bobquasit: (Default)
Crossposting to LJ from Dreamwidth hasn't been working for a while for me, apparently. It seems that my password was incorrect. I've updated it, so this is a test to see if it works now.

Waiting

Jul. 21st, 2017 12:39 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
 Still waiting for them to operate.  The great thing is that I'm not scared. Lexapro is doing wonders for me!

FaceBook

Apr. 15th, 2017 11:28 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I'm taking a break from Facebook. Some jerk posted a heartbreaking video - I won't give details, just that it was horribly sad and featured animals - in a group that had little or nothing to do with the subject. It was so sad that I immediately terminated the app. Why do people post things like that?

Here I am

Apr. 11th, 2017 07:46 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
i set up an import for everything from my LiveJournal more than a day ago, but the entries and comments still haven't arrived. Of course, I already did that a few years ago, so my older entries are already here. And I assume that the delay is due to the deluge of LJ users who are coming here.

So. I wonder if there will be more activity here than there was there?

Dreamwidth

Apr. 10th, 2017 02:31 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
I assume that everyone has heard about the new terms of service for LJ? They seem to have finally gone over the line, both in their anti-LGBTQ attitudes and their apparent assertion of their right to unlimited reuse even of private posts by users.

I'm bobquasit over on Dreamwidth, too. Can I get an idea of who's staying here, and who's going? I don't have many (any?) friends on Dreamwidth, and I'd like to rectify that. I'm not planning to delete my account here (not yet, anyway), but I'm probably going to be posting over there rather than over here. I'm not at all comfortable with the Russian Duma (or anyone) looking over my private posts and judging whether what I write is acceptable.
bobquasit: (Default)
 https://goo.gl/photos/cp6o2hKPm7rrekGQ9

Day

Nov. 27th, 2014 10:18 am
bobquasit: (LLAP-GOCH)

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, whether you celebrate it or not!

And since this is LiveJournal…may your borscht be washed down smoothly by your vodka. ;D

bobquasit: (LLAP-GOCH)

I've found two issues so far with the LiveJournal app for Android. First, SwiftKey is seriously disabled when using the LJ app. You can't do swipe or gesture typing, and the predictive bar completely disappears.

Second, you can't reply to comments. It's simply notan option. You can make additional comments, but you can't actually reply to a comment.

This may be connected to my recent upgrade to Android Lollipop. If so, there are apps that have worse problems with Lollipop. My Barnes and Noble Nook app is completely and absolutely broken under  Lollipop, for example. I can't read any of the books that I paid for and downloaded. And Barnes and Noble isn't talking about when they'll fix it. They deserve to go out of business, but we don't deserve to have no alternative to Amazon.com!

Edit: it turns out that you canreply directly to a comment via the app. All you have to do is tap on the comment, and the reply will automatically open up. Not exactly obvious, and they should have added it in to the three dot menu as well. Still, at least it isan option.

bobquasit: (Default)
It wasn't a conscious decision, but I think I've quit World of Warcraft.
 
I've been more and more bored with it lately; I've had nobody to play with. It's bad enough being lonely in real life, so why should I pay to be lonely online, too? My card that they had on file has expired, so my account is suspended, and I'm more than half inclined to keep it that way.
 
I need to find better things to do.
bobquasit: (Default)
I turned 50 today. And all in all, it was pretty good.

My health's excellent. I've been working out every day for the past week; it's just a start, but it's a good start. I haven't been able to maintain a streak like this in a long time. The secret, if I have one, is that I'm now thinking of exercise as a prescription from my doctor - which it is - rather than as something "good" that I "should" be doing.

Sebastian and I went together to the YMCA the last two nights to work out. This should help him too, and he'll help me to keep it up.

As I was barbecuing in our snow-covered back yard tonight - it was a warm day, the first springlike day so far this year, and I was in my workout clothes including a t-shirt - I looked up and saw the moon, and the Big Dipper, and the North Star above our house. Other stars, too.

Fifty years isn't long enough. I'm looking forward to more.

bobquasit: (Default)
My Twitter account was apparently hacked by a Russian - at least, they posted a bunch of things in Russian to my Twitter account. Those tweets were mirrored to LiveJournal (but not Dreamwidth) automatically. I've deleted the original tweets and the LJ mirror-post. I've also taken a number of enhanced security steps to resecure my Twitter account.

It's almost not worth it. I don't really USE Twitter. It just grabs some of the stuff I post elsewhere. If something like this happens again, I'll just delete my Twitter account.

As far as I can tell, nothing else has been compromised. What I don't understand is how my Twitter account got compromised in the first place!

G+ Link

Oct. 29th, 2013 08:13 pm
bobquasit: (Default)
Google just sent me a custom URL for my G+ account. It's google.com/+PeterMaranci. Handy!
bobquasit: (The Question)
If anyone is looking for a RuneQuest game in the northern Rhode Island area (or knows someone who is), I have an opening or two in my current campaign, The Cave of Worlds. It's a multi-genre game based on classic RQIII, with modifications as necessary. The campaign features worlds based on numerous sources, including original settings as well as those inspired by literature and media. Emphasis is on roleplaying, exploration, and fun rather than combat.

We normally play on Saturday afternoons from noon to 5pm in Woonsocket, RI, although we're probably going to be playing on Sundays instead during the summer. Current players cover a thirty-year age spread, and range from highly experienced to relative newcomers to RPGs. A good sense of humor and imagination are all that's needed, along with a reasonable amount of emotional maturity. Experience is NOT required.

Some session writeups can be found at http://runequest.org/caveof.htm

#t
bobquasit: (Default)
The Last Days of Krypton
By Kevin J. Anderson

One out of ten stars (assuming zero isn't an option)
Shelves: Library, science fiction

The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson was disappointing and lame - so lame that I only got about 130 pages into it before returning it to the library.

Okay, I'm being a little harsh here. Actually, as modern SF goes, I've certainly seen worse (see the execrable Dune: The Butlerian Jihad, which was co-authored by Anderson. Or rather, DON'T see it if you value your sanity, as it may be the worst book ever written. But reading it gave me an insight into why I hate the vast majority of modern science fiction so passionately: it's stupid.

It seems to me that the current generation of SF editors and publishers came into the field after the Golden Age - in most cases, post-1970s. Lots of people working in the business now wouldn't know Roger Zelazny or Fredric Brown if they leaped out of their graves and bit them on the ass.

And I believe they think of science fiction as "childish" literature, for immature, adolescent minds.

Which, of course, it has often been from the very first. But there were always exceptional authors - the cream that rose to the top - who wrote truly intelligent, imaginative, and adult science fiction (and fantasy, of course; I'm not making a distinction between the two right now).

The problem is that back then, there were at least some editors and publishers who could recognize greatness. Now, those perceptive and mature people in the SF publishing industry seem to be gone - probably, I suspect, because the whole industry is far more commercialized than it used to be, far more integrated into the craptastic Hollywood culture that dominates American society. They're all looking so hard for the next Harry Potter that they would not only MISS the next Cordwainer Smith - he wouldn't even be able to get in their door.

I fear that the same must be said for fans. It may be that the vast majority of younger fans simply don't know what good writing is, because they've never seen it.

There are still a few good writers out there, of course, but they're the exception rather than the rule.

Like Hercule Poirot, I'm not going to pretend that I'm stupid. I'm more intelligent than the average reader (I have other flaws, but I'm not stupid). So maybe that makes me more sensitive to having my intelligence insulted. I can tell when I'm reading something written by someone who is dumber than I am, to put it crudely, and I'd say that 97% of everything new being published these days is either written by a relatively dim person, or deliberately slanted for an audience that the producers of the product consider to be - there's no other word for it - idiots.

And even so, the people producing this crap are not bright. If they were, even their dumbed-down writing would show it - and it doesn't. Typos, logical failures, unbelievable characters, the same tired old cliches again and again and again...lord! I'm so sick of it!

Anderson is a really awful writer, and should never be allowed near a keyboard again. Perhaps he could take up some useful trade, like shovelling raw sewage.

Okay, that's not fair. He's not quite that bad. He'd probably be a very adequate ditch-digger. Just keep him away from a keyboard!

Note: A comment on the original post of this review (elsewhere) asserted that it was unfair of me to criticize a work based on a comic book, by comparing it to high art. The comment also questioned my criticism because I am not a published author. Here's my reply, editing out the quotes from the original comment:

I do see your point. In the same vein, since I have never been a professional chef, I should never criticize any meal served to me at a restaurant, not even if they hand me a dog turd on a plate. Why didn't I see that before?

Okay. Sarcasm aside, although I have never been a professional author - I did make one sale, but the magazine folded before they paid me or published the story - I have indeed written a lot of stuff over the years, and have published both online and in several different amateur press associations. I have one of the older continuously-operating websites still in existence, and have received plenty of feedback, both positive and negative. I don't see why any of this is necessary to justify my low opinion of "The Last Days of Krypton", but there it is. More to the point is that I've *read* a lot.

If my review gave you the impression that I had expected "The Last Days of Krypton" to be high art, you can chalk that up to my lack of professional credentials as an author. I have strong feelings about the decay of modern science fiction and publishing, and inserted those views into the review because that's when those thoughts happened to come into my mind.

However, the fact remains that it is possible to judge quality even when dealing with a genre or class of works which are of generally low caliber. You can taste the burgers of McDonald's and those of Burger King or Wendy's and make perfectly valid comparisons and judgements between them; there are degrees of quality both in swill and the sublime. Merely mentioning that the sublime exists does not invalidate criticism of swill when it fails *even as swill*.

And even as swill, "The Last Days of Krypton" is abysmal. I've read my share of comic books, both crappy ones and those that transcended the former limitations of the genre; I grew up reading comics in the 1960s and 70s, and directly experienced the renaissance of the field in the 1980s and 90s. So I have some experience from a reader's point of view. And from that vantage point, I still maintain: "The Last Days of Krypton" is pure and utter *crap*, an absolute waste of time, and an insult to the intelligence of any reader who actually possesses a mind to be insulted.

To put it as simply as possible, it's a bad book. Really astonishingly bad, which at this point is pretty much par for the course for Mr. Anderson. That there are some who apparently admire it and him baffles me, but there's not much I can do to help such unfortunate souls; all I can do is post my opinion of his shoddy and idiotic work as a warning to others.

This have I done. If your opinion varies, go and do likewise!
bobquasit: (Default)
When I was a teenager my father had a heart attack. He survived, thank goodness, and is still fine these many decades later. But while he was bedridden and convalescing, our neighbors brought all sorts of books over to help him pass the time. They were mostly best-sellers of the time; books that I would never have read on my own, since I was a science-fiction fan.

Shogun was one of them. I'm not sure if Dad read it, but I sure did. And I've read it every six months or so, ever since.

Why? Several reasons:

1. It's incredibly readable. This is one of those amazing books that simply sucks you in and makes you live its story. Clavell had the rare gift of writing, and Shogun was his masterpiece.

2. It's really long. I'm an extremely fast reader, but even I can't get through Shogun in less than a week. And yet every time I finish it, I always wish there was more, and more...I'm lucky that I can re-read it within six months and enjoy it as much as ever.

3. It presents a fascinating and accessible take on an ancient culture. True, it may not be an entirely accurate picture of Japanese society in the 1600s (I just read an article by a scholar that sneered at the book unmercifully, although many scholars are far less negative about the book*). Still, I've learned a little Japanese from the book - enough to help me understand anime a bit better - and while the culture as presented is doubtless over-dramatized, I believe that it has still given me some useful insights into Japanese culture.



* - The article is one of many collected in Learning from Shogun, which is available as a free pdf online:

http://www.columbia.edu/~hds2/learning/Learning_from_shogun_txt.pdf

The specific article was "Japan, Jawpen, and the Attractions of an Opposite" by David Plath. It's the second article in the book, and it starts on page 20 (according to the pagination).
bobquasit: (Default)
Lord of LightLord of Light by Roger Zelazny

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Although he's best known for his Amber series, Lord of Light was unquestionably his greatest masterpiece - despite the fact that it's a remarkably slender book. Nonetheless, Zelazny managed to brilliantly combine science fiction, fantasy, and Hindu mythology in a truly...

Due to the acquisition of Goodreads by Amazon, the complete version of this review has been moved to two new homes:

http://www.librarything.com/work/2088...

http://pmaranci.booklikes.com/post/32...

If you, like me, object to what Amazon has done to the world of books, book lovers, and book shops, you can find many alternatives to GoodReads (for reviews) and to Amazon (for shopping) at the "Escaping Amazon" community [https://plus.google.com/communities/1...]. Our free public resource listing and describing alternatives is at [https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/c...

Readers and their love of books are not commodities to be bought and sold - unless we allow it.




View all my reviews
bobquasit: (Default)
Triumph of the WhimTriumph of the Whim by Adam Thrasher

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Funny as hell. The balls-out, totally over-the-top collected comic strip (not a complete collection, mind you) of the adventures of Space Moose, the most perverted moose imaginable. How perverted, you ask? Well, when he gets his hands on a time machine, he -

No. I won't spoil it for you. Let's just say that if coprophagy, misogyny, abort-o-matic machines, feces, gore, sheer insanity, ----, and lots more ---- don't make you cringe, and if you don't hold anything sacred, you'll find this a hell of a funny read.

Or rather, you WOULD find it a hell of a funny read. But you can't read it. Because it was only available direct from the author, and he's not doing that stuff any more. I have my copy (and t-shirt), but you're out of luck!

But don't be sad. The online web archive of Space Moose was taken down when the author discovered that the grown-up world of employment and grants doesn't have much of a sense of humor. Luckily, I, personally, had cached a copy of most of the site. And I passed it on to a few select people. Google "Space Moose" and you should be able to find a copy.

They're all there because I saved that site. You're welcome!

But FYI, there are a couple of strips in the book that were never published online, including the soul-stirring sequel to "F-----io Barn". The humor! The tears! The nausea! The, um...

Never mind. You'll just have to imagine it.



View all my reviews
bobquasit: (Default)
I've worked out a way to automatically cross-post to Facebook, Twitter, and LiveJournal from Google Plus. This allows me to make ONE post to Google Plus, and have it go automatically to almost all of my other social media. You can throw in LinkedIn as well, incidentally; I didn't mention it initially because I don't use it.

The only thing that's left out of the mix is, sadly, Dreamwidth.

Anyway, here's how it's done:
  1. You'll need a Google Plus account.
  2. Set up a Friends+Me account. Their site is at http://www.friendsplus.me/ . The accounts are free.
  3. On Friends+Me, link your Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn accounts to your Google Plus account. You can also link Google Pages (i.e. communities) to other accounts, apparently.
  4. When you post publicly to Google Plus, include a hashtag in your post. Hashtag t (i.e. #t) reposts it to Twitter, f reposts it to Facebook, l (that is, "L") reposts it to LinkedIn. You can combine them in any order, so #flt would repost to all three.
  5. If your LiveJournal is set up to aggregate and repost your Tweets, all G+ posts which were reposted to Twitter will appear in your daily 12pm Twitter aggregation on LiveJournal.

It's that easy! Once you've set it up, all you have to do is include the proper hashtags in your public G+ posts. There's nothing else to do.
The drawbacks:
  1. Your LJ reposts are in the form of Tweets, i.e. a collection of one-liners. However, they each come with a link to the full-length original on G+.
  2. Formatting doesn't carry over.
  3. The LJ reposts are done at 12pm. They are, therefore, not timely.
  4. Dreamwidth can't get the posts at all, as far as I can figure.
  5. There is no way to commingle comments and responses that you receive to the various copies on different social media.
All that said, it's still a huge improvement!

Almost forgot: you could, in fact, re-import your LiveJournal into Dreamwidth, assuming that you have both. However, as far as I can tell there is no way to automate this, so you'd have to actually go and DO it every so often. I'm also not entirely sanguine about re-importing. Dreamwidth says it won't duplicate posts, but it's apparently a big process that Dreamwidth "schedules", so doing it on a daily basis is probably not a good thing for DW.

Just to be clear, once you've set things up the chain of reposting is:

G+ > Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn
Twitter > LiveJournal
bobquasit: (Default)
Common Core sparks war over words

Apparently the government is forcing English teachers to replace huge amounts of fiction with non-fiction. I had to comment:

What concerns me is that even most modern young-adult and children's fiction is, for lack of a better word, tripe. The old classics are routinely rewritten to simplfy and dumb down vocabulary and concepts. We are forcing our children to eat bland mush when they should be having a chance to try their literary and intellectual teeth on works of substance - and then we're surprised when they tell us that reading is boring.

It IS boring. But that's only because we're restricting them to books which have been sanitized and simplified into pablum. And those purile books must compete with the hyper-stimulating and omnipresent world of television and video games. What chance do our children have?

Since the day he was born, I've read my son REAL books. Alice In Wonderland (both books, and yes I know that's not the correct title). The Doctor Dolittle books - the original uncensored editions, mind you, not the painfully rewritten versions which are all that are being published today. The Wind in the Willows. The Hobbit. The Lord of the Rings. Mister Penny. The Chronicles of Prydain. Bridge of Birds. The Black Stallion books. The original editions of Robert Arthur's Three Investigators books. The Portmanteau Book, The Teddy-Bear Habit, Edward Ardizonne's Tim series, The Jungle Books. Esther Averill's Jenny Linsky books. The Adventures of Phunsi. Robert A. Heinlein's juveniles. All of them with the original text and illustrations. Most of these are out of print, but you can find copies if you try - and it's worth it, it's so very much worth it. Great literature (and not-so-great but fun and challenging literature) is a gift beyond price for a child.

As for cost, many of these books can be obtained through your local library. Some of the best are in the public domain and can be freely downloaded from sites such as Project Gutenberg!

My son reads like mad on his own; his vocabulary and comprehension skills are excellent. And I continue to read to him every night. Next, we're going to tackle Rudyard Kipling's Kim.
bobquasit: (Default)
I don't know if anyone else is likely to end up fighting the SweetIM malware infection, but if you do, it's a real bitch. I had to clean it out of my mother-in-law's desktop recently, and it was NOT fun. On the off chance that you have to deal with it some day, here's how I killed it.

First, I installed Malwarebytes and ran scans. I had to run separate scans for every account on the system.

This was a Windows XP system, by the way, and it had some decent antivirus stuff installed. My best guess is that the infection was picked up from a free game site, by the way. Remember, always browse wisely!

Anyway, after I used Malwarebytes to get rid of the infection in all of the accounts, I still had to go into each browser (Firefox and Internet Explorer) and fix them; SweetIM had changed the home page and default search engine in each one. I changed the homepages from the SweetIM homepage, (a sure source of infection), and changed the search engine from the SweetIM search tool, which also comes with free infections.

Even so, I ended up having to completely reset Firefox on her primary account. SweetIM is a hellishly stubborn infection.

And after all that, I happened to notice that there was still a link on the desktop of one of the accounts to something called "search the web". Which, when I checked the properties, turned out to be - you guessed it - another SweetIM infection point.

These people are evil, evil, evil. I'm tempted to call for the death penalty for malware writers.

After that I did some housekeeping, including updating Firefox and installing Chrome, and now the system looks fine. But man, what a nasty piece of malware! Killing it took about two to two-and-a-half hours of my time. If there was justice in this world, I would be able to collect payment for that time out of the hide of the SweetIM people.

Plus damages. Lots of damages.

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