A new year falls upon us like your sloppy drunk buddy trying to get you to drive them home after closing time. You don’t want to – but you know you have to get on with it or they’ll kill someone trying to drive home rather than pony up for an Uber.

At least that is my attitude right now. A new year but old dangers persist, the hangover hasn’t come fully due yet and I’ve put on 10 pounds since Thanksgiving. So I need something to rose tint my world and keep me safe from my trouble and pain.

I’m watching a lot of YouTube. I have found a few I consider to be outstanding. Laci Green started out as a sex-positive educator but then she kind of went on hiatus for a year or so. She came back with a completely different emphasis. Her most recent series of videos are some of the best I’ve seen covering the polarization of America and the traps we set for ourselves when we try to make sense of the world. She’s tackled other topics as diverse as Stoic philosophy, (Always a favorite of mine!) the economy, cancel culture, existential anxiety, and conspiracy theories.

Continuing my search for the upbeat and awesome, I have found the Everyday Astronaut. Tom Dodd is a fabulous commentator and he makes videos about the most recent advances in space exploration and rocketry. In a dismal time filled with perfidy, polarization, and pestilence, the exploration of space is one of humanity’s high points.

And for the more martial minded among us there is Binkov’s Battlefields. Binkov takes imaginary scenarios and games them out with great attention to actual military capabilities and viable strategies. What would happen if the Russians decide to take Japan? What would happen if a USMC infantry platoon fought a Roman legion? There are technical videos like: Why do stealth planes have slanted tails? And historical videos such as: That time we almost nuked China.

And then there’s anime! This season we have a surfeit of treasures. Returning anime that I’m watching include Attack on Titan, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, Yuru Camp, The Promised Neverland, Re: Zero, and Cells At Work. They keep promising World Trigger this year but probably not until March at the earliest.

New stuff… Jujutsu Kaisen, Otherside Picnic, Cells at Work: Code Black, and So, I am a Spider? I must also rouse myself to see the last iteration of Evangelion, though I cannot say the more recent movies have at all improved upon the original.

On Netflix, I’m watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Lucifer, and Umbrella Academy

This is not the Sabrina of your Archie comics nor the Disney version of Sabrina. It shares the main characters but is much darker. Sabrina is the daughter of a mortal and a witch. Witches belong to a coven and the coven worships Satan with occasional cannibalism, orgies, and sacrificial death. Lilith hangs out disguised as Sabrina’s favorite teacher who walks her down the Path of Darkness, something Sabrina isn’t sure she wants to do. The show is brimming with feminist messages, LGBTQ characters, and small tidbits of humor now and then.

Umbrella Academy is about a family of superheroes trying to make sense of their lives after their domineering adoptive father dies. In the meantime, someone is trying to kill them so they can’t save the world. Problem is that they aren’t quite sure what from. It stars Elliot Page, formerly known as Ellen Page, in a female role.

In Lucifer, the proud and narcissistic fallen angel takes leave of Hell to walk the Earth and finally have some fun. Being the ruler of Hell really isn’t what he wants to do with his life but rather is a job assigned to him as punishment for being a naughty boy. Luci really isn’t a bad guy, just someone whose ego and pride keeps getting in the way of understanding things. Along the way, we meet a cute cop that he works with to avenge evil, a psychotherapist who helps him work through his issues, a really hot lady for his demonic sidekick, and his long-suffering angelic brother who has to put up with Lucifer’s nonsense.

We are redoing our backyard – actually it was never really done in the first place. My son-in-law is doing the major part of the work but I’m doing just enough that my joints and back are complaining strenuously. My daughter and he were living in a sketchy section of Fairfield when they moved down here over Christmas. He had a job offer down here in construction that evaporated as soon as he arrived and she is still jumping through hoops to finally get her EMT license. My wife and I figured we might as well pay him to do the work instead of hiring a contractor.

I am a sucker for anything well-done that is similar to Sherlock Holmes – probably why I enjoyed Moriarty the Patriot so much last fall. I am looking forward to part two of the season in April of 2021.

So, of course, one last show I am really enjoying is Professor T on PBS. (You can also see it on Amazon Prime Video.) It is about an extremely eccentric professor of criminology, Jasper Teerlinck, working as a consultant for the Belgian Federal Police who gets on everyone’s nerves but always manages to solve the case. His obsessive mannerisms and brutal honesty are played brilliantly.

And American Gods, by Neil Gaiman, is back on STARZ. Woohoo!

I’m still hoping to do a lot of freehiking this year. Every year I live, I face the possibility that this will be the year my knees finally give out or maybe my hips or my back. Knees and hips can be replaced with surgery but still would take me out of action for several months and I may not be able to get back into “hiking shape” for months. A bad back due to arthritis is just something you have to live with. I have serious pain in every joint in my body.

The lesson of this story is to have your adventures when you can. Do not put them off for a later date. You cannot be certain that the future will be as friendly for them as you might hope.

The End