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Today has been a day of many presents!

1. Jay and I went out to lunch, and he brought me the Adobe software (InDesign and Illustrator) that I had inquired about a couple months ago. (He has a friend at Adobe and has previously offered to get stuff through him/her.) But he wouldn't let me pay for it and just handed me a bag full o' software, saying, "Merry Christmas! Happy birthday!" Wow! Presents!

2. Then Jay insisted on buying me lunch (as the check came while I was packing up leftovers and so had my hands busy). I argued, but only weakly, as this is not the first time he has done this. So ... hey! Free lunch!

3. I got home to find that my latest package from Amazon had arrived (containing presents I bought for myself with money I got for Christmas), and so we now have a blue canary nightlight in our bathroom! It isn't as bright as our previous nightlight (and so might not be as useful for when we have guests who need more navigational assistance), but dude! It's a blue canary!

4. In the package with the blue canary, I found my new They Might Be Giants album (Dial-A-Song). I am ripping it now. Yay!

5. Beneath the package from Amazon, there was a package from my mom! It was mostly full of t-shirts, which are cool, but in the middle there was a BOX OF GIRL SCOUT COOKIES! Tagalongs! More than cool! I didn't even realize it was Girl Scout season, since it's pouring rain outside and I doubt all those little uniformed tykes want to sit in front of grocery stores hawking their wares in the yucky weather.

So the upshot is this: I find myself this evening in the sudden possession of free neato-keen software, free Thai green curry leftovers w/brown rice, a (non-free but very cool) blue canary nightlight, a (non-free but very cool) TMBG album, a pile of free new t-shirts, and a free box of Girl Scout cookies! It's like Christmas! (Except that there *are* no Girl Scout cookies at Christmastime. Unless you freeze them in advance.)

In other news, Shannon and I have started reading Robin Hobb's The Dragon Keeper (first book of her Rain Wild Chronicles, which is set in the same world as her "Fitz" books, which Shannon and I both loved), but I don't know if we're going to be able to read it aloud through the end ... the writing is soooo bad! It's full of unintentional alliteration, awkward word repetition (sometimes quite close together but with different meanings), a proliferation of adverbs, inappropriate (and often unintentionally humorous) adjectives, etc. While Shannon was reading it aloud tonight, we kept stopping to laugh and mock, MST3K-style. My favorite moment was when Shannon read a sentence that indicated that a dragon had made a noise that was "neither a roar nor a hiss." Shannon suggested that maybe it was the sound of knuckles rapping on a table. I wondered if it might have sounded like Munchkin's meow. 'Cause, you know, there are a *lot* of noises that are neither roar nor hiss!

Anyway, Shannon says that he will definitely finish reading the book, but he doesn't know if he can tolerate reading it aloud. I'm so disappointed in the quality of the writing! I *adored* Robin Hobb's Fitz books (The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy), and I don't remember having any objections to the writing style at all when I read them! Of course, I wasn't reading them *aloud*, but I think I still would have noticed stylistic problems like these. Shannon wondered whether Hobb has become successful enough that she can insist on "doing her own editing" (like Stephen King and Laurell K. Hamilton), 'cause that always leads to badness.

And now, as I was writing this, I got a message from my friend Deb, telling me that she now has the elusive Mads Langer CD (which she asked a European friend to obtain for me) in her hot little hand, and so ANOTHER present has arrived! It's all too much! I might explode with presentness of it all!

ETA: Thus far, the blue canary nightlight has actually been getting a *different* TMBG song stuck in my head. Well, not a *song*, exactly. I just keep intoning silently to myself, "What's that blue thing doing here?"

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