Title: The Dead of Winter
Author: Lee Collins
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Angry Robot
Keywords: Dark Fantasy
Reading period: 28–30 January, 2016
Cora Oglesby and her husband Ben have been slaying monsters
and slinging guns all over the Old West for years,
ever since the Civil War ended.
In a bitterly cold winter,
on the outskirts of a silver-mining town in Colorado,
they take down a wendigo and then a nest of vampires.
Cora is tough and hardened and takes no crap from anyone, man or monster.
But she’s damaged too, more than we realize at first.
I thought the first-time author did a decent job
of writing a paranormal Western:
the tale …continue.
I’ve played many roles at Freely Speaking Toastmasters
over the last twelve years, but I’ve never before chaired a contest.
Every spring, Toastmasters runs the International Speech and Evaluation Contests.
In the autumn, the Humorous Speech and Table Topics Contests are held.
The contests are held in most clubs;
each club’s winners advance to the area contests;
thence to the division contest;
and finally to the district contest.
I’ve participated in each of the contests in the past,
making it to the area contests and occasionally the division.
I’m not competing this spring,
so I’m going to run our club’s contest instead.
I sent this email to the members tonight:
I am the Contest Chair for our …continue.
at the MetaBrite Dev Blog.
Title: The Bugles Blowing
Author: Nicolas Freeling
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Reading period: 20–28 January, 2016
The President of France must decide whether to commute a death sentence.
A senior civil servant,
finding both his wife and his daughter in flagrante delicto with an artist,
shot them all dead.
Inspector Henri Castang, the investigating officer, is summoned to the Élysée Palace.
There is no doubt as to the accused’s guilt.
He admits it and seems to welcome the death sentence.
Freeling’s novel examines the French judicial system.
We’ve all heard that the Napoleonic Code
says that a man is presumed guilty until proven innocent,
but in fact, under the …continue.
We saw The Big Short tonight,
which does a creditable job
of explaining the basics of the 2008 financial collapse.
It’s written as a comedy-drama,
which makes it far more watchable and entertaining than a more sober documentary.
The infodumps are cleverly handled,
often breaking the fourth wall with celebrity explainers.
The characters let their anger and outrage at Wall Street fraudulence
bleed through occasionally, as well they should.
I’m appalled that not only did no one go to jail,
but that the too-big-to-fail banks are bigger now than they ever were.
Title: The Liberties of London
Author: Gregory House
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Keywords: historical mystery
Reading period: 6–27 January, 2016
Red Ned Bedwell is an apprentice lawyer in Tudor London.
He’s trying to fatten his purse by running the Christmas Revels for his fellow clerks,
but he’s entrusted with minding a young innocent and keeping him from harm and temptation.
The innocent is not nearly as naïve as his overbearing mother believes
and Ned must follow his trail through the stews of London.
The book is good at recreating the daily life of Tudor London in 1529
as the Reformation is developing under Henry VIII.
The new streetcar line that runs from Pioneer Square to First Hill and Capitol Hill
opened on Saturday.
I rode it this evening to get from First & Jackson to Broadway & Pine,
a three-mile ride that took a full half-hour in the early evening.
The streetcar is clean and pleasant and temporarily free to ride,
but it has no dedicated lane.
Car drivers are still unaccustomed to it
and the streetcar driver had to blow his horn several times
at cars that were blocking our progress.
The new light rail extension line will open in March,
connecting Capitol Hill and Husky Stadium.
It’s several months early and more than $100 million …continue.
I came across Spoon Theory today:
The basic idea is that [the chronically ill] have a limited number of spoons
available for the day and each action will cost a given number of them
– the more demanding the task, the more spoons would be required.
The phrase "running low on spoons" can be a useful way
of communicating the need for rest
I see this sometime with Emma:
her various illnesses and sensitivities catch up with her
and she has little capacity to get things done for a few days.
At other times, such as today,
she has quite a reasonable amount of energy or “spoons”.
I enjoy good health,
as confirmed at my …continue.
Title: The Fuller Memorandum
Author: Charles Stross
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Keywords: Lovecraftian spy thriller
Reading period: 16–18 January, 2016
Bob Howard is a computational demonologist working for the secretive British agency
known as the “Laundry”.
Some very nasty people are trying to hasten the end of the world,
there’s a mole in the Laundry,
and Bob’s superior, the mysteriously ageless Angleton, is missing.
Bob moves back and forth between vicious office politics and eschatological terrors.
The Fuller Memorandum is fast-paced and darkly humorous. Recommended.
Sequel to The Jennifer Morgue.
More at Charlie Stross’s Crib Sheet and the Laundry Files Wiki.
I figured out why I saw the following error every time I ran Nose:
ERROR: Failure: TypeError (type() takes 1 or 3 arguments)
Traceback (most recent call last):
File ".../lib/python2.7/site-packages/nose-1.3.7-py2.7.egg/nose/loader.py", line 523, in makeTest
return self._makeTest(obj, parent)
File ".../lib/python2.7/site-packages/nose-1.3.7-py2.7.egg/nose/loader.py", line 582, in _makeTest
File ".../lib/python2.7/site-packages/nose-1.3.7-py2.7.egg/nose/case.py", line 345, in __init__
self.inst = self.cls()
TypeError: type() takes 1 or 3 arguments
It turns out that one module was importing a class called TestApi
which had a classmethod called run_integration_tests.
The module itself had no tests; it just declared a class called TestObfuscatedMixin,
which used some …continue.