Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Later Late Night


Late Night with Seth Meyers has been on for a few weeks now, and I can't say that I like it.  (I addressed the show in an earlier post, in which I erroneously said that it would be airing at 11:35 pm, rather than 12:35 am, but I never felt like making the effort to correct the mistake.)  

One of my first thoughts upon viewing the show was that watching it is like eating an ice cube made of Windex. Upon further reflection, that impression may have been entirely visually-based, as backlit blue rectangles are a prominent element of the set.  

Still, I can't say that I like it.  

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Snow Thoughts


As I noted in my last post, I love snow.  The Washington area got some snow yesterday, even though it's March, and it's time to let the snow go, and yield the world to the frogs and the flowers.  The predicted accumulation was 6 to 10 inches, but where I am there was only 4 1/2 inches.  As I have probably written before, over the course of a life spent mostly in northern Virginia, I have seen countless days when there was less snow than predicted, but I can't recall a single snowfall that was bigger than predicted.  

A few weeks ago, I went into the District on a Saturday afternoon on the Metro.  It was supposed to snow that afternoon, but there was no snow.  I could only think how much better it would have been if it had been snowing.  

Since then, I have been thinking how fun it would be to have to make my way home from DC at the beginning of a huge snowstorm, a storm that would shut the city down for days. At my journey's start, there would already be six inches of snow on the ground, with another foot of snow expected over the next 24 hours.  I would catch the last Metro train out to the suburbs, just before the Metro shut down completely, then walk home through deserted streets, with snowfall so thick that I could barely see where I was going.  It would be a really awesome adventure, and afterwards it would feel really good to relax and have a nice snack.  

(Some of the same sentiments may have shown up in my Christmas story from last year.)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hibernation


I love snow.  And I don't particularly mind cold weather, as long as I'm experiencing it in the later part of the day.  But I hate having to get up early in cold weather to go to work.  I'm pretty miserable any time that I have to get up before noon. Getting up when it's before noon and below freezing is almost intolerable to me. That is why I sometimes think that it would be nice if humans were to hibernate through the winter.  

In my plan, the natural period of human hibernation would be December, January, and February.  We would, however, force ourselves to stay awake through December, so as not to miss the holidays.  We would continue to work for the first three weeks of December, then close down business for the year, and relax and enjoy Christmas.  And we would celebrate New Year's Eve as normal.  But instead of getting up on January 1, we would stay in bed until some time at the end of February or the beginning of March.  

As I said at the beginning of the post, though, I do love snow.  Here is the one problem with my hibernation plan—we would miss out on the snows of January and February. And so perhaps we would not sleep solidly for two months, but instead wake up enough to sit drowsily by the window and enjoy the beauty of the falling flakes.  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Two Score and Ten Years Ago Today


Today has seen a lot of commemoration of the first appearance of the Beatles on American television.  In watching footage from the occasion, one is reminded that the band, particularly in their early days, was in some ways what we would today call a "boy band"—young men whose popularity depends not on the music that they play, but rather on the fact that they are found attractive by hordes of irrational, screaming teen-aged girls.   

John, Paul, George, and Ringo were, of course, much more than a boy band.  But understanding this aspect of their appeal helps to explain why there will never be, and indeed can never be, another rock band as big as the Beatles.  The Beatles came along at a time when rock music had not yet diversified into myriad genres and sub-genres, and so the Beatles could be all things to everyone. They were One Direction, and Metallica, and Sigur Ros, and Vampire Weekend, all at the same time.  No band today could be regarded as both a boy band and a serious rock band, let alone simultaneously satisfy the fans of pop rock, hard rock, art rock, blues rock, and all the rest.  

(As I wrote this, I noticed that the spell-check function on my computer was flagging the word "Beatles".)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Running out of January


It seems that we are rapidly running out of January.  As always, I have an endless amount of ideas for things about which to blog, but no energy to do the actual blogging. 

But I also wanted to post at least one entry per month. And so I am putting up this entry, even though it really isn't about anything.  

I only hope that I don't do this again on the last day of February.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

This Has Not Been a Good Year for Blogging


Scaly Distractions will only have 25 posts on the books for 2013, as opposed to 30 in 2012, 26 in 2011, and 55 in 2010.  That might not seem too bad, but the summer was abnormally low, redeemed only by high posts counts for January and October, and for the first time I had a month where I didn't post at all (June). On the positive side, I did start my new blog, The Wandering Archives, but that's kind of like running in place, because it only reposts blog entries that I wrote in 2006 through 2008.  

Blogging didn't work out too well this year because I decided to concentrate on doing some other things instead.  Unfortunately, most of those other things didn't work out either. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

I Don't Know What Happened Here, but It Involved Christmas and Motorcars


I get very tired this time of year.  I am, as anyone who knows me can attest, tired in every season, but the tiredness gets to its worst around Christmas.  I attribute the phenomenon to the fact that the last week of December occurs between the darkest day of the year (December 21) and the coldest day of the year (on average around January 15) in the Northern Hemisphere.  And that's why I see December's end as a good time to try to get a nice long rest.  

At work on Friday I was feeling this tiredness, and somehow my mind drifted toward upper-class England in the Twenties. First I considered Downton Abbey.  (Although I probably have a fairly high genetic tolerance for Britishness, I can only watch Downtown Abbey for about ten minutes at a time, because it consists mostly of people disapproving of one another.)  Then for some reason I started thinking about a similar show, Brideshead Revisited, which I never watched, but saw advertised on PBS when I was younger, and checked the show out on Wikipedia.  

As the afternoon wore on, I began to more and more seriously consider the option of traveling back in time to become an aristocrat in England in the Twenties, where I would live in a vast country house and spend my days disapproving of people and driving around in a motorcar.  As far as I could reason, the biggest barrier to this plan would be operating the motorcar, which at that time would likely have been controlled via an odd assemblage of levers and cranks.