Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I sense memery afoot, Watson!

I saw this Christmas quiz-thing over at SamuraiFrog's place, but I noticed that apparently the thing has a huge number of questions, which caused him to pare it down a bit. I, on the other hand, tend to be weirdly obsessive about quiz-things (even though I'm noticing that fewer interesting ones seem to be making the rounds these days), so I Googled a bit and dug up the entire thing. And boy howdy, is it big. Ye Gods! However, I am undaunted, so here we go. (I got it from Knitting is my Boyfriend, by the way. Never seen that blog before, but I'm indebted all the same.)

Favorite Christmas...
01. Non-Jesus-related song?

God, I love the music of Christmastime. That's why I'm doing the "Daily Dose of Christmas" on the blog this year. Picking just one (which hasn't yet come in the rotation, but it will), I'll go with "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" -- but it must have the original lyrics:

"Someday soon, we all will be together
if the Fates allow;
Until then we'll have to muddle through somehow."

That lyric gives the song a wonderfully elegiac tone that the nonsensical "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough!" completely destroys. And that lyric change was all Frank Sinatra's fault. I love Sinatra, but he really screwed the pooch on that one.

02. Jesus-related song?

I honestly can't pick one. Seriously, I can't. "Angels We Have Heard On High", "Hark! the Herald Angels Sing", "Silent Night", "Joy to the World" -- any and all of these fill my heart. I'm not that big a fan of "What Child is This" (I keep wanting to sing the words to "Greensleeves"), nor do I much like "Away in a Manger", because of that line about baby Jesus not crying. Why wouldn't he? If God really came into the world as a human, why wouldn't he, as an infant, cry?

I've been kicking around an idea lately that so many Christmas songs are beautiful and eternal because so many of them revolve around the most basic building blocks of Western music, the major scale (what's the first line of "Joy to the World" except a scale in a certain rhythm) or the major triad (a major component of "Silent Night" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). I'd have to do more work on that notion to flesh it out, though.

03. Santa-related song?

"Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", I guess.

04. Fictional character?

Billy Mack. (From Love Actually, my favorite Christmas movie.)

05. Dinner’s main course?

Depends. Some years turkey (as it will be this year), other years it's ham. And one year The Wife got sick, so I made pastitsio.

06. Dinner’s dessert?

Whatever we feel like, I guess. No real tradition here.

07. Scent (pine, gingerbread, candles…)?

Pine, peppermint, baking stuff.

08. Animated movie?

Movie? Ruling out the teevee specials, then? The Polar Express. I've never found the animation in that movie creepy at all, not even the characters' eyes.

09. Non-animated movie?

Oops, tipped my answer above: Love Actually. Which reminds me, I'm due to watch it. I'm also due to renew my once-annual tradition (missed the last couple of year) of watching My Fair Lady every year around this time, even though it's not a Christmas movie, per se.

10. Personal memory?

Lots. Second grade Christmas at Disney World; getting my first stereo in fourth grade; first gift exchange with The Girlfriend (now The Wife) in college; The Daughter's first Christmas; lots and lots of memories.

11. Story/Fairy Tale?

"The Gift of the Magi"; Luke Chapter 2.

This or That

12. Candy cane or peppermint patties?

Both. I adore mint in all its candied forms.

13. Sugar or gingerbread cookies?


14. Tinsel or beaded strands?

We don't use either, actually. Not a conscious choice, but once we have all the lights and ornaments up, anything else seems overkill.

15. Multi-colored or same-colored lights?

Both. Our tree is pre-installed with colored lights, to which we add one strand of white lights.

16. Flashing or still lights?

Still. Not a big fan of flashing. Those lights with the little vials of liquid that bubble are super-neat, though. Gotta buy one of those one of these years.

17. Wreaths or mistletoe/holly?


18. Rudolph or Frosty?

Rudolph. I was never completely sold on Frosty, and while the Rudolph sequels that are rarely seen anymore aren't all that great, the Frosty sequel -- which is shown every year -- is Godawful.

19. Sledding or snowball fights?

Sledding. I prefer different missiles for "fights" of the throwing variety.

20. Snow or ice/icicles?

Snow. Icicles are cool to look at, though.

21. Snow hat or earmuffs?

Hat. I just got myself a nifty knit hat:


22. Getting or giving?

Giving, but getting can be nice, too.

23. Snow days or plow trucks?

I work for a living. Plows.

24. Stockings or presents?

We never did the stocking thing, to my recall.

25. Cookies & milk or letter to Santa?

Cookies and milk. Or cheese and beer.

26. Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

Both. We do all of our family gifts on Christmas Eve, and then we save a few big items for The Kid on Christmas Day.

27. Log Burning Channel or real thing?

We have no fireplace, and we have no cable. But if the choice were mine to make, the real thing.

28. Cards or emails?


29. Shoveling or cleaning off the car?

Both of these tasks suck. I'm the person who only clears enough snow to enable enough visibility for driving. The person driving down the street whose car looks like the head of a comet because all the snow is blowing off the roof? Yeah, that's me.

30. The Inn’s manger or the animals?

Not sure what I'm being asked here.

31. Mary & Joseph or The Wise Men?

Mary and Joseph, I guess.

32. Hot cocoa or eggnog?

Hot cocoa. I'm not the biggest nog fan, although I do like it.

33. Jack Frost or Little Drummer Boy?

Little Drummer Boy.

"Yay!" or "Ugh":

34. Holiday shopping? Yay!

35. Icy roads? Ugh.

36. Limited driving visibility? Epic ugh.

37. Christmas carolers. Yay!

38. Mall Santas? Yay!

39. Salvation Army Santas? Yay!

40. Blizzards? If I'm at work, Ugh. If I'm at home and I don't have to go anywhere, Yay!

41. 24/7 Holiday radio? Yay!

42. Freezing cold? Yay! Cold weather is overalls weather.

43. Setting up the tree? Yay!

44. Wrapping presents? Ugh. I stink at it.

45. Visiting/seeing family? Yay, if we ever did it...but they live on the other side of the country, so it's hard.

46. Ad-Lib on “Rudolph…” (like Monopoly!)

Everybody does it, and the song is never really sung in any kind of situation which would make the ad-lib inappropriate, so I'm fine with it. Yay.

47. Free mint red/white candy?


48. Belief in Santa Claus?


49. Chocolate advent calender?

We never do this, but I wouldn't say "Ugh", either. Maybe I'll get one next year.

50. Peeking at your gifts (or by accident)?

When I was a kid and thought I was clever, Yay! Now that I'm trying to hide gifts from the kid who thinks she's clever, Ugh!

51. Making out with Santa under the mistletoe?

I'm a guy, so I'm going with "Ugh".

52. Decorated houses?


53. Extreme decorated houses?

Big Yay!

54. White Christmas morning?


55. Searching for ornaments in the attic?

No attic here, just overstuffed closets. We always know right where our stuff is, so not a big deal.

56. Santa knowing when you’re sleeping and awake?

Ugh! (Although I suspect this is poetic license in the song.)

First Thought That Comes To Mind When You Hear…

57. Snowflake!

The yummy latte we have at the coffee bar at The Store.

58. Pinecones!


59. Elves!

A Elbereth Gilthoniel!

60. Sleigh!


61. Presents!

I want some!

62. Cookies!


63. Mistletoe!

Kissing under it...which I've never done....

64. Rudolph!


65. Blizzard!

1977. (Even though we didn't live in Buffalo back then.)

66. School’s Canceled!

Crap...do I have to miss work because The Kid has no place to go?

67. Ice Skating!

Not nearly as much like rollerblading as I'd thought.

68. Santa’s Lap!

A place I don't want to be.

69. Black Friday!

Jeebus, you people are warped

70. God’s Son!

The obvious.

71. Melting Snow!

Spring in WNY. Gray, melty and muddy.

72. Lumps of Coal!

There's a company that makes a popcorn ball that's dipped in chocolate; they call it a Lump of Coal. That's what I think of.

73. Nutcracker!

Sure wish the Chinese Buffet had more of 'em, for those pesky crab legs. And the ballet that I want to see one of these years.

74. Ho Ho Ho!

Green Giant!

75. North Pole!

Soon to be ice free!

What’s a Winter Activity YOU Do…

76. …In the snow by yourself?

Walking and sledding.

77. …Inside by yourself?

Reading, writing. Year-round activities, actually.

78. …In a public place?

Shopping, walking, sledding.

79. …With friends/family in the snow at home?

Same stuff as above.

80. …With friends/family inside at home?

Teevee, movies, read, cook....

Grade/Rate Holiday Movies A – F

81. A Christmas Story.

B. It feels like an episode of The Wonder Years, but with a rifle instead of Winnie Cooper.

82. How The Grinch Stole Christmas?

C. Not my favorite.

83. The Santa Clause?

B-minus. I kind of liked it. Never saw the sequels.

84. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer?

A-minus. I'm always bugged by the way the coach cheerfully joins in the ostracizing of Rudolph.

85. Frosty The Snowman?

C-plus. Jimmy Durante's awesome, but this show always feels really slight to me. And that sequel? GAHHH, that is some awful teevee.

86. Home Alone.

C-minus. Don't care much for it. Culkin's not cute, the slapstick antics aren't that funny, and it's got one of the few John Williams scores I don't like.

87. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

B. I think it's funny.

88. Elf.

Haven't seen it.

89. Miracle on 34th Street.

B, I guess. In truth, I haven't seen it since I was very young.

90. A Charlie Brown Christmas.

A-plus. It's a human-made thing, so it's got to have a flaw in it somewhere, but I'm damned if I can spot it.

Christmas At My House… (one or the other)

91. Tree is fake/real?


92. Tree is under/above 4′?


93. Open presents Christmas Eve/Day?

Answered above.

94. House/entire yard is decorated?

Apartment, so no.

95. Amount of presents under the tree?

Right now, zero. We gotta get on the ball here.

96. Snowman is a male/female?

Since Calvin and Hobbes? They're neither. They're deranged mutant killer monster snow goons.

97. Go for Santa/Jesus?

"Go for"? What does that mean?

98. Homemade/delivered/takeout?


99. Bedtime is before/after midnight?


100. Wake-up is before/after 7am?

It's whenever we hear the kid going "Oh, wowww!"

101. Go/don’t go to church on Christmas?

Christmas Eve, the candlelight service. I'm interested to hear what the new pastor has to say this year.

102. Pray & sing Happy Birthday/do nothing before bed?


103. Do shopping before/after Thanksgiving?

I used to start in October, but now I'm lucky if I even have some ideas by Thanksgiving.

104. Low-key/over the top decorations (inside and out)?

A tree and that's about it, for right now.

105. Last minute preparation or long in advance?

Closer to last-minute than otherwise.

106. Errr...oh wait, that appears to be the end. Wow, that was exhaustive, wasn't it? Oh well, enjoy!


Roger Owen Green said...

Actually, Mr. Frog had questions you didn't do. And I'm a masochist enough to do ALL of them.

Lynn said...

I guess whatever we grow up with sounds right. I have always liked the line "Hang a shining star upon the highest bough." I had never heard any other version of it until a few minutes ago. But I do understand where you're coming from. The version of Oh Holy Night that I grew up with has a line that is different from every other recording I've ever heard:

"A song of joy through all the world there echos"

instead of...

"A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices"

... and no matter how many times I hear the latter version it still sounds wrong, wrong, wrong.

Seamus said...

Bah humbug!