It’s twenty-twenty-two…nearly

I used to do these kind year in review things. I’d usually trawl through my posts, find moments of interest, horror or joy and then put together a bit of a year in review.

I actually can’t remember the last year I did this. I thought I’d stopped more recently, but having made it back to about December 2014 it seems I didn’t have one – at least not obviously even then. I mean, it was always a somewhat lackadaisical process. And I suspect part of me not seeing them is that they might occur in February or midway through January. They were more for me – to help my crappy memory store things that had happened. But having written this blog since… err, about 1999 in various forms, there are habits that have come and gone and when exactly that happened is a bit vague.

To some extent that seems more important at the moment. Without the accoutrements of our ‘normal’ happenings; holidays and trips, visits to restaurants and museums, all the regalia of a fairly middleclass existence (I’m fine with that, btw), it’s easy for life to just blur into one long chunk.

I mean, to be fair, the year has mostly consisted of being at home. I’ve read a bunch of books in the last few months (having finally got back some enthusiasm to read, not just to think about reading) of which The Premonition was quite definitely the most disturbing. I think I read A Deadly Education, this year, too, which was an excellent read. Glitter up the Dark was fascinating, but is very academic if you’re thinking of reading it – which is not belied by its cover. Nothing wrong with academic, I enjoyed it loads, but it’s not a light pop-culture read.

Also excellent was the Annalee Newits A Future of Another Timeline. At the moment I’m reading Blowout, then we’ll be doing some alternating fiction / non-fiction for a bit.

But pandemic notwithstanding, we did get away. We headed out to the Kanascat-Palmer state park with our tent during a period when the pandemic was less intense, and when we were both vaccinated and things seemed to be looking up? At least I thought they were. I mean, they were. Objectively, people were getting vaccinated, they were masking and fewer people were dying.

So we had a lovely little trip – although it seems I didn’t ever actually write up what happened. Mainly we didn’t do much, we read and played games and sat outside in the world. Which was lovely.

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We’ve also had various chicken adventures, from Pippi getting something stuck (no idea what) and having to be fed some olive oil and softened bread, to a case of bumblefoot which we – much to our rather basic veterinary skills surprise – managed to treat successfully at home. Trying to manage the very hot summer weather and the now startlingly cold winter weather (actual -6C, “real feel” -10C)

I spent weeks and weeks trying to find a Mars II EV – a 1960’s Renault based car that had a range of 120 miles and a 48 minute to 80%, 50kW charger. I would still love one. That was because it turned out to be time to replace our BMW i3 with a car less likely to die in a spectacularly expensive way. We bought Imp, our Kia Soul EV. Not as luxurious, but much cheaper to fix.

I’ve also poked at working on Rebecca, transitioned to doing more (and actually paid work) for Transport Evolved, and done a bunch of semi-successful geekery. I’ve a half-working Mycroft Prototype (of course *immediately* after I ordered the bits they completely changed the form-factor and now mine is…irritatingly not ideal). I half-fixed the Ankarsurum mixer. However, unfortunately I think it needs a new belt – which I’ve failed to order because I’ve moved on to other projects and the space is currently taken up by other things.

Mainly, at the moment, the inverter for Rebecca which is absolutely, totally and utterly unwilling to damn-well split in half.

I’m going to try heat next – heating part of the casing and seeing if with some differential heating and more whaling on it with an inappropriately wielded screwdriver I can get it apart.

I also have done some things that have been waiting quite a while to get done – I’ve put new disks in the media server (granted, today. And they’re still getting set-up to be used), tried to finish the 3/4 bath.

Kathryn and I also started work on her art studio. That was meant to be about a week-long project but as you might expect with us it’s… well, it’s taken more than a week and it’s not exaaaactly finished just yet. But it’s coming along. Or getting there, as we say to each other about most things.

I also – in a step which astonished me as much as anyone else – completed becoming an American citizen. This was celebrated in a typically understated way by my colleagues…

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(…you should have seen the state of my desk, too).

I also spent an inordinate amount of time dealing with Miele and our dishwasher which is now (touch wood) working, and delighting me with the much reduced number of dishes that have to be hand washed.

It has though been an incredibly tough year – I’m tired. I’m so fucking tired. I’m tired of the pandemic – and of people who cheerfully act as though there isn’t a pandemic until they get sick, can’t breathe, and then demand that we magic them better with drugs and medications that just don’t exist.

Or fucking horse dewormer.

We live in the stupidest timeline*.

Since it’s now clear that we’ve screwed the pooch on this one – humanity – we had a chance to stop this back at the beginning of 2020, but we didn’t. Then we could have got everyone vaccinated – by which I mean everyone in every country – but no, drug companies need their pound of (dead) flesh, so we kept fucking patents. So now we’re at waiting for it to mutate into something we can more-or-less live with, at least maybe not die with, and become endemic. Or – if we’re phenomenally lucky – we might come up with a general Coronavirus vaccine – which sounds great, but at this point I’m assuming we’ll fuck it up too.

So, yeah, I’m a shining ray of positivity.

We’re trying to decide if next year we just bite the bullet and book tickets to see my mum. She’s not the wellest human in the world, and this pandemic has already robbed me of 2 years worth of visits. She’s already had COVID twice thanks to her compromised immune system. So I worry about visiting her, but I also get that she wants to see me.

I went to a press event not long ago and spent the entire time from arrival at the airport to departing the airport wearing a very stylish N-95. I took it off briefly for some quick swigs of water, and y’know what, I hated every living minute of that flight.

So yeah.

Enough of that.

So next year? Next year I’m hoping to get some things actually finished. I’d like to get Rebecca moving (and have just forked out $400 for a tool to help with that), I would like to get the record deck…

…to not do that. Also to run smoothly and at the right speed, because at the moment it warbles like a yodeling thing.

So that’s where we’re at as 2021 rolls to a close. Or whines. Or whatever god-awful thing its doing.

Here’s to 2022 being better (and not, as the current joke is, twenty-twenty-too).

* Granted that’s because many of the stupider timelines humans have already eviscerated themselves out of existence.

(in)adequately laid plans

So we planned, today, to finally overcome inertia. To start the final push on getting the bathroom done. We planned to put down the microcement coating – today on the floor, tomorrow on the walls.

That was the theory.

Unfortunately, we weren’t suuuper quick off the mark this morning, then we had to revise the process for laying it – being as its been over 2 years since we last tried to do this. Then we realised that there were some things we needed from home depot (namely masking tape). And since we were going to home depot – we should pick up some other tools that might increase our chance of success (round ended finishing trowel*, for example).

Then there was clearing the stuff out of the bathroom – the tile saw, the radiator that’s been sat in there forever, the this, the that. Not that we’ve been using it to store stuff, I wouldn’t want you to think that.

Then there was masking off so we don’t destroy the plaster or the wardrobe just outside the bathroom in the process (something we’ll need to do more of when we get to the actual bathroom walls. Oh gods, the walls).

Anyway, by the time cleaning and masking was done it was peeing with rain outside and juuuust beginning to get dark.

So we concluded discretion was the better part of valour and put it off ’til tomorrow. It just seems silly to start when we’re both at the wrong end of the day – knowing we’ll have to stop, clean everything up, then repeat it tomorrow. And that tomorrow we can’t go on to doing the walls because the floor won’t be dry anyhow.

Overcoming inertia is definitely one of the most challenging things right now. I mean, the weather is grey and wet, and also cold, which makes “doing things” like, say, oiling wood for trim, difficult even if I was feeling motivated. Because to get it warm enough to do that, I need to spend time getting the garage warmed up. Which is posssssible, but not easy.

But on top of that – in case anyone forgot – we’re still in a fucking pandemic. Which I now just find depressing and tiring. Work is intermittently horrendous. And people still won’t just fucking wear a mask. I mean, it’s such a small amount of effort to potentially save the lives of the people you (at least notionally) care about.

So… Just. Fucking. Do. It.

*SIGH*

Also I’m working two jobs. And while one of them is super flexible about time in one regard, the other is the opposite, and just being busy and tired also makes finding enthusiasm for a job that I’m not able to do to a standard that I’m really overjoyed with? Well, it’s hard.

The studio is more or less watertight now, which is good. Still some important jobs to do, but it’s looking good. Hopefully we can get it finished fairly soon :)

So that’s news from the mines :)

* Annoyingly, they only do this in blue steel, not stainless steel. Bleh.