The Fool On the Hill

Despite my determined efforts to ignore it, winter is here. I take some comfort in the fact that it took ’till late November, but it’s near or below freezing constantly now, the house up a mountain sees what seems like 20 minutes of direct sun a day, if you step outside at night it feels like the back of your throat is about to freeze, and the rabbit pee is freezing in stalagmites under the hutches.

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Yes, I’ll spare you the sight of that, but rest assured, it’s about as nasty as it sounds. I won’t deny the snow everywhere is kind of pretty if you are into that kind of thing, and the freeze/thaw cycle creates some fascinating patterns.

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This is of course the kind of thing the locals are completely jaded to, and I’m sure they are just giggling away at the Californian taking pictures of the frost on top of the rabbit hutches. I’ve also been using a sun lamp to fend off the lack-of-sunlight madness.

Thanksgiving was a little different for me this year, but I’ve gotten used to that since college, when it seemed like every year I was doing something else. This time, we started things off with a Skype call home, where my parents were busy preparing their own, smaller dinner. The Rixes actually bought a turkey this year (which I’m sure went against every bone in their bodies) because only one turkey has made it this far, and it hasn’t grown as much as expected. For those of you expecting some kind of salmon-based Thanksgiving feast, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it was actually fairly standard fare. They did sneer at my request for that canned cranberry sauce that you slice up so it doesn’t look like it’s in the shape of a can. Maybe next year…

After dinner, I asked that we indulge in one of my not-particularly traditional Thanksgiving traditions, and watch a James Bond movie. I’ve been on a bit of 007 kick since Skyfall, and it always seems like there are Bond movies on TV around Thanksgiving. Of course, since the Rixes have neither satellite nor cable, we had to settle for what Netflix Instant has. So, we ended up with Casino Royale. No, not the Daniel Craig movie. The 1967 James Bond parody/knock-off with David Niven and Peter Sellers. It was a British comedy in the long tradition of British comedies that are about 10% witticism and 90% nonsense. Though I do give it points for including characters and a whiff of plot from the novel (and the subsequent movie), and for casting the original Bond girl, Ursula Andress as Vesper Lynd, and Orson Welles as the villain Le Chiffre. It even has a cool concept at the beginning; the real “James Bond 007” is a retired master spy from the War days, and subsequent agents have been given his identity to maintain the legend. And like any retired legend, he is ashamed of the direction others have gone in his name. An unimpeachable gentleman, he finds all the gadgets and womanizing beneath the art of spy craft. For a completely goofy, nonsensical spoof, that’s a hell of an opening hook. I’d kind of like to see a “serious” Bond film tackle that.

Of course, the day after Thanksgiving is the notorious Black Friday, and GameStop is not immune to the lure of early openings and killer sales. Our store actually opened at midnight for those shoppers who had nothing better to do Thanksgiving night. I didn’t have to work it, thank God, but I hear it was a madhouse. Anchoragites certainly don’t seem to be against the whole orgy of consumerism, though our local borough seems to have wisely avoided it. I’ve had a lot of work this week, though in a twist that was apparently a surprise to everyone but me, business tanked the day after Black Friday, which happens to be Small Business Saturday. As I predicted, Nintendo’s WiiU console is in high demand (even though it seems like a lot of customers don’t really know what it is), and we ran out of them long ago. I’m growing desensitized to the look of hopelessness on parents’ faces.

Katrina and I are still following leads on apartments, waiting for a couple to get back to us about our applications. I didn’t realize finding an apartment would be so similar to finding a job. Kate has actually managed to track down a furnished apartment in town at a fairly reasonable price, which has practically been the Holy Grail for us. Almost everything we’ve been able to find has been entirely unfurnished, with few utilities paid, so the chance to get it all bundled together is a fantastic prospect. We’re hopeful, but aren’t putting all our eggs in that particular basket.

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