Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas '05

I hope everyone had or is having a great gaggle o’ holidays. I’m pleased to announce that my girlfriend got me a beautiful copy of Absolute Watchmen, and to satiate her Logan-lust I got her the first two Greg Rucka Wolverine trades (thanks to the staff of CBG for recommendations) along with the first season of Lost and a matching set of earrings and ring. In the hopes of expanding my older brother’s funnybook range (traditionally he only reads Batman and X-related stuff, and only then if it’s the darker and violent stories), I got him the first volumes of Sleeper and Lone Wolf and Cub (Lone Wolf may be a leap, but I’m fairly certain he’ll dig Sleeper). He, in turn, got me a $50 gift certificate to Earthworld, my local comic shop, which I’m planning on spending today providing they’re open.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t already checked out JC Glindmeyer’s two-part list of unforgettable customers (JC owns Earthworld) at Comic Book Galaxy, go now. It’s great stuff. The first part is here, and the second is here.

I knew about one of JC’s Unforgettables, but only because it was mentioned in an article about the shop in Albany’s free weekly reader: The Metroland. The magazine regularly chooses Earthworld as the Capital District’s Best Comic Shop, though I think in the last series of “Best of” they chose Aquilonia Comics instead (in nearby Troy). But I think that was mainly because they just wanted to mix it up a little bit. I haven’t been to Aquilonia much, but for my tastes Earthworld definitely kicks its ass (in case you’re wondering, I’m not refusing to provide a link to Aquilonia out of consumer loyalty or anything like that – as far as I know, they don’t have a website). In my experience, Earthworld is much better purely as far as its diverse supply of comics is concerned. If there’s any area where Aquilonia surpasses Earthworld, it’s in the peripheral trading card and RPG stuff (something I’m not that interested in). In fact, my brother prefers Aquilonia only because they have weekly Magic card tournaments.

The biggest Xmas surprise was that my girlfriend got me a laptop. I half-suspected it because she wrapped up the box and put it under the tree early (we got a real tree this year, our first), and it seemed too big to be anything else I wanted (other than maybe a Hulk statue or something, but it wasn’t heavy enough…er…not that I picked it up beforehand or anything…um…), but at the same time I didn’t think she could afford it. It turns out her family on the West Coast all chipped in to get it for me. I’ve never been as touched by a present, especially coming from people I don’t really know all that well. With working all night and going to school in the day, it’s something I desperately need. With nothing but literature, fiction writing, and journalism classes in my collegiate future; things are going to get very writing intensive, and I need what I’ve been jokingly referring to as a “mobile base of operations.” I need to be able write anywhere, anytime, or I’m just not going to be able to get done what needs to get done. The specifics of my job both help and hinder my writing. My job’s relatively low-stress so I usually get a lot of school work done there; but it’s always been a pain in the ass because my PC at home has MS word, all the PCs at school have MS Word, but the PC at work only has Word Perfect. It’s usually not a huge deal - I just write stuff in WP, copy and paste it into e-mails sent to myself, and voila everything’s hunky dory. But thing’s just got a little bit more complicated. They replaced the PC I use at work, and the security settings are all funky. Among other things, I can’t save text files, and I don’t think I have to tell anyone how risky a proposition it is to write papers on a computer if you don’t or can’t save periodically.

If they hadn’t gotten it for me, I would’ve had to use next semester’s loan check to buy one. Now I can use the loan check money for more frivolous stuff like food and rent, and it’s desperately needed because I just found out that, as of my next paycheck, I’ll be doling out close to $300 every month to cover me and Nicole on domestic partner insurance. Nicole’s looking for another job, but in the meantime I have to make that loan stretch as far as it can.

All in all, it’s been a great Christmas. My brother, at least temporarily, made peace with my parents and thankfully showed up to their place on Christmas Eve with my adorable nephew who’s finally saying “Mommy” and “Daddy” (and breaks all our hearts every time he does). More than anything else, I’m happy Nicole was here. We’ve been going out for three years, and this is the first year she didn’t spend Christmas with her family in California. Our relationship takes some hard blows every semester, what with our competing schedules and all the stress of school and work (and we both contend with that two-headed monster). We really needed this downtime to just snuggle and be lazy and enjoy some holiday lovin’. Holidays are good, I think. Even if you have to buy a lot of crap.

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