Books. I Read Them.

What you see here is a screenshot of ebooks on the Kindle Ap of my Chromebook, in "Recently Read" order. You can tell that 6 of 14 are Lois Bujold novellas, Penric and Desdemona stories in the World of the 5 Gods.One is a Jennifer Crusie bundle of Four of her romance novels.3 are so-called "cozy mysteries." one more is a trilogy of fantasies set in a magical history, during the regency in England. 2 are by Delta, a contemporary writer from my days in the Alt.Sex.Stories newsgroups. The last is alternate history SiFi, part of the enormous Ring of Fire series.

Fourteen entries. Nineteen stories. And this doesn't record everything I've read - just the books on this ap in my Chromebook.I have entire libraries on thumb drives and two different Kindles, not to mention logging in to Baen Books and reading online.In February, I think I read forty books all told. Blame the pandemic. Blame the weather. Me? I blame my enjoyment of reading.

Can I Blame THIS On 2020?!

Thursdays on Argh Ink are Good Book Thursdays. Like many other blogs and forums where folks participate, this is a post where the owner and the other folk share what we're reading or re-reading, sometimes with recommendations.

One of my posts:

NOVEMBER 5, 2020 AT 2:41 PM
I’ve reached the sixth and final book of the Bellisarius series by Drake and Flint. It all gets resolved in this book, and I’ll be crying along the way.

I’m in book three of the Alexis Carew “Hornblower In Space” series. I don’t think I’ll be buying the rest of the series. I’m not sure I’ll finish book three.

The books I’m enjoying most just now are the ones being “snippetted” on Baen’s Bar. “Snippeting” is publishing on the web of partial chapters of the book in its prior to final editing format. Depending on the author(s), there may be a few egregious mistakes left. Anyway, those books are first, 1637 No Peace Beyond The Line, through Snippet 46. That snippet began with “*This book should be available now, so this is the last snippet.*” By snippet 46, you’ve probably read half the book. They’ve hooked you. You’ll be buying the rest. This is a part of the Ring of Fire alternate history series.

The second is The Macedonian Hazard, which is the sequel to The Alexander Inheritance by Flint, Goodlett and Huff. It’s up to snippet 6. Technically, this is also an offshoot of the ring of fire, in that the cause of transposing a small West Virginia mining town to 1631 Thuringia Germany also cause a 2040 Oceanic Passenger Liner to go to the Mediterranean shortly after Alexander the Great died but before his wife and child and brother were murdered. Pre-diodochi, you see. Things change.

Finally, there is Two Cases For The Czar by Gorg Huff and Paula Goodlett, which is only at snippet 2. Notice Goodlett and Huff in both the latter two books. It’s getting so I’ll read anything they write. Anyhoo, this is also Ring of Fire, the Russian branch, and is a sequel to A Holmes for the Czar. Murders happen. Miroslava “Holmes” solves them. She was gifted with that last name by order of the Czar. It’s implied that she is mildly autistic in a way that makes her extremely observant.

That’s what I’ve read.

Then last week:

NOVEMBER 12, 2020 AT 1:20 PM
I’m re-reading A Holmes for the Czar and The Alexander Inheritance because I’m reading the snippets of their sequels. New snippets come out Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If I wasn’t clear, snippets are partial chapters, but lined up sequentially, they are contiguous. You get whole chapters, just not the same day.

Also read Masquerade at Lodi again, because Bujold.

Then there was this post:
Re: Are snippets finished forever?
Eric knew that I was stopping snippets last Friday and apparently hasn't
found anybody to "take up" the job.

I didn't see the need to announce that I wasn't doing snippets anymore.

Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

2020 SUCKS!

Can I Blame It On 2020?

As previously mentioned, the dotter and I shop and dine out on Sundays. What with the pandemic, we still shop but do takeaway instead of dining in restaurants.

Tonight was WalMart* and Outback Steak House. There was a slight mix-up - we were given an order belonging to Barbara Someone instead of our own. So, I called to let them know. Barbara might be happy with our sirloin and ribeye, but her chicken fingers didn't turn us on at all.

Manager Katie is having our meal remade and delivered. This is why I keep going back there. :)

A Little Gambling Problem

The use of a term reminded me of a Sea Story from the 1980s. (For those who are unfamiliar, the difference between a fairy tale and a sea story is that the former starts, "Once Upon a Time..." and the latter starts, "This is No Shit.") The term is FBMC, which will be obvious, shortly.

This is no shit. When I was a Chief Petty Officer (CPO) on the USS Will Rogers, there was a silly type of gambling called Oolying. An Ooly was a bit of knowledge, possibly trivia, that specifically had to do with Naval Nuclear Power. The amount of the wager was almost always one quarter, $0.25.

This particular ooly took place during an EOOW/EWS* Seminar, a weekly training seminar in the officers' Wardroom. The details are blessedly vague (and I should have long ago debriefed for security reasons) but had to do with procedures and limitations for reactor operations following a partial loss of power. I had just studied and committed that procedure to memory, so when it came up during the seminar and someone got it wrong, I corrected them.

The XO slapped a quarter on the table, challenging my correction. "Quarter, Chief?" I slapped a picture of my months-old son and said "First Born Male Child, Sir?" There was laughter and merriment and we looked up the answer (I was right) and I never did that again.

*EOOW/EWS is Engineering Officer Of the Watch and Engineering Watch Supervisor
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Global Decaffeinating

As happens from time to time, I got an email from Amazon asking if I could help another customer with a question. Sometimes I can Sometimes not. This time, the question dealt with Celestial Seasonings® Green Tea, Decaf, to wit: "They say they use a natural process to decaffeinate. What is that process?" I said, "I don't know."

But I went to the product on the web (linked above), and read:

Our green, black and white teas are naturally decaffeinated using nontoxic carbon dioxide (CO2).

I don't know what makes this process more natural than any other, nor what the alternatives are. I do know that CO2 is the "devil gas", responsible for global warming. Or some such.


No Laughing Matter

Happy April Fools Day, Day number mumble of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Laughing matter or not, I've read hundreds of jokes about the novel corona virus, and told a few myself. I've also been lectured by an SJW for being racist for calling it the China Syndrome. Jokes aside, I am self-isolating except when I need to travel to work and back, essential personnel that I am. I have been in stores at least once per week, trying to keep a six foot personal space.

I had a cough all winter. Mid March, I reached a tipping point, thinking I'd check in to a hospital not if it got worse, but if it didn't get better. It got better. The cough finally went away. I've frankly been hoping I had the Covid and survived, because I'm in those groups; over 65, diabetic, heart condition. I've been thinking, "I catch this crud and I'm dead." But 63 year old diabetic Tom Hanks had it and lived - maybe I will, too. Maybe I have.

Calendar Reform, 2020

I followed a link about Calendars and was thoroughly charmed with the 28-35-28 days-in-the-month scheme, aka the four-five-four weeks in a month scheme. Every month would start on a Monday. Every month would have either four or five weeks with no extra days. Every year would have 364 days, except leap years, which would have an entire leap week of seven days.

“But wait!” you cry. “I was born on January 30th, and under this mad scheme, January will never have more than 28 days. What about my birthday?!?” Simple enough. You were born on the 30th day of the year. Simply adjust to February 2 and go on with your life. The same thing that actually happens to people now born on February 29. They don’t have their birthdays taken away, they just celebrate on the day after February 28, whatever it happens to be. It’ll all work out.

And think of the charm of celebrating on February 35th!

“Thirty-five days hath November
“February, August, and May
“All the rest have twenty-eight
“And an occasional week of Leap-Day.”

No harder to memorize than the current poem.

Vaccination - a Vacation from Disease

Call me “Pincushion.” On the way to work, I swung by the Walmart pharmacy to pick up my Furosemide prescription. All my prescriptions used to be synchronized – now it seems like I pick up something every week or so.

Since I was early, I asked for some vaccine. A flu shot and the first each of two pneumonia and shingles shots. I haven’t minded shots in years and years, since a Navy Corpsman gave me an overseas series before the family moved to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (1966). He was amazing. Today’s shots were just okay. Second shingles shot in due February 18 to June 18, second pneumonia this time next year, and “this will last you the rest of your life.” I’m not sure that’s reassuring.

I’ve had all of them before, though the pneumonia and shingles shots were strictly singles back then. When she asked, “How long since you got them?” and I answered, “I’m not sure, but it was at the Ukrops pharmacy,” she figured it was more than long enough. The pharmacist at Ukrops was as good with a needle as that long-ago corpsman, but Ukrops sold out to Martins who sold out to Publix. I like Publix better than Ukrops or Martins, and they've maintained the Ukrops Deli and Bakery through the successive iterations.

She put the Pneumonia and Flu shots in my right, the Shingles shot in my left, and warned me that if any arm was going to hurt, it’d be the left. Neither arm hurts perzactly, but I’m very aware of them.

Very, very aware of them. Achy, so to speak. Good thing I'm taking today off.

Fine Dining or Food Porn

I visit Jennifer Crusie's Argh Ink a lot, since she's near the top of my Favorite Authors Spreadsheet. Her blog isn't just about how to write, or what she is writing - she often mentions food. Now, we both suffer from CHF and we're supposed to avoid sodium.

She uses Tamari in her stir fry, which I said has a high sodium content. How does she cope? She replied that everything else she ate was low sodium fiber veggies. Eventually, that lead to this in a post about what genre to write in.

So… what genre is bok choi? I was in Food Lion, thinking I might get some hot cooked chicken wings and potato-cheese barrels, and my mind asked, “What about stir fry?” So I bought a head? of bok choi and some red and yellow peppers and green onions, some Uncle Ben’s brown rice, some thinly sliced beef. I have tamari as of yesterday and some minced garlic in oil I need to use. What else do I need? And seriously, is this Fine Dining or Food Porn. Either way, I’m blaming/crediting it entirely to you.

Bok choy is part of the cabbage genre. Get some ginger and mince it and make your stir fry. Oh, and with the green onions, chop the white and light green parts and put them in early, and then slice the dark green parts and use them for garnish along with sesame seeds. Same with the bok choy: slice/chop the white parts and add the dark green leafy stuff at the end. It’s all good for you.

Several more posts followed, including one of the other Arghers telling her she shouldn't have mentioned it being good for me until after I ate it. I told that lady that it was exactly the point - eating things good for me. I eat too much of the other sort.

Long story shorter, it was quite good, and I have a chicken breast that will be diced to go with the leftover bok choi/choy and green onions, peppers and so forth. Oh, and about the green top garnish? Bloody marvelous.