My 2015 Year in Books

Jeff's 2015 Year in Books screenshotI’ve used GoodReads.com for a few years now to keep track of the books I want to read, am currently reading, and have read. Occasionally I’ll review books there and I usually post those reviews on this blog. For the most part I really like the site.

One of the things GoodReads does that I kind of like is a yearly “Reader Challenge”. Basically you record the number of books you think you’ll read for a year, and then as long as you are recording when you have finished a book, it shows you how far along you are to reaching your “goal”. Continue reading My 2015 Year in Books

Weight Loss

Screen shot from MyFitnessPal.com website showing a weight lost of 19 lbs from 2/13/15 to 4/21/15.
Screen shot from MyFitnessPal.com website showing a weight lost of 19 lbs from 2/13/15 to 4/21/15.

I’ve ben feeling a little down about not being able to run recently due to bursitis in my right knee. I reviewed my progress towards my goals and realized I really shouldn’t be down. Yes, I REALLY need, no want, to run again, and hope I can get back to that soon. I’d like to see if I can’t complete some organized runs sometimes in the future.

But thanks to MyFitnessPal.com , despite not always doing my best at eating as well as I should, I have managed to stay pretty close to what I had dialed in. I currently have it set to lose 2 pounds per week. According to my calculations I have actually lost an average of 1.98 lbs per week. Pretty darn close. I have been able to maintain that without ever really feeling like I am starving. Now I just need to get back to strength building again, and find something I can do and enjoy cardio-wise till my knee decides to cooperate.

New Kindle Voyage & DeDRM

Old "Kindle Keyboard"
Old “Kindle Keyboard”

The old Kindle Keyboard I bought four years ago and use the heck out of had been acting “hinky” for the last year or so. First it had gotten to the point that it wasn’t holding a charge as long as it once did. Worse with the massive number of books I kept stored in it, it would occasionally freak out. I suspect the database of metadata was getting corrupted and on waking the kindle up, the home screen would only display a few books, and then go about updating its database (which took forever) until it would eventually display all my books again. Even after I significantly removed the amount of books I was storing on the device, this still happened every once in a while, and waiting for the device to get its bearings so that I could continue reading my latest book was getting to be a pain.

New Kindle Voyage
New Kindle Voyage

On Christmas I had received a bunch of Amazon gift cards, and it finally placed purchasing one of the new Kindle Voyage e-ink readers that I have been coveting for so long in reach. I finally bit the bullet and got one, and so far am really loving it. I won’t go into all the new and awesome features here, as there are a ton of sites that do that. What I want to talk about is DRM.

As many know I like to keep a DRM free copy of books that I own on my computer so that I can read them on whatever platform or device I may choose. I don’t distribute or sell these of course, nor do I condone that. But for those who like me want control over their own purchases, they may find this useful. Continue reading New Kindle Voyage & DeDRM

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner!

Winner-2014-Twitter-ProfileSo I managed to pull it off. I wrote a novel. Well, half of one anyway.

In case you’re not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is a non-profit organization that hosts an event in which thousands of writers around the world participate in an attempt to write their own 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. I planned on participating the year previous but backed out at the last moment. This year however I bit the bullet and did it. It was a long hard road. Around the second week I started to doubt myself, my ability, and the point of it all. Then I said screw it, I wanted to read my story, so I just started writing. Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner!

Weber’s Big Book of… YUMMY!

So I stumbled on this cook book the other day that inspired me to start a cooking and grilling “project”…

Weber's Big Book of Burgers I don’t normally read a lot of cookbooks, but Weber’s Big Book of Burgers caught my eye. Or I should say, what caught my eye first was the gorgeous photography on the cover of some of my favorite, and very delicious looking food. Caught by the attractive cover, I started to flip through the book, and every SINGLE thing in there looks simply awesome, with clear and well laid out instructions. There is much, MUCH more in the cookbook than burgers and brats. There are side dishes, salads, drinks and general grilling and cooking tips too. Continue reading Weber’s Big Book of… YUMMY!

Munchkin + Pente = Gaming Fun

I had a fun evening & morning playing games with my sister & nieces a couple of days ago. I discovered an awesome game that was entirely new to me (Munchkin) while rediscovering an old childhood favorite (Pente) and finding an adult respect for its more advanced rules.

Munchkin Deluxe CoverMy sister Shannon and nieces Kathryn & Emma were in town last Wednesday & Thursday (which happened to be my Friday & Saturday) staying at my Mom’s house. I went over after dinner and hung out with them, and figured Shannon & I would play some cribbage or something. As I left the house, just in case, I grabbed my Munchkin Deluxe card game that I had gotten well over a year ago but could never get anyone to play. I’m glad I did.

Continue reading Munchkin + Pente = Gaming Fun

Into the Jaws of Death – 6/6/1944

U.S. Army soldiers wade ashore on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy landings of World War II.
U.S. Army soldiers wade ashore on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy landings of World War II.

“We do not know or seek what our fate will be. We ask only this, that if die we must, that we die as men would die, without complaining, without pleading and safe in the feeling that we have done our best for what we believed was right.” — Lt. Col. Robert L. Wolverton, CO 3rd battalion, 506th PIR.

Memorial Day and such is all well and good. But sometimes we need to remember specific days, so that we don’t forget… So we don’t forget the tragic consequences of our human darkness, our imperfection and evil. And so we don’t forget our human light, the self-sacrifice and bravery of those who helped bring us out of the dark, becoming casualties in the process. Continue reading Into the Jaws of Death – 6/6/1944

Always Backing the Losing Horse

It seems that I find myself always backing the losing horse in this race called life. At least the race dealing with technology products and services. 🙁

I don’t go out to pick the horses that will fail. Far from it. I make my choices based on features, usability, customer service, price, product and the company’s reliability, user ratings and more. But when it comes to a technology company succeeding, it really seems to have nothing to do with any of these factors. The deciding factor is always money. Logic seems to say that the money would follow those who succeed in those other factors I mentioned. Sadly there is absolutely no correlation between the two, though sometime it seems there is an INVERSE correlation. Continue reading Always Backing the Losing Horse

Today Skunked Sister, Tomorrow N00b Nephew Pwned

I am a childish old man who enjoys the simple things in life… Gaming.

This evening I played a game of cribbage with my patient sister who is in town visiting for a couple of days. Luck of the draw, but I “skunked” her big time. Continue reading Today Skunked Sister, Tomorrow N00b Nephew Pwned

Burned My Blog

(NOTE: This post updated 5/27/14 w/ additional info.)

So I burned my blog today. No, I didn’t delete or otherwise destroy my blog. Rather I did something I thought I had done a long time ago, and apparently never completed. Namely I signed my blog’s post feed up for a FeedBurner account so I can use some of the features that service provides: such as stats, friendlier subscription options, SmartFeed, and more.

What prompted this is that one of my friends asked if he could subscribe to my blog via email instead of via a post feed. I know there are a number of WordPress plugins that can enable this feature, but I thought I already set up FeedBurner monitoring of my site and knew that the service could be set up to manage email subscribers. Continue reading Burned My Blog