hollyslowly: X-Men; Logan and Prof. X in a car. (They still bleed through.)
Pretty good day today. I'm slowly trudging my way out of the deep depressive funk I've been in since my grandmother died, I guess. I cleaned my apartment last week, and I stopped veering between eating like a trash compactor and not eating at all. Back to my preferred sleep schedule, exercising, and not crying in my car. Ah, life.

When I left my apartment this morning to go to the Greenway, my friendly junkie neighbor - I am making assumptions based on her dental situation, strange burns on her hands, and the way her slurred speech is an exact copy of my junkie cousin's - stuck her head out of her car and said, "You don't happen to have jumper cables, do you?" BUT I DID. Thanks, dad. I didn't know how to attach them, but she did, and fortunately a jump was all it needed, as the only other thing I could have done was what we had to do to my car a few weeks ago, which is to remove the built-up oxidation/corrosion on the battery posts that prevents it from making a strong connection. Having a string of shitty cars teaches you a lot about cars.

After the mild stalking incident a couple of years ago, I really haven't done much dating, but I usually activate an OkCupid profile for a few weeks each spring in a burst of optimism, before nuking it from orbit after awkward turtling my way through a bunch of bearded strangers. Had a first date on Wednesday with a guy I got along with quite well through text and who I had a great time talking with, but between his extreme earnestness and sending me a smiley-faced photo of himself yesterday that confirmed I never, ever want to have sex with him, I cancelled date #2 and signed up for Tinder. Have a date for drinks tomorrow afternoon, barring snow. Also considering recommitting myself to a life of celibacy, as emotions are unpleasant and I already have the cat.

Anyway, yesterday I tried to make some plans with my friends for this weekend, but they were busy doing married people stuff, like visiting mothers-in-law and helping sisters-in-law move. Last Saturday, we did an off-brand Wine and Design at Kathren's house, because she's a proper artist with an art degree, and I actually produced a credible facsimile of a barn with sunflowers. So I decided to take myself out today, including having lunch at the fancy coffee house with the delicious salad dressing and going to see Logan. When I was in college, I never thought twice about doing things like going to the movies on my own, or eating at a restaurant with a book for company, but something about the intense pressure here to be part of a group or a couple has made me extremely self-conscious about it. But I did it today, and it was lovely, and I will do it again in the future.

The book I'm struggling through is another Dan Simmons doorstopper. I read The Terror in January because I saw they're making a TV show out of it with my man Tobias Menzies in it sometime this year, and also because I have a fascination with arctic and maritime disasters. (This is an extremely specific niche interest that I occasionally trot out as an ice-breaker [ha] on dates.) The man is, it has to be said, an awful, repetitive, dry writer, but I am obsessed with his plots. I hope the one I'm reading now, The Abominable, has a resolution at least as ridiculous as The Terror.

Incidentally, if you could recommend something with a similar plot/setting but a better writer, I would be immensely grateful.

I've definitely gone off superhero movies, probably because of the supersaturation of comic book adaptations over the past several years, but I will always show up for a Wolverine movie. I'm the lowest common denominator of X-Men fans, because I don't care about the comics and all I want is to watch Hugh Jackman brutally repress feelings of anxiety, despair, self-loathing, helplessness, and rage for two hours at a time while being delightfully hairy. So, somewhat needless to say at this point, I've been looking forward to seeing Logan since I saw the trailer with Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" sometime last winter.

spoilers )
hollyslowly: Regeneration; Prior smokes. (Just more fucking justified.)
I'm reading As Always, Julia, a collection of letters between Julia Child and her friend Avis DeVoto. The letters are deeply engaging, even though I don't care overmuch about bouillabaisse, and I am enjoying it quite a bit. The endnotes are a useless waste of paper/bytes, though. Some detail would be nice. Anyway, here is a bit from one of Avis' letters after Eisenhower was elected, which feels somewhat relevant to me right now:
I am in a state about all of this. I comb the newspapers. I listen to the commentators. And I get into fights all over the place. If a Republican knows his place and hates McCarthy and wishes to God Eisenhower would get more aggressive about these bastards, well and good and I will admit him to the brotherhood. If he says nasty things about Truman (who is rapidly becoming the Man I Love although I have been sore enough at him in my time) or still thinks taxes are coming down and we can get out of Korea and we ought to fire all the Democrats in Washington and don’t worry, McCarthy-ism will blow over or alternately Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire—well, dear, I am no lady and I argue loudly and lose my temper and it’s disgraceful.
hollyslowly: BtVS; Buffy holds Angel, Angel smiles up at her. (When is a monster not a monster?)
Now entering hour three of categorizing my purchases and expenses for 2015 to try to make a grown-up budget for next year. For years, it's been a huge joke in my family, how tight/frugal I am, and it's true! I pinched pennies and wore the same pair of sneakers for seven years, because I was putting all my money into my loan payments. But when I was closing in on paying off my student loans, I definitely noticed loosening the reins with my spending, and I need to take them back in.

I don't know things about horses; I hope that metaphor was sound. You may be pleased to learn that I recently purchased two new pairs of sneakers. My mother certainly was.

It was also a pretty good excuse to indulge in one of my favorite obsessive activities, color coding. I bought a pack of magic markers, printed out all my credit card and bank statements for the past year, and color coded each transaction. While wearing a sweater and drinking hot tea. I believe I have crossed over into that final frontier, old-as-balls. I'm entering all of them into a Google spreadsheet, just in case there was any financial information about my life they were missing, so I can figure out how much I'm spending, on average. I had some expensive car repairs and a bridesmaid dress to account for this summer, which I think is artificially inflating my monthly totals. I'll adjust for that in the 2016 budget.

A few days ago, I read the first Rivers of London novel, which Goodreads insists on cataloging as "Midnight Riot," what the hell? It was brilliant; I'm about halfway through the second novel, which is still pretty great. After reading the Dresden Files, these novels, and Game of Thrones, I think I've determined the only type of fantasy I really like is urban fantasy, where wizards have to deal with magic accidentally exploding their cell phones. [livejournal.com profile] kita0610, I think you would really like Rivers of London! Peter is like a young Harry. Does LiveJournal still notify users if you mention them in a post? KITA. KITAAAAAA.

Okay. Time to stop looking at vintage watches on Etsy and get back to the damn groceries column.
hollyslowly: TOS; Kirk looking down, Spock looking at Kirk. (Anybody ever love you that much?)
Lafayette's adamant defense of Washington during a tough time deepened and cemented their bond. He wrote to Washington of his "most tender and Respectful friendship" and confessed, the "Sentiments of my Heart [are] much stronger than a So new acquaintance Seems to admit. But an other Reason to be Concerned in the present Circumstances is my Ardent, and perhaps enthusiastic wishes for the Happiness and liberty of this Country." In other words, after only five months' acquaintance, to Lafayette, Washington and America were one and the same. "I am now fixed to your fate," he added, begging Washington's pardon if "youth and friendship make perhaps myself too warm."

In his reply to Lafayette, Washington expressed "sentiments of the purest affection." Which is about as gushy as a George Washington interoffice memo gets. He added, "It will ever constitute part of my happiness to know that I stand well in your opinion." Regarding the "dirty Arts and low intrigues" of Conway, Gates, and their accomplices among the politicians, Washington, echoing The American Crisis by Paine, acknowledged, "We must not in so great a contest, expect to meet with nothing but Sun shine." He closed the letter predicting a victorious future sleepover at Mount Vernon: "My Dear Marquis, if you will give me your Company in Virginia, we will laugh at our past difficulties and the folly of others."

Sarah Vowell, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States.
hollyslowly: The Wire; Shardene reads the paper. (Shakespeare got to get paid son.)
I was wracked with anxiety for about an hour last night, thinking about my student loans/savings goals. I've been saving really aggressively since August, but I'm so, so tired of carrying these loans. I figured out (thank you, unbury.us) if I apply about half of what I've been saving, plus the payment for the loan I just paid off by cutting my savings in half, I can be through with this by April of next year. April, April, April. I can do this. I just have to not freak out.

Hopefully this will assuage the feeling of being stuck in place that I've had the past few months. I love my job, but it's been pretty bad. We're adding a new staff person and tackling some new initiatives, so I'm looking forward to that. The fact that fundraising is so cyclical might be the issue. I have the schedule down, I feel like I'm on top of it, so now it's just, "Oh, that again." I'm not going to cut and run.

Today I started reading The Worst Journey in the World, about an expedition to the South Pole. The author has a really wry voice, which I appreciate; in his introductory paragraph, he says,
Polar exploration is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time which has been devised [...] As men will compare the hardships of France, Palestine, or Mesopotamia, so it would be interesting to contrast the rival claims of the Antarctic as a medium of discomfort. A member of Campbell's party tells me that the trenches of Ypres were a comparative picnic. But until somebody can evolve a standard of endurance I am unable to see how it can be done. Take it all in all, I do not believe anybody on earth has a worse time than an Emperor penguin.
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