Sometimes I lose a day to maintenance

photo of green data matrix

Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com on Pexels.com

Yesterday was interesting. I’ve been having some problems with Windows 10 since the last couple of updates.

The computer would freeze or do an immediate shutdown when I was in the middle of posting on facebook.

I had already done the suggestions from the Microsoft website which included check power (duh), and power saving. So after the computer, btw this one I am on right now, froze once and did two immediate shut downs, I knew I would have to check my computer before sending an irate email to Microsoft. I knew it was the program and not this now old ASUS. I’ve babied this computer for years by keeping it on an UPS power supply so that the brownouts and spikes on our power wouldn’t hurt the machine.

I first did a “chkdsk” except Windows 10 style. That is an old techie tool that will tell you if the hard drive is starting to degrade. If you have to repair too many “sectors” then it may be time to do a complete data download, assuming you haven’t kept backups. My disk reported “no errors.”

I have a checklist of programs that clean the disk, check and repair malware, and defrag. By the time I got to defrag, my entire day was gone, so no writing or checking the internet.

I did send an email to Microsoft to tell them that Windows 10 was now officially on my shitlist of worst processing programs. It is now on the same programming level as those earlier programs of Windows. If the program doesn’t work, I just have an expensive toaster littering my desk. I’m looking for a clean copy of Windows 7–

What I use this computer for is writing, publishing, and internet. I may have to completely take this one off the internet.

What’s remarkable is that I have used this computer continuously for over six years. I got it fully loaded and paid a mint because it was going to be my writing and publishing computer. It has done a fine job. I think if Microsoft would quit believing that this computer belongs to them because they let me use their software, then I would be a happy writer.

So to recap, my computer still runs well and the program is for crap. Defrag seems to be the only thing that fixes the Windows problems temporarily.

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Saturday Review – Howl’s Moving Castle

howl's movingWhen my life gets a little overloaded, I escape through reading. The last couple of days I have been dealing with my health and my dog’s health. I had to take her to the vet yesterday.

So during those times like yesterday, I pull out a favorite like this one: Howl’s Moving Castle. I may go back and watch the movie too. The reason I like the book over the movie is because the movie condenses the story and many of the details are lost. To be fair, I have watched the movie and enjoyed it too.

Sophie trims hats and talks to them. What she doesn’t know is that as she is talking to them she is putting magic into them. This brings her to the notice of one of the most wicked witches in the land.

She manages to clean a wizard’s house, talk to a fire demon, and learn a little magic. This is a classic coming of age story written by one of the foremost young adult authors, Diana Wynne Jones.

It is my comfort reading.

Saturday Review – Fractured Loyalties

fractured loyaltiesI wanted to do more reviews of Pam Uphoff’s books because I really enjoy “The Wine of the Gods” series and her “Directorate Series.” I haven’t even tried to count them all.

I had been following Ra’d from the time he was introduced as a character in the first book. He had  interesting beginnings. He and others were “bubbled” in a dimensional bubble during a war. They were un-bubbled several centuries later. It was a shock for them and the society when they tried to integrate.

If you want to read about it, you’ll have to go to the earlier books in the series.

Why I like this book in particular is that Ra’d is now in the intelligence services and he has to juggle his spy duties with his lover. She happens to be from another world and there is an uneasy truce between worlds. Even worse, she is the offspring of the God of Spies.

So Ra’d is between two loyalties.

Every book I’ve read from Pam Uphoff has had a different twist in it. Her characters are well-formed and interesting.

I will read this one again.

 

Repost from Jan 8, 2017: Love, loyalty, and grief

Last night when I should have been preparing for bed, I turned on the TV for some mindless noise and on the CW movie channel (33-2), Hachi, a story of an Akita and the man who found him at a train station. The reason I left the movie on as I dressed for bed, tucked in the dog, and played a game on my tablet was because it was a sweet slow story.

A young boy was asked to make a report about a hero in his life so he told about his grandfather’s dog, Hachi. There were no men trying to steal the dog. There were no car chases. In fact it was not my normal movie fare.

However, as I watched the man and dog interact through play. As I watched the dog escort him to the train station and then meet the professor when he got off the train, I started to get invested in the two of them. Yes, I waited for something to happen, but it was so quiet that I didn’t get the dramatic affect until later in the movie.

At this point, I am warning you– I will be revealing plot points–so if you don’t want to know, do not read further–

The professor dies. Hachi waits for him to come home for several years.

How can I explain the affect this part of the movie had on my emotions. The movie went from being a sweet story about a love between a man and his dog to a emotionally charged movie about a dog that waited for a man who would never come home again.

Of course I made the connection between this dog and my own circumstances. I lost a husband from cancer. I know in my mind that I will never see him again in the physical world– only through a few pictures and recordings. However, my emotions even after two years had not reached my thoughts. Last night, I knew through my body that my husband would never come home again.

I am told that it gets easier. I know it gets easier. I don’t get faced with these thoughts every hour of every day like the first year. I actually laughed a few months ago.

How long did I cry? Enough that my sinuses were clogged and I couldn’t breath. Enough that I was numb. Is this a catharsis?

“The movie was based on the real Hachikō, who was born in Ōdate in 1923. After the death of his owner, Hidesaburō Ueno in 1925, Hachikō returned to the Shibuya train station the next day and every day after that for the next nine years until he died in March 1935. A bronze statue of Hachikō is in front of the Shibuya train station in his honor.” Wikipedia

 

Saturday Review: Witchfire Burning

Witchfire Burning (Eerie Side of the Tracks Book 1) by [Ferguson, Ellie, Green, Amanda S.]Witchfire Burning by Ellie Ferguson (pen name of Amanda S. Green)

Quinn O’Donnell was a normal human amid a family with abnormal powers. When she was old enough to leave, she went to that wider world. Now she is a single mother with a child who has powers. So she decided to come home so that her grandmother can train her child.

Except the house is abandoned and is lonely for company. Plus the house is sentient and has its own idea of who is allowed into the house and who is forced to stay on the boundaries. There is trouble here and Quinn also brings trouble in the form of her ex-husband.

This is one of those stories that grab you with the first few paragraphs and doesn’t let you go until the end.  My only disappointment was that I want to read more books about this character and this world.

I recommend this book. Plus you can find it on Kindle Unlimited if you are on that service. It’s a win-win for me.

 

Saturday Review – Strangely Familiar

strangely familiar I am one of those readers that really enjoys a mixed-genre story. A few years ago I really enjoyed Simon R. Green’s nightside series, of a man who would find the lost ones for you. It had a combinations of noir and fantasy.

Strangely Familiar  by Alma T. C. Boykin has that same taste when I started reading it. It dragged me through the pages and wouldn’t let me go. I was grateful it was a novella size because I might not have slept that night.

The story is about a young woman, who is a half-way house after stealing money for her drug addiction. She is cleaning up, but it is pretty hard. At the same time she meets a coatimundi, who is a mage’s familiar. This meeting throws her into the world of mages. Only mages and nulls had familiars– Leila Chan hadn’t known she had magic.

Now I was in Panama City, Panama for a few years and I have seen coatimundi, running in packs and disturbing neighborhoods. They will smash trash cans and pull metal off building and are as handy as raccoons.  They can be quite vicious. So I was very interested in Boykin’s representative of a coatimundi familiar.

The coatimundi in this story has a lot of patience to deal with a goth-girl who has drug and family issues. It didn’t detract from the story even though I knew the temperament of that animal.

All in all– I am banging my pen on the table for more stories in this world from Boykin.

Saturday Reviews

Since I am reading a lot lately, and decided to make Saturday a book review day. When I decide to review books, I get this flashback to second grade, which I almost failed, because I hated doing book reports. So that I wouldn’t fail, I spent the first week of my summer writing ten book reports. Yep, I only had to do ten book reports to pass the class. So that is how you can have a high IQ and still be almost held back.

Why didn’t I complete those book reports during the school year? That year I was reading the Oz series and other books that were on a high school level. I thought book reports were stupid so I refused to write them. I did write a list of books that I had read. When the teacher told me that I was lying, my need to buck authority was born.

She changed her tune when she finally got the book reports.

Anyway, enough about me and my book report phobia. This will be a book review, which is an entirely different beast.
dog with bone
I started reading “Dog with a Bone” a week ago, while I had the stomach virus. I was on my side with my kindle in my hands. I was looking for a good escape from the toilet god experience. If you have ever been sick, you know exactly what I mean.

It started out “burnt ozone tickled my nose” and I was hooked. The story is about Thierry a half-breed fairy who has magical powers derived from the runes on her hands. They never describe the runes. Sorry Norse enthusiasts so I am not sure if the cover is false advertising or not.

Her job is to hunt down and capture dangerous Fae who are slipping into the human world. At the same time she must keep her identity secret from the humans.

This book was a well-written wild ride. In this first book she is discovering her powers and her ancestry while trying to capture some dangerous creatures.

What was best about this book and the entire “Black Dog” series is that I escaped from my pain and sickness for a while. I’d say its worth the few hours of sitting in one place.