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Mark's Journal
One of the best parts of iJournal, the Mac client for LiveJournal I used for years, was that it had a little pencil icon that showed up in the menu bar when there were new posts from friends that I had to go read.

Without that poke, it's much harder to remember to go check my friends list, and much easier to just keep refreshing Facebook -- which I have to use constantly for work, anyway.

I wouldn't say I ever loved asLJ, which I've been using as an iJournal replacement, but it finally stopped working a few weeks ago. It won't log in any more. If there's an update available, I can't tell, because their update server doesn't respond properly. Oh well.

Anyway, hi!
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Another pretty relaxed day. I slept late, but not too late, and then was very lazy with the dogs for a few hours. Went to Agava for a late lunch, to take advantage both of their daily lunch special and the gift card they'd set aside for me to pay for an ad for their New Year's Eve event. :-) $13 for a small meatball parm sandwich, kale and jicama salad, and scoop of gelato. Not bad! Especially since it wasn't my money.

I took advantage of the time to do some writing, including my piece on the passing of Carrie Fisher, and some photo editing.

From there, I ran over to the office, where I'd ill-advisedly left a couple of "free coffee drink" coupons I could be using this week for a nice cappuccino at Gimme! Coffee. Then, hung out at the radio station for a bit chatting with Dan about the local music scene.

Since then, I've been relaxing with the pups and watching the original "Star Wars" trilogy, though Penny spends a lot of down time like this curled up by herself on my bed, instead of with Carter and me on the couch. What a silly girl! I have a feeling she gets bored when I'm not paying attention to her directly. I haven't done as much playing tug with her since I adopted Carter, thinking they play with each other, though I did get some new tug toys a couple of weeks ago that we've played with a bit. We should tug more.
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My Christmas has varied quite a bit over the years -- it's probably relevant to point out at this juncture that I'm Jewish, and don't observe Christmas in the traditional sense -- but this weekend featured several things that have become traditional for me.

In trying to entice a few friends to join me to try out a newly reopened restaurant in town with an Italian theme, I found myself with a last-minute invitation to a Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner on Christmas Eve. (For those who don't know, that's a major Italian tradition involving lots of seafood and fish dishes.) It was hosted by people I know, but not well, so I declined. I probably shouldn't have. I suspect I missed an exceptional meal.

Did pretty well at the new restaurant, though, with one of the friends I'd reached out to. Alan can't eat seafood, and while I could have eaten it across the table from him safely, it felt more fun to get stuff we could try samples of, so there was no seafood involved. That's fine -- I'm not really Italian, and I wasn't really celebrating Christmas Eve! It's pretty expensive, but the dishes are big enough that I had plenty of leftovers to have dinner tonight.

On Christmas proper, Alan and I met at one of the local formica variety of Chinese restaurants, one we've visited on Christmas multiple times in the past, but which moved since we'd last been there. They used to be downtown and are now in the west end, much more geared toward delivery and take-out than to dine-in service, and it showed. They no longer have a wait staff, and seemed barely ready to handle walk-in customers at the counter. The food is still good.

Then to the movie theater! acappellasinger and I were joined by Jules and hojo1690 and Tim for a second (at least for Alan and me) viewing of "Rogue One." I caught a few things I'd missed on the first opening-night late-night viewing, which made me suspect I may have drifted off once or twice. I was even more impressed with the movie this time around.

As jccohen has pointed out, this fleshes out a story we already knew, but it doesn't really get us anywhere. There's no new story. He's not wrong, but I think we gain a lot from the journey, I really do. May write more about that later.

We also saw "Sing," which I would never have gotten around to seeing, at least not without borrowing someone's kids. It was cute! Very well done animated movie musical. I do enjoy some of the animated movies ("Shrek" and "Monsters Inc." are great examples) and this compares well in that realm. Good voice acting, good animation, and even a good story.

Then, an actual Christmas Dinner to end the day, at Leslie's house. She's a local chef who always puts together a delightful dinner, and I've been lucky enough to celebrate Christmas there a few times. Her dad was a relatively last-minute addition to the guest list, and I was happy to see him. Great family!

Boxing Day started with a PT appointment, then I had a latte on the way home and spent the rest of the day relaxing with the dogs! Perfect.
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That's probably the first time in the 15 years I've been using LiveJournal that I went over a month, and an entire calendar month, without posting. Sorry! Also hadn't been reading. I just skimmed about a week's worth of your posts, and probably won't get much farther back than that.

I was at my highest weight in a long time, over 220, a few days ago, and I'm amused to see a post from almost two years ago where I rejoiced at getting under 200 for the first time in a long time. I thought I was going to stay there! Time to work on that again. As of today I was back around 215, heading in the right direction. Holiday parties will make it difficult to lose much more over the next few weeks, but with some focus and effort, maybe I can refrain from gaining more.

It's been a dark and stressful month for a lot of my friends. For a lot of yours, too, I imagine. I hope it gets better for you, for them, for everyone. Hoping to enjoy as much holiday cheer as I can. The last "holiday party" will be a tentative Carterday party on Sunday, January 8th, celebrating the two year anniversary of Carter joining the family. :-)
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Got home at almost 9pm last night after an exhausting day that ended with drinks with a few friends downtown, took the dogs on a bedtime walk, climbed in bed, and fell asleep. I woke up shortly before my phone alarm woke me at 5:30am to see if there were any school closings to report. I was a little surprised there weren't any.

The long day started with early morning breaking news coverage about a late-night shooting at the Ithaca Walmart that led to a standoff with the suspect. It looks as though the shooter and victim hadn't known each other or interacted before. This comes just days after a homicide in nearby Newfield that may have just been a robbery gone wrong.

There are hints that there's an underculture in the area that we hardly ever hear about, and that the violent crime we're hearing more about is a manifestation of that.

We're pretty lucky that we don't get a lot of asinine online comments on our articles. One of yesterday's gems (not on our content, I'm glad to say) was that this was just more of what you can expect after "the blacks" moved into the area from Rochester over the last decade or so. Yeesh. Of course, that was before the police released the name and photo of the white suspect.

There were a few things I could've gone out to tonight, but I decided to go with something simpler, and invited a couple of people to get a bite for dinner. Unfortunately, I never heard back, and was too unrealistically optimistic to give up soon enough to make other plans. Went home, ate leftovers, relaxed with dogs and TiVo.

Probably won't stay up too late tonight. Even though I got eight or so hours of sleep last night, it ended early. I think I dozed a bit, but not much, alternating attempts to fall asleep again with stints on the iPad reading some overnight social media.

Planning a relatively quiet weekend, though I do hope to go to a friend's "ugly Christmas sweater" party tomorrow.
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According to Swarm, formerly Foursquare, I've been to the Ithaca Coffee Company beer tasting 64 Wednesdays in a row. (I guess it's possible I've missed one or two, but checked in there another time that week.)

I'm definitely going to miss next Wednesday's, since I'll be on my way back from Memphis, so I almost skipped last night's, too, since I had a cold with a runny nose. Have. Though much less runny today. Now more coughing than runny. Decided to go, though, since I wanted to try the Jack's Abbey beer. Got to chat with Kip, a local musician and an Ithaca College professor, and enjoyed some good beer.

I don't make it to the Thursday downtown tasting nearly as regularly, so skipping tonight's seems like an easier decision. I really want to be healthier when I get on the plane on Saturday, for my own sake as well as those around me.

Got a fair amount of work done today sitting on the couch with the pups, which they seemed to appreciate as much as I did. They're warm and cuddly. And my coworkers probably appreciate me not breathing in their airspace.
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It's been a while since I made a roast squash soup, and what better occasion than a Canadian Thanksgiving feast at a friend's house tomorrow night? I'm going to be adding some apple cider and perhaps some coconut milk or ground cashews to thicken and make the soup creamier. I've been making my squash soup vegan out of habit for a while, though of course condensed milk would also do nicely.
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A Travel Channel schedule screw-up led to me watching some of Andrew Zimmern's "Delicious Destinations" instead of Adam Richman's "Secret Eats." The Boston episode made me remember Durgin Park, where we used to eat when we were in Boston for sports weekends.

We haven't gone there in many years. Can't recall if there was a reason we stopped, but obviously we need to get back there. Great prime rib, amazing baked beans, and probably plenty of fine seafood.
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Cornell Dining celebrated its #3 ranking in this year's Princeton Review college food rankings by offering several 3-related specials today. My favorite? 3¢ drip coffee refills! Bring a reusable mug, or bring back a paper cup, and drip coffee is just three cents.

I grabbed a handful of pennies on my way out the door this morning to make it as easy as possible on the cashiers. I was vaguely tempted to try buying a 3¢ cup of coffee at every eatery we have that sells drip coffee, but as we tweeted, that way lies madness. I didn't do an official count, but I think we have 18-20 eateries that were participating today.

Ended up having three travel mugs of Starbucks coffee, going with Café Estima twice and Pike Place once. My travel mug is probably 16 ounce compared to the 10 ounce cups (or is it 12) I usually brew at work, so I had more coffee than usual, but not crazily more.

At 3¢ a cup, compared to 30¢-50¢ per K-Cup, I definitely couldn't afford to ignore this offer! Also could've gotten a $3 latte or cappuccino at any of our eateries that do espresso drinks, but obviously that's nowhere near as good a deal.
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I'm a little astonished how many parents still seem to be on campus with their kids as of Sunday evening.

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