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Jeff Youngstrom
22 January 2013 @ 02:45 pm
I've seen a few people post some stats of their books read for the year.

I finished reading 42 books in 2012. This is pretty typical for the last few years. I'd like to read more but apparently not enough to shuffle my priorities for how I actually spend my time.

10 of them were actually published in 2012 which is pretty good for me.

30 were written or edited by dudes. So 29% by women. I don't know about racial breakdown, but at a glance "mostly white" seems accurate, alas.

10 non-fiction, the rest fiction.

12 I'd call science fiction. 15 fantasy.

Average rating 3.8 (on Goodreads' 5-star scale where 3 is "liked it", and 4 is "really liked it")

I gave 4 5-stars (Goodreads: "it was amazing"):

  • Hannu Rajaniemi's The Quantum Thief

  • Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (For me it was closer to a 4, but I think any extrovert who is in any position of authority over other people should totally read and absorb the book so I goosed it a bit.)
  • John Barnes's Losers in Space
  • Leah Bobet's Above


I also gave 5 stars to Cat Valente's Palimpsest but I didn't actually finish it due to brain issues so it isn't reflected in any of these numbers.

I gave 24 4 stars. 13 3. Nothing under a 3; life is too short to finish books I don't like.

Full list over on Goodreads
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
14 December 2012 @ 03:08 pm
If you'll be near Seattle on December 28th or 29th, you should go to this:

Book-It! presents Geek Out

They're adapting the following pieces:

  • Black Box by Jennifer Egan

  • Instructions by Neil Gaiman

  • The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

  • The Unwritten by Mike Carey



If you're not familiar with Book-It! Repertory Theater, they're a long-time Seattle group that specializes in sensitive adaptations of literature for the stage. I've been a fan of theirs for many years. In the early days they staged short stories by having actors speak all the words of a story while performing the action right down to the "he said"s and "she said"s. As they have evolved over the years they've moved towards adapting novel-length works, but they still are careful to preserve the original language of the book resulting in a theater experience that animates the author's words before your eyes. They're really good.

I can't wait!
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
27 September 2012 @ 12:03 pm
The kitchen meme making the rounds: Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don’t use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, fondue sets

Context.

Did some interpretation tricks. I don't use my griddle pan since I got an electric griddle which is arguably more superfluous, but that doesn't make me love it any less. I'm not sure what use a miniature salad spinner would be, but I use my full-size one all the time.

Other gadgets in our kitchen:
Kitchen Aid mixer
Braun hand mixer with wand and chopper attachments
Hand crank nut chopper (love)
Waffle iron

Since B gave up gluten (which ended 20 years of chronic pain!) we don't do a lot of baking, so some of the things we don't use anymore are recently disused and emotionally hard to give up.

I'm sheepish about the garlic smasher. I certainly prefer hand-minced garlic, but my knife skills aren't up to actually doing it in finite time with acceptable blood loss. At least it's pretty.

I suspect there are a bunch more italicized items lurking in the inaccessible back corners of our cabinets. And don't get me started on B's platter problem. ;-)

Oh, hey, are those silicone brushes worth a crap? I have one of those classic things with the twisted metal handle with brush that never comes clean enough to keep me from freaking out a little. Recommendations?
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
21 August 2012 @ 05:05 pm
Jeez, has it really been nearly a year since I posted here? I guess so.

I've been almost obsessively keeping up with reading here and elsewhere, but not making any contributions with a few minor exceptions.

  • Stuff I would normally send to B as a "hey look at this" I've been instead posting to Facebook.

  • Very occasionally posting a picture to Flickr. Most just snapshots from my phone.

  • Keeping my books read list up to date on Goodreads

  • Keeping my concert plans and history up to date on SonicLiving (thanks for pointing that out, jennythe_reader ). Currently have tickets for Amanda Palmer in September and Punch Brothers in November.

  • Most days I delete all the new spam off the Shadow Unit wiki. Subtractions count as contributions, right?

  • Rarely tweet.


I'm kind of stymied by too many options. Thinking about reviving my blog and just using that for everything.

So, anyway, hi.

How about you? Doing anything else-web that I should be following?

ETA: Goodreads! How'd I forget that?
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
09 November 2011 @ 03:35 pm
A few weeks back I got well and truly fed up with the side effects* of my current meds and decided it was time to make a change.

The Wellbutrin is easy, there's no withdrawal issues, so I just quit that one. The Effexor on the other hand is notorious for bad withdrawals. One of my docs had given me an introductory pack from the manufacturer in the event I decided to quit. So I went from 150mg down to 75mg for a week and then 37.5mg for another week before quitting altogether this last Sunday. I had mild symptoms during the ramp down, but about Monday afternoon I started getting the classic Effexor withdrawals. I've seen it variously described. It's sort of related to equilibrium with orientation changes occasioning a buzzing ringing sensation in your head. I've been likening it to having someone whanging away on the steel cable rigging of your nerves with a hammer every time you turn your head or even move your eyes. My reading says it usually lasts just a few days, so hopefully it won't linger past this week.

As for the side effects, the restless legs were markedly better as soon as I started ramping down. Not completely gone, but I've been able to sleep through the night without walking laps in the library multiple times as long as I walk and stretch for a while just before retiring. The memory thing seems better too. Again, not perfect, but better.

I've been trying to pay close attention to my mood in case the loss of the effects of the drugs causes problems. So far I haven't been experiencing feelings of depression. However I've been really cranky. All the little annoyances of life seem much more acute and distracting. This effect seems to be at least partly related to blood sugar as it's worst first thing in my work day and just as I get home from work. Today I tried channeling the annoyance factor into Twitter which served to amuse me and partially distract me from the annoyance.


* I've talked about the restless legs that had me up from bed two or three times every night for the past year or so. I was also noticing short-term memory issues. I couldn't retain a four-digit number for 10 seconds. People at work would ask me to do something and I would forget about it before we even finished our conversation. Not good.
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
07 November 2011 @ 01:08 pm
many questionsCollapse )
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
23 September 2011 @ 01:53 pm
After callunav did this after juliansinger started it.

There are whole blogs just dedicated to this question. I follow one "Everyday Carry" that is sort of minimalist survivalist (including lots of knife geekage and sometimes concealed handguns). There are several groups on flickr: "What's in your pocket?", "The Items We Carry", "Everyday Carry", "The Daily Dump", and at least one tag "whatsinyourbag". There's a fair amount of overlap, and I'm sure there are other groups and tags with similar stuff. Anyway, the point is that this is pr0n for some people. Hey, stop looking at me like that!

I did a "what's in your bag" for my bike a while back that I should refresh with the current list. Also did one for my bag when I was carrying one.

At the moment here's what I carry:

2 hankderchiefs, one in each back pocket.
iPhone 3GS in front right pocket.
Left front pocket:
- wad of cash
- many plastic and paper cards held together with a few hair bands (credit, license, loyalty, health, etc.)
- Leatherman micra with trashed scissors and dull knife
- the world's smallest AAA flashlight (DQG II)
- silver space pen
- key ring with house key, usb drive, case of Moo miniCards, and store card for a store I never go to which I should get rid of.

That's it! I'd like to carry a decent camera, but I don't want it enough to add a bag for it.
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
25 August 2011 @ 07:45 pm
An organization I'm a member of (http://www.timeday.org/) is working with a college research group to create and calibrate a survey to measure relative happiness of people in the US. The current version of the survey is pretty long since they're starting with questions from several pre-existing surveys. It takes about 45 minutes to complete, but you might find it interesting. If you've got the time, it would help to move the effort along. It's anonymous, of course.

Survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Measuring_GNH
 
 
Jeff Youngstrom
11 August 2011 @ 01:00 pm
Well, apparently 60,000 people cast ballots to narrow down the 237 finalists to 100.

I decided to cast only one vote per author and ended up with five of my choices on the final list: Gaiman's Sandman at 29, Le Guin's Left Hand of Darkness at 45, Stephenson's Diamond Age at 75, McKinley's Sunshine at 92, and Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep at 93. My other five didn't make the cut: Brust's Vlad Taltos books, Crowley's Little, Big, Delany's Dhalgren, Kress's Beggars in Spain, and Kushner's Swordspoint and sequels.

It's interesting seeing who appeared multiple times. Bradbury, Gaiman and Stephenson each had four placements. Old masters Asimov, Clarke, Heinlein, and Niven (2 with Pournelle) each had three. King, Le Guin, Orwell, Pournelle (with Niven), Pratchett, Sanderson, Tolkein, Verne, Vonnegut, and Wells each placed two. Of course since NPR grouped series, this statistic favors authors with stand alone books more than series. I'm too lazy to look up how many books are in all the series that placed. Also their groupings were somewhat arbitrary as some series books appeared individually (e.g., McCaffrey's Dragonflight) and when do you stop counting the series that won't die like the posthumous Dune books?

Five books from the 19th century, the earliest Wollstonecraft Shelley's 1818 Frankenstein. Three from the 1930s, two from the 1940s, eleven from the 1950s, 14 from the 1960s, 17 from the 1970s, 14 from the 1980s, 18 from the 1990s, 15 from the 2000s and the most recent Sanderson's The Way of Kings from 2010.

the obligatory memeificationCollapse )