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Cut Steve's Blatherings

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Whew, Tired

      I spent most of Tuesday asleep, though why I was so tired I don't know.

      Otherwise, nothing much of a day, with one exception.  I received A Mankind Witch from Amazon.  This is the second book of the "Heirs of Alexandria" series, an alternate history in which the Library at Alexandria didn't burn, and magic works.  The first and third volumes have been published already.  A Mankind Witch is by David Freer, the other two were by Freer, Mercedes Lackey, and Eric Flint.  Recommended, if you like this sort of thing at all.

      Today, the new War of the Worlds opens.  K. and I will see it, either today or Thursday.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Oh, Yeah, Meant to Ask

      Hotmail is screwed up for some reason.  I can access my account through Outlook Express, but not directly through the web page.  If anyone has advice on how I can get logged on, or how I can contact them*, it would be appreciated.

      * How do you deal with Hotmail problems?  Well, to start with, you log on.  If you can't log on, you're screwed.  If you were ever tempted to be a socialist, the inability of people to make computers work ought to cure it.

Monday, June 27th

      Well, the air conditioner continues to hold.  That's a blessing.

      I finished another e-book, John Ringo's Ghost.  It's the kind of thing that Tom Clancy might have written, back when he was good.  It's also awfully dirty in places.  Let's just say that Michael Harmon is not the a very likeable person in some ways.  Still, I enjoyed it.  Recommended, especially if, like me, you're a Neanderthal right winger.

      And just in time, too.  The Postal Screwup has a package for me, containing a dead tree book, A Mankind Witch.  This is a fantasy by David Freer, who co-wrote The Shadow of the Lion and What Rough Magic with Mercedes Lackey and Eric Flint.  Witch is part of the same series, and alternate universe in which magic works, and the library of Alexandria was not burned down.  I liked the first two a lot, and I've read portions of the present one and like it, too.  With any luck, I'll have it tomorrow.  With great luck, I'll have it today.

      It rained this morning, so I can put off watering for another day or so.  I need to make an appointment for an eye exam for new glasses.  Otherwise, not much happening today.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Web Weirdness

      For some reason, I'm having trouble getting to sites, especially when using the "back" button.  Don't know what gives,  but I may not be able to post for a while.

Finished

      Weber's At All Costs.  I liked it, quite a lot.  Four and a half out of five stars.

      Now, of course, Ghost, by John Ringo.  I also have The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy out from the library.

      If you are a science-fiction fan, you don't want to go anywhere near the Baen Books website, at http://www.baen.com/.  Trust me, you can't afford it.  This won't stop me from going back, but you can still save yourselves from the addiction.

      STAY AWAY!  IT'S A TRAP!

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Saturday, June 25th, 2005

      It's been a good day.  K. and I went to the movies and saw the new Bewitched, which we both enjoyed.  We also had some nachos, and, despite a few bad moments on my part, I didn't get sick.  For that matter, I had some stew beef earlier, and tolerated that as well.  We came straight home after the movie, rather than our usual restaurant stop.

      In fact, I've only been in the house a few minutes, since I was using the computer before we left, and just had it hibernate.  The weather today is nice, and even nicer, the air conditioning is still working.  I guess it was just a vibration caused by the pipe leaning against the compressor/heat exchanger (thank you, Lord, for sparing us the repair bill).

      Oh by the way, concerning Bewitched, I didn't see her in any of the previews, but the part of "Endora"/the actress playing "Endora" went to Shirley MacLaine.  Funny, and she did well.  In fact, everyone in the cast did well, and I liked the script and direction.  So, recommended by K., higher recommendation by me.

      My one problem at the moment is an overabundance of reading material.  The worst is that Baen Books has figured a new way to remove money from fools like me.  Publishers print "Advanced Reader copies" of new books (they're the same as the regular editions, except for lack of final proofreading, and always being paperback), and send them out to reviewers.  Baen decided to make some of theirs available in electronic format, namely At All Costs, by David Weber, which is the next in the "Honor Harrington" series, and Ghost, the first of a new series by John Ringo.  No distribution costs (aside from processing your credit card bill), and, since we're getting it months early, he's doing us a favor, so he charges slightly more than normal for an e-book.  They're a mere $15.00, instead of the $4-$6 dollars he usually gets away with.  I'd rant about this, but Chapter 43 is REALLY good, so I've got to get back to reading.

      Just call me 'Sucker!'

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pray for Us Homeowners

      Some time ago, a downspout on the side of our house came loose.  It's been lying against the side of the house, in back, near the air conditioner's heat exchanger.

      Last night, as K. went to work (she's on graveyard shift), the AC was making a funny noise.  So I turned it off, intending to call the repair guy today.  After I turned it off, K. noticed the downspout was touching the AC, so she moved it.

      This morning, when we turned the AC on, it worked, and no noise so far.  Please, God, make it have been the downspout.  It's supposed to be over ninety today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Terrible Pain of Existence

      The last week has been Hell on earth.

      On Wednesday the 15th, K. and I saw Batman Begins, and I didn't like it as much as everyone else in the universe seems to.  Instead, I found it silly in a few places (the car chase, the rationale behind the League of Shadows, and the doomsday microwave that doesn't cook meat).

      On Thursday, my friend Lee Reynolds and I drove about 20 miles south of the Twin Cities and bought some more plants for the house, which she got wholesale because of her employment with a gardener.  Later, I couldn't find my check book to pay her with.

      On Friday, I mowed the lawn, or half of it, and I started to develop a blister.  Also, I was hot, and tired, because the grass was so thick, and the push mower isn't in good shape.  I decided to put the rest off till Saturday.

      On Saturday, I finished mowing, and still blistered, hot, and tired.

      I can't remember what went wrong Sunday, but it must have been similarly terrible.

      And yesterday, I watered the plants, and then, it rained.  In fact, we had a thunderstorm for several hours.  I got wet retrieving the mail!  Also, the power was out, forcing me to reset several clocks, and re-record the answering machine message.  For that matter, my local library branch closed because of the power outage!  I wasn't able to obtain a book that's on reserve.

      Meanwhile, I see by the news that the Iranians are complaining, just because they live in a dictatorship where they can get killed for stepping out of line, and their elections are frauds.  Wimps.

      Seriously, we frequently forget how wonderful our lives our, in the 21st Century USA.  Take time to give thanks that we have things so nearly perfect.  Compared to the way most people have lived throughout history, this is Eden.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Wednesday was Nice.

      K. had the day off, and we went to see Batman Begins. We both liked it, although K. more than I (I thought the 'League of Shadows' was a little hard to swallow, and the car chase sequence was just dumb. Also, if you have a microwave generator that can boil all the water in an area, including in pipes and underground, you have a weapon that will cook people. Yet it didn't.) Overall, I find it inferior to the Batman with Keaton and Nicholson, but in the same league.

      Afterwards, for once, we didn't eat out. The restaurant portions are too large for us now.

      Oh, it rained. It's still raining almost every day.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

A Good Saturday

      K. and I went to the movies yesterday, and saw Mr. and Mrs. Smith.  Two thumbs down, way down in my case.  Doesn't make a lick of sense, the characters are repulsive, and the action scenes are stupid.  A special disability in my case, the use of the jerky, moving, shaking camera that's supposed to be arty.  It makes me sick to my stomach, literally.  There were several long sequences that I couldn't watch.

      But afterwards, a nice dinner at Baker's Square, with me picking at my pot roast and not getting sick.  Most of it came home with me, and I'll have food for the rest of today.  Also, summer has finally arrived, and it was sunny and warm yesterday.  And I usually enjoy spending time with my beloved, no matter what we're doing.

      So, all in all, a good day.

Book Review

      I posted this over at Barnes & Noble.  It's a review of Eric Flint's new novel, The Rivers of War.

      In real history, Sam Houston was severely wounded at the Battle of the Horseshoe.  He nearly died, and was out of the remainder of the War of 1812.  Later, Houston became a friend and protege of Andrew Jackson.

      In real history, in U.S. relations with the Indians of the Southeast, almost everyone made the wrong decision at crucial points.  Half the Cherokee Nation died on the Trail of Tears, and that was BETTER than the casualty rate for the Creeks and Chickasaws.

      In Eric Flint's new alternate history, Houston's foot slips a second before the arrow wounds him -- and the world changes.

      Unlike Flint's previous novels, this is "straight" alternate history, with no fantasy or science fiction elements. But like 1632 and the Belisarius series, this book shows Flint's extensive knowledge of history and ability to get into the heads of his characters, and his grasp of the processes and possibilities of a historical situation.

      This book is an excellent read, really well done.  I'm looking forward to the next volume in the series.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

More Vomiting

      At 3:40, & 4:20.

Sometimes, my New Stomach Bites!

      Like now.  A few minutes ago, I ate, for the first time today.  I finished a few scraps of meat from some ribs, and ate the equivalent of one small potato, or less.  Now, I'm nauseous.

      I recommend bariatric surgery to anyone badly overweight and unable to lose otherwise, but be warned: if you are a fast eater, you will have many bad days.

      Update, twelve minutes later, 2:19: barfing.

      Update, 2:25: and again.

      Update, 2:31: With luck, I just sicked up the last of it.

      Update, 3:05: No, just upchucked more.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Alone Again, Naturally

      K. has returned to work, and so for the first time in three weeks, I'm here and she's not.  Feels a bit odd.

      The last week at Chez Saintonge has not been the best.  K., in deference to her belief that waking someone up is just slightly less serious than major surgery, went out walking alone several days.  Thus I missed some nice time with her.  When I was up again in the wee morning hours, last Friday, her foot was hurting her so badly that the walk had to be cut short.

      In non-K. medical news, I spent an inordinate amount of time upchucking last week.  I'm begining to think my new stomach just can't handle eggs, which is what came up most often.

      And in non-medical news, our TV went out for several days.  One problem was the weather.  I much prefer satellite to cable, but the downside is that during storms, you ain't gonna be able to watch.  This last week, the weather sucked a lot.

      When rain wasn't causing me to miss the few shows I watch, Dish Network ™ was.  Based on my experience with them, I'd say you should get DirectTV, but then if I had them, I might be recommending Dish.  Still, when we eventually move, I will switch providers.

      The problem was that the satellite receiver box has a "smart card" that is supposed to be replaced periodically, for who knows what reason.  Rather than send letters or phone me, they put annoying messages on my screen.  Since I Tivo almost everything and watch later, it means I couldn't enjoy certain shows I wanted.

      Then there's the fact that, though Dish said they sent the new "smart card," I didn't get them.  I called again, and eventually got a replacement.  It didn't work, I think because they screwed up.  Finally, they sent me a new satellite box, and after hooking that up, I was able to get reception again, but it was rather frustrating.

      And when you're not getting service, there's nothing so infuriating as hearing a recording tell you what a valued customer you are, and then trying to do something, anything, to keep you from talking to people who might be able to help you (not that, in the end, they were much help).  Somewhere, there's an accountant who told them how much customer service supposedly "costs."  He didn't tell them how much customer rage costs, because he couldn't estimate that precisely.  So he left it out of his model, which amounts to making an estimate that customer annoyance has zero effect on business, a very precise estimate indeed.  Morons.

      So, maybe this week will be better.  I hope so.