.journal 2000.12.25
Happy ... whatever.

Now listening to: Jewel, Joy: A Holiday Collection
Now reading: Poppy Z. Brite, Wormwood
Now playing: Final Fantasy VII (Playstation)

Well, it's Christmas morning. Yippee.

Mind you, although my family consists of a lapsed Lutheran and three Wiccans, we all still celebrate Christmas. Although our "celebration" is more of the commercial aspect of the season and not the "reason for the season" if you know what I mean. But hey, any excuse to give and receive presents is fine by us, provided we have enough money to do so.

When it comes to the family, though, I will admit that I'm usually not all that great at giving gifts. That's because I tend to spend most of my money on my friends, leaving me with little to spend on my blood. Such was the case this year, as I got something reeeeeeeeal nice for L., got some cool trinkets for my other friends and ... not much else.

Actually, I was going to get Pokémon Puzzle Challenge for my sister, since she's a verified Pokémaniac, but I couldn't find it anywhere. But as it turns out, she wanted to get me a Game Boy Colour for Christmas, and she couldn't find one either. So sometime after Christmas, after the return season has subsided, she and I are going to go video game shopping for each other and get things taken care of. Although I suspect the reason Heather's getting me my own Game Boy Colour is because she's desperate to have sometime to trade Pokémon with. Sigh. And you thought I was taking long enough to get through Final Fantasy VII.

But the Shannon gift-exchange is coming up here shortly. In point of actual fact, since I made my folks a nice little shopping list online using my Amazon and CDNOW links, I could go look up their orders if I wanted to, but I won't. I don't believe in spoiling the surprise. Although it was nice of them to do their shopping through my affiliate links, because they essentially gave to me twice, in both the items I will receive this morning and the credit I have waiting for me on those stores.

In fact, just before coming online here to write this update, I treated myself to a nice shopping spree at CDNOW. I think I'm going to be doing a lot more online shopping in this new year, because Saturday night Jeff and I went out to do some shopping ourselves, and dear old trusty Media Play has really become barren these past few months as they've gone through some restructuring. Media Play just isn't carrying the music I want like they used to, and so I'm finding myself having to go online to get the titles I'm looking for. When the CDNOW shipment comes in, I'll be sure to tell you all about it.

But since I had my Christmas bonus on me, I did pick up a couple of things at Media Play. Firstly, I finally picked up Jewel's Christmas CD, after having skipped on it the first go-round. The advantage to that is that now I have the Christmas-remix of "Hands," although in truth it's not one of my favourite songs of hers. The disadvantage, of course, is that I didn't get a chance to get the first release which will now be worth more in terms of collectability. Although it means more to me simply to have both CDs than to have a collector's item. I'm a packrat, what can I say.

I also picked up the Sarah McLachlan: Video Collection 1989-1998 DVD and have enjoyed that a good deal as well. I have the same problem with Sarah's videos that I do with Tori Amos's: all of them seem to have a nice concept behind them, but in execution they all seem to come out as a series of disjointed images with little glue to hold them together. But if given the choice between viewing a Tori or Sarah video or taking my luck with MTV, I'm gonna go for the DVDs any second. (Although I still need to pick up Tori's video collection on DVD - that'll probably be first on the list for my next spree at Amazon.) But for anyone else who has the Sarah DVD, is it just me or are the menus super-slow? It may be my PlayStation 2, I don't know.

And as for my Christmas present to you ... well, it's going to be belated. Jeff is now the lone holdout in getting feedback to me on the story, and between having exams this past week and then having to help his parents set up their new computer this weekend, he has a good enough excuse for not getting back to me. But when he does get back to me, I will get the edit done and up here as soon as I possibly can. And remember, if you're signed up to the seanshannon.org mailing list you'll receive first word when the story's been uploaded. I only hope, after all these delays, it can live up to the expectations I've set for it. Then again, I haven't had this good a feeling about one of my creative endeavours in a while, so I think all will be good.

I've kept a low front creatively recently; I wrote some poetry for some friends, but that's kind of private stuff I don't want to share with all of you. No offense. Really, after a couple of weeks of just slamming at work for so long (and getting a good start to the car fund in the process), I needed some time off, so these past couple of days I've just been relaxing as much as possible, listening to CDs, turning on the video games and just trying to play, to give my brain a break from the strain of the past couple of weeks. Tomorrow I'll be heading back to the grindstone with a vengeance, though, because I still have much to do. Sigh.

One problem I've had recently, though, is that I just can't sleep. I even cut all caffeine out of my diet for a few days there in an attempt to possibly tire myself out, but that didn't do much. The problem, I think, is with the mattress on my bed. The thing is old, and probably put up with having to support my body at three hundred-plus pounds for more than a couple of years there. Now it's just gone all compressed on me, and having more and more bones poke out from my body to rest against the hard foam isn't helping things any. So I'd better get a new mattress here soon.

Speaking of my body, I had some photos of myself taken this past weekend, and looking at them I am struck by how much further I still have to go in my journey to lose weight. Now that I'm really starting to get definition in parts of my body, I'm starting to realize that I didn't quite inherit my mother's thick German frame as I'd thought. I've definitely got her broad shoulders, but my bones aren't quite as big. As a result, after a two-day lapse in my diet for the season (especially since Mom, bless her heart, fixed me a special vegetarian version of the Shannon family staple Christmas Eve dinner, Swedish meatballs), I'm going to have to revise my goal weight in DietWatch down about 30 pounds or so. That's gonna mean some cuts in my diet, but I think I'll be okay with that. I just want to keep losing weight, to keep getting this fat off my body and get healthier and healthier.

Peculiar situation this past week: I ran out of entries in my cheque registry, even though I have, like, hundreds of cheques left. Methinks this is not an uncommon situation these days, what with the advent of debit cards and all. But I looked at the store for more registries and came up with a total and complete blank. Mind you, I can still pour everything into Microsoft Money with no trouble, but it's nice to have that record there in my hand when I'm shopping so I can see exactly how much money I have in the account. I'll figure something out, though; if anything, I'm real good at creating forms in PageMaker and printing them out, so maybe I'll just make my own registries. If I have to go through the bank, they'll probably charge me an arm and a leg for them anyway.

The University of Toledo sent me their summer course catalogue this past week, and I've taken more than a few glances at it, trying to figure out what I want to do. Just because I've been working so much recently, my mind's been thinking more about the work-related opportunity I may have opening up for me soon. But I need to keep college open for myself, just so if the work deal doesn't go through I still have something to fall back on. I need some change in my life here soon, and I just hope these opportunities will stay here for me.

Well, it is almost time for the family to wake up and for the present-unwrapping to commence, so I will take my leave of you here. I've already exchanged presents with all my friends, though, and they really went overboard on me, so I'm worried I may already be burnt out when it comes to the receiving department. It also doesn't help that I don't have much to give the gang either. But this is no time for pessimism, this is a time for joy.

If you are celebrating something this time of year, I hope your celebrations are joyous, and if not, well, do you really need an excuse to celebrate? Everyone stay warm, and I'll see you all around soon.

- Sean