Monthly Archives: September 2023

Playlist update again

I just updated the playlists I have on my phone, which I listen to in my car via Bluetooth. I’ll list the ones I’ve removed from my playlists separately, then the ones I’ve added. Bear in mind that the ones I’m deleting aren’t necessarily things I don’t like or no longer listen to. They’re all good enough for me to have put them on my playlists in the first place. Sometimes I just get tired of them. Sometimes I hear them on Pandora or listen to them on my computer at home through my stereo system. Some later get put back into my playlists after having been removed, like Adele’s Rolling in the Deep today.

Removed List

Song Artist/composer
409 Beach Boys
42nd street Andrews Sisters
Blue Champagne Manhattan Transfer
cactus rag Trebor Tichenor
chinese blues George Gershwin
cow cow boogie Ella May Morse
early in the morning Buddy Holly
Fast Boogie Preacher Jack
good luck charm OC Times
Heart of Glass Blondie
Hickory Smoked Rag Trebor Tichenor
I’m saved Uppity Blues Women
Jambalaya Hank Williams
Let’s Dance Chris Montez
Mule Skinner Blues The Fendermen
New Orleans Gary US Bonds
Occapella Manhattan Transfer
Pratt City Blues Ethan Leinwand
Proud Mary Creedence
Scandal Walk George Gershwin
School Day Chuck Berry
shuffle boogie Albert Ammons
So Fine The Fiestas
The great crush collision march Scott Joplin
Think It Over Buddy Holly
Three in one boogie Memphis Slim
TS Eliot rag Trebor Tichenor
Why don’t we just dance OC Times
yes, you done it ??

Added List

Down the road apiece Carl Sonny Leyland
Everlasting arms Dr. John et al.
From Four Until Late Splinter group
Hot House Rag Ragtime Jitterbug Band
Jungle Time Rag Ragtime Jitterbug Band
Modern Major General Gilbert & Sullivan
Pink Panther theme Circus Band
Rolling in the Deep  Adele
Virginia Bound  Mary Flower
Walk Right In  Rooftop singers
William Tell Overture  Circus Band
Yes Sir, That’s my Baby  Mary Flower

Judas 62 by Charles Cumming

Judas 62 (BOX 88, #2)Judas 62 by Charles Cumming
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This spy novel is divided into two main parts. It begins in the modern day (pandemic) and we are informed that “Lockie” Kite, a British spy, is on a Russian hit list, but under an alias he once used. Quickly the story switches to that time many years earlier when as a young man he was involved in an exfiltration operation of a Russian scientist. This all takes place early on, so this is no spoiler. The next 170 pages (of 494) are rather boring. They portray Kite as a hard-drinking, smoking, drug-taking, cheating roue. This may have had some cachet in the days of 007, but doesn’t make him an attractive character by today’s standards. I found him quite dislikeable. Starting around that page, the earlier operation action is laid out. It is fairly credible, exciting, and well-written for the next 120 pages. I enjoyed it, although there’s little suspense since we already know Kite is alive and still doing spy work decades later.

I wish I could say the same for the rest of it. The scene switches back to the modern day and as you might expect, Kite is bound and determined to get the Russian bad guy who is after him before he can get to Kite. An absolutely preposterous, laughable, and needlessly dangerous British operation is then undertaken starting with Chapter 33. Don’t bother to read it after that point. The book is way too long anyway.

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What3Words in the news

It’s been a while since I posted a W3W post. If you’re not familiar with the website/app, it’s a clever system to identify any spot on the surface of the Earth using only three words. You can read more about it on the website or in my prior post here: What3Words.

Every now and then it’s sobering to see how these random word combinations are so appropriate to the location, even newsworthy. Here are some examples.

wildfires.outdated.afraid = near the center of Lahaina, Hawaii

rockets.rockets.rockets = a suburb of Volgograd, Russia where earlier this month that area was attacked by Ukrainian drones for the first time.

duck.worth.plan = in Quincy, Illinois. U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth represents Illinois. She was instrumental in getting a Veterans’ center built there.

The Stepfamily by Bonnie Traymore

The Stepfamily (Silicon Valley Series #1)The Stepfamily by Bonnie L. Traymore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Laura is the stepmother to two children from her husband Peter’s first marriage. His first wife died by suicide more than ten years ago. Or was it suicide? That’s the first big mystery. Then there are tensions at work for both Laura and Peter with a financial crime lurking in the past. Then it looks like someone cut the brake line on Laura’s car. Is someone out to kill her? This doesn’t even touch on the possible frictions and resentment a stepmom can face from children still loyal to their mother.

The author does a good job of ramping up the suspense. It is properly subtitled “A psychological thriller.” I enjoyed the book enough to recommend it. Having said that, it suffers from some self-published book flaws like poor proofreading. I also didn’t like the chick lit vibe, e.g. the constant descriptions of female characters’ outfits and even toenail color (plum). I did like the local references as I live in the area. Chef Chu’s is the best Chinese restaurant around.

The author shows a good deal of knowledge about tech startups and Silicon Valley culture and business, but she is clearly not up to speed on police procedure or investigative matters. That’s why I say it’s a psychological thriller, not a detective novel. She refers to the the Santa Clara County Police as investigating the case. Sorry, no, there is no such agency. If a crime took place outside a city, it would be investigated by the county sheriff, otherwise by the police agency for that city. Los Altos Hills, Laura’s location, uses Los Altos Police for most detective work although the sheriff’s office might assist on a possible homicide. Worse, though, is the private eye she conjures up who seems to have magical powers to find out anything. As a retired FBI agent and attorney, I can tell you it doesn’t work that way. For example the P.I. searches for someone using facial recognition. How? That requires a network of hundreds or even thousands of cameras, very sophisticated software and hardware, and a series of good photos of the person sought. He had none of that and neither does any law enforcement agency in the county. He also found out about an affair from years ago with no indication that either of the lovers told him about it, or for that matter, any explanation at all of how he did. Admittedly, I’m a bit picky about that stuff because of my background, but these eye-rolling mistakes have the effect of taking the reader out of the credibility of the story. There’s also a major timeline error at the very end. Even so, I found myself engaged with the story and continually wanting to read the next chapter. At least she stuck to the old rule, “write about what you know.”

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Trends – Soccer vs. Tennis

Soccer is generally more poplar in the United States than tennis. Google searches on the two words usually favors soccer by a big margin. However, with Coco Gauff winning the U.S. Open recently, tennis has stepped into the spotlight. It’s interesting to see where tennis has broken through to Americans. Oops! I labeled it 8/6-13, but it should be 9/6-13/23.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and TomorrowTomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book about people, not plot. The main characters, Sadie Green and Sam Masur, are young brilliant people with a fascination for games. They grow up and found a successful video games company. They love each other, but are not partners, not of the romantic sort, at least they don’t seem to be in the early going. The author leaves that unanswered until the end. They fight; they reconcile. There are moments of triumph and joy and many tragedies and mistakes. Sam’s college roommate, Marx Watanabe, takes on the role of Sam’s protector and big brother and later game producer. He is as much a main character as Sam and Sadie. Many others, mostly from the game company, fill out the roster. The backstories on all the characters and their parents are fleshed out as separate short stories with the overarching novel. In a way this can be considered a high concept book. It is about story-telling, about life and love and grief.

Much as I enjoyed the book, it left me just a little disappointed, or perhaps more accurately, unfulfilled. I’m used to murder mysteries and spy novels and science fiction. I miss the plot. I like the idea of a goal being set and worked toward, whether it’s solving the murder, escaping a peril, or successfully creating a post-apocalyptic social order. The author writes beautifully and the characters are interesting. I think the author is a frustrated game designer herself. She certainly invents a number of them throughout the book and they’re fun diversions. But the book is more like taking a bus tour through lovely landscape just to enjoy the leisurely pace and all the visual treats, but ending up at the beginning, rather than running a marathon through that same countryside with a clear goal in mind. I had to fight off snatches of boredom here and there to reach the end, but I’m very glad I read the book.

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