Well. It's been a while.
Saturday, December 11, Chad went off to a physics conference in Canada, leaving Emmy and I to our own devices until Tuesday afternoon. This would have been fine except for the crushing headache I developed Saturday night which kept me awake all night.
The next weekend was the weekend before Christmas, so we went out to my parents' for holiday celebrations. My aunt and her husband did dinner at their house, with my grandmother and a family friend I haven't seen in years, and that was lovely. The weekend after that was Christmas, so we went to Chad's parents for a Polish Christmas Eve (oplatki and oyster cracker fights [*] and soup and fish and pierogi; no vodka shots this year, but sangria again—why does sangria not give me a headache, but regular red wine does?).
[*] Oplatki (or oplatek) are Communion-like wafers; everyone goes around and shares, oldest first down to youngest, and wishes each other a Merry Christmas. This takes a long time, so the kids used to get in surreptious fights with the oyster crackers that go with the soup. The cracker fights are now a tradition to the point that we have a wedding picture of relatives coming up to Chad and dumping handfuls over his head.
The next weekend was New Year's, and we went to a party in the neighborhood thrown by the organ-builder of the open house and spouse. A good time, and I didn't turn into a pumpkin until after midnight. I gave myself the gift of a day not doing work New Year's Day (having spent considerable time at Chad's parents holed up with a laptop), and dozed for a long time and then watched the extended edition of Return of the King.
This was pretty "ehh," in my opinion. In rough order:
- Weirdly, for all its length, it didn't feel an hour longer.
- The death of Saruman:
- Should have been in movie 2, dammit;
- Felt like its rhythm was all wrong, though that may be because it excised chunks of dialogue verbatim from the book;
- And was just wrong in leaving Saruman to pollute the water.
- The little moment when Pippin stops dancing and looks at Gandalf, while the lure of the palantir is growing, should've been left in.
- The sexist!Eomer moment was properly excised, as was the simple-and-good-hearted!Merry speech.
- The extra conversation between Denethor and Faramir would have been quite good, if that weird hallucination wasn't there.
- The Paths of the Dead was a complete WTF change. I think the whole decision to show it was a mistake; keep the banner (at least Arwen would have had something to do in the later movies!) and the surprise; it's such a wonderful image.
- The Houses of Healing was so perfunctory as to be pointless.
- And, finally, ARAGORN WOULD NEVER KILL A MESSENGER.
Oh, and everyone can't really arrive at the Pelennor Fields at the same time. I was counting the days, it doesn't work.
Early in December, TNT was running Fellowship, so of course we put it on as background noise, and of course we had to stop everything we were doing and watch the Bridge of Khazad-dum. Only the ride of the Rohirrim matches it for sheer riveting drama and emotional weight; nothing in the second movie comes even close, which is a real pity because the first half of The Two Towers is my favorite part of the book. I'm beginning to reconsider listening to the audiobooks of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; I'm tired of someone else coming between me and the story.
This week, I went out to Syracuse on Tuesday for a court appearance, and am pretty wiped from that appearance, the five hours' drive, and the work generated by it both before and after. However, I was so very incredibly sick of law tonight that I decided to bang this out and then go to bed a little early, to gear up for working through the weekend, again.
According to my booklog, I logged fifty-nine books this year (read or listened to); I'm not going to bother listing them all here. I have the following to be logged:
60. Point of Honour
61. Petty Treason
62. Cut to the Quick
63. A Broken Vessel
64. Whom the Gods Love
65. The Devil in Music
67. O Jerusalem
68. Justice Hall
69. Crown Duel
70. The Grand Tour
71. The Game
72. Trickster's Queen
73. Going Postal
74. The Truth
75. Dog Warrior
76. The Gunslinger
77. The Drawing of the Three
78. The Waste Lands
79. Wizard and Glass
80. Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency