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Christmas Stories

Now that my Christmas-killing cold has settled down into a manageable case of congestion, I’m lucid enough to string a few sentences together without needing a nap to recover.

I was waiting for a touch of cold to hit me. I’d gotten through two changes of season without one, so I was convinced I was in for a whopper. Apparently the climate here suits me. Either that or my seasonal colds really have been psychosomatic all along, and there was no need for one since I’ve been supremely happy ever since I got to the UK.

Captain JackI celebrated the end of term with a brief weekend visit to Bristol to see the good Drs. Paul and Tony, who whisked me off for an afternoon tour of Cardiff to take advantage of the inexplicable burst of sunny weather I’d brought with me. Since I had never seen any episodes of the new Doctor Who series (and I only ever saw a few minutes of the older shows, usually while I waited for Blake's 7 to be broadcast late at night on public television) or its spin-off, Torchwood, I couldn't fully appreciate the thrill of being in locations featured prominently on screen, but I at least did my nerdly duty and took pictures:

Torchwood Tower

The gents kindly indoctrinated me into the ways of the Doctor, Captain Jack, and their cronies later that night, so now I have a new avenue for exploring my not-so-inner geek. It figures the Doctor Who franchise would finally grab me once they figured out that cute leading men might be a good idea. If only I had a television.

The end of the term didn't actually mean the end of work, so it was back for a few more days of productivity after my trip. Hilariously, it seems we're supposed to have a direction for our typeface designs "locked down" by the time the next term starts in January, and I know I’m not the only one in the group who stills feels a total lack of confidence about being that far along. I guess I'll have to think about that, too, in between bursts of work on the huge essay I have due the week after classes resume. (Bear in mind, though, that I am totally digging all this type geekery in which I have become so immersed.)

The flatmates and I threw a lovely shindig so we could celebrate the season with our classmates before everyone scattered for Christmas. (I can safely say "Christmas" because we were all raised with that flavor of midwinter gift-giving holiday.) That party set in motion a lovely string of coincidences that led to me hanging out in London a few nights later with some Brazilian and some Belgian pals at a phenomenal Brand New Heavies reunion show.

The Brand New Heavies

I have been waiting for over a decade for a chance to see these folks play, and I was relieved that this wasn't just some half-assed walk through their back catalogue. They were on fucking fire as they funked their way through old singles, gems off their new album, and even an amazing cover of Seven Nation Army. I have never seen a band coax so many white people into dancing so much. When I went back to crash at my friend Tim's place afterward, he chided me for never mentioning my love of the Heavies when I visited him back in their heyday, because at the time he probably could have arrange for me to meet their drummer via a mutual friend. Sigh.

I was hoping for some quiet down-time in London for the next couple of days, but I wound up walking for hours and hours again, getting to know a bit more of the city. I finally have the bearings to get from certain key locations to others without a map, or without worrying about following a particular route. I also developed magnificent, firm legs and slightly sore arches from all this exploring. The robust condition of my legs was offset by the achey back I developed from sleeping on Tim's teeny couch for three nights in a row, but in a city that’s even more expensive than New York I was happy to have any lodgings I could afford.

I finally dipped my toe into London's gay nightlife, as well, tagging along with my pal Jonathan, who can't go ten feet without running into someone he knows. We spent most of the evening at a pub called the King's Arms where I felt really young and slim, but yet still invisible since neither of those things count for much in a roomful of bears. Since I don't really like drinking, smoking, bears, or crowded rooms it was kind of a long night, despite some very enjoyable company. By the time I left I could feel my cold coming on, so the die was cast for Christmas to cast its usual cloud over my spirits.

After a long, long morning of last-minute errands in London and lots of public transportation filled with lots of holiday travelers, I wanted to crawl under a rock with a bottle of cough syrup and a pillow. I was pretty miserable by the time I got back to Reading, so I was double-extra-happy to discover a long-awaited package from Dave that was filled with three months of comic books. Plus the Super Pets!:

Streaky and Krypto

Streaky is the only cat I can love. I mean that.

Leave it to my bestest pal to find a way to provide me with exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it most. He's spooky like that. As I was passing out from exhaustion and illness, at least I knew I would have Krypto and Yorick to keep me company if and when I woke up.

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