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March 31st, 2017

10:03 am
Happy birthday, marilyth!

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March 30th, 2017

07:40 am
Happy birthday, azraela!

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March 27th, 2017

07:46 am
Happy birthday, ipsin!

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March 26th, 2017

08:51 am - 42, 43, 44
I'm closing in on my reading goal for the year.

First book this week was Pottermore Presents Hogwarts: An Incomplete & Unreliable Guide, a fairly silly bit of a book about the school in the Harry Potter series of books. Fun for someone who's read the series, useless for anyone else.

Next was Osprey Vanguard #29: The M47 & M48 Patton Tanks a very similar book to one that I've read in the past from their New Vanguard series, it discusses a 1960s state-of-the-art tank. I remember making a plastic model of this one, for what it's worth.

Lastly I read Osprey Vanguard #30: Polish Armour 1939 – 45. It discusses not only the tanks the Poles had on hand when they were invaded by Germany in 1939, but also the tanks that they later got from the Allies later. Portions of the book details how they managed to get out of Eastern Europe and join the fight on the Western Theater of Operations by getting through Iran. Wild! I found this one particularly interesting for that reason.

More later!

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08:40 am
The weekend last weekend was especially busy.

Saturday afternoon we stopped by a party given to honor and give good wishes to Kira who is taking a job on the East Coast. It sounds like a real step up and a good job, so my wife and I wanted to show our support. Actually, we went to that party twice; first early to show our faces and then later after a show that we'd purchased tickets months in advance for.

See, Alton Brown, the food television personality and author has been doing live shows. We'd seen the first one of his last tour in Palm Desert several years ago and loved it. He has a new show that was at the Hollywood Pantages for two nights, and we had tickets for the second night, which was last Saturday. This interrupted our party-going... Anyway, the show was well-worth the ticket cost and well-worth hunting up if he's going to be in your area.

Back at the party a few hours later we had some great conversation and very much enjoyed the time with folks. I hope we'll be able to catch Kira if and when she makes a West Coast visit in the future.

Sometime during the week I took the opportunity to finish that Polish TV show, watching the DVD for With Fire and Sword 2. Meh.

We keep getting bits and pieces of work done on the yard and house for preparation for Carnivore's Feast. In addition, we've had a few evenings of hanging out restfully in the backyard using one at a time of the two newly constructed firepits, which has been very pleasant. One of them clearly is engineered to be the sort where folks hang around it and chat while the other is engineered to burn large and bright. Each has its place.

We had some folks over yesterday to run in my D&D world. As far as I can tell, everyone had a good time. Because of the impending party we'll be skipping a month and heading into May for the next one.

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08:27 am
Happy birthday, kelson!

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March 25th, 2017

07:39 am
Happy birthday, scarletdemon!

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March 23rd, 2017

07:40 am
Happy birthday, rince1wind!

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March 21st, 2017

07:37 am
Happy birthday, mummm!

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March 20th, 2017

08:06 am
Happy birthday, psione!

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March 19th, 2017

11:36 am
Happy birthday, mythusmage!

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March 18th, 2017

08:08 am
This week led to a lot of dabbling in movies and the like.

We open the week by popping out to the theater to see Logan a very mature superhero movie. I liked it very much; much more than most of the other films in this particular series.

The next night my beloved was feeling pretty ill and went to bed early so I stayed up and put on a disc called With Fire and Sword 1 a Polish TV series that deals with a mid-17th Century war between the Poles and the Cossacks in a very melodramatic fashion, reflecting what was happening on the international stage by what was happening in the love life of a Polish knight, Polish heiress, and Cossack lord. Not great, and I have my doubts about the translations on the screen. What's very weird is that they rattle on in Polish, then apparently has overdubbing in Russian, and then English subtitles. I may watch the last disc, but I'm in no rush.

The night before last my beloved had another meeting and so I put on via Netflix streaming the documentary about a documentary called Night Will Fall which discusses the making of a film at the end of WWII about the discovery of the concentration camps. At first just a British project, later they added materials from the US film teams and finally Soviet. In the end it took so long to piece together that the political situation had completely changed and the documentary was never released. The film uses portions of the original documentary that are appalling, so don't watch this if you're squeamish. If released now, it would be a slap in the face of Holocaust deniers.

Last night after we took the dogs on a long-delayed walk which they clearly appreciated on such a pleasant evening, I put on Harry and Snowman a lovely documentary about a Dutch resistance fighter who came to America after the war and became a horseman here who saved a horse from the knacker's wagon for a pittance who became a famed jumper in the 1950s. Very touching piece of work.

There's a lot to be done this weekend; we'll be driving all over the place today, and tomorrow we expect to be doing a bunch of yardwork both front and back.

Have a good week!

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07:49 am - #39, 40, 41
A few more days, a few more books...

The first one that I finished this last week was Osprey Raid #47: Behind Soviet Lines: Hitler's Brandenburgers Capture the Maikop Oilfields 1942, a military adventure that smacks of Hollywood. Not that they held it long...

Next was then Osprey Raid #48: Storming Monte La Difensa: The First Special Service Force at the Winter Line, Italy 1943 in which a combined US and Canadian force is used to bull their way through German defenses rather than being used behind German lines to disrupt their communications. Brave men whose work and training led to the many special service forces that world powers use now.

Finally, Osprey Vanguard #26: The Sherman Tank in US and Allied Service, not the best tank of WWII, nor the most numerous, but it was the mainstay of US armor of the war. This was a fairly well-written book on the subject.

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07:39 am
Happy birthday, traitor_joe!

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March 17th, 2017

08:16 am
Happy birthday, pheltzer!

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March 14th, 2017

07:40 am
Happy birthday, kurrk!

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07:39 am
Happy birthday, softlywhispered!

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March 13th, 2017

07:35 am
Happy birthday, ibhod!

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12:07 am
I'm way past due documenting my comic book reading for the last several months, so let's get to it. See if any of these titles sound interesting, many of them get republished as graphic novels.

Letter 44 #25, 26, 27, 28, 29: SF, Alien invasion, end of the world, politics. Lots to ponder in this one.

Dream Police #10, 11, 12: The end of this series by JMS where the protagonist discovers some details about his real status. Good read.

East of West #26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31: A strange SF post-apocalyptic saga dealing with the nations that the US breaks up into and an end of times situation. Cool tale.

Johnny Red #7, 8: A British fighter pilot ends up in the Soviet Union during WWII; these are the last books of the series in which he finds out bad things about Stalin and others (avoiding spoilers here). A trifle confusing but generally good.

Dreaming Eagles #5, 6: The end of the tale of the first African American fighter squadron and its efforts during WWII. Important history.

Joyride #2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9: Humanity has chosen to hide from the Universe in the future, but several kids bug out into space for the fun of it; these are their adventures. Moderately amusing.

Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas #1, 2, 3, 4: A comic book reworking of the book, which later became a movie. Not a bad handling of the subject.

Providence #9, 10, 11: Continuing the Cthulhu/Lovecraftian flavor. I'm not sure if it's over or not; it seemed a good place to stop actually. If you like Lovecraft, this comic is perfect.

Control #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6: A police officer is caught in a situation in which a crime committed leads to powerful people who try to strike back. Full series. Had it not ended, I might have.

Satellite Falling #1, 2, 3: An SF piece about a bounty hunter human living on an alien space station. #4 is way past due.

Injection #10: An AI issue; this is a Warren Ellis book and has since been on hiatus, about to continue.

Invisible Republic #10, 11, 12, 13, 14: A complex political tale about an SF situation of a moon that tries to revolt; it hops back and forth through time, so it is occasionally hard to follow. Might be easier to read in graphic novel format.

The Sheriff of Babylon #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12: A comic about the difficulties of police work by the occupying power in Baghdad. Unclear if this is finished or not.

Brutal Nature #2, 3, 4: The rest of the tale of a South American aborigine/shaman who takes on the aspects of various animals of his lands in an attempt to stop the Spanish invasion.

Lucifer #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15: A vindictive diety has taken the Throne of the Lord Almighty and Lucifer finds himself as the opposition with, of course, complications.

Jim Butcher's Dresden Files: Wild Card #3, 4, 5, 6: The rest of the story in which Harry Dresden ends up in conflict with Puck.

Ian Fleming's James Bond 007: Eidolon #7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12: More of Warren Ellis, the James Bond books have been carried out further by other authors but I'm not following. Typical Bond, IMHO these books are well-produced and seem to be right in line with Ian Fleming's vision.

Irwin Allen's Lost in Space: The Lost Adventures #3, 4, 5, 6: I think this is the lot, doing as a comic book a couple of scripts that they never filmed. Not great, I'm afraid.

Horizon #1, 2, 3, 4, 5: I have to admit that I tried to like this book but it was just too disjoint. Supposedly it's about an alien race that sends a hit team to Earth in advance of humanity invading their planet.

Trees #14: Another Warren Ellis which is again on hiatus but expected to restart soon, a group of alien life forms have appeared on Earth at various places often damaging and changing life in those areas.

War Stories #19: Vampire Squadron #1, 2, 3, 4: The whole thing, it's about a WWII British night fighter squadron.

Jim Henson's Labyrinth 30th Anniversary Special: Most of you will probably know why I purchased this.

Briggs Land #1: I picked up this first book of the series about a post-apocalyptic world, but I didn't much care for it and stopped.

Lake of Fire #1, 2, 3, 4, 5: During the Albigensian Crusade, an alien vessel crashes in the region and crusaders are sent to investigate. I believe that the series is over.

Saga #37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42: A war has been being fought for a very long time between a technological society and a magical one; our protagonists come from both sides but love each other and are being chased across the galaxy.

World of Tanks: Roll Out #1, 2, 3, 4, 5: British forces against German (specifically tanks) in WWII after D-Day.

The Forevers #1, 2, 3: A rock group uses magic for nefarious purposes but as the power wanes one of them starts killing the others for a magic boost.

Hadrian's Wall #1, 2, 3, 4: Murder on a spacecraft/station that is involved in research; a straightforward investigation this isn't. Lots of complications.

Karnak #5: The last of this series written by Warren Ellis in which a known character in the Marvel Universe finds who he sought. I won't follow this one in the future.

Britannia #1, 2, 3, 4: I'm pretty sure this one is over; vaguely Lovecraftian in Roman Britain during the Empire.

Seven to Eternity #1, 2, 3: Fairly standard fantasy; a fellow with special powers gathers others around him to destroy the darkness that has fallen over his land. And I've abandoned it because it just doesn't interest me enough. I don't think that they've done a good enough job with characterization.

Angel City #1, 2, 3, 4, 5: A murder mystery set in Los Angeles in the early years of the Hollywood studios. Pretty good.

Green Valley #1, 2, 3, 4, 5: Famous knights get badly beaten and then find themselves in their greatest fight of all.

Eclipse #1, 2, 3, 4: Something strange happened to the Sun, burning humans down as they stand forcing the survivors to live underground.

Shipwreck #1, 2, 3: Warren Ellis series in which a scientist is lost in a strange place.

Night's Dominion #1, 2, 4, 5: A fairly standard D&D-style adventuring group fights a horde of what appears to be undead. Unfortunately, I just didn't like the story or the artwork. Feh.

Spell on Wheels #1, 2: I gave this one a try but dropped it. A coven of witches get robbed and go hunting for their stuff.

Serenity: No Power in the 'Verse #1, 2, 3: Three more expected books, the other experiments like River show up.

Namesake #1, 2, 3: Every x number of years there's a crossover between two universes. I just found myself not caring about the characters and gave it up.

Enchanted Tiki Room #1, 2: A comic vaguely based on the Disney attraction. Stupid. I gave it up.

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March 12th, 2017

10:22 pm
Time marches on.

Wednesday I did the dentist thing; late morning I had an extraction followed by a filling and then went to work with a heavy work load all afternoon. No pain meds, either.

During the week, we viewed some Netflix streaming, specifically the whole season of Santa Clarita Diet, a very strange and funny zombie thing. Worth seeing.

Saturday, we went to a Holi festival which they called The Festival of Colors at the Whittier Narrows Park, a Hindu celebration of Good over Evil; the whole event was vegetarian, and we got covered in colored chalk dust. There was dancing and Indian foods, lots of friendly people, and live music, especially a group called The Householders whose music I really enjoyed.

Following that, my wife was aware that at Cal Poly Pomona they were having a sale of tomato seedlings that they were calling Tomatozania, so we showed up covered in the chalk which amused the onlookers. A few seedlings purchased, we also stopped at the Farm Store at Cal Poly and picked up a few things. Again, folks were nonplussed at our colorful appearance.

Later, at home, showered and a bit rested, our mechanic and his girlfriend dropped by, and after chatting for an hour, we went to Nancy's Pizza for a Chicago stuffed pizza. Lovely way to end the day.

Today, we had a young man in who dug plenty of holes in the front yard to plant several peach, apple, cherry, mulberry, and Asian pear trees, as well as a hibiscus. While he was about that, I did some maintenance work on the backyard as well as doing most of the construction of another firepit to replace our old one. We've already laid in a fire in the pit, which was very relaxing. Very much seemed to have been accomplished today and now I'm basking in the cool night air.

We're seriously getting into yard preparation for Carnivore's Feast even though it's more than six weeks away.

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10:05 pm - #36, 37, 38
A few more books this week:

First was Osprey Fortress #54: Forts of the American Frontier 1820 – 91: The Southern Plains and Southwest, what amounts to the fort of the old Westerns. Interesting.

Next was Osprey Men-At-Arms #59: The Sudan Campaigns 1881 – 1898, an older book with lesser quality plates, it goes into the history of what happened at the end of the 19th Century in the Sudan.

Then the last book of the week was Osprey New Vanguard #28: Panzerkampfwagen IV Medium Tank 1936 - 45, a book that details what a friend describes as the best German tank of the war.

On to the next week.

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08:06 am
Happy birthday, ucheusp!

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March 8th, 2017

07:44 am
Happy birthday, dearest_b!

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March 5th, 2017

08:57 am
This was a fairly big week as far as Netflix use was concerned, both with the streaming and the discs. Specifically, we seemed to have a thing about named movies.

First one we watched was Jason Bourne which I found pretty disappointing and nearly boring, the final car chase notwithstanding. They left things open for more, but I've had enough.

Then because friends had been talking up the sequel as well as the original, I pushed John Wick to the top of the Netflix queue and we watched it on arrival. I was very impressed; it was a much better movie than I had expected of it. It had my wife on her feet shouting at the TV screen at one point.

Last Sunday we had Dungeonmaster, a fun episode. As usual, that pretty much takes up the day, of course.

Yesterday, I was invited by Derek to join him at a lecture at the Planes of Fame air museum at the Chino Airport, where the discussion dealt with the use of various fighter aircraft by the fledgling Israeli military in the War of Independence. As a guest, they had one of the pilots who volunteered to fight for Israel, a man who had flown carrier aircraft off the USS Wasp during WWII. Specifically, much of the discussion dealt with the USAAF P-51s, and after the lecture a P-51 went up with the winner of a raffle as passenger and buzzed the airport repeatedly. Very cool! Following that, Derek and I met our wives for a late lunch. Great day...

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08:42 am - #31, 32, 33, 34, 35
I had the time for a bit more reading this week, and it shows.

The first book I finished deals with a part of the history of the American colonies that I can't recall my schools ever covered. This was Osprey Raid #46: Montcalm's Crushing Blow: French and Indian Raids Along New York's Oswego River 1756. Seems to me that whole era gets short shrift, with vague statements that some of the Continental Army had experience in this war. Therefore, I found myself reading this Osprey a bit more deeply than I often do. Pretty good...

Next was In Your Dreams by Tom Holt. This is a moderately contemporary fantasy/humor book about a clerk who works for a magical firm. A trifle confusing but rather amusing.

Then, Drive, a short piece by James S A Corey (actually two authors working together, but what can you do). The story describes what happened when a Martian (human living on Mars) engineer finds a way to markedly improve drive efficiency in spacecraft. I had just read the tale, when the TV show on Scyfy included a bit of it in that evenings presentation. I really like the various Expanse books and short stories I've read, this one included. Worth reading from the start, though this short story is actually a prequel to the main storyline.

Next book was Osprey Campaign #35: Plassey 1757: Clive of India's Finest Hour. Some folks that I've heard lecture on the topic feel that the wars that involve this campaign as well as the earlier raid book from today's post are part of the very first "world war". Here we have some of the fighting in India, or at least Bangladesh.

Finally, Osprey Elite #53: International Brigades in Spain 1936 – 39; this particular war was a prequel to WWII and it allowed the Germans and Italians to practice warcraft with their new toys (tanks, dive bombers, etc.). This particular book deals with the volunteers who came from a variety of nations trying to support the more socialist elected government against the fascistic Spanish elements. Solid read.

On to the next week.

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This ain't no party, this ain't no disco...

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