Wasabi peanuts, from a special Christmas stall at the supermarket, with all kinds of odd dried and glacé things. I love wasabi, in a unique, slightly masochistic way, and I like the way these Japanese snacks incorporating it are sweet and savoury and dry and pungent all at once, and just now especially I like how they send a kind of delayed explosive charge through the soft palate, into the sinuses and tear ducts, finishing up somewhere in the vicinity of the Eustachian tube. I also like the colour.
Librivox. Why didn't I know about this before? The audiobook equivalent of Project Gutenberg: aiming to make every book in the public domain available free as an audio book. It's easy to access and you don't have to download the podcasts. Scratching the surface of it would get me through several lifetimes and an awful lot of knitting. I've just finished Emma; the reader was good, her American accent very quickly ceased to bother me (sorry, US friends, for this show of prejudice) and in fact her British accent and range of voices for the dialogue was impressive, I thought Emma's voice in particular was spot-on.
Something that made me rather tearful*, not because it's sad, quite the contrary, but because it's so touching and lovely: the astonishingly talented Colin and Li Yi's latest Christmas video. I've yet to meet these two in person, they live in England and are good friends of my niece and sparkly nephew-out-law, but I've posted their previous ones twice, here and here, so I reckon three times constitutes a tradition. A little while ago I recommended Erin Morgernstern's book The Night Circus to my sister, who then thrust it on her daughter who then lent it to Colin and Li Yi. When they returned the book, my niece opened it and there was a handmade thank you card in the shape of a pop-up model of the Night Circus. In fact I think perhaps they belong in the Night Circus...
Though they are clearly technically very savvy, much of the work is done with pencil and paper, the paper shapes cut out meticulously with scalpels, very hands-on (there's a page of stills about the making of this video here), and it takes a long time. And though this kind of design is their profession, the videos are really made simply out of love, generosity and and overflowing creative spirit; one commenter here before said seeing them made her feel quite hopeful for the future. Enjoy, and thanks and happy Christmas to Colin and Li Yi.
*since, as Simone de Beauvoir (I think) said, no matter what tears you shed, you always end up blowing your nose. Which is one reason why it's good for a cold, the other is that cheering and beautiful things make you feel better anyway.