A quick question

Have any of you ever seen the oath “God’s nightgown!” used anywhere, either by an actual person or in a piece of literature, in your entire lives?

Terrible Decisions: in which other people do all the work

20131228-112150.jpgI can’t take credit for this one.

Stage Two involved installing the new shower fan (I really should decide/find out what these things are called; I call it something different every time I refer to it) in the new ceiling above where the bulkhead used to be. While the actual work involved didn’t frighten me all that much, the location of the work did: in my unfinished attic, balancing precariously on rafters and trusses and other things that mean “balance beams.” I am a fat man, kids. I know intellectually that I’m not so substantial that I am likely to come crashing down through the roof so long as I’m not dumb enough to put my foot down in the wrong place, but I have never had terribly good balance and the simple fact is I’m probably going to put my foot down in the wrong place at some point.

(Fun fact: I’m not afraid of heights. Or, at least, I’m not at all afraid to be high off the ground– just so long as my feet are planted firmly. I don’t like being balanced precariously precisely because of my not-great balance issues; I’d be perfectly happy up on the observation deck of the Sears Tower, but if you ask me to climb an eight-foot ladder, especially if you want me at the actual top of the damn thing, I’m gonna side-eye the hell out of you before deciding if my sense of masculinity insists that I actually do it. It depends on the ladder, too; I’ll climb twenty feet on a ladder that feels solid before I climb six feet on a dodgy one. And while I’ve never actually done it, I’m pretty sure I’d be perfectly happy to skydive given the chance.)

Anyway, the solution was to call in my father-in-law, who worked as a general contractor and is much more comfortable with this sort of thing. And it’s turned out to be an annoying job, too– the construction of the thing mandated that it had to be installed from below, which I wasn’t counting on and which required some fancy drywall cutting to make sure we could actually slide it up through the preexisting ceiling without tearing it down. Then there was a random extraneous board in the way which had to be cut out (not a big deal) and a damn thermostat wire in pretty much exactly the wrong goddamn place, which he worked around. Meanwhile, I spent a lot of time on a stepstool in the tub giving my shoulder muscles a workout by holding the damn thing up above my head in proper positioning while he (I swear, on purpose) took as long as he possibly could to mark holes, predrill, and then finally screw the fan into place.

Which, as it turned out, was as far as the work got, because guess what else we have in our attic? Aluminum wiring. Which has a nasty habit of causing fires when spliced or pigtailed with copper wire. Which is sort of a problem, especially since this is going to be in an attic full of blown-in insulation, which is allllllll sorts of fire-hazardy. (Minor pride moment: I noticed this first; all those hours of watching Mike Holmes shows finally paid off!) Anyway, this isn’t an insurmountable issue, it just means that we have to get special connectors to join the wires together and we didn’t happen to have any on hand. So the remainder of the hookup is happening today while I’m at work; theoretically by the time I get home tonight we’ll have a functioning shower fan again.

Just in time for me to wreck the shower surround… tomorrow? Monday? We’ll see.


What I Read in 2013

UnknownIf you’ve been reading for a while, you know this already:  at the beginning of this year, I decided to keep track of everything I read in 2013.  This started off just as a curious exercise; I am a data nerd by nature, and I like keeping track of things.  However, at some point it became clear that I had a good chance of reading 200 books in the year– at which point the list became about reading 200 books this year, and became some sort of odd running contest with myself.

At any rate, once I finish The Return of the King today– probably within an hour of the end of this post– I’m going to start Gone with the Wind, which is over a thousand pages long and thus will probably take me through to the end of 2013, if not much longer than that, since I’m on vacation and all.  Gone with the Wind will be the 201st book of the year.  This doesn’t count articles, comic books, short stories, and a whole host of other things; while I left my definition of “book” rather vague– basically, it had to be either a novella-sized ebook or something that was bound to qualify, which meant comic issues didn’t count and neither did short stories– amazingly, the 201 books only represents a fraction of the reading I did this year.

I, uh, like to read.

Some numbers:  before you look at some of the titles and accuse me of cheating, know that the books averaged 331.621891 pages each, which I feel is a respectable length.  The longest book on the list will be Gone with the Wind; the shortest, Batman: the Killing Joke.  The shortest that wasn’t a graphic novel was the 89-page Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, way back in January.  I read a total of– whoa, weird– 66,656 pages in 2013, which is an average of 182.619178 pages every single day, all year long.  65 of the 201 books were rereads; the rest were new to me.  I choose to not attempt to figure out how much I spent on the 136 new books.

I will not, by the way, be doing this again; I suspect in a regular year where I’m not pushing myself to finish stuff and paying attention to numbers I probably read around 150-175 books a year, and my plan for 2014 is to mostly read huge books, so the number will be even smaller than that.

At any rate, here’s the list.  Hopefully this will paste in a format that’s actually readable:

Book Author Page count
1 The Emperor’s Soul Brandon Sanderson 167
2 Wool Omnibus Hugh Howey 548
3 Throne of the Crescent Moon Saladin Ahmed 367
4 Legion Brandon Sanderson 114
5 Lincoln’s Battle with God: A President’s Struggle with Faith and What it Meant for America Stephen Mansfield 211
6 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll 89
7 Gun Machine Warren Ellis 308
8 Dune Frank Herbert 511
9 The Pilgrim’s Progress John Bunyan 189
10 Pasquale’s Angel Paul McAuley 374
11 Crooked Little Vein Warren Ellis 277
12 Rise to Greatness:  Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year David von Drehle 379
13 The Signal and the Noise: Why so many predictions fail–but some don’t Nate Silver 454
14 The Book Thief Markus Zusak 550
15 The Human Division John Scalzi 432
16 Ethan Allen: His Life and Times Willard Sterne Randall 535
17 T. Rex and the Crater of Doom Walter Alvarez 185
18 Clementine Cherie Priest 235
19 Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power Jon Meacham 505
20 The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga 328
21 The Neon Bible John Kennedy Toole 162
22 As a Driven Leaf Milton Sternberg 480
23 Eclipse John Shirley 278
24 Sandman Slim Richard Kadrey 388
25 Penny Arcade 8: Magical Kids in Danger Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik 112
26 The Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger 214
27 Grendel John Gardner 174
28 Lord Foul’s Bane: The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Book 1 Stephen Donaldson 480
29 The Illearth War:  Thomas Covenant 2 Stephen Donaldson 518
30 The Power that Preserves: Thomas Covenant 3 Stephen Donaldson 480
31 Bad Astronomy: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Astrology to the Moon Landing “Hoax” Philip Plait 262
32 The Explorer James Smythe 264
33 Franny and Zooey J.D. Salinger 202
34 Albion’s Seed:  Four British Folkways in America David Hackett Fischer 902
35 John F. Kennedy Alan Brinkley 152
36 The Eyes of Willie McGee:  A Tragedy of Race, Sex and Secrets in the Jim Crow South Alex Heard 349
37 Ubik Philip K. Dick 227
38 Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte 370
39 Mad Like Tesla:  Underdog Inventors and their Relentless Pursuit of Clean Energy Tyler Hamilton 243
40 How to be Black Baratunde Thurston 254
41 Embedded Dan Abnett 430
42 The Lathe of Heaven Ursula K. Le Guin 175
43 Sunshine Robin McKinley 405
44 The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks Jeanne Theoharis 302
45 Omon Ra Victor Pelevin 154
46 The Gate to Women’s Country Sheri S. Tepper 315
47 Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War Charles B. Dew 124
48 Ida: A Sword among Lions Paula J. Giddings 800
49 Kill the Dead Richard Kadrey 434
50 Slow River Nicola Griffith 343
51 A Scanner Darkly Philip K. Dick 289
52 The Left Hand of Darkness Ursula K. Le Guin 330
53 Fade to Black Francis Knight 367
54 The Algebraist Iain M. Banks 434
55 Whole Wide World Paul McAuley 399
56 Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam Nick Turse 370
57 Joseph Anton: A Memoir Salman Rushdie 633
58 Redemption in Indigo Karen Lord 180
59 Shine Shine Shine Lydia Netzer 309
60 The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch Philip K. Dick 233
61 The Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie 561
62 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson 204
63 The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame 165
64 Dragons of Summer Flame Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman 568
65 Passion’s Howl: Penny Arcade Vol. 9 Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik 120
66 The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald 171
67 Consider Phlebas Iain M. Banks 514
68 The Second Generation Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman 434
69 Iron Man: Extremis Warren Ellis and Adi Granov 150
70 NOS4A2 Joe Hill 692
71 The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War Andrew J. Bacevich 252
72 Time Out of Joint Philip K. Dick 232
73 A Rumor of War Philip Caputo 356
74 Cain Jose Saramago 157
75 Inferno Dan Brown 480
76 Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man Walter Stahr 703
77 The Arabian Nights, Vol. 1 Malcolm C. Lyons 974
78 Declare Tim Powers 591
79 Lincoln Gore Vidal 712
80 The Walking Dead: What Comes After Robert Kirkman 168
81 Joyland Stephen King 283
82 Dragons of a Fallen Sun Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman 627
83 Cruddy Lynda Barry 320
84 The Shining Girls Lauren Beukes 368
85 Triangle: The Fire that Changed America David von Drehle 268
86 Gibbon’s Decline and Fall Sheri S. Tepper 465
87 Who Killed Martin Luther King? James Earl Ray 277
88 The Dark Crystal A.C.H. Smith 186
89 The Dispossessed Ursula K. Le Guin 387
90 The Golem and the Jinni Helene Wecker 484
91 Blindness Jose Saramago 326
92 Colder than Hell: A Marine Rifle Company at Choisin Reservoir Joseph R. Owen 276
93 Slammerkin Emma Donoghue 410
94 Craven Place Richard Wright 238
95 The Sealed Letter Emma Donoghue 397
96 The Lies of Locke Lamora Scott Lynch 722
97 The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman 178
98 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 281
99 Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe 299
100 The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams 225
101 The Restaurant at the End of the Universe Douglas Adams 256
102 Life, the Universe and Everything Douglas Adams 232
103 So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish Douglas Adams 224
104 Mostly Harmless Douglas Adams 240
105 The Magician’s Nephew C.S. Lewis 221
106 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis 206
107 The Horse and his Boy C.S. Lewis 241
108 Prince Caspian C.S. Lewis 238
109 The Voyage of the Dawn Treader C.S. Lewis 271
110 The Silver Chair C.S. Lewis 257
111 The Last Battle C.S. Lewis 228
112 On the Road Jack Kerouac 307
113 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck 113
114 In Cold Blood Truman Capote 343
115 Crucible Troy Denning 316
116 Math Doesn’t Suck Danica McKellar 295
117 Kiss My Math Danica McKellar 331
118 The Thousand Names Django Wexler 513
119 The Call of the Wild Jack London 72
120 Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Reza Aslan 296
121 Batman: The Killing Joke Alan Moore & Brian Bolland 64
122 Red Seas Under Red Skies Scott Lynch 760
123 Grimoire of the Lamb Kevin Hearne 119
124 Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority Tim Wise 190
125 The Fault in our Stars John Green 318
126 Hunted Kevin Hearne 400
127 Scatter, Adapt and Remember: How Humans will Survive a Mass Extinction Annalee Newitz 305
128 Kenobi John Jackson Miller 380
129 Space Prison Tom Godwin 257
130 And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini 404
131 Red Moon Benjamin Percy 533
132 Terminated Rachel Caine 304
133 The God Engines John Scalzi 137
134 An Abundance of Katherines John Green 227
135 The Warded Man Peter V. Brett 459
136 Death in the Skies!  The Science Behind the End of the World Philip Plait 326
137 Looking for Alaska John Green 221
138 Slouching towards Bethlehem: Essays Joan Didion 238
139 Rosemary’s Baby Ira Levin 256
140 Paper Towns John Green 305
141 The Crown Tower Michael J. Sullivan 375
142 The Rose and the Thorn Michael J. Sullivan 351
143 The Shining Stephen King 447
144 Oddly Normal John Schwartz 300
145 Confederate Emancipation Bruce Levine 252
146 Doctor Sleep Stephen King 531
147 Confessions of a Bad Teacher John Owens 245
148 Reign of Error Diane Ravitch 397
149 Avengers: Endless Wartime Warren Ellis, Mike McKone, and Jason Keith 120
150 Dawn Octavia E. Butler 249
151 Lord of the Flies William Golding 256
152 The Mallet of Loving Correction John Scalzi 484
153 Adulthood Rites Octavia E. Butler 270
154 Public Enemy: Confessions of an American Dissident Bill Ayers 228
155 Shatterpoint Matthew Stover 419
156 Imago Octavia E. Butler 229
157 Blue Remembered Earth Alastair Reynolds 576
158 Jonathan Livingston Seagull Richard Bach 127
159 Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah Richard Bach 192
160 The Sword of Shannara David Brooks 736
161 Carrie Stephen King 290
162 Who Wrote the Bible? Richard Elliott Friedman 299
163  ‘Salem’s Lot Stephen King 427
164 Rage Stephen King 211
165 Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie 409
166 Discount Armageddon Seanan McGuire 352
167 Seven Forges James A. Moore 398
168 Midnight Blue-Light Special Seanan McGuire 353
169 Sandman: Preludes & Nocturnes Neil Gaiman 240
170 Sandman: Doll’s House Neil Gaiman 232
171 Sandman: Dream Country Neil Gaiman 160
172 Sandman: Season of Mists Neil Gaiman 192
173 Sandman: Game of You Neil Gaiman 192
174 Sandman: Fables & Reflections Neil Gaiman 168
175 Sandman: Brief Lives Neil Gaiman 168
176 Sandman: World’s End Neil Gaiman 168
177 Sandman: The Kindly Ones Neil Gaiman 320
178 Sandman: The Wake Neil Gaiman 192
179 The Daedalus Incident Michael J. Martinez 388
180 Fiddlehead Cherie Priest 366
181 Kabu Kabu Nnedi Okorafor 260
182 Engraved on the Eye Saladin Ahmed 142
183 Parasite Mira Grant 504
184 The Pastel City M. John Harrison 174
185 The Fellowship of the Ring J.R.R. Tolkien 398
186 Afrofuturism:  The world of black sci-fi and fantasy culture Ytasha Womack 214
187 City of Bones Cassandra Clare 485
188 The Two Towers J.R.R. Tolkien 327
189 Haroun and the Sea of Stories Salman Rushdie 216
190 The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett 216
191 Conan the Invincible Robert Jordan 284
192 Conan the Defender Robert Jordan 288
193 Conan the Unconquered Robert Jordan 286
194 Snow Crash Neal Stephenson 440
195 The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins 374
196 Catching Fire Suzanne Collins 391
197 Mockingjay Suzanne Collins 390
198 Watership Down Richard Adams 478
199 Nutcracker Sweetest Delaney Starr-West 102
200 The Return of the King J.R.R. Tolkien 432
201 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell 1027

In which my blog gets Rule 34ed

I’d like to make it known that I have just received a hit from a Google search for the phrase “fucking at Burger King.”

I’m not certain why you would look for that. But you’ll find a link to this post on the second page if you do.


1503320_10152055397933926_293884714_nAlllllrightythen.  Phase one:  DESTROY BULKHEAD is complete.  That last board back there is being left in place on account of there are nails going both ways and I suspect pulling it is going to destroy the drywall, so we’re going to leave it until we actually need to destroy the drywall.  The broken piece of DW on the right there is coming down on that same day.  Either today (probably not) or tomorrow my father-in-law is coming over; the new bathroom fan is getting installed right about where that pipe for the old one is coming down.  That’s attic work and electrical work; I can destroy by myself– I need help for that part.  After that’s done, we start taking out the walls.

Total elapsed time:  Two hours, maybe, start to finish, and it’s even all clean already, except for that little bit in the back corner yet that I haven’t pulled down.  Bathing the boy tonight shouldn’t be a problem.

Injury report:  Minor scrape to knuckles, incurred after all work was done and while bagging up the trash.  I didn’t feel a damn thing; turns out broken tile is razor-sharp and maybe you keep the work gloves on even when you’re not technically doing what you think of as work anymore.

Trepidation report:  incredibly high; this was the second thing in a row that was Way Too Goddamn Easy.  There’s gonna be a tarrasque living in the walls, I just know it.