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Happy New Year- a week in

So far, so... OK.

It's been bitterly cold the past few days- high teens, lows in the single digits. Parts south of the country have seen huge snowfalls- and I mean huge even by standards here. Just glad I didn't have to go anywhere this weekend. Have been trying to catch up around the house. By Monday it's supposed to warm up and high temps are supposed to stay well above freezing. The cold aside, it's acting more like March than January.

Grandpa's funeral is Monday evening. That is going to be a bit rough.

Have a couple new things to add to my new experiences list. One, I went to a Hanukkah party, right there a novelty to me. Also tried latkes, which are quite good. May try them with sour cream next time; didn't care for the combination of potato and applesauce. Ah well! They were also good plain. In addition, I was invited to play a role playing game called Pathfinders. It's been compared to Dungeons and Dragons, except less complicated. Hope I can go back sometime, that was fun!

So that brings me up to 22, I believe.

New Year's was uneventful. Face painted at First Night; there were several other face painters but we got more people than I expected (There was a huge Ohio State game on that evening; the Buckeyes got their keisters handed to them, by the way). The next day I saw The Kingsmen at my lil sis's house. That was a fun movie, if a bit bizarre at times. On Jan. 2 (most places were closed), I went to my parents' place and watched the Rose Bowl parade, went swimming and that's when I played Pathfinders.

Also finished a couple books, both fitting requirements for the 2017 Book Riot challenge...

1. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. This fulfills the challenge for debut novel (could also fit the LGBTQ+ romance novel category). Simon Spier, a junior at his local high school, is fun character. The story is told through his eyes, and in many ways it's a fairly traditional coming-of-age tale. Simon is torn between not wanting things to change, yet slowly acknowledging that things have to progress eventually. The bulk of the story centers on Simon being blackmailed by another student, the awkward Marty, Marty wants to hook up with a girl he has a crush on, Abby, who happens to be a good friend of Simon's. Simon is afraid that if he doesn't help, Marty will expose Simon and his secret correspondence for the past few months, whom Simon only knows as bluegreen. Life becomes a juggling act as Simon reluctantly helps Marty while trying to figure out who bluegreen is (other than a fellow junior at his school). All in all, I really enjoyed this. For the most part, there are no villains (only a handful of bigoted students who largely remain unnamed). I figured out who bluegreen was about halfway through; if I have a nit, the author may have tipped her hand a bit too early with a rather large clue about midway. The humor is great; Simon has a wry, sense of humor and keen observations except when he is being oblivious. His turns of phrase are hilarious and I loved the email exchanges between himself and bluegreen. The exchanges are heartfelt and believable.

2. The Dark Crystal, by A.C.H. Smith. This fulfills the category for reading a book I've read before (could also be used for fantasy). The Dark Crystal is a novelization of the Jim Henson movie. The movie was one of my favorites as a child; heck, it's still a favorite. I read the novel either in late grade school or middle school and was able to find it again on Amazon a couple years ago. It expands on the world of the movie and adds details, such as the names of the individual UrRu and Skeksis. Fans of the movie may want to get their hands on this, if they haven't already. It really helps flesh out the character of Jen, the Gelfling protagonist who was raised by the UrRu after his family was killed by the sinister Skeksis and their Garthim warriors. It adds details such as words in the various languages used, particularly the Skeksis. At least one scene (the funeral of the Skeksis emperor), which was cut from the main release, is included here. I enjoyed it as much now as I did then, perhaps even more.

Currently reading: Valley of the Shadow, by Ralph Peters (for the war novel category), and The Hamilton Papers: Original Documents from the Broadway Musical (because I'm a complete Hamilton addict).