NaNoReadMo

Nov. 6th, 2015 06:14 pm
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Two posts in one day? Yes, I'm full of words, I guess. And no, that isn't a typo in the subject line.

I am not participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I have at least six mostly finished books already that need attention and final touches.

Earlier this year, like back in February, I signed onto the Goodreads.com "Reading Challenge." You set a quota number of books that you intend to read before the end of the year. I set my quota at 50, less than one book a week, figuring that I'd easily meet that goal. I can normally get through one title a week even when I'm working full time, and what with retirement at the midpoint of the year, I expected to have lots of time to read.

Well, it didn't work out that way. I was doing fine until June, but I accomplished very little reading during the summer, and by last month Goodreads was nagging me for being 8 or 9 books behind. I decided to devote November to catching up. There is no shortage of material, as I have a "to read" list that exceeds 200 titles. A hard push over the last two weeks just to finish books that were sitting around partly read has brought me up to even with the expected reading so far, and then past it so I am now three books ahead. I only need five more to make up the 50, and I expect to exceed that by some unknown number before the holiday madness hits.

One thing that helped was changing my own rules. I had been counting only fiction, when in fact I've been reading a fair amount of technical books and other non-fiction material. I went back and added some of those to my completed list, which raised my running total by a fair amount. I have three more partially completed books to wrap up now, which should pretty much guarantee a successful conclusion.

For the curious, my list of books read for the 2015 challenge is here. I am assuming that anyone can see the list, but if that isn't the case, let me know and I'll try to find another access point.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Some of you long time followers may recall The Clydesdale Librarian, my furry review site. It was launched on the beta Google sites, and collapsed when Google changed the code and structures so much that I couldn't keep up with the necessary revisions. Of course, it was beta after all, so what could I expect? Still, it was discouraging enough that I let the site languish for several years.

In the last couple of weeks, I've been receiving notices that Posterous, a blogging and image sharing site, is going away. I had an account with Posterous, but only used it to follow others. Nonetheless, they keep advising me that Posterous will be shut down (as of today in fact) and I should back up my content and move it elsewhere. I requested the backup file of all three of my posts, which has never arrived.

Anyway, Wordpress was suggested as one of the platforms to which Posterous material could be moved. I've meant to look into Wordpress for a while, and this gave me the needed nudge. The end result is that I spent most of Sunday manually rescuing content from the Google sites edition of Clydesdale Librarian, and translating it bodily (textually?) to a new Wordpress site. I completely deleted the old Google sites pages, which means that various links in Google are now dead. We'll see how long it takes them to catch on and update to point to a non-Google site.

The new URL is http://hossification.wordpress.com and the title is Exposterous Hossification: The Clydesdale Librarian. The first new content went up this morning, a review of Howard L. Anderson's Western-style Australian adventure novel, Albert of Adelaide.

Soooo...

Jun. 14th, 2012 09:38 pm
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
Saturday is Gary's birthday. He's very difficult to buy gifts for. I've got him a basic e-reader (Kobo) and I think he'll like it but it will take him a while to warm to it. (He had the same reaction to MP3 audiobooks but now he's addicted to them.) I charged the battery and loaded a dozen free books that I think he will like, on top of the 100 or so that already come pre-loaded. Thanks to the Baen free library (www.baen.com/library) I could easily get free copies of several complete books. I'll show him how to check out and download library books, of course.

I've also got a locomotive for him. N scale, of course, but he wanted a Diesel switching engine and we still haven't found a good one. I got a Kato NW2 in B&O/Chessie System colors after hunting for months. Those things are pricey. (Yes, it cost more than the Kobo reader.) I'm still looking for an unpainted shell for the NW2 so I can do a custom paint job for him in any line, real or imagined, that he chooses.

And Sunday is Father's day, which means I should also get him a gift from the sheep, ducks, horses, and his dog...

I'm sore. As if I'd been gardening all day. What I actually did was uninstall a five seat multi-user Linux workstation and replace it with a newer six-seat version this morning. This entails lots of crawling around on the floor and pushing cables through small openings. Hurray, it's working. I think.

Oh, and we cleaned the fans for the horses' stalls. Or I should say Gary did while I handed him tools and such. It's getting really warm and humid, so this is a good thing.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
I promised weeks ago to post a photo of the eggs from our ducks, and here, I've finally gotten round to it:

Circle of... eggs


This is two days' production from three ducks, arranged like the circle of chords since I've been practicing again (with Neal and Gary today.) The white eggs are C major, and the blue eggs are G major or G7, the dominant, while the olive tan eggs are F major, the sub-dominant chord... No, I'm not drunk, just being silly here.

Early this morning I succeeded in getting my Literati ereader to upgrade itself to version 2.0 of the firmware system, last one available. Once studied out, the solution was simple enough. The files I first downloaded to perform the upgrade were corrupt. It turns out that with Firefox, right-click "Save link as..." was not sufficient to transfer a compressed tar file unscathed. The same approach using Internet Explorer worked without corruption, as did wget used from a command line. Given an uncorrupted package file, the system was perfectly happy to read it in and perform the upgrade. Now it accepts epub files over the USB cable, either by direct copy or by transfer using Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions, or Kobo Desktop. Quite a few features were added in the upgrade as well, with better display controls, more options for finding and viewing books, and so forth. Dropping a 2GB SD card into the expansion slot gives enough memory to hold hundreds of books, an entire library's worth. I no longer need feel that I mad a mistake in purchasing this. (It's compatible with Nook and Kobo books, as well as ebooks.com and ebookwise.com. Project Gutenberg epub files work well too, and borrowed library ebooks are compatible. In other words, very similar to a Kobo or Nook ereading device, except it has a color LCD display.)

Busy weekend ahead, but I think I'm enough on top of it to enjoy it if the weather holds up.

Reading

May. 28th, 2012 10:00 pm
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Of course I had things I should have been doing, and I did do routine chores and even some laundry, but I spent a large part of the day reading. I haven't had time to do that in quite a while.

Threatened with thundershowers again but none materialized. A few clouds, but mostly there was sun, with increasing winds as the day went on, and a high temperature in the 80s. Dropping humidity all day kept it feeling comfortable as it grew warmer.

Back to work tomorrow (boo) so time for bed now.
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
Spent some time at work messing the the Literati, trying to get it to update its firmware, but without success. It tries all right, but comes back with the message "Update cancelled." No reason given. Also, if you try to sync it using Kobo Desktop, you get the message "Downloading update" for a minute or so, followed by "Update failed." Other possible conclusions: Somehow the available mamory in the device is locked, marked read only, or otherwise unwritable. I could offer to do this, but it seems best to leave this sort of thing to the customer.

The refurbished Kobo Wi-fi reader arrived today in the mail. Amazingly small and light weight, with supposedly very long battery life since the display is e-ink rather than LCD. The battery was already charged, so I took it with me to listen to an evening performance by Kishwaukee Rambers, one of Gary's groups. The musical performance was great as usual. The Kobo reader performed as it should, connecting by wireless, updating its own firmware, downloading titles I already own from the Kobo website, and so forth. I'm not fond of e-ink. It isn't high enough in contrast, in my opinion, and it is slow to update which gives a sort of seasick feel to each page turn. It looks as if the letters swirl around and rearrange themselves to spell out the next day's message.

But at least it works, all functions are operational. That's more than can be said for the Literati, even though both devices are obviously built on the same design and software core. I installed epub books by download from Kobobooks, by drag and drop, by using Calibre, and all of them came up just fine. At least I have an idea now what the Literati should be doing when it sits there and stares at me.
altivo: (rocking horse)
And a long weekend, thank goodness.

Formal word today, no raises again. Soon they'll be asking us to pay them to work for the city. Unionized employees get raises. No union, no raise.

Tess is OK, thank goodness. I went out early, before breakfast, to let her out of her stall and put her in her pen. She was fine, and remains normal this afternoon. The grass in the pasture is dry from lack of rain and therefore slow growing and not so rich in carbs, I guess.

Gary survived his root canal too, and so far has some ache but no terrible consequences. Good thing, going into a three day weekend, though I think the only added resolution they have might be to extract the entire tooth. He's gone to a Toastmasters meeting (ewww, but he likes them) at the moment.

Gusty high winds and red flag warning are unusual for us, especially at this time of year. If the predicted thunderstorms materialize tonight and tomorrow, though, that will take care of the problem.

Replacement Literati e-reader has arrived and is working normally but I haven't connected it to wireless and allowed it to try to update its firmware either. Will do that at work tomorrow, where the speed and bandwidth is greater.
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Morning meeting, afternoon shopping and chores, tired as if I'd been at work all day.

Indulgence: bought myself a new e-book reader, the Sharper Image Literati. Off EBay, half price for new unopened box. My old eBookwise has served faithfully for years, but it doesn't read the new standard formats and is obviously doomed to oblivion. I don't want to be bound to Amazon and their proprietary formats. This one will do, it's a version of Kobo I believe, and reads epub, html, pdf. Has wifi and a backlit screen. I don't like e-paper. Anyway, for the price it was worth a try.

Cool and gloomy weather, threatening to rain all day but never did. Gary cut a large part of the grass that was getting rank from rain and neglect.

He's watching all of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, one disc per night. Not sure quite why, but I'm sitting through them and being reminded of how badly I think Jackson treated Tolkien. He made a fine dramatic epic but it's not the story I have read again and again. It's another tale entirely.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
What an undignified way to insert a plug, by making a pun of it.

In any case, Allasso volume 2: Saudade is out in print and for the Kindle from Amazon.com and Createspace. Well worth the price of admission, it's a show that no furry reader should miss. Congratulations to Brian Lee Cook and Pink Fox Publications on a job well done.

And now... time for bed. Busy weekend ahead.
altivo: (rocking horse)
...is a day with some sunlight. Maybe. Well, there was some today, by afternoon anyway.

Gary has to finish a take home exam by noon tomorrow and then he's free from school at least until fall. It will be good to have him back.

I note with regret the fact that Maurice Sendak has passed away. While most furries probably know him for Where the Wild Things Are, I will always remember him first for In the Night Kitchen, a lovely little dreamscape that set off a fury and if I remember correctly even got onto the ALA banned book list for a while. All because he drew a dream picture of a little boy with no pants on. Humans are just amazingly silly and stupid about things at times.

Finished Patricia Briggs' Cry Wolf and I recommend it to anyone interested in a good werewolf story. Neither the horrible blood and gore stuff of years ago, nor the mush of many romance novels that just use the werewolf legend as a backdrop, it's a believable story with characters well worth noticing. It's part of a trilogy, plus a prefatory novelette, and I see I'll have to read all of them.

It's late and that's most of what happened today other than the usual work, eat, sleep routines.

Experiments

May. 7th, 2012 09:15 pm
altivo: Geekish ham radio pony (geek)
Playing with the Amazon Cloud Reader application, which lets you read Kindle books on a web-browser. It appears to be pretty slick. I have yet to test the ability to download and hold the book to allow reading it even when a network connection is unavailable. However, it does appear to work not only with books purchased from Amazon (or given away for free) but also with library e-books from Overdrive. Probably does not work with Smashwords, though, as you'd need a way to get the book into the Amazon cloud reader drive...

Went out for dinner in town to "celebrate" Gary "flunking" his statistics course. I don't know whether to take that seriously or not.

Today's amusing irritation: After I got into the car and started for work this morning, I noticed the smell of the hoof moisturizer ("Rainmaker") that we've been putting on Tess' front hooves. It's vaguely medicinal, with overtones of linseed oil and petroleum jelly. I find it quite strong smelling and, while not repulsive, not particularly attractive either. Sort of like hot tar. I finally concluded that I must have some of it on my shirt or other clothing somewhere. Much of the day I kept smelling it and trying to find to spot. Never succeeded. No one mentioned it, and Gary insists he can't smell the stuff at all, so I have no idea what to think.
altivo: (rocking horse)
*trumpet fanfare*

Allasso volume 2: Saudade has arrived on the scene from Pink Fox Publications. Available in traditional print or Kindle format from Amazon, this issue contains material from no less than eight (count them, eight) members of the Furry Writers' Guild, including myself. Prose, poetry, and some nice artwork too. Don't miss it.

End shameless plug. Seriously, editor Brian Lee Cook has done a super job of bringing these materials together. You can even skip my own story if you like, but you should read the others, OK?

No more woodpeckers today. I suspect, as usual, they have gone on to look for better nesting grounds. Whatever it takes to meet their criteria, we don't quite have.

Loooong

Apr. 25th, 2012 09:51 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Day relieved largely by a nice opportunity to recomment furry books from mainstream literature (rather than explicit furry small press titles) on Twitter.

Tomorrow will be long too, with an in service training seminar that I'm helping to give for new catalogers (and old) in our consortium.

Old guitar strings swapped onto my classical guitar still haven't settled very well. Every time I check they are flat again. Maybe this will continue until the newly ordered ones arrive, and I can start all over again.

Farriery

Apr. 20th, 2012 10:18 pm
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
John stopped by this morning, with Linda along, to look at Tess' chipped forehoof. He smoothed the damage out with a rasp and said it should be oK as long as it doesn't crack or chip again. We're applying Rainmaker daily to try to prevent that.

Got back from work breakfast just in time to help Gary load all his stuff into his car so he could take off for his hurdy gury players meet in Indiana. He won't be back until Sunday night late.

Finished up the grocery shopping for next week, so now I don't have to go anywhere this weekend unless something irresistible shows up. Ha. Maybe I'll just stay in and read. The weather today certainly was conducive to that.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Red Admiral butterflies are so thick outdoors that they light on almost anything that stands still. I saw them on the horses' backs and even tails, and one landed on my shoulder. I don't know what the usual emergence time is for the species in our area, but it seems to me that typically we do not see them until May.

I've gotten caught up in a book today and in consequence got only a limited amount of other things done. The book is Robin McKinley's Pegasus, which came out last year. Definitely worth reading, in my opinion, and I'll have more to say once I've finished it.

Mostly sunny today, and warm, but tonight there is a chance of showers and tomorrow an 80% chance of thunderstorms I think. Thought I heard a rumble of thunder a few inutes ago, but the radar shows nothing nearby.

Tomorrow is the last day Gary will be here before he heads off to his hurdy gurdy conference. Back late Sunday, I guess, just as I was from FCN last weekend. Going to be odd alone here for that long. Haven't had that in several years. I'll manage, but I'm not used to it any more.

Had this drowsy, sluggish feeling all day with some congestion as from allergies. Don't see how I could have gotten con crud, though I suppose a touch of PCD is possible. Feels humid and oppressively warm at the moment, though the temperature in the house is only 68F.

Strange

Dec. 1st, 2011 08:56 pm
altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Very strange. It feels so odd to spend an evening reading instead of having to write for a deadline. Don't worry, though, I will be continuing to write on the story.

I bought 11 dollar coins out of the library bank deposit this morning. These were all from the current series of Presidential portraits. It was like the utterly worthless Presidents series. Six of them were Millard Fillmore. Millard who? Yeah, that one. Two were Andrew Johnson. One was Andrew Jackson, whose antics would have made any 21st century GOP moron proud, and the last one was Thomas Jefferson. I'll grant that Jefferson was a reasonably good president whose views often agreed with my own. But the matter of Sally Hemmings and the mind games that were played over it for so many years does cast a shadow over his personal ethics and responsibility. As for the rest of this lot, they rate in my pile of really worthless politicians from history.

Chance of snow tonight. Last year we had snow already, though the first big one didn't hit until December 4.
altivo: From a con badge (studious)
Roth trades information with Rory, and gets the train going toward Chatton. When he finds Brent Cutwood waiting for him aboard the train, he has to keep his promise and allow an interview. Then on arrival at Chatton, the stationmaster tweaks him for failing to report the track defect yet again, even though he had done so at Dermouth.

Installment 25 is here

Cumulative word count: 51385

The Nano is completed, the story is not. I do intend to finish the draft and then go back and do a lot of technical editing on it. This year I have set a goal for completion, and that is the end of March, 2012. I hope to release an e-book version in several formats sometime after that, possibly even with illustrations. A paper edition is a possibility provided that I receive enough expressions of interest. I've heard encouragement from a couple of readers, but the counters on Furrag.com tell me that I have somewhere between 30 and 40 who have followed me through the entire 50K words so far. Now is the time for you to speak up. Do you want to read the entire story, polished and assembled as a finished novella? It's up to you.

Please remember that what you see at Furrag.com right now is not anywhere near a finished text. It is an incomplete first draft that will be enhanced, expanded, and revised before final release. The climax of the story hasn't even been reached at this point. There may be a small cost for the finished book, but as an ebook it will be under $3 US. Paper copies, if I go that far, will inevitably be more expensive. Just how much depends on demand and the publishing route I eventually might find. Note that ebooks would be readable in multiple formats, for Kindle, Kobo, Nook, Sony, and computer and tablet reading software. I definitely plan to use Smashwords as a distributor, but might be able to get it onto Amazon or other channels as well. Let me know what you think.

Monday ugh

Aug. 15th, 2011 08:32 pm
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Well at least it's nearly done. Work was, well, work. Except for one thing. I had a stack of kids' books to catalog among other things, and in them there were two of Ursula Vernon's Dragonbreath stories. I ended up reading all of the Curse of the Were-Wiener at lunch. It's hilarious, full of subtle jokes (many of which will probably go right over the target audience's collective heads, but OK.) Who knew that getting bitten by a Transylvanian were-wiener could turn you into a (gasp) minion? Or that the only cure would be to find and "take out" the alpha-wiener?

Said solution requiring both an end run around the "lunchroom ladies" in their hairnets, and also plumbing the coldest depths of the cafeteria's cold storage lockers. So much better than Captain Underpants or even Walter the Farting Dog. Keep up the good work, Ursula. Of course the illustrations are a stitch too. Even if you don't have an Igor on hand to take that stitch for you.

Remember the hibiscus I showed you last week? Well, we had a heavy downpour on Saturday for just a short time, but I'm told the rain knocked all the flowers off. You'd never know it. Today it had six blossoms open and more on the way.

Now I'm gonna go outside and see if I can catch a glimpse of the Sturgeon moon as it rises.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Useful work accomplished this weekend: zero.

Successes at satisfying others: several.

Cooking and chauffeuring accomplished. Choral premier performance attended, and it was quite nice. A traditional mass in Latin and English, the usual nine segments, for mixed choir, organ, and violoncello. The cellist was superb, the organist (also the composer) outdid himself, and the choir was not bad either, especially considering that they had only six rehearsals and none were professionals.

Made pasta casserole last night with whole wheat mostaccioli and our own home made hot Italian sausage. This morning, fresh blueberry muffins using our own frozen blueberries from last year, and tonight I served corned beef and cabbage in honor of St. Paddy's, with potatoes, carrots, asparagus, applesauce, and Gary's home made rye bread. That made a hit. The beef, carrots, and potatoes were cooked for 11 hours in a slow cooker, using beer for liquid. Fork tender, fragrant, and tasty.

Finished up a novel I was reading, The Darling Buds of May by H. E. Bates (1958.) Alex said my writing reminded him of this, though he was more likely thinking of the television serial that was based on the original books. However, I enjoyed the book and I more or less agree with his point. Bates' story of a cheerful and overly friendly English country family surrounded by eccentric neighbors does have something in common with my own domestic style, though I'd say this author is more prone to slapstick humor and less likely to be as subtle and layered as I at least try to be in my own writing. It's certainly funny and very English, and I recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind a leisurely stroll through the "medder" with pauses to smell the buttercups and listen to the cuckoos and nightingales, punctuated by incredibly heavy drinking, eating (with lots of ketchup,) moderately sublimated sexuality, learning to "use your loaf," and a cast of characters who are, for the most part, extreme caricatures.
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
It's raining outside. On top of the mountains of snow. Yuck.

I see that Kyell Gold made it into the finals for the Shorty awards on Twitter, right behind J.K. Rowling in fact. That's pretty amazing.

Leo Magna brought his Fur-Piled comic to a close this week, just in time for Valentine's Day. Well, almost. It's a happy ending for the main characters, but leaves me with hanging questions about several of the peripheral ones, such as Car (Husky's high school squeeze, the blond hyena) and Saetto's brother (who I still think is the same as the lion that Andy cruised in the supermarket and probably the same as the one who shook him up so badly and sent him into near suicidal depression.) And there's that odd lion with the sun visor who made several mysterious appearances. Who was that masked man? What did he stand for? Still, the strip is a masterful job and lasted what, almost five years? Worthy of his Ursa Major, I say.

I need to get weaving, as a new deadline date for finishing those blocks has been set, and it's just two weeks away. I feel like going to bed right now, though. Thank goodness this is going to be a three day weekend.

Gary gave me a nice big cuddly plush pony for Valentine's. He's probably from the same place as the black mare (we call her Nightmare) that I've had for several years, but slightly smaller. I'll get around to photographing him soon.

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