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David Alexander McDonald (Steven E. McDonald)

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Visionary [Jun. 24th, 2014|01:01 am]
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[Wait, I felt something! |chipperchipper]

My new glasses arrived today, which makes me very happy. As it doubtless should, given that this is my first pairs of glasses I've had in over a decade, thanks to the storied history of my eyes.

One pair for reading, one pair for distance, and both have prisms to deal with the misalignment of my left eye due to the retinal detachment. This of course means my brain's having conniptions because it just finished writing software to accommodate that, and here I come with corrective lenses that will force a rewrite. Ah well. Also, the prism solution isn't perfect, and it doesn't deal with the distortion.

Anyway, I was so happy as a result of this delivery that I sat down and read a book. Because that's what it's all about.
Link3 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

The Art Of The Patron [Jun. 23rd, 2014|01:03 am]
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[Wait, I felt something! |contemplativecontemplative]

I've signed on to Patreon, experimentally, and with great uncertainty. Some few seem to do extremely well with it, but others...well, others seem to sputter on launch, no matter how much prior groundwork they've laid. Indeed, some seem never to launch at all, their pitches lying moribund and nary a dollar's support in sight.

When sex fails to sell, there's something up (or perhaps not, as it were.)
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

"Alright, which of you idiots got the telekinetic drunk again?" [Jun. 2nd, 2014|05:19 pm]
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[Wait, I felt something! |exhaustedexhausted]

I was supposed to be getting something of an early night so I could be up and ready to womble my way down to Rita Ranch to provide a little bit of help to friends who are moving to California. Best laid plans gang aft agley, as the poet mused, and my plans ganged agley with enthusiasm, or, as they tell you, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans (that, and "Want to make God laugh? Tell Her your plans." And also, "No plan survives contact with the enemy.")

The building that I moved into seems decent on the surface, and fsm knows my apartment is pretty roomy (as the last bits and pieces get moved into their spots, it's becoming very evident how much room I have.) the stairs are a bit steep, but I'll get used to them the more I use them.

However, the tenants here are...colorful. Which is why, at the time of turning in for sleep (as I'd intended to go to Rita Ranch to help friends with moving), I was suddenly greeted with a lot of crashing, banging, and general mayhem-like sounds. Wondering if someone had tried to climb onto my patio, I grabbed my minibat and looked outside. Nothing obvious. The chaos continued, grew much louder, and suddenly...CRASH! Also, the sound of a woman screaming profanities.

So, I stepped outside onto the patio, minibat in hand, just in time for another ear-piercing crash as the one unshattered window in the apartment diagonally across the breezeway from me exploded outward, showering broken glass everywhere. Looking down, I could see what I took originally to be the shattered remains of the larger kitchen window, although in the light of day it turned out to be a tempered glass table. Apparently the big crash I'd heard was her propelling that through the glass. Amazingly, it was level with my patio. Looking over at the apartment, through the broken kitchen window, I could see her wrestling with her refrigerator. She gave up on this and went back to smashing things, screaming at the top of her lungs, and wreaking havoc -- she apparently smashed all of the windows in the place, along with the patio doors.

The police duly put in an appearance, and I went down to talk to them and see if anyone had any idea why this was happening (aside from "She's mentally ill and needs her meds adjusting, probably" no-one did, but I was told a bit later that her brother committed suicide in April.) To my surprise she wasn't involuntarily committed -- she probably should be, to adjust her meds and to prevent her harming herself (at any time before the cops went to talk to her she could have hurt herself on the broken windows, or any number of other things. Accidents happen.)

Anyway, by the time I finally did get to bed (to lie awake for a while) dawn had well and truly broken. I was awake by 8am, but frankly shattered, and then other plans shifted down south, and the apartment manager wanted to talk about what happened...so here I still am. There's been further verbal explosions from her during the day, but the fridge never exited through the window.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

The true test is when you get to cook with 'roo [May. 27th, 2014|12:08 am]
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[Wait, I felt something! |hungryhungry]

Last year my then-girlfriend and I got into watching Masterchef Australia...which was entirely my fault, as she was watching the US version, and didn't really like it -- and I can't stand it. If I recall correctly, I'd actually started withing Masterchef Australia by this point, not realizing the haul I was in for -- unlike every other Masterchef series, this one does episodes five days a week (Thursdays are usually Masterclass sessions), with seasons occasionally getting up to 84 episodes.

Unlike the other Masterchef series that I've seen (US, UK, Ireland,. New Zealand), the Australian version never actually becomes a chore to watch, even when it goes sailing off the rails the way it tended to in series 5 -- the winner, Emma Dean, was widely reviled, and the show pilloried for the way the contests were handled during the course of series 5. For our part, we were amongst those rooting for Kelty (or Kelty Goat-Boy as we kept calling him, which was the result of an incident in an early episode.) Some of those selected for the top 24 at the start of the season were hopeless, and frankly annoying.

Part of the fun of the Aussie show is spotting the relationships -- things tend to get very free-wheeling at times, although often ambiguous as well (there was a male pair early in the season who were bringing the bro-yay so hard, with tears and all, that we were dead certain there was something major going on there. Who knows?) This isn't something you see in the other iterations, at least the English-language ones. The Irish and English editions generally have contestants being aloof from each other, the US version encourages everyone to engage in a battle with each other, and everyone in the New Zealand edition seems faintly bored, if thoroughly on-task.

Masterchef Australia, meanwhile, is big old friendly shaggy dog of a thing, and notable for how friendly everybody is to each other -- there are times when a contestant is eliminated that almost everyone else is absolutely gutted by the event, including the three judges. In my opinion (and that of many others) it's not just down to the producers, but to the choice of judges -- George, Gary, and Matt are very different from each other, and play that to the hilt -- while not being afraid to play the room as a trio of comedians. Matt, in particular, is a big ol' puppy. They try to play George as the designated scary guy, but it never works. Gary is the one who heaves the sighs and shakes his head at the other two.

There's also the appeal for me because I like to cook -- and I wish I had the money to do some serious work in the kitchen, but I lack the tools for it. I learned to cook in self-defense when I was a kid (the joys of English cooking drove me to it.) Still every now and then I do get a bit adventurous. This series is full of mad ideas, and I'd love to try a few of them myself.

Anyway, the series is back for a sixth season, and it's already off to a much better start. There was word that the show would be seriously overhauled, but it hasn't been. It *has* been focused -- the top 24 this year are an amazing lot -- even Georgia, who was subbed in overnight to replace a contestant who had to leave for medical reasons. There's several people who didn't make th cut who may well be back again next year.

I don't usually go for reality shows, or for contest shows, but this is really the exception, possibly because I love food. I'm glad to see it's back again.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

But if Tony Stark is Moose, who is Squirrel? [May. 26th, 2014|01:20 am]
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I'm in the process of reading Marvel Essential Iron Man Vol.1, which collects the first years of Iron Man appearances in Tales Of Suspense. While I've been amusing myself with the earnest lunacy of Stan Lee and company's first stumbling steps in spy-fi, something came up that I had forgotten in the intervening years since I first read these stories as a kid -- when The Black Widow is introduced, she comes with a squat doofus as her partner in assassination.

He's named Boris.

Boris and Natasha.

So. As the title says, if Tony Stark is Moose, who is Squirrel?
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Leongatha [May. 25th, 2014|10:57 pm]
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I got hold of the six episodes of this Australian tv series last year, and never got around to watching them before the fire. I just did, and aside from finding parts hilarious (I don't usually laugh out loud to any great extent, and did here.)

I'd intended to watch an episode and then go do laundry, but instead found myself marathoning all six. I think this is because the protagonist, Denny, resonated with me in many ways -- he's got all kinds of problems; good natured, helpful, and occasionally on point with the right thing to say (often at his own expense), he's a man who's never been sure of his direction, and has always been shy of the danger of decisions, which cost him his marriage. To be fair, when he *does* act decisive, albeit in minor ways, he usually ends up either rebuffed, or tripping over himself. Chris Gibson plays Denny as an affable schlub, wearily accepting either being talked into things, or having tasks dumped on him by people to full of themselves to hear his lack of assent.

The rest of the cast are most a bunch of quirky Australians. As we find out, they're a family with issues, and occasionally the vocal power to express those issues -- usually wrongly. And all of their relationships, familial and romantic, are a mess. Added to that, there's the slightly mysterious Mazzy, a frenemy of the bride to be, who starts to form a bond with Denny. In some ways, Mazzy is the most conventional of the characters, but even she has her quirky aspect -- her mystery, plus the fact that she's several inches taller than Denny (amusingly, Sally The Celebrant, who links to Denny's Dad, is also several inches taller than her counterpart.)

The series was produced for Australian community television, and has a shoestring budget, but they do more with it, storywise, than might be expected. The majority of the story is set on or around the minibus, with a few exceptions (always stay after the credits, by the way), and there's little or no call for visual effects. Hilariously enough the lack of budget means that we meet a small-town Victoria police constable who has no actually police vehicle and so turns up idly ambling in the boonies.

Be warned, though -- it's an Australian series, so there's some points at which the humour gets downright demented and horrible, although the payoff to the blackest bits is relatively benign.

The best part? It's all available on YouTube, put up by the executive producer/director. Have fun.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

"It was a huge election. I was shocked." [May. 22nd, 2014|09:40 pm]
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[Wait, I felt something! |okayokay]

I am reliably informed (for some values of reliably, as this is via a friend in Florida who is getting her reports from The Guardian site) that the Tories are taking a drubbing in the current council elections across England. She opines that the Tories will be sad come morning. I am quite alright with this (also, in the UK it's already morning) as it's well known that I would rather like to punch David Cameron right i the feels.

It's also notable that the Liberal Democrats are taking the pounding that I've been expecting. If you're going to so devastatingly betray your electorate in the manner that the LibDems did, then expect a good deal of revenge voting from the populace. I just wish the voting population in the USA would do this with the Republicans (although there's a good point to be made that Obama's second term was, indeed, a national voting population's kick in the slats for the Rethugs.)
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Mad Bugger On The Mountain! [May. 22nd, 2014|06:26 am]
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[I could be here (or not) |The New Bearcave]
[Wait, I felt something! |mellowmellow]

I actually pulled off Mount TBR last year (as documented on Goodreads), and even got beyond my stated goal of summiting Everest at one hundred books. The irony of this particular moment was that I celebrated it by promptly announced that, damn it all, I'd go for the Olympus level, which is 150+. With great cheer, I announced the next two books in progress, pottered off for a 4.30am cup of tea, and promptly discovered that the back of the house was going up in an inferno, and that the blaze was heading for my kitchen.

This was promptly followed by much excitement, and my delivery to friends in Rita Ranch. As far as the books went, things were chaotic, to say the least, but gradually I got equipped (and even acquired a cheap tablet.) Whereupon I was diagnosed with a severe cardiac condition. I can't say that my life isn't enthralling.

Even so, I managed to blast through the 150 mark before I went under the knife -- it helps to choose the right books from the stacks -- and even clocked a few more once I was in a mental space for it (as in not stoned out of my gourd on morphine.) After that I slowed down a bit, although shuttling into town from Rita Ranch did help me polish off some of the audiobooks (it's ninety minutes to two and a half hours, depending on where I was going to. One way.)

I'm once again signed up for Mount TBR, which should reduce this ungodly numbers a bit all over again -- with less likelihood of new acquisitions for a while, given that the bag sales are, with the exception of Memorial Day, done until the fall. I did make it to the last one, mind you, although going in I dropped off a considerable amount of stuff (one of the benefits of the fire and the move is that I got somewhat decluttered) and I restricted myself to one bag. I dare say it was unwise, but, you know...books.

I've also found myself with a bit more to watch than I expected, as I picked up a video cabinet from someone on Craigslist...and she included her entire DVD collection. Mind you, said collection includes five seasons of Grays Anatomy. I suspect Bookmans will be getting a visit soon....
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Hope For The Heartbeat [May. 21st, 2014|06:50 am]
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[Wait, I felt something! |contemplativecontemplative]

It's been a while since I was here, and I'm honestly not sure I have the words for anything at great length. My life since 2010 has been a series of roller coasters...life, love, lunacy, ll of that. I've lost a partner, had friends die, had my dog drop dead in the doorway, fallen in love several times to no really good end, underwent a retinal detachment (and subsequent surgery, which reattached the retina but left me with distorted vision in my left eye), had my house firebombed, spent seven months living with friends well south of Tucson proper, and undergone heart surgery for a double bypass and clean up work. My mother is in end of life care in Australia. I'm now in a new apartment, trying to make the budget work as best I can, and trying to cop out of running an organization I started...which is made difficult by the way the lives of my deputies tend to go.

As it stands, these days I'm spending m time sorting out the apartment...things are moving slowly, but surely. I've got to finish reloading way too much music onto hard drives, too. Given the sheer tonnage of music around here, I wonder sometimes if I should even bother -- I'm occasionally tempted to reduce it all to a bunch of favourites, and ignore the rest...the trouble is that there are too many odd little treasures, too many weird little productions.

With my somewhat impaired vision and present lack of funds for new glasses that will handle the added vision issues (which stem from going in to get my eyes checked to make sure that the replacement lenses from the cataract surgery were doing alright, with an eye to getting new glasses; this resulted in one lens going adrift, and being replaced; that went wrong three fays after surgery, and ended in the retina tearing and then detaching, requiring emergency eye surgery) I'm listening to audiobooks a lot once again, and not just while out on the road or on the treadmill at rehab. It's a bit frustrating as it's a far slower way for me to read a book than the old-fashioned dead tree method. I'm also trying to use ebooks where I can, but the issue there is twofold: cost is one, although here's always deals to be had, and there's always the library. The second is that as much as I like my tablet, and reading on the computer, a good old fashioned chunk of dead tree just feels so much better.

One of the things that probably led to me ending up under the heart surgeon's knife was the time spent essentially crippled by the stasis dermatitis in my lower legs going out of control. I sprang wounds that wouldn't heal, and ended up with a pretty wretched case of MRSA in both lower legs, along with a pseudomonas infestation. I came extremely close to losing both legs, but was sent to the St. Josephs Wound Clinic as a last-ditch attempt to salvage things. While I'd been using high-grade honey to beat back the MRSA (eighteen months of nuclear-grade antibiotics hadn't done the trick, after all) with great success (as far as doctors can tell, the MRSA is completely gone from my system) th wounds weren't healing. I give a tremendous amount of credit to my wound therapist, Gina, who to this day I *adore*. She, in turn, was amazed at how fast I started to heal -- one of the actual joys of an immune system that's in overdrive.

All the same, I was slowing down over a period of years, a decline I attributed mainly to age, although some odd pains and warning signs did prompt me to bring up the question of possible cardiac issues with my doctor. Curiously enough, none of the tests revealed *anything* aside from a slight heart enlargement. Even the cardiologist was baffled -- especially as I had my weight and my family history as primary factors in a potential crisis. It was only when the cardiologist threw up his hands and ordered an angiogram that the truth was revealed -- I was hovering on the brink of a massive heart attack. The true madness of the moment, though, was that this had come after my home had been firebombed (the firebug who did it was trying to burn the tenant in the rear section; fire, though, respects no property boundaries.) It was determined eventually that to effect repairs, I needed to get the rest of my stuff out and into storage -- I'm told by those who were present for the entire packing and transporting process that I visibly declined at an alarming rate. On December 17th I walked into Carondelet St. Marys and signed in...and remember nothing between that and waking up for the *second* time. There's lots of story packed in around that, but I'll leave it until later.

I finally ended up convinced that the old place was not the place I'd end up going back to. The new place is a bit noisier, but it's less than a block south of a library. It's also somewhat larger, with a big bedroom, a large balcony with storage, a huge closet, and room for lots of bookcases, as well as the giant (used) TV my friends got for me as a get-well present...which is another story entirely.

Enough of this, anyway. I have to be getting on with things. I will try not to be gone for such a long time again, however...although I'm not sure anyone actually reads LiveJournal any more...!
Link3 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

And the bugger's off up the hill again, he is, the benighted fool! [Jan. 20th, 2013|06:13 am]
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Yes, not content with having flubbed Mount TBR 2012 in a weird and exhilarating way, I'm going to make another try at it. This really is like Brian Blessed making his attempts at summiting Everest, so in honour of that I'm going with the Mt. Everest level (100 books), taking along half a dozen Sherpas, a large tent, and a bloody great tank of oxygen.

I'll be popping back in with links and a list of books Before long. Given that I'm currently short an eye, and reading is consequently a bit more difficult than I would like, I'll probably be concentrating on audiobooks, with the odd ebook in there for good measure -- with any luck I'll finally lumber all the way through The Complete David by Nicholas Pegg (just in time for the new album to cause him to cough up another edition of the thing.)

That said, I have the first entries in the list:

1) The Final Warning by James Patterson (fourth in the Maximum Ride YA series, and, oi, it's a clunker)
2) What's So Funny? by Donald E. Westlake
3) Over Her Dear Body by Richard S. Prather
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Mount TBR 2012: Like Sisyphus, I am, with that burden up the hill [Nov. 18th, 2012|07:44 am]
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Time for the update of my Mount TBR effort. As you'll see, the original list isn't as dented as it should be, and there are yet more additions of more recent vintage. The eyes continue to be an issue, so there's been a continued dependence on audiobooks, which now constitute the greater part of my purchases at the book sales, and the larger part of my choices at the library.

01) Stephen Fry - Making History
02) Caleb Carr - Killing Time
-Oh, good lord, it's a Verneian polemic set in the future, with super-scientists out to fix the world. I got through it, but it wasn't easy.

03) Frederik Pohl - The Voices Of Heaven (audio)
-I was disappointed with this, unfortunately. It's nicely written and thoroughly unenthralling.

04) David Brin - Sundiver
As a friend has noted, this was early days for Brin, and still feeling his way around. For all the shiny elements, it really struck me as a dressed-up bog standard mystery with an on-a-submarine element. It won't stop me from reading more of his work, though.

05) Todhunter Ballard - High Iron
06) Dean Owen - Last Chance Range
07) D. B. Newton - Shotgun Guard
08) Alan LeMay - Thunder In The Dust
09) Eugene Cunningham - Riders Of the Night
10) L.L. Foreman - The Renegade
11) Lewis B. Patten - The Odds Against Circle L
12) Richard S. Prather - Lie Down, Killer
13) Cornell Woolrich - Fright
14) Richard Aleas - Songs Of Innocence
15) Richard S. Prather - Darling, It's Death
16) James A. Michener - The Bridges At Toko-Ri
17) Alan Ryan (ed.) - Vampires: two Centuries Of Great Vampire Stories
18) Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen
19) James Kakalios - The Physics Of Superheroes
20) DC Showcase Presents Dial H For Hero
21) Edward S. Aarons - Assignment Cong Hai Kill
22) John Zakour - The Frost-Haired Vixen
23) DeCandido/Mack/York - Star Trek S.C.E. Book 6 Wildfire
24) Sharyn McCrumb - Bimbos Of the Death Sun
25) Ed McBain - Widows (I've replaced the paperback with an omnibus that includes two other novels)
26) Bradford Scott - Curse Of Texas Gold
27) John Brunner - The Dramaturges Of Yan
28) Shelby Foote - Shiloh
29) John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem - The Plutonium Blonde
30) Stephen Bly - Friends And Enemies
31) Stephen King - Hearts In Atlantis (audio)
-You know, King's writing isn't bad, and he has moments of absolute brilliance, and he can certainly paint quite the picture when he's working at it...but there are times when I wish he'd just bloody well get to the point! This was a hard one to get through, even in audio book form.

32) The Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
33) Ellis Peters - The Funeral Of Figaro (audio)
34) Alan Paton - Cry, The Beloved Country (audio)
35) Marvel Essential Tomb Of Dracula Vol. 4
36) Alastair Reynolds - Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
37) Sandra McDonald - The Stars Down Under
38) Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
39) David Toop - Ocean Of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, And Imaginary Worlds
40) David Manning (Ed.) - Vaughan-Williams On Music
41) James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
-I don't know what happened with this book, but it comes across as though Patterson was writing sections of it furiously while sitting in airport lounges on the way to various places. I have the shape of the story somewhat but I'll be damned if it actually makes sense. This is without bringing up the multiple endings.

42) Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43) Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
-What's to say? An excellent selection of short stories and novelettes from Fred.

44) Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45) Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46) Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47) Charles Stross - Halting State
48) J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49) Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50) Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)
- The nice thing about anthologies is that you're not stuck with a bad story for very long. It's interesting to see the various ways that people meet the criterion of getting dino-related elements into their tales. A couple are flat out wonkily weird.

51) Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl
52) Max Estes - Hello, Again
-A cute and quick read from Top Shelf

53) Loren D. Estleman - General Murders (audio, read by Robert Forster)
-I was initially thrown by Forster's voice, as it initially seemed wrong for Estleman's Amos Walker character. Ten minutes in, it seemed perfect, just the right worn, deep tone. It's a short collection, but very enjoyable.

54) Pierre Boulle - The Bridge Over The River Kwai
55) Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later
56) Jack Prelutsky - Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems (audio)
-Needs another listen, I think. It's the audio version of three of his kid's books.

57) Randy Kennedy - Subwayland (non-fiction about the New York subways and underground life)
58) Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
-Narrated by Ronson, thankfully, and much more organized than his The Men Who Stare At Goats. He takes a trip through the Mental Health industry, with a focus on how psychopathy is defined, and finds himself branching out to examine the Scientologists and those who stalk the halls of power and the dungeons of Wall Street.

59) Elizabet Peterzen - The Last Draw (Sista Stcket in Sweden)
60) Lawrence Block - The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep
61) Chuck Rosenthal - The Heart Of Mars
62) Christopher Moore - You Suck
63) Elmer Kelton - Shotgun
64) Lawrence Block - Some Days You Get The Bear
The title story in this was a pleasant surprise, quirky, with an odd ending that makes me wonder about the further story of the man who need to sleep with a teddybear and the woman who slept with her boa constrictor. Overall, a quite enjoyable collection that ended up as my traveling book.

65) Ed McBain - Fiddlers
A pretty basic 87th Precinct mystery, with a lot of odd interaction with the characters -- all sorts of romances staggering into being, falling apart, maintaining. Meanwhile someone is killing older people. Oddly, all of the police characters seem to be established here as being i their mid-thirties...apparently since the first book, published in 1958.

66) Jack Gantos - I am Not Joey Pigza (audio)
67) Rick Geary - The Fatal Bullet
I was surprised to find myself being drawn into this graphic adaptation of the story of the assassination of President Garfield and the sorry, sordid tale of his assassin. I'm now looking forward to the other Geary books.

68) Rick Geary - The Case Of Madeleine Smith
69) Rick Geary - The Mystery Of Mary Rogers
70) Sir John Betjeman - Summoned By Bells (audio)
71) Stephen King - Blood And Smoke (audio)
72) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
- Alright, what just happened?! I listened to this and retain nothing whatsoever, which means I'm going to have to listen to it again.

73) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Company (audio)
-While I can enjoy the historical detail, I've felt that sometimes the novels get bogged down, and somewhat repetitive and tedious. At the same time I'm fascinated by Cornwell's historical afternotes.

74) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Sword (audio)
-This was hard to get through at times, as Sharpe has an antagonist here who's genuinely horrible.

75) Loren D. Estleman - Retro (audio)
76) raúlrsalinas - Red Arc: a call for liberacion
-Southwestern beat poetry, listening to it, with Fred Ho on sax. It's unfortunately on the whiny end of beat poetry, but I'm going to give it another go.

77) Leslie Ernenwein - Rampage West
78) Adam Hall - Quiller
-Adam Hall was a major influence on my writing. Finished this, sadly. One of the best of the Quiller books.

79) David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day (audio)
- Sometimes salty, often pithy, and at times very funny. I was suitably amused. Edit: Now working through The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set, borrowed from the library.

80) John C. Dofflemeyer (ed.) - Maverick Western Verse
81) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar (audio)
- Filling in Sharpe's early career, as he returns from India to England by way of the Battle of Trafalgar. Curiously, it's a very passive story, with Sharpe as more of an observer to events, rather than an active participant. It's an excellent picture of life and conditions of the time, mind you, and makes me glad we've come some way from this kind of horrible existence.

82) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - The Palace
83) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of The Man Of Steel
84) John Whitman - 24 Declassified: Cat's Claw
85) Steve Frazee - Tumbling Range Woman
85) Harutoshi Fukui - Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 Vols. 1 & 2 (doing both of these together as they're a complete story)
86) Brian W. Aldiss - Bow Down To Nul
87) Richard S. Prather - The Cheim Manuscript
88) Richard S. Prather - The Shell Scott Sampler
89) Richard North Patterson - Protect And Defend (audio)
90) Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them (audio - maybe, as I have this in a large print edition as well as on cassette)
91) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of Batman, Vol. 2
92) Eddie Campbell - The Black Diamond Detective Agency
93)Jon Ronson - The Men Who Stare At Goats
-This rambles a bit more than I'd like, unlike The Psychopath Test. Even so, when I finally got to the movie I was very annoyed that the reporter character was an American...it took me a while to swallow the fictionalized element of the production. Ronson himself is such a quirky character that they really should have had Ewan MacGregor playing an analogue of him, rather than a generic neurotic American.

94) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: Teenage Wasteland
95) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: The Good Die Young
96) Runaways - True Believers
97) Ray Bradbury - Himself (audio) (Bradbury reading nineteen stories)
-And not a one of them unfamiliar, which is okay. Enjoyable performances from Bradbury.

98) Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine (audio)
99) Bernard Cornwell -- Sharpe's Honor (audio)
100) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Rifles (audio)
101) Richard Wilbur - The Voice Of The Poet (audio/text)
102) Armistead Maupin - The Night Listener (audio)
103) Jonathan Lethem - You Don't Love Me Yet (audio)
104) Sena Jeter Naslund - Four Spirits (audio)
105) Anthony Lloyd - My War Gone By, I Miss It So (audio)
It starts out interesting, but soon rambles off directionlessly, as much about the misadventure of Lloyd's life as the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

106) Len Deighton-Funeral In Berlin
-With the ongoing enforced moribundity, with me confined to bed much of the time, I've been wandering about amongst the audio books. I started in on this one yesterday evening, and just never stopped with it. The tapes, though, are in rather questionable shape. My dead tree copy of the novel is in one of the stacks under the coffee table. And as I've done The Ipcress File (last year), I suppose I'll soon have to reread The Billion-Dollar Brain and Horse Under Water.

107) E. E. "Doc" Smith - Triplanetary
-My friend Tribs got a flea in her ear about reading these books, and that got me interested in reading them again, and so here we are. Oh, was this ever starchy space opera fun. I don't think it's aged all that well. Still and all, expect the other books in the series to follow on in this list.

108) John Mortimer - The Trials Of Rumpole (audio)
Read by the immortal Leo McKern, who always will be Rumpole for all of us, and wonderfully phlegmatic he is too, rumbling through two highly amusing tales of the beleaguered barrister's life.

109) Elmore Leonard - Cuba Libre (audio)
Ostensibly a historical novel about the sinking of the USS Maine and the Spanish-American War (and the liberation of Cuba), it's an occasionally hilarious semi-romantic romp that makes (sometimes amusing) reference to actual events and people, and features the world's most oddball bank robber (he tends only to rob banks when someone owes him money and has been stalling for a while, and then he's only intent on making a withdrawal for the amount owed from the account of the debtor. It never goes well.) George Guidall reads, and does a beautiful job.

110) Andrew Martin - The Necropolis Railway (audio)
The first of the Jim Stringer railway mysteries, and probably more for the railway wonk like myself who'll appreciate the details, right down to the romantic interlude that's really an excuse to look at the state of the London Underground in 1903. Enjoyably read by Hugh Walters.

111) Herge - The Adventures Of TinTin Volume 1 (TinTin In America/Cigars Of The Pharoah/The Blue Lotus)
I'm only though the first story, and have no idea when I'll read the other two.

112) Edward Marston - The Railway Viaduct (An Inspector Colbeck Mystery) (audio)
- This got much more interesting when it stopped being a Victorian mystery and instead started delving into the history of the times, and looking at the ongoing issues between the French and the English. The mystery is eventually paid off, but I found myself not caring all that much about that aspect.

113) Ed McBain - Cop Hater (audio)
- The very first 87th Precinct mystery. This was a revisit for me, and to top it off I'd just seen the movie adaptation. The audio version I listened to was from 1989 and, oh boy, from the state of the tapes, you can tell. The reader for this version has come in for some stick as he uses an evenly paced and almost monotone voice, but I actually liked the way he read -- it was very clear, and very much in keeping with the material.

114) Ed McBain - The Mugger (audio)
- Shorter than the first 87th Precinct book, and with a stronger focus on Bert Kling (Steve Carella being off on his honeymoon.) I'm not sure why, but I had a bit of trouble staying focused on this one, and not remembering anything about the first time I read it. Monahan and Munroe play a larger part in this one, too, but they haven't become the amusing Rude Mechanicals of later 87th Precinct stories and are pretty much stone-faced humorless homicide dicks.

115) Ed McBain - Ten Plus One (audio)
- By this point Monaghan and Munroe have turned into their snarky Shakespearean Rude Mechanicals characterizations, with dryly amusing dialogue that shoots back and forth past, usually, the exasperated Steve Carella. A very twisty mystery with a grim resolution. Manages to give a very good idea of how frustrating police work can be.

116) Christopher Moore - The Stupidest Angel (audio)
- Bucolic Pine Cove, CA, a town of 5000 souls...and the focus of a visit from the Archangel Raziel, who is unfortunately a little light in the halo. One badly phrased childish wish later, and all hell's breaking loose. Funny. nasty, and stocked with some great characters (including a graveyard full of catty ghosts), it's a short but sharp read.

117) Gene Wilder - My French Whore (audio)
- A novella-length romance -- one might be expecting something comedic from Wilder, but this is very short on humor, despite the set-up (a man leaves his unwelcoming wife, joins the US Army in World War I, ends up captured by the Germans, and passes himself off as a German spy.) The reading on this one is treacle-slow as well.

118) Bill Pronzini - Fever
- I've been going back and forth in the later Nameless Detective books, having done Hardcase, Schemers and Camouflage as library audio books. This one, and some others, I have in dead tree format a a result of book sale bag days. They're quick reads, but I've been enjoying them for the characters as much as the mysteries.

119) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby - Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 4
- Starting this black and white phonebook collection I rediscovered my admiration for Jack Kirby's lunatic vision and the sheer senseless enormousness of the Lee/Kirby FF, but, my goddess, the sexism and soap opera can grind a bloke's soul to powder. Fortunately my one working eye can only handle a couple of stories at a time.

120) T. S. Eliot-The Wasteland
- Eliot was a tremendous influence for me as a poet, and I revisit his works from time to time, in both dead tree and audio format (though I only rarely listen to the recordings of Eliot reading his work, as he's got the monotone approach of an accountant.)

121) Alan Moore, Al Rio - Voodoo: Dancing In The Dark
- I found this interesting, despite my antipathy towards the character of Voodoo. Moore essentially attempts to do what he did with Swamp Thing, though on perhaps a smaller scale. He also delivers a small education in Voudoun, treats Voodoo herself as a tabula rasa (or, more correctly, an empty vessel), and prototypes what he would do not much later with Promethea.So, rather a lot better than the t&a art would suggest.

122-126) Kevin Hearne - Hounded, Hexed, Hammered, Tricked, Two Ravens And One Crow
- The first four novels and one novella in the Iron Druid Chronicles, which are set in Arizona. Hilarious fantasy that pretty much tosses the kitchen sink into the tale as a 2100 year old Druid demonstrates that he can still be led down the garden path. The next book is due out at the end of this month.

127-129) Jim Butcher - Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masks
- Finally continuing on with Butcher's series, and incidentally clearing out my stacks. The books do keep me reading, although sometimes I feel they could do with a bit of a trim, while the overarching story seems stretched a bit thin. However, I'll carry on for the moment.

139-140) Robert B. Parker - Brimstone, Blue-Eyed Devil
- Brief, sometimes brutal, westerns -- in some respects, Spencer with horses, really. Not essential, but not difficult reads either, though they rather evaporate like candyfloss afterward.

141) Erma M. Bombeck - I Lost Everything In The Post-Natal Depression (audio)
- Congenial observations from the suburban 1970s. I read several of these when they first came out, and it was interesting to revisit Bombeck's work.

142) Roy Thomas/Neal Adams - X-Men Visionaries: Neal Adams
- Another revisiting for me. Adams' work on X-Men pulled the title out of the mediocre float it had lived in since it began, but it was too late, and the title was canceled shortly afterward.

143) Julie Lipson-Ghost Stories of 17th Century China: From Po Chung-Ling's Liu Tzai Pavilion
- Won at Goodreads. Rather meh.

144) Robin Schulman-Eat the City: A Tale of the Fishers, Foragers, Butchers, Farmers, Poultry Minders, Sugar Refiners, Cane Cutters, Beekeepers, Winemakers, and Brewers Who Built New York
- Very interesting and quite engaging nonfiction that looks at various aspects of the culinary history and present of New York City. A re-read is in order for next year.

145) Howard Chaykin, Dan Brereton - Thrillkiller
- Re-read of this Elseworlds volume (it compiles both the original story and its sequel.) It's very well done.

146) Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, etc. - Vampirella Master Series Vol.1
- And to this I say, ehhh. Morrison and Millar earning paychecks in their early days.

147) Laurence Yep - Hiroshima (audio)
- Short, to the point, sad, yet with a little hope.

148-150) Chris Claremont, et al - X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, X-Men: Phoenix Rising, X-Men: The Asgardian Wars
- Re-read of one, which holds up better than I expected, re-read of the second in compiled form, which, well, 1970s X-Men that's a clunkier read now, and catching up on the third, which was pretty much candyfloss for the brain.

151)
Ed McBain - The Last Dance
- The ageless detectives of the 87th Precinct get involved in a case that involves plays, a musical, and romances that go back to the 1920s. Nothing out of the ordinary for this series, though there's a few amusing bits of self-deprecating humor.

152) Jonathan Aycliffe-The Lost
- An epistolary novel that attempts to ring a change on Dracula and unfortunately manages to be rather dull.

153-154) Bill Pronzini-The Ghosts Of Ragged-Ass Gulch, The Booktaker (audio)
- Two novellas featuring Pronzini's "Nameless". Solid light mysteries. Free releases from Audible.

155) Jeff Mariotte-Trail Of Time (audio)
- Graphic Audio edition. Highly entertaining, though tending to the purple at times.

156) Dave Stone-Citadel Of Dreams
- One of the Telos Doctor Who novellas. Slightly surreal tale of Seven and Ace.

Again, I suspect there's things missing, but does it much matter? Not really. At this point I have no expectation of making it through the remaining books before the end of the year, partly because I'm finding it much easier to deal with either audio, or with ebooks, not to mention that I keep falling into a "read this entire series before the next book!" routine. My pace of reading has, however, increased, which is nice, though audiobooks do slow me a little.
Link1 said somethin'|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Mount TBR: Up The Hill, Backwards [Aug. 14th, 2012|09:20 pm]
[Tags|, ]

I keep trying to get up Everest here, but the visual impairment is definitely hampering me when it comes to the dead trees. There's no progress on the glasses front, mainly because everything got thrown into disarray when I went temporarily blind in the left eye. Amaurosis fugax, they say, and now the doctors are trying to figure out why it happened. That's included carotid ultrasounds and a temporal biopsy so far, and if the latter clears me of the possibility of Giant Cell Arteritis, well...they'll be stumped.

In the meantime, I'm doing an awful lot of audio. I'm not watching much these days, and computer use remains iffy. There is, however, progress on the reading. As you'll see, I keep adding on...this is probably not good. I should at least clear out the audio books on the main list, eh?

Books in progress are italicized, finished books are struck out and annotated. There's still a long way to go.

01) Stephen Fry - Making History
02) Caleb Carr - Killing Time
-Oh, good lord, it's a Verneian polemic set in the future, with super-scientists out to fix the world. I got through it, but it wasn't easy.

03) Frederik Pohl - The Voices Of Heaven (audio)
-I was disappointed with this, unfortunately. It's nicely written and thoroughly unenthralling.

04) David Brin - Sundiver
As a friend has noted, this was early days for Brin, and still feeling his way around. For all the shiny elements, it really struck me as a dressed-up bog standard mystery with an on-a-submarine element. It won't stop me from reading more of his work, though.

05) Todhunter Ballard - High Iron
06) Dean Owen - Last Chance Range
07) D. B. Newton - Shotgun Guard
08) Alan LeMay - Thunder In The Dust
09) Eugene Cunningham - Riders Of the Night
10) L.L. Foreman - The Renegade
11) Lewis B. Patten - The Odds Against Circle L
12) Richard S. Prather - Lie Down, Killer
13) Cornell Woolrich - Fright
14) Richard Aleas - Songs Of Innocence
15) Richard S. Prather - Darling, It's Death
16) James A. Michener - The Bridges At Toko-Ri
17) Alan Ryan (ed.) - Vampires: two Centuries Of Great Vampire Stories
18) Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen
19) James Kakalios - The Physics Of Superheroes
20) DC Showcase Presents Dial H For Hero
21) Edward S. Aarons - Assignment Cong Hai Kill
22) John Zakour - The Frost-Haired Vixen
23) DeCandido/Mack/York - Star Trek S.C.E. Book 6 Wildfire
24) Sharyn McCrumb - Bimbos Of the Death Sun
25) Ed McBain - Widows (I've replaced the paperback with an omnibus that includes two other novels)
26) Bradford Scott - Curse Of Texas Gold
27) John Brunner - The Dramaturges Of Yan
28) Shelby Foote - Shiloh
29) John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem - The Plutonium Blonde
30) Stephen Bly - Friends And Enemies
31) Stephen King - Hearts In Atlantis (audio)
-You know, King's writing isn't bad, and he has moments of absolute brilliance, and he can certainly paint quite the picture when he's working at it...but there are times when I wish he'd just bloody well get to the point! This was a hard one to get through, even in audio book form.

32) The Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
33) Ellis Peters - The Funeral Of Figaro (audio)
34) Alan Paton - Cry, The Beloved Country (audio)
35) Marvel Essential Tomb Of Dracula Vol. 4
36) Alastair Reynolds - Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
37) Sandra McDonald - The Stars Down Under
38) Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
39) David Toop - Ocean Of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, And Imaginary Worlds
40) David Manning (Ed.) - Vaughan-Williams On Music
41) James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
-I don't know what happened with this book, but it comes across as though Patterson was writing sections of it furiously while sitting in airport lounges on the way to various places. I have the shape of the story somewhat but I'll be damned if it actually makes sense. This is without bringing up the multiple endings.

42) Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43) Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
-What's to say? An excellent selection of short stories and novelettes from Fred.

44) Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45) Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46) Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47) Charles Stross - Halting State
48) J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49) Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50) Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)
- The nice thing about anthologies is that you're not stuck with a bad story for very long. It's interesting to see the various ways that people meet the criterion of getting dino-related elements into their tales. A couple are flat out wonkily weird.

51) Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl
52) Max Estes - Hello, Again
-A cute and quick read from Top Shelf
53) Loren D. Estleman - General Murders (audio, read by Robert Forster)
-I was initially thrown by Forster's voice, as it initially seemed wrong for Estleman's Amos Walker character. Ten minutes in, it seemed perfect, just the right worn, deep tone. It's a short collection, but very enjoyable.

54) Pierre Boulle - The Bridge Over The River Kwai
55) Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later
56) Jack Prelutsky - Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems (audio)
-Needs another listen, I think. It's the audio version of three of his kid's books.

57) Randy Kennedy - Subwayland (non-fiction about the New York subways and underground life)
58) Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
-Narrated by Ronson, thankfully, and much more organized than his The Men Who Stare At Goats. He takes a trip through the Mental Health industry, with a focus on how psychopathy is defined, and finds himself branching out to examine the Scientologists and those who stalk the halls of power and the dungeons of Wall Street.

59) Elizabet Peterzen - The Last Draw (Sista Stcket in Sweden)
60) Lawrence Block - The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep
61) Chuck Rosenthal - The Heart Of Mars
62) Christopher Moore - You Suck
63) Elmer Kelton - Shotgun
64) Lawrence Block - Some Days You Get The Bear
The title story in this was a pleasant surprise, quirky, with an odd ending that makes me wonder about the further story of the man who need to sleep with a teddybear and the woman who slept with her boa constrictor. Overall, a quite enjoyable collection that ended up as my traveling book.

65) Ed McBain - Fiddlers
A pretty basic 87th Precinct mystery, with a lot of odd interaction with the characters -- all sorts of romances staggering into being, falling apart, maintaining. Meanwhile someone is killing older people. Oddly, all of the police characters seem to be established here as being i their mid-thirties...apparently since the first book, published in 1958.

66) Jack Gantos - I am Not Joey Pigza (audio)
67) Rick Geary - The Fatal Bullet
I was surprised to find myself being drawn into this graphic adaptation of the story of the assassination of President Garfield and the sorry, sordid tale of his assassin. I'm now looking forward to the other Geary books.

68) Rick Geary - The Case Of Madeleine Smith
69) Rick Geary - The Mystery Of Mary Rogers
70) Sir John Betjeman - Summoned By Bells (audio)
71) Stephen King - Blood And Smoke (audio)
72) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
73) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Company (audio)
-While I can enjoy the historical detail, I've felt that sometimes the novels get bogged down, and somewhat repetitive and tedious. At the same time I'm fascinated by Cornwell's historical afternotes.

74) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Sword (audio)
-This was hard to get through at times, as Sharpe has an antagonist here who's genuinely horrible.

75) Loren D. Estleman - Retro (audio)
76) raúlrsalinas - Red Arc: a call for liberacion
-Southwestern beat poetry, listening to it, with Fred Ho on sax. It's unfortunately on the whiny end of beat poetry, but I'm going to give it another go.

77) Leslie Ernenwein - Rampage West
78) Adam Hall - Quiller
-Adam Hall was a major influence on my writing. Finished this, sadly. One of the best of the Quiller books.

79) David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day (audio)
- Sometimes salty, often pithy, and at times very funny. I was suitably amused. Edit: Now working through The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set, borrowed from the library.

80) John C. Dofflemeyer (ed.) - Maverick Western Verse
81) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar (audio)
82) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - The Palace
83) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of The Man Of Steel
84) John Whitman - 24 Declassified: Cat's Claw
85) Steve Frazee - Tumbling Range Woman
85) Harutoshi Fukui - Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 Vols. 1 & 2 (doing both of these together as they're a complete story)
86) Brian W. Aldiss - Bow Down To Nul
87) Richard S. Prather - The Cheim Manuscript
88) Richard S. Prather - The Shell Scott Sampler
89) Richard North Patterson - Protect And Defend (audio)
90) Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them (audio - maybe, as I have this in a large print edition as well as on cassette)
91) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of Batman, Vol. 2
92) Eddie Campbell - The Black Diamond Detective Agency
93)Jon Ronson - The Men Who Stare At Goats
-This rambles a bit more than I'd like, unlike The Psychopath Test. Even so, when I finally got to the movie I was very annoyed that the reporter character was an American...it took me a while to swallow the fictionalized element of the production. Ronson himself is such a quirky character that they really should have had Ewan MacGregor playing an analogue of him, rather than a generic neurotic American.

94) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: Teenage Wasteland
95) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: The Good Die Young
96) Runaways - True Believers
97) Ray Bradbury - Himself (audio) (Bradbury reading nineteen stories)
-And not a one of them unfamiliar, which is okay. Enjoyable performances from Bradbury.

98) Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine (audio)
99) Bernard Cornwell -- Sharpe's Honor (audio)
100) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Rifles (audio)
101) Richard Wilbur - The Voice Of The Poet (audio/text)
102) Armistead Maupin - The Night Listener (audio)
103) Jonathan Lethem - You Don't Love Me Yet (audio)
104) Sena Jeter Naslund - Four Spirits (audio)
105) Anthony Lloyd - My War Gone By, I Miss It So (audio)
It starts out interesting, but soon rambles off directionlessly, as much about the misadventure of Lloyd's life as the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

106) Len Deighton-Funeral In Berlin
-With the ongoing enforced moribundity, with me confined to bed much of the time, I've been wandering about amongst the audio books. I started in on this one yesterday evening, and just never stopped with it. The tapes, though, are in rather questionable shape. My dead tree copy of the novel is in one of the stacks under the coffee table. And as I've done The Ipcress File (last year), I suppose I'll soon have to reread The Billion-Dollar Brain and Horse Under Water.

107) E. E. "Doc" Smith - Triplanetary
-My friend Tribs got a flea in her ear about reading these books, and that got me interested in reading them again, and so here we are. Oh, was this ever starchy space opera fun. I don't think it's aged all that well. Still and all, expect the other books in the series to follow on in this list.

108) John Mortimer - The Trials Of Rumpole (audio)
Read by the immortal Leo McKern, who always will be Rumpole for all of us, and wonderfully phlegmatic he is too, rumbling through two highly amusing tales of the beleaguered barrister's life.

109) Elmore Leonard - Cuba Libre (audio)
Ostensibly a historical novel about the sinking of the USS Maine and the Spanish-American War (and the liberation of Cuba), it's an occasionally hilarious semi-romantic romp that makes (sometimes amusing) reference to actual events and people, and features the world's most oddball bank robber (he tends only to rob banks when someone owes him money and has been stalling for a while, and then he's only intent on making a withdrawal for the amount owed from the account of the debtor. It never goes well.) George Guidall reads, and does a beautiful job.

110) Andrew Martin - The Necropolis Railway (audio)
The first of the Jim Stringer railway mysteries, and probably more for the railway wonk like myself who'll appreciate the details, right down to the romantic interlude that's really an excuse to look at the state of the London Underground in 1903. Enjoyably read by Hugh Walters.

111) Herge - The Adventures Of TinTin Volume 1 (TinTin In America/Cigars Of The Pharoah/The Blue Lotus)
I'm only though the first story, and have no idea when I'll read the other two.

112) Edward Marston - The Railway Viaduct (An Inspector Colbeck Mystery) (audio)
- This got much more interesting when it stopped being a Victorian mystery and instead started delving into the history of the times, and looking at the ongoing issues between the French and the English. The mystery is eventually paid off, but I found myself not caring all that much about that aspect.

113) Ed McBain - Cop Hater (audio)
- The very first 87th Precinct mystery. This was a revisit for me, and to top it off I'd just seen the movie adaptation. The audio version I listened to was from 1989 and, oh boy, from the state of the tapes, you can tell. The reader for this version has come in for some stick as he uses an evenly paced and almost monotone voice, but I actually liked the way he read -- it was very clear, and very much in keeping with the material.

114) Ed McBain - The Mugger (audio)
- Shorter than the first 87th Precinct book, and with a stronger focus on Bert Kling (Steve Carella being off on his honeymoon.) I'm not sure why, but I had a bit of trouble staying focused on this one, and not remembering anything about the first time I read it. Monahan and Munroe play a larger part in this one, too, but they haven't become the amusing Rude Mechanicals of later 87th Precinct stories and are pretty much stone-faced humorless homicide dicks.

115) Ed McBain - Ten Plus One (audio)
- By this point Monaghan and Munroe have turned into their snarky Shakespearean Rude Mechanicals characterizations, with dryly amusing dialogue that shoots back and forth past, usually, the exasperated Steve Carella. A very twisty mystery with a grim resolution. Manages to give a very good idea of how frustrating police work can be.

116) Christopher Moore - The Stupidest Angel (audio)
- Bucolic Pine Cove, CA, a town of 5000 souls...and the focus of a visit from the Archangel Raziel, who is unfortunately a little light in the halo. One badly phrased childish wish later, and all hell's breaking loose. Funny. nasty, and stocked with some great characters (including a graveyard full of catty ghosts), it's a short but sharp read.

117) Gene Wilder - My French Whore (audio)
- A novella-length romance -- one might be expecting something comedic from Wilder, but this is very short on humor, despite the set-up (a man leaves his unwelcoming wife, joins the US Army in World War I, ends up captured by the Germans, and passes himself off as a German spy.) The reading on this one is treacle-slow as well.

118) Bill Pronzini - Fever
- I've been going back and forth in the later Nameless Detective books, having done Hardcase, Schemers and Camouflage as library audio books. This one, and some others, I have in dead tree format a a result of book sale bag days. They're quick reads, but I've been enjoying them for the characters as much as the mysteries.

119) Stan Lee, Jack Kirby - Marvel Essential Fantastic Four Vol. 4
- Starting this black and white phonebook collection I rediscovered my admiration for Jack Kirby's lunatic vision and the sheer senseless enormousness of the Lee/Kirby FF, but, my goddess, the sexism and soap opera can grind a bloke's soul to powder. Fortunately my one working eye can only handle a couple of stories at a time.

120) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
121) Alan Moore, Al Rio - Voodoo: Dancing In The Dark
- I found this interesting, despite my antipathy towards the character of Voodoo. Moore essentially attempts to do what he did with Swamp Thing, though on perhaps a smaller scale. He also delivers a small education in Voudoun, treats Voodoo herself as a tabula rasa (or, more correctly, an empty vessel), and prototypes what he would do not much later with Promethea.So, rather a lot better than the t&a art would suggest.

There's probably other things I'm completely forgetting to add to the list, but eventually they'll get in there.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Isn't this where we came in, all those years ago? [Jun. 26th, 2012|12:14 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[Wait, I felt something! |uncomfortableuncomfortable]

I finally gave in and changed the monitor resolution for the main monitor, because otherwise I can't read anything. It's still difficult.

The solution for this is, I hope, something monocular -- I have a message in to the regular eye doctor, and we'll see where we go from there, as my left eye is likely to be a while returning to usability...more importantly, I can't have the lens repositioning surgery until the retina reattachment is solid. I just would like to be able to read, and function better online.

As I was telling Gina at the wound clinic today, I' ready for this medical stuff to wrap up now. Some of it, though, is to be lifelong -- controlling the blood pressure, dealing with the leg issues (even with the vascular surgery, I still need to manage the fluid retention problem.)

Things that make me sad: I can't pick up any of the guitars right now, as I have a weight restriction -- basically, I can do nothing to stress the eye.

Once nice thing is a new flirtation, but given the distance, this perhaps won't go very far. It's nice to have at the moment, though.
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Still going up Mount TBR,, albeit in a slowly circling way.... [Jun. 23rd, 2012|11:02 pm]
[Tags|, , , ]

Progress up the old slopes has been somewhat screwed up lately by dint of my eyes going all over the place -- see them run! -- with the multiple surgeries and my right eye being pretty much uncorrected while the left eye heals again (I need a monocle. And a bowler hat. And a budgie. And an eye patch. Arrrr....) As a consequence of the current condition, I'm spending most of my reading time with audiobooks, which means more from the library, and more additions from the pile of audiobooks bought at the Friends Of Pima Library bag days -- lucky for me, then, that the last one I attended yielded a bumper haul of books on CD. The problem with this, of course, is that if I'm good, and stay in bed with my head propped at an angle (and my legs at another angle!) I'm likely to nod off at least once during the course of a book -- I went through Donald Wastlake's The Cutie by going back and forth, up and down the DVD changer. Elmore Leonard's Cuba Libre I ended up not only starting twice, but finishing twice as well, due to nodding out.

Onwards, anyway, with a couple of additions...there will be more.

Books in progress are italicized, finished books are struck out and annotated. There's still a long way to go.

01) Stephen Fry - Making History
02) Caleb Carr - Killing Time
-Oh, good lord, it's a Verneian polemic set in the future, with super-scientists out to fix the world. I got through it, but it wasn't easy.

03) Frederik Pohl - The Voices Of Heaven (audio)
-I was disappointed with this, unfortunately. It's nicely written and thoroughly unenthralling.

04) David Brin - Sundiver
As a friend has noted, this was early days for Brin, and still feeling his way around. For all the shiny elements, it really struck me as a dressed-up bog standard mystery with an on-a-submarine element. It won't stop me from reading more of his work, though.

05) Todhunter Ballard - High Iron
06) Dean Owen - Last Chance Range
07) D. B. Newton - Shotgun Guard
08) Alan LeMay - Thunder In The Dust
09) Eugene Cunningham - Riders Of the Night
10) L.L. Foreman - The Renegade
11) Lewis B. Patten - The Odds Against Circle L
12) Richard S. Prather - Lie Down, Killer
13) Cornell Woolrich - Fright
14) Richard Aleas - Songs Of Innocence
15) Richard S. Prather - Darling, It's Death
16) James A. Michener - The Bridges At Toko-Ri
17) Alan Ryan (ed.) - Vampires: two Centuries Of Great Vampire Stories
18) Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen
19) James Kakalios - The Physics Of Superheroes
20) DC Showcase Presents Dial H For Hero
21) Edward S. Aarons - Assignment Cong Hai Kill
22) John Zakour - The Frost-Haired Vixen
23) DeCandido/Mack/York - Star Trek S.C.E. Book 6 Wildfire
24) Sharyn McCrumb - Bimbos Of the Death Sun
25) Ed McBain - Widows (I've replaced the paperback with an omnibus that includes two other novels)
26) Bradford Scott - Curse Of Texas Gold
27) John Brunner - The Dramaturges Of Yan
28) Shelby Foote - Shiloh
29) John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem - The Plutonium Blonde
30) Stephen Bly - Friends And Enemies
31) Stephen King - Hearts In Atlantis (audio)
-You know, King's writing isn't bad, and he has moments of absolute brilliance, and he can certainly paint quite the picture when he's working at it...but there are times when I wish he'd just bloody well get to the point! This was a hard one to get through, even in audiobook form.

32) The Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
33) Ellis Peters - The Funeral Of Figaro (audio)
34) Alan Paton - Cry, The Beloved Country (audio)
35) Marvel Essential Tomb Of Dracula Vol. 4
36) Alastair Reynolds - Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
37) Sandra McDonald - The Stars Down Under
38) Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
39) David Toop - Ocean Of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, And Imaginary Worlds
40) David Manning (Ed.) - Vaughan-Williams On Music
41) James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
-I don't know what happened with this book, but it comes across as though Patterson was writing sections of it furiously while sitting in airport lounges on the way to various places. I have the shape of the story somewhat but I'll be damned if it actually makes sense. This is without bringing up the multiple endings.

42) Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43) Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
-What's to say? An excellent selection of short stories and novelettes from Fred.

44) Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45) Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46) Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47) Charles Stross - Halting State
48) J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49) Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50) Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)
- The nice thing about anthologies is that you're not stuck with a bad story for very long. It's interesting to see the various ways that people meet the criterion of getting dino-related elements into their tales. A couple are flat out wonkily weird.

51) Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl
52) Max Estes - Hello, Again
-A cute and quick read from Top Shelf
53) Loren D. Estleman - General Murders (audio, read by Robert Forster)
-I was initially thrown by Forster's voice, as it initially seemed wrong for Estleman's Amos Walker character. Ten minutes in, it seemed perfect, just the right worn, deep tone. It's a short collection, but very enjoyable.

54) Pierre Boulle - The Bridge Over The River Kwai
55) Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later
56) Jack Prelutsky - Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems (audio)
-Needs another listen, I think. It's the audio version of three of his kid's books.

57) Randy Kennedy - Subwayland (non-fiction about the New York subways and underground life)
58) Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
-Narrated by Ronson, thankfully, and much more organized than his The Men Who Stare At Goats. He takes a trip through the Mental Health industry, with a focus on how psychopathy is defined, and finds himself branching out to examine the Scientologists and those who stalk the halls of power and the dungeons of Wall Street.

59) Elizabet Peterzen - The Last Draw (Sista Stcket in Sweden)
60) Lawrence Block - The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep
61) Chuck Rosenthal - The Heart Of Mars
62) Christopher Moore - You Suck
63) Elmer Kelton - Shotgun
64) Lawrence Block - Some Days You Get The Bear
The title story in this was a pleasant surprise, quirky, with an odd ending that makes me wonder about the further story of the man who need to sleep with a teddybear and the woman who slept with her boa constrictor. Overall, a quite enjoyable collection that ended up as my traveling book.

65) Ed McBain - Fiddlers
A pretty basic 87th Precinct mystery, with a lot of odd interaction with the characters -- all sorts of romances staggering into being, falling apart, maintaining. Meanwhile someone is killing older people. Oddly, all of the police characters seem to be established here as being i their mid-thirties...apparently since the first book, published in 1958.

66) Jack Gantos - I am Not Joey Pigza (audio)
67) Rick Geary - The Fatal Bullet
I was surprised to find myself being drawn into this graphic adaptation of the story of the assassination of President Garfield and the sorry, sordid tale of his assassin. I'm now looking forward to the other Geary books.

68) Rick Geary - The Case Of Madeleine Smith
69) Rick Geary - The Mystery Of Mary Rogers
70) Sir John Betjeman - Summoned By Bells (audio)
71) Stephen King - Blood And Smoke (audio)
72) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
73) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Company (audio)
-While I can enjoy the historical detail, I've felt that sometimes the novels get bogged down, and somewhat repetitive and tedious. At the same time I'm fascinated by Cornwell's historical afternotes.

74) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Sword (audio)
-This was hard to get through at times, as Sharpe has an antagonist here who's genuinely horrible.

75) Loren D. Estleman - Retro (audio)
76) raúlrsalinas - Red Arc: a call for liberacion
-Southwestern beat poetry, listening to it, with Fred Ho on sax. It's unfortunately on the whiny end of beat poetry, but I'm going to give it another go.

77) Leslie Ernenwein - Rampage West
78) Adam Hall - Quiller
-Adam Hall was a major influence on my writing. Finished this, sadly. One of the best of the Quiller books.

79) David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day (audio)
- Sometimes salty, often pithy, and at times very funny. I was suitably amused. Edit: Now working through The Ultimate David Sedaris Box Set, borrowed from the library.

80) John C. Dofflemeyer (ed.) - Maverick Western Verse
81) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar (audio)
82) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - The Palace
83) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of The Man Of Steel
84) John Whitman - 24 Declassified: Cat's Claw
85) Steve Frazee - Tumbling Range Woman
85) Harutoshi Fukui - Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 Vols. 1 & 2 (doing both of these together as they're a complete story)
86) Brian W. Aldiss - Bow Down To Nul
87) Richard S. Prather - The Cheim Manuscript
88) Richard S. Prather - The Shell Scott Sampler
89) Richard North Patterson - Protect And Defend (audio)
90) Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them (audio - maybe, as I have this in a large print edition as well as on cassette)
91) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of Batman, Vol. 2
92) Eddie Campbell - The Black Diamond Detective Agency
93)Jon Ronson - The Men Who Stare At Goats
-This rambles a bit more than I'd like, unlike The Psychopath Test. Even so, when I finally got to the movie I was very annoyed that the reporter character was an American...it took me a while to swallow the fictionalized element of the production. Ronson himself is such a quirky character that they really should have had Ewan MacGregor playing an analogue of him, rather than a generic neurotic American.

94) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: Teenage Wasteland
95) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: The Good Die Young
96) Runaways - True Believers
97) Ray Bradbury - Himself (audio) (Bradbury reading nineteen stories)
-And not a one of them unfamiliar, which is okay. Enjoyable performances from Bradbury.

98) Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine (audio)
99) Bernard Cornwell -- Sharpe's Honor (audio)
100) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Rifles (audio)
101) Richard Wilbur - The Voice Of The Poet (audio/text)
102) Armistead Maupin - The Night Listener (audio)
103) Jonathan Lethem - You Don't Love Me Yet (audio)
104) Sena Jeter Naslund - Four Spirits (audio)
105) Anthony Lloyd - My War Gone By, I Miss It So (audio)
It starts out interesting, but soon rambles off directionlessly, as much about the misadventure of Lloyd's life as the Bosnia-Herzegovina war.

106) Len Deighton-Funeral In Berlin
-With the ongoing enforced moribundity, with me confined to bed much of the time, I've been wandering about amongst the audiobooks. I started in on this one yesterday evening, and just never stopped with it. The tapes, though, are in rather questionable shape. My dead tree copy of the novel is in one of the stacks under the coffee table. And as I've done The Ipcress File (last year), I suppose I'll soon have to reread The Billion-Dollar Brain and Horse Under Water.

107) E. E. "Doc" Smith - Triplanetary
-My friend Tribs got a flea in her ear about reading these books, and that got me interested in reading them again, and so here we are. Oh, was this ever starchy space opera fun. I don't think it's aged all that well. Still and all, expect the other books in the series to follow on in this list.

108) John Mortimer - The Trials Of Rumpole (audio)
Read by the immortal Leo McKern, who always will be Rumpole for all of us, and wonderfully phlegmatic he is too, rumbling through two highly amusing tales of the beleaguered barrister's life.

109) Elmore Leonard - Cuba Libre (audio)
Ostensibly a historical novel about the sinking of the USS Maine and the Spanish-American War (and the liberation of Cuba), it's an occasionally hilarious semi-romantic romp that makes (sometimes amusing) reference to actual events and people, and features the world's most oddball bank robber (he tends only to rob banks when someone owes him money and has been stalling for a while, and then he's only intent on making a withdrawal for the amount owed from the account of the debtor. It never goes well.) George Guidall reads, and does a beautiful job.

110) Andrew Martin - The Necropolis Railway (audio)
The first of the Jim Stringer railway mysteries, and probably more for the railway wonk like myself who'll appreciate the details, right down to the romantic interlude that's really an excuse to look at the state of the London Underground in 1903. Enjoyably read by Hugh Walters.

111) Herge - The Adventures Of TinTin Volume 1 (TinTin In America/Cigars Of The Pharoah/The Blue Lotus)
I'm only though the first story, and have no idea when I'll read the other two.

112) Edward Marston - The Railway Viaduct (An Inspector Colbeck Mystery) (audio)
- This got much more interesting when it stopped being a Victorian mystery and instead started delving into the history of the times, and looking at the ongoing issues between the French and the English. The mystery is eventually paid off, but I found myself not caring all that much about that aspect.

113) Ed McBain - Cop Hater (audio)
- The very first 87th Precinct mystery. This was a revisit for me, and to top it off I'd just seen the movie adaptation. The audio version I listened to was from 1989 and, oh boy, from the state of the tapes, you can tell. The reader for this version has come in for some stick as he uses an evenly paced and almost monotone voice, but I actually liked the way he read -- it was very clear, and very much in keeping with the material.

114) Ed McBain - The Mugger (audio)
- Shorter than the first 87th Precinct book, and with a stronger focus on Bert Kling (Steve Carella being off on his honeymoon.) I'm not sure why, but I had a bit of trouble staying focused on this one, and not remembering anything about the first time I read it. Monahan and Munroe play a larger part in this one, too, but they haven't become the amusing Rude Mechanicals of later 87th Precinct stories and are pretty much stone-faced humorless homicide dicks.

115) Ed McBain - Ten Plus One (audio)
- By this point Monaghan and Munroe have turned into their snarky Shakespearean Rude Mechanicals characterizations, with drily amusing dialogue that shoots back and forth past, usually, the exasperated Steve Carella. A very twisty mystery with a grim resolution. Manages to give a very good idea of how frustrating police work can be.

116) Christopher Moore - The Stupidest Angel (audio)
- Bucolic Pine Cove, CA, a town of 5000 souls...and the focus of a visit from the Archangel Raziel, who is unfortunately a little light in the halo. One badly phrased childish wish later, and all hell's breaking loose. Funny. nasty, and stocked with some great characters (including a graveyard full of catty ghosts), it's a short but sharp read.

117) Gene Wilder - My French Whore (audio)
- A novella-length romance -- one might be expecting something comedic from Wilder, but this is very short on humor, despite the set-up (a man leaves his unwelcoming wife, joins the US Army in World War I, ends up captured by the Germans, and passes himself off as a German spy.) The reading on this one is treacle-slow as well.

I've also caught up on George RR Martin's three Dunk & Egg stories, but those are parts of anthologies, the rest of which I need to read through, and then they can go on the list too.

Speaking of anthologies, I just borrowed an audio collection of old SF from the library (Great Classic Science Fiction iirc), and do want to find more...I suspect I should set up to get Escape Pod again. Sometimes the shorter fiction works better for me than just going through a complete novel, especially when it comes to the exceptionally long novels.

Also from the library -- lots and lots of Paul Temple. I discovered pretty quickly that those serials and readings need to be spaced out. I'm through the Anthony Head readings now, though, and just have a few more of the radio serials.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

The eyes have it... [Jun. 20th, 2012|11:18 am]
[Tags|, , ]

Very, very briefly...over the last weekend I experienced a retinal detachment, and yesterday had emergency surgery to fix it. I'm presently still blind in my left eye, but should regain my vision in that eye over the next four weeks, with a full return in six months or so. I'm probably not going to be online much for a while, and I'm back to audiobooks for my reading fix.

Suffice it to say that the lens repositioning scheduled for June 28th has been canceled....
Link5 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

All of a sudden those jokes don't seem as funny.... [Jun. 12th, 2012|03:49 am]
[Tags|]

Well, this week is going to be entertaining. But first, under a cut --

Good things, evenCollapse )

The new guitar is a big positive in a period of time that's, to say the least, stressful. I'm up for a colonoscopy shortly, I'm back at the wound clinic (one of the lesions opened up again), and on Friday I'm having a cardiac stress test -- the chemically induced type. The recent echocardiogram suggests a slightly enlarged heart, which would fit with the left atrial anomaly on the ekg. My lower body circulation is half and half -- deep venous structure is solid, but the superficial needs treatment, which may help with the dermatitis. Speaking of which, this will be addressed again when I see the dermatologist to deal with the basal cell cancer. On the 28th I go back for more knives and needles to the left eye, as the lens broke loose again -- this time it's being sewn in place. Right ow my vision is pretty rough -- the old glasses work sometimes, but not other times; magnifiers work sometimes, but not always. I can usually get away with reading books, but the computer is another matter entirely, and TV is sometimes a real lottery. I'm also back on the orders to stay abed as much as I can, with my legs elevated...except for later today, when the pre-colonoscopy prep instructions advise. "Don't stray far from the bathroom!" as part of the instruction sheet covering preparing the gallon of liquid flush I have to choke down.

There's probably more, but that's likely enough.

I'm muddling through books at the moment, including getting the library stack on track. I'm back to checking out more audio books right now, though, and I'm happy to find that my local library has a variety of BBC items on hand -- though I fear my brain is congealing in the attempt to get through all of the Paul Temple stories (radio serial and prose adaptations both, though the prose readings by Anthony Head had an additional amusement value because of the way he does them.) I'll do an update on the Mount TBR list as well, shortly, I keep adding to it. I'm hoping IK'll get through everything on there by year's end though.

Onward.
Link3 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

And now...the pointy end approaches [May. 10th, 2012|01:32 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[Wait, I felt something! |nervoustrepidatious]

In six hours I go under the knife for replacement lens surgery on my left eye, to replace the lens that's gone adrift and become distorted because of the way the eye surgeon did things in 2004. I'm finding it interesting that my reaction to this now is markedly more anxious than it was back then, although some of that might be the glossing of memory. This is also going to be a little different in that I'm going in alone; in 2004 my former best friend took me in. I have been very stubborn on this point, too, wanting to both go there alone, and return alone, but I was finally convinced to allow a friend to come and pick me up. I will, however, recuperate alone, but this isn't much different from the last time.

My friend Tree remembers this rather well, it seems. Tree was the one who taught me some things about getting around when my vision was almost gone.

My leg wounds have now healed, so the work's started on preventing a repetition of these. I still have to go in to the wound clinic once a week to be bandaged from toes to knee by Gina, my therapist, but this turns out to be less of a drag than it might have been -- Gina's as much of an odd duck as I am, and we find ourselves chatting on about any number of things, the more esoteric the better.

I'd better get on...I need to record a segment for the next Chronic Rift review show, and then try to nap for a little while. Unfortunately I have to get up around the time that I now tend to go to sleep, so sleep may have to wait until I get back.
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

The Llamas are rioting in the fields [Apr. 24th, 2012|03:38 am]
[Tags|, , ]

Life plods on, pretty much absent updates here from me. Things change, things shift, and apparently I've hit that stage of grief where everything pisses me off...especially when it's stuff severe enough to piss off anyone.

I need to buy a new cane, as I lost my really good cane when someone half-inched it out of a grocery cart at Frys (no kidding; it was, however, my own fault, as these things often are. They could have turned it in, though.) My other regular cane, over twenty years old, ended up broken as the cap to an incident involving a bus driver driving away from a stop and leaving me stuck for an hour with three bags of perishables. Fortunately it was cold weather. Unfortunately I wasn't wearing a jacket. My yell of outrage didn't help at all, nor did my bashing the bus bench with my cane, which shattered -- pretty much on its last legs, that cane. I've been using the Kokopelli stick since, although it's a bit too tall, and a bit unwieldy.

Remember the tale of the eyes, and how laser cleaning the film from my replacement lenses (installed when I had cataract surgery) was supposed to improve matters considerably? Well, it failed in the right eye, but this is something that can be corrected by upping the wattage, which will happen later this week. The result should be clearer vision -- and matters have already improved somewhat in that eye, as my color perception seems better.

The treatment in my left eye? Removed the opacification without a problem...and I promptly started having further vision issues in that eye, with the ghosting and haloing worsening. At this point, I've lost about fifty percent of my vision, which is an unwelcome return to the bad old days of the cataracts starting the rapid phase of their development. It turns out the original surgeon did something very odd in that eye -- I recall him having a strange explanation for what he did -- which apparently resulted in him seating the implant in front of the lens capsule, rather than in it. As a result, when the laser clean-up removed the film, the lens went adrift, and the resulting occlusion is what's causing the vision issues -- the edge of the lens is getting in the way. What's really weird is that the focus in that eye is very good -- seeing through the fog, however, is a major issue, plus I'm getting headaches when I try to use the computer a lot, or spend much time reading.

The fix for this is pretty straightforward. In May I go back in and repeat the surgery on that eye, and get a new implant. Knife to the eye!

There's more besides this, but I need to hit the hay and get some sleep before my visit to the wound clinic to have my dressings changed. Oh, yeah, that's another issue. 2012 is, for me, a year of medical hell, and very much by choice.

I did give in, again, this month to the lure of the Friends Of Pima Library Book Sale, but I donated as much as I picked up, I think. I may yet make headway. The haul was okay, not truly great. Nine CDs, two DVDs, two audiobooks (disappointing, this, as I'd hoped to find more), and an assortment of paperbacks and hardcovers. I didn't find any more Hard Case Crime releases, but I wasn't really looking that hard by that point. Had I gone for a second bag, I would probably have browsed more carefully, but time was pressing, and I was tired and hungry (I was fasting for a blood draw that, as it turned out, had to be canceled because of some weirdness with the medical transportation bookers.)

Alright, of to bed with me!
Link1 said somethin'|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Marking progress up the slopes of Mount TBR [Mar. 30th, 2012|01:28 am]
[Tags|, ]

And now, the entire list in one place, with annotations!

I'm rather inconsistent with how I'm approaching this pile of books, and as you can see I've now gone beyond the Everest count, as I keep adding books. The rate of progress has picked up a bit lately, however, with the recent doctors orders confining me to bed for much of my time (more on this later, as I'm having to ration my time at the computer.) As I'm also spending more time in doctor's offices, I'm getting more read there too, rather than relying on the MP3 player. It should be noted, however, that I'm also getting library books into the mix, as always -- right now I'm finishing up Fred Olen Ray's The New Poverty Row, which is an admittedly biased view from an exploitation producer about the exploitation film industry, with a focus on the distribution angle.

Books in progress are italicized, finished books are struck out and annotated. There's still a long way to go, but now I've figured out how I can more easily read in bed, I'm in good shape to get well into this.

01) Stephen Fry - Making History
02) Caleb Carr - Killing Time
-Oh, good lord, it's a Verneian polemic set in the future, with super-scientists out to fix the world. I got through it, but it wasn't easy.

03) Frederik Pohl - The Voices Of Heaven (audio)
-I was disappointed with this, unfortunately. It's nicely written and thoroughly unenthralling.

04) David Brin - Sundiver
05) Todhunter Ballard - High Iron
06) Dean Owen - Last Chance Range
07) D. B. Newton - Shotgun Guard
08) Alan LeMay - Thunder In The Dust
09) Eugene Cunningham - Riders Of the Night
10) L.L. Foreman - The Renegade
11) Lewis B. Patten - The Odds Against Circle L
12) Richard S. Prather - Lie Down, Killer
13) Cornell Woolrich - Fright
14) Richard Aleas - Songs Of Innocence
15) Richard S. Prather - Darling, It's Death
16) James A. Michener - The Bridges At Toko-Ri
17) Alan Ryan (ed.) - Vampires: two Centuries Of Great Vampire Stories
18) Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen
19) James Kakalios - The Physics Of Superheroes
20) DC Showcase Presents Dial H For Hero
21) Edward S. Aarons - Assignment Cong Hai Kill
22) John Zakour - The Frost-Haired Vixen
23) DeCandido/Mack/York - Star Trek S.C.E. Book 6 Wildfire
24) Sharyn McCrumb - Bimbos Of the Death Sun
25) Ed McBain - Widows
26) Bradford Scott - Curse Of Texas Gold
27) John Brunner - The Dramaturges Of Yan
28) Shelby Foote - Shiloh
29) John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem - The Plutonium Blonde
30) Stephen Bly - Friends And Enemies
31) Stephen King - Hearts In Atlantis (audio)
-You know, King's writing isn't bad, and he has moments of absolute brilliance, and he can certainly paint quite the picture when he's working at it...but there are times when I wish he'd just bloody well get to the point! This was a hard one to get through, even in audiobook form.

32) The Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
33) Ellis Peters - The Funeral Of Figaro (audio)
34) Alan Paton - Cry, The Beloved Country (audio)
35) Marvel Essential Tomb Of Dracula Vol. 4
36) Alastair Reynolds - Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
37) Sandra McDonald - The Stars Down Under
38) Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
39) David Toop - Ocean Of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, And Imaginary Worlds
40) David Manning (Ed.) - Vaughan-Williams On Music
41) James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
-I don't know what happened with this book, but it comes across as though Patterson was writing sections of it furiously while sitting in airport lounges on the way to various places. I have the shape of the story somewhat but I'll be damned if it actually makes sense. This is without bringing up the multiple endings.

42) Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43) Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
-What's to say? An excellent selection of short stories and novelettes from Fred.

44) Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45) Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46) Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47) Charles Stross - Halting State
48) J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49) Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50) Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)
- The nice thing about anthologies is that you're not stuck with a bad story for very long. It's interesting to see the various ways that people meet the criterion of getting dino-related elements into their tales. A couple are flat out wonkily weird.

51) Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl
52) Max Estes - Hello, Again
-A cute and quick read from Top Shelf
53) Loren D. Estleman - General Murders (audio, read by Robert Forster)
-I was initially thrown by Forster's voice, as it initially seemed wrong for Estleman's Amos Walker character. Ten minutes in, it seemed perfect, just the right worn, deep tone. It's a short collection, but very enjoyable.

54) Pierre Boulle - The Bridge Over The River Kwai
55) Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later
56) Jack Prelutsky - Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems (audio)
-Needs another listen, I think. It's the audio version of three of his kid's books.

57) Randy Kennedy - Subwayland (non-fiction about the New York subways and underground life)
58) Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
-Narrated by Ronson, thankfully, and much more organized than his The Men Who Stare At Goats. He takes a trip through the Mental Health industry, with a focus on how psychopathy is defined, and finds himself branching out to examine the Scientologists and those who stalk the halls of power and the dungeons of Wall Street.

59) Elizabet Peterzen - The Last Draw (Sista Stcket in Sweden)
60) Lawrence Block - The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep
61) Chuck Rosenthal - The Heart Of Mars
62) Christopher Moore - You Suck
63) Elmer Kelton - Shotgun
64) Lawrence Block - Some Days You Get The Bear
The title story in this was a pleasant surprise, quirky, with an odd ending that makes me wonder about the further story of the man who need to sleep with a teddybear and the woman who slept with her boa constrictor. Overall, a quite enjoyable collection that ended up as my traveling book.

65) Ed McBain - Fiddlers
A pretty basic 87th Precinct mystery, with a lot of odd interaction with the characters -- all sorts of romances staggering into being, falling apart, maintaining. Meanwhile someone is killing older people. Oddly, all of the polie characters seem to be established here as being i their mid-thirties...apparently since the first book, published in 1958.

66) Jack Gantos - I am Not Joey Pigza (audio)
67) Rick Geary - The Fatal Bullet
I was surprised to find myself being drawn into this graphic adaptation of the story of the assassination of President Garfield and the sorry, sordid tale of his assassin. I'm now looking forward to the other Geary books.

68) Rick Geary - The Case Of Madeleine Smith
69) Rick Geary - The Mystery Of Mary Rogers
70) Sir John Betjeman - Summoned By Bells (audio)
71) Stephen King - Blood And Smoke (audio)
72) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
73) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Company (audio)
-While I can enjoy the historical detail, I've felt that sometimes the novels get bogged down, and somewhat repetitive and tedious. At the same time I'm fascinated by Cornwell's historical afternotes.

74) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Sword (audio)
-This was hard to get through at times, as Sharpe has an antagonist here who's genuinely horrible.

75) Loren D. Estleman - Retro (audio)
76) raúlrsalinas - Red Arc: a call for liberacion
-Southwestern beat poetry, listening to it, with Fred Ho on sax. It's unfortunately on the whiny end of beat poetry, but I'm going to give it another go.

77) Leslie Ernenwein - Rampage West
78) Adam Hall - Quiller
-Adam Hall was a major influence on my writing. This is now my traveling book.

79) David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day (audio)
- Sometimes salty, often pithy, and at times very funny. I was suitably amused.

80) John C. Dofflemeyer (ed.) - Maverick Western Verse
81) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar (audio)
82) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - The Palace
83) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of The Man Of Steel
84) John Whitman - 24 Declassified: Cat's Claw
85) Steve Frazee - Tumbling Range Woman
85) Harutoshi Fukui - Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 Vols. 1 & 2 (doing both of these together as they're a complete story)
86) Brian W. Aldiss - Bow Down To Nul
87) Richard S. Prather - The Cheim Manuscript
88) Richard S. Prather - The Shell Scott Sampler
89) Richard North Patterson - Protect And Defend (audio)
90) Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them (audio - maybe, as I have this in a large print edition as well as on cassette)
91) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of Batman, Vol. 2
92) Eddie Campbell - The Black Diamond Detective Agency
93)Jon Ronson - The Men Who Stare At Goats
-This rambles a bit more than I'd like, unlike The Psychopath Test. Even so, when I finally got to the movie I was very annoyed that the reporter character was an American...it took me a while to swallow the fictionalized element of the production. Ronson himself is such a quirky character that they really should have had Ewan MacGregor playing an analogue of him, rather than a generic neurotic American,

94) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: Teenage Wasteland
95) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: The Good Die Young
96) Runaways - True Believers
97) Ray Bradbury - Himself (audio) (Bradbury reading nineteen stories)
-And not a one of them unfamiliar, which is okay. Enjoyable performances from Bradbury.

98) Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine (audio)
99) Bernard Cornwell -- Sharpe's Honor (audio)
100) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Rifles (audio)
101) Richard Wilbur - The Voice Of The Poet (audio/text)
102) Armistead Maupin - The Night Listener (audio)
103) Jonathan Lethem - You Don't Love Me Yet (audio)
104) Sena Jeter Naslund - Four Spirits (audio)
105) Anthony Lloyd - My War Gone By, I Miss It So (audio)
106) Len Deighton-Funeral In Berlin
-With the ongoing enforced moribundity, with me confined to bed much of the time, I've been wandering about amongst the audiobooks. I started in on this one yesterday evening, and just never stopped with it. The tapes, though, are in rather questionable shape. My dead tree copy of the novel is in one of the stacks under the coffee table. And as I've done The Ipcress File (last year), I suppose I'll soon have to reread The Billion-Dollar Brain and Horse Under Water.

107) E. E. "Doc" Smith - Triplanetary
-My friend Tribs got a flea in her ear about reading these books, and that got me interested in reading them again, and so here we are. Oh, was this ever starchy space opera fun. I don't think it's aged all that well. Still and all, expect the other books in the series to follow on in this list.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

The Eyes Of A Stranger [Mar. 10th, 2012|12:19 pm]
[Tags|]

Well, I got through the laser eye treatment, and now know more about the process than I did before it was scheduled...did I mention that I love to research? The capsulotomy is supposed to de-film the implanted lenses, but contrary to the surgeon's attitude, and according to the techs and nurses, it takes a few days for everything to settle down -- until then they won't know what my new prescription is going to be. As it seems that the remains of the capsule are still floating around in my left eye (as I have continued haloing, and focus is variable) the techs and nurses would be right. I can also see my vision changing almost by the hour -- and my regular reading glasses are now pretty much useless for computer work, and I'm having to manage with a rather battered pair of magnifiers...I think I'm going to have to make a stop at the dollar store for a new pair, rather weaker than the ones I usually use for books.

It's a very odd feeling.

By the time everything's settled down, I'm told I'll have 20/20 vision in the left eye and either 20/30 or 20/40 in the right, although I'll still need glasses -- probably bifocals, for the firs time in my life. At this point I'm really looking forward to that, if only because I can't see struggling with this set-up for very long...! I'm assuming there'll be correction for astigmatism as well, and I don't think the implants corrected that issue.

Now for the next set of problems. This is going to be a busy year when it comes to my health.
Link1 said somethin'|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Just call me Edwin.... [Mar. 8th, 2012|04:28 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[Wait, I felt something! |apatheticapathetic]
[Needle Hits Groove |Don Black On John Barry: Beyond Bond]

I have some degree of sympathy for the old Hubble Space Telescope now, you know, in that it turns out that my optics are faulty. In the case of the Hubble, it was the mirror that was the cause of focus issues. In my case, it's down to my implants, which I've had since 2004's somewhat fraught cataract surgery (aside from the difficulties apparently presented by the depth of my eyes, there was an unexpected delay in getting the right eye attended to, during which it deteriorated finally to the same degree that the left eye had.) I *should* have had several follow-up appointments to check that everything was in order back in 2004, and proceeded to let this slide, for a variety of reasons.

So now here we are in 2012, and I've finally gotten around to it, and the mysteries of my vision have been somewhat explained. I've continued to need glasses, and have been using dollar-store magnifiers for quite some time, as they seem to work for me when reading text; I can use my old reading glasses when working at the computer. Focus, however, has been spotty throughout, and I've been known to wake up completely blind, something that can take up to an hour to fully pass; I also have severe haloing and shadowing in the left eye, especially at night -- just looking at one of my lamps, for instance, I get a general halo, and an offset ghost image below the lamp. At its worst, this makes it troublesome to actually have that eye open at certain times -- bright but overcast days are a menace, for instance.

The recent examination by my ophthalmologist indicates that I have 20/40 and 20/70 vision, which is interesting because the indicators are that my vision's worse than that. Indeed it is -- I have filming on both implants, which is playing hell with both focus and light perception, explaining why I need so much light in my current place, lest I perceive it as a gloomy, gloomy dwelling. This is apparently Posterior Capsule Opacity

Fortunately for me, the solution to this is much simpler than the solution for Hubble -- no astronauts, no space shuttle, no taking out bits and replacing them with new bits. No, they just zap me in the eyes with lasers. Frickin' laser beams to the eyes! Apparently this will burn off the film, reducing it to a very fine ash that dissolves quickly in the vitreous fluid. There's a slight chance of retinal detachment, but I can live with that. I've been told I can expect my vision to substantially improve as a result...well, at least once the dilation drops wear off, anyway (during the examination they used numbing drops twice and a huge dose of the dilator, so I spent the next several hours walking around in a blind fog. It brought back some not so fond memories.)

Anyway, this is part of the ongoing attack on my medical issues. I have the cardiologist coming up, which rather frightens me.

In other news, I just finally got a new mattress, and, oh, it's been a joy.

I've also admitted that I need to find a counselor, and have a good long talk. Both kasey and Jens' deaths hit me hard, and something seems to have burrowed in, and I don't like the way I'm feeling right now, or the directions I'm moving in. I've always been prone to taking to the hermitage, but it's more pronounced than ever right now, and this can't be good for me. Karma dying didn't help, either. I feel both intensely alone, and overwhelmed by people.

Anyway, I need to get a little sleep. Time to hit that newly wonderful bed.
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Following Brian Blessed up that very last mile [Feb. 26th, 2012|01:59 am]
[Tags|, , ]
[Wait, I felt something! |tiredtired]

The beginning of my Mount TBR challenge.

And the most recent expansion of the list.

It just keeps going and going, this effort, and I'm quite enjoying it. I'm finding places to read the short story collections like Lawrence Block's Sometimes You Get The Bear, and even the poetry collections such as raúlrsalinas' Red Arc. I'm finding myself less enthralled, however, by the Sharpe books by Bernard Cornwell, but I'm determined to go through the ones I have. I've been trying to resist the call of adding enough additional books to pull me the rest of the way to the Everest level, but in this, I'm afraid, I've failed...and so here we are again. I already got started on this batch -- and considering that it's the Everest section, I expect to past 100...and be done with them all by the end of the year.

76) raúlrsalinas - Red Arc: a call for liberacion (southwestern beat poetry, listening to it, with Fred Ho on sax.)
77) Leslie Ernenwein - Rampage West
78) Adam Hall - Quiller (Adam Hall was a major influence on my writing early on)
79) David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day (audio)
80) John C. Dofflemeyer (ed.) - Maverick Western Verse
81) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Trafalgar (audio)
82) Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - The Palace
83) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of The Man Of Steel
84) John Whitman - 24 Declassified: Cat's Claw
85) Steve Frazee - Tumbling Range Woman
85) Harutoshi Fukui - Samurai Commando: Mission 1549 Vols. 1 & 2 (doing both of these together as they're a complete story)
86) Brian W. Aldiss - Bow Down To Nul
87) Richard S. Prather - The Cheim Manuscriupt
88) Richard S. Prather - The Shell Scott Sampler
89) Richard North Patterson - Protect And Defend (audio)
90) Al Franken - Lies And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them (audio - maybe, as I have this in a large pring edition as well as on cassette)
91) Martin H. Greenberg (ed.) - The Further Adventures Of Batman, Vol. 2
92) Eddie Campbell - The Black Diamond Detective Agency
93)Jon Ronson - The Men Who Stare At Goats
94) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: Teenage Wasteland
95) Brian K. Vaughan - Runaways: The Good Die Young
96) Runaways - True Believers
97) Ray Bradbury - Himself (audio) (Bradbury reading nineteen stories)</strike>
98) Ray Bradbury - Dandelion Wine (audio)
99) Bernard Cornwell -- Sharpe's Honor (audio)
100) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Rifles (audio)
101) Richard Wilbur - The Voice Of The Poet (audio/text)
102) Armistead Maupin - The Night Listener (audio)
103) Jonathan Lethem - You Don't Love Me Yet (audio)
104) Sena Jeter Naslund - Four Spirits (audio)
105) Anthony Lloyd - My War Gone By, I Miss It So (audio)
106) E. E. "Doc" Smith - Triplanetary

On other fronts, audio and video, I'm not paying as much attention as I should to the audio stuff recenty acquired -- I've yet to play any of the cassettes (at the bag sale I found a handful of Native American releases; these will eventually be digitized and cleaned up) and I've only played a couple of the recent CD acquisitions, although one disc is already set to be redonated because, honestly, how the hell did I manage to pick up a Coldplay CD? On the video front I'm not doing too splendid a job in keeping track of what I'm watching -- I did finally get to the "Gently Evil" episode of Inspector George Gently a couple of days back, and, right after talking about the character of George Smiley (I do rather empathize with old George) pulled out Sidney Lumet's adaptatio of Call For The Dead, retitled The Deadly Affair, with James Mason playing a renamd Smiley. Curiously enough, elements of the film that weren't in the book might well have been used by Le Carre for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

On the life front, I'm struggling along a bit with the health, and taking steps to get something done about that (slowly.) I'm having an eye consult on Tuesday, to see how I'm doing eight years post-surgery, and other things will be tackled one by one over the coming weeks. Socially, I think I'm limping along right now...I've been running various meetups here, but one of those got stepped on by an associated group, who announced a major demo a week after I'd announced the pilot of a new group. Another of my meetups has been shedding members seriously over the last couple of months, and I've finally taken the hint and canceled that one. It's a bit worrying for me, however, as with the agoraphobia, these meetups are one of my few reasons to get out, and thus have been valuable for that alone. Abvsent these as excuses, I'm not sure what I'll do.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

When Books Attack! [Feb. 24th, 2012|07:34 am]
[Tags|, ]

I feel sorry for the Cox technician who had to come out yesterday to get my phone service back. As soon as he arrived and introduced himself, a stack of old boxes sittring on the patio keeled over with a crash. Mind you, the effect was less on him than on me, as I'd forgotten what the lower boxes in that particular stack contained. Books. Of course. I've known for a while that sooner or later some of these books were going to make a break for it. In this instance, it was textbooks, some of which had been damaged (thank you, late cats, and hall-peeing Taliesin the demented dog) long ago. So while the gent from Cox did his thing on the outside, I fought the books to a standstill o the patio. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this lot, although the damaged books will likely get chucked into the recycling bin...which I hate to do, but some of these are a testament to the eternal power of cat urine.

The phone issue -- in the space of a few hours it went from fully functional to dead -- was apparently a dead junction box, and the solution to the problem was to replace my admittedly aging Motorola modem with a brand-new Cisco DOCSIS 3.0 phone modem. Unfortunately, this also entailed a bureaucracy dump in the form of newly-mandated third-party verification, which meant that both the tech and myself spent way too much time waiting for the wheels to grind around several times in a row before everything was settled, and even then he had to go through the process of setting up a tech ticket so the new modem could be fully activated. On the plus side, the resulting phone service is the clearest and loudest it's ever been. The new box might even clear up some ongoing Internet issues I've had, although it may be that I also need to replace the aging router, which is a seven year old Netgear that's barely younger than the modem I just replaced.
Link1 said somethin'|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Sometimes I believe that the hot-air balloon might have served better.... [Feb. 20th, 2012|04:35 am]
[Tags|, ]
[Wait, I felt something! |moodymoody]
[Needle Hits Groove |Bill Nelson - [Golden Melodies Of Tomorrow CD1 #09] The Old Nebulosity Waltz]

It's very nice to be getting back into the swing of reading, as it makes a nice respite from the psychological turmoil -- I'm finding myself trying to isolate more and more, depressed about large sections of my life, and often bored and hopeless. Books provide me an escape, perhaps a better one, at that, than cinema and television.

I finished Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test in surprisingly short order, and I think it bears going over again, although it does point out, once again, just how many psychopaths we have in politics, whether here in the US or operational in other parts of the world. Nor are these people birds of a feather; they have commonalities, but many of them have a sheen of their very own -- Mitt Romney is not Newt Gingrich is not David Cameron, and so on. It doesn't much matter whether you go left or go right, they're out there, and they're out there in business, and high finance. For all that this might be true, however, Ronson also points out some of the falalcies and flaws in modern psychiatric diagnosis and treatment (as well as pointing out the major flaws in anti-psychiatric operations. Ronson may be one of the few people to effectively get away with making a mockery of the practices of the Scientologists.)

I'm almost done with Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe's Sword, recounting the travails of now-Captain Richard Sharpe and his rifle company in Spain, as Wellington takes on the French in a devastating series of battles complicated by spies and betrayals. I'm amused that even though this audio book edition is read by one David Case, I keep managing to translate his voice into that of Sean Bean for all of Sharpe's dialogue. It's good old fashioned chest-thumping historical action from the point of view of an uncommon common man, and if there's seemingly a bit much of the old shot and shell and sword at times, that's just the way of it. Cornwell doesn't shy away from the guts and glory aspect of things. To keep things amusing, I've been listening to this in an old ex-libris cassette edition, which spread the book over eight tapes (apparently this has had four editions so far, with four different readers.)

My current schlepping-around book, carried to places and appointments where using the MP3 player is impractical, is Lawrence Block's Sometimes You Get The Bear, which is a collection of short stories; I seem, for no good reason, to be reading this in reverse order. In a regrettable concession to my aging eyesight, which remains problematic several years ater surgery, I acquired this in a large print edition. While I'm due to acquire new spectacles before too long, I fear that I will still be looking for large print volumes, as well as continuing to indulge (cheaply, if possible) my decade-long enjoyment of audiobooks. Speaking of short stories, I'm also working through Loren D. Estleman's General Murders, which collects five short stories featuring P.I. Amos Walker, all read by Robert Forster.

Finally, on CD, amounting to a quick entry, I popped in the single CD of Jack Prelutsky's Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems, which manages to include three books of relatively nonesense verse and a handful of songs accompanied by acoustic guitar. While aimed at kids, it's the sort of thing I can listen to once in a while without any sort of guilt.

And now I lay me down to sleep. Goodnight, all.
Link1 said somethin'|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

"I don't know what it is," said Sisyphus, "but I just can't stop climbing." [Feb. 14th, 2012|05:41 am]
[Tags|, ]
[Wait, I felt something! |tiredtired]
[Needle Hits Groove |Richard Thompson - She Sang Angels To Rest | Powered by Last.fm]

Another month, another book sale, and another bag day, although this time I'm happy to report that I donated/redonated two bags full of books, magazines, and audiobooks and returned with only one bag full of new acquisitions, though this might in part have had to do with the pickings being a bit slim in some areas, and my habit of approaching the CD racks with what amounts to a high-powered suction device (eighteen CDs, including Richard Thompson's Sweet Warrior in surprisingly fine condition) at the start. For all that, I did get a fresh batch of audiobooks on CD (and a copy of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine on cassette) and a number of books. I'd intended to try looking for titles in the Hard Case Crime imprint, but this plan came a cropper because of the difficulty spotting the spine design, I was tired and sore (I've been sleeping very badly of late), and being the smart guy that I am, I hadn't printed out a list in advance. If I was being smart about things, I'd probably put all of my books into a database, and print the thing out (or get a cheap tablet I can stick such a list on.) On the bright side, it's rare that I manage to duplicate titles. Also, this wouldn't stop weird mistakes that occasionally I make -- one of the new CD acquisitions wasn't the world music CD I thought it was, but a Coldplay EP.

O)nce again I've been veering off from the original list of books, as well as the expanded list, and this means I'm now going towards the El Toro level of the Mount TBR Challenge -- and, inevitably, towards Mount Everest, at which point it doesn't matter how many more I add on.

The details of the Mount TBR challenge here, with the original list of books.

The Original List:

01) Stephen Fry - Making History
02) Caleb Carr - Killing Time
03) Frederik Pohl - The Voices Of Heaven
04) David Brin - Sundiver
05) Todhunter Ballard - High Iron
06) Dean Owen - Last Chance Range
07) D. B. Newton - Shotgun Guard
08) Alan LeMay - Thunder In The Dust
09) Eugene Cunningham - Riders Of the Night
10) L.L. Foreman - The Renegade
11) Lewis B. Patten - The Odds Against Circle L
12) Richard S. Prather - Lie Down, Killer
13) Cornell Woolrich - Fright
14) Richard Aleas - Songs Of Innocence
15) Richard S. Prather - Darling, It's Death
16) James A. Michener - The Bridges At Toko-Ri
17) Alan Ryan (ed.) - Vampires: two Centuries Of Great Vampire Stories
18) Janet Evanovich - Fearless Fourteen
19) James Kakalios - The Physics Of Superheroes
20) DC Showcase Presents Dial H For Hero
21) Edward S. Aarons - Assignment Cong Hai Kill
22) John Zakour - The Frost-Haired Vixen
23) DeCandido/Mack/York - Star Trek S.C.E. Book 6 Wildfire
24) Sharyn McCrumb - Bimbos Of the Death Sun
25) Ed McBain - Widows
26) Bradford Scott - Curse Of Texas Gold
27) John Brunner - The Dramaturges Of Yan
28) Shelby Foote - Shiloh
29) John Zakour & Lawrence Ganem - The Plutonium Blonde
30) Stephen Bly - Friends And Enemies
31) Stephen King - Hearts In Atlantis
32) The Essential Iron Man Vol. 1
33) Ellis Peters - The Funeral Of Figaro (audio)
34) Alan Paton - Cry, The Beloved Country (audio)
35) Marvel Essential Tomb Of Dracula Vol. 4
36) Alastair Reynolds - Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
37) Sandra McDonald - The Stars Down Under
38) Peter F. Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
39) David Toop - Ocean Of Sound: Aether Talk, Ambient Sound, And Imaginary Worlds
40) David Manning (Ed.) - Vaughan-Williams On Music

And Then I Added:

41) James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
42) Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43) Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
44) Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45) Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46) Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47) Charles Stross - Halting State
48) J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49) Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50) Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)

Taking The Horns By The Bull:

51) Frederik Pohl - Platinum Pohl
52) Max Estes - Hello, Again (a cute and quick read from Top Shelf)
53) Loren D. Estleman - General Murders (audio, read by Robert Forster)
54) Pierre Boulle - The Bridge Over The River Kwai
55) Robert Terrall - Kill Now, Pay Later
56) Jack Prelutsky - Behold The Bold Umbrellaphant And Other Poems (audio)
57) Randy Kennedy - Subwayland (non-fiction about the New York subways and underground life)
58) Jon Ronson - The Psychopath Test
59) Elizabet Peterzen - The Last Draw (Sista Stcket in Sweden)
60) Lawrence Block - The Thief Who Couldn't Sleep
61) Chuck Rosenthal - The Heart Of Mars
62) Christopher Moore - You Suck
63) Elmer Kelton - Shotgun
64) Lawrence Block - Some Days You Get The Bear
65) Ed McBain - Fiddlers

I know there's ten more to go on the list, but I'm going to get to those later because right now I need to sleep. I'll add the other ten below this, later on.

The Next Fast Blast:

66) Jack Gantos - I am Not Joey Pigza (audio)
67) Rick Geary - The Fatal Bullet
68) Rick Geary - The Case Of Madeleine Smith
69) Rick Geary - The Mystery Of Mary Rogers
70) Sir John Betjeman - Summoned By Bells (audio)
71) Stephen King - Blood And Smoke (audio)
72) Ray Bradbury - From The Dust Returned (audio)
73) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Company (audio)
74) Bernard Cornwell - Sharpe's Sword (audio)
75) Loren D. Estleman - Retro (audio)

I already have a new stack started that's going to be up to 25 before too long. Little by little, chipping away, chipping away.....
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Hammering in the pitons [Jan. 30th, 2012|08:15 pm]
I walk around with a carabiner in my pocket, you know; it's not that I'm happy to see you, just that there's an increasing mass of metal in my pants. It's attached to the multitool I got as an incentive from the former Nielsen consumer research arm, and my battered little keyring, with its two-key complement, is hooked onto the other end of it. Alas, it's a small carabiner, and absolutely no use for climbing purposes. Not that I can climb anything beyond a moderate slope or a small set of stairs at the moment.

There's been a smattering of good news. The chronic MRSA I've been enduring for years, in outbreaks large and small, appears to have been beaten not only into remission, but eliminated entirely from my system, which, if true, is very nice, though it didn't depart before doing considerable damage, given opportunity by that other chronic issue, the dermatitis. My Doctor suspects that the elimination of the bacteria could be due to my essentially having replaced my entire bloodstream with nuclear-level antibiotics, although it's possible that the honey applications of the past few months may have helped (this was started based on peer-reviewed research, rather than some sort of new age-y idea, and the antibiotic qualities of honey are well known and documented. Apparently honey screws up certain antibiotic-resistant bugs' mechanism for resisting antibiotics.) Unfortunately, there are a couple of other bugs, and the pseudomonas is still in play, so I'm getting a new nuclear device cocktail of antibiotics for a while.

I'm also highly anemic, and have that more-and-more common issue of a vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight might help with the latter, but remember...I live in Arizona. Six months of the year, sunbathing leaves me, pasty white bloke, crispy-fried after fifteen minutes. I'm now in line for cancer screenings and a heart ultrasound as well, and possibly vascular surgery at some point.

So...that's part of my life at the present time. Amidst everything going on, I continue to climb Mount TBR. I'm presently working on Stephen King's Hearts In Atlantis (read impasively by William Hurt) and Frederick Pohl's The Best Of Frederik Pohl (I've also been dipping into Platinum Pohl, so I should stick that on the hind end of the lsit at some point.) Not on the list, as it's a library book, is The Astounding, The Amazing, And The Unknown by Paul Malmont, which I just finished -- I'd gotten halfway, and stopped, distracted. It's a great big shaggy dog story, a retro science fiction novel that brings together Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague de Camp, Lester Dent, Norville Page, Nikola Tesla, Albert Einstein, L. Ron Hubbard, and many others to tell a story involving the mystery of Tesla Wardenclyffe Tower, the Tunguska Incident, and the Philadelphia Experiment, amongst others. It's a breezy read, with some lovely references thrown in for those with a knowledge of the history of science fiction and science fiction fandom.

Watching my way through video material as well, bit by bit. I've got The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp: Season One and Cheyenne: Season One out from the library. The Wyatt Earp series is amusing, in that it's almost entirely fiction, with its starting point being Stuart N. Lake's heavily fictionalized biography of Earp. Particularly amusing is the depiction of Earp as a thoroughly morally upstanding man -- no drinking, no smoking, no foolin' around with women, no gambling, and he doesn't shoot to kill even when everybody else does. The real Earp, meanwhile, had no compunction about killing, was a professional Faro dealer in a number of places, drank, smoked, and was known to whore around from time to time. There were times in his career as a lawman, mind, that he tried to avoid killing people -- he much preferred to buffalo 'em...that is, brain the miscreant using the weight of his gun. Still, the series is moderately well done.
Link7 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Writer's Block: Opposite Day [Jan. 25th, 2012|09:49 am]
[Tags|]

Who or what is your opposite?


I always joke that Stephen Fry is my evil twin, although that would, really, be me, as I have the beard.

My opposite? Would be pretty much every sociopathic/psychopathic Republican politician (in other words, pretty much all of them.)
Link2 had somethin' ta say|Yeah, I got somethin' ta say

Signal-boosting: Stop ACTA, the global sequel to SOPA/PIPA [Jan. 25th, 2012|12:12 am]
Originally posted by box_in_the_box at Signal-boosting: Stop ACTA, the global sequel to SOPA/PIPA
Originally posted by electricdruid:



ACTA in a nutshell:

What is ACTA? ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.

Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope, and will involve new tools targeting "Internet distribution and information technology."

What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly, the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries' law enforcement agencies.

Essential ACTA resources:
Say NO to ACTA. It is essential to spread awareness and get the word out on ACTA.

Via Tumblr:

LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Heading for Kilimanjaro [Jan. 24th, 2012|11:41 pm]
[Tags|]

The details of the Mount TBR challenge here, with the original list of books.

So, being me, it looks like I'll be going for Mount Kilimanjaro now. I figure I might as well, as I made the mistake of getting started on James Patterson's London Bridges, which I blew through in wonderfully short order.

So.

41. James Patterson - London Bridges (audio)
42. Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky (audio)
43. Frederik Pohl - The Best Of
44. Greg Palast - Vulture's Picnic
45. Charlotte MacLeod - Exit The Milkman
46. Charles De Lint - Medicine Road
47. Charles Stross - Halting State
48. J. G. Ballard - The Burning World
49. Nevada Barr - Endangered Species (audio)
50. Various - Dinosaur Fantastic (anthology)

Currently on deck: Killing Time by Caleb Carr (a woeful dystopian polemic; at a guess, Carr was taking a crack at a modern Verne, or a modern H.G. Wells -- the super-vehicle at the core of the story reminds me of the Nautilus, certainly, and Treassarian a mutant Nemo), Hearts In Atlantis by Stephen King (not engaging me so far, although the audiobook edition has some nice production elements), Marvel Essential Iron Man Vol. 1 (still making me wince), Greg Palast's Vulture's Picnic, which is quite the indictment of the modern capitalist world, and John Brunner's The Dramaturges Of Yan, about art that changes the universe if you're looking in the right direction.

Frederik Pohl's The Voices Of Heaven trotted along cheerfully enough to its good-natured end, proving once and for all that it's not one of Fred's books that I'll ever be moved to revisit.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

Writer's Block: Happy New Year of the Dragon! [Jan. 23rd, 2012|03:27 pm]
[Tags|]
[Needle Hits Groove |Be Bop Deluxe - Sister Seagull | Powered by Last.fm]

What is your Chinese zodiac animal?


Fire Monkey, born in the Hour Of The Snake, if I remember it all correctly.
LinkYeah, I got somethin' ta say

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