George V. Reilly

Story Sticks

I assembled a couple of adjustable shelving units today. Trying to count the same number of in­den­ta­tions on all four legs for each level quickly grew tedious, and I realized that I needed to make a story stick. I cut a "stick" to the right length and then I was able to place the stick along the leg and instantly read where the next pair of snap rings should be placed. I mentioned this to Emma and she had never heard of story sticks.

Wood­work­ers have used story sticks for a long time to build furniture and to get re­pro­ducible results. Instead of writing down a mea­sure­ment on a sheet continue.

Car2go: Out of Home Area

I’ve driven Car2go a couple of times this week. On both occasions, while driving through downtown Seattle, the car announced that I was outside its home area. Presumably it tem­porar­i­ly lost a signal and thereby assumed that it was no longer in the home area. Given the car knew my position and direction just moments before, and that I was well inside the home area, any half-way decent algorithm would have concluded that it was physically impossible for me to be now outside the home area, and kept its mouth shut.

Review: She Returns From War

Title: She Returns From War
Author: Lee Collins
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Angry Robot
Copyright: 2013
Pages: 368
Keywords: Dark Fantasy
Reading period: 2–4 February, 2016

In this sequel to The Dead of Winter, a young lady called Victoria Dawes travels from England to Al­bu­querque to seek the aid of Cora Oglesby, the now-retired monster hunter. The women draw the attention of a Navajo skinwalker and a vampire, and they spend the book dueling each other. Under Cora’s sarcastic tough love tutelage, Miss Dawes grows from a sheltered Victorian lady into a semi-capable fighter.

The in­ter­ac­tion of the two main characters was fairly en­ter­tain­ing, not wholly pre­pos­ter­ous, and certainly passed the Bechdel test.

Review: A Presumption of Death

Title: A Pre­sump­tion of Death
Author: Jill Paton Walsh & Dorothy L. Sayers
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Copyright: 2003
Pages: 384
Keywords: mystery
Reading period: January 30–Feb­ru­ary 1 2016

England, Spring 1940. The Phoney War is ending, millions have been evacuated from the cities to the coun­try­side, military bases have sprung up everywhere, and everything is topsy turvy. Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter are abroad somewhere on a secret mission, while Lady Peter—the former Harriet Vane—minds a brood of children at their country house in Hert­ford­shire. A Land Girl is murdered in the village of Paggleham, and the local police su­per­in­ten­dent enlists Harriet’s aid in solving the murder.

A Pre­sump­tion of Death continue.

Review: The Dead of Winter

Title: The Dead of Winter
Author: Lee Collins
Rating: ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Angry Robot
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 377
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.

Toastmasters Contest Chair

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.

URLs from Unicode Strings

New post at the MetaBrite Dev Blog.

Review: The Bugles Blowing

Title: The Bugles Blowing
Author: Nicolas Freeling
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Publisher: Vintage
Copyright: 1975
Pages: 261
Keywords: crime
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.

Review: The Big Short (film)

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.


Review: The Liberties of London

Title: The Liberties of London
Author: Gregory House
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 147
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 continue.

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