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.

June ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 14

Average Rating – 3.14

Pages – 5010

Words – 1616K

The Bad:

Blood & Fire – 1 star

Quarantine – 2 stars

Red Noise – 2.5 stars

The Good:

Azumanga Daioh – 5 stars of manga goodness.

Knife of Dreams – 4 stars

Capital Murder – 4 stars

Movie:

The Muppet Show continues to entertain me greatly and I am thankful I’ve gotten into it. Season Three was just as fun as the previous 2.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Not much this month. In fact, there were only 3 posts. My writing mojo was filling back up, much like a well that had been over-used.

Personal:

Oh man, where to start? I started the month being sick as all get out and was put on antibiotics. I was out of work for over a week. Then my coworker was diagnosed with lyme’s disease and some other tick born disease. So I have to be concerned about that as we’ve worked together for the last year and been in the same areas. Work is just sucking up everything I have. Physically, emotionally, psychologically, work is taking it all. Thankfully there is a time table for me leaving, but hanging on til then is going to be rough.

Being sick for that long also meant I missed a couple of weeks of church and did I feel that! Was very glad to get healthy and be back.

Just kind of trundled along trying to survive. My writing mojo has started to come back so we’ll see if July has any more non-reviews than June. I’m not pressuring myself though and I’ll just write stuff when I feel like it and if I don’t feel like it, well, this IS a book review blog after all. I’ve also stopped looking at my stats on a monthly basis. That has helped remove some stress as well. Every little bit counts.

My attitude was pretty bad most of the month and I took it out on the books I read. The low average rating reflects that quite accurately.

Cover Love:

It was either Knife of Dreams or Lockdown Tales and that shadowy figure on this cover was the tipping point for Knife of Dreams..

Plans for Next Month:

Book Reviews, Book reviews, book reviews!

I’m also going to be starting up Manga Monday’s again with the manga One Piece. I think this cover preview should convey just what kind of series it’s going to be.

I’m going to start the Spawn comic series that started back in ’92 so I guess my visual reading queue just filled up!

May ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 2890

Words – 1009.5K

Average Rating – 3.13 Stars

The Bad:

Don’t Care

The Good:

Don’t Care

Movie:

Muppet Show Season 2. This was the light fluffiness that I really needed this month.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

What a bleeping month. I completely lost my writing mojo. It was so bad that I didn’t even want to comment on anyone’s posts. I simply coasted the whole month and let my past me, who did this month’s writing, bear the burden. So you know how I’m always talking about getting ahead, well, I completely blew that buffer (again). But this is EXACTLY why I do that. I still had posts going up but didn’t get any scheduled for June.

Work sucked the joy from my soul. I was looking forward to this 3day weekend the whole month. Not a good place to be.

And because I was really looking forward to the long weekend, what happens? I get sunburnt and sick. I slept most of Saturday away, didn’t go to church on Sunday and pretty much just recovered. It made reading anything hard to enjoy and forget about eating yummy foods, I was stuck with tea and hot soups. And I was so looking forward to chili cheese dogs too!

Plans for Next Month:

Write. I have the whole month planned out in regards to my book reviews and even the majority of my non-review posts. It’s all going to depend on how I feel. If I feel like writing, then I’ll catch up in no time. If I don’t feel like writing though, June is going to be VERY light on posts.

April ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 15

Pages – 4374

Words – 1382k

Average Rating – 3.67

The Bad:

None. Not a single book was less than a 3star and I don’t want to start creating a “Mediocre” section. So no Bad Books!

The Good:

Yotsuba Vol, 14 – 5 stars of Perfection

Requiem for Medusa – 4 stars of gung-ho space opera action.

Movie:

Season One of the Muppet Show went just fine! Really looking forward to the next 2 seasons I own on dvd.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

This month was all over the place, much like the weather. Work was steady (which is always good!) but they tried pressuring us to 50hr weeks near the beginning of the month (which was bad). Every time they gave us the old “gotta work longer and harder” speech we just nodded and said “yep, sure, uh huh” and kept to our 9hr day. Except for when we didn’t. I suspect May we’re going to stick to 9hrs period. I was exhausted by the end of this month.

The weather. We had a week where I was in short sleeves the whole week. Then in the middle of the month we got a bloody snowstorm! Of course, it was only an inch and the rain immediately washed it all away, but still, come on, a snow storm? Good thing I kept my smartwool winter socks out.

Reading was good. While nothing was super duper spectacular, the fact that nothing was below a 3 meant I could just coast. It is just so nice when your books make your life easier.

Cover Love:

The Ruby Knight definitely wins this month’s cover love. And despite Ol’10‘s many protests in the comment section of the review about me lying down on the job, I’d just like to point out that to this day I have yet to see ONE dead monster as evidence of him doing any actual work. His monthly raisin allotment has been curtailed for May. Let that be a lesson to you all! There can be severe consequences to commenting on this blog.

Plans for Next Month:

Since I finished up Yotsuba, I now have to choose another manga to dive into. I think I’m going to take a break in May and look around and see what looks appetizing. So no Manga Monday’s for May.

The Muppet Show Season 2 is on tap and should deliver some nice light entertainment.

Mr Zip is getting a new stuffed companion and he’s all set to make his debut on the blog this month with at least 2 posts. Mr Zip would have been jealous but I bribed him with a bucket of chicken fingers so he’s happy as a monkey 😉

I found an old box of comics and was digging through them to see if they were appropriate for a 12 year old at church. The only series I wasn’t sure about was called Cyber Force. I’m going to be reading and reviewing those. Five issues at 32 pages a pop shouldn’t be hard to deal with.

Other than that, we’ll play it by ear. My goal is to finally get 4 weeks ahead of publishing schedule but we’ll see if I can do that or not. I really like having a 4 week buffer in case something comes up and I don’t want to write.

March ’21 Roundup & Rambling

Raw Data:

Books – 17 (!!!!)

Pages – 4413

Words – 1493K

Average Rating – 3.59

The Bad:

Break the Chains – 1 star dnf 😦

Descent into Hell – 2.5 stars of pure weirdness and not in a good way.

The Good:

Noir Fatale – 4 stars of femme fatale short stories

Drood – 4 stars of pure psychotropic weirdness in a good way

Movie:

Yeah, the Muppets Take Manhattan was the weakest of the 3 movie so far and didn’t impress me at all.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

There was sunshine this month. Actual days where the sun shone the entire day. You have no idea how much that helped me.

♪There is Sunshine ♪ in my soul today!♪

I figured out that part of the issue of why blogging last month wasn’t fun was because of stress. I’m hoping the issues take care of themselves but at least I’ve identified some specifics so if it crops up again I can nip it in the bud instead of letting it drag me down. Took a baby step or two in this direction and hope that was enough to change the overall direction.

I was THIS happy to get so much reading done. I haven’t read 17 books since last September. The only downside was that I had to write 17 reviews but that did mean I didn’t have to write so much fluff. Sometimes I worry about things like that. While I’ll be the first to deny that I’m a “critic”, I still want to take myself seriously and that can be really hard to do when I write things like The First Rule of Secret Skull Club™ Is….. At the same time I do not want to become one of those bloggers who get so serious about their pet subject that they act like they have a stick of dynamite up their backside.

Cover Love:

I talked about the cover a little bit in the review for Winter’s Heart. Looking at it right now, Rand’s coat reminds me very much of Vash the Stampede’s coat from the anime Trigun.

Plans for Next Month:

Resurrection Day is next Sunday and I’m planning a slightly different style of post for that than I have done in the past 4 years. Project X, Manga Mondays, Currently Reading & Quotes, those are going to be regularly scheduled as usual. Book Reviews, well, if you’re really good little bloggers Santa Bookstooge might just have a couple of them for you, all nice and shiny! If you’re bad little bloggers, well, I’ll post disco posts where Bookstoogevolta does his thing in that neon green disco suit. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

February ’21 Roundup & Ramblings

Raw Data:

Books – 12

Pages – 3691

Words – 1219k

Average Rating – 3.54

The Bad:

Children of Ruin – 1.5stars of utter disappointment
Auxiliary: London 2039 – 2stars of despair and robot blowjobs

The Good:

Retribution – 4.5stars for the Star Wars that should have been
Magician’s Ward – 4.5stars of fluffy regency fantasy

Movie:

The Great Muppet Caper was a good continuation of the Muppet Movie Franchise. Definitely worth the watch and worth owning.

Miscellaneous Posts:

Personal:

Is the month really over? Don’t toy with me, tomorrow IS March, right? February’s have always been bad for me and this one felt particularly brutal. Weather was horrible with snow, cold, rain, no sun, then some more snow. Work sucked with too much to do, not enough help, office manager being a real jerk. Blogging sucked because I’d come home exhausted and not have the energy to deal with anything online.

By the end of the month I was running on caffeine and that affected me emotionally and that made EVERYTHING seem about 10x bigger than it actually was. Pay a bill? Oh my goodness, talk about the end of the world. 3 loads of laundry when I was expecting 2? Laundrypocalypse and I’ll just go kill myself, thank you very much. Run out of soda? Job obviously didn’t know the meaning of REAL suffering.

Thankfully, by the halfway mark I realized what was going on with me and started to take steps to give me a buffer. I think I started too late though so I was in survival mode longer than I wanted to be. Still am in fact.

Cover Love:

This is not the cover I used for my review of the Path of Daggers, but of the 4 covers I’ve seen, I liked this the best. Gateways, Birgette, the Seanchan, this has it all.

Plans for Next Month:

Reviews. And then some more reviews. And just to break things up, another couple of reviews! Having the Gulag off my back has made me feel like a speed reader and I’m taking full advantage of that for as long as it lasts. 📚📕📖📗📘📙

Since I don’t want to overwhelm you all with my overly long and indepth book analyses, I’ll be sure to add a puff piece here and there. Don’t let it be said that The Bookstooge never pandered to the hoi poloi!

In regards to the aforementioned “suckiness”, if things do continue that way I’ll be pulling back from being online as much. Might not be commenting as much in general and might have to save the replies to comments on here to the weekends. Blogging in February felt like a battle and I don’t want that to continue. Blogging is supposed to be fun and I’m evaluating what all contributed to it not being fun this past month.