Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Counting Down to Christmas

It was cold yesterday-- well, cold after a week with highs in the 70s. Yesterday, it wasn't supposed to even reach 50! (That qualifies as "cold" to me. (g) Also, I'm not completely sure if the forecast turned out to be correct. I really need to get an accurate thermometer for outside, one of these days.)

Personally, I prefer a little chill right around Christmas. Snow is usually way too much to hope for, but there should at least be a little nip in the air. Unfortunately, we're forecast to have warmer temperatures (and rain) by Wednesday and Thursday. Oh well! We'll just have to make the most of it! But this might mean no after-meal stroll. . .

Online, everyone seems to get quiet right around this time of year. Too busy with Christmas preparations and early celebrations to blog, I guess. I am, too, but Molly and Trixie woke me earlier than usual, this morning-- too early to warrant starting any big, before-breakfast projects.

Of course, now that I'm here, I can't think of much to say, because the main thing on my mind is what I've managed to finish from my gift-making list and how much is still left to accomplish. And I can't very well write about that here, where some of my family are likely to read it.

Shall I also admit that I have nearly all my wrapping left to do? I was waiting until I had absolutely everything ready to wrap. Well, that's alright. Gift-wrapping is one of those things that put me in the Christmas mood. It's as good as Christmas music!


Donald was excited, earlier this month, to discover that World Market is carrying a Swedish Christmas treat. In years past, World Market has been a source for genuine Swedish pepparkakor ("pepper cakes", gingersnaps) and glögg (mulled wine, though I think ours was a nonalcoholic version). (The pepparkakor are yummy; the glögg is. . . not, in my not-so-humble opinion.) This time, Donald found Julmust:

Julmust ("Christmas Must") is a special Swedish soda usually only sold around Christmas. (From what I've read, it sounds like they're expanding and selling it for other holidays and seasons as well, but I think it's mostly a Christmas tradition.) According to Donald (and Wikipedia), Julmust outsells Coca-Cola during the Christmas season-- with Coke sales sometimes dropping by as much as half!

My observations? First, it's extremely foamy when poured from a freshly opened bottle. Second, it looks just like Coke, aside from the thick foam, which eventually fades away.

When Donald said I "had" to taste it, at first I wasn't entirely unwilling. Despite my experience with glögg, I didn't see how any cola could be that bad. Still, better to err on the side of caution, so I gave it a tentative sniff. Hm. Distinctly medicinal. Not a good sign. I knew that nothing that smelt that way could taste good, but I took a sip anyway. Yep, just as I'd feared-- another nasty-tasting concoction. It tasted a little like beer smells-- possibly because hops and malt were on the list of ingredients. (Incidentally, I think it's funny that the ingredient that makes malted milk balls and malted milkshakes sooooo delicious is also in beer and whiskey, which seem kind of gross to me.)

My final verdict is "yucky", but apparently Swedes love the stuff. Wikipedia says that the country of about 9 million consumes 45 million liters each December-- about half of the total soft drink consumption for that month.


After just a little playing around with video, I've already come up with this list of reasons why photography-- particularly macro photography-- is easier (for me) than videography:
  • Photoshop is so much simpler than the video editing software! (Of course, this is because I'm more familiar with Photoshop-- or at least with the parts of it I use.)
  • Processing photos doesn't require long waits. Rendering video sometimes does, especially if you try to use fancy effects. Fancy effects applied to photos take no time, by comparison.
  • (Macro) photography is extremely focused. You find one "beauty spot"-- even in the midst of ugliness-- and in the end product, that is all that's visible. The other people viewing the photo have no idea whether that flower was growing in a woodland glen surrounded by hundred-year-old oaks or by the littered shoulder of a noisy highway. It's easier to idealize the world through photography, and that's generally what I like to do with the camera. (I'm sure it's easy for some people to do that with video, too, but I'm not at that point.)
Most of the problem is inexperience, which can be remedied with practice. Once this Christmas rush is past. . .


Ok, enough chit-chat. Back to the top-secret stuff. ;o)