albalark (albalark) wrote,

Random Thoughts on Christmas Eve (and a few recs, too)

Yep, too true :-P

This has been the most hectic 2 and a half months I've seen in quite some time and I'm not even teaching. I won't bore you all with the details, but suffice it to say that I've rarely been happier to see the back end of ten weeks in my life. The Christmas season has, sadly, been no exception, but it's Christmas Eve and so my marathon has almost been run and now I can relax for a few days.

I have been so far behind on so many things it isn't funny. There are many of you to whom I've sent holiday cards and even a few wee gifties - none of you will get them before Christmas, I am sorry to say. Just think of them as extending the holiday season. ::grins and hopes for best::

We just got our tree up last night. ::facepalm:: We have gone over to the new LED lights because they are more energy efficient and are supposed to last longer. We have been having to replace the incandescent mini lights every year, the quality has gotten so bad, so we figured these would be greener in many senses. Being a dunderhead, and never having used these before, I bought six strings of 50 lights in early December, thinking 300 lights would be enough. And they were - for about half of the tree. The one we bought this year was exceptionally dense, and I like to have the lights inside the branches as well as on the surface. So I went back to the store I bought them from only to discover that they were sold out, naturally. So I combed My Fair City for other sets. I did manage to find 300 more at a Walgreens near work. They weren't quite the same - the ends were dished in rather than rounded like the first three hundred I bought, and they were slightly more expensive, but, beggars cannot be choosers, I thought, so I took them home. So, we finished putting the lights on the tree, plugged them in, and discovered why the cheaper ones were rounded on the end. LEDs are exceptionally bright, and exceptionally directional. The lights which faced out from the tree were absolutely blinding - it literally hurt to look at them - but only the ones on the top half of the tree. That little dished in end refocuses most of the light shining from the top back down and out the sides of the bulbs. So, we spent half an hour bending bulbs so that they didn't shine into our eyes like high-beam headlights, and resolved to replace the rounded-end bulbs with the dished-in ones next year. We also discovered a serendipitous effect after the sun went down - here are some pictures of our far-out tree!


Bright, ain't it? Notice the groovy rave lights on the ceiling:


Disco Inferno Christmas!! ::cues Bee Gees::

Considering the gif that TRS posted on the Hoggywarty Opening page,, I expect the not-ready-for-prime-time Staff Dancers in my living room at any moment. *g*

And speaking of hoggywartyxmas, the fest has gotten underway with a trio of terrific fics for those of us who prefer the adult characters of JKR's creation. The first,, "Haven't a -", is a lively whodunit featuring our favorite Headmaster and his second-in-command playing hide-the-wand, with witty double-entendre dialog, inebriated staff members helping to solve the mystery and an ending that will leave you grinning. Smashing! The second,, Lost And Found, is a moving tale about how Mrs. Norris came into Argus Filch's life, featuring a Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank that I adore. You will too. The third,, How Snape Didn't Steal Christmas, is a quietly warm story of the first time Severus returns to the castle after Voldemort's defeat. You will feel the tug of Severus's nostalgia and the comfort of friendships renewed - a lovely little fic, indeed.

I am criminally far behind in my other reading, having not read a word yet of deeply_horrible or hp_holidaygen, and have barely made a dent in the massive sshg_gifts exchange. There is one story there, though, that I must rec, even though I know most of you are not SS/HG fans - it's extraordinary enough that I think that even those of you who dislike the pairing will find it the sort of read which just sucks you in and stays with you a long while after you've read it. It's called, Arithmantic Equations as a Second Language - the author is, of course, under wraps until the final reveal. It is AU - Voldemort has won, the wizarding world is under his thumb, and Severus is trapped as Hermione works through the most elemental of magic to defeat the Dark Lord and free Severus from bondage. It is beautifully and powerfully written, with a unique sort of magic I've seen no where else, and the ending is perfect, even if it's not quite what one would wish for. Go read it - you won't be sorry.

Have a wonderful, very Merry Christmas my dears! This isn't the Hogwarts Express, but I'm sure it will get you there anyway -
Love you all!!

Edit - sorry for the lack of embedded URLs - the visual editor on the posting page is a complete fail and I had to re-post this from the html screen to make it work and I don't know the right command. :-P
Tags: dunderheadedness (mine), fandom, fic recs, harry potter, holiday, i can haz timeturner?, nattering, pics and vids, the hurrier i go the behinder i get, yule
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