Monthnotes: December 2023

December has been another month of feeling tired and fatigued. Looking back at my monthnotes over the last year, this has been a constant complaint, so I need to do something about it.

Christmas was December’s main event. Despite starting preparations in November, it still felt a little rushed. I had Rosy, Olive, Sally and Hannah come for Christmas celebrations early in the month, and cooked Christmas lunch for the family the following week. Christmas Day itself was spent in Hebden Bridge, enjoying some peace and quiet, followed by a lovely succession of visitors after Boxing Day.

Dan and I managed to get the Mycelium Parish News out so that the first copies arrived with readers in time for Christmas. A mention in John Higgs’ mailing list brought in an avalanche of orders and the necessary fulfilment, which I am still working through. I’m pleased with this project and have already started writing a document for the 2024 edition.

I’ve continued the Substack mailing list, but need to migrate this as Substack have doubled down on their support for Nazis. The work on True Clown Stories continues, with the pre-launch page now up – signup to be notified when the kickstarter begins!

It’s been another month of reduced steps and bad diet. I walked 236,064 steps in total, an average of just 7,614 a day. The highest number was 15,567, walking Libby the Greyhound in Hardcastle Crags. The one positive is that I’ve kept up with my physio exercises, but I now need to move onto actually starting the couch to 5k programme.

Her name is Sashimi, she’s a black cat in Blackpool

I’ve continued to struggle with reading, apart from Catherine Lacey’s Biography of X. After failing to get into this in May, I consumed it over a few days. Novels seem to be working better for me than non-fiction lately. I also read Nina Allen’s Conquest, which had rich and beautiful writing.

I’ve watched a lot of movies this month – 26 in total. As ever, I’ve reviewed all of them on letterboxed. Silent Night was the darkest possible Christmas movie; City of God was a compelling saga; and Influencer surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. Planes, Trains and Automobiles was fun and Infinity Pool was dark and twisted. Sherpa was an incredible documentary and there were 5-star rewatches on Christmas Day for A Ghost Story and These Final Hours.

Watching Monarch: Legacy of Monsters has felt like a chore, given that the show simply does not have enough kaiju in it. I also watched season 2 of Oz, having picked up the complete show as a cheap DVD box set. It’s very weirdly paced, but I’ll probably be happy to watch a season every year or so. The return of Dr Who has been triumphant, which is a relief after some dodgy series in recent years.

  • My ongoing exhaustion led me to spend a few nights playing Ghost of Tsushima. The play loop of video games is compelling but ultimately most are banal, so I decided to give up on that.
  • Due to time pressure, our team’s Delivery Lead wrote the Christmas quiz using chatGPT. The team figured this out due to an incorrect answer and a couple of weird questions.
  • A couple of blog posts I wrote on UK politics: What does Rishi Sunak think about when he watches Star Wars and one on The 2024 General Election.
  • I finished the year with an early night, deciding I preferred a good sleep to welcoming in the new year.
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