Gulag Archipelago, Vol II: Quote #1

And even while sitting peacefully among the fragrant hay mowings of Razliv* and listening to the buzzing bumblebees, Lenin could not help but ponder the future penal system. Even then he had worked things out and reassured us: “The suppression of the minority of exploiters by the majority of the hired slaves of yesterday is a matter so comparatively easy, simple and natural, that it is going to cost much less in blood … will be much cheaper for humanity” than the preceding suppression of the majority by the minority.^

According to the estimates of emigre Professor of Statistics Kurganov, this “comparatively easy” internal repression cost us, from the beginning of the October Revolution up to 1959, a total of… sixty-six million—66,000,000—lives. We, of course, cannot vouch for his figure, but we have none other that is official. And just as soon as the official figure is issued the specialists can make the necessary critical comparisons.

~Gulag Archipelago, Vol II, page 4

66 MILLION. For comparison, that is more than the combined populations of the States of California AND Texas. For those of a world-wide persuasion, choose between wiping out the UK or France.

Another way to look at it is like this:
WWI caused between 20-40 million deaths.
WWII caused 85 million deaths.
The Black Plague killed approximately 25 million.

But no matter how you compare it, look at it or intellectually think about it, one fact remains: Communism caused that massive number. In fact, there is a term for 1 million deaths, it is called Mega-Death.

Akismet – The Progenitor of Skynet

Over the last week, maybe 2, I have noticed a quite a few of my comments going into the spam folders of other bloggers that I comment on. I have also noticed an upswing in other blogger’s comments going into my own spam folder.

This is ALL akismet’s fault. And it highlights the reason why a machine can’t be trusted, nor should it be, to do a human’s job. It pisses me off because there have been several times that I’ve tried to contact a new blogger about something and I know they’ll never see my comment.

I’m just complaining because this month it seems like a lot of stupid little things are all coming together at once and causing nothing but constant low level stress. I just want to enjoy blogging again and things like this happening are making that really hard to do.

So I hope akismet dies. The End.

A Book (un)Haul – The Manga Edition

Getting rid of both the Big O manga and the Oh My Goddess! manga.


Well, getting rid of 50+ volumes of manga, that frees up a lot of shelf space. Not quite enough to get rid of a shelf, but it’s a good start! I’m wondering if I should do a book giveaway of a bunch of my graphic novels? What do you think? That would free up a shelf right there.

Need More Space? Bookstooge Has You Covered

Houston, we have a problem …..
….. I want more space!

Last month when I wrote the When to Dotcom post, my main issue was space. Given, I am only using about 18% of the free 3gb that WordPress offers, but big pictures eat away at that pretty quickly and I’m always looking to the future.

In the comments section people talked about various ways to deal with the space issue and Andreas gave a list of several options. I’m a prime member and a google member, so I tried out both amazon photo and google drive. Unfortunately, I have not been able to make either of them work the way I was hoping. For those of you who saw the original August ’20 Roundup & Rambling post, you might have noticed the big pix I usually put at the top that has all my book covers in a collage picture was missing or saying you needed permissions etc. That was me trying to use google drive.

Both google drive and amazon don’t seem to simply let you give out an url to a picture you’ve uploaded. It is all complicated “share this with these email people” etc. Or “set these permissions, blah, blah, blah”.

Then I remembered I had an old dropbox account floating around. So I opened that account back up and voila, I had another 3gb’s of space available. However, and this is what made the difference for me, I was able to use the dropbox links to host pictures here on WP.

I found several websites that showed me how to do it. Instead of linking to them, I’ll just post the info here so you don’t have to go chasing links down (and as we all know, links die on a regular basis). The following assumes that you have a dropbox account and have downloaded the dropbox app to your computer.


Dropbox
Right clicking a file in a drop box folder will give the option to “Copy Dropbox Link”. This will not link directly to the file, but it can be changed to link directly, which can then be used in the above import.
In order to get a direct link, replace http://www.dropbox.com with dl.dropboxusercontent.com and remove the ?dl=0.
For instance:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/72vf8e2f0qx6vw8/Milan4.jpg?dl=0
would become: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/s/72vf8e2f0qx6vw8/Milan4.jpg.


(Personally, I just leave the dl=0 myself. I don’t know the reason for removing it.)
Now, doing all of this means there are extra steps in adding pictures to your wordpress posts. But since I’m already creating a whole new process to write posts here on wordpress, another couple really aren’t going to make a difference especially if it means my space limitations are removed.

The other nice thing about dropbox is that you can get additional space for getting referrals. This is known as free advertising for dropbox. Whenever someone joins up for a free account (and the 2gb space), if they signed up using a referral link, they get an extra 500mb of space and I get an extra 500mb of space. Up to 16 gigs worth. And if they sucker convince someone else to join up with THEIR referral, then they both get 500mb. It’s just your classic “get rewarded for working for us” kind of scheme. I’ve used it twice, hence why I have 3gb instead of just 2. If you have any interest in joining up, shoot me an email and I’ll email you a referral.

I’m just glad I seem to have found a way that works for me to host pictures and increase my storage without having to pay. If you have found alternates that work well, let me know in the comments, would you? I’m always glad to learn things (well, ok, lets be honest, I am NOT, as my reaction to the forsaken block editor has shown) and if I can find a better way than dropbox, then I will. Personally, I would love to use google drive, as that has 15gb of free space.

Now, something to be aware of. Should dropbox ever cancel/close your account or go belly up or change or be taken over by aliens, or be ruled to be racist and full of hate speech by the EU, then there is the potential for the pictures you host there to become dead links on your wordpress site. That is right: D-E-A-D-L-I-N-K-S

Ok, this post has gone on long enough. Have a great rest of your day.


Bookstooge’s Star Ratings

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Since I did a re-post of my About Me post a little bit ago, I figured it was probably time to re-post my Star Rating Explanation post as well. It’s also good for me to re-calibrate myself and make sure I’m not rating things randomly. I originally wrote this in ’16 and it hasn’t changed since. So without further ado …..

Since Star Ratings can by mysterious beasts to some, I thought I would explain what each Star Rating means, roughly, to me.

Will be placing this post as a Page on my WordPress Blog Page.

5 Stars:

An Epic read that I will buy in hardcover and read again and again or a book that has profoundly changed my life.

4 Stars:

A book that I thoroughly enjoyed but am not sure I will read again. It ‘might’ not hold up to the Me I’ll be in 10 years.

3 Stars:

A completely average book that I enjoyed. Nothing really special but nothing bad to note either.

The majority of what I read falls into this category.

2 Stars:

Did not enjoy this book. It might have been grammar, editing or plot issues. It might also have been Religious and Philosophical in nature.

1 Star:

Crap. Probably could not finish. Most likely Blasphemous in one way or another. Could also be that the skillz of the writer were of a 3rd grade level.

Half Stars:

Whenever a book is a Strong or Weak X Star Book, I tend to go for the half stars. They make my life so much easier!

The Block Editor ….. Beaten into Submission?

I beat this block editor like a nun with yard stick!

After all my complaining about the damnably evil block editor, I sat down and worked out how to make it work for me. I’m going to outline, in excruciating detail, just how I create my review posts with it. Doing this has made me realize that WordPress is no longer a blogging platform.
* whole paragraphed removed due to self censure *
I’m going to outline how I used to write a review and how I do it now.

BEFORE:
1) Write the entire post in Open Office using my Review Template.
2) Start a new post in WordPress w/ Review Title
3) Insert my cover picture
4) Copy/paste my entire review from Open Office
5) Left align the cover, thus bringing all the text into its correct place
6) Insert my avatar at the end of the post
7) add tags
8) add date and time for scheduled post
9) hit “schedule” and voila, done!

AFTER:
1) Write entire post in Open Office using my Review Template
2) Start a new post in WordPress w/ Review Title
3) Insert a “Classic Block”
4) Inside the classic block, insert my cover picture
5) Inside the classic block, copy/paste ONLY the info part of the review (legaleeze through the Word count)
6) Left align the cover, thus bringing the info into proper alignment
7) Insert Spacer Block (at 20pt, the minimum)
8) Copy/paste the rest of the review into wordpress
9) Insert Spacer Block between the last sentence of the Synopsis and My Thoughts
10A) Insert Image Block at end of review
10B) Insert Avatar in Image Block
11) Insert Spacer Block between star rating and avatar
12) Insert spacer block between avatar and any additional links
13) Click on “Document” over in the settings on the right hand side
14) Select Category
15) Add tags
16) Open a new tab in my browser
17) Select the Google Calendar shortcut
18) See what days of the month have no posts and select one
19) Type in the blog title into google calendar on that empty day
20) Close tab
21) Add date and time for scheduled post in WordPress
22) Voila, done!

Wow! I guess I was wrong and the gutless, spineless code engineers pimps at WordPress were right! What a time saving, incredibly efficient way to write! Those 14 extra steps make my review look SO MUCH BETTER (no, it takes me 14 profanity laced extra steps to make it look the same as before!!!!)

I have tried using only the classic block, but it doesn’t honor double returns (double space) between paragraphs so everything looked like total crap. So I’m forced to kluge together this abortion of a process to simply keep things looking how I’ve had them. How, in anyone’s brain who is sane, can this be considered a step forward, a net positive, something good?

23 steps. To write a FORSAKEN review. My workload to write a review has more than doubled and I’m supposed to be happy and ok with that? I’ve just completely depressed myself. See you all tomorrow ….

August ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16

Pages – 3968

Words – 895.5K

Average Rating – 3.0 Stars

The Bad:

The Big O Manga: The Whole Series

The Good:

The Fires of Heaven – 5 Stars

The Screwtape Letters – 4.5 stars

Movie:

Spriggan was a more successful foray into my anime collection. Next month will either be Place Promised in Our Early Days or Voices of a Distant Star. More anime, but of such a different tone from Spriggan that you might as well call John Wick the same as Casablanca because they’re both “movies”.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Didn’t write nearly as much as I thought I would.

Personal:

While the title of my Vacation post might have led some to believe that there would be other King & Queen posts to follow, I was just too lazy. The vacation went as perfectly as I could have asked for. I didn’t blog or work on my blog or do anything, as much as I thought I would. I spent a lot of time simply sitting and doing nothing, barely thinking. I didn’t even realize I needed that until I found myself at my sister’s pool one day looking at the sky for about an hour without having thought a thing. Of course, I had to get back to reality once we got home, but that is the darkside of Vacations that we all know about but don’t discuss. Both of us survived the weather just fine, so a possible move in the future isn’t out of the question any more. Pretty much spent the rest of the month wishing we were back on vacation. Sad but true.

Took a short break from interacting online near the end of the month. Sensory overload was just too much. Thankfully, pizza and books helped me cope and Mrs B and I had some more good “connection” times. During that week I did a lot of work on the blog and got a lot of old reviews posted.

Plans for Next Month:

Tomorrow I plan to blog about how this month of using the block editor went. #Blockeditorsucks ! (hint, it isn’t good)

Read BETTER books! I can’t believe my average for this month was a paltry 3 stars. The blame is squarely all on Big O but that DNF for The Well at World’s End didn’t help either, sigh.

I feel kind of overdosed on manga, as Big O was just such a disappointment. As such, I’m going to start the Yotsuba&! series. I’m going to take a break from manga in September though and start it back up in October.

I’m going to try to bulk up my numbers in terms of books read, so be prepared for a few extra book reviews and a few less non-review posts. End of the year is fast approaching.

See you tomorrow.

#6Degrees — How to Do Nothing to …..

6degrees

This month we are starting with the book How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell.

Far from the simple anti-technology screed, or the back-to-nature meditation we read so often, How to do Nothing is an action plan for thinking outside of capitalist narratives of efficiency and techno-determinism. Provocative, timely, and utterly persuasive, this book will change how you see your place in our world.

You know what I “resist”? Idiots like this author. And I probably have as much impact as her.


Our Founding Fathers weren’t idiots, thank goodness! A robust Faith in God and a literal interpretation of the Bible saw to that.

This cover has the American Flag on it, very patriotic. When I think Patriot, one book immediately springs to mind.


Patriot Games by Tom Clancy. What a fantastic book! American Machismo defeating the filthy terrorists and destroying them. The determination to Protect versus the implacable hatred of anything “other”.

Sadly, America doesn’t always win against the terrorists.



Night Fall ends with 9/11 happening. I read this in ’13 and it was still too raw for me to handle. Even now, today, I wonder I’d react any differently.

There is a song called “Night and Day”. However, in Bookstoogelandia, there is only Night and Night!


The Night Gift by McKillip is unlike any of her other stuff that I’d read. It boggled my mind that this was the same author who wrote such wonders as The Tower at Stony Wood.

The only thing that boggles my mind more is the following book!


How the same author could write the Codex Alera AND the Dresden Files is beyond me. Storm Front was my introduction to Mr Whiny Pants Baby Puke. What REALLY boggles my mind is that I kept on trying to like this loser for 11(!!!!!!!!) books. I blame my parents and a corrupt justice system. Obviously, I’m the victim here. I demand recompense for all that wasted time. I obviously don’t like Dresden.


I do seem to go against the grain though. Ruins of Ambrai has a 4.01 average rating on Devilreads. I gave it a 1 star. I had the last laugh though, as Rawn seems to have abandoned the series. She was the original Martin! hehehehee. She could truly teach us all a lot about How to Do Nothing. Thus the Circle of Life is complete.

I love when these make little circles like that! Anywhooo, that is how you go from How to Do Nothing to The Ruins of Ambrai and Back Again.

If you’d like to participate in the #6degrees series of posts, head over to #6Degrees Meme to find out the starting point for each month. They’re not always punctual, so sometimes you have to wait until a week into the month.

bookstooge (Custom)

Taking an Online Break

These last couple of days have made me realize that I’m getting worded out. Both in writing my own posts and reading others posts. Plus, the damned wordpress jackasses forcing the block editor on everyone, yet again, makes me pissed off. Even though I’m using the block editor, they need to stop forcing it down everyone’s throat. The forum is filled, again, with angry users wondering why this is happening.

So I’m going to be taking a short social internet break. I’ve got scheduled posts but I won’t be responding to any comments until I come back and I won’t be reading anyone’s posts.

See you next Wednesday.