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Books I’ve Read, October Edition

Before we begin the festivities, here’s a small aside to the techheads who follow me and the tech muggles who care about privacy.
(Which should actually be all of us, considering the various invasions of privacy happening)
My friend and mentor, Kushal writes short newsy notes on what goes on in that world. Why privacy matters and how the powers that be are stripmining our privacy and what we can do to protect it.

Go, subscribe now!


October

Alright, back to the music.
As you know, I spent most of last month cooped up in bed.
What do I do if I am sick?
I read :)
So this month is a big doozy :)

  • Can’t Hurt Me, David Goggins
    (absolutely must read. Lindy read.
    My second Lindy read in a month! I must be really lucky.
    I’ve been fascinated by David, ever since I read Living with a Seal.
    This book reveals the mental mindset behind his superhuman feats.
    If you’re wondering who David is, this will help.)

  • The 33 Marks of Maturity, Brett & Kate McKay
    (absolutely must read. Lindy read.
    this book is short and packed with wisdom, about what it takes to be, well, mature.
    in the real adult mature sense.
    it reads like your dad or your older brother talking you through life’s truths)

  • Our Magnificient Bastard Tongue, John McWhorter
    (must read. this was one of the best and funniest pieces of non fiction I have read in a while.
    if you are curious about why English is the way it is, this book provides a few answers.
    here’s a quote, “German, Dutch, Swedish, and the gang are, by and large, variations on what happened to Proto-Germanic as it morphed along over three thousand years. They are ordinary rolls of the dice. English, however, is kinky. It has a predilection for dressing up like Welsh on lonely nights.”
    McWhorter is funny, and insightful)

  • The Perpetual Beginner, Dave Isaacs
    (Music maestro Dave, has a lot of advice for folk like me;
    the beginners who cannot seem to get over the beginning hump, the ones who do not yearn for mastery, just the ability to be fluent enough to translate what they hear in their head into notes on the guitar.
    worth a read.)

  • The Revelation Space Omnibus, Alastair Reynolds
    (fun read. this kept me good company as I lie in bed sick.
    it’s an awesome world to lose yourself in, taking you as it does across thousands of years of space and time.)

    • Chasm City
    • Redemption Ark
    • Absolution Gap
    • Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days
    • The Prefect
  • Retire Inspired, Chris Hogan
    (good read. another Dave Ramsey title.
    I reread this just to keep myself on track.
    i may not have money now, but i know what to do once I reinvent myself)

  • The Greatest Trade Ever, Gregory Zuckerman
    (the story of how John Paulson, saw the subprime bubble and made a killing.
    If you liked The Big Short, you’ll like this.
    Not Michael Lewis level writing though)

  • The Odessa File, Frederick Forsyth
    (there’ll probably be a whole lot of Forsyth after this one.
    all of them, must reads.
    Forsyth is the master of his genre. fuck that. he practically owns the genre.
    Nazi war criminals have been hounded because of his fiction!
    and like Caro, he is the master of his craft.
    you know how he develops his characters, you kinda know how it all works, but every new novel is still fun.
    and for me, I am on my umpteenth reread of his work.
    and I enjoy myself even now after all these years.)

  • The Deceiver, Frederick Forsyth

  • Avenger, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
    (my first Forsyth novel)

  • The Fox, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Kill List, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Fist of God, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Afghan, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Cobra, Frederick Forsyth

  • Icon, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Dogs of War, Frederick Forsyth

  • The Biafra Story, Frederick Forsyth
    (Forsyth at his journalistic best.
    a beautiful, haunting, empathic recounting of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war from the Biafran point of view.)

  • The Outsider, Frederick Forsyth
    (lots of life stories compiled.
    not quite an autobiography.
    more like a drunk uncle telling awesome stories of his life.
    (all of which happen to be true, however fantastic they sound.))

  • The Proximity Principle, Ken Coleman
    (another book from the Dave Ramsey stable.
    more common sense advice.
    this time for your career.
    worth a read)

  • Forever and Ever, Amen, Randy Travis
    (it’s always sad, when you discover as you grow older, that your heroes are only human and your idols have feet of clay.
    I’ve listened to every Randy Travis album ever since my cousin brother gifted me Storms of Life all those years back.
    And it seems strange that for all I learnt about life from those songs, the baritone who sang them, did not.
    I learnt from those songs and became a man. Randy stayed a man child.
    It’s a raw book. Randy lays his life bare.
    It’s funny, poignant, cautionary and uplifting.
    And there’s the names and people parading through his life.
    I did not know the Terminator gave Randy fitness tips.
    Or that Dirty Dancing Swayze sang backup vocals for him.
    definitely worth a read if you are a country music fan.
    It’s a portrait of a flawed life yes, but also a life filled with lots of love and friendship and music and devotion and faith.)

  • The Body, A Guide for Occupants, Bill Bryson
    (Bill is a guide. The best kind there is.
    He tells it like it is. and tells it pithily and funnily.
    Be it the evolution of English, how our homes came to be, or just a history of everything, Bill has done it all.
    This time he tackles a new frontier. The human body.
    From head to tail, err … toe, Bryson explores every part of the human body.
    And as usual it is exceedingly awesome.
    Sample this, “Although Funk coined the term “vitamines,” and is thus often given credit for their discovery, most of the real work of determining the chemical nature of vitamins was done by others, in particular Sir Frederick Hopkins, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work in 1929—a fact that left Funk permanently in one.”
    You will learn lots and laugh lots.
    Go read.)

  • Morgan’s Run, Colleen McCullough
    (I don’t know why, but this is the one of the few pieces of modern fiction, I re–read a lot.
    Probably because Richard Morgan, the protaganist is a stoic hero.
    And I love the Stoics.
    It’s all about how Australia and Norfolk Island (the focus of the story) got settled, by the riff raff England did not want.
    About how they struggled.
    About how they made the most of the very meagre natural resources at the time.
    I kept hoping against hope that she’d write a sequel, because I so wanted to know more about this part of history.
    It’s a lovely read. A lose yourself in history book)

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P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.


Inessential Turns 20!

From the celebratory post,

Old proverb: “The best time to start a blog was 20 years ago. The second-best time is today.” :)

This is what I want for my blogs to become too.
Not popular, but to have a long active life, full of stuff that inspires me and helps others.


Books I’ve Read, September Edition

Hello, folks!
Let’s get this show back on the road, shall we?
Before we resume, I just want to thank you for all your notes of encouragement and good wishes.
I still am not out of the woods, yet, but healthy enough to resume writing these littles notes :)

September

  • Everyday Millionaires, Chris Hogan
    (must read. but only for folks like me who are a little slow with money. it’s a typical Dave Ramsey book. short. to the point. all meat, no bones. lots of stories.
    the book itself is an exploration of their study of 10,000 millionaires in the USA. no, she does not own a fancy penthouse. she is more likely to be a high school teacher in her early to mid fifties.)

  • The Veteran, Frederick Forsyth
    (must read. found my old copy and reread it.
    this is a collection of 5 novellas of varying lengths, each with a twist you don’t see coming.
    The Veteran is classic Forsyth.
    My favourite, Whispering Wind, is Forsyth trying to do a L’Amour and coming within striking distance. Old western, time travel and reincarnation; this one has it all)

  • Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage, John McWhorter

  • The Revelation Space Omnibus, Alastair Reynolds

    • Galactic North
    • Revelation Space

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P.P.S. Feed my insatiable reading habit.


Multiple Slugs for Multiple Webpages in Nikola

Here’s a delightful little thing I discovered, using Nikola today.

As part of a little housecleaning, I wanted to have a single page have two web urls.
As in Books I’ve Read and Books in 2020.
Don’t ask why, my nerdy brain just wants it that way.

And I was thinking of Nginx redirects and other things I could try.
Until I looked up and saw the slug section in the metadata section of my post (the section that I normally turn a blind eye to).
This is what I assume, Nikola uses to generate links.
And I thought hmm, what if?
And at the same time I remembered what Roberto Alsina, the original author of Nikola had encouraged me to do, when I had just started using it to blog.
That he wrote Nikola, so that it would mostly do the logical thing; that I wouldn’t really need to use the documentation (excellent as it is)

So that is what I did then. I put in two slugs each with the unique url I wanted, and sure enough, Nikola generated two web pages from that single source file.

It’s the little things like this, that make me so happy, I use Nikola for my writing.


Got a Pi Hole Running

Been really sick to do anything this past month.
Slowly inching towards getting better.

So thought it would be a good idea to get my brain working, even if slowly.
Safari on my Mac has finally turned into a burning pile of shit.
No extensions allowed.
I hate this neglect of an awesome platform.
And I hate that they are making it into something that nobody wants, except for some fat cat in an ivory tower.
So where was I? Oh yea, no extensions.
Which means no uBlock Origin.
Which basically means Safari for all its speed and efficiency is now as unusable as a dog turd.

Which made be remember the Banana Pi.
It was my feed server.
And then I moved that to another machine.
So the Pi now is a Pi-Hole.
Blocks most garbage.
Works pretty well.
Not uBlock Origin well, but it is definitely a relief to just have something that can serve all my devices at the flick of a switch.

Let’s see how this experiment goes.