* I got to see a lot of family, which was pretty cool. Including Little Sister Pony's boyfriend, who is fast becoming part of the family. I really like him, and I really hope that, within the next couple of years, he becomes an actual part of the family.
* Over break, I tore through all the iterations of The Hunger Games, as in all three books and both films currently available. On the whole, I liked it, although Catching Fire suffers from a whole lot of Middle Book Syndrome. The movies are exceptionally well done; unusually for me, I think I might like them a bit better than the books. They're very close adaptations, with excellent performances and killer (rim shot) visuals, and they lack the particularly literary flaws of the books. (I'm generally not a fan of first-person-present-tense, and I don't think Suzanne Collins is nearly as good at it as she thinks she is.)
* Also, we saw The Hobbit 2: Electric Boogaloo! Important things first: I did end up sitting far enough away from Mom Pony that, had she tried to hit me when Benedict Cumberbatch's name came up on the screen at the end, she wouldn't have been able to reach me. I'll write a full review of it later, when my brain isn't so fried, but here's the capsule: It's a fine and entertaining fantasy movie, although it has very little to do with a 1937 children's novel by John Ronald Reuel Tolkien entitled The Hobbit. It is now the flagship entry in a new category of movies that I am now calling "First Lobster Movies," and I'll leave that as a teaser for when I write the full review.
* But best of all, we went to Philadelphia to visit Aunt Finduilas, Uncle Denethor, and Cousins Boromir and Faramir, and we went to see the Mummers' Parade! I have wanted to see this for ages, and it's never worked out, but on January 1, there we were, me and the Pony Parents, at 15th and Broad Streets, laughing and dancing and watching the Comic Brigades. I had a fantastic time. We stayed out only until lunch, but I did catch some of the String Band Brigades on TV later. You had to buy a ticket to really see the Fancy Brigades, so that'll be for next time.
* In conclusion, it seems that Chicago has received a New Year's gift of a foot of snow, which is spreading all across the northern part of the country, and which very much explains why the flight from Philly to Chicago took all of six hours. But we didn't divert to Milwaukee, and we didn't crash in Gary, and all is well with the world.