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Month: January 2018

Leaving San Diego

I returned home yesterday from a brief excursion to San Diego.  Ohio, in truly reliable fashion, greeted me with a snow-covered windshield that required scraping.

Leaving San Diego, one of my favorite cities, is never easy. I love it at any time of the year, but especially so in winter. The perpetual glow of the sun and moderate temperatures is rejuvenating, and is a marked contrast to Ohio in January. San Diego is also home to one of my favorite humans, which doesn’t make leaving any easier.

A few highlights:

Caught a double feature at the Digital Gym, and both films were quite good.  The first was a bonkers Chinese horror film called ZOMBIOLOGY: ENJOY YOURSELF TONIGHT, which featured a gigantic chicken mascot that could shoot eggs that exploded heads, and somehow also turned people into zombies.  The second was the charmingly violent and funny TURBO KID, a clever film that plays like if ’80s-era Steven Spielberg had directed MAD MAX ON BMX BIKES.  If TURBO KID sounds familiar, like it did to me, it’s because it’s been — or at least was — on Netflix for some time. If it’s still on there, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Also went to the San Diego Museum of Man to take in their excellently-staged Cannibals: Myth & Reality exhibit. The topic was already intriguing, because cannibals, but the presentation and flow were top-notch and really drew you in.  Favorite bits include:

  • Real-life incidents where folks were forced to eat each other, or were faced with that decision, because Not Eating Your Friends and Family would otherwise spell certain doom;
  • The Cannibal Tribe trope, AKA “all brown-skinned people already living in lands ‘discovered’ by European explorers are deemed cannibals because the dehumanization of indigenous populations makes enslaving and slaughtering those populations all the more palatable”; and
  • The Oregon Trail-like game Donner Trail.

We also got a quick tour of the shop where the exhibits are built and accidentally met the Post Secret guy, who it turns out is really nice.

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And on my last night in town, dinner was acquired at the nearby Viejas Casino buffet. I have sampled many fine buffets in my day, but this was by far the best.  I gorged on prime rib and desserts, and, since all-you-could-drink alcohol was included in the price, I accompanied the food with champagne. Delicious and decadent. A perfect way to end the trip.

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Here We Go Again

Ringing in the new year like…

Hah. Or something like that.

The transition from 2017 to 2018 has been a quiet one for me. I have either a head cold, unhinged allergies, or a sinus issue, or some charming combination thereof. So tonight I’m staying in, sucking down cough drops like it’s my job, and watching the terribly bad but entertaining THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER. Don’t be jealous.

I haven’t been a total hermit today. Went out earlier with friends for a fancy steak dinner and some time at the casino, where I played blackjack and ended the evening $190 ahead. This was my first time playing blackjack at a casino, and even had I lost my precious monies, it would still have been more entertaining than feeding pennies into the greedy maws of the slot machines. Las Vegas is in my future next summer, so I’m looking forward to losing my savings at blackjack, then trying to win it all back at “Guess a Number Between One and Ten” in some rinky-dink casino, just like Clark W. Griswold. Does anyone else remember VEGAS VACATION, other than me and Nate?

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2017 has been by all accounts a long, bizarre year. I feel like I say some variation of that every year, but damn it, this time I really mean it. I’m not even going to try to collect and summarize my thoughts about the abysmal political and social landscape that’s dominated 2017, except to say: (1) in respect to all things politics, 2017 can fuck right off; (2) my picture appeared in the local newspaper; and (3) I am still emotionally abusing Chrome’s Word Replacer extension by making it replace a certain person’s name with “My Ass,” and thus making my eyes bleed a little less when I read the news. So to paraphrase the meme, Word Replacer is the real MVP.

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According to my comprehensive authors spreadsheet, I read 22 books in 2017 (not counting graphic novels), down slightly from 25 in 2016. I would like to get that number closer to 30, but we’ll see. Life is a lot busier than it was, which I am not unhappy about. Still: it’s good to have goals.

Favorite book from 2016 was Michael Swanwick’s NOT SO MUCH, SAID THE CAT. Swanwick is a wonderful novelist, yes, but he is also one of the finest short story writers alive, and with this collection he again demonstrates why.

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2017, for me at least, is ending on a relatively high note. 2018 may be worse or it may better, but despite my occasionally affected cynicism, I remain a cautious optimist. No resolutions this year, except to read more books, eat better, and drink more wine.

Here we go again. Strap in. Happy New Year.

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