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Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Peter Maranci" journal:

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November 27th, 2014
10:18 am

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Day

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody, whether you celebrate it or not!

And since this is LiveJournal…may your borscht be washed down smoothly by your vodka. ;D

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November 22nd, 2014
11:00 am

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LJ app for Android issues

I've found two issues so far with the LiveJournal app for Android. First, SwiftKey is seriously disabled when using the LJ app. You can't do swipe or gesture typing, and the predictive bar completely disappears.

Second, you can't reply to comments. It's simply notan option. You can make additional comments, but you can't actually reply to a comment.

This may be connected to my recent upgrade to Android Lollipop. If so, there are apps that have worse problems with Lollipop. My Barnes and Noble Nook app is completely and absolutely broken under  Lollipop, for example. I can't read any of the books that I paid for and downloaded. And Barnes and Noble isn't talking about when they'll fix it. They deserve to go out of business, but we don't deserve to have no alternative to Amazon.com!

Edit: it turns out that you canreply directly to a comment via the app. All you have to do is tap on the comment, and the reply will automatically open up. Not exactly obvious, and they should have added it in to the three dot menu as well. Still, at least it isan option.

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June 5th, 2013
12:58 am

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Player(s) wanted
If anyone is looking for a RuneQuest game in the northern Rhode Island area (or knows someone who is), I have an opening or two in my current campaign, The Cave of Worlds. It's a multi-genre game based on classic RQIII, with modifications as necessary. The campaign features worlds based on numerous sources, including original settings as well as those inspired by literature and media. Emphasis is on roleplaying, exploration, and fun rather than combat.

We normally play on Saturday afternoons from noon to 5pm in Woonsocket, RI, although we're probably going to be playing on Sundays instead during the summer. Current players cover a thirty-year age spread, and range from highly experienced to relative newcomers to RPGs. A good sense of humor and imagination are all that's needed, along with a reasonable amount of emotional maturity. Experience is NOT required.

Some session writeups can be found at http://runequest.org/caveof.htm

#t

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
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July 18th, 2011
12:06 am

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Dinner
Tonight Sebastian asked me to have dinner with him. He set us up in the dining room, which is unusual. Teri was having dinner outside on the new picnic table with a friend, but Sebastian and I were staying inside because the little boy from the yard behind ours will not let us alone if he sees us.

It was nice having dinner with my little guy! He's so cool. I'm very lucky.

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Current Mood: happyhappy
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June 28th, 2011
04:10 pm

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J.K Rowling and Agatha Christie
While re-reading the Harry Potter series and watching the movies, I was struck by the ways in which J.K. Rowling's style resembles that of Agatha Christie. They share an intensely English, insular outlook - and rather a nationalistic, even racist one.

This is most evident in Rowling's portrayal of the two "visitor" schools in the Triwizard Tournament. Beauxbatons is a caricature of the French, at least as many older Britons perceive them: superficially attractive, concerned mainly about appearance (although to her credit Rowling did make an exception to that point later in the series, when Fleur surprises Mrs. Weasley by not breaking her engagement after Bill is badly scarred), and ultimately light-weights in every way (except, perhaps, in the field of romance). The movie accentuates this by representing the Beauxbatons student body as almost entirely female, and throws in a gratuitous mass-ass-wiggling scene which is simply ridiculous.

Likewise, Durmstrang is a heavy-handed parody of Russians and East Europeans in general. Virtually all male, sullen, buzz-cut, large, taciturn, and given to violence; the personification of the racist fantasies of some angry, graying old Briton, and an old-fashioned one at that. If they weren't school-age, I'd imagine Rowling would have made them drunks, too!

I almost wish that Rowling had included Americans in her books. Dame Agatha would doubtless once again have provided the template: quaint accents out of a 1930s western movie, combined with exaggerated New England ones from the 1890s. Ridiculous Biblical names like "Hiram", "Ezekiel", and "Jedediah". Poor taste in virtually everything. Far too much money than is good for them, and a propensity to throw that money around thoughtlessly. Ignorance combined with overweening arrogance. And I'd bet there'd be at least a touch of over-reliance on technology or its magical equivalent, as well - with a good solid comeuppance in the end, as our plucky British heroes prove that old-fashioned spunk and stick-to-it-iveness are the qualities that really matter when the chips are down.

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Current Mood: amusedamused
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June 23rd, 2011
12:12 am

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Kodak SUCKS!
After unending hours in live chat, and on the phone, and with technicians remoting in to my system, my ESP All-In-One Printer/Scanner/Copier still crashes every time I try to scan. The latest joke is that they are going to send me a CD of their software. Given that their level-2 technician remoted into my system and personally uninstalled the software and then downloaded it herself and reinstalled it, I am trying to understand why this would help. How could a CD version be MORE up-to-date than an online version which is available to their own technicians?

I used to love Kodak, no lie. They made rock-solid high-speed duplicators, back when I was running the copy center of a large law firm. And I appreciated their recent honesty policy about toner, which is why I recommended them to so many people. But now? I'm getting really, really pissed off at them.

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Current Mood: angryangry
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May 18th, 2011
10:47 pm

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Telemarketer annoyance
The phone rang today.

"Hi, this is Tom from [I forget the company name]. How are you?" He was very friendly-sounding and smooth. I'd never spoken to him before.

"...um..fine, thanks! How are you?" This was already starting to feel weird.

"I'm doing great, thanks! I'm calling to let you know that we're looking for an advertising house in your area, and you're qualified for a free wireless home security system."

"...we already have one."

"Great! Is it activated? Because the offer applies to activation too. We can set up a contract - "

"No, we're not interested in taking on another financial obligation, thanks - "

"I'm sure that once you discuss the plan with one of our specialists you'll find that it's very - "

"No, we're just not interested, so thanks but - "

"Just state your first and last name clearly so that the specialist can contact - "

He's still talking, but I've finally lost my temper. Still, I manage to be polite.

"NO! Please put us on your do-not-call list. Put us on your do-not-call list. I have to go now, goodbye!" CLICK.

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Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
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May 8th, 2011
10:54 pm

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Mother's Day Weekend
A very nice weekend. On Saturday we took Sebastian to a penguin class at the zoo - he got to see them and draw them. I picked up a cap at the gift shop that actually fit my head, for a wonder.

Later, Sebastian and I drove up to Boston. We got choreg and lahmejun from a couple of Armenian markets in Watertown, then went over to my parents' place.

We had a nice family get-together at my sister and brother-in-law's new place (they have a harpsichord, which sounds amazing - I played the one song I know, and it came out great) and then drove home.

It was pretty late, but Sebastian stayed awake through the drive. He'd read the first Harry Potter book all the way to Boston, and finished it on the way home.

On Sunday we went to Foxwoods with Teri's mother. I hung out with Sebastian while they gambled. We went back and forth several on some people-movers (like the ones they have in airports). Then we spent some time at the arcade. After dinner at the Hard Rock cafe, we headed home.

I was pleased with myself tonight. Sebastian was watching a live-action Scooby Doo that he's seen before, but I insisted on a family movie night; we had Mary Poppins from Netflix. Neither he nor Teri had seen it before, and in no time he was laughing and laughing. Teri really liked it too, although she fell asleep before the end. Now Sebastian is interested in reading the Mary Poppins books.

Now everyone is asleep. My computer is still in the shop (I hope it will be ready tomorrow), so I'm going to sleep too. Good night!

Posted via LjBeetle

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Current Mood: accomplished
Current Music: Oingo Boingo - Reptiles and Samurai
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April 27th, 2011
09:40 pm

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GoodReads Review: The Chameleon Corps and Other Shape Changers
The Chameleon Corps and Other Shape ChangersThe Chameleon Corps and Other Shape Changers by Ron Goulart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Ron Goulart is one of the four funniest science fiction writers in the world (the other three are Fredric Brown, Robert Sheckley, and Keith Laumer, if you were wondering). And in The Chameleon Corps and Other Shape Changers he's at his hysterical best. There are many lines here which have stayed in my head and amused me for over thirty years now.

The book itself is divided into two sections. The first five stories are about the adventures of Ben Jolson of the Chameleon Corps. Esoteric treatments applied at a young age have given Ben the power to alter his form at a moment's notice; he can impersonate anyone, as well as objects of his own general size, flawlessly. Problem: he'd rather sell pottery than be a secret agent. But you're not allowed to quit the Corps.

So Jolson finds himself being sent to one hot spot after another throughout the Barnum system of planets, carrying out odd, sometimes bizarre missions for a government that often seems a lot like ours - given to hypocrisy, greed, idiocy, and sudden tragic bursts of realpolitik.

In that, it's rather like the CDT of Keith Laumer's Retief series, albeit considerably less broad. But Goulart's style is considerably more modern-feeling than Laumer's, with more of a 1960s (and, oddly, 2010s) feel. And Jolson is not the superhuman figure that Retief is, for all his powers. Retief saves the world despite its idiocy; Jolson can't be sure that what he's saving is better than the alternative, or even that he's necessarily saving anything. He's just trying to get the job done and survive.

But oh my god, the stories are funny. Jolson often has to impersonate eccentric characters, and Goulart gives them personalities and verbal quirks which are absolutely hysterical - mother of goats, would you question my word? When you reach the end of the fifth story, you'll wish there were more. And there are, I believe; there was at least one Chameleon Corps novel, I think, as well as (possibly) more stories. In any case, much of Goulart's work is of the same quality: just as funny and enjoyable.

The last six stories are not connected to each other, and tend to be a little darker. But they're still very funny and very memorable. This is one of those outstanding collections of clever, jewel-like short stories that's a real treasure for anyone who loves science fiction and/or humor.

So why isn't it in print any more?


View all my reviews

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April 24th, 2011
11:06 pm

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A moment
Tonight Sebastian thanked me for reading and singing to him every night for all these years.

I thanked him for giving me someone to sing and read to.

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Current Mood: happyhappy
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