Welcome To 2015! Did You Bring Your Thermals?

The news isn’t good, people. According to the indisputable website that is the Daily Mail, it is going to get mighty cold in the United States this week. If you don’t wish to click on that link (I don’t blame if you don’t; the sidebar of shame is enough to make you want to scour your eyes), the article basically states that there will be freezing temperatures, frostbite-causing winds,  and heavy snowfall all across the country (well the northern part anyway). In summary, it is going to be pretty damn bleak.

How I long for the UK, when this is considered snow.
How I long for the UK, when this is considered snow.

For us, it has already started. I don’t even have to look out the window to know it’s nasty; I’m currently sitting upstairs covered in blankets (they are cheaper than our electric heat, which manages to do a good job at heating the ceilings and nothing else) hoping my telepathic command to Anya the Kitten works out so I don’t have to leave my cocoon to get some food (so far, she is either not hearing or ignoring my requests…I wouldn’t put it past her for it to be the latter).

Ah well. The decent weather was nice while it lasted. To be honest, an awful winter is long overdue for me. Last year I arrived after the ‘polar vortex’, and although this past October wasn’t particularly nice, November and December were manageable. Except for a few feet of snow and some icy mornings, it was fairly mild (for Minnesota). The weeks of acceptable weather were bound to end eventually. I just wish I didn’t need to wear two pairs of socks in order to go to the bathroom.


But enough about that. You’re probably wondering what I did over my New Year’s weekend (Thursday counts as the weekend, doesn’t it?), right? What wacky hijinks did Vanna and I get up to?

Well, we did all right. Here’s a brief outline of New Year’s Eve…

Dragon Age, Dragon Age, Dragon Age:

Vanna was at work until 3pm. What else was I supposed to do, eh?

Seriously addicted to it now, mind. I’m about halfway through now, and I’ve just passed the 76 hour mark. That’s the most I’ve ever spent on a game campaign before (by that I mean a single playthrough); Mass Effect (1,2 and 3) took about 30 hours for me to complete, Fallout and the earlier Dragon Age games around 40 hours, while I hit 50 hours in Skyrim before I lost interest. Yet despite spending nearly four solid days on Inquisition, my enjoyment has not wavered once. I’m equally excited and nervous about reaching the end. Such a fantastic game. I plan to play it once this blog is done.

Food at the C-I Pub (I think):

We were invited into Crosby (Deerwood technically, I believe) for some drinks with our friends. On the way we stopped at one of the few bars in Crosby that Vanna hasn’t been to. It was pretty nice. The food wasn’t great (in fairness, they were about to close the kitchen), but the drinks were extraordinarily priced; a Jim Beam and Cranberry (though you could barely taste the cranberry…it just coloured the drink pink) and a pint of cider (Smith & Forge, the only cider I’ve tried over here worthy of the name) was just over $8. When some pubs charge you that much for a nasty bottle of beer, that was a pleasant surprise.

So Many Drinking Games:

Never have simple playing cards been so deadly. Thankfully I wasn’t still drinking Jim Beam (Vanna ordered it but didn’t like it, so I gulped it down for her), so I was still conscious by the time we got to midnight…

The New Year…And You Americans Have So Much To Learn:

I’ve never really been one to watch the TV coverage of the New Year, but I was blown away by the London celebrations in 2011. Even though I’d hate the cold, the hordes of people, and the hours and hours of just standing around, I thought the fireworks were so brilliant I was actually jealous of those who were there in person because it must have been amazing to witness. It was that thirty minute display of synchronized explosions that made me realize we might actually do a decent job of hosting the Olympics the following year. Heck, I’m not ashamed to say it; watching those fireworks made me feel proud to be British.

…Okay, slight exaggeration. But you get the point. We did good.

So cut to Wednesday night, and I was expecting to see festivities even more impressive. This is America, where everything has to be bigger and better. Well we watched the CNN (I think) version of their midnight events….and it was awful! Why? Let me tell you.

1) Most of the coverage was focussed on the presenters. Uh, I don’t care about you, random people. I want to see things happen…fireworks, entertainment…not you drink champagne and try on stupid, sponsored hats.

2) Richard Quest. In an evening where I can’t really remember anything of detail, I remember him. Never have I been so disconcerted by the actions of a fellow countryman. It disturbs me that he is our representation on one of the major networks. He was so creepy, so awkward, and so uncomfortable it made me angry just watching him leer around on screen. Seriously, be glad that you didn’t see his performance. He makes the likes of Russell Brand and Piers Morgan welcome company.

3) There was no visual countdown. What is this nonsense?

4) Oh wait, there was. It was just terrible. The Americans, if you didn’t know, celebrate the New Year by lowering a giant ball (or a giant guitar attached to the top part of one of those ‘Test Your Strength’ machines you see at carnivals) until the countdown hits zero. A vague description, I know, but that was what was relayed to me. I don’t think further detail would make a difference…it sucked regardless.

Why would they do something so weird? I have no idea. But I was disappointed. If that’s all you have, America, I’d rather watch those  Scottish people in kilts play the bagpipes.

So that was our New Year’s Eve. Pretty good, aside from the television celebrations, and Richard Quest *shudder*. We drank, we ate, we had fun. And all with friends. What else could you ask for?


Oh, kitten finally answered my telepathic calls…sort of.





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