirely different bit of old country, and for his family, there’s nothing so important as St. Brythylwyth, virgin and martyr, gnawed to death by annoyed ferrets for spurning the advances of a local pagan king. And you can’t even get a nice, rowdy Spiggensmith vs. Bythylwyth rivalry going, since the guy down the street is for some inscrutable reason from a town where they hold festivities of note for St. Fie, warrior king and recreational dulcimerist.

But you know what everyone does? Jesus’s b-day. Everyone likes Christmas. And if everyone piles their Christmas traditions on top of each other, if you light luminaria along the walkway and hang tinsel on a pine tree and eat mincemeat and put popcorn on strings and hold a pageant and make gingerbread, then you’ve got a pretty good holiday.

Too many ideas!

•November 27, 2010 • Leave a Comment

…Yes, this constitutes a problem when they won’t solidify into something freaking usable. I’m still excited about the air-train I’m adding to my established world with the werehyenas and room-sized arrays of musical machines and half-mechanical critters and important things like that, but I’ve been rereading (or having read to me, thanks to the magic of recording technology) Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell, one of the most excellent books ever. I’ve reread it more than I’ve reread just about anything that wasn’t a childhood favorite. Five or six times all the way through at the very least. I love its fairies. And it reminds me how much I love good old fairies.

One of the main things about my primary world is that I deliberately draw from around the world, the main action is set below the equator, and all the dominant cultures are non-European. This needs to be done more bloody often. There’s no reason whatsoever for fantasy worlds to be dominated by Caucasians the way they are, and it’s no more excusable in sci-fi. It’s a determined move on my part to write some main characters who aren’t a bunch of Aryan pieces of cisgendered, heteronormative cornbread. It also opens up a wonderful world of mythological roots and settings that are often ignored, or at best used as exotic, mysterious locales you have adventures and then go home from. The characters in that world are from stone cities perched atop foggy, jungle-covered mountains. They don’t start out in boring farm villages and eventually go home to them. Deconstructing genres is amazing, and life is so much more fun when you add dragons that live in rivers and eat elephants and ghouls are a variety of djinn.

But sometimes I do get the urge to just write a nice, simple, British Islesy fairy story. Sometimes you gotta look in the mirror. I’m compact and ginger with very large feet for tromping over bogs and excellent night vision to make up for the fact that the sun is foreign to me. A translation of my family name is “people from under the fairy hill.” I’ve seen my baby pictures. I’m clearly a goddamn changeling, and I grew up reading tales of horrible fairies and lunatic heroes.

Funnily enough, from my perspective, that might just be writing what you know.

And then I remembered that I came up with a whole world and a fairy race for a game I briefly ran. I have a mythos to begin with. I even have the beginnings of an idea, though it involves that infamous “tithe to hell” bit and I’m afraid that’s kind of been done to death… But I have a world. I’ve got too many things going already. I really ought to let this go. But… well, let’s be honest. I know me.

On to fairyland.

I’m loathe to mine dreams directly, but…

•November 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

My dream last night was deeply confounding. It shifted about a lot, seemed to contain all sorts of “where is my life going” anxiety, blinked around from location to location… It was random firing of my subconscious, in short, and about what you’d expect. But I seem to have dredged an idea out of it. One thing that was pretty constant throughout the dream was that I was on a train (going to San Francisco for Christmas, a thing that makes no sense on any level whatsoever). Sometimes it looked like a pretty ordinary train, sometimes it contained rooms the size of houses, and sometimes there were big, sweeping decks like you’d expect to see on a big ship. Obviously, that mutable structure isn’t really any good, though it does touch on a running motif in my dreams. A recurring situation in my subconscious is the endless building, usually a house but not always, that you can wander through forever and continuously find new rooms. It’s an idea of mine that I’ve tried to play with before. I’ve tried a room in the basement of a character’s house that was situated in a tower across the world and only accessible by dreaming, two characters who shared their allotted lifespan and whose dreams were therefore each other’s waking lives, a character who lived a complete life in her dreams which was actually playing out across the world, and, most recently (in my sadly aborted Nano) a girl who’s imaginary compatriots turn out to be entirely real… And now I’ve gone entirely off the rails. Never did quite turn this into a thing, obviously.

Back to what I actually got out of that dream there. I’m adding an aerial train line to my most established ‘verse. I’d been trying to come up with something more interesting than airships that would suit the mode of travel I needed for the core cast, and now I believe I have it. The setup would essentially require towers and lines to be laid into “rails,” along which large craft could travel at reasonable speed. I don’t need any science because the world’s mostly fantasy anyway, and this gives me the spacious, dynamic sense of a “ship” without having the same zeppelin-looking-thing that everyone’s got or trying to move my characters around by water. And now I can add little train snatches to my genre pudding! Porters and luxury cars and robberies! But with rules. Rules can make things so much better than you’d expect. And if the trains have small aircraft for defense, scouting, and repairs, then I can still use pirates if pirates need using.

Anyway, I feel accomplished. Who wants to ride my airtrain?

For zombies, I break radio silence

•November 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Well, now that I seem to be done being sick, I feel I should attempt a little communication with the world once more. What has moved me to this? Oh, I’m sure I’ll come to something reasonable, but for now, I’m going to critically dissect the pilot of The Walking Dead, because Hulu exists and I am silly.

Starts off solid, if uninspired. Lone hero walks around some dead people and stuff. Sees a teddy bear. It’s picked up by a child whose face he cannot see. When she turns around, a large part of that face is missing. Little girls zombify at an immensely greater rate than anyone else (except, in this show, slightly snazzy gentlemen, for some reason), so though this is an awfully, uh, well-traveled road, I’ll allow it. It’s competently shot. I like zombies.

After this introduction, there’s a whiny title sequence. And then some rednecks discuss their personal problems in a revoltingly misogynistic way for five minutes. Really. This happens. Bang! Right from Li’l Susie’s unfortunate headshot to “man, women sure are irrational and hateful, huh?” It went on too long, but at this point, I figured we were establishing our loan hero guy as a flawed character. This did not bear out. This show is deeply, utterly, hatefully nasty. I don’t know the source material, so I have no idea whether this is faithful. I haven’t seen anything beyond the pilot, so maybe it improves. But going by the pilot, the writers of this show are little balled-up masses of anti-vagina fury.

Entirely too much of this show is rednecks having feelings, so you get lots of time to go over how the main character and his handful of sidekicks disdain everything about their wives in particular and every woman on the planet in general. From little asides about how sentimental and impractical women are to pointed dismissal of the only real speaking role a woman had on the pilot, the whole thing could have come right from the American Family Association. I thought for a minute early on that the main character (he has a name, but he’s too bland to deserve it, so fuck him, his name shall be Mr. Blandypants) might have an actual bond with a female he didn’t loathe in the form of his daughter, but it turns out he was saying “Carl’ as opposed to “Cora.” (His fake accent was very silly. ) So nevermind. Remember, guys, your women are crazy and think they’re allowed to do stuff and have opinions, and if it keeps them happy, just nod, because they’re occasionally successful conduits for your male progeny!

Anyway… so that rant is over. In terms of the actual storyline? I’d say the random anti-women ranting only took up about a third of the show. Doing better than Dracula, so far, if only barely. The rest had zombies. Pretty cool zombies, in and of themselves, but this universe has no rules or internal consistency that I can work out. Seems to be industry standard in a lot of ways. Headshot makes zombie stop being a problem. Zombies decompose gradually. Zombies don’t try to eat each other or anyone who’s in a coma, apparently, though in this version they’re happy to eat other animals (more on that later). But there’s no rhyme or reason. It’s like someone just made zombie trope magnetic poetry and went to town. I can’t tell how long the plague has been going on. Some zombies and corpses are looking just spiffy and some look like they’ve had years to rot. These undead seem to have various modes and will hang around carefully imitating actual corpses until a live something walks by, which is pretty clever for zombies, but then they don’t seem to do anything about it. Sometimes they just kind of stand there. Idling.

And for some reason, about half the male zombies the camera focuses on are skinny, slightly shaggy-haired guys in casual suits. Some of them even have those silly pseudo-fedoras with the tiny brims. I think these guys are the real story here. I propose a spinoff about the adventures of the casually dapper zombies. Perhaps they have a band or fight zombie crime. Or maybe they just live, learn and love together and engage in zombie hi-jinks.  I cannot tell you how hard I would watch that show.

Which brings me by way of non-sequitor to how much I want Mr. Blandypants to die. It’s not just his total lack of any redeeming quality, genre-blindness, and clear lack of any discernible right to be alive. Mostly those things. But also I propose he is terrible to horses.

Mr. B in the course of the pilot does every single thing you shouldn’t do. He decides to approach the city where the military said you should go and be safe (ha). On his approach, the highway out of the city is completely packed with abandoned cars. The road in is empty. You don’t need to know about zombies or the end of the world to know you shouldn’t go to that city. He’s always like that. But on his way into Raccoon City (ok, Atlanta, I think, though I can’t understand half of what the fake hicks are saying), he finds a farm where he went to look for gas. Instead he finds a horse.

I don’t know about you, but I would never involve a horse with zombies. When Zombieland answered that question, “what is the worst place to be in the event of zombie apocalypse,” I figured that was the most definitive Don’t ever to be expressed in the genre. Now we know “what is the worst way to get around in the presence of zombies” is also defined forever. To its credit, the horse actually shows the most initiative and intelligence of any character on the show. It notices when the idling zombies dismiss their screen saver and tries to leave. It attempts to run the other direction as Mr. Blandypants lunges into what is clearly going to be a horde. This horse is by far the best individual we have met in the face of the end of the world. And the shithead gets it eaten by zombies. So fuck him.

And now to attempt to relate this post to something less silly than 1000 words on “why I think a TV show is dumb.” According to a cursory google search, The Walking Dead has gotten good reviews and is already in line for a second season. Maybe the show gets much better. There was a bit at the end where a snarky voice on the radio made fun of Mr. Blandypants and there was a deliberately inappropriate pop beat to accompany the snarling, milling horde of really ineffective zombies. Could be it’s looking up. But I’m under the impression the strength of the pilot got the renewal.

This show is awful. It has neat effects and it’s based on a comic that may or may not be good, so I suppose that’s something to say for it, but it’s still drivel. And I say this as someone who enjoys a good end of the world, a sea of shambling, cannibal corpses., a bunch of people with guns and, um, horses. I’m predisposed to like this show, too. But it’s still miserable. And apparently, it’s enough for people anyway. I’m inclined to consider people who are fans of zombies eating rednecks to be my cultural kin, and I would like to think well of my compatriots. I would like to think my people are discerning, that they want to immerse themselves in fully-realized worlds, that they aren’t particularly inclined to sympathize with men who clearly hate their wives for daring to have lady-bits, that story is more important than trendy monsters and cool makeup.

But as far as I can tell, the only thing to do about it is to produce and extol quality. So I guess I’ll go do that.

Also, maybe I should do something about the be-suited fancy zombies. Or anyone else who’d like to, go ahead.

This is the way the world ends.

•October 23, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Playing Fallout endlessly is definitely me slacking off all kinds of important things. Video games are not useful for life plans, as a rule, unless you’re doing game design, and as I understand it, that’s the lame part. However, all the gunshots and scrounging and mutants have put me in a mood, and I think I have a concept for a… setting, at least. Maybe I could try a game in the world to see how it worked? Or maybe there’s a story here? It feels like it would need to be a long story, and I’ve got one novel being poked at now.

Yes, I also have two short stories I really must finish and send off. And I should really expand that bit about the bitter selkie daughter. Shh.

So the basic concept (somehow this journal is becoming mainly a bunch of writing notes) is a post-nuclear world that’s a little less Mad Max.

I have a theory that we see the aftermath of nuclear war the way we do because tests have historically been performed in desolate, conventionally ugly places.  When you think of the original atom bombs, you think of New Mexico deserts, of underground bunkers, “I am become death, destroyer of worlds,” and so on.

(Tangent: Does anyone know why that particular line is translated with such odd grammar? I’ve always wondered what “I am become death” was supposed to convey that “I have become death” or “now I am death” or any other construction wouldn’t.)

And of course we’re the children of the cold war generation. Nuclear wastelands had every reason to be part of the collective mind, and in the most horrid ways possible. And then there’s nuclear winter, the dust clouds ensuing that shut out the sun. That would certainly make photosynthesis suck for a while, I suppose, and probably do some really weird things to the atmosphere that would change the climate. Maybe that’s what a global catastrophe would look like.

But here is a picture of Shukkei-en, a garden in Hiroshima that stands only a little way from ground zero. So that’s about sixty-five years later. But hell, the Japanese love their elaborate gardening. A lot of work must have gone into that, right? So let’s look at this article about Chernobyl (which isn’t a perfect comparison, since there weren’t any bombs involved, just contamination, but bear with me). It’s mostly a photo essay about abandoned human structures. Look for lots and lots of pictures of creepy abandoned toys and falling down buildings. It’s a great series of photos, very spooky and evocative. But now look past the ruins. You’ll see a lot of green. It’s gorgeous, in fact. If you were among those trees instead of in the horrible collapsing amusement park, you’d want to have a picnic. It would likely be interrupted by wild horses or family of boar, because the wildlife is plentiful and thriving without human intervention.

That’s not what the nuclear holocaust is supposed to look like, but we’ve had these examples for a long time. Maybe it’s a horror at the idea that when our world ends, the rest of the planet goes on.

This suggests on a sort of PETA (people for the eating of tasty animals, donchaknow) style humanity sucks and hubris is all that’s between the world and happiness and Eco-Eden is waiting if we just give up civilization vibe that I don’t like all that much. So there I’ve pissed off the Save the Sea Kittens crowd, green activists, and Greek dramatists right there. But my point goes on!

Radiation is fucking dangerous and bombs will wreck your shit. I have very firm opinions on these matters. Just try and convince me otherwise. I think we just tend to go the wrong way with the kind of horrors this particular apocalypse sets forth. Here’s food for thought. Many trees in the Chernobyl zone don’t know which way is up. These highly complex, ancient forms of life have lost touch with a basic connection with the world around them. They grow in all kinds of bent, twisted shapes. Reality has shifted.

No dramatic wasteland full of guys on motorcycles, presumably playing card games. (Whoa, was that Mad Max and Yu Gi Oh? Nerd points.) That’s what we all see happening when the bombs fall. Or, frankly, when the zombies arrive, or when God flips his shit and unleashes the Book of Revelations, etc. The generic desert of the end isn’t coming for us. It’s no surprise we think of it. Deserts. They suck. Simple. We of the geek kind have a half-dozen survival scenarios set out for just that, and we don’t even wonder why.

In my apocalypse, the world is still beautiful. Hauntingly, maybe invitingly. Life finds a way. When Earth has lacked ice caps but had land around the poles, lush forests grew up that saw no sun for six months out of the year. Complex communities thrive in sunless, boiling water miles under the ocean. So don’t look for a global, scrubby flatland full of randomly enlarged, hairless versions of current critters. Look for woods your grandparents didn’t see before you, and try and figure out which way is up.

The Ballad of Bronchitis Sucks

•October 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been reading “The Ballad of Reading Gaol.” I haven’t picked it up in years, though I remembered liking it. My current state of mind (bitchy, feverish, and perpetually tired) seems to be pretty much perfect for appreciating the poem. It’s some parts pure madness, all sorts of raw feeling, strangely radical social sentiment, religious imagery of the most controversial kind (y’know, Christlike), dark conclusions, horror ripped straight from the mind of a tortured soul… And all from Oscar Wilde. Oscar freaking Wilde. It’s the only one of his works I can say I care about. I like, say, The Importance of Being Ernest alright, in a passing kind of way. Those works are basically sitcoms, if clever ones. I kind of enjoyed The Picture of Dorian Gray. Read it halfway through high school, which is about the right time to appreciate that odd little work. But nothing else of his sticks the way T.B.O.R.G. does. I highly recommend taking a moment for reading it, if you have one. I only got into it again because my current pesky main character loves it. I was debating trying to work it into the story as a motif. There might be too much going on there, though. There are two big threads already, and I don’t know if I want to even attempt working that mess of poetry into the whole. Maybe just a quick allusion.

Here’s my favorite bit.

“They glided past, they glided fast,
Like travelers through a mist:
They mocked the moon in a rigadoon
Of delicate turn and twist,
And with formal pace and loathsome grace
The phantoms kept their tryst.

With mop and mow, we saw them go,
Slim shadows hand in hand:
About, about, in ghostly rout
They trod a saraband:
And the damned grotesques made arabesques,
Like the wind upon the sand!

With the pirouettes of marionettes,
They tripped on pointed tread:
But with flutes of Fear they filled the ear,
As their grisly masque they led,
And loud they sang, and loud they sang,
For they sang to wake the dead.”

Food for thought, I guess. And perhaps a good illustration of why I might not to try to write anything seriously today, but if I go much longer in this haze of pointless loafing, I will lose my mind. I was planning on going to the renfaire this weekend and doing something, maybe Haven Halloween, in a birthday sort of way next week. There has been entirely too much hacking and dying. So I will be following advice and seeing a doctor soon, I hope.

The good news is that I found my snuggie, so that helps.