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The Musings of an Idle Mind

Things that go 'Bump' in my head

Challenge: Books I Discovered On Social Media
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gary_jordan
The challenge comes from Mock Ramblings, which was itself a link from Jennifer Crusie's Argh Ink, This is a Good Book Thursday, April 25, 2019, thanks to a post by Michael Mock.

So, what books have I acquired and/or read because of social media?

1. Minutes ago, I "bought" a book from Kindle recommended by The Fussy Librarian. It cost nothing. Which book? Power Surge (Anna Jennings Super Novel Book 1) By E.J. Whitmer, Kindle Edition. I haven't read it yet, so if you want a review, go to Amazon. The blurb on Fussy Librarian says:
Anna Jennings is no superhero. In fact, had you asked her about superheroes a week ago, she would have called you crazy. But that all changed one night when she and her wayward sidekick Carl discovered several of her co-workers engaged in some decidedly non-run-of-the-mill human activities.

2. Allegro Court (Bendixon Sisters Book 1) Kindle Edition by Brenda Margriet. Romance genre, which is only to be expected as Brenda is a poster at Argh Ink, from whence a great many of my social interactions occur. It's a fair romance between a musician and a contractor, one of those rekindling the high school flames things.

3. Another from Argh Ink, ALL SYSTEMS RED (The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells .Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella, Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella; Winner: 2018 Alex Award; Winner: 2018 Locus Award; One of the Verge's Best Books of 2017; A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller. A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence. "As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure." Science fiction, recommended by romance readers? I had to take a peek. Now I have to read the series.

4. I have and do count the comments sections of Web Comics as social media, so when Dave Barrack of Grrl Power made a recommendation, I said, "What the heck." (I linked to the start of Grrl Power. It's up to #720 or so, now.) Anyway, to quote Dave,
So, while waiting for Amazon to sort it’s shit out with Michael-Scott Earle, and we can finally get some new Star Justice and Tamer books, I’ve continued reading a bunch of other novels, and I came across one I really like. I’ve been kind of sheepish about recommending it because… well, it’s “erotica.” At least that’s the category it’s listed under at Amazon, but quite frankly, calling it erotica is underselling it a bit. There’s a lot of sex in this book. Like, a lot. So if that doesn’t interest you, you’re just not going to enjoy it. You’d be skimming through… quite a bit of text to get to the rest of the story.

Unlike a lot of other harem novels, however, the sex actually factors heavily into the actual plot. Yes, it’s almost like the author came up with a reason for the characters to have a lot of sex, beyond them being horny for the usual reasons, and then wrote a story about it.

If the sex doesn’t turn you off, or, if in fact you don’t mind some sex (or a lot) in your harem books, there’s a shockingly good space opera to be had here. I would actually put it on par with Star Justice, which is something I never thought I’d say, as it’s one of my favorite series of all time. Another thing I like about Three Square Meals is that there’s a lot of it. The story is over 2 million words long and counting. By the time you get through the first three books, the overarching plot is only barely starting to reveal itself. What can I say? I enjoy it when there’s a lot of something I enjoy. In a shorter story, you get to see the characters interact with one group or another, but then that’s usually it. In this longer format, you get to revisit those groups and see the sometimes empire shifting consequences of their interactions with the MCs. Plus, IMO, the story keeps getting stronger as the cast expands and the momentum of the story builds.

Another thing I like about the story is that it does OP right. The main character, (and the women in the harem) get really powerful. (Something I like in my harem novels is when the women are really awesome too, go figure.) The story keeps escalating so that they have significant challenges, but importantly, there are a lot of great scenes where the MCs have awesome moments of OP-ness* and are able to wow their allies, and/or crush their enemies, and see them driven before them, etc. That balance is important IMO, and a lot of books don’t get it right.
I disagree with Dave about this being Science Fiction. It's Science Fantasy. A good question might be, "What's the difference?" I'm not going to answer that. The "first four books" are on Amazon, there are 115 chapters on Literotica, 103 chapters on StoriesOnline.net.

5. one of the Social Media fora out at which I hang is Baen's Bar. Provided by Publisher Baen's Books, the bar consists of numerous Conferences. The Conferences are full of Topics, and the topics are full of posts. Lois Bujold has a dedicated Conference named Miles to Go. I've gotten recommendations from there. But another Conference, Movies and TV contained a Topic, My Problem With Marvel's Civil War, which dated back to Monday, 9 May 2016 13:53. The back and forth posts of this topic recommended a number of books and web comics, including Marion G. Harmon's Wearing the Cape series.
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So TIRED...
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gary_jordan
The state police stopped me on the way to the doctor's office. It seems my State Inspection Sticker had expired... last October. Naturally I took my delinquent butt to a State Inspection station. By the time I left, my credit card was $630.00 lighter, or heavier, whichever means I spent it.

All my tires were badly worn, one almost to the steel belt. Why? Because my car was badly out of alignment, front and back. They also replaced a bulb that illuminates the license plate, but that was chickenfeed.

I remember when you could get four tires for what one now costs. God, I'm old.
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I really meant to go to my barber...
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gary_jordan
...but I didn't. I own a set of clippers - how hard could it be?

Stop laughing. Just stop. It's not funny. Okay, maybe a little funny.

I set a trash can in the bathroom sink, attached the half inch thingy on the clippers, and just started trimming, everywhere. The trash bag was filling up nicely, two to three inch long clumps of hair. But it didn't feel right, and I couldn't angle my mirrors to see the back to tell what I was doing. So I enlisted Jen's help.

To her credit and my gratitude, she didn't laugh. She just observed I had some sort of "Mohawk" thing going, and invested a couple of minutes cleaning up my mess. (The mess on my head - the mess in the sink she left to me.)

My barber would trim around the ears and the neckline. We didn't do that. I'll see my barber in a few weeks for that. But for now, I feel much better. And fuzzy.
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I didn't die again today.
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gary_jordan
I'm back from Ivor Medical Center where I enjoyed my semi-annual checkup. I had no complaints, they had no complaints. Last night I got a notice from Virginia Cardiovascular Specialists that my quarterly remote check of my ICD was equally complaint-free.

At this point, anyone with any trope-savvy at all would be saying, "It's quiet... too quiet."
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Dellbert is going back to Dell
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gary_jordan
It worked for hours, until it said I was out of room on my hard drive.

"What?!" I exclaimed. "It's a freaking 1 Tb drive! I had videos on it! Now it won't even let me put eBooks on it?" A quick investigation showed that Drive C had 26.1 Gb, and most of that was Windows.

Back in a chat and phone call with Dell, no luck. The last thing they told me was, "Turn it off, open it up, remove and reinstall the hard drive wires." So I did. And hark! A completely empty drive E: 931 Gb showed up. So I rebooted to see if it would recognize E: as C: and now it doesn't work again.
\
Back to Dell. Dammit.

Dellbert IV is back from Dell
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gary_jordan
FedEx delivered Dellbert this afternoon. I look forward to several hours of setup from scratch, since the hard drive was supposed to be replaced and new stuff installed. I will bet they didn't put in the missing 16 gigs of Ram, but that is a different monkey in this circus.

I'll also be making the virgin setup of Windows Office Professional 2019. I hope they didn't change the programs beyond recognition.

I will be performing daily backups.

Clock Day?
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gary_jordan
Today is Tick Tock Day, a lovely holiday that reminds you that you’re running out of time. Since I’m dealing with heart failure and a deadline next Friday, I am officially ignoring this day.

You, of course, may panic to your heart’s content.
- Jennifer Crusie,
Argh Ink
Cherry Saturday, December 29, 2018
Posted: 29 Dec 2018 01:36 AM PST

Naturally, I posted:

I mostly ignore clocks, mostly. Can’t ignore one right this minute, the one telling me to leave for work in one hour. I can’t much ignore the one at work, either, but I know it’s just a little under ten hours until my four-day weekend starts.

It’ll start with dinner with the daughter, some time between 11 AM and 5 PM. When exactly isn’t so important. We’ll eat “after three, some time.”

That whole “Up At Midnight To Drink In The New Year?” I’m normally up til 3 AM anyway; I’ll bring it in with a 3 ounce glass of heart-healthy red wine (port – I can stand that.) I mean, if I notice it’s midnight.

My favorite clock is this thing I got for employee appreciation this year. The front is a digital display of date and time under a photo – in this case of the youngest grandson looking quite devilish. He was definitely up to something. The back is a calculator, and I still use it – a lot – despite phone apps and computer apps and spreadsheets and all that.

Happy Tick Tock Day (and are you sure this isn’t an Oz holiday celebrating automatons?)


That reminds me - I need a new calendar.
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Dashboard Camcorder
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gary_jordan
I was in Walmart and say a dashboard camcorder for under $20.00, so I bought it. I wasn't expecting miracles from this toy, which is just as well, since it didn't deliver any. Naturally, it plugs into the cigarette lighter... like all the other auto accessories. Chargers, back heater/massagers, reading lights...

It takes a memory card, the kind most digital cameras take these days. Up to 32Gb. I got a 16Gb card, because they didn't have a 32 in stock. It records as .AVI files in 3 minute increments until the card is full, then overwrites the oldest file after. If there is anything you want to save, it's important to turn it off, or at least stop recording, until you transfer the files. Otherwise it will record all night, and you'll have many nifty videos of whatever is in front of your parking space, like white fence or the side of the power plant.

It's not a steep learning curve, but there is one.

Tonight I plugged it in, angled it to the right, and cruised the neighborhood's best Christmas lighting. That's how I discovered that this Chromebook doesn't play AVI files, except the audio. I'm taking it to work. I want to share one or two of the neighbors' festivals of lights.

Dash-Camera-Cam-with-170-Degree-Wide-Angle got a single 1-star review. Like the reviewer, mine didn't come with the memory card. I'm not ready to give it a complete thumbs down... yet. If nothing else, it might make a decent window cam, watching my car.
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Merry Christmas
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gary_jordan
My daughter gave me my Christmas present today, a day early, because it isn't something that can be wrapped and put under the tree. I just took pictures. I wanted to find earlier pictures for a comparison, but oh well.



Just the one picture. That's my passenger side headlight, and if I had the older picture (taken of the dent in the hood after Bambi attacked me) you could see that amazing difference. I complain about how poorly my headlights illuminate the road, and there is a $69 pair of new headlights in my Amazon wish list for tax return money to buy.

Jennifer watched several You-tube videos about polishing headlights, then attacked mine with 800 grit and 2,000 grit sandpaper, a buffing cloth, and a clear UV coat of spray paint. If that doesn't sound like much, find those videos yourself, and realize that this involved hours of elbow grease application followed by masking off the front of the car and spray painting.

Best. Christmas. Present. EVER.
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L'ordinateur est mort.
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gary_jordan
"The computer is dead." I know I've posted about this, but It. Is. Still Dead.

I spent an hour or two this evening with Sridhar at Dell Support. We started out in a chat session using my Acer Chromebook, and when we lost the connection, he called me on the phone. After all the troubleshooting, his considered opinion was it's a hardware problem, and he's sent me a FedEx label to affix (I kept the original box) to return it to Dell for repair. Expect 3 to 6 weeks turnaround.

"What's the big deal?" you ask. After all, I have the Chromebook for all my internet needs.

I have other needs. Also, My Beloved Employer just offered me Microsoft Office Professional 2019 (not "Student" or "Home") for $15.00 and I bought it. Requires a Windows 10 operating system, it does. Chromebooks need not apply. Chrome OS does not run many Windows applications.