And so a new year begins. Hang on, fingers and toes. That's all anyone can do. Hang on and help each other.

A piece of siding blew off our house last night, so the neighbor came down this morning to fix it. Just in time, too, because it's scheduled to rain today and tomorrow.

I watched some Tales From the Darkside last night. For those unfamiliar with this trove of '80s spookery, it was Tales From the Crypt for network TV. Man, do the effects seem dated now, but I'm sure they were top-notch back then. Most of the episodes so far have been hokey and full of clunky moralizing and trite social commentary about the alienation of modern society(this was in 1984, mind), and if you want a laugh, have a gander at "Mookie and Pookie", a tale of the wondrous potential of some newfangled technology called computers. Looking at those boxy antiques and listening to the characters rhapsodize over their incredible power was quaintly hilarious. If only they could see what those machines would achieve a scant thirty-two years later.

"Slippage" was a tedious, preachy snorefest about alienation.

Some were pretty good, though. "Trick or Treat" was hokey, but the avenging witch was surprisingly effective, and I was glad to see the nasty, pettily cruel old Mr. Hackles get his comeuppance.

The crown jewel of Disc One, however, was the final episode, entitled, "In the Closet." An innocent young grad student takes a room on the third floor of a veterinary professor, Dr. Frenner. It's not long before she hears what she thinks is a rat skittering inside the closet the doctor swears can't be opened. Alas, it's not a rat, but something so much worse.

I'm reading Mariel of Redwall. It's Redwall #4, and while fun, a certain sameness is beginning to emerge. The abbey is always assailed by marauding baddies, and there is always a lone and unlikely hero joined by a band of stalwart friends on an epic quest. We'll see how far into the series I can get before boredom sets in.
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