April ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 12 ↓

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.03 ↓

Pages – 3430 ↓

Words – 1043 ↓

The Bad:

Flashman – 1/2star of Pure Filth

Tales of Angria – 1star DNF

Wings of the Dove – 1star DNF

The Good:

A House of Gentlefolk – You know you’re having a rough month when a Russian novel is the best you can muster up at 4stars

Movie:

Fragglerock Season 4 was a great way to end the series!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

I started keeping track of my food intake again. Not trying to chart the carbs or calories but simply list everything I eat and drink. Simply being aware keeps me from mindlessly snacking and since I almost hit 170lbs at the dr’s office, well, time to start the food fight again.

Good news is that my diabetes is getting under some good tight control (my last hemoglobin A1C was 6,8) with the sensor and pump AND my eyes haven’t degraded in over 18 months, which means things are stable. The endocrinologist is happy, the retina specialist is happy and I’m happy!

Work has been much better. My coworker has stopped grumping so much and I got a raise, which is going straight into the massive tax hike we got stuck with this year. We owe a lot and I know EXACTLY who is to blame.

The reading bump I had gotten from getting covid back in January finally ended and I’m back to a bit more “realistic” numbers. The upside is that I won’t have to write so many reviews each month; the downside is that now I have to be more “creative” to come up with other things to write about. It might turn out to be a bit more work than expected. Of course, with how April went in terms of numbers (every number!), I’ll be glad to start a new month. This was the worst reading month I have had in a VERY LONG time 😦

With all that good stuff, there has to be something poopy too. WordPress. Of course. If you didn’t know, WordPress scrapped all of their plans, changed everything to a free or expensive plan and pretty much killed off the chance of any casual new blogger from starting out. Those who had existing plans can still renew them at the old rate, but there is no guarantee of how long that “promise” will last. Basically WP gave the free bloggers the old heave ho and told all the inexpensive plan users to pay more or fuck off. AND even now, a month later, pertinent details like pricing and addons are still a mystery. I have never seen a business transaction handled this badly. Never.

Cover Love:

None of the covers this month grabbed my attention, and since I don’t believe in the Participation Trophy mentality, NOBODY gets the cover love mention.

Plans for Next Month:

Since I started reading Sherlock Holmes I wanted to watch the 2010 series by the BBC. I plan on watching Season One and reviewing each episode on Sundays. SavageDave will be joining in so your Sundays will be filled with more Sherlock than you can shake a stick at!

To keep the Muppet theme going for movies, I am also planning on watching the Muppet’s Wizard of Oz. Everything I’ve heard and seen leads me to believe this is going to be the worst Muppet movie I’ve ever laid eyes on, so hang on, because who knows what will happen!

March ’22 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 17 ↑

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating 3.43 ↑

Pages – 5652 ↑

Words – 1825.5K ↑

The Bad:

Jim Henson: The Biography – 1star of Puff Piece’ry

Death-Reach 2 – 2.5stars of Mediocrity

The Good:

In the Court of the Yellow King – 4.5stars of Utterly Delicious Madness

Earth Unaware – 4.5stars of Card Writing at His Best

Movie:

Fraggle Rock Season 3 was just as fun, just as frenetic and just as loud as the previous 2 seasons.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

On the book side of things this was a great month. Numbers were up across the board and I read a lot. Of course, the month ended on a down note but I’m hoping that means April will be even better as I got the bad stuff out of the way.

Personally, this was a kick in the pants kind of month. Last Roundup&Ramblings I talked about how my coworker was super grumpy the whole month and was making it hard to enjoy work. It turns out he was dealing with a diverticulitis flareup but wasn’t telling anyone. He ended up in the emergency room and then came back to work the next week. I just shook my head and hoped he didn’t keel over while I was working with him.

My journal ran out and so I had to buy another one. Sadly, it took an extra week to get here and so I ran out. The horror of not having a journal to write in was pretty horrible and I think I’m shell shocked now. I’m hoping to do a post showing the new one sometime next month.

Taxes. I did our damnable taxes this month. That was yet another kick in the pants. We ended up having to pay a sizable amount over and above what had already been taken out in fething payroll taxes. I was spitting mad and if a politician had walked in front of me, just like Jason Bourne or John Wicke, I would have killed them with a pen. I know exactly why they went up and their names rhyme with *deleted*

Spring is definitely here. One day I was in shirt sleeves at work, no jacket, hat or gloves needed! Of course, the downside is that the deer ticks are now out and I have to inspect my clothing and myself every day after work and start keeping my work clothes in a separate clothes hamper for their own separate washing.

Cover Love:

Caves of Ice, a Ciaphas Cain novel by Sandy Mitchell. This is an alternate cover that really showcases the spirit of the book: violence on a frozen world with almost no hope of survival. Warhammer 40K really puts the “grim” in grimdark! and if you ever wondered what a chainsword looked like, well, now you know.

Plans for Next Month:

I am going to be starting up a new series of posts to take over from the Project X series, which will be ending. I have a scheduled post where I explain it all next Monday.

With 23 books this month, I’m probably going to ease up and not read quite as much in April. So there will either be days where I don’t post or the posts will be a bit lighter in tone as I ramble about whatever takes my fancy. With a couple of exceptions I have been writing non-stop since July of ’21. While no where near burn out, I want to make sure I am pacing myself appropriately.

February ’22 R&R

Raw Data:

Novels – 15 ⭤

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.40 ↓

Pages – 5220 ↑

Words – 1597K ↑

The Bad:

Hangman’s Holiday – 1star DNF is pretty bad.

Stryker’s War – 2.5stars. Galaxy’s Edge finally let me down 😦

The Good:

Wrath of Empire – 4.5stars of Epic Fantasy.

Carrying On His Will – 4.5stars of awesome manga. Good stuff!

Movie:

Fraggle Rock Season 2 was just as good as Season 1.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Rambling:

This month was very odd weather-wise. Somedays we’d get up to 60degrees, then the next week we’d be in the teens. It was just so changeable.

Work was rough, mainly because my coworker needs to retire but he is one of those people who can’t do “nothing” or even remain physically inactive for more than 10min, so he’s sick of his job and doesn’t actually need it but if he retires he’ll either be bored at home OR his wife will give him a honey-do list. So he’s been complaining the whole month. Makes it tough to enjoy your work when the other person is actively not enjoying it.

Outside of work was busy. We’re back to helping with sunday school once a month and we got sucked into helping out with the livestream video stuff. Our church upgraded the whole video system for covid tail end of ’20 and one lady has been running it by herself. She needed some help, so we’re helping with that once a month, which means we also have to deal with practice mid-week. And small groups started up. So yeah, a lot has been going on.

February has tended to be a lower activity month on the blog in terms of traffic over the last 5 years. For whatever reason, this year was a complete exception. I have had some of the best numbers that I have seen since I started blogging here on WP back in late ’16. I don’t know if Putin was worried that I’d get involved in the Ukraine situation and so was scoping me out, or if Xi Jinping was worried that I’d become Our Great Leader (he should be worried. That guy’s got a LOT of wrinkles, unlike me). But whatever the reason, this month was in the Top 5 months ever. Yeah, I like that! Oh, if you feel uncomfortable calling me Our Great Leader, you can always use the endearing Papa Bookstooge. I don’t mind, really.

In the book department, I felt good with what I read. While my average rating was down, I was not surprised because any month I get a 1star I always get a dip in the ratings. Now that I am done with Sanderson and Sayers, I can try some more new-to-me authors and maybe find the next gem that I can be effusive about, much like I have been for Neal Asher and currently am for Rex Stout. Wish me luck.

Cover Love:

Cthulhu Lies Dreaming perfectly captured the atmosphere shown on this cover. Beautiful, gloomy and slightly disturbing. A big thanks to Fraggle for her photo-work on removing all the extraneous text on the cover. This is how it should have been from the get-go!

Plans for Next Month:

Nothing new coming up at all. March, as far as the blog is concerned, looks like it is going to be a carbon copy of February. I’m ok with that.

January ’22 Roundup n Ramblings

Raw Data:

Novels – 15 ⭤

Graphic Novels – 6 ⭤

Average Rating – 3.52 ↑

Pages – 4191 ↓

Words – 1302K ↓

The Bad:

Jerico’s Garrison Finish -2stars and where I parted ways with Max Brand.

The White Tree – 2.5stars of very amateurish writing that I smited with that review

The Good:

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – 5stars of chocolatey goodness

Sins of Empire – 4.5stars of gritty flintlock fantasy

Movies:

Fraggle Rock Season One was quite different from the Muppet Show but still a blast.

Dune Part I was as good an adaption of the first half of the novel as I could wish for. Highly enjoyable.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Mrs B and I getting covid pretty much dominated this month. Once things got past the scary stage and we were home, I ended up doing a lot of reading and binge watching of Fraggle Rock. It’s why this month was so heavy on the book reviews. 21! I am hoping that since we’ve had covid once, if we get it again in the future that it will be milder. I guess we’ll find out 🙂

I decided to break out the novels from the graphic novels so this year I’ll be keeping track of them separately. Blogging, tracking, etc is an evolving thing and changes right along with me. With how I’ve got my manga and comics setup, the numbers shouldn’t really change that much, so it is more for the year end than any immediate data.

Plans for Next Month:

Pretty much the same old, same old. I will be changing how I title posts, so there isn’t such a plethora of info in them. I also plan on hiding the synopsis behind the (details) code so you have to click the details to see it. That way you won’t be bothered by spoilers or have to scroll forever to get to the My Thoughts part. I know some of the classics synopses from Wikipedia are like 10 pages long after all! I am hoping those 2 little changes will streamline the appearance of the reviews. We’ll see.

February is going to be just as full of reviews as January because of my 10days of downtime and with February being a shorter month, that means less non-review posts.

I am also beginning my journey into the CST program (certification program for work), so I have no idea how that is going to affect my blog time. I suspect this month will be a trial run for the next couple. I’m really hoping it will be less strenuous than I think it will be.

December ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 21 ↑

Average Rating – 3.43 ↑

Pages – 4582 ↑

Words – 1449.5K ↑

The Bad:

Hard Day’s Knight – 1star of poorly written blasphemy (noticing a theme in these lower ratings are you? Me too)

Department 19 – 1.5stars of Blasphemous Youthful stupidity (sigh)

The Good:

A Christmas Carol narrated by Tim Curry – 4.5stars of of a wonderful earful

Meanest Man in the East (One Piece #11) – 4.5stars First time One Piece has made it into this position

Movie:

Muppet Treasure Island was a blast. And with it now being winter and snowy here, some tropical weather, even if only onscreen, was quite welcome!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Bookwise, this month was nothing but up, up and up! Even with the two stinkers I read, my average rating was up from last month and all the other metrics were up too. Part of that, I have to admit, was because I tried to stuff in as many books as possible from this year so as to not carry them over into 2022, but even with that taken into consideration, I read a lot this month.

Got sick the first week of the month and thought it was covid but thankfully was able to get one of those quick tests and it was negative. Still felt like crap for the whole week. Right after that was when my computer died, so that was a real kick in the pants, sigh Let me tell you, a decent computer is expensive nowadays. I paid less for my first car back in 2000 for goodness sake!

Our plans for moving have been scuttled for the foreseeable future. Lack of job prospects and affordable housing put paid to being all done by March. We’re going to look again next fall. sigh.

Plans for Next Month:

Write the Year in Review Post. Which has to go up tomorrow! Aye yi yi!!!!!

Beyond that, I just can’t plan. That post is just too big. Probably should have started it earlier, hahahaha.

November ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16 (Same as October)

Average Rating – 3.28 ↑

Pages – 3260 ↓

Words – 1058K ↑

The Bad:

Best SF of the Year #1 – 1star of DNF’ness

Kaiju Rising – 1/2star of blasphemy and human wickedness

The Good:

Mistborn – 5stars of awesome re-reading

When Worlds Collides – 5stars of more awesome re-reading

Movie:

Both Muppets Tonight Season Two and The Illusionist were enjoyable. One of those people who only put up links to other peoples’ content linked to The Illusionist at some point so I’m going to have to start putting up some legalese before each movie review now to discourage scraping scumbags like that. When a site is nothing but links to other bloggers, I’d gladly do violence to that parasitic, scum sucking, braindead, idiotic jackass who is wasting the very air that belongs to me.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

November was a very expensive month for us. We had some unexpected auto stuff happen (no accidents, thankfully, just wear and tear that finally caught up to us) and Mrs B had some dental stuff (which was actually more expensive than the bleeding car work. go figure). Plus some other medical bills.

Not only is Mrs B now working nights but she’s working overtime. And I don’t sleep well when she’s not around. So she’s tired from nights and overwork and I’m tired from work and not getting enough sleep. We are doing the absolute bare minimum to get by.

We got rid of the bookcases that had held all the books we got rid of last month. I had emailed and texted the lady that we were up on the third floor and she needed to bring someone to help her. I meet her down at the door to let her into the building and she’s this fat old lady who can barely walk up the 3 flights of stairs. And the person she brought with her? Was her older, fatter sister. I was sure she was going to have a heart attack and die on me. We got all the bookcases out of our place and into the hallway and then Mrs B and I left. I wanted no part of it. The old lady had ignored what I’d told her and I suspect she thought she could guilt me into helping her. I hope I taught her a lesson. When we got back, all the bookcases were gone and no dead bodies were lying on the ground. So another successful Craigslist transaction!

For work, I’ve begun crew chief’ing full time (ie, being in charge of one crew) and working with a new kid, who I call Slow Boy, because he moves at a glacial pace except at the end of the day when he’s heading back to the van. It is frustrating working with somebody who won’t give it their all when it’s needed. Also, the day before Thanksgiving the licensed surveyor (the head of the Survey Department) took me aside and asked me if I’d like to further my status in the CST program. I’ve been a Level II Field Tech since ’06 and would love to get to Level III. But it is going to take some work and some coordination with my current employee.

Plans for Next Month:

Survive.

I stopped reading Spawn so now I need to choose another comic. Bone and Asterix are fine but I’d like another one. I’m going to choose either Groo or TMNT. But that won’t happen until January I think. December is just too busy with everything else to start something new.

I’ve got most of December’s posts already planned out and about half of them written. I just don’t know how December is going to go so I’m playing things by ear. Thanks for your patience.

October ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 16 ↓

Average Rating – 3,13 ↓

Pages – 3556 ↓

Words – 744K ↓

The Bad:

Frightful’s Mountain – 1.5stars of screed

Exodus: Empires at War, Part II – 2.5stars of utter mediocrity not worth continuing

The Good:

The Aunt Paradox – 4stars of pure fun

Anti-social Register – 4stars of Hitchcockian crime fiction!

Movie:

Muppets Tonight Season 1 was good but not the same level as the original Muppet Show.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

What do I say? My reading was down on all levels. I read less books, less pages and didn’t read as many good ones as last month. It was a busy month. Looking at our paper wall calendar, every weekend was full and the week evenings had stuff going on way more than I was comfortable with. Helping out with sunday school, singing with the worship team, going to a 45th anniversary wedding, celebrating our last CousinsGiving (Thanksgiving in October among us cousins before we all go our separate way), some serious downsizing (got rid of over 500 books and close to 10 bookcases) plus other stuff. I was so busy that I actually forgot to write the Project X posts for the month. That omission alone is enough for me to realize that I’m overextended at the moment.

Mrs B transitioned over to the night shift for the Holiday season 2 weeks earlier than last year, so she’s busy as well.

Our move to Georgia is definitely moving forward unless something comes up unexpectedly. That’s part of why we’re downsizing. We’re cutting back on our responsibilities and are talking with a realtor at church. The reality of the situation is really starting to hit me and I’m staving off panicking about it. I just have to get to January 15th and then I’ll be done with work so I can deal with everything else. Mrs B has to keep on working until we leave because of health insurance reasons.

Tired. Overworked. No change to either of those in the foreseeable future.

Plans for Next Month:

Even less reading than in October. I think. We’ll see though.

Inquisitor Jenn created a new avatar for me and if you didn’t see her post showcasing it, no worries because I’m going to start using it tomorrow.

September ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 21 ↑

Average Rating – 3.40 ↑

Pages – 5318 ↓

Words – 1651.5K ↓

The Bad:

King of Plagues – 1star DNF

The Future is Yours – 1.5stars of whiny no good losers who I wish had died

The Good:

Anna Karenina – 5stars of Russian’ness

New Evidence that Demands a Verdict – 5stars of Christian Apologetics

Movie:

Muppets from Space was definitely a step down in terms of interest across a wide age spectrum.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

I am tired. Physically tired, mentally tired and emotionally tired. Work continues to pour in like a flood and instead of accepting less jobs, the managers in their infinite wisdom, have decided that pushing us as hard as possible is the solution. One project manager in particular continues to be a blackhole of emotional energy so any day that I have to deal with him, for even 5 minutes, makes me feel pretty low spirited at best and at worst, psychopathically murderous. Neither place is a good way to feel, that’s for sure.

Non-work was wicked busy this month too. We’ve started attending a Seventh Day Adventist church once a month, as it’s over an hour away and our sunday church has started up weekly small groups, potluck once a month and men’s and women’s study groups. At the same time we are trying to downsize our 13 years worth of “stuff” that we’ve collected in preparation for a move next year. And trying to find a painter to repaint our place, which I did when I first moved in back in ’06. Just so you know, painters, like all the other trades, are scheduling out into December, sigh. We might end up having to do it ourselves.

With all of that complaining, this was still a great month. Mrs B and I celebrated our 13th Wedding Anniversary. I thank God on a weekly basis for bringing us together and in this world of chaos, He knew what we each needed and brought us together. I don’t take that blessing lightly.

My average book rating was up, even with a couple of stinkers, so this was a great month of reading.

Cover Love:

The Jade Suit of Death definitely wins the all the cover love for this month. It is just creepy but so well done at the same time.

Plans for Next Month:

Since this month was so busy, I didn’t get as much done ahead of time as I usually like to. I also realized it’s been close to a year since I’ve done my “Info” posts (star ratings, about me and review policy) so expect to see reposts of those. Reposts are easy, thank goodness.

Spawn is on notice and if things don’t pick up a bit I’ll be looking for another comic to invest my time in. Bone and Asterix should be smooth sailing though.

After Muppets from Space, I’ve decided to watch Muppets Tonight, which should introduce me to some of the new characters I saw in the movie. Being only 2 seasons and with less episodes means it will be easier to watch and review (not as big a time commitment)

I am really going to try to write more non-review posts as this month was chockful at 21 reviews and it was a slog to write them all. I need a break, as I work hard enough at work! 😉

August ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 20

Average Rating – 3.21 ↓

Pages – 5654 ↑

Words – 1773.5K ↑

The Bad:

Consent to Kill – 1star

Moonrise – 2stars

The Good:

Towers of Midnight – 5stars

Savage Wars – 4stars

Movie:

The fifth and final season of the Muppet Show was fantastic. Simply can’t recommend enough!

Miscellaneous Posts:

Pretty much took Saturdays off from blogging. so between that and the number of books I reviewed made for a much smaller number of misc posts.

Personal:

Mrs B’s appeal was approved for her medication so we’re good until October. Then we have to deal with the situation all over again. We’ll cross that hurdle when it comes though.

Work. This month made me realize in full that nobody but myself is going to have my back at my current company.

Church was great. In July Mrs B and I had spent all month helping out the lone teacher for Sunday school because nobody else was stepping up. Unfortunately, sunday school takes place during the sermon, so we missed an entire month. Once the situation was brought to the leader’s attention, the pastor and elders got right into the congregation’s face about pew sitting and that going to church is as much about serving as it is being spiritually fed. It was great to see the leadership take this seriously and support the teacher. Made both of us happy to be where we are at. We now see the schedule filled out until the end of the year and nobody is helping out or teaching more than once a month. The burden is being shared.

Bookwise, while the number of books I read stayed the same, my ratings dropped but my pages and words increased. Basically, I read bigger books that were crappier 😉 hahahahaa, isn’t that just the way of things?

Cover Love:

Not even a contest. Towers of Midnight, hands down, holding all the aces while jumping off a plane wearing 200 pounds of dynamite and riding a shark, into an exploding volcano. Yeah, it won that much.

Plans for Next Month:

My visual medium reading is going to get a big boost in terms of variety. I refuse to read so much Spawn and so will be adding some Bone comics as well as the Asterix and Obelix comics. Should help make Thursdays less monotonous and hopefully appeal to a slightly wider variety of readers. Plus, lets be honest, there’s only so much action posing I can take from Spawn before I want to punch the artist (Todd McFarlane) in the face.

July ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 20 ↑

Average Rating – 3.3stars ↑

Pages – 4059 ↓

Words – 1224.5K ↓

The Bad:
Isotopes – 1star DNF

The Good:
My Side of the Mountain – 4 stars
Madame Guillotine – 4 stars
Patient Zero – 4 stars
Gathering Storm – 4 stars

Movie:

The Muppet Show Season Four was fantastic and laid to rest my fears of it burning out.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Manga & Comics:

Really hit the ground running with getting back into the visual medium. One Piece, while a re-read for the first bit, is just as amusing as ever and I think I’m going to do just fine with twice a month Manga Mondays.

The Spawn comics on the other hand, I just don’t know. They are pushing the boundaries of what I’ll accept for gruesome violence. I’m very conflicted at the moment.

Personal:

I started using an insulin pump again after almost 13 years. It’s already making a difference and I’m generally feeling better. Being of a more hirsute nature there’s been a lot more shaving so the pod can stick to my body properly but man, the control is so much greater than I ever had with a needle. The picture below is of Kris Freeman, an olympic skier, who has type 1 diabetes. The pump is the white patch on his arm. It can also go on the belly and the thighs. I tried to find some other pictures, but they all tended to be of the skinny scantily clad women modeling the pod. Those kind of pictures don’t have a place on my blog. I was going to use a picture of myself modeling the pump but I didn’t want to make ol’ Kris there feel bad. You can tell he’s really trying but he’s just not up to my level, poor guy.

I read more “books” this month but with 5 of the 20 being comics that hit my Pages and Words numbers pretty hard. I’m ok with that though because it helped me fill in an entire month of Thursdays without having to be “creative” and come up with my own posts. While the writing well has definitely been filling up, I’m not really feeling the creativity. Once that comes back I’ll know I’m 100% back in the blogging game.

We got hit upside the head with some insurance stuff concerning the medication Mrs B has been taking for the last 8 or 9 years so we’re kind of in shock. That’s where our focus is at the moment and it’s going to necessitate some big life changes no matter how it gets resolved (new medication, new job/insurance or something we haven’t thought of yet, we just don’t know).

Plans for Next Month:

Definitely keeping Manga Monday going. I’ll let Spawn have it’s chance until the end of August and then decide if I’ll continue or not. If anyone has some suggestions for digital comics, I’m open to ideas.

I suspect August is going to be another review heavy month but I’m going to make an effort to add some non-review posts so it doesn’t become too heavy. I was thinking I hadn’t written any non-review posts for July but looking up above, there were 7 of them, so maybe August is going to be a carbon-copy of July?

The fifth and final season of the Muppet Show is on tap and I’ll continue my Project X series of posts. Trying to leave some days open for those “spontaneous” posts that pop out of me late at night (or used to anyway). So who knows what you’ll end up getting.