Saturday, December 26, 2020

A big ho, ho, ho to everyone, and a joyous party, however you wish to rock ‘n boogie today. Yesterday was the big one, I suppose – the day that everyone knows about, and pretty much everyone finds a way to honour. We did not stack up the events – in fact, we even bumped our Christmas dinner to today. Throwing together one extensive feast in a day is enough. We wanted (and scored) a nap. We had other (more interesting) things to do. In addition, we had candy and games to keep us occupied. Here’s how we spent the coveted 25th of December:


No shit! We woke up and said a big, happy hi to our team baker (hey, ma!), who joined us after a dozen days of hiding out, making sure Abbey was not infested with that nefarious virus. She had requested to have more presents under the tree than any other member of the crew, and we were happy to assist with that. She has, as I’m sure you know if you’ve been tracking this madness, been a huge support in this bizarre project throughout 2020. She deserved each of those gifts – I’m quite positive we’d have been doomed without her.

Everyone was happy with their goodies this year. Jodie snagged a book rack shaped in the same manner as a New York City tenement’s fire escape. She received over a dozen framed pics of our amazing dog-beasts too. I scored a bunch of kitchen stuff, which I intend to put to good, consistent use over the upcoming year. Our amazing son got me a six-month subscription to the Criterion streaming service, so I intend to spend a great big chunk of 2021 catching up on some vintage and foreign cinema gems too. I can’t wait.

After our nap and the chicken parm we opted to cook instead of our prime rib roast dinner, we hopped into the car and headed down to take a drive through the shimmering vista of shiny magic in our city. It wasn’t cheap (forty bucks for the car) for one exhibit, but it was something to do with our puppies, and which kept us distanced from any infested dudes or dudettes in our city. Afterwards, we scooted about town in the darkened hours, checking out the street renamed to Candy Cane for this time of year. We finished off in front of a house with a fantastic music-synched show. Trixie watched with rapt attention. I think we captivated our dogs by exposing them to this shimmering magic. They adored every second of it. It was a genuine treat to finish off an otherwise near-perfect Christmas day.

It was near-perfect, just because our son and his significant other were not here with us. We had a great Zoom chat as we opened our gifts, but it wasn’t quite the same. Next year, when things are a bit more sane upon the Earth, we can gather together and do it right.


There is another word for this bizarre event, and it’s the same as the French word for Christmas. It kind of rhymes with Superman’s dad’s name. I can’t say the French word here, because the theme for this weird piece of mirth is that one must avoid that certain keyboard character. If you scan through this entire entry, you won’t see that character which rests between the ‘K’ and the ‘;’ on one’s keyboard. I have avoided using it, and intend to continue to avoid hitting that key right through the end of writing this piece.

There is a degree of difficu… sorry, a degree of adversity in achieving this feat. I have to choose my words with care and consideration, and avoid using any adverbs. I have but two entries in this day’s event roster, so I sensed it was the right time to crank up the strenuousness of the writing process, just a bit. In my previous writing project, which you can spend a few days pouring through here, I penned a thousand words without using even one ‘E’. That was much more vexing, I can promise you. I wasn’t up for that kind of hardship. I’m getting too… aged for that shit.

But it was fun. This is fun every day, even when it’s not.

Today we begin to witness whatever remains to cram into a year of constant merriment. We are running out of days, but not out of crap with which to stuff into those days. Here’s today’s menu:

  • Boxing Day. We shan’t be shopping. I hate shopping on Boxing Day, and I’m not taking a risk to see how busy and cramped the nearby stores are. There’s a virus out there, remember?
  • N——- Candy Cane Day. You know what that first word is. So do I. But I can’t use the character that ends the word, so just imagine the entire word is there. Anyhow, yes, we intend to eat these.
  • N——- Thank-You Note Day. I suppose we ought to pen a note or two for those who have made this season groovy for us.
  • N——- Whiners Day. This is a custom-made piece of perfection. We can take part in this one, no question.
  • Kwanzaa. We had hoped to participate in some event of some kind, as we know next to nothing about the traditions tied to this event. But it’s Covid, yadda, yadda, yadda. Happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 25, 2020

A happy and hopeful Christmas to everyone out there who still occasionally clicks on my links and drops in to see what the hell we’re up to. The answer for yesterday (and today) is “not much”. It’s not only that we’re deep into denouement country in this project, but the calendar is not supplying us with a big heap of potential celebrations. No one was looking down at their breakfast this late in December and thinking, “Hey, why not make today National Honey Nut Cheerios Day?”. This is a sacred time for Christian folk, but in a far more inclusive way, this is a sacred time for families. Even via Zoom. So we grabbed hold of our scraps and fashioned with them what we could:

Christmas Eve

Every family has its own version of a Christmas Eve tradition. Some households gather en masse and splatter their dining room tables with a multi-course feast on the 24th, leaving the 25th for resting and taking one last stab at watching those same predictable movies or listening to that crappy infernal music. Our family traditions mainly involved the 25th for the big festivities.

I’m going to hold off on repeating ad nauseum that this year is different. We all know this year is different. Please, people, celebrate this year differently.

Our family Christmas Eve traditions involve ordering in dinner, cracking open one present (the Christmas pajamas), and watching Die Hard and/or another holiday classic. Last year we decided to put a pin in John McClane’s Nakatomi adventures, as the 2018 screening in our home consisted of all of us on our phones, too bored to even make fun of the movie anymore. So last night it was the Frank Capra classic It’s A Wonderful Life, which also gets airplay at some point in every one of our Christmases.

And yes, we spent much of it on our phones, because there are games to play there and we’ve all seen Clarence get his wings dozens of times in our lives. See my rant from a couple days ago during Humbug Day to understand how I feel about this.

But it was still a great time, with three humans and three dogs all chilled and comfy in front of the TV. And wouldn’t you know it, Mr. McClane was on TV when we finished so we enjoyed a few minutes of that classic. Next year will hopefully involve more humans (and the same number of dogs), and maybe we’ll toast that with another full airing of Die Hard. Whatever happens, we’ll make it feel like Christmas somehow.

National Eggnog Day

Full disclosure: we did not drink any eggnog yesterday. That would have been the ideal way to celebrate this day – and indeed, I strongly considered just leaving this one off the list entirely – but there was no need. Jodie hates eggnog. Abbey doesn’t care for the stuff. I’ll enjoy one glass (two if it’s the kind with booze), then I won’t want another drop for at least a year. Buying a carton of it made no sense.

But I’m curious enough about the creation of eggnog to do a bit of research, and doing a bit of research counts as a celebration this year. I’d be intrigued to try a cup of ponche crema, a Venezuelan variant of nog. This stuff has rum (which explains my intrigue), and used to be heated up and given to children to help them fight a cold. As a devotee of the hot rum toddy whenever a cold strikes me down, I have to say I approve.

The Oxford English Dictionary claims that nog used to refer to a strong beer. The term likely originates with the wooden cup in which the stuff was served, known as a noggin. It’s believed that the term ‘eggnog’ comes from America right around the birth of the country. No doubt its recipe has morphed a lot since then. The Brits were creating a similar drink using sherry or brandy, but rum was easier to come by (and not taxed by the Brits) in the western hemisphere.

Last night I enjoyed a glass of rum, and my tongue felt perfectly satisfied that it would have to wait another year to taste carton-sourced eggnog.

National Regifting Day

Yes. We have regifted. Even this year, we took something that was brought to us earlier in the year as a gift – something for which we had no use – and regifted it to someone in hopes they would enjoy it more. I won’t get into what it was (it was wine), or to whom we regifted (don’t worry, it wasn’t you), but it was done. And we feel no shame. It’s booze we aren’t particularly fond of but many people are. Nothing wrong with that.

Or maybe there is. Maybe the fact that we didn’t head out and spend our own money on this gift was an act of selfish skinflintery. Given that the recipient could not possibly know we didn’t buy the gift last week, and given that it’s a perfectly good quality unused product, I think we should get a pass. After all, it’s not like we Kebbi’ed the thing.

I have ranted about this elsewhere before, but I’m going to explain. 23 years ago I participated in a Secret Santa exchange at my place of work, a retail computer store that no longer exists in this city. Mr. Kebbi (I won’t mention his first name for legal reasons) was the person to whom I was supposed to give gifts. I gave a smattering of small things in the days leading up to the big exchange, and for the final large gift I gave a platter of home-baked goodies, each of which was crafted by my lovely wife.

I was admittedly a bit irked that I hadn’t received any small presents in the days leading up to the big one, but I hoped that final present would redeem the season. At the end of that shift I received the exact same platter of goodies I had given to Mr. Kebbi. He had drawn my name, and not really knowing me had decided to forego actually participating in the Secret Santa experience. Fortunately I was able to advise everyone in the store what happened, thus providing him with a decidedly humiliating reputation.

Regifting sucks. Unless you do it with unopened booze, and you can justify it in a few paragraphs in an online blog the recipient will probably never read.

Read A New Book Month

Jodie has motored her way through dozens of books throughout the year. Thanks to this project, and to my preference for watching films and playing games as a pastime, I have not. Yesterday I decided to crack one that Jodie had recommended for me, and to see if I could hammer through it in the remaining days of December.

I have time now. This project is getting quieter, I’m off work until January, and there are no holiday obligations now that shopping, wrapping and baking are done, and the only other family we’ll be seeing this week is my mom, who will be coming by here to join us in a meal we were going to eat anyway. Now is the time to dive in and read, I guess. At least until I remember that three of the games on my Steam wishlist are on sale, and dammit I’m treating myself.

Happy holiday, whichever ones you are celebrating.

What day is this? Why, it’s Christmas Day, Mr. Scrooge. And what else? Well, this is all the calendar has for us:

  • Christmas. Obviously we will celebrate this one. Actually, we’ll celebrate it with a massive feast and a drive through some pretty cool lights.
  • National Pumpkin Pie Day. I already celebrated this once. I remember, because I celebrated it with a doughnut.
  • A’phabet. This is a day for avoiding the letter ‘L’. No-L. Noel. Ha!
  • Takanakuy. A Peruvian celebration in which people fight one another to settle their differences. Sounds like it fits the day perfectly.