I've been offline a lot lately and I missed the opportunity to say happy birthday to Shannon, Evil and Lilydale. I hope you all had wonderful days.
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I am going to be offline a whole lot more in the next month or so, so I hope that those of you who celebrate Christmas have a wonderful time and that those of you who don't are having a happy holiday season.
If you've pinged me lately, sorry if it's not registered, I've mostly had it turned off. You didn't miss much, trust me, I'm on a teensy downerette right now, and about as much fun as a toejam sandwich.
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They had a big do at work last night, for which I paid but to which I did not go. I know it was stupid not to, but my tolerance for spending an entire evening in the company of 25 people I don't know or give a shite about is at an all-time low right now. Plus it was karaoke and I should not sing. Just should not. Not in public anyhow. It would have been sensible and politic to go but... no.
Top tip for anyone jobhunting: NEVER change jobs three weeks before Christmas. I've done it twice now and it is double-plus ungood.
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No I don't think it's pretentious to split your thoughts up using asterisks, it's just an acknowledgement that you can't think coherently *g*
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My dad is much better as evidenced by the fact that he is driving me insane again. He has decided to reopen the debate on his favourite lecture subject, entitled "I love you but do you have to be such a loser?" (I paraphrase, but only slightly). Just in time for five solid days of me staying at the parents' house too.
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I am sending cards this year -- but they're not going to get there until January. They're Happy January cards! Dunno about you, but I need mirth more in January than at Christmas anyway. Or so I tell myself.
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There are several good things which I have, one of which I must thank Appelsini for -- wasn't it you who mentioned Ryan Adams? His album 'Gold' is something really special.
Also I have new black boots
[singing] shiny, shiny, shiiiiny boots of pleather [/singing].
They are fantastic, zip-up-the- side-boots-of-evil. They look like they should be worn by large German women named Helga who have an unnatural interest in discipline and colonic irrigation.
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I've just spent the entire week editing 'Best of 2001' lists, all of which seemed puny under the shadow of September 11. It's not been a vintage year though, has it, not really. Even before September it seemed as though we were just ekeing out the last drags of the twentieth century and now we're coughing our lungs up. Some time next year, we'll draw a big clean breath and the new century will begin properly.
(It's certainly the only way I can explain the success of Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. She is clearly sputum hacked up from the last century. May David Beckham go play for Barca and may we never again be forced to listen to his lovely wife "singing".)
Either I am getting REALLY old or there wasn't anything as exciting as the rave explosion or grunge or Britpop going on. I didn't read a book that so blew me away that I had to babble on about it to everyone. However, in the grand tradition of end o' year specials and because I really *really* like lists...
INDISPENSIBLE ALBUMS OF THIS YEAR*:
1) U2, All That You Can't Leave Behind
It was released last year but it was this year that you couldn't get away from it. It just *speaks*. Joey Ramone was listening to it at the last.
2) MAGNETIC FIELDS, 69 Love Songs.
Infinite variety, something new on every listen
3) TURIN BRAKES, The Optimist LP
Sad and strange
4) TRAVIS The Invisible Band
5) GOLD Ryan Adams
Because, oh my god.
6) THE AVALANCHES Since I Left You
7) COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS Enjoy the Melodic Sunshine
The unholy bastard offspring of REM, The Byrds and a hippie commune
8) SEMISONIC All About Chemistry
For "Act Naturally" alone. But also for "Get A Grip" which may well be the best song about, um, what it's about. Ever *g*
BOOKS ON THE RE-READ PILE:
1) CRYPTONOMICON Neal Stephenson
2) TULIP FEVER Deborah Moggach
3) THE SPARROW Mary Doria Russell (I am *slow*, all right?)
4) WHICH LIE DID I TELL? William Goldman
5) THE AMAZING MAURICE AND HIS EDUCATED RODENTS Pratchett
6) ON WRITING Stephen King
7) A DISTANT MIRROR Barbara Tuchman
8) WHITE TEETH Zadie Smith
and (9) ENGLISH PASSENGERS by Matthew Kneale
TUNES OF THE YEAR*:
Keep Myself Awake, Black Lab
Dry The Rain, Beta Band (this and every other year)
Voodoo Ray, A Guy Called Gerald (ditto)
Walk On, U2 (ditto)
Flame Turns Blue, David Gray (big old ditto)
Us Amazonians, Kirsty MacColl (again, with the ditto)
Have A Nice Day, Stereophonics
Frontier Psychiatrist, The Avalanches
The Gun Isn't Loaded, Cosmic Rough Riders
Act Naturally, Semisonic
FICS OF THE YEAR. FWIW. ONLY LONG STUFF COS I CAN'T DECIDE ON SHORT STUFF*:
**Heiroglyphs of Memory, Zuffy.
For the end, which is a thing of beauty.
**The Unfinished Universe, Revely.
And if you're reading this, Rev, I mean it. It was gorgeous.
**Chicago's Most Wanted, Speranza.
This was one of the funniest things I read all year
**Talking Stick/Circle, Macedon and Peg,
because it's huge and unwieldy and choppable but wonderful. And they're not so far off for early canon.
**Phoenix Burning, Yahtzee
Huge in scope, bold of characterization, plotty and just ... good.
**Salvador, Elanor G.
For which I still have not sent feedback. Smack.
** Vivere, Rheanna
A Cordy voice that was a thing of wonder.
** Jenny O's Wesfic, the name of which bloody escapes me AGAIN, dammit.
[*all not necessarily from this year, just that they dominated this year for me]
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This year seems to have given all of us a bit of a thwapping, so here's hoping that 2002 is calmer and more joyous for you all.