June ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 11

Pages – 4912

Words – 1337.5K

Average Rating – 3.64

 

The Less Good:

In all honesty, I can’t even call these mediocre, because they weren’t. They just weren’t as good as the rest of the books I read this month.  Which is a fantastic problem to have!

Harrigan – 3 Stars

Sabbat Martyr – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Princeps’ Fury – 5 Stars

Gulag Archipelago – 4 Stars

 

Movie:

Karas left me reeling like an amnesiac drunk in a hurricane. I simply had no clue what was going on in that anime and had to wonder why I ever picked it up back in the day.  Not a good experience.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

Once again, I’ll just bullet point these if you happened to miss any during the month.

 

Personal:

Summer is here.  Which means it has been getting into the 90’s. All I can say is thank goodness for central air and air conditioning!

Church is back open but I’d estimate about half the people aren’t comfortable coming back yet and so have still been watching on facebook livestream.

Our bluray player got stuck in an on/off cycle that put the kibosh on using it. Thankfully, it was cheap enough to pick up another one at Target, so my anime watching plans didn’t go off the rails.

WordPress has pulled back from forcing everyone to switch to the new block editor until at least 2021.  I remain pessimistic though 😦

 

Plans for Next Month:

Hoping to take a vacation at the end of July, beginning of August,  so not exactly sure how that will impact the blog.  Probably hardly at all for July. I suspect August will be where things might get off the rails. Or I end up doing such an excellent job of scheduling things that nobody ever notices. But who believes in best case scenarios?

I am planning on making Sundays all about anime that I really hope turn out better than Karas. If it works out well for me, I might try to do more in future months. Problem is, anime series are just that, series. Consisting of 6-26 episodes, they are much more of a time commitment than a single movie. So I guess July will be another experiment on my part. If it ends up impinging on my reading time, then forget about it. But if I can fit it in where I would normally watch amazon prime or something, then sure.

See you all tomorrow!

 

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May ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books — 11

Pages — 4505

Words — 1215K

Average Rating — 3.55 Stars

The Mediocre:

Pericles, Prince of Tyre — 3 Stars

The Sword-Edged Blonde — 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Captain’s Fury — 5 Stars

Kingfisher — 4 1/2 stars

 

Movie:

The 10th Kingdom ended on a rather meh note and I know I won’t be watching it again any time soon. June’s options are either Karas or The Returner. So far, Karas has all the votes.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

This was a very wordy month and while I didn’t write a post every day,  my total (including this one) was 26. With 11 reviews, that means I pushed out 15 non-review posts.  Never felt burnt out even while some of the posts bordered on the simply ridiculous.

So without further ado, here’s the bullet list:

 

Personal:

Work has gone back to a regular 5 days now, so I was a bit too busy to let small things get any notice.  Work is fine, cars are fine, condo is fine, so it’s all fine.  Not going to complain about that!

 

Plans for Next Month:

With work going back to a normal schedule, I suspect my reading numbers will drop back into the single digits and that my output of non-review posts be less numerous as well. I am planning to read & review some manga and to have some more Gulag quotes, as well as the old standbyes of movie &  #6degree. Trying to scrounge up some tag post material as well. Might be another rant post about the calendar/scheduling if that continues to annoy me.

 

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April ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 14

Pages – 4845

Words – 1420.9K

Average Rating – 3.39 stars

 

The Bad:

Entrepreneurship – 1 Star

Two Noble Kinsmen – 1 1/2 Star

 

The Good:

The Bell at Sealey Head – 5 Stars

Cursor’s Fury – 5 Stars

Zero Point – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Managed to make it through the Second Disc of the 10th Kingdom, but man, was it a slog. Only 1 more to go and it should be shorter and hence easier to deal with.

 

Miscellaneous Posts:

I deliberately cut down on the non-review posts this month as I was just feeling word burn out from last month. So only a couple this time around:

 

Personal:

With the whole covid19 thing, I was only working 3 days a week the whole month. I felt blessed to be working at all though, so that was good. It meant I was able to read a few more books than I was counting on, always a good thing.

While I was working less, Mrs B was working more, as the big box store she works for was doing gang-buster business and they needed all hands on deck. That meant that a lot of the things she normally takes care I ended up doing so I wouldn’t go stir crazy or waste the day watching tv all day. Whenever I wasn’t working, we would make up a list of Things To Do. That really helped me from spiraling downward or getting into an emotional funk.

We know of several people at our church who have lost their jobs because the companies they worked for just decided to go belly up due to the shutdowns. We’re already hunkering down (with saving up money now and decreasing spending) and are planning on a year long time of riding things out. We’d love to be wrong though.

 

Cover Love:

This was a real toss up, as usually a McKillip book with Kinuko Craft cover is auto-win for this category. But overall, I was feeling a bit darker and Zero Point just hit my fancy a bit better. Brutal SF Space Mayhem, yes please!

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Plans for Next Month:

Originally I was going to make May a Gulag Archipelago month. Lots of quotes and little data bits, etc with one big review of the first volume at the end of the month. However, my current speed of reading is considerably slower than anticipated and so while I’ll have several quotes, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the review done by the end of May. Therefore I’m going to fall back on my typical routine and hope it pans out.

 

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March ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 6228

Words – 1753.6K (ie, 1.75 Million words)

Average Rating – 3.75 Stars

 

The Mediocre:

SF Hall of Fame, Vol. 2A – 2 Stars

NPC’S – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

The Great Hunt – 5 Stars

Academ’s Fury – 5 Stars

The Arcane Casebook Series – 4 Star Average!

 

Movie:

Started the 10th Kingdom mini-series by Hallmark and had a blast.

 

Ramblings & Miscellaneous Posts:

I read some real Chunksters this month and as a result my page and word count were pretty impressive. Or I messed up my count. I’m going with “Impressive” 😀

I wrote a lot this month, so I’m just going to bullet point them all, sorry. 

 

Personal:

March was something else, for sure. Work stress, car stress and Wuhan-chan stress.  I ended up stress writing and that gave me a whopping 24 posts this month (including this one I believe). 

Car stuff. We’re a two car family and I’ve known since last year that the car I drive wasn’t going to pass inspection this year. The mechanic barely passed it last year and he told me he wouldn’t do that again. It was rusting out all over the place so I knew I needed a replacement by the first week of April.  I began scanning craigslist (we can’t buy a new car outright and won’t go into debt for one) and eventually found one.  Coordinating schedules was stressful enough, but then my car just outright died about 3 days before we could pick up the new car.  And then dealing with the town offices as they all were preparing to shut down due to Wuhan-chan.  It just made for an incredible amount of stress over something that really shouldn’t have been. 42c

Then of course, right at the end of the month joining the rest of the World in shutting down until May. Thankfully, both Mrs B and I work in “Essential Businesses” but for me, work is now on a day by day basis. A lot of uncertainty swirling around, that is for sure.

Thankfully, the reading was great. The Arcane Casebook series was a delight to read and I looked forward to a new book every week. That was a nice feeling. Highly recommend the series.

 

Book Give-Away:

Doing a Hardcover Michael Crichton book giveaway this month. It is open until April 11 and I’ll contact the winner April 12. Due to the uncertainty of just about everything, I think I’m going to be holding off doing any more Give-Aways until we’re in a more settled place.

 

Cover Love:

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I talked about this cover in my review of Ghost of a Chance, but my goodness, is that cover spiffy looking or what!?!? Best of the bunch in my opinion.

 

Plans for Next Month:

I don’t know if this will be a regular new feature for my Roundups, but I’ve seen other bloggers do them as a separate post and I like the idea. It also works well to help me construct the narrative for the blog for the coming month. I realize most of you are never going to notice something like that, but it helps me as the content creator.

Even though I only wrote a tiny bit more than I did in January,  March just felt like I wrote and wrote and wrote. So I’m going to use April to re-charge. I’ll be doing my book reviews and the next 10th Kingdom movie review, but I suspect that will be about it.

Oh, Mrs B says she’d be interested in showcasing some more artwork so maybe you’ll see some of her drawings on random weekends. I should probably come up with a clever series title for them but nothing immediately springs to mind. Suggestions are welcome.

And with work being so uncertain, I don’t know if I’ll be stuck inside reading, whatever. So I might end up needing to write to vent and blow all of the above right out the window.  Things are changing so fast that planning for an entire month is almost impossible now.

 

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February ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 11

Pages – 4232

Words – 1071.9K

Average Rating – 3.82 stars (that has GOT to be a record!!!!!)

 

The “Bad”:

For Love of Distant Shores – 3 Stars

Two Gentlemen of Verona – 3 Stars

 

The Good:

Great Expectations – 5 Stars

Target Rich Environment, Vol. 2 – 4.5 Stars

 

Movie:

UP was a great movie even while ripping my emotional guts out at the beginning. I did ask everyone to vote for the next 3 months of movies, as the choice was between the Lord of the Rings extended editions or the mini-series The 10th Kingdom. Something resonated with you all because I got more input on that than I have had in a while. Made me happy.  It looks like The 10th Kingdom squeaked ahead by 1 vote, so be prepared for that in the coming months. There are 3 discs so I’ll do a disc a month with however many episodes are on each disc.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Algebra is dead in the water. I’ve realized I don’t want my survey license with all the attendant “people stuff” that comes with it. I do want to move onto the next level of Field Certification though, so I’ll probably try to deal with Geometry this summer. Jefferson,  we’ll talk 😉

Weight Watchers is going ok. I’ve reached the point where I just need to lose the final few pounds but it is going really hard.  I continue to persevere though and I’m pretty happy with the program and how it is working for me.

I’ve come to realize that the Pages/Word count is guestimating at its most basic level. I need to get past that hangup and just realize it is rough metric. It is hard to accept that it isn’t spot on though.

Here’s a bullet list of some of my other random posts:

Overall, I’m content with this month. When the “worst” books I read were both 3 stars, you know it was a good month. Please do check out the “I Need Help” post if you have any advice about interviewing authors, I need all the help I can get.

 

Book Give-Away:

Ichabod won last month’s  give-away.  The Current Give-Away is a bunch of paperbacks and is open until March 7, so only a week to get your entry in.

 

Cover Love:

This month I chose Galactic Outlaws for the cover. I mean, come on. Lonestar is on there, right along with Princess Vespa 😉    Hahahaa.  All kidding aside, that is some serious Star Wars vibes going on and I like it.

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Plans for Next Month:

I have decided to throw caution to the wind in March and read whatever the frell I feel like. I’m wondering if this is the start of my mid-life crisis? Don’t try to stop me! I’m a desperate man and desperate men do desperate things!

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January ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 9

Pages – 4403

Words – 1158.9K

Average Rating – 3.33

 

The Bad:

The Dusk Watchmen – 2.5 Stars

Flight of the Fox – 2.5 Stars

 

The Good:

Knight of Stars – 4 Stars

Eye of the World – 4 Stars

 

Movie:

Alien vs Predator was 10,000% worse than my memory of it. My very sensibilities felt violated by all the brainless stupidity. Thankfully, I’m going to be watching Pixar’s UP for February so I know I’m getting a good one.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

I’ve realized that 2 books a week is my new baseline. So if I get more than that I’ll take it and be happy about it, but I’m not expecting that. Expectations are the key to staying happy.

Did my Yearly Review right at the beginning of the month and felt pretty good about how ’19 had gone. We’ll see how ’20 goes in comparison.

I also joined up with Devilreads (for about the umpteenth time). Just for the pretty year-end stats though. I’ve only been rating books and putting them on shelves, no reviews. Feel free to friend/follow/whatever but I really have zero plans to interact, too many bad memories for that.

Survival Saturday was Stroganoff. It was a complete tie, as I disliked it and Mrs B liked it enough to save it for work.

Part way through the month our router died and we had issues getting another one to work. With only 1 hardwired connection available for a time, our internet time dropped considerably. I was not a fan of that. It did allow me to write up a bunch of posts for February though so that month is looking like a cake walk already. Thankfully, by donning my super secret hero identity of Dr. Lord Bookstooge, with the help of the Greater Power of IT, I was able to get back online before the end of the month. One week and it was harrowing enough.

I also found out that Christopher Tolkien had passed away. Makes me wonder what is on the horizon now that the strict gate keeper is gone.  I have to admit I have a bad feeling. I’m guessing cash cows and greedy 4th generation Tolkiens. I’d love to be wrong though.

 

Book Give-Away:

Started up my giveaways again. Put a bunch of small stuff together for the Hodgepodge Edition.  This give-away is running until February 8th, so feel free to enter until then.

 

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December ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 8

Pages – 3823

Average Rating – 3.69

 

The Bad:

It’s Hell to Choose – 1 Star

 

The Good:

The Burning White – 5 Stars

Furies of Calderon – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Superman IV: the Quest for Peace was bad enough that it made me embarrassed for everyone involved in it.

January I’ll either be watching Alien vs Predator or King Kong. Feel free to chime in if you have an opinion.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Between having Thanksgiving off at the end of November and a conference right at the beginning of December, I had a lot of time to read, which is reflected in my page numbers even if not my book numbers.  I was pretty happy with how everything turned out.

My non-review posts went kind of like this:

I plan on doing my Year in Review on January 1st, which is only 2 days way, aye yi yi! so I’m kind of mailing this month’s Roundup in.

 

Book Give-Away:

Announced the Winner for the Dragon Jouster series and decided to hold off until January to do the next one. Christmas time is just so busy that I didn’t need one more thing on my plate.  Hoping to have the next one up January 12th.

 

See you all next year!

 

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November ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

Books – 7

Pages – 3070

Average Rating – 4.14

 

The Mediocre:

Last of the Plainsmen – 2 1/2 Stars

 

The Good:

Bleak House – 5 Stars

The Two Towers – 5 Stars

 

Movie:

Superman III was campy and yet still quite enjoyable. Reeve did an excellent acting job and made the movie work despite itself. I’ve been warned that Superman IV is pretty bad though, so we’ll see how that turns out for December.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month has held a lot for me. I’ve been a full month, full time, at my new job and I must say, I don’t enjoy it. However, they are giving me what I asked for in terms of people and office training. I just have to hold on until the training/learning curve evens out a bit and I’ve got to learn to deal with different personalities in the office. THAT is probably my biggest issue. Which is why I’ve always stayed out in the field until now. People suck.

I’ve “graduated” to Progressive lenses in my glasses, so the end of the month was me getting used to using those instead of the single vision lenses that I’ve had ever since 5th grade.  I didn’t have the motion sickness as bad as some people I know but it was still there and did affect me for a day or three.

Here is the list of some non-review posts for the month:

In regards to the book side of things, even though I only read 7 books,  my page numbers were up almost 900 pages (thank you Bleakhouse!) and my rating skyrocketed to over 4. To put that in perspective, last month I was under 3. I didn’t have a bad book this month and I had several 5 stars. That is how it is supposed to be, even while rarely turning out that way. It made me happy and it is yet another reason to do these Roundup posts. Looking at the month as a whole gives me a different perspective than just the day in and day out view that I normally live in.

December is looking busy with me diving into the Burning White. I’ve got a few other books already read to schedule reviews for, but I suspect I’ll be padding things out with some manga. I’m going to try another series I own and hope like crazy it turns out better than Oh My Goddess! did. I’ve chosen Kare Kano, known as His and Her Circumstances, in English. Highschool drama, so wish me luck.

 

Book Give-Away:

This month I am giving away Mercede Lackey’s Dragon Jousters tetralogy in hardcover. We have an interesting situation already. Ichabod made a very public claim in the comments section and Lashaan followed that up asking if he could bribe me to let Icky win. The thing is, several other people have entered as well and to complicate it even further, I know one of them in real life and he’s a very good friend.  I might end up letting Mrs B roll the die to determine the winner so I don’t have to 😀

Of course, no where in the rules does it say that if you win that I have to send it to you.  Just saying…

 

Cover Love:

With a McKillip book, do you even need to ask?

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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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