Author Index: Update

Back in November I began to work on my Author Index Project for the blog. I started out haphazardly but then decided to be a bit more organized about it. I started at Z and have been steadily working my way backwards. Once I finish I’ll go through and add all the new authors I’ve read since then and then try to update it on a monthly basis.

BUT!

I am finished with up to the M’s. What a chore! 79 authors with the last name starting with “M”. And only about half of them had their names as tags so I had a bleeding lot of work to do. The only other letter with more authors is “B” at 87. I am not looking forward to that already :-/

But rejoice with me. Things like this make me happy 😀

Bookstooge Reviews 2022

THE STATS:

Annual Blog Stats

Posts – 380 (↑61)

Words written – 185.5K (↓10.1K)

Views – 28.3K (↑1.1K)

Visitors – 7.5K (↓2K)

Followers – 400 (↓19)

Comments – 9.3K(↓1.5K)

Book Stats

Books read – 247 (↑ 54)

Pages read – 52769 (↑3.3K)

words read – 16487K (↑ 1.1K)

average rating – 3.23 (↓0.15)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

General Life Thoughts:

The year in general sailed along for both Mrs B and me. We both ended up working more than usual (I think our average weekly was 42 or 43 hrs). Those extra hours made a big difference. Student loans are finished! So now we’re using that money to pay down extra on our mortgage. I’m hoping we can shave off 5-6 years off the loan life. That’s my next big life goal, to get that mortgage out of the way.

We helped out each month with super church (sunday school) and live streaming (so 2 sunday’s a month) and I’m finding my tolerance for the kids is waning. There is one parent who pretty much brings her kids to be babysat and they’re not disciplined at home so they’re not model kids. Thankfully, after having used the “nuclear option” once, (take them out of class and march them up the middle of the aisle and drop them back off to their mom in the middle of the sermon) they’re learning I mean business. They’re not bad kids, just unruly and undisciplined. But it’s exhausting and those Sunday’s I come home and flop on the couch. Streaming is easier but mainly because I refuse to treat it like a show. I use 4 camera angles and that’s it. I don’t zoom around, I don’t focus on people playing special music, etc, etc.

This year was just a blur. Not that good things didn’t happen, or bad things, but overall it went so fast that it was over before I realized what was going on. Which is fine when you’re concerned about who is elected to political offices, but not so fine when it comes to paying bills. Actually had one bill go to a bill collector because I completely forgot to pay it. Sigh, life moving faster isn’t necessarily a good thing.

One of the kids at church expressed interest in Magic earlier this year so I’ve been getting together with his Dad and him once or twice a month and turning him into a life long addict. Someone’s gotta do it, so it might as well be me 😀 Speaking of Magic, I began collecting the Mirage set from 1996. Along with 4th Edition, those cards are some of the iconic visual memories of my late teen years. Plus, collecting cards doesn’t take up nearly as much space as collecting books does, hahahahaa!

General Bookish Thoughts:

Looking at those numbers, man, did my book numbers go up! Part of that is because I was reading individual issues of comics all year (whereas I had only started doing that in July of 2021), but even that only accounts for about an extra 25, so I simply read MORE this year. The Pages and Words metric fully back that up. It didn’t “feel” like I had read more, but with not picking up any other new hobby, Reading picked up the slack.

The rating is down only a little bit from last year, but 2021’s rating was down from 2020’s, so I’m on a downward slide, albeit a very slight one. I think that is because I’m reading more. There are more crap books than fantastic books out there, so the more I read, the greater my chance of a getting a crap book. All it takes is ONE one star book in a month to drag the whole year down. And since I am so picky about handing out 5stars, well, it doesn’t surprise me. But as long as I stay above a 3star average, that means I’m enjoying the majority of what I read. I’ll try to be content with that.

With all of that being said, I only had FOUR 5star reads this year and all of them were re-reads. I had NINE 4.5star reads as well. On the other side, I only had TWO half star reads and NINE 1star reads. So I feel that I balanced everything out in the end.

With around 57 of the reads being re-reads (including ALL of the Bone comics), I’m still sticking around the 25% mark. I have a feeling that number is going to drop in ’23 as I am becoming more leery of re-reading my “old favorites” as I move into the phase of life (fully middle aged now) and all of my manga will be new to me as well. I am ok with this change.

Well, despite my issues with WP.com in 2021, I still came crawling back for more in 2022. To the point where I have a paid plan and Dotblog Site, sigh. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced some of the problems that I did last year, but I never count WP.com out of the problem fight. If they can’t make one problem get you, they’ll invent a whole new one, the wretches.

I have also realized that despite all of my complaining and grumbling, that I have nailed myself to WP.com. The finishing up of construction on The Hotel Bookstooge pretty much saw to that and the continued work on the Author Index is like putting up shutters on the windows. You only do that if you think you’re going to stay in the place for a while.

Between the paid plan’s upgrade to my storage, Dropbox and Caesium, space is not an issue for me.

The Churn continues apace with other bloggers slowing down, stopping or just moving on to other hobbies. I have also done my own share of unfollowing this year and finding new bloggers to follow. If I could have one blogging wish for 2023, I wish that things would stay stable in that regards. That’s a vain wish though, knowing how unstable the world in general is right now.

So the long and short? I’m here, I’m standing tall (well, kind of) and I’m not planning on leaving. But I’ll still be complaining.

Blogspot continues to be my review backup. Not in any meaningful way, as I didn’t do any work on the old reviews, so it’s as big a mess as my WordPress used to be. But it’s there for me when WP.com does something truly stupendously stupid (like they seem to do 3-4 times a year) and is a good safety valve so I don’t feel that WP.com is my only option.

Partway through the year (July to be particular) I stopped crossposting my reviews to Librarything. I had given up on the platform as a social site in 2021 and thus it was pretty inevitable that I stopped using them all together. Guess I’m more surprised it took me as long as it did than anything.

Calibre continues to putter along offline just fine. It is what I now use to check up on anything in particular. Now that it has full database searching abilities, I can look for almost anything and with enough patience, find it. I am currently using version 6.9 and will be updating as the creator puts up new updates.

THE BOOKS:

Best Book of the Year:

Without a question, A Christmas Carol read by Patrick Stewart. This is now my favorite version of this story and I suspect it will be an annual tradition.

Worst Book of the Year:

Definitely Flashman. He lies, murders and rapes his way through the book and we’re supposed to find it amusing. I definitely did not.

PLANS FOR 2023:

Personal:

The Self-Study for my Level3 Certification didn’t work out at all in ’22. I think that really needs to be a top priority for this year. I’m just afraid that I’ll slack off again though and “do it next month” all year long.

The potential move to Georgia is now indefinitely put off. It’s going to take an emergency to get us down there and even then we’d have to think about it. It is going into a closet shelf in the very back of my mind for now.

Trying not to make many, if any, plans. Because situations are easier to handle when you don’t have expectations about them.

Drink a lot of Rockstar energy drinks. Because I can.

Blog:

Continue working on my author index. Continue my Magic cards each Monday. So it’s going to be business as usual. I haven’t had a creative idea for some time about a long running series of blog posts, so I might end up not trying to do any. Which is too bad because long running series of posts is always easier to write and schedule than anything else.

I am going to try to do some more “arty” stuff but we’ll see how that pans out. I would like it to work but the logistics might be greater than anticipated.

Movies are still completely up in the air. There are so many movie reviewers out there. Besides, I don’t watch new stuff and even when I do watch stuff, I don’t really watch it that well. More like “listening to it” with glances up at the tv when there’s no dialogue to tell me what’s going on.

This might end up being a very sloggy blog year :-/

TOP 5:

Book Review Posts:

Non-Review Posts:

Commentors + Runner Up:

Movies:

Hall of Shame (5 least viewed posts)

Writing Prompts – How to Disable Them on WordPress

In yet another totally incomprehensible and bone headed move, WordPress.com, in all its wisdom, decided that we needed “writing prompts” whenever we started a new post. As far as I know, nobody asked for this. No blogger needs this. If they do, they should go to some other social media where being completely brain dead is the norm. I was so angry (surprise, surprise) that I immediately fired off a patent pending “Angry Bookstooge” email to support to find out just what in hecker freckers was going on. They replied with their usual pablum and non-reasoning and so I figured I was stuck with this abomination of stupidity.

Patent Pending “Angry Bookstooge” Email

I received an email follow up from WP.com late last week informing me of an “update” where I could opt out of this filthy, disgusting and utterly vile practice. Here’s the steps so you can opt out too if you so choose:

  • My Sites
  • Settings
  • Writing

Then you can toggle off the “show writing prompts”. Just make sure to save after doing that so your choice is saved.

I hope this has been helpful. As WP.com changes things, randomly, for no reason and against all good sense, expect more little posts like this as I navigate the minefields of trying to stay here while simultaneously wishing every person at WP.com was being worked over, and good, by Pinhead.

Author Index: My Next Big Project

After finishing up The Hotel Bookstooge Project, it was evident that I needed another blogging project to keep me busy in the background. But something that wouldn’t disturb everyone quite so much. Bormgans gave a good suggestion that should help anyone searching the site, ie, an Author Index.

While I never use an index if a site has one (I always use the search bar), I’ve heard that other people DO use them, to good effect too. So instead of alienating these good folk of the internet and impeding their unquenchable thirst for all things Bookstooge, I have decided to begin work on an Author Index.

I’ve created a new page and posted the link to it at the top of my home page along with all of my other Important Things. It will slowly fill in over the upcoming year/s. If you are that kind of person, I hope this helps you out a lot. If you are not that kind of person, it will be going on completely in the background so you won’t be bothered or notice a thing. You’re welcome 😉

So Stay Calm & Index On

Need More Space? Bookstooge Has You Covered Part II

Two years ago I wrote a post (Part I) detailing how to utilize Dropbox as a picture hosting site so you didn’t have to eat into your free space here at WordPress. I’ve been using it on any picture over 100KB and it seems to work well for me. But just because something is working well doesn’t mean I am content to sit on my lees and let WordPress continue to work against me behind my back. It would be just like them at some point to disallow outside hosted pictures on free sites, so I decided to investigate what I could do for picture compression. Just in case you can’t tell, I have an extremely adversarial relationship with WP.com.

What I found was the Caesium Image Compressor. Here is the website and the download for various OS’s is part way down the page: Caesium Website.

I have been very pleased so far. Once I installed it, it took a while of playing around to get all the various options set up how I wanted. What I didn’t realize, and was very pleasantly surprised with, is that Caesium can also resize your photos along with compressing them. This is wonderful for me as I use the high quality pictures from my Calibre Library for my book reviews. Instead of having to use a separate resizer tool and then Caesium to compress that, I can do it all in one step. I even have it save the picture where I want so everything is conveniently stored for upload.

I use it on the little pictures for the book reviews (which are 194px wide) and I regularly get 30-60% compression. Going from 30KB down to 18KB isn’t a world breaking but if I want to continue blogging for years and years, every little bit adds up. I also use Caesium on any files I upload to Dropbox as well. Saving space any way I can means I don’t have to worry about hitting that 3gb limit (or 1gb if you’re a poor new user to WordPress. You newbs really have my sympathies in that regards!) It is another step in the blogging process however. So you have to decide if that is worth it to you or not. For me, it totally is. It is free, it is small and once you set it up to your taste, it is almost just 3 clicks of the mouse and you’re done.

I hope this post has been helpful even if just to inform you of options that you have. Because knowing is half the battle!

GI Bookstooge is the REAL American Hero, but we all knew that anyway

WordPress Forums: Banned Again!

After my post celebrating my Unbanning from the WordPress Forums (Out of WordPress Jail!) I wondered when I would get banned again and what would set it off. I figured WordPress would do something ultra-boneheaded and I’d say something in response and get ye olde ban hammer.

Well, it happened but I’m not sure exactly why. I have an idea and I’ll walk you through it. But first, Evidence of me being banned yet again from the forums:

When the WP Reader Changed on Me! last week and I posted about it, I went first to the forums to see if anyone else had noticed this change or complained about it. Nobody had and so I asked all of you in the post to confirm that my eyes hadn’t gone crazy. Enough of you confirmed the sudden change so I knew I was on firm ground. I have one of the paid plans (to get rid of the atrocious ads wordpress puts on the free sites) and that entitles me to email support. But I didn’t want email support. I wanted to post in the forum to get a public reaction. But I couldn’t find any way to start a new post. I could reply to other posts but I could not start one. So I caved and sent an email to the Great and Powerful Oz, or those shysters known ironically as “Happiness Engineers”.

I stated that the reader had become very narrow like the app and why had they changed it and why hadn’t they announced it. The Happiness Engineer replied back along the lines of “I understand you have a question about the reader, what can I help you with?”. Oh man, it was like they hadn’t read the email and were replying to some random keyword. I wrote back telling that person to read the initial email. They then asked me to take a screen shot to show the problem. At no point so far had this person acknowledged in ANY WAY that they were aware the Reader had been changed. I took a screen capture and gave it to them but told them since they didn’t seem to be aware of the issue that I figured they (wordpress) were lying to me and obfuscating the issue hoping I’d give up.

THAT is what I think got me banned from the forums. But what I don’t understand is why. How did what I wrote in the email translate over to the forums? And I made sure in the email NOT to claim the jerk engineer was lying or obfuscating, but WordPress as a whole. That way I was not attacking or “disrespecting” staff * epic eye roll *

So another Jerk Engineer replies back that he took a look at the screen shot and couldn’t see a problem. I replied calmly and outlined exactly what was different and that all I was looking for was the WHY of the changes, which were detrimental to all viewers who used a computer instead of a phone. I am so incredibly frustrated with WordPress right now.

I am looking into other RSS feeder options and come the New Year will be abandoning the WP Reader. I’ll still be using wordpress but I’ll access all the notifications via my own website instead of going to the reader. I’ll visit all of your sites via whatever rss feed reader I end up with. The problem is, one person’s site I regularly regurgitate upon (Aye laddie, your trossachs are totally pants’d! Begorrah!) has a problem where I can ONLY comment through the reader. As I am an avid commenter (not just on his site but most everywhere), this presents a problem to be solved. It just can’t be simple can it?

So the incredible Saga of The Bookstooge versus the Evil WordPress continues.

The WP Reader Just Changed On Me!

I was using the WP reader this afternoon, sometime between 4-5pm’ish and things were how they had always been. I took a nap, went to church small group and came back around 9pm and jumped on WP to see if anyone had said anything important, or amusing, or (hopefully) both. I refreshed my chrome session and voila, the WP reader changed drastically on me. It looked like the filthy app on my phone! At first I thought I had hit some hidden button and changed things, but no, I’m pretty sure WP just redesigned the Reader without telling any of its users.

Has it changed for any of you yet? I am still grasping at straws that I somehow did something that I can then undo. I do NOT like this “app” looking thing on my laptop. I am on an internet browser on a laptop, I want the full bloody thing, not some screwed up abortion that some miserable useless tech head thinks I should have.

I don’t need this kind of ridiculous crap at bed time :-/

The Hotel Bookstooge – Now Open for Business

Back in 2018 I started working on my blog to neaten things up (Site Update). Four and a half years later, I have finished. All 4060 of the books I have read since April of 2000 now each have their own little room in The Hotel Bookstooge. (+/- for omnibus and the occasional stray manga volume I lost track of)

And the best part? They can’t check out NOR can they leave. Mwhaahahahahahaa.

I’d like to thank everyone of you who gets posts emailed to them for putting up with this construction. I know this added up to a LOT of emails over time (and sometimes even within just a couple of days) but you can rest assured, the last beam of lumber has been cut, the final coat of paint has been splashed on the walls and the staff have all been vetted and are ready to cater to my every whim. So please, enjoy!

I would say feel free to wander around and check out the over 4000 rooms, but there is a small cover fee to keep the riffraff out. I’m sure you understand. Oh, and watch out for security. I’ve set them on “kill” instead of “stun” because it’s more fun that way. That way as I watch you on the cameras I can be sure you’re genuinely terrified as you run screaming down the falls, begging for mercy and desperately trying to find the way out. My goodness, I’m already chortling in glee just thinking about it! Sounds like a great time, eh?

And to help you take the first step on your fun filled adventure, just click the following link which will take you to a random page on the blog. And THAT service is on the house! Yes, yes, I know, I’m just too generous.

CLIKCC MEE (or else. jus’ sayin’)

Of course, the only problem is what do I do next? I shall have to give that some serious thought. Cheers!

WordPress Woes

Just a little rant post to get things out of my system. WordPress has been misbehaving in little areas and it’s really annoying me. I don’t know if it is WP updating in the background (every time something goes wrong it seems like it is because they updated something without fully testing it and so they screw over hundreds of thousands of people all at once) or if it is my browser being updated or some of my plugins.

I use Chrome with adblockplus and Ublock Origin. So far they have played very nicely with WP. Every month or so I do have to clear my chrome cache or wp starts acting funny, but since I prefer to do that anyway as a security precaution, it’s never been an issue.

Recently, nothing I change in the editor has been sticking. When I select the “top tool” option to keep the tools stuck on the top of the post, the next time I enter the editor the toolbar is right back to being on each block. When I open the “category” option on the right, it doesn’t stay open like it used to nor does the “tag” option.

When I write a review, I write everything in OpenOffice and then copy/paste over here. I’ll copy the title and series into the title bar and then copy/paste the star rating after that. Today I am finding that I cannot do multiple copy/pastes into the title bar. If there is something written there and I go to copy/paste, it overwrites what is written there with what I am trying to copy/paste. So I had to copy/paste the title and series into notepad, THEN c/p the star rating into notepad and create one line and THEN c/p that into the title block of WP. That is total BS.

I tried using MS Edge with no addons to see if it was chrome, but the exact same thing happened. Couldn’t copy/paste multiple items. So I shot off an email to WP describing it and telling them to fix it.

I just want WP to work. Instead, they tinker and break things and lie about it to our faces and generally act like nothing is the matter. Little things like this DO matter. It adds up. I shouldn’t be stressing out over a damned hobby. Personally, I hope these issues are because of chrome and the plugins. I can fix those easily enough. But if it is WP, there’s nothing I can do but wait and hope they fix what they broke.

ps, I’m so annoyed I’m seeing red right now….

Out of WordPress Jail!

For the last couple of years my ability to comment on the WordPress.com Forums has been curtailed because I said some things about staff and called them shills, etc when the block editor was forced down our throats and many blogging options that had been available in the old editor were removed. I regret nothing! While the staff are not the creators of the block editor, nor implementers of it, they WERE the public face of WordPress and they sang it’s praises like it had a hold of certain delicate parts of their anatomy and they deserved every word that I wrote.

So this past week I was perusing the forum (you can learn a lot by reading stupid peoples’ mistakes and questions) and realized my ability to comment was back on. What a waste. The flipping Pro Plan and rapacious Starter Plan are already fully integrated into their business model so it’s pointless to go raging after that. I guess I’ll have to wait for the next dumb move by WordPress.com to get banned again.

Sometimes life is hard when you’re me 😉