Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wibbling through a blizzard

The DC Metro region is expecting a blizzard. Right now, forecasts say 16 to 30 inches of snow with winds up to 40 mph. White out conditions through Sunday morning. Metro has already announced they are closing up Friday night for the weekend, which may be unprecedented in its history.

I have a (relatively pleasant) dilemma. I have tickets to Sunday’s Penguins-Capitals game. Games are almost never canceled. I’m not sure how this game will pan out since the Penguins have a Saturday home game and thus have to fly or drive to DC during the white out. Do I just chalk up the game/tickets as a loss, assuming it won’t be rescheduled, or stay in DC for the weekend for it?

It feels irresponsible to be away from home during a blizzard. But it’s not like I’ll be doing anything constructive there.

Also, keep in mind that several years ago I went to NYC for a weekend despite a blizzard. (It was fine. And fun.)

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Goals for 2016

Inspired by Sunita’s post.

These are mostly life goals, because I’m resigned enough to the continued slump in reading that I can’t really make any really specific reading goals.

  1.  Read more.  Write about what I read (or watch or listen to).
  2. Career development.  I’m pretty good at my job, but there’s not a significant amount of growth or development potential there by its nature.  I mean, it gives me a really broad base of generalized knowledge, and I’ve managed to acquire expertise in a couple of specific areas but they aren’t necessarily what I feel most engaged by.  Also, to be perfectly honest, large chunks of what I see on a daily basis are pretty demoralizing, in terms of man’s inhumanity to man and how greed turns off people’s common sense.  Beyond that, I think I might want to transfer to one of our regional offices. The problem will be figuring out how to do so without burning bridges, because my director has undermined everyone in my group who has attempted to transfer or get a detail or secondment; he’d rather have staff who are miserable than be down staff numbers since we’ve been told that for every 6 people who leave only 1 will be replaced.  [He’s an HR lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m pretty sure a couple of complaints have been made already.  I especially love how he tells women that we are “too emotional” whenever we call him on his unequal treatment.  And then there’s blatant favoritism of his workout buddy, who gets special treatment while being barely competent and less productive than everyone else in the group.]
  3. Finances.  I’m saving but could save more.  And I feel like I’m not making my savings work enough, so…financial adviser time.
  4. Learn to knit a sweater, so I can use the gorgeous Blue Heron silk-merino blend yarn I was given for Christmas.  I’ve never made a sweater.  No pressure there; the giver is just very much looking forward to seeing me in a sweater made with their yarn.
  5. Eat better.  I’ve been not great nutrition-wise lately.  Part of it has been the holidays, with all kinds of sweets around, but part of it has also been overindulgence on my part with respect to lattes and pastry at Cafe Poupon.
  6. Figure out what to do with my spare room.  I’ve decided kind of generally that I want to install a murphy bed system, but it needs storage/shelving, too.  I’ve looked at units that I could assemble (in theory…bad theory) but think I’m going to have to find a local cabinet-maker or furniture place that does them.
  7. Continue winnowing the clutter.  A lot of things that fall into the clutter categories are books and knick-knacks and the like.  I used to think that since books never go bad, why not hoard them?  But I feel like that’s not the healthiest attitude.  Also, it’s stuff to dust and store.
  8. Watch less hockey. (This is entirely The Biochemist’s fault.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

Leave a comment

Filed under miscellanea, Uncategorized

The Year in Reading

According to LibraryThing, I read or tried to read 42 books this year.  Scrolling through the list, a lot of the titles stir only the vaguest of recollections in my mind.

The ones that stand out as good (or very good) reads:

The Martian by Andy Weir.  As I mentioned on Twitter, I enjoyed this book even more than I enjoyed the movie.  The narrative style and the narrator’s voice *made* the book.

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold.  This is a novella set in her Chalion world, and it made me wish she would revisit it and tell stories based around the other Quintarian gods.  Loved it; it prompted re-listening to The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls.

Sean Kennedy’s Tigers on the Run left me feeling ambivalent; I enjoyed it while I read it as revisiting favorite characters but I did not love the plot.  Simon came across as petty and unprofessional, which was discomfiting since he was the narrator.

Non-fiction books King of Russia and The Road Beneath My Feet, both memoirs, were pretty good as entertainment but were not necessarily sterling examples of the craft of writing.  I’d recommend them to hockey and music fans but not necessarily to the public at large.

On the oops side, glomming Susanna Kearsley was a mistake; some of the books are reissues and are not so good, and none of them stand up to reading in close succession.

I’m mostly broken up with Nora Roberts aka JD Robb.

I’m looking forward to the new Vorkos-iverse book from Bujold in the spring, but otherwise I’m not sure what’s coming out soon or what I should be looking forward to.

2 Comments

Filed under Book related, Uncategorized

Continuity is a thing

There is an author whose voice/style I really enjoy.  Or maybe it’s the voice she has given her main character?  In any case, I’ve kept up with the series through multiple books, even though pretty much every book has had very noticeable copy-editing blips and some continuity errors.  Despite being edited by a Big Name Editor.

A novella was self-published recently, and there are a couple of continuity/consistency things that just make me cringe.  Is it retconning?  I don’t know.  But I think I’m at my limit, especially now that the series has moved to hardback; I’m not willing to pay hardback prices for books that make my hands itch for a red pen.

1 Comment

Filed under Book related, Uncategorized

Oh, fandom

There are lots of good things about hockey fandom.  There are.  But sometimes I forget how young a lot of fandom is.  Or maybe young isn’t the right word.  Inexperienced?  Oblivious to economic realities?

DKPittsburghsports.com is a sports news site focused on Pittsburgh sports; it was founded by a former Trib reporter and much of its staff are also former Trib employees or refugees from other traditional media venues.  Its material is behind a pay wall.  It’s a relatively cheap pay wall, frankly.  It has a tumblr where it posts snippets and it occasionally makes full posts free to the public.

But some people in hockey fandom have copied entire posts and circulated them.  So that other fans (or any random person poking around the internet) can read the copyrighted material while avoiding/evading the pay wall.  And when they receive a DMCA notice, they consider the site to be “douchey” because the posters aren’t making money off the reposting and thus there’s no harm.

Well, no, the rebloggers aren’t making money.  But they are republishing material that isn’t theirs, material that is behind a pay wall.  Republishing a paragraph might be fair use, but an entire column is not.  The material is NOT theirs to do that with.  And they are erasing potential income to the site based on their republishing.

That’s not douchey.  That is defending their intellectual property and their livelihood.

1 Comment

Filed under miscellanea, Uncategorized

I keep seeing trailers for The Big Short, based on Michael Lewis’s book. I read the book. I liked it and thought it broke the whole subprime CDO debacle into digestible chunks for average readers like me. But I’m not sure if the book really translates into a screen narrative, at least not in a way that won’t unduly glorify a character. (I’m not sure any of the ppl involved could be vilified beyond the ugly reality of their actual greed; certainly not enough of them were prosecuted or left destitute by the sleight of hand that crashed an economy.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

DNF’d and abandoned

I took two books with me to read over the holiday weekend.  One of them came back without having been read.  I left the other one behind in Chicago after reading about 40% of it. Maybe the Brother-in-Law will read it, or maybe it will be added to the discard/donate pile there.  The DNF’d book was Half-Dead Resurrection Blues by Daniel Jose Older.  I liked the setting (Brooklyn) but I never really cared about the narrator, Carlos Delacruz, or felt any particular urgency about the main conflict or mystery.

On to the next book, I guess.

~~~

Went to Improvised Shakespeare while in Chicago.  The title thrown out by the audience was “The Jeweler’s Daughter”.  The actor playing Edmund (among other roles) was channeling Richard III.  And the ladies of the court were funny, as was the naming of the nine security-guard orphans.  I would go again just to see what the cast come up with.

~~~

Walked the Bloomingdale Trail, which was nice.  I’m assuming that housing values around the trail skyrocketed.  It was fascinating to see the gentrification, which is still going on.  If I had realized that I walked right past Mindy’s Hot Chocolate, I would definitely have hopped off the trail to get a second helping of the Mexican Hot Chocolate.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book related, Out and about, Uncategorized