January ’20 Roundup & Ramblings

01january-3399FF

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.

 

bookstooge (Custom)

December ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

12December-2c493f

 

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!

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

November ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

11November-f2e8cc

 

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?

boneplainfull

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

October ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

10October-A9A9A9

 

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!

3c637576a18f9165932614a5467444341587343

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

September ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

09September-ff7518

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.

odmagiccoverlove

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

 

 

August ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

08August-fd5e53

 

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

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)

July ’19 Roundup & Ramblings

07July-FFD858

 

Raw Data:

17 Books

4703 Pages

Average Rating of 3.29

 

The Bad:

The last couple of volumes of Shaman King

 

The Good:

Death Wish – 5 Stars & Best Book of the Year tag

O Jerusalem! – 4.5 Stars and a wonderful way to kick off my foray into Non-fiction

Dark Intelligence – 4.5 Stars and Neal Asher just doesn’t disappoint.

 

Manga:

Oh, what do I say about this? I knew I had to binge read Shaman King to get through it but realizing the series had been cancelled and the manga-ka having to wrap things up in 1 volume made for an extremely messy end. It also made for a bleeding month of boringness for those of you who regularly follow me. My numbers did take a big hit because of how I crammed 12 volumes in but I knew that going in. I would like to thank you all who read, liked and/or commented on them all. I know for a fact that it wasn’t easy from your end either and I appreciate the tip of the hat of support.

Now that Shaman King is done, I think I’m done with manga for the foreseeable future. I might read the occasional volume here or there, but nothing like what I attempted with Oh My Goddess or Shaman King.  I’ve changed enough that 90% of manga is no longer targeted towards me and I just need to realize that.

 

Movie:

Didn’t do a specific movie only post but did review both of the Death Wish movies in comparison to each other and the book. A Triple Shot of Death Wishes. You didn’t ask for it, but I gave it to you anyway!

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Did a really fun Ratings as Sandwiches post that I had a blast writing. Because of it, I’ve been eating toasted tomato sandwiches every week now, so good!  Wrote my own version of the End of the World As We Know It and realized I’m just not any sort of musician, not even a bad one.  Started the month off right with a Quote from Death Wish and that seemed to set the tone for my reading. If I was a Roman Catholic, I might have taken the Seven Deadly (Book) Sins post more seriously, but alas, as a Protestant, I didn’t.

August is going to be filled with Mrs B traveling to see her Parental Pods and one of my Parental Pods making a swing through the area. Thankfully, I’m staying put so no one has to worry that the planet will go out of orbit due to all this excessive “traveling” business that is going on.

♪Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,♪
♪When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?♪
♪When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,♪
♪Will your anchor drift or firm remain?♪

That’s me,  Bookstooge, your friendly, neighborhood planet anchor. Remember kids, Gravity is a conspiracy by The Man to keep you down!

 

WBCI: (World Book Czar Initiative)

Quickbeam went off the deep end and made me reaffirm my lofty goal of paving the planet. Next month will be with HAL 1000 and I suspect that will be the final WBCI post. Much like the Surviving a Bad Book series, the WBCI is running out of steam.

 

Cover Love:

Dark Intelligence wins this one. Asher writes great SF and some of his covers are pure SF’ness itself. I love it!

cover

 

 

bookstooge (Custom)