RLLauthor@outlook.com and @RLL_author GO TO AMAZON KINDLE STORE AND TYPE RLL. YOU WILL FIND MY BOOKS.

Friday, 1 June 2018

CHANGES TO READING BOOKS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Reading at least a book a week? Managed that last year.
   This year, I found myself managing things differently. I decided not to keep count. That week, when I read three...or four...books? The score I kept was vague.
   And I kept no monthly or year-thus-far score at all.


*

As I still have a backlog, book purchasing remains low. I know I have loads of books to read: entire bookcases of weighty tomes. But keeping annual count no longer features in my plans.
   I am reading. And I am not purchasing many books. So the pile of books to-be-read must fall. Unless the paperback fuckers are breeding in the stacks.
   This is a suspicion of mine.


*

Reading books to order feels like grinding along in a car with no wheels, sparks flying out of every orifice - maybe I mean the car's every orifice, but I can't be certain of that.
   But reading spontaneously and noticing that I just polished off three (or four) volumes...yes, that's preferable to the sparky alternative.
   And so. I always read what I care to. That hasn't changed. But I will read when I want and how ever much I can cope with, without keeping count.
   Blogger warned me of changes to the system. Open Identification comments are no longer supported. This means a few comments on the blog were rendered anonymous.
   It's easy enough to work out who wrote what, even though ANON is now the nameplate on the door.
   The comments are still there, despite changes.
   And I feel the same about these books. I am reading them, even if I am not keeping score on a scrap of paper skidding around the desktop.
   I used the scratch method of counting to four, IIII, and then striking through diagonally, with a warning in weeks at the top to let me know if I'd lost the plot.
   Wait a bit. Only one month left and I must read eighteen books to claim I read 52 in a year? Better get on...with reading really slim volumes.
   No more of that. Annual reading challenges shouldn't be slogs into deserts. Park your arse at the oasis and sip a book or two instead.

Some reader comments have been rendered anonymous. If you are affected by this change, remember the affectionate name for the blogging site is Bugger. And it's not affectionate.

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

REVISITING THE CORNER: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.


Rediscovering the corner is more apt.
   That office corner to my left is gone. Can’t reach in there any longer. And that office corner to my right is something I rediscovered on an expedition to…
   Well, an expedition to the far corners of the office.
   I took a non-machete to nothing in particular. Instead of hacking and slashing at an item, I secured and fixed a thing instead.
   The upshot of buying a new computer is still with me. (To the extent that I had to ferret around in Micromanaged Word for settings I was forced to wrestle with, not two minutes before penning this blog.)
   (Yes, the pen settings.)

*

Bringing my printer to life and booting it out of the room gave me space. But did that give me space? I went all sumo on a shaky piece of storage and slapped it into that new space. But I wasn’t happy with it. So I went in and looked at it again.
   It suffered under another task. This storage unit groaned under a pile of books in another location. The books stayed where they were, and only the storage staggered along to its latest home. I decided that the unit wouldn’t face the same load as before…
   There appeared to be warping that the construction would never recover from. In this, I was mistaken. When I took a second look at the joints, I saw one wasn’t in there properly. And that led to the shaky look and the warping that wasn’t warping at all.

*

And so. I fixed that. In fixing that, I realised I could tighten everything up and slide the shelving about a hand’s-width to the left. Structural integrity renewed, I’d make better use of the shelving. With the piece shoved left, I buttressed it against ALL THE THINGS THERE. And…
   The chain-reaction swept in. I moved the next shelf unit left and I moved the final shelf unit left…rediscovering the far corner of the room. Out came the measure. Could I fit equipment in there? Answer. Just barely.
   Curiously, uncovering the corner only to stuff it with material almost immediately…didn’t cover the corner up again. I can see it, still. It’s clearly over there. What sorcery is this?

*

It is the sorcery of buying a new machine and knowing that there’s no such thing as instant change. You don’t use this routine or that function for a week at a time, and suddenly it is very important and broken thanks to awkward settings.
   The same applies to physically moving items around in the wake of a new tech upgrade. You gain space, but don’t want to use the shelf there. It is a bit off. Until you realise the bloody obvious and fix the problem. And then, you gain the span of a hand in free space on top of the free space you rescued from obscurity.
   I am done moving this office around.
   Which means I know that I am far from done moving this office around. There’s more to do. I will wave farewell to the far corner I’ve uncovered. It must vanish behind camouflage, into the darkness once more. But not today.
   First, I’ll move the printer/scanner that’s now just a scanner. I wish it had wireless connections. Then I’d shove it into another room. I COULD shove it into another room by drilling a hole in the wall and extending two wires a few inches, for the scanner is WAAAAAAAAAAY over there anyway.
   But I like to see what I am scanning and I like to correct the scanned item’s position without having to walk all the way to Africa and back. It feels like a long walk to the printer, already elsewhere.

*

Surprisingly, this time around, I’m not moving stuff that’s terribly heavy. Oh, a few items gathered in one place add up to a hefty pile or two. But normally, abnormally, I unload an entire bookcase teetering under the force of its own gravitational field, move the piles of books out of the bookcase’s path, haul the case to a new home, and then hire a fleet of starships to pick scattered piles of books out of the floor.
   Not off the floor. Out of the floor.
   And this time around, well. It’s different. Usually I feel this is the last time I am arranging or refitting part of the office, and I move MOUNTAINS to get that done. That’s standard routine, every bloody time.
   Here, though, I know I’ll move stuff again. I am certain of that. But I’m barely moving a thing worthy of strain.
   Could that be thanks to the moving I did before? Sweeping a whole load of bookshelves and cases straight out of here? That was the last time I’d ever do that, naturally.
   I’m curious. Now that I believe I am going to move things again, will I ever move things again? Is this the secret I’ve overlooked, these many times? Tell yourself this is the last time, lie to yourself, and move an elephant’s weight in books.
   But accept that you’ll move stuff again soon, and. You lift all the light stuff? Perhaps never to move anything again? I think it unlikely. We’ll see. I haven’t reduced my chances of being killed by a falling bookcase. No. Instead, I merely redistributed the chances around different rooms.

*

Different rooms with the same old books in them. As I’ve noted somewhere in a dusty blog, a few of those books are very old indeed. Older than me, older than you, far older than this house. I think we’re playing at Back to the Future here and imagining swamp then where houses stand now, when a few of those books came into print.
   Given that a few of them are by Dickens, they are books still in print today. Will the shelves themselves stand up to the test of time?
   I had to gut a small bookcase recently. Not a design I like. And I went at it with hammer and nail, trying hard not to batter my thumbs to shit. I didn’t batter my thumbs to shit. But I found that in moving this particular bookcase one last time…
   It really was one last time. The top shelf cascaded down onto the middle shelf, and it barely stood the impact. I was forced to brace the shelves with metal brackets. Wear, tear, too much movement from one place to another, wounded the shelves.
   I toyed with leaving them as they were. Books piled on the bottom of the unit, shelf just sitting directly on top of the books, and then the same arrangement again higher up. It would work. But physics tells me that the whole arrangement could only topple out from behind the doors, cascading to the floor in a solid crump sounding like a lorry hitting the house.
   Hence…the bracing, and a use for those brackets.

*

Raises a point. Bookcases themselves have character. (That case was a character in need of reform.) There’s the one that looks like the other one, but the top strut comes away freely in your hand if you forget it’s that one and not the other one.
   No, I don’t move either of those cases very often.
   Here’s one to the left of me, with exposed brackets, like the smile of someone who shows off silver teeth. Perhaps, one day, I will move that case again and fix the doors back on.
   Now I am staring ahead at three narrow bookcases. I count up three shelves, and all three shelves are level. If we go up one more, the shelves accommodate different heights of books and the shelves resemble stairs climbing to the right.
   I go up another level and it’s the bookshelf to the left that’s a little lower, while the other two are now level. And there are more exposed silver teeth, too.
   Bookcases have character. They hold hardbacks the whole length, or take a break to house a wad of magazines from a million years ago. Comics, trade paperbacks, and graphic novels live downstairs from hardbacks, and misfit paperbacks occupy the loft-space of the bookcase’s structure, living where no other books could squeeze in.
   A case to my right matches some of the levels of bookcases to the left. But we veer into random turf here, as one shelf holds electrical equipment – and computer gear, at that.
   When I bought the new computer, I cleared out the bottom shelf on the right and made room for a multi-socket extension that lets me see at a glance that all the right things are switched on. Though, being this crowded place, the glance has to be stolen from over the keyboard in front of me.
   Typing here, as I’ve typed for a long while now, I feel settled in the office. But I always feel settled, whichever way I decide to face. I think about it. Yes…I’ve faced all four points of the compass when running the office. There isn’t a direction that alienated me.
   I wonder if that’s the case for other writers. You can’t face this way or that. I find the best way to face is a way that limits the chance of being crushed by a collapsing bookcase. Now, I’ve reduced…no, redistributed…the danger to the lowest threat-level since records began. But I don’t really feel any more or less safe.
   The office continues being the office, no matter the layout. I have the umpteenth chair, the umpteenth keyboard and mouse, and way beyond the umpteenth empty coffee cup not too far from my elbow. How far from my elbow? Far enough that it won’t be knocked over by my elbow. There’s a precise mathematical formula for that, and it involves making all your coffee mistakes early.

Sunday, 1 April 2018

SORCERY SAVES SPACE: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

What was the upshot of upgrading the writing machinery? The cybernetic legs were shaky for a few weeks. And then...
   I remembered my laser printer had wireless. By arcane means, with the sacrifice of many a henged stone, I sought to tame the beast.
   Easier said than spread. Why couldn't I add this Wi-Fi ability automatically? Just click a button.
   The button refused to cooperate.
   And so I uninstalled my printer attached by umbilical and installed my printer attached by umbilical. To add Wi-Fi, the system forced me to connect the USB cable for a little bit.
   Much ritual chanting followed. Then I endured a period of non-ritual chanting, non-chanting, and non-ritual.
   Luckily, I didn't sever anything in the process. No bleeding. I was about to give birth to a wireless printer. Test. Well, that worked.
   I hauled the printer from its nest in the MOST AWKWARD LOCATION A PRINTER EVER RESIDED IN, and I staggered into another room.
   Slight exaggeration. I sat the printer on a chair and wheeled the chair into another room. Would the second part of the test prove good and true?
   Yes. I printed a document from my printer in  another room. Job done. So the upshot of upgrading the writing machinery was...
   That I'd finally gained access to the hidden sorcery inside the printer. And I need never balance like an acrobat on all the shaky things, never ever ever again, just to print a page.
   After the printer came out of there, a chunk of shelving went in. Now I've taken control of a slice of wall I couldn't store anything against before.
   This made my office safer. I also rearranged bookshelves. As soon as you gain a sliver of space, you don't automatically cram something in there. Instead, you rearrange ALL THE BULKY things that wouldn't quite fit right before.
   That was the last major revamp of the office. I tell myself this at least once a year. And I do that every six months, according to the files.
   How many offices have I created, uncreated, recreated, destroyed, atomised, resurrected, and shifted about? Count the stars in the sky. Add a random number based on grains of rice on your plate if you are eating rice. Then add three.
   I think that about covers it.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

WRITING EQUIPMENT: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Quill? Parchment? A typewriting flunky?
   No, I'm not talking about that sort of writing equipment. With a heavy heart at the prospect of a lighter wallet, I trudge to this blog post knowing it is time to upgrade the machine.
   Cloud computing doesn't mean what you think it means.
   Writers upgrade computers by purchasing new computers when old computers crawl to the computer graveyard to die in a cloud of fizzy sparks.
   Cloud computing doesn't mean what you think it means. Bzzzt.
   But hold! What is this?! My old computer isn't dead? No. I'm writing this blog post on the old machine, in treacle.
   How often should a writer upgrade to a new machine? When the moon is blue and close to the horizon, filling the void.


*

Once in a Blue Moon? Twice?
   Quentin Crisp refused to do the dishes until he'd eaten fish off them. Once you reach the fish stage, you must tackle the problem of explaining your piscine plates to wary visitors, otherwise.
   In computing terms, I'd reached the fish stage.
   Upgrade to a new machine if your old machine dies. That's about it. As an author, I only really need basic typing files on a computer. And so...
   There's never been a crushing need to replace machines, season by season. As long as I could type, and save what I typed, I was okay.
   I'm not talking about laptops. There are people who replace those fragile constructions annually. Really? In the time it takes me to replace one personal computer, you've roasted through eight impersonal laptops? More?
   (Insert silent scream here.)


*

This machine served me pretty well for almost five years. And it'll keep serving as an extra archive. But plans in motion altered my electronic requirements.
   If I am to do more than type in files, and I aim to, then I require a machine that isn't sloth-powered, treacle-fired, and built using the earliest chips cast in solid Lethargium.
   So. Buy a new machine when your old machine dies a death or is on the way out. And that means the clockwork is failing, the energy lies fading, and the steampunkery of old not-so-fiercely hisses its digital age - which is measured in Geologic Time and rhymes with Mesozoic.
   If you need a faster machine, hop on a bicycle.
   That was my attitude. But requirements change. I'm upgrading, not replacing. There's just enough room for both machines to sit on the floor, all cabled up and ready to compute.
   The switch from machine to shinier machine brings the silver lining nearer...see attached gloomy cloud for details. I know I'll have to fuck around with settings, applications, lubricant, and. Wait. Maybe not that middle category.
   It's possible to run a computer for close to a decade. Been there. Done that. And they say it's barely possible to do that for a laptop as well as a PC. Wouldn't know.
   Hardware wears well, though it also wears out.


*

Patience wears out, too.
   I type this part of the blog from under the sheltering cogwheelery of the new machine, with its new regime. First, I had to donate a kidney, a small fictional child, and a sample of someone's blood just to purchase the device.
   Insecurity checks, apparently.
   Then I made sure the machine worked. This involved flicking at least four on-off switches into the right combination called ON. Really on. Actually definitely on, this time.
   And then I had my blank machine sitting and waiting to fill up, as if by technology. I waved a not-so-magic wand, and, after five days of wandering in the digital wilderness, I had the new machine set up along the same lines as the old machine...
    Archives copied over. Handy software blended in. One dodgy unstable driver killed my machine dead and I had to resurrect the fucker. It isn't a week old, FFS!
   But that return to life took care of another annoying problem. So I can't complain overmuch. I know enough about computers to be dangerous, and gave the dying computer a transfusion of information. That's usually all it takes.


*

What do I know about computers? Enough to know that I know to leave well-alone if I have the option. Yes, oh trembling one, I've slashed my way through the registry and returned to tell of it.
   Never slash your way through the registry - with a machete or a cucumber. May you never have to visit the registry. That's all you need to know. Unless you need to know more.
   Is that it? Are we done? This machine is faster. It isn't on its last legs. Yes. That's it. But that's what I need, for the next phase. Things are a lot tidier.
   Going years between upgrades leaves you feeling that change in computing is change for the sake of change...and it is loose change and small change, at that.
   Luckily, the previous machine took the upgrade to Windows 10 without breaking stride. So the last machine wasn't powered by the abacus. I may have given that impression.
   What do I like about the new machine? Not the disc eject button. It is woeful. But at least the machine takes a disc - it had to take several, lying around waiting for the transfusion, to turn into the beast that most closely resembles the old machine.
   In upgrading, you want to see improvement. But you don't want the office routine thrown out by massive changes. What do you mean I can sign in using a fingerprint? And if I die, and people have to access the computer after I am gone? What then?
   Those fingerprint links are heading out of favour anyway. It's going to be brainwaves or slices of kidney in the future. And that's always ten minutes away.
   The future that has flying skateboards in it. And rocket-packs. Space cars, with aerodynamic fins straight out of 1955...
   I'll be amazed if this machine lasts me five years. It barely made it through the first week. In vehicular terms, I'm the loose nut behind the wheel.
   Computers would run so much more efficiently without pesky humans stepping in and screwing the software up. I'll stop here, before I extend that argument to all areas of human endeavour.


*

And then I decided to watch a film.
   In the Oldentime, afore the Apocalypse, when humansies were mighty with the Teknahladjee, computers came bundled with software allowing you to work the fucking hardware.
   Not any longer.
   This machine has a DVD player. Does it play you a movie, right out of the cardboard box? Of course it fucking doesn't. (Playing movies is incidental, next to its main task of reading and burning discs.)
   I downloaded free software and didn't quite care for the experience. Now this I have to blame on the TV, which isn't farm-fresh. The TV is a little older than my ancient five-year-old computer...
   And that makes the TV as old as time itself, even if it does come with the fabled USB port and HDMI and a device for downloading electricity from the wall.
   My solution wasn't to stream movies. I have a large wooden structure off to the back of the room, filled with round streaming devices called discs. And I don't see the point in binning them if I can still find a device on which to play them.
   So.
   I went halfway into the room and plucked a DVD player off a shelf. Hell, I'd just plug that back in, right?
   Hadn't used the DVD player in an age. My old computer opened its mouth and swallowed discs whole, turning them into televisual experiences. The official DVD player just got in the way, after a time.
   Did I face a bigger problem? Yes. If the DVD player stood in my way with one computer, what about the lack of space caused by two computers?
   Fuck.
   I could squeeze the player back in there, IF...I moved the old computer to the left. But that meant I'd be forced to move the internet box four feet to the right.
   And all the power cables had to move, to accommodate this epic shift.
   Reaching for BIBLICAL language, I said to myself...
   Fuck it.
   And there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

*

I spent the fag-end of one night and all the next morning unplugging things. That took me into the dangerous realm of moving the printer out so I could shift a few doors. (Don't ask.)
   Then I'd rip the internet cable out of its comfy home. I laboured harder than Herakles to work that cable around behind the bookshelves without having to move them and without toppling them.
   For this achievement, I earned the Fictional Award for Services to Shelving, First Class.
   And there I stood, precariously, ready to undo that which had been done. Undo it I did. What a puzzler. I'd crammed a world of stuff around there, over by the printer...
   Meaning...
   I hadn't a hope in hell of taking any of it out. These doors might just barely slide out past the unit the printer sits on. Where to, though? They can't slide up and out, as the UP exit is blocked by an artificial roof created by the edge of an old computer desk...
   Sometimes, you are forced to improvise shelving.
   And so it went, from stumble to stumble. But. Ripping the cable out forcefully...turned out to be the easiest option. I'd prepared for a mighty mighty mighty struggle.
   Pop. Rattle. Whish. Slither. Done in seconds. The real mighty struggle involved getting the printer back in there...a lot harder than heaving it out.
   Any fool can unplug devices. Plugging them back in AND GETTING THEM TO WORK is a different tale. My head went down against the back of a bookcase, and a nail sheared off a chunk of my hair.
   What the fuck?! One of those accidents you read about in obituaries.
   I began that morning with a look in the mirror as I brushed my teeth. And there, plain as day, sat blood on my face. Bloody freckles. Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?
   Looking around, I found the culprit. A tiny cut on the back of my hand, from the night before. Better watch out.
   I couldn't watch out, when it came time to plug everything back in. Forward and down in the depths, sandwiched between two computers, I plugged, unplugged, and replugged by instinct.
   Those scenes in STAR TREK, with Montgomery Scott shoved along a tube, fixing spaceship innards...been there, done that.
   I had to plug. Then I was forced to unplug and disentangle. The day started in blood and continued...in that vein.
   My old computer knew I'd sent it to live down on the farm in retirement. A hidden flange reached out and blew my thumb to bits as I unplugged a cable I couldn't see the end of.
   Blood everywheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
   A dash to the sink followed. Apply pressure. Hose with cold water. Bind the wound with medical fixings.
   At a distance of a few days, I wondered how I'd cut myself so strangely. You'd think an alien exploded out from inside my thumb. Thumb blood is RED. No, really. It's as red as red can be.
   Yes, I bought a new computer. And yes, I gradually realised I'd have to rearrange the office slightly. Yes, slight office rearrangement means moving ALL the cables.
   Does everything work, now?
   After resetting my computer twice, to blitz two different glitches, yes. My computer works. So. Is that it? I can type in files I'm able to save?
   Yes. And I only had to lose half a pint of blood to achieve so lofty a status. A mild price to pay. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

TOP 10 ROOKIE WRITING MISTAKES AND HOW TO DODGE THEM: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Don't dodge those rookie writing mistakes. Make those fucking mistakes and learn from them. Earn your learning the hard way. Thus endeth the harsh lesson.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

WRITING PLANS: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.


No, this post isn't about future plans.
   This post is about plans that brewed for years, mwuah-ha-ha, insert Top Secret Volcano Base here...
   I typed that aloud, didn't I? Oops.
   Yes, I have loads of unfinished business to stamp DONE. Along the way, I set up other things. Damn it, can I just type things once without accidentally typing thongs...
   Setting up other thongs is a different story.
   Elusive ends are in sight. This project, that tale, those plans. And that saga is merely the saga on this blog. I blog elsewhere as other writers, peddling products that don't quite fit in this cosmic shoebox.
   My plans for this blog include...shoehorning stuff in here so that stuff does fit in here.
   If plans go according to plan, then I'll be doing collaborations with all kinds of people and one or two vast robot armies. (There may have been a casual reference to a secret base earlier, but I think we got away with it.)

*

One of my schemes involves a collaboration with Melissa C. Water...


Let's be politically correct about this...there will be lesbian cow-fucking. There's no fucking way to get around talking about the swearier fucking version of Tourette Syndrome, bitches. Fucking deal with it - I'm going to, Mr Frodofuck.
   If you found that offensive, hell, you can fuck the fuck off, Pluto.

*

Some of these collaborations stem from chats with my first author contact on the internet, Karen Woodward. Her earlier disappearance (by time machine) and her return kicked off the whole conversation that put collaborations to the fore.
   If she returns from her second time travel trip in good order, Karen should also pop up in my collaborative work. One day, we'll do a radio show.
   "We present The Karen Woodward Mystery Hour, brought to you by Proliferated Coal Products: sending coal everywhere."


The Canadian author and time-hopper Karen Woodward, in a grainy crowd shot from 1936 at the Berlin Olympics. Here, Karen is stunned into silence as fellow-Canadian Frank Amyot secures the gold in Canoeing.

(I might possibly have let fly the news that Karen travels through time to research her stories. Don't think anyone noticed the slip-up, though.)

*

And there are other collaborators, too secret to mention. This stuffed bear, for example.


I've had to hide the poor bastard's identity in a grainy photo. He didn't want his family to learn of his encounter with novelist and potty-mouthed stand-up Joy Eileen.
   Something tells me that's going to be the rudest collaboration on the list. Or I could work with Joy, instead.

*

There are other people, vast robot armies, and alien beings from worlds unknown...but we'll reach them in good order. If we ever reach them.
   Over the weekend, putting this blog post together, I had a reversal of plans and things weren't looking good. Then, as the weekend crumbled to dust, I had a reversal of reversal of plans. So the whole show might be back on again.
   This blog post was about plans laid down, not plans I have. I don't set out to be cryptic or mysterious, though I've been told I am all three.

Monday, 1 January 2018

READING 52 BOOKS IN A YEAR: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

How hard is it to read 52 books in a year?
   It isn't. Start by reading three books a week and then find yourself skipping weeks when life intrudes on your page-turning. Hope that it averages out.
   Did I make my quota? On the last day of the year, I finished the 52nd book. Mission accomplished.
   The challenge now is to finish off whole shelves of books in a far more organised way. In finishing shelves, I can clear entire bookcases of unread tomes.
   That's the goal. But the plan? Sadly, the plan is unchanged - I read what I damn well want to tackle next. And that might leave a pesky shelf or a troublesome bookcase unloved and wasting by the wayside.
   If I concentrate on this alcove, and that's a shaky prospect, then I am staring at five bookcases arranged in a semi-circle. To clear the large bookcase to my left, I'd tackle around 25 volumes. Half a year's reading, pretty much.
   I'm not certain of the number, there. I have three books in a loose series and I know I've read two of them. So, just to be sure, I'd need to read all three of them. That's 27 volumes.
   Quirks intrude. To the right, I see twelve or thirteen books that I must look at. Once I look at them, I'll know if I've read maybe that one on the end and the one next to it...
   My memory is something that comes rated  highly by other people. But I don't feel that, when staring at SO MANY BOOKS. Have I read that one? I'm sure I have.
   This led me to read a book on the renaissance twice over, at a distance of a good half-decade. Didn't matter. It was a good book. And if I read it again by accident, I'm sure it'll still be a good book.
   Directly ahead, eleven books taunt me. Read those, all on one shelf, and the bookcase itself is swept clean. Well. Damn.
   The problem is that a book is a book is a book until you count page after page after page. And for every shelf of ten books, there's a shelf of eight reasonable books and two massive logs.
   I must hacksaw my way through the logs. It's an achievement to pick up a slim volume and polish the damn thing off in a day. That week's book is done, and makes room for the log - and the log must be chewed through at a hundred pages a day every day for five days straight. I am a small termite, making little progress, in one of those weeks.
   And I haven't even considered the books in the other place. Across a darkened hallway, there lies a room with even more books inside its bulging walls.
   The good news. Books bought last year didn't exceed books read. So I am winning this war. Either I catch up on my excess or an entire case lands on me and I am squished by the weight of my folly.
   To summarise: never buy loads of books in a sale, read your way down through the deficit...and then immediately buy more books in another sale, putting you back where you started.
   It's hard to recover from that.
   I'm doing what I can, a page at a time. Is that good enough? Well, I finish the books. And I haven't truly hated one book yet.
   

Friday, 8 December 2017

COMMENTS NOT QUITE OFF: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

Spammers are annoying. Really annoying spammers take the time to dive past basic anti-spam defences.
   I picked up a few digital fleas - they never made it onto the live blog. The steam-heat blitzed them.
   What to do?
   I could've turned comments off. Instead, I chose to make comments open to members of this blog. Want to post a comment? Join up.
   Since instituting the construction of this mighty barrier, I've had no spam.
   Well. Damn.

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What do they gain from spamming? Nothing. They are bots. Even the hidden human hands behind those bots gain nothing. No one comes to this blog to read spam boasts about high-powered financial services in your area.
   Or in anyone's area, come to that.
   So.
   Do I spam?
   Not really, no. Twitter is all about that coffee - with the spelling #coffee - and other topics of a serious nature. I'll Tweet that I've published a blog post, and I'll Tweet that I've published a book. But that's A TWEET.
   I don't Tweet BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK, BUY MY BOOK. Cut yourself a slice of that action and you'll see the word SPAM all the way through it.

*

Quirkily, I was irritated at Blogger. The system gave me the option of diverting spammers, and that system failed me. This is why I took the next step up.
   Blogger e-mails me to inform me of a comment's arrival. Seeing a spam notification in my in-box was as bad as seeing the spam on the original blogging site.
   I've had moderation switched on, since, oh, third and fourth and eighth parties came in to extol the supposed virtues of genuine headphones by the even-more-genuine Dr Dre.
   It's so nice of tenth parties to come in and raise awareness of the issues surrounding headphones.
   The Dre counterfeiters didn't stop by for long. It's the stock market goons who set up camp on random blog posts and commented about the deep abiding need to invest in a thing that may resemble a pyramid scheme on the surface.
   Just couldn't shake these fools, no matter how I tinkered with the blog. And so. Here we are, with the lesser solution - comments are now from members of the blog only.
   If that didn't work, I'd have gone in for COMMENTS OFF. Anyone who really wanted to say something then would still have the public e-mail address available to them.
   This is the same public e-mail address that brings me news: my Bank of Ireland account has been hacked AGAIN. Shocking security, over there. In this past year alone, I must have lost all of Sani Abacha's missing millions, by my reckoning.
   I'll check down the back of my digital sofa. See if I can rustle up loose change, edible biscuits, or a hefty dose of insider trading info. Sounds legit.