October ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 8

Pages – 2125

Average Rating – 2.88 Stars

 

The Bad:

Dark Sky – 1 Star DNF for Content

Places in the Darkness – 1 Star DNF for Content

 

The Good:

War Factory – 4 Stars of Polity Goodness!

The Ragged Man – 4 Stars of Authorial Improvement

 

Movie:

Watched two versions of Superman II. The Theatrical Cut and the (released recently on disc & digital) fired Director’s Cut. I surprised myself by favoring the Theatrical Edition over the Director’s Cut.

November will be Superman III. Now are these names original or what?!?!?

 

Book Give-Away:

Doing yet another Give-Away. This time 8 of the Myth Adventure books by Robert Asprin.  It’s open until November 16, so feel free to enter until then.

 

Survival Saturday:

With the weather changing and it getting colder outside, I’m probably going to try to resurrect this series for a couple of months. Of course, I’ll ease into things with something so easy that even I can’t mess it up for November.  Who wants a butter stick!?!? 😀 😀 😀

But seriously, it will be something extremely simple and probably not an actual survival food. Now I just have to figure out what this mythical “food” actually is.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Even though my average rating dropped below a 3, since I dnf’d both of the stinkers almost from the get-go, there was no wasted time or regrets. All it really does is puff up my book numbers from last month and drop my average rating I can live with that. I figure I’ll be culling existing series in November so I’m not reading things that don’t really grab me.

Work is. Started full time at Company New Mid-October. I’m reserving judgement until the New Years. Algebra is going along, but there are times it is really hard to stay motivated, especially when they’re teaching a concept that I KNOW I won’t need and I think to myself “What is the point of this?” I almost feel like a rebellious teenager! Weight Watchers is going fantastic and I continue to lose some weight every week. Slow and steady.

Here is a list of the various non-review posts I did:

 

Cover Love:

Warlock by Dean Koontz is this month’s winner. It doesn’t get more 70’s than this!

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September ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Using a new template and resolution setting at Ipiccy.com for my monthly photos. Hoping that gets rid of the cutting off of sides or tops that has been happening for quite some time now. We’ll see though.

 

Raw Data:

6 Books

2514 Pages

Average Rating of 3.67

 

The Bad:

The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard – 2 Stars worth of unmitigated dystopian sameness

 

The Good:

Odd Magic – 5 Stars of Greatness!

 

Movie:

Watched the 1978 version of Superman starring Christopher Reeve. Now he showed what Superman should look like. In October I plan on watching Superman II, both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut, based upon Irresponsible Reader’s recommendation.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

So as you can tell, if you’ve been following me for at least a couple of months, is that my book and page numbers were way down. Part of that was deliberate, as I began watching a youtube channel called Game Knights that centers around my other hobby, Magic the Gathering (a collectible card game).  I also began my transition over to the new Land Surveyor company and as they work 9hr days, I didn’t have as much time. I was also starting my Algebra Lessons and thankfully, while it is all the easy stuff that I can almost do in my head, I still have to pay attention to details. So there’s another 1/2-3/4 of an hr gone each day. Mrs B and I celebrated our wedding anniversary this month and have started a reading program to go through the Bible in one year. We chose the New Living translation to help shake things up and so far it has been going really well. Read that day’s selection and then talk about it in the evening.

So I’ve been busy with non-book stuff and while Game Knights won’t last beyond another month (they only produce 1 episode a month and I’ve only got 2 more episodes to catch up), the rest of the stuff I described will be my new normal.  Also turns out that the transitioning time over to Company New is going to be a lot shorter than originally expected. I start there full time October 14th.  That kind of came out of no-where so needless to say,  I’m a little shocked and overwhelmed. No seamless sliding from on company to the other I guess.

I did a Poll for Labor Day and while I won’t be doing that too often, it was fun to do something a little different. Just wish I could figure out how to get the poll INSIDE the post instead of having everyone having to go to the poll website.

Ola and Pio created the 7 Heavenly Virtues Tag and I completed that. A nice rounding out to the 7 Deadly Sins tag that made the rounds the other month.

I remembered 9/11. I think that speaks for itself.

I started the Lord of the Rings and finished up the Fellowship of the Ring. I had some fun making a parody of that with the Lord of the Toothepaste.

Did my (hopefully) monthly rendition of the #6degrees post and went from a gentleman to Saddam Hussein. Ha! I just love where these posts take me 🙂

Opened a Give-Away for the Mars/Barsoom series by Edgar Rice Burroughs. I want to thin my bookshelves so this might be a semi-regular thing.   It is open until October 19th. I’ll be doing another one October 20th, so if old Pulp SF isn’t your thing, stay tuned.

 

Cover Love:

A Patricia McKillip book with a Kinuko Craft cover? This month’s cover love winner is simply a no brainer.

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August ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books: 13

Pages: 3578

Average Rating: 2.92

 

The Bad:

Torchship Captain – 1/2 star

Empire of Silence – 1 Star

 

The Good:

The Mating Season – 4 1/2 Stars

Galactic North – 4 1/2 Stars

 

Miscellaneous:

My pagenumbers and average really sucked this month. Having several dnf’s and quite a few low rating books just dragged everything down. It did lead to a lot of clearing on my kindle and tbr though, so that is good I guess.  I’ve also decided to get rid of the Ravenloft series, even though I stated in Dance of the Dead that I was going to give it one more chance. With the changes I’ll be talking about later in the post I literally don’t have time to give chances to series that already have a proven bad track record.

I did another “Quote” post and I have to say, I rather like doing that. Kind of an update about what I’m currently reading. Does double duty. Always glad to let posts do more of the work around here. It’s about time they started carrying their weight!

I Won some writing gloves that keep your hands warm in the winter. Of course, with it being high summer now I’ll have to wait a couple of days months before winter actually arrives. I have high hopes for them though. Even if they were made by wu jiao at midnight, at Chairman Mao’s grave.

Got back on the #6Degrees bandwagon. I’m hoping to do this more often, at least every other month, instead of the completely random inclusions that I’ve been doing. It’s fun, it allows me to go through my backlog of old reviews and it helps motivate me to add links to old reviews here on WordPress. Win, win, win for everyone. The problem with bandwagons is that it is pretty easy to fall off of them. If it gets too bad, I might have to join #6degreesAnonymous and get myself on a 6step program.

Wrote up the last #worldbookczar post and interviewed HAL1000. Seemed like a pretty trust’able accounting program. I mean, any program created by Keffin Flyyv and who worked with Trin, well, if you can’t trust THAT program, who can you trust?

Had another Book Catch post. Thanks again to all of you who suggested the term Book Catch. I’m really liking it and it works perfectly. Of course, THIS book catch wasn’t one that had me all excited or anything. Quite the opposite. However, it is the perfect lead in to the changes I’ve been not so subtly hinting at all month.

 

Personal:

This will probably be a tad long, so bear with me.

I’ve been working at my current employer since 2000. Went part time from ’08-15 when the economy tanked (land surveying is the first hit when things go bad, especially when what is going bad is mortgages). I was certified as a Field Tech, level II back in ’06 (there are approximately 5 levels) and had some hazy notion of eventually getting my State Surveyor’s License and moving into more of an office position. That all kind of just fell aside and nothing has ever come of it. When I came back full time to surveying in ’15 I started working with older guys (50’s+) and realized that I didn’t want to be a 60 year old out in the field. Mentioned to my boss about maybe moving up to a Level IV and got response something like “That is a great idea. Go for it”. Not being a self-starter or one who easily figures things out on my own, that kind of died. I need some guidance and direction.

Then last year our second full time field guy left for another company (where he was promptly let go after a couple of weeks) and I was stuck with doing the work with either the robotic instrument or having a couple of the office people fill in a day here, a day there on jobs where 2 people were absolutely necessary. I kept waiting for another field crew guy to be hired but when it hadn’t happened by March of this year I realized it wasn’t going to.  I updated my resume but still didn’t do anything. I’m a creature of habit and getting out of a rut 19 years old was beyond me. In May or June I stopped working on Fridays because I was just worn out.

In June one of the main people in the office gave his notice (he’d been with the company over 25 years) and I was kind of expecting to be drawn in and trained to take over some of his responsibilities. Well, when nothing happened, once again, I realized I had to make some changes. So I sent out my resume to 3 other survey companies. Had several interviews and accepted an offer from one of them. Not a pay increase, but working with another full time field crew and the promise to start me as an Office Tech AND the promise to guide me through the process of getting my license (if that is what I really want) really made me happy. Company New has a guy transitioning out and I’ll be slowly transitioning in from 1 day a week until full time probably by the end of the year. That’ll give my old company plenty of time figure out what to do.

What this means is that I’ll be working more (45 hour weeks is the standard at the new company, where I’ve been doing 35’ish at the old) and once home working on my very rusty math skills. Algebra, geometry and trigonometry, here I come. I figure an hour each evening for math lessons.  So a lot less time for reading and blogging. Once I start full time in ’20, I figure I’ll be lucky to do 2 books a week and it’s probably going to be more realistic to plan on 60-75 books a year. I also suspect that the number of people I follow in wordpress is going to drop as I have less time for blog reading. I have no idea how that is going to go, but just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I’ll probably not be as active.

It is going to be a lifestyle change that will affect my online time. Exactly how everything is going to change is really unknown (even with me boldly stating what I did in the last paragraph) and until the changes happen, it is all conjecture. But change is in the air and it WILL affect my reading and blogging. Just wanted to give you all fair warning. I certainly don’t plan on disappearing though (which seems to happen to many bloggers when things change) so no fears on that end of the scale.

Thank you for reading.

 

Cover Love:

This month’s cover love is for one of the books that I dnf’d. Figures. Great looking cover though!

empireofsilence

 

 

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November ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

16 Books

5557 Pages

3.50 Average Rating (WAY UP from last month!)

 

The Bad:

The Darkside War – 2.5 Stars (potty mouth millennial SF)

 

The Good:

Chasm City4.5 Stars

Alphabet of Thorn – 4.5 Stars

 

Manga:

Shaman King continues to treat me well. I only read 2 volumes this month but I read them back to back and then spaced the reviews a couple of days apart. I like the rhythm that gave me. It completes enough of a story arc to satisfy me while not overwhelming me. With Christmas coming this month (and our whole immediate family getting together for almost a week over at Mr & Mrs Bombfunk’s house) manga might be the first casualty of a busy month.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Reviewed Antman & the Wasp. Considering there was a gap between it and Thor: Ragnarok of 6 months, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say no one has to worry about this blog ever turning into a movie review blog. It’s fun to review something a little different, and 6 months might be a bit far between, but I sure don’t plan on making movie reviews a once a month thing.

Survival Saturday came back and while not a smashing success with only an “OK” Broccoli & Cheese soup, neither did we feel like it was something we’d trade to other Survivors of the Coming Apocalypse.

Was able to vent my spleen a bit with a good rant about that filthy Communist invention, The Oxford Comma. Demon Goat contacted me afterwards and said his collecting of souls who use it is WAY up so I’m hoping that ripples back and people realize just how terrible it is. And stop using and supporting it 😉

Had another bout of the stomach flu (which while not requiring an ER visit, did keep me from work for several days) but I was better by Thanksgiving so I was able to partake of the delicious food such a time entails. I also did some actual Giving of Thanks.

We had our first snow storm this month (we got 5inches – 12.5cm) and between all the rain, snow and sickness I didn’t get a lot of work in. Instead of reading more, I ended up dicking around on Youtube and watching various people implode/explode, etc about the latest offering from Wizards of the Coast, the Ultimate Masters Set. Too pricey for me at almost $300 for one box but it has been fun to watch people scream like banshees with their heads cut off!

 

Cover Love

McKillip’s Alphabet of Thorn wins in the Cover Love category. Kinuko Craft, the artist, just captures the essence of the novel so aptly.  If Mrs Craft wasn’t already married and I was single and she wasn’t XX years older than me, I’d be tempted to marry her just for her art!  Ahhhh, Kinuko, the fates were cruel to us.

alphabetofthorn

 

 

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October ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

17 Books

5773 Pages

2.97 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Dust of Dreams (existential excrement by the boatload) – 1.5 Stars

Fail Harder (irresponsible jackasses who should die) – 1.5 Stars

Wizard’s First Rule (clunky writing that destroyed my memories) – 2 Stars

 

The Good:

A Thousand Words for Stranger (Telepathic Jane Austen in Space!) – 4 Stars

 

Manga:

Tore through four volumes of Shaman King. Now that the setup is pretty much done, it’s shonen battles, which means some long slugging matches are coming up. Might end up slowing down my pace just a tad.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

While I read a bit more this month, it was ALL crap. My average was below 3stars for goodness sake. I am thankful for at least one 4star book.

Got Sick and kind of whimpered on for the last 10 days of the month. Didn’t read anyones posts, didn’t even reply to comments. Thankfully, that seems to be passing and I’m hoping to spring back into pure unadulterated Bookstooge Action this weekend with a Survival Saturday Post.

Did a Tag and a 6Degrees post. It was good to write some non-review stuff. Especially considering all the crap books I plowed through and then had to write about.

Surviving a Bad Book got some good numbers since I mentioned a book that a lot of people know. Always helps to stir the pot if everyone already has an opinion.

Other than that, this was a rainy blah month that crept along like a whipped cur and then threw up in my shoes. I am so thankful October is OVER WITH.

 

Cover Love

Once again, just like last month, no cover grabbed me and said “Worship me!”. I am including the Harpist in the Wind cover because I feel it really shows Darrell K. Sweet’s style. He did so many covers over the years and once you learn what his stuff looks like, you simply can’t miss it.

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September ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

15 Books

4677 Pages

3.27 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Ghostly Echoes – ½ Star (Blatant Social Justice lies denying Biological Fact)

The Deaths of Tao – 2 Stars (Didn’t like Main Characters)

Empire – Unrated (definitely all me. Just didn’t care about the Warhammer Universe any more)

 

The Good:

The Pickwick Papers – 6 Stars (Perfect in Every Way)

Revelation Space – 4 Stars (Great Space Opera)

Hilldiggers – 4 Stars (Polity just keeps getting better and better)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Started in on the Shaman King manga and read the first 2 volumes. I REALLY enjoyed them and am having to consider how much I want to read next month. Do I stick with 2 volumes and kind of ration my enjoyment or do I just dive on in and read a volume every week? I enjoyed it enough that a volume a week would not be a problem. It feels good to feel good about reading manga again 🙂

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month FELT wicked busy even though every single blog number says otherwise. My book numbers were the same as last month, my page numbers were actually down almost 150 pages, my post numbers were about the same, the comments section was down and a couple of the more active people I follow were either MIA or on a much reduced schedule.

The reason it felt so busy is because of work and real life. During the first week of this month my coworker gave his notice on Monday and was gone by Friday. This has left me as the sole full time Field Tech. It means I’m working by myself a LOT more and that means a lot more walking and not being nearly as efficient as a two man crew. I come home exhausted. I’ve also noticed some white in my goatee this month. I suspect the old salt-n-pepper look is only a year or so away.

The scheduling thing continues just fine but one unlooked for side effect is that it has effectively killed my desire for spontaneous writing. I used to write my reviews when I needed a post and if I needed a post or had verbal diarrhea, out came a non-review post. Now that I type on command for the book reviews, I just don’t feel like writing for fun. Kind of like jogging for a hobby versus training for a marathon. I’m going to give it to the end of the year and if it makes me continue feeling like blogging is work, then I’m going to ditch the scheduling and go back to the hodge podge of whenever I feel the heck like it. While scheduling is great, I prefer to fill my writing needs so it feels fun. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Ok, onto some of the posts. PSA: DNF was a decent one and I’m glad I got it out there. It also had the decency to generate a bunch of comments and I found out more about you all than I was expecting. It also was the top viewed post of the month (no surprise there!).

My 100 Book List post helped me continue my work on this blog and to be a good counterpart to my About Me section. I’ve stickied it to the side of my homepage so new people can easily find it when deciding to follow me or not. Preferably “not” so I don’t have to argue with them and show them how they are pretty much wrong about everything. It’s really tough being Mr Right.

And speaking of Mr Right, I’ve been Mr Right for 10 years this month. Mrs B and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we think we’ve got this whole marriage thing licked. Hahahahaa. Now that I’ve said that, watch, the next 10 years will be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.

Not much else really. Didn’t have the urge to write beyond what I had to. Really hoping I can be more engaging in October, here and on others blogs.

 

Cover Love

None of this months crop really appealed to me. I think from a purely visual standpoint, A Shaman in Tokyo was the most striking, just like a manga should be.

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August ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

14 Books

4828 Pages

3.25 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

A Path to Coldness of Heart – 2 Stars (for the Pedophile wizard)

Critical Failures – 2 Stars (profanity and not one likeable character)

The Dead Town – 2 Stars (zero tension and not much plot)

 

The Good:

War Masters Gate – 5 Stars

Play the Man – 4 Stars (non-fiction. First one of the year!)

Heir of Sea and Fire – 4 Stars (Mckillip. ’nuff said)

Queen Bitch – 4 Stars (pure fun despite the rather appalling title)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Path of Doom was the only visual medium for this month. While I enjoyed reading about a Superman who was a real Super Man, this graphic novel also drove home that my comic times are mostly behind me. I don’t plan on buying any more comics and any reading of my own will probably have some other purpose. For example, I am planning on re-reading Frank Miller’s Daredevil: Man Without Fear next month and try to get a VERSUS post out of it the month after that.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Oh man, where to start. Let’s get the bad out of the way I guess. My boss’s son passed away in July so my boss was MIA for all of July but started the recovery process in August. Unfortunately, he was still pretty out of it (as you can imagine) and this led to some pretty big math errors in the office, which had real world results, which were bad. I was caught in the middle, as I was the guy the contractors saw doing the work. Having to go back to a site and change things which put off their schedule by a week and a lot of money was not fun. Plus it was a bloody hot August so 3-4 liters of water a day while at work was just normal. It made for long days where I’d just come home, clean up, sack out and be in bed by 9pm.  I think we’re on the other side of that whole situation though and I think it was a wake up call to my boss about how he’s still being affected so now he just won’t brush it off.

Only wrote a couple of non-review posts but I have to admit, I was proud of the reception that my Honesty & Book Reviewing post received. It led to almost 100 comments (Whoo!!!) and gave me the perfect setup for another in September about DNF’s. It is also now my second most “liked” post, tied with A History of…Reading and only beat out by my rant on that execrable piece of trash, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I guess honesty  still pays dividends in the  book world!

While I gave up on Culling those who follow me, I had to stop following a couple of people who hadn’t posted in over a month. That is my cutoff point. If someone just disappears without warning for a month, best of luck but I won’t be sticking around to see what happened. Now, on the other hand, if you let your followers know you’re going to be MIA, then heck,  I’ll gladly stick around. But I just hate having my chain yanked all over. You are not the center of the Universe.

rl05lkb

Because that would be ME!

 

I managed to write about another trilogy of books that I loved in Thriving on a Good Book – Grimnoir Chronicles.  It really shouldn’t be so difficult to write about the books I love but talking about them years after the fact is surprisingly not easy.  I need to keep practicing so I get better at it.

My Side Project is done. I’m hoping to put the results, 50 books I have hated and 50 books I have loved, up tomorrow in a single post.

 

Cover Love

If the book Fortress in Orion  had been half as awesome as this cover suggests, it would have been fantastic.  At least I got an awesome picture out of it.

Fortress in Orion

Robert J. Sawyer is a liar!!!

 

 

 

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