I hate winter

It’s been brutally cold for the last 36 hours or so. Well, brutally cold for Toronto, not for the rest of Canada. There was at least a bit of sunlight, a rarity these last two months, but it was too cold to go outside and enjoy it. I feel trapped inside, though I’m glad we’re in the house and not the loft anymore.

I have to say: in recent years I’ve found Januaries and Februaries harder and harder to deal with. I’m not sure I’d be formally diagnosed with SAD, but I certainly recognize the struggle in myself in the tough parts of the season. So, I’m trying to push out of it. I have drinks lined up two old friends/ex-colleagues this week. Then Lindsay and I are going to a play on Saturday, and might work a dinner in there too. I’m also trying to organize myself into a work trip in March.

Lord knows, I can’t keep drowning myself in TV…though it’s been good TV. I finished the exceptional Better Call Saul, I binged Yellowstone (which is mediocre, but entertaining), I’ve started The Last Of Us and the new season of The Bad Batch, and I’ve somehow found myself halfway through The Staircase. Just as well there’re so many good shows; it’s been hard to watch both the Canadiens and Raptors lately. I’m basically hoping for good trade deadline drama and high draft picks.

To sum this year up: I know Groundhog Day is absurd, but — having a vested interest in eventually seeing the sun — I found myself wondering what the woodchuck’s prognosis for spring would be on Thursday. Of course, this is the year they found the poor groundhog dead.

S’all good, man

I’ve finally gotten around to starting Better Call Saul (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and, two seasons in, I’m hooked. Such great fleshing out of backstory, plenty of familiar Breaking Bad characters appearing right from the get-go, and strong new additions to the universe, notably Rhea Seehorn.

Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to make our way through the first season of Slow Horses (imdb | rotten tomatoes) but it’s *ahem* slow going.

All that, and I haven’t even started the new season of The Bad Batch, The Last Of Us, Fleishman Is In Trouble, Severance, or a bunch of other apparently-good shows. I have work to do. (Fun, high-quality work.)

[Insert Christmas Carol Title Here]

Today is day one of ~1.5 weeks’ vacation. We’re not traveling to Nova Scotia this year, though, choosing instead to stay here in Toronto and be cozy. Good thing, too — today would have been our likely travel day, and it’s a brutal winter storm out there.

So, we’ll stay put. We’ll catch up on TV shows (we just finished season one of Yellowjackets (imdb) and an old British miniseries called Secret State (imdb), and I have plenty more lined up). We’ll delve into the wine collection. We might finish Pandemic: Legacy. I’ll watch the World Juniors and write up my year-end lists & summary. We’ll try to tackle the mountain of sweets our parents sent to our home. We’ll snuggle with Kramer. We’ll watch Die Hard and Four Christmases.

We’ll miss visiting family, but it’s going to be a fun end of the year.

House Of The Dragon

Given how much I loved Game of Thrones (well…most of it, anyway) it’s not a surprise how excited I was for season one of House Of The Dragon. And though it started with a weird mix of moving slowly while also jumping years at a time, it came rolling to a crescendo in the final episode…so much so that I’m gutted we have to wait until 2024 to see what happens next.

It also spurred me to re-watch GoT in its entirety, and it’s fun to see the through-lines. The dagger. Stories about Vhagar. Houses that still exist, houses that disappear. I expect I’ll watch it a few more times before the next HotD season.


I am watching Chernobyl (imdb | rotten tomatoes) again, probably because Russian troops decided to fire huge guns at a Ukranian nuclear facility several times larger than the afore-mentioned one whose reactor exploded in 1986. Great idea, Russia. Why not flirt with global catastrophe whilst carrying out an illegal invasion?

I must say, while re-watching it, a line in the script from Scherbina struck me, given the current situation:

“This is what has always set our people apart. A thousand years of sacrifice in our veins. And every generation must know its own suffering. I spit on the people who did this, and I curse the price I have to pay. But I’m making my peace with it, now you make yours…because it must be done.”

“We do it all the time, don’t we, Snips?”

Look, I get it: neither the movie nor the series of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, which I recently finished, were aimed at someone my age. But damned if I didn’t have fun watching them, reliving my Star Wars obsessed youth, filling in gaps in stories, and establishing connections to characters I first saw in the more recent films or in The Mandalorian (which Lindsay is now 3/4 of the way through). Even identifying voices I heard at the end of The Rise Of Skywalker.

I don’t imagine Rebels (imdb), which I’ve just started, or new series The Bad Batch (imdb) are any more age-appropriate. But that’s not stopping me.

“I care about one thing, and one thing only…and that’s bent coppers.”

Tonight will mark the final episode of Line of Duty (imdb | rotten tomatoes). I’m glad we started watching it when we did — just in time to be very present for the end of the series. I have become slightly obsessed with the show, and also with the episodes of the BBC podcast [*checks notes*] Obsessed With which cover it.

This final season, as with so many other series, is rushing to wrap up a lot of loose ends, and feels a bit clumsy for it. Still, I’m here for it. Bonus: we’re being treated to no end of Hastingsisms, like “Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and the wee donkey too!” I also now say “Now we’re suckin’ diesel!” aloud anytime I make good progress on anything. Like I said, slightly obsessed. So I’m excited for tonight, but also a bit sad to be done.

Aside: until recently, I had no idea Martin Compston had a near-impenetrable Scottish accent.

Transitioning out of quarantine

I ended my 10-day quarantine period yesterday. I seem to have followed a pretty standard track for symptoms — it got bad earlier this week, but I worked Tuesday morning, then rested up all day Wednesday and Thursday. By Friday I felt well enough to work a half day. I’m still pretty out of energy, and my throat is sore when I wake up in the mornings. But I rarely need to cough now, and my senses of smell and taste are recovering. Last night I made dinner and drank some wine, and for the first time in a week didn’t need Neo-Citran to sleep. Lindsay is a few days behind me still, but seems to be on the same path.

The advice I got from public health is that these lingering symptoms could hold on for weeks, which I’m not looking forward to. But all in all, I’m very thankful it was as mild as it was. Clearly it could have been much, much worse. I guess the trick will be to not push myself too hard, as I’m wont to do at the end of a cold or typical flu. This bug doesn’t seem to react well to it.

Still, it’ll be hard — I’m super-behind on work, as I really just forced myself to lie around and watch huge amounts of TV. I watched all of The Spy (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and finished Lovecraft Country (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and numerous episodes of Clone Wars. Together we watched all six episodes of Q: Into The Storm (imdb | rotten tomatoes) and finished Retribution aka One Of Us (imdb | rotten tomatoes).

Cover photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash

A sniff of Spring

Wednesday night we went for a walk around the neighbourhood. When we got home I made us an Old Fashioned each and we drank them on the back deck. We were so delirious from getting that much fresh air that we fell asleep early. Alas, the warm weather didn’t last long, and the coming days will dip well below zero, but it feels like spring is around the corner.

In the meantime, we’ve no end of great TV to watch while we wait it out. Last Week Tonight (imdb) is back. We’re nearly through all three seasons of Easy (imdb) which has been excellent — when a show can bring things as complicated as relationships to life by showing you and not telling you, you know it’s very well done indeed. We’re also about to wrap up WandaVision (imdb) which has been catnip for a nerd like me. Speaking of nerdery, I’ve been catching up on Clone Wars (imdb), a part of the Star Wars universe I’d never bothered to consume until now.


Cover photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash