Friday, September 27, 2013

[Book Review] A Prayer for Owen Meany

A Prayer for Owen Meany / John Irving (Powell's Books)
In the summer of 1953, two 11-year-old boys — best friends — are playing in a Little League baseball game in New Hampshire. One of the boys hits a foul ball that kills his best friend's mother. Owen Meany believes he didn't hit the ball by accident. He believes he is God's instrument. What happens to Owen after 1953 is extraordinary and terrifying. He is Irving's most heartbreaking hero.


I first read A Prayer for Owen Meany years ago.  The experience left me ambivalent, without a clear feeling one way or another about the story.  Normally I utterly love or detest John Irving's books, but this one left me unsure.  I found the impetus to reread Owen Meany in signing up to lead book discussion.

For me, A Prayer for Owen Meany is largely a book about anger at United States' politics and the Vietnam War.  The story told is that of the life of a unique boy named Owen Meany.  In classic Irving style, we meet characters who are complex, idiosyncratic, and flawed.  However while his humor may be subtle and unexpected at times, the moral and political essays are significantly less so.

The book discussion itself was wildly successful.  Incredible turn out and very active discussion.  A somewhat humorous moment occurred however when it was realized that many of the participants had children older than me when talking about  youth activism.  I believe the trigger was the mention of 9/11 occurring while I was in high school.  This book has so much going on to pull on in a book discussion, even for those who didn't like it.

Discussion Questions
  • Why did you like, or just as importantly, why did you not like, A Prayer for Owen Meany?
  • What do you think A Prayer for Owen Meany is about?
    • Faith, fate, Vietnam, friendship?
  • Do you think Johnny Wheelwright is a reliable narrator?
  • Is Owen Meany likeable?
  • A Prayer for Owen Meany may provide humor in unexpected places, and not always through situations that should be funny.  Did anything in the story make you laugh?
    • Johnny discovering the armadillo for the first time, the VW Beetle on stage, Grandmother hiding her wigs?
  • Why do you think Hester was so angry?  Do you think it was only in response to being "just" a daughter, or do you think there was more, unsaid, that happened to her?
  • The 'miracle' of Owen Meany and his precognition gives Johnny Wheelwright his faith, Johnny Wheelwright manufacturers a 'miracle' and tricks Reverend Merrill into rediscovering his faith.  Do you think the author is saying anything about miracles?  Do you think the book is pro-religion or anti-religion?
  • Do you think that Owen's conception was a miracle, or do you think his mother was the victim of sexual assault and either lacked the mental facilities to understand what happened to her or that the memory is repressed under mental trauma and damage?
  • What do you think of the idea of being "just a Joseph."
  • How does the 'peace movement' experiences described in A Prayer for Owen Meany compare to those during more current military conflicts (Iraq, Afghanistan, etc)?
    • Apathy vs activisim, personal connection with issues, Owen's statement that without the draft people would care less about Vietnam, military conflicts without declaration of war, the 'War on Terror,' 9/11?

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I gave my notice at work today.

I first talked to the Interm Director (and fellow Reference Librarian).  She knew it was coming, particularly as she was one of my references and had gotten a call about me two days prior.  While I received the job offer yesterday I felt it was only polite to refrain from making an announcement until my boss knew.  As it turns out, the majority of the staff happened to be in for morning meeting instead of the normal handful, so I had quite a crowd for the announcement.

I am excited, anxious, relieved, and a little bit guilty.  I've been at this library for three years to the day, and various issues aside, this is the first job I've held with a solid safety net and support built in.  I can't help but feel like I'm bailing on my co-workers and on the library, especially in the face of some potentially dramatic changes in structure.  The possibility that things could improve so that I could actually get to all these projects and ideas that keep bubbling up is appealing.  I also feel guilt because I know first hand exactly how short-staffed my department is (in addition to the whole library), and by leaving I'm making that situation worse.

All this being said, I am leaving for a position that was a long time coming.  For a number of reasons I had been on the look out for other employment opportunities for some time, but this job was a different category than the others.

I first met the director of my new library on March 29th at a network meeting, at which I stopped to talk to her because of some materials my director had asked me to send to her.  The result was us chatting for quite a bit and me waxing geekily enthusiastic about a whole range of topics.  Apparently this is not always a bad thing.  At the end while walking to our cars she mentioned that they were going to be creating a Technology Services Librarian position, and that I should send her my resume (which I did as soon as I got home).

So this job has been in the works for about six months.  It took some time, the job description had to be created, reviewed, revised, posted internally, posted publicly, etc.   During this time I kept my department informed of the possibility and progress.  Actually when the job was posted publicly in July my co-workers pointed it out to me specifically just in case.  My soon-to-be boss contacted me directly when the job posting went public, and I formally applied then.

Interestingly for all that this was one of the easiest application processes I have gone through, it was probably also the most stressful.  I'm not sure why, but when I know that I am a strong candidate the process creates more anxiety for me.  I think it's the possibility of failure.  I want to get excited about the possibility, but have to remind myself to not get my hopes up.  I hate the chance that I botched some small detail and disqualified myself.  The job posting almost exactly mirrored my current position, and while more and more libraries now have a Technology Services/Systems Librarian, it's not a universal position.  In this case I had dialog with the director and had my resume solicited.  At my second interview I found out that a fellow student from my graduate program also had independently recommended me for the position.

Right up front this new position has several benefits over where I have been working.  I actually like that the library serves a smaller population.  The resources of a larger town are nice, but I'm not a city girl.  A higher salary is always nice, but just as important to me is the distance from home.  My commute will be cut in half.  Long term my current commute is simply not sustainable.  Additionally my it takes me through some absolutely atrocious traffic and in town roads.  I am looking forward to a shorter, smoother, less congested drive.

Professional and personal anxiety aside, I am excited to continue my professional journey at a new library starting next month.  My new library is gorgeous, and some of the ideas discussed at my interviews met with interest.  I have a lot to look forwards to.  However in the meantime I need to buckle down and wrap things up.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

[Book Review] Treecat Wars

Treecat Wars / David Weber & Jane M. Lindskold (Powell's Books)
The fires are out, but the trouble's just beginning for the treecats.

On pioneer planet Sphinx, ruined lands and the approach of winter force the now Landless Clan to seek new territory.  They have one big problem--there's nowhere to go.  Worse, their efforts to find a new home awaken the enmity of the closest treecat clan--a stronger group who's not giving up a single branch without a fight

Stephanie Harrington, the treecats' greatest advocate, is off to Manticore for extensive training--and up to her ears in challenges there.  That leaves only Stephanie's best friends, Jessica and Anders, to save the treecats from themselves.  And now a group of xenoanthropologists is once again after the great secret of the treecats--that they are intelligent, empathic telepaths--and their agenda will lead to nothing less that treecat exploitation.

Finally, Jessica and Anders face problems of their own, including  their growing attraction to one another.  It is an attraction that seems a betrayal of Stephanie Harrington, the best friend either of them have ever had.

For fans of Honor Harrington, Treecat Wars and its prequels are lighter reads than the main series but still fantastic additions to the universe.  As someone who picked up this book without reading the preceeding two in this series, I was able to comfortably dive into and follow the story.  Treecat Wars follows a teenage Stephanie Harrington, Honor's oft mentioned ancestress, and the early years of interaction between treecats and humans.

A softer read than much of the Honor Harrington series as interstellar politics are not a central theme.  Instead the focus is on interpersonal and interspecies relationships without falling into a pattern of simple troupes. 

Color me dissatisfied

Today I got the big news!  Penguin is selling ebooks to libraries again.  Alright!  To quote the release "more than 10,000+ Penguin eBooks are now live and available" for public, college, and consortial libraries.  Ok, so it's just a selection of their titles, but better than the no purchase availability we've had in our network.  I really want to be excited about this, even if it is limited availability.  So what if there are still restrictions on transferring library loans of Penguin titles to Kindles.  The prices aren't bad either.  New releases for $18.99 and backlist in the $5.99 - $9.99 ballpark.

Here's the problem: "one copy/one user lending model for a one year term"

And here I've been upset about the HarperCollins 26 check out limit.  I'm still not exactly happy with the limits on HarperCollins titles, especially libraries have purchased hardcover titles from HarperCollins with lifetime warranties.  While 26 check outs is supposed to equal the number of circulations in a year, at least with the 26 check out the clock doesn't count down. 

I admit it, I have some biases.  I like owning materials.  I believe in making archival copies of personally purchased ebooks with the DRM removed so that they can be read on a different ereader down the road so they don't become inaccessible.  In a library we're not going to buy a print book that will self-destruct in a year (though the expected physical lifespan of some donated paperbacks may fit within that).

To me a year limit for an ebook is not only ludicrous, but it hurts collection development. It makes the purchase of new titles a risk.  It becomes a waste of money to buy lesser known titles or new authors regardless of the quality of the writing.  The next Dan Brown novel is a safe bet.  A novel being adapted to a highly publicized screen play?  Sure.  Everyone's heard of them and so the interest exists in those titles.  What about books like Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson or Nexus by Ramez Naam?  Have you heard about them except through me (if you have that is awesome)?  Absolutely fantastic books published within recent years, but if they were published through Penguin would they be purchased?  There is little place for non-mainstream debut titles in a one year lending model, particularly one that only discounts the titles in the sense we pay list price instead of four times list price for a digital copy.

So, call me idealistic, but I am not enthusiastic at this concession by Penguin.

Edit: OverDrive Press Release




Tuesday, September 24, 2013

[Book Review] Warrior

Warrior (The Blades of the Rose, #1) / Zoe Archer (Powell's Books)
To most people, the realm of magic is the stuff of nursery rhymes and dusty libraries. But for Capt. Gabriel Huntley, it’s become quite real and quite dangerous…

IN HOT PURSUIT…
The vicious attack Capt. Gabriel Huntley witnesses in a dark alley sparks a chain of events that will take him to the ends of the Earth and beyond—where what is real and what is imagined become terribly confused. And frankly, Huntley couldn’t be more pleased. Intrigue, danger, and a beautiful woman in distress—just what he needs.

IN HOTTER WATER…
Raised thousands of miles from England, Thalia Burgess is no typical Victorian lady. A good thing, because a proper lady would have no hope of recovering the priceless magical artifact Thalia is after. Huntley’s assistance might come in handy, though she has to keep him in the dark. But this distractingly handsome soldier isn’t easy to deceive…

I would like this book WAY better if it wasn't attempting to be a historical fantasy.  From what I can tell it is not intended as alternative history, and that causes most of my issues with this book.  It's just too anachronistic.  The language is incredibly modern, except perhaps for some of the oaths used, and beyond a nod to how proper gentlemen and ladies are supposed to act, very modern in terms of action and thought.  And of course the villain wants to have his dastardly way with the heroine against her will, in the middle of combat.  Seriously?  As a woman I do very much get the fear and threat of sexual assault, I'm also getting tired of it as a regular peril.  I'm not going to expound on the idiocy involved in trying to rape a woman in the middle of an active battlefield with giant monsters threatening and improvised flame throwers in use.

Now, if this entire story was taken and put fully in a fantasy world the whole anachronistic conflict that bothers me would largely be fixed.  Some details would still require a bit more suspension of belief than just fantasy alone, such as even a partial mastery of Shaolin Kung Fu in a month or two, but even then the story would work better.

Going beyond my pet peeves this wasn't a bad novel.  Archer actually bothered to try and build chemistry between the love interests instead of relying on the magical mojo of instantaneous true love.  There are no great surprises or risks taken in the story development or arc, but it progresses cleanly through time and events.  Thalia is a very self-determined character, and she keeps that self-determination through the growth of her relationship with Gabriel.  Gabriel is a strong lead without becoming an overbearing alpha male.  The sex scenes even manage to avoid wildly over the top ridiculous sexual similes and metaphors.  I actually may read further in this series, but I should not read them if I've read other romance novels recently as to regain my tolerance for the foibles of the genre.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Link Smorgasbord, September 16 - 22

"Sex sells. Deal with it."
On overly sexual treatment and objectification of women in video games, and how lack of sex appeal does by no means damn a game to failure.  I appreciate the use of graphics in this one.

Franzen on Bezos: "One of the Four Horsemen"
(To me) a very powerful statement about Amazon.

BiblioTech's debut set this week
San Antonio, TX is now home to the U.S.'s first all-digital library.  Fantastic computer lab space, some hardware available for lending, and what ebook access they're able to offer considering how much publishers decline to sell to libraries.  A project to watch regardless of how it works out.

Real names, real problems: Pseudonymity under siege
Good read.

Intellectual property [sic] – it’s not about property
Just as this article titled "it's not about the property," this article is about more than just copyright.  Specifically it talks about copyright, copyright exemption, and accessibility for the blind.

Authors Guild: Wait for Congress to Sort Out Google Scanning 
 I actually thought that this had been decided already, I guess I was wrong.  I do admit that there is huge commercial possibilities for what Google is doing in their scanning project, but on the other hand it is an invaluable project just for the preservation effort.

Hands-on with Windows 8.1: A solid update, but not a game changer
Glad to know some things are improving, but still staying the hell away from 8 except when unavoidable.  Sounds like I might be slightly less inclined to tear my hair out working with it.  8 still pretty much comes across to me as everything I dislike about tablets/smartphones (minus data plans) put into a desktop.

Tools for Creating Creating Screen Capture Images and Videos 
Screen capture tutorial videos are something that has been on my "to-do" list for ages, but I can't really do them while on desk and my actual off-desk time (as in not at the Reference Desk or my Technology Services public desk) is largely consumed with more pressing projects (like rebuilding a computer or finishing the overhaul of the tech plan).  A few good tools listed here.

23 Resources for Getting Published in the Library Field
I have no clue how many people wandering through this blog are trying to get published in the library field, but it's useful for me at least.

Booksmash's Lust-O-Meter Shows How Innovation Happens
Stuff like this is just fun and awesome to me.

Friday, September 20, 2013

FYI: iOS 7 & OverDrive Media Console

It seems like library patrons who use OverDrive Media Console on Apple products may experience some difficulties after upgrading to iOS 7.

At this time, if you do experience issues opening DRM protected library ebooks.  OverDrive recommends reauthorizing your app with your Adobe ID, or if that fails, uninstall and reinstall (and then reauthorize) the OverDrive Media Console app.  Reinstalling will clear your history and settings as well.

The only effect reported so far for audio books is that you may have to re-download the title.  The status of app authorization does not effect library audio books.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

NF Display September 2013

September was going to be "Banned Books," but last week I realized that Banned Books Week starts on the 30th so it seemed better suited to October.  Additionally our Fall Film Series theme is "Famous Faces," so I decided to match themes for the first month and do a biography display.  A general 'biography' theme makes for a fantastically easy display to assemble and therefore not a huge hassle for a last minute switch.

And so, a display born of off-the-cuff recommendations and my own browse of the biography section.  A few well known names, a few less well known, celebrities, scientists, musicians, normal people with interesting lives.  I mostly avoided politicians (Victoria Woodhull as the main exception).  In the end I ended up with a range of unintended little categories - musicians, spies, cultural differences, cultural icons, hard times, scientists - that came out of my attempt to create a balanced display.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies.  The man who never reads lives only one."
George R. R. Martin 
  • I am Nujood, age 10 and divorced / Nujood Ali, Delphine Minoui, and Linda Cloverdale (translator)
  • The girl's guide to homelessness / Brianna Karp
  • American rebel : the life of Clint Eastwood / Marc Eliot
  • The elephant to Hollywood / Michael Caine
  • Sleeping with the enemy : Coco Chanel's secret war / Hal Vaughan
  • Desert queen : the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell: adventurer, adviser to kings, ally of Lawrence of Arabia / Janet Wallach
  • Spontaneous mind : selected interviews 1958-1996 / Allen Ginsberg and David Carter (ed)
  • A covert affair : Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS / Jennet Conant
  • Unbearable lightness : a story of loss and gain / Portia de Rossi
  • Django : the life and music of a Gypsy legend / Michael Dregni
  • J. Robert Oppenheimer : shatterer of worlds / Peter Goodchild
  • All American monster : the unofficial biography of Timothy McVeigh / Brandon M. Stickney
  • Lipstick Jihad : a memoir of growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran / Azedeh Moaveni
  • Perfect Spy : the incredible double life of Pham Xuan An, Time Magazine reporter and Vietnamese Communist agent / Larry Berman
  • Margaret Sanger : a life of passion / Jean H. Baker
  • The mystery of Agatha Christie / Gwen Robyns
  • Carl Sagan : a life / Keay Davidson
  • Notorious Victoria : the life of Victoria Woodhull, uncensored / Mary Gabriel
  • No woman, no cry : my life with Bob Marley / Rita Marley
  • Gonzo : the life of Hunter S. Thompson / Jann S. Wenner & Corey Seymour
  • The Pianist : the extraordinary true story of one man's survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945 / Wladyslaw Szpilman
  • When skateboards will be free : a memoir of a political childhood / Saïd Sayrafiezadeh
The above list is admittedly a bit disorganized.  That being said the assembly of this display was also not exactly organized.  I browsed titles, pulled books off the shelf, went back over certain areas, and was handed books by co-workers to included.  Regardless of organization I feel there are some very interesting stories in this collection, and its worth it to read a few of them at the very least.

Staff Only Parking

Notice anything amusing?  I was amused at the very least.

Here's my tip of the day, don't park in the Staff Only lot.  We know who to ask to move when our coworkers block us in, you probably don't.  Please don't get mad at us when you've already ignored the "Staff Only" sign, even if you are blocked in by two or three of us.

If you don't respect the threat of a tow, please at least respect the very real threat of not being able to get your car out of the lot.

Monday, September 16, 2013

I feel kind of dirty

After today I just kind of feel dirty.

I fully hold to the belief that there is nothing wrong with liking smut.  Lets be honest, I write reviews now and then for smut (and in one case then lent the smutty book to my mom).  I am pretty much of the opinion that if the involved parties are consenting and capable of said consent, have fun.  However when it really comes down to it, I just don't need to know what floats your boat.  Really, I probably have no interest in what turns you on, especially if you are one of my patrons (and that's without getting into something that I find squicky).

So to start things off I think a patron decided to troll us.  At least, that would be the more... comfortable option.

When someone borrows one of our ereaders (Sony or Kindle), they are allowed to purchase one title to add to our collection.  Beyond that one title they must reimburse us the cost.  Some patrons add a book, others decline to, and once in a blue moon a patron adds a handful of free titles.  It actually took surprisingly long for someone to add erotica to an ereader.

So it started out pretty mundane.  The first "Thank You for your Purchase" email had two titles, including the only title in all this that cost anything.
  • The Seance / Albie Still
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul : True Love : 101 Heartwarming and Humorous Stories about Dating, Romance, Love, and Marriage / Jack Canfield

The next one however seemed like it was the start of an unfortunate story.
  • Thought of Suicide? Welcome to the Club! / Dylan Stevens
  • How to Save your Marriage : Reignite the Passionate and Trusting Relationship You Deserve / Rachel Edison
  • Why Argue? Take The Sting Out Of Your Quarrels / Donna White Glaser
  • 365 Days of Romance : Inspirational Quotes for Every Day of the Year / MG Keefe
  • I Forgive You : Why You Should Always Forgive / Eric Watterson
  • How To Improve Your Marriage : The 7 Secrets to a Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling Relationship / Rachel Edison
  • Outing Dating Abuse : A Primer for LGBTQ Youth / Barb Chandler, BA
  • The Drug Addict Pattern / Jacobus Kotze
  • Why Woman Stay in Abusive Relationships / Donna J. Farris
  • Incest and Its Effect on Families / Jane Gilgun
  • Adultery Without Tears : Say Hello, Don't Wave Goodbye / Joshua Gould
  • Where Did My Fairy Tale Go? / S. C. Williamson
  • Marriage & Divorce (A Personal Story with a hint of Humor by a Man) Epilogue by Lance the Border Collie / Stefan Kulakowski
  • The Romance Manifesto / Kristy K. James
I mean, that looks like there are serious issues going on.  By the way, ever wonder why some of us rage about data mining and why librarians won't even let someone else pick up your holds?  I honestly have no clue who has this ereader out at this time.  Once they return it the ereader is completely off their record (though all these books will still be "owned" by the ereader account).

Then right after all that, and the book about the effect of incest we get this gem:
  • Stroking Daddy / Burt Maverick 
Ummm....

Then came many more, with some horror stories mixed in, and some screenplays (including one based on a Nicholas Sparks) just to mix things up:
  • Lusting after Step Dad / Belle Hart
  • Cupid's Island #1: Ripped Undress me. Don't be Gentle! / D. Powers
  • Fireside Threeway : A Dear Diary Story (MMF) / Francis Ashe
  • Doctor Knows Best / Betty Glenn
  • Rough Sex in Her Lonely Cabin / Kitty Meaker
  • Killer Bedtime Stories / Drac Von Stoller
  • Creeper; A Short Horror Story / Brandon Grant
  • Mary Scary / Michelle de Villiers
  • Ghost Hunting Diary Volume 1 / TM Simmons
  • Esther's House / Michael Carter
  • Darker than the Night / Sheila Lee Brown
  • Lilith : Screenplay / Maximus Romulus
  • Remembrance Photo : The Screenplay / Michael Hoffman
  • Jesse's Heart (a Screenplay) / David Segrove
  • Dear John Screenplay : Based on the Novel by Nicholas Sparks / Jamie Linden
  • In Dreams : Screenplay / James Eddy
  • The Haunted Mirror / Drac Von Stoller
  • True Ghost Stories / Steven Hager
  • The Ghost of Hill Haven Road / Drac Von Stoller
  • Brianna : A virgin lesbian sex tale / Lexie X
  • Sleeping virgin seduction (breeding sex sleep fantasy) / Nicole Snow
  • Bad Kitty : A Story of Convenient Sex / Max Kongo
  • Ryan's Secret : A prequel to The Sex Cabaret / Thom Wolf
  • Blowing My Big Brother (Taboo Sex/Family Sex) / Pandora Box
  • Sex in The Office 1 - First Encounters / Rory Hitch
  • Family Fucking : My Cousin's Ass (Taboo Sex/Mind Control/Anal Sex) / Pandora Box
  • Daddy Catches His Little Slut (Daddy Sex Stories) / Candy Young
I'm not sure if the patron realizes that every time they "purchase" something we get an email notification.  Perhaps they don't care?

And just when I thought that was all... there were more:
  • The ABCs of Erotica : A is for Anal / Malia Mallory
  • The Erotic Exploits of New Lesbian Desires Volume #1 : Discovering Desires in the Girl-Garden and Please Misses Officer (Erotica By Women For Women) / Zoharah Jay
  • Sexy Black Women (Young Sex Stories - an erotica series) / Tom Day
  • Teacher's Pet (BDSM Erotica) / Dylan Palmer
  • Drenched (erotica) / Chastity Lane
  • Bunny Sex #1: Sexual Desires (Erotica) / Sophie Sin
  • The ABCs of Erotica - C is for Cock Ring (A BDSM Femdom Short Story) / Malia Mallory
  • Readerotica 4: Free Erotica Stories for Your eReader Volume 4 - Exciting Situations / PriveCo Inc
  • Sensual Erotica 12 : Thrilling Her / Red Phoenix
  • Professor Jones' Slut (Lesbian BDSM Erotica) / Ashley Spector
  • Daddy's Gift (Daddy Daughter Breeding Taboo Erotica) / Ruby Falls
  • Sensual Erotica 1 : Loving Amy / Red Phoenix
  • Readerotica 5 13 Great Free Erotica from Great Writers / PriveCo Inc
  • Readerotica - Free Erotica for Your EReader / PriveCo Inc
  • Soft Love #1 : Precious Love 'Love Freely Given' (Couple's Erotica) / Sophie Sin
  • Make Up Fuck (M/f intimate domination erotica) / Naomi Lauder
  • Fifty Shades of Erotica : Ghosts of Desire / Michelle Fox
  • The Quickie (Sexy and Short Erotica Story) / Kitty Fine
  • Spanked into Submission : Lesbian BDSM Erotica / Laura Vixen
  • Coming with Daddy (Taboo Erotica) / Elaine Cara
  • Pure Seduction : Lesbian Romance Erotica / Lauren Jagger
  • His Every Desire : The Billionaire's Assistant (Billionaire BDSM Domination Erotica) / Chloe Cassidy
  • Hypno-Sis 1 : My Sister 19s Tits (Mind Control/Brother-Sister Taboo Sex Erotica) / Pandora Box
  • Nicole (Lesbian Erotica) / Taryn Taylor
  • Some Like it Rough (The Original Erotica Collection) / Delilah Fawkes
  • Letting Go (a tale of paranormal Erotica) / Polly J Adams
  • 10 Sexy Stories : Thank You, Our Readers, Erotica Bundle / V.R. Dunlap
  • Curves For His Pleasure (The Billionare's Curvy Submissive Part 1) (Light BDSM Billionaire Erotica) / Denise Avery
  • Sensual Erotica 4 : Deeper, Baby! / Red Phoenix
  • Being the Submissive : Lesbian BDSM Erotica / Conner Hayden
  • The Massage : An Erotic Massage and Sex Erotica Story / Kitty Fine
  • Readerotica 2 - Free Erotica for Your eReader - Volume 2 - Turning Up The Heat / PriveCo Inc
  • Don't Waste a Drop, Daddy (taboo virgin impregnation erotica) / Riley Rourke
  • My Lesbian Daughters (Sister Erotica/Family Sex/Mind Control Taboo) / Pandora Box
  • Connections (A Short Erotic/Erotica Romance) / Selena Kitt
  • Busted / Chuck Willman
  • Open Your Legs for my Family / Aphrodite Hunt
  • Ultra XXX : Love, Sex & Maturity (Deviant #3) / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra Gay XXX : Prison Sex #1 : Prison Sex #1 / Dick Powers
  • XXx-PoetixXx / Mr Love Zone
  • Ultra XXX : Slave to the Insane (Dirty Deeds #1) / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Vanilla #1 / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : NTR #1 / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Deviant Collection / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra Gay XXX : Daddy Knows Best (Bad Grandpa #1) / Dick Powers
  • Ultra Gay XXX : Brothers in Love / Dick Powers
  • Hardcore XXX : Office Girl VS Boss (X-Rated One Shot) / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Ass Freak VS Chubby Girl / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Violation of Symphony (Demons' Play Things #1) / Sophie Sin
  • Hard Gay XXX : Comedian VS Heckler / Dick Powers
  • Ultra XXX : Lessons in Sex & Women (Deviant #2) / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Train Molester #1 / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Turning Twins (MILF #1) / Sophie Sin
  • The XXX Files Episode 1 / Lexi Maxxwell
  • Ultra XXX : Mumma Can't Get Enough (Random Strangers #1) / Sophie Sin
  • Ultra XXX : Sexually Full Circle (Deviant #4) / Sophie Sin
  • Samantha Steel Is... The Spy Who Did Me -- The First Coming A Samantha Steel Erotic Thriller / Vanessa DeSimone
In case you are wondering, yes, I am trying to share my pain.  Some of these titles... just... no.  That being said, I may also be laughing way too hard at some of these titles, or their explanations.  I mean I feel that if you've already stated that the story is erotic in the title, you don't really need to go on further to say that it is an "erotic sex story."  And does The Quickie really need the qualifier that it is a short story?  I do feel that "Dick Powers" is a fitting name to write erotica/porn under.

Since I actually had to originally type out all of these titles for work I feel the need to also gripe that some of these authors really need to learn how to properly and consistently format a title.  I mean the Readerotica handles its sub-title different each time.  However, kudos to Ashely Spector for properly using an apostrophe after a name ending in "s."

Regardless, it was after this last batch that we went "Is there any possibility that they are not trolling us?"  Technically they did not break policy, and per our contract we are not responsible for the content on the device.  However with this many new titles we've basically decided to wash our hands of it and not edit the device record to add all of the new books.  This has nothing to do with the fact that we're dealing with porn titles, more a response to the flood and the unlikelyhood that anyone will be searching out catalog specifically for these titles.  We will remove most of the titles from the ereader.  We are not returning them, if someone wants to read them they still can without a purchase.  I normally would feel bad about essentially censoring the collection, but we think they were trying to cause mischief, and the titles will still be accessible without the ereader having an overwhelming amount of porn to sort through before finding a novel.

The icing on all this was when a very nice gentleman in his 90's told my boss that he thought 50 Shades of Grey was very well written.  I decided that regardless of my feelings towards the quality of that book, that this was not an argument I needed to get into.  I'm used to the fact that the biggest fan demographic at the library of 50 Shades is over 70, it was just the timing of that statement that got to me (and the almost innate reaction of someone older than one's grandparents praising 50 Shades).

And in a week or two I get a reminder of all this when the ereader is returned.  Ick.

Link Smorgasbord, September 9 - 15

Three-strikes laws do not reduce piracy: study
*gasp* Say it isn't so!

I'm sorry, was that too much sarcasm?  The system has so many flaws across the different implementations, including in actually catching infringement, and it never does to underestimate the power of bored computer geeks (plus everyone who simply doesn't consider what they're doing breaking copyright).  There are incredible misconceptions of copyright law, horrible attempts at 'scaring straight' the copyright breakers (seriously... can you actually watch the "You wouldn't steal a car" anti-piracy ads without laughing?  Also, why would I buy a pirated movie... doesn't that defeat the point?), and incredible abuses by corporate rights holders.  The US concept of "pop up warnings" is highly unsafe and a vector for malicious attacks (as if "Windows Antivirus" scams weren't enough).  That's before we get into the increasing expectation of access to home internet connections for work, school, motor vehicle registration, medical care, and more.

Take a look at the paper available for free download here.

Keeping data secret, even from apps that use it
This is really cool to me.  I'd love to read the paper even though it's probably completely over my head.

How to foil NSA sabotage: use a dead man switch
Interesting.

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman: the first Decade
About Coraline, a creepy children's book.

Hundreds of Pages of NSA Spying Documents to be Released As Result of EFF Lawsuit
And related articles:
Did you murder someone?  Don't tell your lawyer over email
Attention getting title aside this is a serious article about a serious topic.  Client confidentiality is an important part of a number of fields, including doctors, psychiatrists, lawyers, and more.  What happens to that when your data is stored online?

Rotten to the Core
Not that I was ever inclined to get an iPhone, nor ever particularly inclined towards most Apple products (never worth the money too me, and I like a computer I can disassemble), but I guess I have more things to go "ugh" about now.  To me there is a flavor of irony over this all considering Apple's famous 1984 themed advertisement (and both Jobs' and Wozniak's backgrounds as hackers and phone phreaks).
"Apple is a company that has succeeded in releasing numerous products that have redefined our technological society, and yet there is no indication that the Apple employees have particularly dwelled on the ethical or privacy implications of the new products they unveil. Touch ID has the potential to usher in a new era in which our biometric information becomes just another password, and this era has arrived not with debate but with a product announcement."
The Cost of Censorship in Libraries: 10 Years Under the Children’s Internet Protection Act
I am proud that my library does not use filters on our public computers, even if it means having to somewhat regularly tell patrons to stop watching porn.

Verizon's diabolical plan to turn the Web into pay-per-view
Think of what it would be like if Internet access was even more proprietary and like cable TV.  Not only would it be unpleasant, but it would server to increase the digital divide and runs counter to the whole idea behind the Internet in the first place.

Librarian Problems Tumblr
THIS.  ALL OF THIS.

E-ZPasses get read all over New York (not just at toll booths)
You know, I'm actually generally not happy when I find out my cynicism and paranoia is justified.  Also a bit too Little Brother for my taste

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

[Book Review] Crux

Crux / Ramez Naam (Powell's Books)
"Six months have passed since the release of Nexus 5. The world is a different, more dangerous place.

In the USA, the freedom fighters of the Post-Human Liberation Front use Nexus to turn men and women into human time bombs aimed at the President and his allies.

The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck."

Humanity is evolving, the singularity is here and it is part of us.  What started as an experiment, a party drug, is now reshaping the human experience.  Children born with Nexus are reviled, scientists try to find a vaccine while Autistic children and their parents find a bridge, governments and individual want back door access for their own means.  What happens when we can become more than just human?  What happens when we can share thoughts and experiences quicker than thought?

Crux asks questions about humanity, culture, and change.  It paints for us an uncomfortably plausible future and the things people do out of fear, or greed, or even hope for the right thing.

A brilliant and complex piece of cyber fiction and political suspense, Crux is the sequel to the equally brilliant Nexus.

[Book Review] Saving Normal

Saving normal : an insider's revolt against out-of-control psychiatric diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the medicalization of ordinary life / Allen Frances (Powell's Books)
"From "the most powerful psychiatrist in America" (New York Times) and "the man who wrote the book on mental illness" (Wired), a deeply fascinating and urgently important critique of the widespread medicalization of normality.

Anyone living a full, rich life experiences ups and downs, stresses, disappointments, sorrows, and setbacks. These challenges are a normal part of being human, and they should not be treated as psychiatric disease. However, today millions of people who are really no more than "worried well" are being diagnosed as having a mental disorder and are receiving unnecessary treatment. In Saving Normal, Allen Frances, one of the world's most influential psychiatrists, warns that mislabeling everyday problems as mental illness has shocking implications for individuals and society: stigmatizing a healthy person as mentally ill leads to unnecessary, harmful medications, the narrowing of horizons, misallocation of medical resources, and draining of the budgets of families and the nation. We also shift responsibility for our mental well-being away from our own naturally resilient and self-healing brains, which have kept us sane for hundreds of thousands of years, and into the hands of "Big Pharma," who are reaping multi-billion-dollar profits.

Frances cautions that the new edition of the "bible of psychiatry," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-5 (DSM-5), will turn our current diagnostic inflation into hyperinflation by converting millions of "normal" people into "mental patients." Alarmingly, in DSM-5, normal grief will become "Major Depressive Disorder"; the forgetting seen in old age is "Mild Neurocognitive Disorder"; temper tantrums are "Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder"; worrying about a medical illness is "Somatic Symptom Disorder"; gluttony is "Binge Eating Disorder"; and most of us will qualify for adult "Attention Deficit Disorder." What's more, all of these newly invented conditions will worsen the cruel paradox of the mental health industry: those who desperately need psychiatric help are left shamefully neglected, while the "worried well" are given the bulk of the treatment, often at their own detriment.

Masterfully charting the history of psychiatric fads throughout history, Frances argues that whenever we arbitrarily label another aspect of the human condition a "disease," we further chip away at our human adaptability and diversity, dulling the full palette of what is normal and losing something fundamental of ourselves in the process. Saving Normal is a call to all of us to reclaim the full measure of our humanity."
First of all I think what this book has to say is very important, but I do not believe it says it in the best way.  The issues at hand are ones that the author is both extremely knowledgeable and passionate about.  My problem is that the strident didactic voice is overbearing and off-putting, even when I believe in the dangers of over medication and over diagnosis (or misdiagnosis) .  These are issues that have concerned me since I was young (perhaps a side effect of reading enough at a distinctly young age to be aware of treatment abuse?).

Doctor Frances is not at any point suggesting that psychiatric treatment and medication are never needed, he in fact is arguing just the opposite.  His argument is that diagnostic inflation hurts both the healthy and those who actually suffer from psychiatric disorders.  Sometimes a 'disorder' is actually a normal part of life, be it energetic children, or grieving after a loss, or other.  A misdiagnosis or over diagnosis can sentence someone to unnecessary medication that they believe is needed and that risks extremely disruptive side effects to end, not to mention the discrimination and stigma often attached to psychiatric disorders.  On the flip side this adds to the view of psychiatric disorders as "not such a big deal" and takes away from resources for those who actually need them from those who just told they need them when maybe their needs are for a different type of treatment and care (such as natural child exuberance vs ADHD).

I could be too harsh in criticizing Dr. Frances for how he comes across, the previous paragraph proved challenging in the attempt to write in a neutral fashion that does not imply people with disorders are faking, and that those who are over diagnosed are maliciously faking.  That doesn't invalidate my criticism of his writing, and in fact he admits that his words have been misused and twisted by other groups to support tearing down all psychiatric treatments and denying the existence of psychiatric disorders.

Before reading Saving normal you have to understand the purpose of the book.  Do not skip over the introduction, read the cover flaps.  Then when you read the book make sure to finish the sections (I'd recommend finishing the whole book, but I have no control over your actions.  There were several points where I would start a new section and be taken aback by something, until I read further into clarification and explanation.  I do recommend reading Saving normal, but caution the reader to let the full arguments be revealed before making decisions on what Dr. Frances has to say.

Monday, September 9, 2013

[Book Review] Codex Born

Codex Born (Magic Ex Libris #2) / Jim C. Hines (Powell's Books)
Five hundred years ago, Johannes Gutenberg discovered the art of libriomancy, allowing him to reach into books to create things from their pages. Gutenberg’s power brought him many enemies, and some of those enemies have waited centuries for revenge. Revenge which begins with the brutal slaughter of a wendigo in the northern Michigan town of Tamarack, a long-established werewolf territory. 

Libriomancer Isaac Vainio is part of Die Zwelf Portenære, better known as the Porters, the organization founded by Gutenberg to protect the world from magical threats. Isaac is called in to investigate the killing, along with Porter psychiatrist Nidhi Shah and their dryad bodyguard and lover, Lena Greenwood. Born decades ago from the pages of a pulp fantasy novel, Lena was created to be the ultimate fantasy woman, strong and deadly, but shaped by the needs and desires of her companions. Her powers are unique, and Gutenberg’s enemies hope to use those powers for themselves. But their plan could unleash a far darker evil…

Codex Born is the sequel to Libriomancer, which caught my notice first because of how the magic was envisioned.  I really hope no one is surprised that I am a book nerd by now.

So on first glance Codex Born is a very enjoyable fluffy fantasy novel.  Do not be deceived.  Yes, there are magicians fighting foes with the works of Pratchett and a flaming spider that likes to chase laser pointers.  The book is delightful, clever, amusing, and perhaps it even is a little fluffy at times, but it also skillfully handles delicate and dark situations.

The story alternates between the here and now told by Libriomancer Isaac Vainio and the past and introspection told by Dryad Lena Greenwood.  The two of them become entangled against a plot that threatens to rip apart the world as we know it, hinging on subverting both book born magic and the book born Lena.

Perhaps one of the things I appreciate most is how Hines has written and explored Lena as a person.  I want to specify "as a person" because it could have been very easy for an author to have failed on that.  Lena is in many respects an accident, a dryad from a Gor-knockoff novel who's whole being is shaped by the desires of her partner and was born in the 'real world' through magical shenanigans.  Libriomancer one provided a vehicle for Lena to become a person distinct from her lover, to conflict with their ideals.  Codex Born takes this further and explores Lena's journey of discovery and growth, while exploring the dynamics of relationships and power.  I can't imagine it's easy to write about abusive relationships in a believable way, whether about being in one or about encountering one.

I really enjoyed Codex Born and look forwards to book three.

Jim C. Hines is also has an open discussion on his blog for his readers to ask their questions or otherwise comment on Codex Born:  http://www.jimchines.com/2013/08/codex-born-discussion-post/

Link Smorgasbord, September 2 - 8

RIP Frederik Pohl, the man who transformed Science Fiction
Definitely a landmark author

The Plan is Obsolescence - Defining our Machine Wrought Maladies
Built in obsolescence isn't limited to just fancy high tech gadgets, but is something that has bothered me for as long as I can remember.

mooculus
Ohio State is trying the MOOC learning platform whole hog with this calculus offering, including free textbook.

Amazon Kindle MatchBook bundles ebooks with print purchases
Hey, something Amazon is doing that I like.  Of course, they'll get all the credit for something that a UK publisher has been doing for a year now (except Angry Robot doesn't charge for the ebook copy).

Clonefiles
Totally linked twice here, but I have also been highly impressed with the titles that I have read by Angry Robot, so they're getting extra love from me.  If you like science fiction and fantasy I seriously recommend checking out Angry Robot's title list.

Ministry of Sound sues Spotify
Because user created play lists match compilation album track lists.  This is under UK law so I'm not sure how it will turn out, but under US Copyright Law lists are not copyrightable (deciding suit involved phone books).

Tiny $45 cubic mini-PC runs Android and Linux
I've been trying to keep an eye on these extremely low cost mini platforms, as should I have the time and/or space I have some neat projects that I could use a few for.

How to have the best literary wedding ever (Buzzfeed)
This.  All of this.

Epic Privacy Browser
I am intrigued and may be playing around with this later.  Downside is that it has the layout of Chrome and I like the Firefox interface more.

PayPal Freezes MailPile's Account
I mentioned Mailpile before as I definitely liked and was intrigued by the idea.  At that time they had a crowd-sourcing campaign going, and they met their goals... only to run into shenanigans.  Hopefully it gets resolved without too much hassle.

I hired a book
About  really needing to look at the product you're trying to sell, and why someone would want it.

Welcome to the end of secrecy
Interesting article.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How to borrow library ebooks through OverDrive, or, I finally updated these dratted things

Did you know that you can borrow ebooks (and digital audio books) from the library?  I'm guessing you don't normally read my blog if that's the case.  I kind of natter on about it a lot.

Well, in C/W MARS member libraries (Central and Western Massachusetts) have a shared OverDrive (our platform vendor for ebooks, downloadable audio books, and video) collection that can be found here.  Some individual libraries have additional collections through other vendors, but the focus here is on OverDrive.

For various reasons I have been editing, and then creating completely new, instructions for using our OverDrive collection with various devices for about two years now.  The person who had previous created the handouts for the network got a fabulous new job sometime between Amazon deciding to recalcitrantly play ball and the development of a mobile app.  We had a need, so I went ahead and filled it.  I started with her work as a frame and went from there.  Fortunately I like doing these even if some of my updates came significantly later than I wanted.

Well, for once delays actually worked in my favor.  I had gotten around to updating both the general E-Reader and the Kindle instructions after our OverDrive page got a major facelift earlier this year, but was months behind on updating the mobile iOS and Android handouts to reflect all the little changes.  A week or two ago my unwanted delay paid off as OverDrive Media Console v3 was released, moving my instructions from "slightly off" to "very misleading," and allowing me to shoe horn in this project as priority.

For your convenience I'm sharing the finally updated PDFs of the instructions (they are designed to be double sided tri-folds):
  • Traditional E-Reader - for traditional black & white e-readers, as well as color e-readers without an app store.  Requires your own computer (doesn't work out on a public computer).
  • Kindle - for traditional Kindles, the Fire is an Android device.  You must know your Amazon log-in.
  • iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch (iOS 6 or newer)
  • Android (Android 4.0 or newer) - for Android devices, including Kindle Fire, nook Color, and nook tablets.

For those who don't want to look at the PDFs and the pretty pictures they contain, here are simplified instructions:

Traditional E-Reader

You will need
  • an e-reader (not a Kindle, otherwise you're probably fine)
  • a computer
  • a library card 
1. Install Adobe Digital Editions if you don't have it already
2. Authorize ADE with an Adobe ID (if you don't have one, make one)
3. Figure out the URL for your library's OverDrive collection, then find some book you want to borrow.  Your e-reader should be able to handle PDF and EPUB (all the ebooks should be available in some variation of those two).
4. Borrow the book (this is where you need your library card number)
5. Download the book (if you have Firefox tell it to open with ADE)
6. Open ADE
7. Connect your e-reader to the computer
7b. On your first use let ADE authorize your e-reader, otherwise it won't let you transfer the book.
8. Drag the book from your library in ADE to your e-reader


Kindle

You will need
  • a Kindle
  • a library card
  • to remember your Amazon login
  • a wireless connection (this will NOT work over 3G or 4G)
  • a computer (if the book is published by Penguin)
1.Figure out the URL for your library's OverDrive collection, then find some book you want to borrow.  If the book doesn't say that it is available as a Kindle Book you cannot read it on your Kindle (yell at Amazon, not us, they're the ones that will only allow lending to Kindles if they sell the book for Kindle).
2. Borrow the book (this is where you need your library card number)
3. "Download" - on our website this is where you choose your format, older versions of the website you chose the format before you check out.  When you choose Kindle and "Confirm & Download" it takes you to Amazon.com
4. Login to Amazon with the same account your Kindle is registered to
5. Deliver book to Kindle
5b. If this is one of the aforementioned books that requires a computer (USB only), you must download to a computer and transfer from the computer to your Kindle.  Supposedly this is easy.


iOS or Android

You will need
  • whatever the hell your mobile device is, if it has access to the Apple App Store or to Google Play your golden, even if you have older versions than indicated at the PDF links.  For nook tablets/color or Kindle Fire go through the branded store (unless you really want to go through Google Play)
  • a library card
  • an Internet connection (3G, 4G, wifi, whatever)
1. Install the OverDrive Media Console app
2. Authorize with an Adobe ID (if you don't have one make one)
3. Find and save your library/library network through the app, then use that to visit the catalog
4.  Find something you'd like to borrow (MP3 audio book or EPUB ebook, Kindle books have to go through the Kindle app)
5. Borrow the title (this is where you need your library card number)
6. Download
7. Read on device

If you have come across this and want more specific help than I've given at any point here, leave a comment.  I help people regularly with OverDrive, both in person and remotely, I'd be glad to try and help.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Link Smorgasbord, August 26 - September 1

Libraries in New York City: Why We Give a Damn and Why You Should Too 
Pretty self-explanatory title.

Heroes of Copyright Infringement – The Photographer litigation against SyFy/NBC 
So yes, I do post lots of links about how big companies use copyright law like a huge stick and others about wanting less restrictive copyright.  I'm not against copyright, I just feel our system is broken.  What my stance on copyright really boils down to is "don't be a dick" - and this case for me falls under that category.  Similarly I took offesne when Glee lifted Jonathan Coulton's cover of "Baby Got Back" and used it without attribution, even though due to the type of license he used for the cover they were technically within their rights to do what they did.

Board doesn't use the library
Speaking of "don't be a dick," I wish I could say that this surprised me.  In reality this is a common and widespread issue, and it drives me crazy.  It perhaps also doesn't help that some of the board members in question have rather haughty opinions of themselves ("I read all the time, but I don’t read fiction ... I work" - I'd say something about this but I'm laughing too damn hard).

Really though, the issue isn't so much that the board doesn't use the library, it is that they don't comprehend that in communities with high levels of financial hardship the library becomes even more important.  That 50% of students that qualify for free or reduced cost lunch?  Their families?  They need the libraries, they don't have several computers to do all their research on, or the other resources that the board members take for granted.

Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman in conversation
I still need to listen to this.

12 Letters that didn't make the alphabet
I remembered a handful of these from when I took History of the Book (such an AMAZING class, and not just because of getting to handle a page of the Gutenburg Bible).

14 Illegal things you are doing on the Internet
A cautionary tale that ironically probably does one or two of the things that it warns against.

15 Fabulous bookish Pinterest boards
:D

A year of ebook price comparisons: has anything changed?
On the past  year of price comparisons and availability of books in print and electronic form for consumers and libraries.  Some has changed, slightly more ebook availability, but still drastically limited.  Pricing is still high: "Of the ebooks libraries can buy, the average price was $63 in DCL’s latest report. The average consumer price was $11.50."

Expanding privacy legislation to include ebooks
I'm totally a fan of this, though I forsee issues coming up with Amazon requiring library patrons to log into their Amazon account in order to borrow a Kindle format ebook from the library (which drives me up the wall because we can't protect patron privacy with that).

9 Reasons you should absolutely watch The Neverending Story as an adult
Besides, of course, that it is an awesome movie.

Lawful Interception by Cory Doctorow
A novella about Marcus Yallow of Little Brother and Homeland.  I will have to find a PDF or EPUB copy because it is way to long for me to comfortably read on a computer screen.

Monday, September 2, 2013

I made beer!

So awhile back I wrote about my clumsy attempt to brew my first beer. Fortunately it seems beer is rather forgiving, and I have to say unsealing the bucket after a month of studiously not investigating and having it smell like a good beer was amazing.  Of course, it wasn't ready to drink yet; I still had to add a simple syrup, rack it off, then let it sit for a few weeks.

With a bottling bucket, racking off isn't that bad of a process.  Yes, kegging would be quicker but I don't have the resources to get into that at this time and bottles are more mobile.  I did start out trying to use my siphon set up and soon gave up.  I probably did stir up the sediment somewhat, so I will have to be more careful about that next time.  For the most part it was very easy leave the sediment behind when pouring into the bottling bucket.  I may try my uncle's trick of pouring through panty hose to filter next time.

A few things I did learn from this (and from asking questions since at DIY Brew):
  • However many bottles I think I need, sanitize more.
  • Yes, the sediment is part of the process, don't filter it out until racking off.
  • Brewing is a lot more forgiving than I feared.
  • Make sure I have an extra pair of hands for transferring the beer into the bottling bucket.
  • It is definitely worth racking off in some bottles that I don't care if I get back, otherwise sharing is awkward.
The end result is a pretty decent pumpkin beer, a little cloudy, but nothing too bad.  Some bottles have a little more sediment than others.  I'm curious how beer will come out when I make it during the colder months.  I wasn't able to chill the wort as quickly as I'd like, and while under my bed is one of the coolest places in the house, it is not the same as a cold cellar (at least during the summer) or a fridge to let the beer finish after bottled.

Feedback indicates that my Possibly Pumpkin Wheat is a success, so I will shortly be starting a new beer.  Future investments down the line may include acquiring some bottles with swing tops, with kegging only like to be pursued under certain conditions that might not be met for some time.

Sex, drugs, and rock and roll


Reading belongs in the sentence "...Sex, drugs and rock and roll..." somewhere.

It's a mind altering state just as potent as any other.
- Scott Kenyon