Christmas season 2015

July 25
It's Christmas in July! It's also Saturday! So... I should mention that last week's episode of Aquarius was set at Christmas (I mean actual Christmas in December). And for the past few weeks, I've been watching series one of Doctor Who on DVD, which I haven't seen in like a decade. It's all leading up to my plan to watch the 2005 Doctor Who Christmas special, The Christmas Invasion, on DVD, which I also haven't seen in about a decade. And at the time, I didn't write a review, so I've been looking forward to doing so, now. Also, yesterday I got lunch at McDonalds, and they have this promotional tie-in with the movie "Minions." I got a game piece with a code to check online, which I did this morning. I thought it might make a nice Christmas present for myself if it was a winner. But I don't know yet if it is. I guess I just got entered in a weekly drawing for $250,000, and of course it's massively improbable that I'll win that. But I won't know for a few days, I guess.

I also want to mention that I had been planning on buying some beer to have tonight while watching the special, but when I went to the store yesterday... a complication arose that led to my not buying any beer. (It's not important why.) Which led to my being depressed for the rest of the day. But I was okay, mostly. Then later at night, dad gave me a six-pack of Sam Adams summer ale that he'd been holding on to. I drank five of those, and that helped, though it only leaves me with one beer for tonight. Which is fine. More would be better, but I think it was more important to have it last night and recharge my emotional battery, so to speak. I'm feeling okay today, so far. But... I don't recall if I mentioned it when I started my Christmas section last December, but I think even then I was thinking that that might be my last Christmas. Even when I'm not depressed, I have little hope for the future, little interest in sticking around this often wretched world. My plan right now is to make it through Halloween, then decide if I feel like continuing to live. So, since I'm unsure whether or not I'll make it to real Christmas this year, I thought it was important to do a journal entry for Christmas in July. (Not that there'd be anything wrong with doing so, in any event.)

Well, it's about a week now since I started reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and I read two chapters today. Before I started the first of them, I thought it was probably getting on towards winter in the story, and sure enough, the first chapter I read today, snow fell (which hadn't happened for decades, in the town where the book is set). In the next chapter, Christmas came. So, that's some good timing. More good timing: last night I was watching a few animated shows on Hulu, and after one of them I noticed that the next episode was a Christmas episode, so I was really happy about that, and decided I'd definitely have to watch it today. And today, I thought the show that had the Christmas ep was "Dan Vs.," but I was wrong, it was Rock Lee & His Ninja Pals. Of course it doesn't matter that I'd forgotten which show it was, I still enjoyed watching the Christmas episode today. (Actually, that show generally has two stories per episode, and the second story in this ep was set on New Year's Eve, so that's kind of a nice bonus.) Incidentally, I also checked to see if "Dan Vs." has a Christmas episode, and it does... but it's about 15 episodes past where I am right now in the series, and I don't want to skip ahead. So I'll get to it whenever I get to it. And... last year (well, technically this January) I watched a Christmas special called "The Gift of Winter," which I had gotten on DVD. It also includes ten bonus holiday cartoons, which I thought I'd watch next Christmas. But today I decided to try watching at least one of them. I wasn't sure how long each one would be, but it turned out nine of them were theatrical shorts, and only one was a TV special. So I watched the nine shorts, and wrote little reviews. I decided to wait until real Christmas to watch the tenth bonus cartoon. (Assuming I'm still alive. Sorry to be morbid.)

Well, watching all those bonus shorts and writing reviews took a lot longer than expected, and then I did other stuff, so didn't start the Doctor Who special until around 11:30pm, when I really expected to start it closer to 8pm. So like, damn. (And then I had to work on the review, linked in the first paragraph, which I finished around 2am. So now it's time to sleep. Happy Boxing Day in July, everyone!)

August 29
Since watching "The Christmas Invasion" a little over a month ago, I've been watching season two of Doctor Who on DVD. I intended to watch the second Christmas special, The Runaway Bride, on August 25, which I would have dubbed "Christmas in August," or something. But various things prevented me from getting around to it til tonight. So... whatever. Now I've watched it, so I'm mentioning it here. It makes me sad to think I don't have DVDs of any of the later specials, but maybe I will someday. Sadder still is that I've already missed the last four years of Doctor Who Christmas specials, and I'm sure there'll probably be a new one this year, which I'll also miss. But whatevs. I'm happy to have seen this second one (for the second time, since I originally saw it years ago). And now... hopefully it will be a few months before I have anything else to say about Christmas.

November 21
I watched the new TV movie Northpole: Open for Christmas, the sequel to last year's "Northpole." It was okay. And at least I watched it while it actually aired, instead of on the DVR.

November 23
I watched last week's Christmas episode of "Bob's Burgers" on Hulu. The Belcher kids unwittingly offended a mall Santa, then spent the rest of the episode trying to get on his good side so he would make a positive report to the real Santa. It was pretty decent.

November 30
I learned of the existence of (and listened to) a digital Christmas album called It's a Pony Kind of Christmas. I'm not sure it's something I'd want to own (especially if I can't get it on CD without burning it myself). But it's pretty decent, if you're a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which I am).

December 3
Not really a Christmas thing, but I watched The Wiz Live!, which is kind of a holiday event.

December 4
I guess it was two days ago that I became aware of this Literary Advent Calendar, which has a Christmas-themed short story or poem for every day in December until the 25th. I read the first two items on December 2, and then forgot about it until today, when I read the next two items, and added a link to it on my main Winter Holidays page. Hopefully I'll remember to check the calendar every day from now on.

December 5
I did remember to read the story today. It was a Sherlock Holmes story about a hat, a goose, and a stolen gem. Not bad. (But I'm not gonna mention every story here when I read them.) Also today, I updated my commercials section. There are a few non-Christmas ads, but mostly Christmas ads. In addition to the things I put on my "latest updates" page, I also added some things from years past to my Christmas commercials page. There's a chain of British department stores I've never heard of, called John Lewis, which put out a long ad that I actually saw about a month ago, because it went viral I guess. But when I added it to my Christmas playlist today, I discovered they had a tradition of popular Christmas ads, so I also ended up adding some of their old ads, every year from 2008 to the present. And there's another British chain of stores I don't recall having heard of, Sainsbury's, for which I saw a new ad today, and ended up adding that as well as their ad from last year to my list. So I searched for other British Christmas ads, and added a couple more that I found, from the Sky Movies channel and another story called Aldi. And I looked for still more ads from the past few years, but didn't find any that really interested me, and I was getting sick of working on this, so for now I've given up on that. But maybe I'll check out such ads in future years. If I think of it.

Oh, and Mom and/or Beth made Chex party mix today. (I'm not sure who did it, because I was in my room all day, as usual.) Most years they'd make some for Thanksgiving and some for Christmas, but this is the first time this year we've had any.

December 7
This week's issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived today, and I read an article in it called The Best Holiday Entertainment Ever. I agree with most of the choices, I guess, but not all of them. Anyway... I also added some things to my Christmas songs playlist on YouTube. (I started it last year, but only put like three things on it. As of today it has 28 things, and I'll probably add more at some point.)

December 8
Watched Christmas episodes of "The Muppets" and "Fresh off the Boat," both of which were good.

December 9
I added entries for the shows I watched last night to my Christmas episodes pages. (I don't think I mentioned that I recently split my Christmas eps page into two different pages, because it had been getting too long. So the entries for these episodes went on different pages, because the alphabet.) Fresh off the Boat's Christmas episode was particularly good, and I considered adding a redball to the entry (marking it as one of my all-time favorite Christmas episodes), but I think it just barely fails to qualify. Oh well. Also this morning I found it's no longer possible to link directly to episodes on Amazon Video, only to seasons. Which I guess just means a bit of scrolling, for anyone who even cares. Not a big deal, but still a bit irritating. Anyway... in other news, my sister bought some Christmas Crunch cereal yesterday, and I had a bowl of that this morning. It tastes decent, but definitely doesn't feel very nutritious. Later in the day, I read a poem written by my cousin Matt, inspired by "A Visit from St. Nicholas," but based on the real saint Nikolaus. (I don't know anything about him, but this is a pretty good poem.) Later still, I watched Christmas episodes of "Modern Family" and "Black-ish."

December 10
I bought a bunch of Christmas mp3s from Amazon. Reckon sometime in the next couple weeks I'll burn them to a CD.

December 13
I realized today that I never said when my sister put up her (artificial) Christmas tree. But it was a few days ago. I don't recall which day exactly, but of course it's not important. This whole journal is unimportant, but, you know... OCD. What can you do? Also, today is Santa Lucia Day. I had a ginger thin this morning. Didn't do anything else to celebrate.

December 16
Watched last week's Christmas episode of "The Flash." Three villains teamed up, including the Trickster, who is played by Mark Hamill. At one point, he takes over a TV broadcast, which totes reminded me of "Christmas with the Joker," from Batman: The Animated Series (in which, of course, the Joker was voiced by Mark Hamill). So that was awesome. Then I watched last week's "iZombie," which was set at (or near) Christmas. So there are decorations, and Mr. Boss dressed as Santa. But mainly it was about Liv becoming a superhero, which was its own kind of awesome. (And also led to un-awesome plot developments, but never mind about that.) There was a really sweet scene between Major and one of the zombies he was supposed to eliminate, though.

December 18
Watched last week's episode of "Arrow," which was set at Christmas. As usual, the holiday is relatively incidental to the plot (which ends on a very tragic note), but... the holiday is there.

December 19
Made a comic on Stripcreator called War is over. Then I watched the Christmas episode of "Dan vs." on Hulu. Later, I watched The City That Forgot About Christmas, the tenth short from the "Gift of Winter" DVD, which I mentioned back in July.

December 20
I want to mention today's entry in the Literary Advent Calendar, The Nutcracker and the Mouse King. It's a short story, but surely the longest thing I've read on the calendar, and I liked it well enough that I thought about writing up a review of it. But I guess I won't. It is, of course, the basis of the famous ballet "The Nutcracker," or rather the basis of a later adaptation that itself was the basis of the ballet. (The original story was written in 1816, the adaptation in 1844, and the ballet in 1892.)

December 21
Watched last week's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," which was set on Christmas Eve. Jake and Boyle get into a "Die Hard" type situation. (I always forget that that is technically a Christmas movie, since I only saw it once, a long time ago, and as far as I recall I thought it was just okay, unlike people like Jake, who can be obsessed with it.) Later I watched an old favorite, The Nightmare Before Christmas. There's nothing quite like it to get one in the Christmas spirit, eh?

December 22
I added some more songs to my YouTube Christmas playlist, and I bought a few more mp3s, and burned my Christmas 2015 mix CD. Then I listened to my 2012 Christmas mix CD to review on my Christmas music reviews page.

December 24
I finally got around to watching It's Your 50th Christmas, Charlie Brown, which has been on the DVR since November 30. Later we went to Grandma's house, as did a bunch of other relatives. I sat around playing Pokemon until it was time for supper. Then instead of having supper myself, I went upstairs and started reading A Christmas Carol. I had always planned on reading that today, but the not eating thing... unplanned, but not really surprising. There were actually less relatives around than usual, this year, but still too many for me to be around without a ton of anxiety. So yeah, I'd definitely rather go hungry. (Actually, I did have one pretzel from the party mix, and later I came down and had one piece of sarma. So it's not like I ate nothing.) Anyway, I'm home now. Beth went to church for the candlelight service, but Mom and Dad came home instead, and I came with them. So... now I should finish reading my book, then write up a review. (But first, I had a couple handfuls of party mix, a clementine, and a pistachio muffin. Hearty!)

...And after I read for a little while, I went to fetch the mix-pack I had assembled a couple days ago. It begins with a very spicy "Strawbanero Wheat" from Shock Top. Very nice (though I doubt I could stomach many of those in one sitting). Next a "Pumpkinhead" from Shipyard. (Normally I'd be more likely to have that on Halloween, but I didn't this year. Pumpkin is appropriate to Christmas, too, though. Especially while reading a scary ghost story like "A Christmas Carol." And anyway, Pumpkinhead is always awesome.) And then I finished reading the story and wrote my review, which I completed sometime after midnight. I'm not sure what else to do before sleep, but I rather don't want to quit drinking after just two beers. So I have opened a Red Hook Extra Special Bitter Ale. It's not as good as the first two beers I had tonight, but it's decent.

December 25-27
I'm writing this on Monday the 28th, because for three days, we had no internet at my house. I managed to do a little bit of internet at Grandma's house on Friday the 25th (Christmas Day), including bringing Jabba Claus (the Jabba plush I got for Halloween, but wearing a Santa hat). But since then, nothing until today. So let's see what I can remember. Um... I got presents... actually a few things on the 24th, but mostly on the 25th. On Christmas morning, I drank a free sample of peppermint bark tea I'd gotten from Republic of Tea a few weeks ago. And Christmas night, I had the other three beers in my mixpack (Sam Adams winter lager, Guinness, and Smiling Irish Bastard), while watching The Nutcracker: The Untold Story.

On the 26th (Saturday), I went to a theater (which I almost never get to do), and saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens, at a matinee. That night I watched another DVD, which I won't mention here, since it's not a Christmas movie at all. (Neither is Star Wars, but my uncle Steve, with whom I went to the movie, also paid for my ticket as a Christmas present.) Oh, and while I watched the DVD, I drank a bottle of Hop Juice, a gift from my uncle Wayne and aunt Kathleen.

On the 27th... hmmm. There was a snow storm, so we didn't go anywhere. And I don't think I did anything other than sit around wishing we had internet. And I guess that's all I can think to say about the past few days.

December 28
Maybe I should write this as part of the previous entry, but I feel like it's different from those days, because I have internet again (albeit pretty slow). Today I edited my presents page with the things I've received this year. And I went in town, deposited some of my Christmas money. Later, Mom and I went to Grandma's, where Kathleen made turkey tetrazzini for supper. After that, Grandma and Wayne and Kathleen and Mom and I watched a VHS tape Dad had given Mom for Christmas, "How to Eat a Lobster." Then we watched a DVD I had gotten for Christmas, Claymation Christmas Celebration.

January 1
Watched The Abominable Bride on PBS. It's not really a Christmas thing, but... it is a special episode of "Sherlock," which is rather like a Christmas or New Year's gift to fans.

tek's Winter Holidays page