Been That Kind of Week

Thankfully, the fever part isn’t real. But here’s what this week has been like. Monday my co-worker came down with a wicked bad head cold, bad enough that he called out of work on Tuesday. I came down with it Tuesday night. I wasn’t smart enough to call out of work for a day, so while I didn’t have it as bad, it is lingering longer. Made work miserable and I pretty much just came home and sacked out each evening.

Been having some issues with my car starting, had to jump it once the previous week, but it was doing ok. So Wednesday morning, it just won’t start. Mrs B gives me a jump and still nothing. Thankfully, she was able to give me a ride to work. But with being so run down, I can’t deal with it Wednesday night. Thursday we have it towed over to a place and Friday they replaced the battery and starter. It was a LOT more money than I was thinking it was going to be.

Then throw in some drizzly days next to a sunny day in the mid 70’s and well, you’re just asking for sickness.

So that’s about how I’ve felt all week. Then add in the fact that Mrs B is going to be switching to the night shift for the next 2 months (because the Corporate Barstards want less workers in the store during the day so more customers can go in and shop) and you’ve pretty much got a donkey excrement soup of the week as far as I’m concerned.

Next week HAS to be better. Thank God it’s Sabbath right now.

When Do You Stop Following?

A couple of years ago (my, how time flies!), I wrote a rant about the Invisible Reader, those people who follow you but never interact with you in any way. That was coming from a Content Creator’s viewpoint. Today, I’d like to discuss things from a Content Consumers viewpoint.

Recently, Lashaan posted about Who Do You Follow? where he discusses what draws us to various blogs. Listing several broad categories, he goes into more detail about each and how they play a part in how he chooses who to follow. The Orangutan Librarian also wrote a recent post about How Her Reading Tastes Had Changed where she discusses the slow change she’s experienced as a reader in the genres she gravitates towards.

It got me thinking. First off, it got me thinking about how my reading habits have slowly changed and how that looks to someone who follows me. I also started thinking about how much another blogger needs to change for me to lose interest in following them any more. If I follow The Masters of Ironing, because I’m convinced Ironing is the Hot New Thing and I want in and then in 6 months they start posting about knitting and crochetting, should I still follow them? Or what if I start following a Book Blogger because I found an awesome review of a favorite book of mine on their blog, only to find out that they have never reviewed another book in that genre? In my own case on this blog, what if someone started following me because of all the Epic Fantasy I read and this newer trend of more manga, non-fiction, classics, etc isn’t what they want to read about?

At what point do I stop following someone whose content has changed? And not even necessarily the genres of books they read but the output? Say real life has intruded on them and they’ll be offline for the foreseeable future with no idea when they might come back. Do I just stick around hoping I won’t be left hanging in the wind? And if it is content, that doesn’t interest me, do I let things kind of fade away or just make a quick cut?

In many ways, this resembles the quandary people have with real life friends. Are you friends with someone because of shared background or experiences or do you both have a passing interest in the same subject? How well do you get along with each other? One problem is that blogging isn’t actually being friends. Just because I follow someone and interact with them doesn’t mean we’re friends. So the same rules don’t apply.

I certainly have zero problems with this subject. I’ve stopped following people because the comments section of their blog didn’t work and it was obvious they didn’t care. I’m definitely not wracked with indecision and guilt about this subject, hahahaaa.

Anyway, not a lot else from me. Just something I’ve been thinking about and wonder what any of you think about the subject.

Akismet – Top Notch Customer Service? Not Quite…

Last Saturday I posted about my issues with my comments going into Spam. I was able to contact Akismet and one of their nice people fixed things up for me. However, my comments started going into spam again mid-week, so I contacted them again. This time, another Akismet employee contacted me and I’m going to publish the email I was sent. I went ballistic but I admit that I’m not exactly objective. Let me know what you think. Especially if you think I am wrong to be pissed off.

Thanks for getting back in touch. It looks like your commenting behavior keeps triggering our spam checks. I would recommend you slow down the rate at which you’re commenting. Comments are meant to be discussions about the topics in the post, not rapid instant-messaging style communication or trying to comment on as many posts as possible. If you comment on posts through the WordPress.com Reader, try visiting the site instead to leave a comment.

This behavior does mimic the behavior of an actual spambot, so I’d just slow down and be more thoughtful about your commenting going forward.

I hope that clarifies things! Let us know if you have any questions.

I LIVE to comment. And I’ve been commenting like this since 2016. So to be told it’s my fault? Doesn’t sit well.

Poor me. I am totally the victim here. And I plan to milk this for all it’s worth. I’m thinking a GoFundMe for emotional scarring and psychological damage. I’m pretty cut up and I’m wondering about stopping book reviewing and getting into the Ironing Scene. I hear it’s the hot new thing.

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.

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 ….

Unmasked!

(the following is a post by the lovely and talented Mrs Bookstooge, a paragoness of virtue!)

We currently live in a time where wearing a mask is considered normal. When walking around without a mask, it is common for me to see the other person do one of the following: tighten their mask, shudder, walk further away, or chastisement, all stemming from fear of sickness. Which leads me to ask, is wearing a mask truly helpful?

Many types of masks are available: cloth masks, surgical masks, dust masks, respirators, and finally, HEPA filter masks.

First off, cloth masks can be made at home with a handkerchief or cut cloth and a couple hair bands or elastics. Cloth masks can also be bought at most convenience stores. What do you get for your money? Fashion. That’s right. These are considered fashion masks, and function best as a placebo. There have been no randomized clinical trials or guidance for cloth masks and just because it is perceived as helpful doesn’t mean that it actually does anything besides look pretty.

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All Masks from Target come with a paper in the outer carton that looks like this

Well, Mrs. B., you might ask, “What about surgical masks?” Surgical masks are designed to catch large droplets of liquid like sweat, sneezing, and runny noses. It’s basically like wearing a facial tissue. Look at the loose fit between the mask and face. Does this look like something preventing you from breathing in a virus? I don’t think so! All surgical masks were NOT designed to prevent their wearers from inhaling airborne contaminants or viruses. Don’t believe me? Just ask the Government!

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This is a surgical mask.  “As they cut your bones out!” – Thus saith Bookstooge

Do I need to spell out what happens with a dust mask? It’s to stop dust! Dirt in the air! NOT disease. NOT viruses. Dust. The end.

Thus we come to an end of what I have seen people outside: cloth (fashion) masks, surgical (tissue) masks, and dust (dirt) masks.

But wait… there’s more!

Around the turn of the 21st century, I worked for an allergy relief superstore in Southern California for several years and sold HEPA filtration masks and purifiers for the home.

HEPA stands for High-efficiency particulate absorbing and is an efficiency standard for an air filter. Filters meeting the HEPA standard must remove at least 99.95% of particles equal to or greater than 0.3 micrometers in diameter.

HEPA filtration systems WORK. Question: Have you seen a HEPA filtration mask around YOU?

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True HEPA Mask

Warning: Anything labeled “HEPA-type, HEPA-like, HEPA-style, or 99% HEPA” are NOT HEPA standard. Do not be fooled. They are NOT HEPA filters!

After working with HEPA filters, anything less feels like a real let-down. Most respirators don’t make my cut as something “good”. Do respirators work? Some more, Some less.

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Two final thoughts on filters:

One lady suggested I use money as filters. “They’re paper and this way you can smell money!” She said. I didn’t say anything to her, but please don’t try this at home. Money is filthy. Do you really want the smell of unwashed hands shoved in your nose?

Another lady suggested I use a tea bag as a filter. “It’s paper and you can smell tea!” She said. While not as bad as money, I wouldn’t want a used tea bag for multiple reasons. I didn’t say anything to her, but a clean tea bag is simply like a cloth mask, not effective at stopping you from breathing in contaminants.

My personal feelings about all the masks I see is that it’s better for someone to wear a mask if they are the type to sneeze or cough in your face because it’s better than nothing for preventing saliva from spraying you in the face. HOWEVER, the masks we see in the supermarket are mostly a placebo effort and it would do just as well to sneeze/cough into your own inner elbow as to wear one of the commonly seen masks.

Are you afraid to be unmasked?

 

mrsbookstooge

A Bit More Than Peeved

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I’m sure you are all well aware that every wordpress user has been, or will be,  forced over to the new Block Editor. I’m writing this 2 days before that actually happens to me, so there might be some things I say here that don’t apply or have been figured out or whatnot.

I am not a fan of this, at all. In fact, ever since they introduced the block editor back in ’19 I’ve tried it several times and each time gave up in disgust.

I just found out that there is a “classic” block but that I have to go through a hoop or two to use it.
https://wordpress.com/support/wordpress-editor/blocks/classic-block/

That link shows you how to get to the classic block and I figure I’ll be making use of it. Not as as good as starting everything automatically that way, but better than not having it at all.

My issue, however, is that I can no longer see at a glance, what days I have posts scheduled.  When I went to schedule posts in the old editor it brought up a calendar of that particular month and any day with an already scheduled post was highlighted in blue, thus visually, and more importantly, easily (!!!!!!) clueing me in to what days I should avoid posting the new post on. I’ve talked to a so-called expert and been told that ability has been removed. So I’m supposed to either open a second tab and look at my scheduled posts on my site (which doesn’t show a calendar, just a list of posts with dates in very small writing) or better yet, just get a paper calendar and write down when I’m scheduling posts. What a great step forward!!! That is what I call progress. I could swear….

A hobby shouldn’t be this frustrating.

bookstooge (Custom)

Blast From the Past: Steampunk Rant

I was working on Old Reviews earlier today and in one of them came across this link to a closed blog I used to have. Man, 10 years and still ranting about genres! Guess I haven’t changed that much 😀 😀 😀

Basically, Steampunk is a sub-par genre, literary wise, and, in the broadest of terms, is for complete losers and pot heads.

Steampunk- An Erudite and Indepth Essay


I have disabled the Reblog function here at wordpress so you’ll have to click on the link to read the rest of the post. But as you can tell from my opening sentence, I pull no punches.

It made me laugh though and if you choose to read it, I hope it gets a chuckle or even a slight guffaw out of you.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

PSA: The Etiquette of Commenting on Comments

PSA

 

This particular subject I’ve been thinking about on and off for the last several years, usually whenever I comment on someone’s blog and then somebody else cuts into the conversation and sometimes it would piss me off and at other times it just didn’t bother me. I had never stopped to think about what made the difference.

The other day though it happened again and I sat there for almost 30minutes trying to figure out WHY it was bothering me so much.  I had a very different opinion on the subject from the Blogger and voiced my own and we’d pretty much let it go at that, agree to disagree. Then somebody else chimed in. I asked them who asked them and they replied it was a public site. I retorted with the mature, elegant and sophisticated statement of “butt out” at which point the blog owner stepped in and clarified how he viewed the comments section on his blog. Then it was fine because I became aware that he wasn’t the using the same rules that I was. This forced me to think about what I consider my rules of etiquette for commenting on other comments.

I view a comment on a blog as a conversation in a public place between 2 people, the person who wrote the post and the person making the comment. It is like 2 people sitting at a busy coffee shop talking to each other. Sure, they are in a public place where others can overhear them, but the expectation is that they have the illusion of privacy and their conversation is only meant for them. It is just as jarring to me when someone else interjects themselves into a comment as it would be for a complete stranger at Dunkin Donuts to sit down at the table I am sharing with my brother and tell me how I am wrong to like black coffee. THAT is a good way to end up dead. New Hampshire has a Constitutional Carry law so you better remember that before mouthing off to some stranger.

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Remember kids, Grandpa might be packing heat!

 

The flip side is, when someone comments positively on somebody else’s comment. Say I’m talking to my brother at Dunkin Donuts and pull out my Sig p938 and am talking about how I wish I knew of an easier way of cleaning it and somebody says “Hey, if you don’t mind me butting in….” and then they tell of a way they know to halve the cleaning time. I can be like “Thanks! Have a seat?” and then they can either sit down and talk guns with us or carry on their way. Either way, they acknowledged the tacit understanding of privacy.

Now if that isn’t complicated enough for you, then you add in the fact that some posts INVITE cross commenting. How do you handle that!? For me, I don’t. I don’t tend to follow people who would invite a crowd over to their house, stuff everyone into a big room, lock the doors and start saying controversial things just to see what everyone does.

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My goodness, somebody needs to go to Weight Watchers!

 

Speaking of houses, I guess I tend to view a Blog as somebody’s house.  If Friend X invited me over to their house and they also invited their friend, Friend Y, who I didn’t know, I wouldn’t start telling Friend Y he is wrong to use the yellow coffee cups. I’d leave them alone and let the owner of the house deal with it and if they don’t, then it certainly isn’t up to me to do so.

NOW throw into the mix that everybody has different ideas about this whole subject. I view the comments section and my blog as my house. Wipe your feet, leave the other guests alone if you can’t say anything nice (by the way, disagreement isn’t mean or “not nice” but how you disagree certainly can be) and be chill, even if the host is ranting 😉  I’ve run into people who would say their blog is a farmers market, not a bleeding house and they want tons of people with all their goods interacting and hollering over each other and screaming across the whole thing to that one guy over there. And goods and ideas are exchanged and most people walk away with what they want. Fantastic. But don’t event think about acting like that in my House/Blog.

tiny-house-looks-great

 

Ok, I think I’ve blathered enough. Do you even think about this, or this just me being a  super sensitive snowflake? Whatever your thoughts on the subject, I’d be interested to hear them.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

PS,

I think this has broken the writing slump I mentioned in my Monthly Roundup. I’m pretty excited about that!

RAGE AGAINST THE WHINY PANTS MOMMAS BABIES!! – errrr, The Naughty or Nice Tag

Because I am a responsible adult who goes to work every day on time, pays my bills each month, has a mortgage and generally am a productive member of my society, I have been told I am innately angry and am the source of all problems here in the United States.  Since I’m apparently SO angry, I’m going Full On Hulk Mode on this poor Tag. That will show everyone!

Thank you OrangutanLibrarian for giving me this outlet to vent my out of control rage that threatens to destroy my whole country. A grateful world thanks you!

 

Received an ARC and not reviewed it 

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Netgalley is EVIL. Because while the “words” might say you can review and rate however you want, we ALL know if you don’t review enough or positively enough, you’re going to get rejected. R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D-!-!-!  For whiny pants mommas’ babies, nothing is worse than rejection.

I, on the other hand, HAVE reviewed every book I read from Netgalley. But once they used a part of a review of mine, I stopped using them. My reviews are mine, not theirs.

 

Have less than 60% feedback rating on Netgalley 

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Pretty much the same answer as above. But honestly, what kind of person doesn’t have enough self-control to NOT request more books when they still haven’t read OR reviewed previous requests? You got it, whiny pants mommas’ babies!

 

Rated a book on Goodreads Devilreads and promised a full review was to come on your blog (and never did) 

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A man’s word is his bond. If someone can’t back their word up, they need to shut their piehole instead of deceiving and disappointing everyone who follows them. My only currency I have with online people is what I earn, or squander, relationally.  Somebody makes a promise and then doesn’t keep it? They just overdrew on the Bank of Bookstooge and Lenny the Goon is going to come for them and break their knee caps!

 

Folded down the page of a book 

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I have done this. Usually when I’ve lost my bookmark at work. Kind of hard to use a twig as a bookmark in the woods. At home, never. There are always bookmark materials around, I just have to not be a lazy git and get off my butt to get one.  Maybe nancy-pants mommas boys are too lazy, but that is why they are still boys.

 

Accidentally spilled on a book 

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This one, I have to confess, I have and I am so ashamed. I took a LIBRARY paperback book to work and put it in my book bag along with a thermos of iced water. The thermos top came off and soaked the entire book bag and all its contents, including the book. When I dried it out, it fluffed up to about twice its original size. I had to pay for a new book at the library. On top of that, it was an INTER-LIBRARY LOAN!!! Oh the mortification I felt that day. It has left a stain upon my very soul.

 

DNF a book this year 

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Of course! If someone isn’t dnf’ing books during the year, they’re either lying to themselves or putting up with sub-par drek because they don’t have a spine! I happen to have a spine and my drekometer is getting more and sensitive as the years go by.

 

Bought a book purely because it was pretty with no intention of reading it

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This is called buying a piece of art. Instead of being a dumbass, do the tiny bit of work necessary to find out who DREW that cover and then go buy a reproduction of it and hang it on the wall.  Support the artist, make a lonely wall look nice and spare the bookcase from having to support dumb-asseryness.

 

Read whilst you were meant to be doing something else (like homework)

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Back in MY DAY, my parents made me do my homework at the kitchen table just so I couldn’t goof off. None of this “working in your room” nonsense.  If someone can’t be bothered to buckle down and do whatever they are supposed to be doing at the moment, good luck keeping your job and getting a mortgage.  Then they get to live in a place run by a slumlord where rats and bedbugs abound! And all because they read when they weren’t supposed to. Let that be a lesson to everyone.

 

Skim read a book 

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Some authors don’t know when to shut the phrack up and get on with the supposed plot. Or the author is geeking out about Subject G (for Guns, for example) and like a 2 year old, expects everyone else to pay attention to THEIR interests.  Well, nancy pants whiny ass author-san, I don’t CARE. Get a move on!!!

 

Completely missed your Goodreads Devilreads goal

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While Netgalley might be evil, Devilreads is the devil incarnate. Devilreads sacrifices babies on little tiny altars every month. Devilreads believes that anyone who doesn’t fall right into their party line loves Hitler. Devilreads steals food from the mouths of hungry aboriginals from the Rain Forests. Devilreads puts lead into milk formula in China. I think you get the picture.

 

Borrowed a book and not returned it to the library

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That is STEALING!!! Every single responsible adult in the town/borough/whatever helped pay for that book with their taxes. Money doesn’t grow on magic money trees. It is created when someone works their backside off.

So if anyone EVER admitted to stealing a library book, I’ve got a dull spoon JUST FOR THEM!

 

Broke a book buying ban

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I’ve never had to institute a book buying ban. Because things like my mortgage, taxes, etc come first. Oh yeah, that little thing known as the grocery bill too. Huh, go figure.  I don’t have a magic refrigerator or a magic pantry that “magically” refill themselves.  So I buy books when I can afford them.  It is called being fiscally responsible. The lack of being fiscally responsible is what did Greece in and will eventually do the United States in.  But I won’t be a contributor to that downfall.

 

Started a review, left it for ages then forgot what the book was about

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Once or twice. Which is why I now write my reviews within 3-5 days finishing the book. Otherwise, why did I read it?

 

Wrote in a book you were reading 

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This is complicated. I am not an advocate of writing in books in general. However, there are times and there are books where it is the whole reason.

When Mrs B and I were courting we read a duology of books called “Just for Women” and “Just for Men”. We read the appropriate one for us and marked the heck out of the book. Questions, comments, thoughts, etc. Then we traded books and read the other book with an eye towards answering all the writings by the other. It made for a very good time and helped us learn a lot about the other gender that we simply had no idea about.

 

Finished a book and not added it to your Goodreads Devilreads

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I don’t use Devilreads but when I use similar services I always add the book to my collection.  What’s the point otherwise? I know why people do it, because they’re shallow, vain, self-centered gits who can’t do ANYTHING without wondering what others think of them. But I read and review for myself so I want to be as honest as I can in a public forum.

 

Borrowed a book and not returned it to a friend

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Yes, when I was 10 I borrowed one of the Little House on the Prairie books from my Aunt Kathy and Uncle Rick. They lived 6+ hrs away at the time and never saw that book again as far as I know. I can’t look them in the eye to this very day 😉

 

Dodged someone asking if they can borrow a book

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“No”. Say it with me now. “No”. See, it’s not that hard. If someone asks to borrow a book, a simple “no” suffices.  Lilly-livered pansy-panted wussy cowards are the ones who dodge.

 

Broke the spine of someone else’s book

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If I did that, I would buy them a new book. I wouldn’t walk up to a friend and break THEIR back, now would I? (that WAS a rhetorical question by the way) So why would I feel it was ok to do the same to their books?  What kind of monster inspired a question like this?  Howza ’bout I come over and smash somebody’s car window? Huh, huh? That’s what I’d do to anyone who broke the spine on one of my books.

 

Took the jacket off a book to protect it and ended up making it more damaged

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I JUST did this. I was reading Hogfather at work and kept the book in my bookbag (no thermos’s this time) and wanted the jacket off so it wouldn’t get torn. Well, I put it on my end table ……. and promptly put a full plate of food on it that night. The cover was as crushed as my dreams for being World Book Czar

 

Sat on a book accidentally 

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I do this quite often to my physical books. I’ll put it down on the seat of the van at lunch and then sit on it at the end of the day when we’re heading back. Thankfully, I NEVER leave a book open so I have not damaged a book by sitting on it. Chances are my bum takes more damage than the book.

 

 

Well, 9 out of 20 checkmarks means I am on the Good List. The World is safe. My Rage has Manifested and now I can go back to being mild mannered Bruce Banner.

 

bookstooge (Custom)