The word of the week is wearysome.
Dec 25 - Wait, is that... ?
Whaddayaknow! It's missile-toe:
Also: Last night around dinnertime, white flakes appeared in the sky above Victoria... and it wasn't a soap spill from a passing plane - it was SNOW!
In the morning, things looked like this:
It was perfect timing for a White Christmas, which made my girlfriend happy, because it stuck around for most of the day until the evening, when higher temperatures made things look less chilly again:
My lady and I spent a good part of the day together, making it a quiet and enjoyable time; as we'd already spent last Saturday at my parent's having Christmas Dinner early, today was all ours to do with as we wished. We ended up going to Sookjai in the early evening for dinner, just as the afternoon crowd left, and had a lovely few hours there with good company in a quiet atmosphere.
|There's ALWAYS enough for 3 meals when I eat here!|
Merry Christmas to all!
Dec 26 – Drop The Shopping
I didn't buy a thing for Boxing Day this year, and that's great.
Why? Because Boxing Day deals become less so every year; the last good Boxing Day sale I was at was in 2007 when I arrived in Victoria, and got a heckuva deal on a TV, Xbox and sound system from the now-defunct Future Shop. Ever since, I've scanned the yearly ads, got a few things here and there... but for the last few years, I've shrugged at all the flyers, and not just because there's nothing I really need or want: the deals are just, meh.
Also, there's the fact that spending money right now isn't what I want to do.
|Sadly, NCIX shuttered their doors this month...|
Unfortunately this year, a Canadian tech store fell by the wayside: NCIX. Started in 1996, it competed against the likes of NewEgg.ca and Amazon.ca... and late 2017 proved to be too much for them, as they filed for bankruptcy this month.
While I'm sad to see a Canadian company close, I hadn't shopped at NCIX for a few years now, as their prices weren't any better than the competition, which is admittedly brutal in the tech sector. There's an interesting article about their closing here, with insights from a couple of former employees about why NCIX couldn't stay afloat in today's tech sales market.
Dec 27 – That's not funny...
A few weeks ago, I called up TD Bank to move a payment date back by 2 days to coincide with my payday this week, to ensure the payment cleared while I looked into covering it by other means - if necessary; I always hedge my bets.
At the time, I was assured( since I asked! )that the date could be moved back "no problem" if I called again, and that the payment amount would be back to normal; moving the date caused the payments to rise by $43 per month. Not great, but it would be for only this month, then back to normal in January.
Cue computer comedy, sans laughs on my part.
I wasn't able to get through on the phone to TD for the last week: their line rang solidly busy no matter when or how often I called, so I went in today for an appointment with a CSR. Forty-five minutes and three different people working on it later, the date had been changed back... but the payment amounts hadn't.
It seems that my attempt to save money cost me money, which annoyed me to no end, considering the assurances I was given on the phone... but whatever: spilled milk, and How Do We Fix This?
Turns out, you make another appointment, a week from now, and the larger payment goes through while TD tries to count its fingers to sum up to Ten. Again, nothing new from my experiences with them, which is why I left years ago, and wished that I could have paid off my remaining balances to be DONE with 'em.
So we'll see how next week goes. By my calculations, the 'new' loan terms mean I'll pay an additional $1507.41 over the life of the loan, a total that has my long-term budget in screaming fits. But I'm hopeful that we can resolve things properly, as the CSR and other bank reps all agree that it's a technical issue and given the circumstances nothing to do with me.
Dec 28 – Global Village Construction Set
It's closing in on the end of the year, and I'm in Rumination Mode.
I get like this every December, for as many people do, I look back at the year gone by and wonder if it was Good, Bad, Ugly or just plain Indifferent. I get a little grumpy thinking about 2017, because being humans we tend to gloss over the Happy Shiny and focus on the Bad Things that tripped us up and barked our knees, despite one's conscious efforts to look on the brighter side of life.
But, at this end of the year, what about the end of the world?
Yup, that sort of thing is still on my mind, though in all seriousness, if the world ended with a bang and not a whimper, most of us across the globe wouldn't survive long: we're too dependent on civilization. Even here on Vancouver Island, we don't generate our own power, and food would run out for the populace in about a week; the rest of the not-pretty-picture goes bad from there and the scenario of doom repeats from there across the world.
What about preserving some of civilization, though, and rebuilding?
Such is the subject of The Knowledge, an organization that's compiling all such projects designed to rebuild civilization after a global disaster, in whatever flavour. My favourite project is the Global Village Construction Set:
I like to see such projects, as they give me a feeling of hope at this time of year: that no matter how bad things might get, that humanity might pick itself up from the dust and give it another shot without having to start all over again from scratch.
Dec 29 – In the Swim
Early to rise, and all that...
I was up at 6:30am today, which is later than usual of late, but I had a full dance card: first up was a morning swim, my first in over two weeks.
The walk over to The Parkside Hotel is a mere ten minutes on a good day, and since I've been cane-free for a week, it took me only a minute longer without strain. What I like about The Parkside is that the pool is indoors and heated( as I've mentioned before )so it's a joy to swim in... and doesn't tense up my tendons. Their changerooms are small but well-appointed and clean, and there's a hottub on the far deck of the pool that I use to warm my legs up for a minute beforehand.
|25m of heated bliss all to myself!|
Also, there's almost always no-one there at 7am weekday mornings, so I have the whole pool facility to myself with the occasional few people using the upper-level enclosed gym that's adjacent to the pool area - I barely know they're there at all.
Swimming today was also good because I felt good: I swam carefully as usual, taking care not to overstrain my limbs as I worked my way along the length of the large pool with various swim-strokes I'd learned as a kid.
For the first time since I'd started, it felt normal to exercise.
Sure, at a few times I felt the strain pulling at my left leg's tendons, especially under my foot, but the whole point is to flex those too-tight muscles and ligaments: the heated water resists perfectly, as long as I watch my effort levels. Best of all, it costs me a mere $3 per swim!
Forty minutes later, I padded out to shower and grab breakfast at Frankie's, then bus on over to my massage therapy, where I again had those recalitrant tendons worked over. I shudder to think of the total cost I've paid over the last year of therapy, given that my benefits don't cover it, but it's been the difference between being a cane-ridden cripple and walking, so I've budgeted what's needed each month.
Onwards to see The Last Jedi for a second time today with a work buddy( we almost missed it by entering the wrong theatre due to shoddy signage design! )then back home to relax for the evening catching up on some mundane tasks as well as reading a bit, something that's been sorely lacking in my life of late.
A good day off, indeed!
Dec 30 – Long-form Laughs
I popped this in for a smile, or thirty:
|Click to view for full-size laughter!|
I find this funny on many levels, zany and serious... and because it provides such a wacky filter to view the Vulcan-Human relationship on Star Trek through. Original is here.
On a slightly more serious note, I've been walking all this week without a cane, and it's going well: I'm up to about 8K steps a day without more than a few twinges at the end of the day, though I'm keeping my backpack load light. It's tricky walking in the rain in my sneakers, since they have mesh over the toes, but plastic bags inside and a change of socks take care of any wet. I'll try to find some affordable boots in January, but they'll have to be as fully-supportive as my sneakers, as I want NO relapses like I had at the end of October that set my walking-again progress back nearly 6 weeks.
Caution, and laughter, are the best medicine.
Dec 31 – Winding Down Wonderfully
A good day to wind down the year.
My lady and I had lunch with our friends, as it was Deborah's birthday and she'd chosen to eat at the brand-new Sizzling Tandoor restaurant at Uptown. There were over a dozen of us, and we enjoyed the buffet there( butter chicken! )while the sun shone for a few hours through the large windows. It was especially nice to see some of those folks, as many of us had gamed together on and off for the last few years in the Pathfinder game world, the spiritual successor to DnD.
Afterwards, the two of us went to Murchie's, where we played Dragonwood over tea and a sizable chocolate chip cookie - yum! We both enjoyed the quiet bustle of Murchie's: even when it's busy, there's enough space, especially in the back room, that you can talk without effort, and the huge rear window really lights up the place even on crowded days, thanks to the fifteen-foot ceilings. So lovely!
We also ducked into Chapters for a peek at sale items, and my amazing girlfriend deigned to delight me with this magnificent gift, at 30% off - wow! Battle Angel Alita, soon to be a live-action movie in 2018, and a story I've loved for almost twenty years, but didn't have the scratch to pick up at any point:
|WOW! A Deluxe Hardcover, new and shiny!|
What I'd not mentioned is that last week, when my eyes were still hurting, we'd ducked into Chapters for a bit, and while she'd explored the racks, I'd settled into a nearby chair... and slowly paged through the first few dozen pages with my sunglasses and hat pulled down, enjoying the incredible art and story.
Thank-you, sweetheart: it's a gift I'd never have got myself, but I'll enjoy to the fullest as a treat over the next few months.
Happy New Year, all! May 2018 be kind to everyone you love, and those who need it!
The blog's rather late, but that's because I'm taking it easy tonight, so I'm in no hurry as I'm spending New Year's Eve in( sipping a Guinness ) - I'm still sensitive to sound and have NO desire to be anywhere loud tonight. I'll ring in the new year snoring, as boring as that is, because it's just a flip on the calendar until another day dawns, with the same me making the same strides towards my goals...