Working in higher ed has a lot of frustrations and aggravations that just come with the territory, but there are some definite perks. One is that my place of work basically shuts down for a little over a week every Christmas. That didn't prevent me getting called a couple times when the campus was "closed", but I still ended up with more than a week off.
It was a nice break: I made some beer, played the guitar and mandolin, cooked, read a little, and watched some movies.
I've been reading The Coming Prince by Sir Robert Anderson: it's well worth the effort.
I might try and actually finish more books this year: it seems I'm about 75% done a dozen books at any given time, and most just end up back on my bookshelf without my actually crossing the finish line.
Every year, my sister Shan sends me something cool for Christmas. Shan's what I might call a very gifted giver. She has a knack for finding that perfect thing you didn't know you wanted. She made my Bodum Cozy, she gave me the CD of Dylan Thomas reading "A Child's Christmas in Wales," and she gave me her own copy of The Grand Sophy. This year she gave me a copy of the BBC's adaptation of North and South.
Yesterday one of the kids was sick and I wasn't feeling the best, so we popped the new DVDs into the player, expecting to watch one of the four episodes. We watched them all in one sitting. Shan describes the story as "Pride and Prejudice for grown-ups." Is it my favourite 19th Century book adaptation? I don't know... I'll need to watch it a couple more times. It's definitely in the running.
I think I prefer it to BBC's famous and brilliant Pride and Prejudice adaptation, solely on the grounds that it is visually more pleasing. The P&P miniseries was really very well done, but the DVDs are awful: they're washed out and colourless. (I hear the Blu-ray version really is much better.) But I'm very fond of the 2009 version of Emma. I don't know if the melancholy brilliance of N&S can possibly overcome the much more cheerful--- but not totally insipid--- E.
Here's a question, if it's not insipid, does that mean it's "sipid"?
Finally, my neighbour bought me the Lord of the Rings, Extended Edition on Blu-ray last summer. We had said we'd watch them together, and we're still not finished. It's hard finding times when we're both free. We've made it through The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. We were supposed to watch The Return of the King on New Year's Eve, but we got pre-empted.
This is a time when the "new and improved" really is. I watched the same sequences both on the older DVD version and the Blu-ray version, and I can actually see the difference. For example, the threads in Frodo's cloak are plainly visible.
Tomorrow it's back to work. Back to Perl and Java and Unix and Lisp and Spring and Hibernate and email and Oracle and GWT. I'm not really depressed by the thought, but it's been nice to get away from it for a while.