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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Approaching the end…

… of the year, anyway. As I type, we’re getting the classic wintry mix: rain, sleet, rain, and (at the moment) sleet and snow.

I've been wanting to do this for a while, and here it is. The Boy on the left (scanned from a portrait in the hall), Mason on the right (one I took) — both about 3-½ months old, give or take:

The Boy and Mason

Yup, Mason is his dad’s kid awright. Just like his dad, he fights going to sleep and doesn’t like losing. There are differences, of course: The Boy’s happy place was the swing; Mason’s is getting walked around and he wants a lot more interaction than his dad did.

The refrigerator that came with the house definitely met its end yesterday morning. I was in the kitchen, fixing some coffee, when I heard a loud SPAT and saw sparks shoot out from the bottom of the fridge in my peripheral vision. The smell of burning electrical equipment made for a less than happy morning. After making sure the metal skin of the fridge wasn’t “hot,” I reached back and unplugged the sucker; Mrs. Fetched cleared it out while I was at work. Fortunately, we have (had) two refrigerators in the kitchen, side by side, so it’s not like we’ll have trouble keeping the formula cold or anything. I hope maybe we’ll be able to get along with one fridge and not worry about replacing it. If we have to have some extra cold storage, there’s a couple of small refrigerators in the studio and I’m not exactly keeping them both full of beer at the moment, unfortunately… we could move one into the kitchen as an overflow icebox.

I've been loading up my Kindle a little bit, and am getting to like this thing. I’m still not where I would have bought one myself, but I do like having it. One of the really nice features about buying a Kindle book from Amazon is that they send the book to the Kindle as soon as you buy it online, whether you’re buying it from the Kindle itself (not happening w/o a credit card) or your computer. The latter is a really nice convenience that Apple should adapt for iTunes customers; send a new track straight to your iPhone? Why not? OTOH, I’ve found a couple of glitches, only one of which is Amazon’s fault. It seems that Amazon wants you to have a credit card recorded with them to buy books straight from the Kindle — but if you’re buying from your computer, you can use gift cards and essentially run it as a pre-paid system. It’s only a minor hassle (like I said, once you buy a book it goes straight to your Kindle), but the rest of the purchasing system seems so well thought-out that this stands out.

The second problem is more of a publisher’s issue. I bought Maria Lima’s Blood Kin — third in the series, I have the first two in paperback — and it started right at Chapter One even though there was a Preface. I guess I should mention, Kindle books have a default starting point that isn’t necessarily the front cover… it could start with the Table of Contents, Preface, or wherever the publisher says. Juno (Maria’s publisher) might not quite get the whole e-book concept just yet. In addition to starting a little past (what I would consider) the most logical place to start, they include legal boilerplate about not buying books with the cover torn off. Somehow, i doubt that Amazon is going to sell e-books without the cover… that page could be eliminated entirely without hurting a thing.

On the freebie side, there’s two major places I’m going so far: Project Gutenberg, which digitizes as many books as they can find whose copyright has expired (so that the books are now public domain), is the place to go if (like me) you misspent your youth avoiding the classics. One title I thoroughly enjoyed was P.G. Wodehouse’s Love Among the Chickens, but I might be just a little biased for reasons well-known to longtime readers. Isaac Asimov spoke highly of Wodehouse, so I had to check out some of his titles. Of course, a sci-fi lover will go nutz just from the selection of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells titles.

Speaking of sci-fi, the Baen Free Library is another worthy link, and includes some more modern titles than Gutenberg. Baen’s evil plot is to get you hooked on the first books in a series so you’ll go out and buy the others… great idea, sez I.

I haven’t really had a chance to wander through the stacks of a third site, Manybooks, but some of the titles look like they’d be a good way to expand my horizons a bit.

Looking back at My predictions for 2009, I was a lot more pessimistic than the year actually turned out. Sure, I got a few things right, but I expected things to be a lot farther into the tank than they are now. Oh well, I’ll do a more detailed analysis tomorrow and maybe venture a few predictions for 2010.

If I miss you tomorrow night, Happy New Year, y’all!


  1. Hiya FAR,

    Mason and The Boy do favor each other considerably. I did a comparison picture of my oldest sister and her granddaughter. They look just alike.

    Sorry to hear about the fridge, but you are so lucky you have a backup. I bought a new fridge when I came back from Germany in 89. It lasted until around 02, and when I had it checked to see how much it would cost to fix it - it wasn't a pretty picture. So instead of paying all that money to fix an old fridge, I just went ahead and bought a new one. I ended up paying just about the same amount of money either way.

    Thanks for putting up those sites for free books to read. I'll definitely be checking them out.

    Hope you and the family have a great New Year's Eve tonight, and if you do venture out someplace, be careful.

    Take care.

  2. I just just now thinking, "I have to see Mason!" and came over here, and there he is! I thought it was two pics of him. Pretty amazing resemblance there. Now all we need is a photo of you at that age.

    I'm really glad to read your comments about the Kindle. And I'm overjoyed you've "discovered" Wodehouse. I got so much pleasure from his books. I still remember a certain scene that was so funny that I couldn't stop laughing. Out loud.

  3. It is certainly interesting for me to read that article. Thanks for it. I like such themes and everything that is connected to this matter. I would like to read more soon.

  4. I totally forgot to say the most important thing! He's adorable!

  5. Hey all!

    FM, a fridge is like anything else, they don't last forever. So far, we seem to be getting along OK with the other one. I'm going to see if I can find one of those old kitchen workstations with the flour dispenser, cabinets, and kneading board, or a working replica — if I could keep Mrs. Fetched from cluttering it up, it would be a really convenient bread-making station. BTW, we stayed at the manor. Everyone else was coming here anyway.

    Hi Nancy, good to see you getting out & about again! There's lots of pix of Mason going down-blog if you want to see how he's grown over the last almost-4 months. Yup, he's adorable, I don't call him the World's Cutest Grandkid for nothing. :-)

    Hi Anon… that almost looked like spam without the link. If you're not a spammer, my apologies. If you are, I LOL at your fail.

  6. Happy new year, Far! That Mason is a cutie! Too bad about the fridge. Here it's cold enough to get along without one for a while. ;-)

  7. Happy New Year to you too, Boran! Today wasn't much warmer down here… it might have gotten above freezing, but not by much & not for long. Cutting firewood keeps one quite warm, though.


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