One Down…

…Three to Go

Goodreads tells me I’ve met my reading goal for this year—or rather my personal reading goal.  Then again, I aimed low, aiming for 50 books.  AT least that’s double last year’s goal.

I can’t take all the credit, though.  It’s mainly the result of the three challenges I’ve signed up for.  Two are annual challenges, one is a bi-annual challenge.  (Goodreads also have monthly and quarterly challenges.  And probably more that I don’t know about.)

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Tuesday Ten: My Year in Books

Towards the end of 2018, Goodreads said I had read 73 “books.”  Considering I read a couple more after this tally, that brought my total to at least 75.  That’s 200% more than the goal of 25  I’d set.  Pretty good for someone with a (semi-undiagnosed) learning disability and possible dyslexia. But, to be fair, some of those “books” were short stories and novellas.  And most of the “full length” books were on the short side, under 300 pages.  Still, I’m taking time out to congratulate myself.

Then again, the majority of those books were of the m/m (male/male or gay) romance genre.  And to think romance novels never interested me.  I blame it on Diana Gabaldon and Lord John Gray, specifically, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade.  It wasn’t a romance, per se, because there was a lot going on— mystery, political intrigue, military action, and a near-death experience.  But romance figured throughout.

But the year in books did include some diversity.  I’d planned to do a “Sunday Seven” featuring the non-gay-romance books I read, but there’s actually ten.  So let’s call it a Tuesday Ten.  Here they are, in order of longest to shortest (pages, not words).

  1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, Time’s Best Novel of the Year 2004 and many other awards. I even read all the footnotes!
  2. Past Poisons, an anthology of historical mysteries dedicated to Ellis Peters, by a whole slew of authors
  3. Ballroom by Alice Simpson, more boring than The Man in the High Castle—but the cover is pretty
  4. The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K. Dick, only slightly better than the extremely boring television series
  5. The Squire’s Tale (Sister Frevisse #10) by Margaret Frazer, featuring the return of one of my favorite characters from the first Frevisse novel, The Novice’s Tale
  6. A Morbid Taste for Bones by Ellis Peters, Brother Cadfael #1
  7. The Patchwork Girl of Oz (Oz #8) by L. Frank Baum, not his best
  8. The Ladies of Grace Adieu, a collection of very clever short stories by Susanna Clarke, a kind of continuation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
  9. King Solomon’s Mines by Allan Quartermaine H. Ride Haggard, it hasn’t aged well, what with all the animal cruelty and machismo
  10. One Corpse Too Many by Ellis Peters, the second Brother Cadfael novel
  11. Nozy Cat #1 (yes, that’s its title) by Lyn Keyes, a cozy mystery with a talking cat.  The second book in the series is called Nozy Cat #2.

(Crap!  How did that list turn into 11? When I added them up initially, I swore there were only 10.)

My favorites and highly recommended:  The Ladies of Grace Adieu, One Corpse Too Many, and A Squire’s Tale.  I’d recommend reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell before The Ladies of Grace Adieu, and Sister Frevisse #1, and A Novice’s Tale, before The Squire’s Tale, to get a better understanding of Roger Fenner.  One Corpse Too Many can stand on its own, I think.

Any favorites you’d recommend?  (Oh yeah, I tried reading The Great Gatsby for a second time and didn’t even get as far as I did the first time.  Don’t recommend it, please.)

Technology vs Standards

Warning:  this post is laden with trademarked technology devices.  Not because I like namedropping all my high-tech shit, but because it’s necessary to understand what works with what, and what doesn’t.

Also, I was going to take a pic of all my incompatible devices, but that will come later.  I’ve already waited far too long to post this.

Not all Bluetooth is created equal.

Are created equal?  Is Bluetooth singular or plural?  How about this?

Not all Bluetooth devices are compatible.

Yes, there are variations of Bluetooth, and not all Bluetooth versions work with all devices.  And here I thought Bluetooth was a standard.  I call “Foul!”

The Saga of My Bluetooth Wars

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Finally, a Final Season 3 Outlander Sunday Seven

Lord John holds a sword to Jamie's throat.

Finally!  Have you forgotten all about  Outlander?  What’s it been?  A month and a half since Outlander’s season 3 ended?  Longer?  Blame some of it on my goddamn 2-week cable outage!  Well, at least part of it.  Onward!

My Seven Favorite Outlander Season 3 Episodes

It should come as no surprise to you (if you’ve read each episode post) that I have a favorite Outlander character.  Of course, those are going to be my top four.  I have a second favorite character.  Those two episodes follow.  And we’ll round out the list with the appearance of a familial-adjacent character.

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Let’s Just Forget January 2018

Frustraion: Just Ahead

[All in the form of a “Sunday Seven,” but on Friday instead of Sunday.  Apparently, my mind only works in increments of seven now.]

Two Weeks in Hell Heck

Two weeks ago—TWO WEEKS!  FOURTEEN DAYS!—on January 19, I was working on my Outlander season 3 favorite episodes post.  I began having difficulty saving the in-progress post as I had no internet connection.  Not a big problem, I thought.  My router is getting old and it sometimes “burps” offline for a few minutes.  I had the backup plan to write the post offline, then copy and paste when the time was right.

Continue reading Let’s Just Forget January 2018

Laughter: the Best Christmas Present

Sheep! Too cute!

The streak continues!  How long can the “Sunday (& Not-Sunday) Seven last?  Who knows.  Take bets!  Start a pool!  At least now I’ll try to get them posted on Sunday.  Unless, of course, I don’t.  :/

I actually have three Sunday Seven posts started, but with it being Christmas Eve, I thought of something more appropriate to the season.   Every year around November/December, I receive the Signals catalog.  It’s “for Fans & Friends of Public Television,” (that’s what it says on the cover) which I support.  It boasts unusual games, DVD sets, jewelry, pottery, clothing, and more; many items are made in developing countries.  It also has a bevy of T-shirts with silly sayings.  Here are seven my favorites.  They’re in no particular order because I couldn’t determine which ones I liked best.  (See #6 below.)

Seven Silly T-Shirt Sayings (Ha!  Alliteration!)

  1. Hyphenated.  Non-hyphenated.  That’s irony.
  2. The engineer’s motto:  If it ain’t broke, take it apart and fix it.
  3. Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with catsup.
  4. People who wonder if the glass is half full or half empty are missing the point.  The glass is refillable.
  5. I prefer my kale with a silent K.
  6. My decision-making skills resemble those of a squirrel trying to cross the street.
  7. 99 bugs in the code
    99 bugs in the code
    Take one down
    And patch it up
    132 bugs in the code.

And that’s a wrap!

Merry Christmas, all!

Woof!
Woof!

(Photos  and quotes ©2017 Signals catalog)

The End Is Here: Outlander 313

Jamie and Claire search for Ian in the jungle.

And so season 3 of Outlander goes out with a bang—if you’re me.  Or a whimper, if you’re nearly everyone else.  I actually understand the criticisms and agree with some of them.  The episode was disjointed; there wasn’t a clear narrative; the writers tried to check beloved book scenes off their list; the token sex scene wasn’t that great.  (But then, ever since the reunion episode, Claire and Jamie sex has either bothered me or bored me.)  Yet, at the end, I felt satisfied.  Even a bit energized to possibly read the next book in the series, The Drums of Autumn. Thankfully, that urge has passed.

Much like the episode, this week’s seven thoughts are disjointed, and in most cases, have nothing at all to do with the story.  And here they are:

Continue reading The End Is Here: Outlander 313

The Squick & the Great: Outlander 312

Quite a dichotomy, yes?  Fortunately, the squicks are among the first two scenes, leaving us with a remainder of nothing but great.  (Incidentally, both squicks are taken from Voyager, while much of the great was new.)  It’s also obvious that the dozen or so storylines introduced this season are trying to get wrapped up.  Let’s discuss.

The Bakra, Episode 312

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Waiting for Next Week: Outlander 311

Claire washes up on shore after a night in the ocean.

Yet another “I don’t really care” episode for me.  Which means, I’m not particularly motivated to write about it.  When then means the post will likely be really late.   But let’s get to it.

Uncharted, Episode 311

1.  Run Stumble through the jungle

The first 15 minutes or so was Claire stumbling through the jungle, encountering all sorts of problems; no food, no water, sun, snakes, fire, ants, fire ants.  I hate these kinds of survival storylines. Probably because we know the star of the show isn’t going to die, so it’s just tedium to get through.  Regardless of how terrific the actor is.  And Caitriona Balfe is truly terrific.

(I remember an episode of Magnum, P.I. where Thomas was lost and disoriented in the ocean.  It turned out to be a great episode, mostly because through flashbacks we learned so much about his background.  But it took a long time before I could watch the episode in its entirety.)

Continue reading Waiting for Next Week: Outlander 311

The Sobfest That Is Outlander 310

Elias Pound assists Claire attending to the sick.

“Heaven and Earth” had its problems, but the good far outweighed the bad.  Added bonus: I bawled my eyes out. Granted, while bawling isn’t necessarily an enjoyable experience, it shows how the episode pulled me in and made me feel part of the story.

So let’s get to it.

Heaven and Earth, Episode 310

Continue reading The Sobfest That Is Outlander 310