2021 The Good With The Bad

I don’t remember — mostly because by the time I was fully cognizant these customs were things of the past — whether it’s a Portuguese tradition (or if it was a family tradition) to set off Chinese Lanterns at New Years, or if it was something done (only?) at the feast of St. John’s.

I do remember dad spending days designing the lanterns and the paper used and the fuel, so that they would burn and fly for a maximum time. (I don’t remember other instances of dad’s engineer mind growing up, though I suppose he was using it at work.) I remember his picking the paper and the colors and everything for maximum effect. (Other men made them of newspaper, and whichever fuel. But you know, my family — shocking, I guess! — tends to overthink things.) And I remember being little and very excited for this. Very excited too for “The children’s calendar”, which was published every year as a supplement of a newspaper that no longer exists. In it they printed a picture per page, and a verse underneath, the verse usually pertaining to some tradition or being a traditional rhyme. (Which btw is a great way to pass history onto kids. Kids love doggerel. I now want to do a USAIAN children’s calendar and December will have some doggerel rhyme about crossing a frozen river to slit throats on Christmas morning.)

Looking back, how technology has changed over my lifetime and what was impossible or very expensive then and is cheap and easy now is dizzying. For instance, that calendar was printed on newsprint, and left it to the parents to cut out each page, glue it to stronger paper or cardboard, and then put a string in to hang. (Yes, I do realize in the US at the same time, they likely would have given a free little calendar, whether glossy or not not sure. But Portugal is consistently 20 years behind the times.)

Anyway, I really anticipated the lighting of the balloon, though I never saw it beyond the lighting and climbing, but it made dad excited and happy and he’d track it as far as binoculars allowed.

Of course sometimes those balloons — fortunately not ours — would land somewhere out of sight of the launcher, on a house or a woods, and burn it down. (Which I suspect is why the custom no longer happens.)

The longer I live the more all my actions seems like that: you plan and work the best you can to make it the best you can, but in the end, for all you know, one of your actions designed for quite a different purpose, will land on someone else, and burn everything they own. Or set things on a course to burn down the world.

You can’t know. Learning to forgive yourself if that happens, is the hardest thing in the world. But if you don’t learn, you never do anything.

So we come to the end of 2020-won, which runs together in my head with its parent year. That I know of — and of course, you can’t fully know — I didn’t burn anyone’s house down.

Was it a good year? Well…. It was a confusing whirlwind of a year. I lost a batch of friends I couldn’t afford to lose, among them L. Neil Smith a loss that cut deep. Some of those I lost were surprise/sudden, like Rick Boatright and Paul Bisdorf. I’m still a little stunned and keep forgetting they are gone. In fact, part of the issue is that the list from these two years is so long that I always forget someone, and then it hurts anew.

I didn’t get nearly as much writing done as I wanted to, but we did manage to find a house, buy it, and are now fully moved in. We’re not unpacked, but it’s proceeding. Annoyingly, I can’t unpack and write at the same time, so both are being annoyingly slow. We didn’t manage to finish getting the house in CO sold, and might need to have some stuff done to it. But we have a plan and dates.

I had a Gofundme, which shocked heck out of me with its results, but this is good as it both makes it so I’m not going insane over how much the house in CO is costing until it sells and for the first time in my entire career has made it possible for me to invest in my writing. (This was not — Mr. IRS man who might be reading this — the purpose of the Gofundme, and nothing was promised those who contributed. But by going over, it had that happy result.) So I’ve hired an editor, and discovered that this for the first time in indie publishing, gives me an external incentive to deliver on time. So Monday Bowl of Red is going to go to the editor. (And will not go by my betas, because it’s so late.) However, the second of Deep Pink (PROBABLY called Deep Water) will go to betas next week, probably Friday or Saturday, G-d willing and the creek not rising.

The editor will get me Darkship Thieves, newly edited, tomorrow, and it will be re-issued or at least go up for pre-order sometime this week.

To that purpose, I’ve purchased a new formatting program, and also what I hope will be a means to sell e-arcs (Not really, but to do a limited-time sale to my fans and those who subscribe to my newsletter (see the little button for Schrodinger’s path on the right side of the screen) which bypasses Amazon and can offer it in various formats (except paper, that will be Amazon) before it goes up for sale on Amazon.

For various reasons, if you have no objections to Amazon and read on Kindle, I’d still prefer you purchase there, but I don’t want to go wide (yet) and I don’t want to miss sales because you’re just not in the Amazon machine.

Other stuff was purchased, because, you know, I’m just starting out as an indie — fortunately no danger of getting stale, when my job has changed completely in the last couple of years — and I need to go all in. All I’ve been doing so far is dipping my toes, and that’s never enough.

Anyway, I’d hoped to be able to test it this week with a couple of short stories, but the unpacking and finalizing of getting things setup in this house (The Coffee SHRINE! but also other things. Like would you believe we had the baseboards removed to install flooring, and have not put a single one int? Some of that happens on Wednesday (Well, Monday I’m sending book to editor, and I have Tuesday penciled in to sleep or run away with a local fan-becoming-a-friend, depending on weather.) But we’re taking it a day at a time, and I’m orienting to write a lot, because that’s what feels like I should be doing.) and other last minute things kind of stopped that cold. Oh, yeah, and all the tools and stuff come with a learning curve. So, I guess I’m going to be writing and going back to school virtually at least.

In case you wonder, no the boxes from Sarah’s garage aren’t forgotten. Younger son has unpacked them, catalogued them and has made up spread sheets. They should happen late Jan or early February.

Anyway, that’s the work side. Not sure about the other stuff, but I’m going to try really hard to finish books that are started and get them out there. There’s a chance it will work, because I don’t want to disrespect my editor’s time. So, there will be more or less, roughly, in order: Bowl of Red (Shifters), Deep Water (Magis), A Well Inlaid Death (Dyce Dare), Rhodes to Hell (Rhodes), Winter Prince (Seasons of war in Schrodinger world universe), The long Purr goodbye (guardian-cats), Hacking the Storm (Earth Revolution-Darkships), Fairy Ring (Magis), Darkship Defiance, Cross Rhodes, Spring Uprising (Seasons of War), The cat Who Came Uptown (guardian-cats), Chalked Outline (Dyce Dare).

And so on, and so forth. I just want to get these crazy people off my brain. Started but not sure where to put them, there’s a multiverse thing called Mirrorplay (The one that starts with “Jump, the Mirror said.” A …. cozy science fiction with someone who much resembles Dyce — called Alien Hunter. An orphan kitten’s mystery. A sword and sandal epic, and a six book series starting with No Man’s Land and ending with Earthman’s Son.

And now you know why I hired an editor. And why I’m prioritizing writing.

Also there will be the Odd fairytales book, which I wanted to get out before Christmas, but foundered on the shoals of “I can’t find anything, because my life is packed.” Well, it’s a little better now, and I have hopes of getting that out in January. (It’s done and edited. It’s just entering a couple of last minute changes and formatting for release in paper and e.)

Anyway, hopefully whatever else 2022 (Yes, I know, it’s 2020 Too) brings, I will get further along on this list that has been growing for something like 10 years while I struggled with health and other things.

That’s work. On the family/personal side, other than losing so many friends this year and still being saddled with double mortgage, the year wasn’t bad. The entire family is alive, relatively well, and working. Dan and I need to get in better shape this year, and lose some weight. On the edge of aging, improving health can make a big difference. And most of our friends and relatives are still alive, including the ones we thought were gonners at some point this year (you know who you are.)

Some things turned out way better this year than we had any right to expect: the house we bought after more or less 2 weekends in this town (well, we visited friends here) turned out to be in a place we like, near things we like to do. It needed a little more cosmetic improvement than we’d been aiming for, but that’s life. There’s a very good chance we’ll enjoy living in this place long term.

Will our balloon crash this year, and burn someone’s house? It’s possible. Will someone’s balloon crash and burn our house? It’s possible. You really can’t make sure you are safe from that.

All you can do is do your best and position yourself as best you can so that you can survive. (Keep your clothes and weapons where you can find them in the dark.)

On the blog level: Hey, we’re still here. Better than I expected at the end of last year. (Raises champagne glass.)

There will be no post tomorrow (because I’m going head down and writing like the end of the world is coming, so I can get this to editor by Monday and it will make sense and not be written in Martian. Mostly because I don’t read Martian. And neither does my editor.

Everyone waiting for me to read something/answer something, feel free to poke about once a week, because I’m kind of buried, and things tend to get lost when I’m buried.

Until Jan. 2nd.

Let’s go into the New Year full hope and energy and face whatever comes the best we can. Be as determined as Havey in pursuit of pets. (Yes, he’s sitting on my lap as I write this. And won’t move.)

148 thoughts on “2021 The Good With The Bad

  1. I’ll take the Bad as long as there’s some Good! 😉

    Take Care Sarah and Have Fun! 😀

  2. “I do remember dad spending days designing the lanterns and the paper used and the fuel, so that they would burn and fly for a maximum time. (I don’t remember other instances of dad’s engineer mind growing up, though I suppose he was using it at work.) I remember his picking the paper and the colors and everything for maximum effect.”

    That’s where my mind goes, too. It is ever so slightly possible that, due to experiments with model rockets, I don’t do fireworks anymore (because the project swiftly grows beyond the bounds of reason and budget).

    “I now want to do a USAIAN children’s calendar and December will have some doggerel rhyme about crossing a frozen river to slit throats on Christmas morning.”

    At night they all did board the boats/To cross the river and slit some throats
    Ne’er more to have a king/Ever after would freedom ring!

    1. And yes, *somebody* should do that calendar thing. Find or make the art, put that history to rhyme. Inoculate a whole generation ‘gainst commiescum.

      1. Plenty of paintings depicting scenes from the Revolution era. Washington Crossing the Delaware isn’t the only one. Could probably pick one per month and assign them.

        1. Here’s a few paintings that could go in the calendar, along with (in some cases) which month they should go in:

          January – Franklin Before the Privy Council, painted by Christian Schussele. Depicts Benjamin Franklin being summoned to answer questions about the Boston Tea Party. The event happened on January 29, 1774.

          May – Patrick Henry Before the House of Burgesses, painted by Peter Frederick Rothermel. This painting shows the “If this be treason, make the most of it” speech, given on May 29, 1765.

          August – Battle of Long Island, painted by Alonzo Chappel. This battle happened on August 27, 1776.

          ? – Marion Crossing the Peede, painted by William Tylee Ranney. In my quick DDG search, I haven’t been able to find when this event happened. So it might be able to be a filler for another month.

          ? – General Marion Inviting a British Officer to Share His Meal, painted by John Blake White. I also haven’t been able to find the date for this event.

          December – Washington Crossing the Delaware, of course.

          More to do, but I’m out of time for today. If there are still gaps in the calendar by tomorrow I’ll pick up the task again.

            1. That’s a rousing idea. Could gear it toward kids re-enacting the adventure so they get it inside their heads… I know that’s one of the ways some of these events got into mine, with the feeling that I could be there.

              1. Somebody had a miniature on Pinterest that was supposed to be Major Andre. It was sort of “Glamour Shots Meets Georgian Redcoats,” as far as I could figure.

                Apparently there are a ton of Georgian and Regency miniatures of military men, because they were getting their portrait painted before deployment, for the sake of their wife/fiancee/girlfriend/mom.

                1. OK, now what about the reverse? Were there cases where the wife/fiancee/gf/mom getting a miniature painted for the soldier in their life? (Dwells briefly on pinup poses for some of the paintings, but I think I’d have the wrong century. 🙂 )

                  1. IDK about prior to WWII, but I have grandpa’s military wallet (very thin leather) with a picture of grandma and their two girls, as he was getting ready to deploy. Not something they really could have easily afforded even with pay from basic after being drafted. As it turns out, he wasn’t deployed overseas as he was needed for critical infrastructure for the mines here at home (machine mechanic).

            2. But April could also be The Shot Heard ‘Round the World, a.k.a. the Battle of Lexington, on April 18, 1775.

            1. Absence of fecal matter, there I was…

              A few months ago, I was camping at an Arizona state park. Sunday came, so naturally I started watching The Drydock on my laptop (for those unfamiliar with Drachinifel’s YouTube channel, The Drydock is his Sunday video, in which he answers viewers’ questions*).

              The person in the adjacent campsite told me that he recognized Drach’s voice. How cool is that?

              *Most Drydock videos are about an hour long. However, one Sunday a month Drach answers Patreon questions, and these videos are considerably longer. Today’s video, for instance, is a bit over six hours long.

          1. March – This moment was not (as far as I know) recorded in a painting*, but Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech was given on March 23, 1775. Would have to find a painting to match it up to, perhaps a painting of the Virginia Assembly.

            * There is https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/380487, but the art style is not up to the same standards as the rest of the paintings I’ve picked out; it looks more like a caricature to be printed in a newspaper rather than a painting, so I wouldn’t use that image in the calendar.

          2. The Boston Tea Party was on December 16, 1773, in response to the Tea Act of May 10, 1773. Can’t put tht one in December as the crossing of the Delaware belongs in December. So perhaps we could put the Boston Tea Party on the May calendar, and slide the Patrick Henry Before the House of Burgesses painting into June (since it happened on May 29, it’s close enough to June). That’s not the only month where there are multiple events that happened that month that belong in the calendar: April was both the Boston Massacre and Paul Revere’s famous ride. Both should go in the calendar, so one of them will have to be put into a different month.

  3. Here’s to getting organized, prioritizing writing and getting it done! We’re in a new place and I know this was a good move for us. Cheers!

  4. I found my 2020 “Operation Enduring [Charlie Foxtrot]” challenge coin the other day. Yep, it’s been a crazy pair of years, albeit productive in some ways.

    Ideas keep pestering me. Part of me wishes Day Job would ease up a little, so I could get everything written. The rest of me knows that Day Job is important in its own way. (And I FINALLY am over the brain fog and fatigue that hit me with the Crud in November.)

  5. Hooray for Sarah and throat slitting as a Christmas remembrance. (I read the history of George Washington’s attack on Trenton again this Christmas and was very inspired.)

    You inspire me, Sarah, and I’m so glad you’re here. And there. And that things are well and you’re all in. Many blessings of the New Year.

  6. 2020-won was a mix between a challenge and a disaster. OTOH, I’m cautiously optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is the opening, and not the train.

    We went from Almost Winter (cold, but dry) to Full Winter (add snow to suit) fast enough so that some projects got shelved. The forecast says we are heading into a whacking great thaw with lots of rain melting lots of snow–I’ve seen this movie before, and am glad we live above the flood plain. If things don’t get too muddy, I might be able to finish a project or two.

    Kat the puppy is growing up, and barring extreme* upset, is pretty good at going outdoors for business. She does hate being alone, but I think I can puppyproof the office. (What’s that cosmic laughter?)

    My repaired knee is functional, though regular exercise and occasional acetaminophen is going to be SOP. I’ve learned to walk *very* carefully on slick surfaces.

    (*) Border Collies have a low threshold for extreme. Allergic to change? Yep.

    Have a good year, and I pray things will improve.

    1. “I think I can puppyproof the office. (What’s that cosmic laughter?)”

      Murphy: Challenge accepted. 😎

  7. Happy New Year, Sarah and Dan!

    We’ll see how Twenty Twenty, Too, proceeds. Meantime…Dum Vivimus, Vivamus!

  8. I’m feeling happier than I have felt in a long time. I think 2022 will be great. Hugs to you Sarah and Happy New Year to you and your family. (and everyone here too)

  9. If there is a definition of what 2021 was for me, it’s this-

    I endure.

    I survived going back to school with instructors that drove me mad.
    I kept myself from engaging in behaviors that would have been self-destructive.
    When I had problems, I didn’t rage, break things, get angry at people, and act like a fool. I realized what was wrong, looked at what had to be done, and got it done.
    There are things that I wish had happened this year that didn’t happen.
    Things that I hope will happen for next year.

    But, I’m still here. And, as long as I’m above ground and my life doesn’t get worse, I win.

  10. Looking at Havvy, he reminds me of one of the cats in the “Bad Cats,” calendar a few years ago. The caption on the photo was, “I’m feeling it. Are you feeling it?”
    Havvy appears to be feeling it.

    1. Havvy is quite a distinguished gentleman. His build, fur and muzzle scream Maine Coon, the only feature missing is the “butterflies” at the ears. And it sounds like you are Havvy’s person. For some reason cats often seem to chose a specific person (or two) as their pet. You seem to be Havvy’s and apparently you didn’t fill out the right paperwork to leave for an extended period. Cats take AWOL humans quite seriously certainly my Hiccup (black feline) gives me a hard time even I make a grocery run…

        1. Haven’t seen a lot of Turkish Angora, but that I can see that too. Whatever his ancestry he is a really striking and handsome boy.

          1. we found him starved and covered in grease from the dumpster of the vietnamese restaurant next door. He was playing in the mini golf course, and getting hit with clubs.
            He’ a very needy and people oriented cat, though And very much MY boy.

      1. Our oldest cat had a serious problem with us going out for most of a day until my wife took the time to talk to him and reassure him it was only for a few hours or most of the day, and that we would be back. What can I say? It worked.

  11. For me, 2021 was better than 2020, simply because we did get a con season, however truncated. And most of the cons we did have turned out unusually well, with people spending a lot more than they did in the last few years before the pandemic. It really felt like the proverbial “money burning a hole in their pocket,” and while it helped our financial situation, it leaves me wondering how much we can use this year’s sales to plan for next year’s events.

    In the meantime, I have two months in which I need to figure out how to prioritize my writing projects so I can actually get some stuff finished and up — and figure out a way to remain productive when con season starts up again, so that the writing side of things doesn’t promptly fall apart again as soon as I’m loading up the van again. I want to continue doing newsletter swaps and similar publicity activities, but I need to know I can still get those promised newsletters out in a timely fashion.

    Speaking of which, I’ve got a newsletter I owe someone, and I’d better get cracking on it.

    1. It seems the theme is..
      2020 (2020)
      2021 (2020 won)
      2022 (2020 Two)
      and if that trend doesn’t fizzle fast we’re in for a nearly a decade of trash years until
      2029 (2020? NEIN!)

      1. 2020 Fore!

        Those crazy Aussies on How Ridiculous did mount a giant golf club on the front of a car. I can think of a few uses…

      2. I’m projecting by February, COVID hysteria will all be over. Between Irish democracy, the facts about the flu finally doing what flus do–evolve so you don’t kill your host (makes them smarter than Democrats)–things will fade away. I got my testing kits from the Feds for where I work with the instructions, “Test yourself. If you’re positive, don’t come in. Otherwise I don’t want to hear. We trust you to do the right thing.”

        1. Maybe, maybe not.

          There are an awful lot of people who are hysterical about it, and a number of them know that they shouldn’t be hysterical. But they can’t help themselves. There’s a real concern right now that those people won’t be able to pull themselves back inside and off the window ledge even after the authorities start telling them that it’s okay to take off the masks.

          The SARS-2 panic seems to have triggered something deep and unconscious in a lot of people, sort of like the fear of spiders.

          1. Junior, I still think COVID hysteria will fade. Of course those people will just move on to the next apocalypse, whether with St. Greta always-the-same-old Tuneburg, or something else.

            Leftism is an ancient pre-Judaic religion, and it needs its apocalypse and its human sacrifice to stop the apocalypse. If there is, “No boom today,” then, “Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow.”

            The little tyrants are already gearing up to move from COVID to “climate change.” They’re a doomsday cult, and our only hope of helping them is to convert them to actual religion. It doesn’t help that most Christian religions are being undermined by the self-same doomsday cultists who don’t actually believe in their nominal religion.

            1. I know that’s what they’re *planning* to do. But I don’t think it’s working out as they’d hoped. People aren’t widgets, as we often note here. Just because TPTB plan to influence the masses in a particular manner doesn’t mean that the masses will be influenced as TPTB planned. Additionally, as I’ve repeatedly noted, while many here see signs that the citizenry are fed up with the SARS-2 theater, I’ve likewise repeatedly noted that the people around me are still buying into it wholeheartedly. The other day I was leaving a store. The path outdoors from the exit went back past the entrance, and then turned onto a ramp that went back the other way down across the front of the store. Through random chance, a large number of people had left the store just before me, and they were all crowded onto the ramp leading away, giving me the perfect opportunity to get a good look at all of them. Despite the fact that wearing masks outdoors is not mandated here in California, the only person other than myself not wearing their mask in that cluster was a man who noticed me remove mine upon leaving the store, and promptly took off his. Everyone else was still fully masked up. And this is not an unusual situation where I live.

              Yes, TPTB will likely try and gin up a new emergency. And “climate change” seems the most likely suspect. But the evidence I’ve seen suggests that a lot of people in the region where I live aren’t going to find it easy to break away from the SARS-2 hysteria, even when the authorities start broadcasting that it’s safe to do so.

                1. Yes, I won’t argue with that. What’s important, imo, is that geographical locations tend to be linked to political affiliations. I live in an area that very heavily votes Democrat. I also see nearly everyone wearing a mask when I’m out and about. That tells me that the people who are the core Democratic Party supporters are still fully engaged in the COVID hysteria.

        2. The Democrats will keep whipping the hysteria until November. They will try to steal the elections even more openly than they did in 2020 because, hey, they got away with it, didn’t they? None of them suffered any consequences.

          They can’t stop. They can’t ever admit they were wrong about anything, let alone everything. They will cling to their ’emergency powers’ with a death-grip.

          I don’t need precognition. All I have to do is look at what they have already done.
          Most days, I suspect that we could get a better government by picking 535 people at random. On bad days, I’m certain we’d get a better government by picking 535 people at random from lunatic asylums.

          1. The things we *know* and have *proof* that they’ve done. What we don’t know is the bigger part of the iceberg.

            They’ve spent the last forty odd years pushing out and silencing anyone that hollered “STOP!” when they inched (or sprinted) further left. Which is why I have such suspicion concerning the recent public figures questioning The Narrative as it concerns the Covidiocy. Something fishy is going on.

          2. Agreed, but I think they sense COVID is a losing issue certainly by November, hence the explicit pivot to claim climate change is just like COVID. I think they’ve run that one into the ground too, but we know the goal is to cheat and steal BAMN. This November will tell us whether they can still get away with it. No bets either way on my part.

            On the other item you raise, my wife used to advocate for Congress to be run like the jury selection system. Congress critters picked at random with some kind of voir dire process to kick out the nuts. Hard to argue with these days.

            1. The framers of the constitution did not want political parties to be involved  I believe that one of the Corollaries is If you build something to be idiot proof someone will build a better idiot  

              1. “Every time you think you’ve made something foolproof, some damn fool comes along and proves you wrong.”

          3. They’ll try to ditch COVID. The current administration has had political failure after political failure, and it desperately needs a win in order to claim any degree of legitimacy. Claiming that it “beat COVID” is something that in theory should be easy.

            My gut feeling, though, is that their strongest constituents aren’t going to let them do so.

  12. The TV: “Who can forget 2021?”
    Me: “Whoever does it first is a lucky bastard. Drink!”

  13. Well-put. As I mentioned elsewhere this past year was good for me personally – losing 75 lbs and really getting plugged in here, and getting much better control over the black dog as a result of that is quite an accomplishment. On the other hand it’s been plenty exhausting, especially on the job front (so much mandatory overtime last year and us getting weekly testing for the unjabbed forced down our throats starting next week and they’re using OSHA as an excuse) and watching the various political dumpster fires grow hotter, stinkier, and burning up more things and no way that part doesn’t get worse at least. Not with the fearful flip-flopping the swamp creatures are doing right now. And yep Havey’s as determined as R and C are when it comes to getting pets! It’s like they know I’ve got big plans coming…

  14. It appears *somebody* lost control of their fire balloon in Colorado. You have excellent timing, your Highness . . .

    Happy New year, huns & hoydens!

      1. Really Balzacq are you trying to get us killed 🙂 ? On the good side of this catastrophe it seems to be “red pilling” some portion of the populace, so maybe there will be a way out of this mess short of bloodshed.

  15. Happy new year, sisterfriend. Meeting you properly was one of the highlights of my 2021. 🙂

  16. Happy New Year, yes.. A combination of drought and Boulder’s crazy December winds came within a few miles of burning down my house. Over a thousand homes and businesses were burnt to ashes, but the balloon didn’t land on us. We prepped to evacuate, husband and kids and cats and dog, and then waited. It was a long, long day. And we’re fine. And now we’re trying to help others who lost everything.

    I delivered a bunch of warm clothing and shoes to a neighbor who is sheltering a family. Their fifteen year old daughter requested books to read. I gave her copies of my middle-grade books, and hope with all my heart that my stories of adventure will take her away for a little bit, the same way books have always done for me in times of pain and trial. Food nourishes your body, clothing keeps you warm, but stories feed your soul.

    I’m so glad to read that you’ve got a lot of books in the pipeline. That will make it a very good year, indeed.

    1. Glad to hear that your house made it. I was just thinking that, for those of us still in Colorado, Sarah’s balloon metaphor was a bit unfortunate…

      I got out of Boulder County a few years ago, but my family lived in Superior when I was in high school, and I’ve been looking at the fire maps, and my old house is right on the border of what burned; no way right now of knowing if its still there or not.

      I’m worried for all those people. Yes, there will be insurance money and people will help, but so many homes burned, and I don’t know if we have the materials and construction workers to rebuild 500 houses right now. A lot of people could be homeless for a long time.

  17. Nothing too dramatic here. Just getting over the current throat crud. I was scared early on that it would turn out to be strep, but nobody else at work who had the throat crud had strep; so I rolled the dice and it came out fine.

    Gifts for Christmas came out okay. I got my parents a joint present of a “Twelve Days of Christmas” set of tiny weird jelly flavors from Bonne Maman that we were selling at work, because they use sugar instead of corn syrup. And it turned out that my mom fondly remembered her family getting a Bonne Maman gift set when she was a kid, so that was lucky.

    I am sadz that I didn’t buy myself the UK Cheese Advent Calendar this year, because it was really good last year. But with that kind of stuff, you either buy it when you see it or you are out of luck. This year the price had gone up, but it sold faster than last year, because I think a lot of people figured out how good it was. (It’s not just the cheese, which is very nice; it’s also the dad jokes printed on the Advent calendar openings. And apparently the cheese company runs a contest for bad cheese jokes, and prints the contributors’ first names and last initials along with the joke.)

    1. I’m going to order that UK Cheese Advent calendar for my husband next year. He is our family King of terrible Dad jokes. This calendar will make him very happy.

      1. I am sure RAH would heartily approve of your use of it, so it isn’t stealing. Given the utter loony stuff going on these days, it wouldn’t surprise me if the zombie apocalypse starts because people like RAH, MLK, the writers of the Constitution, et.c, get up out of the graves to scream “enough is enough”.

        1. Yep, the Crazy Years on steroids. I’d just as soon avoid Nehemiah Scudder, though.

          1. Definitely do not want Scudder. Although what we might get out of the left is some environmentalist nut case like Ms Thunberg, I think her 15 minutes have passed but there are othe idiots (useful or otherwise)

              1. Oh crap really, Gracious hostess your middle name wouldn’t happen to be Cassandra would it… The only good thing is that Obumbles is so lazy and such an anti Midas that he is even more ineffectual the than Greta.

                1. Hmmm, I suspect that’s kind of what much of the non Clinton / non looney tunes (i.e AOCand clan) portion of the democrats are pushing for. Her odds are immensely small, Why? Because Obama is a jealous god and you shall have no gods before or after him. He isn’t good for much but he’s a master of f*cking up other peoples chances and there is no way he is even letting Moochelle have a paper dogs chance in hell of ever rivaling him. Heck his landmining all the Democrat back bench is why they have nobody. His view is “Apres Moi, les deluge…”

                    1. That is true, but that doesn’t seem to phase the democrats. Hell the number of Democrat female politicos that don’t classify as witch (NY pronounciation starts with B) Could be counted on the tip of one tentacle (Tulsi Gabbard only one I can think of and I’ve likely missed something about her). Moochelle fills 2 of their slots of privileged classes. If she dumped OBumbles and found herself a lady toy, and/or transitioned to male she’d be a shoe in for the nomination. Would she win? depends on the graveyard and ringer turnout. They nominated Hilary who was probably one of the most repugnant political personages since Nero’s mama. Then they Nominate the Camel for vp who has been going to Hildabeest for personality improvement training.

                    2. The Democrats have so many Wicked Witches they need to subdivide the compass into fractional degrees.

                      By the way, it’s ‘shoo-in’, and ‘faze’ not ‘phase’.

        2. Something straight out of the Monster Hunter International universe (or Tom Stranger):

          “All of our dead voters have risen from the grave and they’re PISSED!!

          1. And the Demoncrats are not well armed let alone do they have silver ammo, or any religious belief (except for the occasional love of Saint Greta or the Light Bringer…)

  18. Doggrel, I can do doggrel. I wish I could do poetry, but you can’t always get what you want.

    On Stephen’s day in Trenton town
    The hired forces of the crown
    In great confusion they retired
    When the patriot muskets fired.

    Pure coincidence, I was down all through that area on Thursday. One of NJ’s great shames, and there are many, is that few here know how much of the revolution was fought here. I live all of 15 Minutes from Morristown where Washington spent two winters. There’s the Battle,of the Short Hills, Princeton, and Monmouth Courthouse on top of Trenton.

    1. you know, I’m mulling this, and we’ll coordinate. You can do the doggerel (and I’ll do the simple story for the bottom notes).
      A Young Patriot’s Calendar.

      1. Full disclosure, doggerel is all I can do, on the other hand bad poetry is much more effective than good prose for reminding people.

      2. Here’s one for January.

        Tarleton the bloody butcher
        Was at the Cowpens put to flight
        The Maryland Line and Daniel Morgan
        Faced the bloody tyrants might

        On they came the bloody redcoats
        For to make the rebels run
        But they could not face the volleys
        In seventeen hundred eighty-one

        I’ll stop now 😀😇

        1. Your doggerel is better than some of the attempts at poetry I’ve seen lately.
          I like this one. Still, the editor in me says to delete “hundred,” from the last line. It runs better that way.

          1. It’s all dum de dum de dum de dum. I drive the kids crazy when We’re out in the car when I come up with verses about the other drivers ancestry. better than swearing I suppose.

            Thank you for the feedback, I usually just get snorts, eye rolling, and sighs so I haven’t gotten any better.

            the last line was the first thing that occurred to me, i had in mind a poem by Lady Gregory called The Old Woman Remembers.

            For Richard’s credit ran to naught
            His fortune’s fatness turned to lean
            But Art McMurrough reigned and fought
            Till fourteen hundred seventeen

            O’Neill took Ulster in has hand
            In fifteen hundred fifty-one
            he’d have no meddlers on his land
            He kept their armies on the run.

            And so on.

            1. If I read a bunch first and get myself into the right state of mind, I can briefly improvise in Shakespearean iambic pentameter.

    2. In Trenton town, the Hessian soldiers,
      My ancestors, they were drunk
      Lucky for me they did not die
      Otherwise I might not be

      So the brothers, prisoners they became
      And after the war did end
      To a farmer in Pennsylvania they were sold
      And so indentured servants they become

      Once the debt had been paid, they were free
      The farmers daughter one did marry
      And so they did prosper in the land of the free
      Now in this land, there are many cousins of me

      I am not much of a poet but in the end the losers also win. Enjoy.

  19. For the bad part of the New Year, the California fraud by mail law that takes effect today is even worse than probably most people were aware. Apparently, not only will everyone get a mail in ballot whether they request one or not, in order to vote in person the voter MUST bring their mail in ballot to the polling station to surrender it before being able to cast the in-person vote. If you lost or threw out your mail in ballot so you can’t bring it to be surrendered, you won’t be able to vote in person.

    Of course, chances are that they will have a cast a vote in your name for the Democrat well before you go to the polling station to vote in person anyway. Between this and the redistricting that Democrats are doing, kiss the remaining Republican House seats in California goodbye.

    THIS Is how they will keep control of the House, no matter how many people actually want them out, even in districts that “elect” Democrats.

    Meet the New Year, same as the old year.

    1. Class Action Suit Time?

      “How could I have already voted? Here is the mail in ballet. FRAUD ALERT!!!!” Posted to MeWe, FB/Meta (with “fake news” attached).

      Yes, I can already hear the ones whose ballet got destroyed, or never arrived, trying to vote, and being denied.

      Along with “well C**P …” because what California does, Oregon is not far behind.

      1. And if Democrats get their way, they will ram it through on a party line vote to impose it nationally, as they intend to nuke the filibuster so they can ensure they can fix the results of elections on a national basis.

        There is a reason the Democratic Party propaganda machine is pushing the “rule by decree is for your own good”, because they intend to do everything they can to ensure that they are able to do exactly that:


        1. Sen. Manchin isn’t going to allow the destruction of the filibuster – at least for the time being. Sen. Sinema seems to hold a similar view on the matter. And without a majority vote on the issue, the filibuster isn’t going anywhere.

          If it does pass, then I expect that it will quite literally trigger a new civil war. Some states will refuse to go along with the new voting rules, and the House and Senate will then declare that they’re not going to seat those delegations because the states in question didn’t follow the “proper” voting procedures that had been forced on them by the Feds. But I think we’re safe from that particular trigger for the time being, again due to Senators Manchin and Sinema.

          1. I don’t trust either of them to stand their ground across the board; I can see them allowing “exceptions” to the filibuster to push this stuff through if they get enough stuff added on that they like. Even if they don’t, I can see the Democrats sneaking a rush vote through when they are able to hold the vote with a couple of Senators “missing” from being able to cast their votes. Democrats have made it clear that this is something they intend to get “by any means necessary” so that they can impose their radical agenda on the country.

            Also, expect a lot of sue and settle again in states that have Democratic Party governors but Republican legislatures, just as they did in 2020.

            1. “the Democrats sneaking a rush vote through when they are able to hold the vote with a couple of Senators “missing” from being able to cast their votes.”

              Unless they have a couple of RINOs sewn up, having Sinema and Manchin missing won’t help.

    2. Ah Copying Colorado.
      BTW they have unenrolled us from CO voting immediately, even though we still own the house. Yes, we’re all registered Republican…

      1. Surprised they didn’t leave you registered so that ballots could be cast in your names for the Democrats going forward. Do they even to check to see if someone is registered to vote if the ballot is cast for Democrats?

  20. Curse it, Ian, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for the last day:

    (Like the album version better than the authorized live version.)

    1. It’s like New Order, Daft Punk, and [insert Metal Band Here] had a baby.

      And I’ve had it stuck for the last couple days! So there! Or something.

  21. Happy New Year! Cheers to (mostly) getting out of CO.

    Having a much better workspace (and equipment), I’m finding that I’m not “over” computer stuff, after all. My second career as writer, which was not coming along well at all, is on indefinite hold as I find I’m enjoying playing with all the interesting new software things that I’ve ignored for the last decade.

    Documentation has not improved over the years, but finding it is certainly easier.

    All it took was CO banning gaming computers to get me to buy one. It’s so ridiculously overpowered that I had to find something to do with it.

    1. All it took was CO banning gaming computers to get me to buy one

      Why? Not why you bought one. That made sense. But why would CO ban gaming computers? ?????????

          1. Oh. Blink. So CO is adding border stops now, joining CA ag stops? Crime? Sneaking in powerful computers … with gatekeepers sneering “Phone not good enough for you?” …

            1. Sooo…computer smuggling? Black-market computer parts? Geek Supremacists?

              “What are you in for?”
              “Upgrading my computer.”

              1. “What are you in for?”

                “Grandma and Grandpa said they needed help with their computer …”

              1. You ain’t just whistling dixie Madam. How the heck do you define a gaming computer? Power supply? CPU? Graphic Card(s)? For a laptop maybe you can stop it as they’re kind of constrained, but a standard PC can easily have components swapped out and voila what was a timid Greta certified my little pony machine is a T-rex climate destroyer. They do know poking the gamers is a VERY bad idea (C.F. Gamergate) right? Gamers are kind of the definition of chaos agent. On top of that some of the gamer level graphics cards flow into hardware used Cad/Cam or video work. So they’ve done their usual trick and pointed their gun at their foot, or even a little higher up their anotomy. Also have they banned PS5/ XBox Series X? both of those are fairly power hungry too. Bloody cargo cultists…

                1. Besides the whole graphic rendering, GPS, usage, etc.. As a programmer, even though I never programmed a lot of exotic stuff, I tend to want the more powerful equipment, especially RAM. Now that I’m retired, I’ve learned to do with less storage onboard for my laptop. But not mister amateur photographer who keeps upgrading his cameras, computer. We’re really close to having to upgrade his computer for speed, and starting to run out of space, at 1 TB, and RAM at 12 GB. When we do, really over kill, but will clean it off for mom (it is 5 years old). (My computer is a 256 GB, 16 M B, Surface, which I really, really, like. Not detaching keyboard often, but I can. A year old, it replaced both an 8″ Samsung and 15″ laptop that were 8 years old, and dying.)

                  I can swap things out easily. But dealing with hubby doing it is a PIA. Translation, I get to do it, and I do not want to be on call that much. I will make sure we have the original copies on backup drives. Any touched up copies he wants saved off. But swapping out? Nope. Not happening.

          1. I’d laugh if the climate-super-computer concluded that it was contributing to Glowbull Wormening and shut itself down. 😛

            1. Ahh in the same fashion as the Sentient Bomb in Dark Star, “Let there be Light!”. As long as the computer doesn’t decide we’re using it resources and have to go a la Skynet…

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