mjj (flemmings) wrote,

She considers the year past

I'm very sorry so many people seem to have had a frightful year last year. I had a wonderful year, in keeping with my habit of having wonderful years in the midst of rampant death, doom and chaos. Last red letter year was 2003 which from an objective standpoint sucked mightily, even for me. But I was writing dragons and almost didn't notice SARS, Iraq invasions, bicycles being stolen and the AC going off for three days in mid-August. Give me enough crack and sufficiently charming young companionship, and I am very happy indeed.

No fandom butterfly, I. I must wait at least a half a decade between each new love. So here we have 2008 and I'm gifted with not one but two new fandoms to absorb my time and energy. Why wouldn't I be happy?

Pratchett technically came first, since I'd dipped a toe or two into his oeuvre during '07-- Good Omens and Guards, Guards, neither of which delivered any spine-tingling coup de foudre. But the local library was selling hardcovers and two were his and one was Night Watch and sort of after that I had to keep buying and reading and buying and reading. No bolt of lightning, just a swift slide. I've talked before about the joy of Lots. Having Lots is indeed a joy, but it has to be something worth having. Pratchett is. Early or late, indifferent or superb, entertaining or mh, there's always something worth reading in anything of his, and there's the glutton's pleasure in having read a quarter century's production in half a year. Faster readers won't understand, of course, but twenty-eight books in seven months is unheard of for me. (My total for the year is fewer than 65, not counting a couple of major tries and faileds, and not even 25 manga.)

There's also the plus that people write Pratchett fanfic, and because he's in English they generally do a-- I won't say better, but a 'more convincing to my ear' job of it than people writing from Japanese fandoms.

And then there's Woxin.

Woxin is a door into something else entirely. My preconceptions, based on what you guys told me about it beforehand, signally failed to match what was in the series-- largely because I was hearing with an ear shaped by Japanese products and supplying the rest from English tropes (language and country.) It's an eye-opener. It's the same eye-opener as Japanese culture was at the start-- 'you mean people can do this?' It's not as far removed from my-culture defined sanity as Japan was-- nothing ever tops the Japanese for free-floating id content in what we think of as utterly inappropriate places-- but it's a departure.

Nor does it hurt *at all* that it comes embodied in the elusive and undefinable form of Uncle Ming, someone who never adheres to what one thinks of as the defaults. Uncle Ming is a tune in one of those minor undefined keys (undefined for musical illiterate me, that is) that keeps turning into a major when you try to sing it yourself. (Erm- the Japanese national anthem will do as an example. Warning- plays when you click.) The western imagination doesn't do Uncle Ming but is delighted that someone can-- if only Uncle Ming himself.

As a freebie extra, Woxin offers the lure of the foreign language. I love languages (though languages do not reciprocate) and anything that offers access to them is a prize. Granted, the Chinese I've learned from Woxin confines itself to 'get up', 'but' and the 是不是 construction, but still-- I had a moment of delight when I heard someone in 大汉天子 say 可是. 'I hear Chinese words!!'

And the fannish chatter has been so much fun. 'We few, we happy few', perhaps, but such a friendly and talented few. I love you guys so much, you do know that?

2008 was fine in RL ways as well. We'll pass over the chronic snow and pain of January to March. Half the problem there was me not looking at what was inside my boots (two sets of orthotics, not one), and half was not finding snow grippers until April. I had that pesky gall bladder out after only a decade's delay and achieved a deep abiding love of my own bed thereby. (April 12 is marked in memory as Coming Home amid April's cool grey and flowers, and collapsing into my soft bouncy all-receiving bed.) The spring was cold and the flowers lasted for weeks and weeks. I remember walking all through May and June, recuperative exercise, always with lilacs and wistaria and magnolias and other unidentified flowering bushes on my way. I *know* the summer rained for three months straight but equally the summer was also sunny. Not all-day drizzles but sudden cloudbursts. Made going out a bit hairy, but otherwise it was fine.

If winter 2006-07 was my living room couch and 100 Demons, read and reread, and summer '07 was the front porch (I rarely sit outside to do anything, but in '07 I did), then 2008 was upstairs: my guest bedroom, normally a dark narrow affair I only sleep in when I have light-phobic headaches, which became the place to sit and do double crostics and read Discworld in, or the front bedroom by the window in the ancient tub chair from Bedford whose foam rubber is disintegrating.

And that's the other way '08 was superb. Any other summer I never raise the blinds in the west-facing unshaded bedroom. They stay down over closed windows, except for a foot at night to accommodate the window fan, and the sheers and the curtains are closed on top of them, and that way I hope to mitigate the pounding heat of the westering sun. But this summer was cool. The one thing that didn't happen was the psychological shutdown I go through, usually in late June, when the daily battle to keep the house at a semi-bearable temperature and the constant stink of Toronto in its 'hot hazy and humid' mode and the breathless unbreathable air finally overwhelms me and I switch me off. Grim get-through-this-day get-through-this week don't think about the future. I only know it's happened when it stops sometime in September, and I realize that I've been someone else for the last month or so, and that now I can think again. (Heat is a sort of madness for me. Physically and psychologically it fries me.)

Didn't happen in 2008. A blessing.

Changes at work mean I'm getting more work-- was living totally on my wages for a bit there until the toof went berserk in November. Dentists are to us what doctors are to Americans-- what poor people have no insurance to pay. Would still rather pay to have a tooth filed (yes-- filed, not filled) than to have an organ removed. My weight through the year was the low I briefly hit after a bout of dysentery in '06. I even got under 200 pounds for a few weeks in September but was undone by Thanksgiving turkey. Tav and Kiro got married, and how much happier-making can you get than that? Well, Obama got elected. That comes close.

So yes, the economy is tanking and we're well into a recession, but that was on the cards anyway. Enjoy yourself in good times and tighten your belt in bad, my s-i-l says. Caldo galego and lemon lentil soup cost almost nothing to make and are wonderful to eat. In fact most haute cuisine derives from peasant food, the cooking of people who don't have much to start with; nothing wrong with returning to one's roots, especially if they're potato roots.

So a happy new year to all you out there. Chin up, ducks. Remember that six months ago oil was $150 a barrel and is now something like $45. Who knows what'll happen in the next six months? Interesting times, interesting times.
Tags: food, place, pratchett, rl_06, rl_07, rl_08, woxin

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