Annual Books Read in 2016 Statement

2017 has begun and its once again time to review the number of books read in the last year. I’m almost ashamed to state the number was way down from the previous 2 years, with only 64 books purchased and read in 2016. Here’s the breakdown:

64 digital books
3 audible books
67 total books read/listened to in 2016

The largest attention of the year went to reading all of the Hieronymus Bosch mysteries written by Michael Connelly. A close second was his Lincoln Lawyer books as the leads in both series are actually half-brothers on opposite sides of the law in many ways. Interesting and highly recommended if you like biographically rich backgrounds with enough character growth to make them continuously intriguing. If you like them be sure to check out Bosch, the Amazon Prime series for a very good telling of the stories.

Beyond that I read a few of the Kris Longknife series, a sci-fi series by Mike Shepherd. It follows the military adventures of one Kris Longknife, billionaire and heir to a political empire, who wants to make her own impression on the galaxy. While it adheres to many common sci-fi tropes it denigrates itself by having characters using dialog, mannerisms, and decisions that were laughable in the 1950’s let alone centuries in the future. It’s as if culture stood still and events from centuries before was better known than the most current events of the series. Every time I ran into one it made me wonder the author included it and his editor left it in. A pretty mundane series that rolled from one semi- self inflicted comical situation after another and eventually solved by the heroine’s grit and massive bank roll. Avoid unless you have absolutely nothing else to read.

Also reread a bunch of paperbacks when new ones weren’t plentiful enough but can’t say exactly how many. Some Parker (Spenser series), some Heinlein, and some Grafton (Kinsey Millhone series) were in there but the rest is kind of lost.

Seemed to be a bad year for releases as nothing much caught my eye and the ones that might were hideously expensive due to publisher greed. Anything over $10 is too much to pay for a digital version of a manuscript yet publishers continue to push prices of $13 and above for the latest releases.

That’s all for now.

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Finally Done and Moved In

The kitchen is finished!

I now have a completely functional house to live in. Still dozens of minor issues to address but the main ones preventing me from living inside have been addressed. Now to return to a normal writing schedule ASAP. Been slacking off terribly this entire summer using one excuse after another to avoid writing. But the end of the year is fast approaching and some work needs to be completed before then.

Of course, as soon as I make the decision to start writing again I screw up my back and spent a week recovering. Of course that’s a sign I really need to begin exercising again as well.

macOS Sierra

macOS Sierra

And then, yesterday Apple released the latest macOS update named Sierra and my installation failed at around 90% complete. Had totally forgotten I’d replaced the default boot loader with one that allowed me to choose between Mac OS X, Windows 7, and Ubuntu partitions. Well, by the time I’d figured that out my main partition was FUBARed. Spent all afternoon erasing, repartitioning, and reinstalling macOS Sierra onto the hard drive. Fortunately I’d finally gotten around to running Time Machine backups on an hourly basis so recovering, while time consuming, was pretty straight forward and easy. Had a working machine within a few hours with only a couple of major/minor hiccups to still recover from.

The first was my iTunes music library. I store all of my media in the Users/Shared folder and not in my personal folder. Made the decision years ago for some forgotten reason and never changed it back. Anyway, the Shared folder wasn’t backed up by Time Machine automatically. It should have been backed up, but somewhere along the way I decided to removed it from the backup list. In retrospect that was a bad decision. Figuring out how to download my music from iTunes Match was like pulling teeth. Something so simple should have been quick and easy but wasn’t. iTunes would show me songs I could download and yet nowhere was there a menu item or icon to click on to make it happen. And yes I had the iCloud column active in iTunes and yet the download icons were disabled.

After much hair pulling I finally logged out of my iTunes account and back in to make the icons enabled. Also, now the Songs menu showed a Download item in it, which wasn’t visible before logging back in. Sheesh, what a waste of time trying do something simple. Anyway, its finally downloading but that will take some time. 6500+ songs to download takes lots of time and effectively monopolizes my net connection. But, in a few hours I will have all my music back on my local drive.

My VMWare virtual machines for WinXP, Win7, and Ubuntu were also lost as they too were stored in the Users/Shared folder. I think I’ve got them backed up on another external HD but they’ll have to wait until I get my music back first. If I don’t have a backup then its back to the drawing board and starting them up again. What fun!

That’s my life right now, hope yours is going better.

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Still Waiting on a Kitchen…

Frankenfurter on GoTsWe’re still a month away from getting a new kitchen installed but everything else is slowly settling down, so much so that I’m really starting to feel the itch to start back into my writing projects. I’ve been avoiding it for the last few weeks for no good reason.

In the meantime I’ve moved into my house from the trailer and except for not being able to cook its going swimmingly. Got bedrooms setup and the office is nearly done with a larger desk and good lighting (thanks to my brother Ross). Only issue is the keyboard tray isn’t wide enough to support my keyboard, mouse and pad, and trackpad all at once. However, I’ve got a plan to fix that and then we’ll be set.

Network is still iffy at times. Not sure the AT&T cable modem is any good as it just seems to randomly forget it should be responding to web requests. I’ve tried running an ethernet line from it to my Apple router but half the time it forgets its even attached. Everything is done via Wifi when I’d prefer using ethernet whenever possible. I could replace the AT&T cable modem with my own but so far haven’t worked up the energy to do that yet. Would mean calling AT&T to get the cable modem access and then rework the entire home network into working. Need some mental energy and so far that’s been lacking. I did it once and it irks me to even think of having to do it again. Sigh, first world problems.

As for writing, on Monday I awoke with some ideas to improve a char in Built for Murder and ended up writing their history from their POV in my notes. It made their actions clearer to me then before and provided me some much needed background on which to base or rework some scenes to show their attitude.

I have continued to read and comment on papers submitted to the Austin Writer’s group I left behind. That at least is keeping up my interest in getting back into my own writing RSN.

That’s all for now. Hopefully I’ll have more thrilling news to report on my next post. Possibly even progress. Wouldn’t that be nice?

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Big Move Completed

Four days ago I arrived at my new home in Michigan after spending 3 days driving a moving truck with towed vehicle from Texas to Michigan. Fortunately I had the help of my wonderful sister Lynne to help keep my spirits up and kick me in the butt whenever I balked at the next chore on the massive moving list. The entire trip was done under cloudy skies and intermittent showers and well under normal highway speeds. I never knew how long a trip could be when you don’t attempt to exceed the posted speed limits. Let me tell you, it’s long.

The home I purchased is not new and needs some real TLC to make it really livable. I’ve got contractors lined up to restore the wooded floors that fill most of the rooms, painters to cover the base coat already there, and looking into a new kitchen that wasn’t built in the late 50’s. Call it two months and it’ll be looking really fine but in the meantime I’m using my brother Ross’ camper trailer to live in while the work is done.

Cat’s hated the entire journey. Three days in carriers to keep them safe, in a towed car, left them confused, scared, and very jittery. Follow that with the strange noises they heard from their safe bedroom while my family helped get things situated for living there. They’ve since improved once everyone else left and I could free them from their bedroom to do some real exploring. They still don’t have total run of the place but as they realize nothing will be attacking them in this strange new environment the should mellow out.

Today I got the internet hooked up and so am making up for lost time. It’s funny how this one simple communication channel so dominates my life now. So much so that only subsisting on my mobile cell connection was totally unacceptable. Reception is weak almost everywhere at my new location and its a miracle to see 3 bars when 1 tends to dominate.

Once I get over the stress of the move, get my contractors started and start seeing some progress I hope to start working on my projects again. My wonderful writing group in Austin has given me a wealth of notes to revise the next draft of Built for Murder and I’m thinking a couple of dedicated months of work will see it completed, finally!

That’s all for now.

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