It’s January. Actually, it’s January 2013.

This is my semi-regular where the hell have I been post.  I’ve been writing these as long as I’ve been blogging.  I don’t think I write them for you, dear reader, but for me, so that I can remember what the hell I’ve been up to because frankly, I’m not very good at remembering.

It’s good sometimes to take stock, see where I am, what’s happened, where I’m going, why I’m doing whatever it is I’m doing.  This is, in the very best use of the word, meta.

Without a doubt, Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook have replaced my desire or need to write blog posts.  Letterboxd has replaced the location I write about movies (and I quite like Letterboxd, let me tell you, although I’m not sure the social media side of it is going to work out, a lot of people follow a lot of other people and it’s not easy to see what’s going on there).  As a result, my blog takes second fiddle really, anything I feel the need to urgently blurt out happens in under 140 characters and I tend not to think about it in broader terms and turn it into a blog post.

That’s probably a shame, although I’m not sure it’s as if a thousand readers are missing out on my rambling.

Life in general is the same as life in general always is.  I’m still coming to terms with the recent death of my mother, and what that means for my life, and more importantly the life of my sister and her family.

P1120084I will risk the wrath of the car gods by saying that we finally bought into the new car market.  After 3 years of very painful car experiences, both in terms of cost and convenience, we’ve bought a new one.  Three year warranty, no MOT for the first three years either, low road tax, and most importantly, new.  That means it’s not carrying a whole bunch of latent problems that lie in wait until we have no money left that month and then leap out and bite us.  It’s the smallest car we’ve ever owned, but it’s new and it’s ours and it finally gives us a sense of security in terms of being able to get to places.  After 3 years we can use it as the deposit on another new car, and so on, and so hopefully over time, we’ll be in a much more stable position.

Of course, it’s not free, and there’s a monthly payment, but at the moment, the payment year on year is less than we were paying purely for repairs and MOT’s on previous cars.  I think one year the Mondeo cost us around £1200 in multiple essential repairs, each time you think it’s just low enough in cost to cover it, but over the year it always mounted up.  The new car is less than £100pm.

The house needs sorting.  So much stuff.  We’ve not decorated in any sense since we moved in, it’s not in us to just do it, and we can’t afford to pay someone else, but it’s going to have to happen soon.  Both sofas in the lounge are dead, and the excellent covering Grete made to hide the deadness isn’t going to last much longer.  We got the brickwork on the outside of the house sorted, after I blogged about it a while ago, and a nice person responded and said ‘out of all that, sort the bricks before winter’, so we did.  But there’s a bucket load that needs doing.  The drive is basically falling apart since next door removed the massive hedge and replaced it with a fence – I think the soil has shifted quite a bit, and the drive is slumping sideways.  Ah well, as with all things like this, we’ll wait until it becomes necessary rather than desirable and then deal with it.  Like the boiler and the central heating.  We’ll muddle along, doing what’s necessary, always hoping it’s enough until we win the lottery.

Work is work.  I’m not cut out for working for a living, but I manage to hide it pretty well.

I’m amazed daily at the pace of change in the world of IT and technology, if we think this is the future the next five to ten years are going to be amazing.  ‘Screens’ are going to essentially vanish, turning into work surfaces and converging so that they become computers.  Mobile computing will become the only form of computing.  Follow-me data will become the normal kind of data.  Privacy will face even greater challenges, and yet government agencies will continue to realise that they are losing a battle against encryption and secrecy.  The public will become more public and the private will become even more private.

I’m still diabetic, still taking the tablets, and still handling it okay, and all the while still pretending it’s okay not to really lose weight, and that somehow managing it is enough.  One day I’ll finally admit it’s not enough and that the closer I get to 50, the more I’ll have to work to stay off insulin.

We haven’t been to the gym for a very long time, sadly Grete’s back kept us away for a good portion of last year and frankly right now, it’s too cold, but I think if we made new years resolutions, which we don’t, then going back to the gym would be at the top for us both.  Grete’s doing amazingly well with her diet, getting back on that wagon.

My Spectrum fad isn’t over, but it’s on hold.  It turns out that I have room in my life for one hobby.  I’m either playing computer games, or reading, or watching films, or messing with computers, or painting miniatures, but I don’t seem to be able to balance all of them over a several week period.  At the moment, I’m back to games and movies.  Who knows how it’ll change over the next few months as the weather picks up.

bookthing-square2Speaking of books – BookThing is still going strong (and has a nice new logo), and I’m really proud of what Grete has built there.  Sanderson has finally finished the Wheel of Time series, taking over after the tragic death of Jordan.  I’m tempted, at times, to give the whole series a shot now.  I read a quick review of the final book and it suggests Sanderson has given it a fitting end, now that the end is there, maybe I’ll have the will to plough through the braid pulling and complete stupidity that some of the characters demonstrate.  Perhaps.

Stella Gemmell has written a novel, due to be released later this year, which is just awesome news.  I so hope it does well, and it’ll be one of the first books I’ve looked forward to in a long time.  I wish Mike Carey would write another Felix Castor book, but it looks like he’s doing something else first.  I know you can’t force art, but come on Mike, for me? Please?  I started the new Dresden book but haven’t finished it, got sidetracked by movies and games (see above).  I think it’s better so far than Ghost Story was, but it still hasn’t kicked into the kind of enjoyment the previous books gave me.  I hope the spark isn’t gone, I hope the flame still burns somewhere and that the story picks up.

fringeFringe!  Fringe, Fringe, Fringe finished.  We watched all 13 episodes over a 2 day period, having specifically stored them all up and read nothing until the finale had been broadcast.  It was excellent.  One of the best TV series’ I’ve ever watched, and a criminal shame it ended so soon.  But at least they knew the end was coming, FOX gave them that gift.  Was it the best it could have been?  Maybe, maybe not, but it reminded us where the story had come from, it answered some of our questions, and it made sure to ask another one right at the end.  I would have liked more of some things and less of others, but art is art and they only had 13 episodes and a reduced budget.   Something has to change if we’re going to get good quality genre TV shows with high production values, rather than cheap serials with guys in capes shooting bows and low production values.  Networks must trust the shows to build a following over several seasons, they must give them the creativity they need and the chance to grow, not order half seasons at a time, risking leaving them in limbo.

Quality genre TV asks sweeping questions over many, many episodes, but I guess they didn’t learn with Babylon 5, nor Firefly, and Fringe won’t teach them anything either.  Advertising revenue is king, immediate gratification is the only option, and our TV will become more and more like the Running Man world we all laughed at (but secretly expected to happen).

the hobbit pressI saw The Hobbit – it was nearly 3 hours of indulgent awesomeness.

We’ve started watching The Following (Bacon is good, in sandwiches and on my TV), and Criminal Minds is back next week, so plenty of harrowing TV to watch, broken up with episodes of Rizzoli & Isles, Bones and hopefully soon Castle, to keep us calm and not fretting quite so much.  Ted Danson in CSI worked far better than I expected, and I’m looking forward to his return as well.  Since our cats bought us the entire Battlestar Galactica series on Blu-ray, we’ll need to get around to watching that eventually, and I’m assured by a friend at work that it’s as good as, if not better than, Fringe.  We’ll see, we’ll see.  Alcatraz got cancelled – you bastards, it was quite good, and Sarah Jones was superb in the lead role, a good, strong, solid, believable female lead character, brushed aside by a network which needs instant results.  That series could have been huge.

I put a long list together on LetterBoxd about movies coming in 2013, you can read it here.  It seemed like a good place to put it, although it’s garnered less interest there than when I previously put that kind of thing on my blog, so maybe I’ll do that next time.

And I’m slowing down which means I think I’ve probably said enough for one post.  This is 2013, even the date sounds futuristic – let’s make the best of it.