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Leroy C. Painter-Smith

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May 15th, 2015

03:38 pm: "Half a King," by Joe Abercrombie
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know about the book “Half a King,” by Joe Abercrombie, stop reading this.

Right Outa the Chocks: Tam and I got this book free from somebody at the Norwescon this spring. I was able to read it during a short break between reading Books 3 and 4 in the Wheel of Time series. Members of the Tacoma Sci-Fi book club need only ask, and they may borrow it.

In a nutshell: Debts were paid, a king was made - then unmade, collars were weighed, preparations were made to evade, slaves were mislaid, slavers were slayed, more debts were paid, and a 'real...' king was made.


Characters I liked and characters I didn’t like Dept.: I liked Joud, Rulf, Yarvi, and Sumael. I didn't like Laithlin and Odem. Ankran, Nothing/Uthil, and Shadikshirram get a No Grade.

    Notable quotes:
  • Quote of the Review: Our intrepid heroes were literally freezing their butts off in a cold, wind-swept climate. They did have water, but "Yarvi soon learned to sip the [water], since unwrapping to piss in that cold was an act of heroism that earned grunted congratulations from the others, all the more heartfelt since everyone knew sooner or later they would have to present their own nethers to the searing wind." LOL!


Let’s Wrap this Shit Up Already! This was a quick, enjoyable, and satisfying read. I zipped through all 333 pages in 7 reading days, and this book kept my attention throughout. Excellent adventure book for those of you that enjoy a good (D&D-type) yarn. I give it a B+.

    Book Summary:
  • Original Copyright year: 2014
  • # pages: 333
  • Plot: B+
  • NI (Nap Index): 0
  • TBI (Technobabble Index): 0
  • D&DDP (D&D Derivation Percentage): 95
  • Characters: A-
  • Overall Grade: B+


I did not receive anything concerning this book, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Current Music: Symphony #5 by Ralph Vaughn Williams
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May 11th, 2015

04:54 pm: The book “Small Gods,” by Terry Pratchett
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know about the book “Small Gods,” by Terry Pratchett, stop reading this.

Right Outa the Chocks: This was the book agreed upon by the Tacoma Science Fiction Meetup group last month that Tam and I have been going to for a couple years. I loved this book!

In a nutshell: Gods were demoted, international relations were eroded, a cynobarch was toted, Brutha was promoted then demoted, assholes were smoted, and Om/Brutha were promoted again.


Characters I liked and characters I didn’t like Dept.: I liked Om, Brutha, Lu-Tze, Urn, and the eagle. I didn't like Deacon Cusp and Vorbis (of course, I wouldn't say I just 'disliked' Vorbis as he was depicted in this book, I hated Vorbis to the magnitude that I hate Joffrey Barratheon and Walder Frey...) Didactalus and Simony get a No Grade.

    Notable quotes:
  • Om, comparing living as a human to being a god: "Compared to a god? Easy. Get born. Obey a few rules. Do what you're told. Die. Forget." Fatalistic, but mostly accurate.
  • St. Ungulant in the desert: "The desert becomes really interesting after the mushroom season." I BET it does!
  • Quote of the Review: The unwritten motto of the Quisition: "Cuius testiculos habes, habeas cardia et cerebellum." Which, of course, roughly translates to "Once you have them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow." ROFL!


Let’s Wrap this Shit Up Already! This was a great book. Terry Pratchett's sense of humor is outshined only by his imaginative character generation and depiction of Vorbis' depravity. The plot was well crafted if a little meandering, with plenty of action that kept my interest. Great book, I give it an A-

    Book Summary:
  • Original Copyright year: 2003
  • # pages: 367
  • Plot: B
  • NI (Nap Index): 2
  • TBI (Technobabble Index): 1
  • D&DDP (D&D Derivation Percentage): 5
  • Characters: A
  • Overall Grade: A-


I did not receive anything concerning this book, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: The soundtrack to the movie "The DaVinci Code," by Hans Zimmer
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February 12th, 2015

11:27 am: “Jupiter Ascending”
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know what is happening with the movie “Jupiter Ascending,” stop reading this.

Right Outa the Chocks:
I had been seeing the trailers for this new sci-fi genre movie for months now, and could not wait to see it from the new easy chair recliners at the Yelm Cinemas Theater. I was NOT disappointed!

Prattle on, Chief!
This was an outstanding movie in all respects: It showed strong influences from movies like “Superman,” “Dune” (Dune was even in the name of one of the production companies!), “Labyrinth,” and “Farscape.” It also had elements of bounty hunters from both the Star Wars and Star Trek franchises, some teleportation elements from Stargate, the “IT’S PEOPLE” aspect of “Soylent Green,” and even treated the UFO enthusiasts with an explanation of crop circles! This is a new genre of science fiction, and will have a good long run, I hope.

Let’s Wrap this Shit Up Already!
In case you haven’t noticed already, I kinda liked this movie. YA THINK???!!! It had a great, evolving plot, a powerful soundtrack, characters and planets I cared about, special effects that’ll knock your socks off, and the heroine got the dog-man! I loved every aspect of this outstanding movie, I give it an A+, and I don’t give outa lotta those…

    Movie Summary:
  • PYI (Popcorn Yummy Index): 9
  • LM (Laugh Meter): 5
  • BBBBI (Babes/Blasts/Bullets/Beatings Index): 9
  • NI (Nap Index): 0
  • MDI (Musical Desirability Index): 7
  • Overall Grade: A+


I did not receive anything concerning this movie, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy Painter-Smith

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February 2nd, 2015

06:17 pm: “American Elsewhere,” by Robert Jackson Bennett
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know about the book “American Elsewhere,” by Robert Jackson Bennett, stop reading this.

Right Outa the Chocks:
I just got done reading the book “American Elsewhere,” by Robert Jackson Bennett as the assigned book to be read for the Tacoma Science Fiction Book-club meetup group, and it was ‘average:’

Prattle on, Chief!
It did have an intriguing eeriness throughout, and was inherently creepy in places. But as soon as I saw that those scientists were messing with quantum mechanics, all bets were off: Inter-dimensional transitions, time travel, big nasty monsters, every possibility that might happen, could happen. And he did cover a lot of plot twists and events. At length. On and on and on and on and ON! IMHO, this book could have been trimmed down to about 400 pages and would have kept my interest better with faster pacing.

Characters I liked and characters I didn’t like Dept.:
I liked Mona, Parson, Gracie, and Wendy. I didn’t like Mother, anybody from the Roadhouse, and Mr. First. Mrs. Benjamin gets a No Grade.

Quote of the Review:
Best passage in the book goes to the author, as Mona was trying to figure out what to do about the 600 foot giant stomping out the town of Wink: ‘After all, deep in every Texan’s heart, there remains the steadfast belief that any problem can be solved with a big enough gun.’ LOL!!! Yeah, that pretty much describes just about every Texan I’VE met!

Let’s Wrap this Shit Up Already!
It took me 22 days to slog my way through this 662 page book, and it was not nearly as compelling as “The Martian.” This was an average book with lots of well-described action, and a few characters I did care about. Overall, I give it a C+.

    Book Summary:
  • Original Copyright year: 2013
  • # pages: 662
  • Plot: D+
  • NI (Nap Index): 4
  • TBI (Technobabble Index): 7
  • D&DDP (D&D Derivation Percentage): 10
  • Characters: B-
  • Overall Grade: C+


I did not receive anything concerning this book, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Mood: geekygeeky
Current Music: tick tock, tick tock
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January 10th, 2015

07:42 pm: Oh Yeah: I Got Married.
Third time’s a charm! I met Tamara Trellis Painter in the spring of 2013, moved in with her in Federal Way in the fall of 2013, got engaged in the spring of 2014, and was married to her 2 days after Christmas, 27DEC14. She’s been my wonderful wife for 2 weeks today, and I love her, pure and simple. Yes, it is my third marriage, hopefully it’s my last.

She is in the process of changing her name to Tamara Trellis Painter-Smith and I am in the process of changing my name to Leroy Clair Painter-Smith. Yeah, I know. Men NEVER change their name after they get married. But Tam and I have kind of a different relationship. We are partners in all things. We talk about things before we act. We consider the other’s opinions before we act. We are a team. I don’t know, call me naive and old-fashioned, but I thought that’s how a successful relationship is supposed to work…

It was an outstanding wedding! Actually we billed it as a play and two weddings. First Quorine Torinth (my ship’s captain character of the MSS Neverdock from Timelines 14 and 23) and Theae, Tam’s half-drow character got married in a play scene that I wrote. Our nephew Jansci played an old friend cleric of Torinth and married us. Tam had completely constructed and sewn 6 cloaks for us and the bridal party over the previous 6 months. It was a LOT of work!

Then we took off our cloaks and got married for real. Jansci is a Internet minister of some sort. We had vows, exchanged our awesome rings, and that was pretty much it. Wham ban, think we were done with both ceremonies within half an hour.

Then the party began! I remember starting on champagne, then switched to the Kolsch beer pony keg. I do remember our first dance, “Can I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life?” by Anne Murray. It was a nice slow waltz and we danced it very well. I watched the video later and I was a little stiff, but we did fine. Both ceremonies and the first dance are in videos on Facebook, and all my family that couldn't make it can see it there.

We stayed until we got done cleaning up, and ended up taking a cab to our honeymoon suite at the Yelm Prairie Hotel because it was pretty drunk out by 2230… Best party we have ever thrown!

C-ya!
Leroy C. Painter-Smith

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: Happy
Current Music: The Seahawks beating the Panthers 17-10
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January 7th, 2015

01:35 pm: "The Martian," by Andy Weir
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know about the book “The Martian,” by Andy Weir, stop reading this.

I just got done reading the book the book “The Martian,” by Andy Weir as the assigned book to be read for the Tacoma Science Fiction Book-club meetup group, and it was ‘Excellent:’

Right outa the chocks!:
Just opening the book, I saw that it had some pretty cool black & white maps of the planet Mars with several areas noted from earlier Mars expeditions. Boded well.

But then the very first line of the book was “I’m pretty much fucked.”
YOWSUH!!! I LIKE it! As a retired Chief Petty Officer in the world’s largest nuclear-powered Navy, I am pretty inured to most profanity because I was trained to swear at a very early age by my father, another Chief… But that first sentence just grabbed my attention and the way the book evolved never let it go.

This was a 369 page hard cover book printed with about an 8 font and line-and-a-half spacing, and I finished it in 48 hours. Number 1: I’m retired and my wife just went back to work. Number 2: I am a reasonably competent reader. Number 3: I have no life. It was a quick read because it was a ‘page-turner’ and kept my interest.

Sometimes my attention flagged a little when he went on and on and on and on and on and ON about some NASA-generated-technobabble subject, but I slogged through. If you are an aerospace engineer you should have no problems. Or a chemist. Or a software engineer in places. Or a botanist in places.

One big continuity error I saw was during the exciting finale as the Hermes had to blow an airlock with a bomb(!) in order to get to Watney: The bomb only had one wire going into it, as per pg. 358 para. 4 Vogel drilled one hole, and put in 1 wire with one end. Later Johansson would have had to hook the lighting wires up to that one end, there would have been no current flow in the wire in the sugar, no sugar boom, no airlock blown, no course correction, and Watney would have watched as they sailed by about half a click away. I hate when that happens! Minor point though, I am after all a picky retired aviation electronics technician inspector and connector repair instructor…

Overall, great book, well-made characters, well crafted character interactions both in space and on Earth, and a wham-bam finale that (improbably!) resulted in Watney making it home alive. That guy is the luckiest man in the universe!!! Overall, I give “The Martian” an A-.

    Book Summary:
  • Original Copyright year: 2011
  • Plot: B
  • NI (Nap Index): 0
  • TBI (Technobabble Index on a 1-10 scale): 9
  • D&DDP (D&D Derivation Percentage): 0
  • Characters: A-
  • Overall Grade: A-


I did not receive anything concerning this book, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: Satisfied
Current Music: Tchaikowski's 1812 Overture
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December 5th, 2014

08:55 am: “The Anubis Gates,” by Tim Powers
***SPOILER ALERT***
If you don’t want to know about the book “The Anubis Gates,” by Tim Powers, stop reading this.

(Written on 24 November, 2014)

I just got done reading the book “The Anubis Gates,” by Tim Powers as the assigned book to be read for the Tacoma Science Fiction Book-club meetup group, and it was ‘not bad:’

The location of the action pretty much stayed in London, with a side trip to Egypt. Our adventures with Doyle went from 1983 to 1810 to 1666 to 1684 to 1810 to 1811, and finally to 1846, when the ‘essence’ of (a copy) of Doyle finally bought the farm.

This was a good book, I would recommend it for any sci-fi fan, and usually kept my attention. This book had traces and reminded me of Jules Verne and Charles Dickens, with a little anecdotal Lovecraftian horror sprinkled in for flavor.

One part I did not like was the confusing way the author jumped from character to character to character as Mad-Dog-Joe did… NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: You read this again, take notes on who has what physical characteristics, whose ear has been blown off…, who’s hirsute, ect., ect.

For instance: I think we went from Doyle to Dog-Faced-Joe to Brenner, back to Doyle, to Fikee to Maturo to Adelbert Chinnie to Humphrey Bogart to Ashbless. I think

    Book Summary:
  • Plot: B
  • NI (Nap Index): 2
  • D&DDP (D&D Derivation Percentage): 10
  • Characters: A-
  • Overall Grade: B+


I did not receive anything concerning this book, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty three year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Billy the Kid Orchestral Suite, by Aaron Copland
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November 14th, 2014

10:49 am: Been a long time
Wow… Can’t believe I haven’t blogged since my Christmas missive last year! Yes, I have been sorta busy: Still living in Federal Way, but we do get to our ‘southern estate’ in Yelm once or twice a month. The grass keeps growing, after all. Wedding planning for our ‘double’ wedding (Tam and I and Theae and Torinth…, the last two being our D&D characters!) that happens in 43 days! And walking Tam to and from her job at Sylvan Learning center that is a 16 minute walk one way. I also walk to ‘downtown’ Federal Way quite often to take care of bid-ness. Walked 145 miles last month, that’s normal.

And ham radio: Moved my radio and antennas up here in February, so I’m now WSN net control on Wednesday morning and night, and RN7 NCS and station RX on Tuesdays AND Wednesdays. Been on two contests since February: The ARRL CW DX contest in February and the CW Sweepstakes the first of this month. I don’t send out QSL cards any more like I used to because I need to set up my QSL database on a non-Linux machine… Maybe some day.

Movies: We do like the occasional movie, but I don’t watch nearly as many as I used to in Yelm. I may go to one tomorrow whilest Tam is at a baby shower. Just checked and saw that “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is showing at 1145. May do that. Only takes me 45 minutes to walk there, same as the Yelm theater, and a brisk morning walk sounds great!

Right now Tam is at work in Bethel School district south of here, but I will walk her to work at Sylvan later. Right now it’s 28 degrees outside…

Doing a load of dishes and three laundry loads of laundry today (!), so I am still keeping busy. May take a walk later if it warms up any.

C-ya!

Current Location: At home
Current Mood: busybusy
Current Music: None
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December 24th, 2013

10:22 am: Leroy’s 2013 Christmas Letter.
This is my annual letter to all my friends and family all over the country, to let them know how I have been doing in 2013.

2013 has really been unbelievable! As you know, I had started dating in 2012 and continued the first part of this year. To facilitate my dating endeavors, I started ballroom dance lessons at the Tacoma Arthur Murray Studios in March. On my first dance in Tacoma outside of Arthur Murray, on 19APR13, I met Tamara Painter, a teacher at the Sylvan Learning Center in Federal Way.

And we became best friends and fell in love with each other within a couple months after that. Yes, I am involved with her and will be, forever. I moved in with her the latter part of this year, and now spend most of my time in Federal Way. Her daughter is a Junior at Central Washington University, and her son is a Senior in High School living at home.

We both enjoy sci-fi, music, Facebook, hiking, D&D, loving each other, dancing, movies, science, and books.

Traveling: I had previously scheduled solo trips to Canada and Mississippi before I met Tamara, and I did take them. In September we both took a trip to the Rose City ComiCon in Portland, OR, and had an outstanding time: We really enjoyed making new sci-fi/fantasy fan friends, and entering the costume contest in our Steam Punk outfits. Yes, we are both geeks!!!

Our life together is well underway, and we both intend to be with each other for the rest of our lives. I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life, and will remain that way as long as Tamara and I are together. She feels the same way.

Best to everyone in 2014,
C-ya!

Leroy

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger"
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May 21st, 2013

09:47 am: Tacoma Youth Symphony Concert
performance of 19MAY13.
The first of the year I signed up on a web site called Meetup.com, and have since joined 2 singles groups, 2 walking groups, and 2 general activities groups. And I’m thinking of joining a third general activities group in Tacoma, a wine/dine meetup.

About a month ago I noticed that one of my meet-up groups, Tacoma Mountaineers Singles, listed a Tacoma Youth Symphony concert 19MAY13. I immediately signed up, and did go. It was an awesome concert. As it turned out, the guy that originally started the meet-up event, as they call them, couldn’t make it. At the time I was the only other person going, so he asked and I accepted responsibility to be ‘in charge’ of the meet-up event. I had no idea what that entailed. I still don’t…

The tickets were only $10 for the ground floor and $20 for the balcony. Better’n $75-$150 at the Seattle Symphony. Haven’t been to the Tacoma Symphony yet, I will.

I decided go ahead and try a balcony seat, and I’m glad I did. I could see every instrumentalist in every section and all vocalists. I spoke to a season ticket holder of a ground floor seat, and he said he could only see the front, the conductor, first violin section, the soloists, and the cello section. He couldn’t see most of the vocalists. Get what you pay for.

I got there half an hour before the concert started. I’ve only been a member of the Tacoma Mountaineers for 3 months, but I have been to half a dozen events. I recognized no one in the lobby before the concert. The only other thing I didn’t do was hold up a sign, that wasn’t happening.

The first number was Rimsky-Korsakov’s Capriccio Espagnol, one of my favorite pieces from my fourth favorite composer: #1 Beethoven, #2 Tchaikovsky, #3 Wagner ;-) The orchestra was individually extremely talented but lacked a little seasoning, obviously, these were teenagers. Every one of them will probably make it to college on some sort of a musical scholarship. The Capriccio Espagnol was loud and fast, just like I like all music.

Naomi Shrank was the violin soloist for Wieniawski’s Second Violin Concerto, and she was flawless, as was the orchestra. It was perfect in all respects, she is quite the show-person. After the number she got about a dozen bouquets of flowers, she couldn’t hardly carry them all with her violin. She needed a cart. 8-)

Then there was about a 20 minute intermission before Beethoven’s Ninth.

I had seen the Seattle Symphony perform Beethoven’s Ninth just before Christmas of 2008, I think, and this performance was very comparable. This 90 member Youth orchestra was just as good as the first two numbers, I heard very few mistakes.

They played the first two movements, then took a 20 minute break while 110 vocalists, the Choir of the West and PLU’s Choral Union, trooped onto the stage. Then they just waited while the orchestra played the third movement.

The final vocal movement was stunning, just like Beethoven designed it, almost 200 years ago. I, and the rest of the audience, was blown away. THAT is why I love Beethoven!

We gave them all a standing ovation for about 15 minutes, and all involved thanked us with many bows and speeches.

After the concert I again searched for anybody I recognized, found no one, then went out on a half hour photographic walking tour of Tacoma in the spring. Overall I had a great day, alone.

    Concert Summary:
  • Music, Symphonic: A-
  • Music, Vocal: A+
  • Venue: A
  • NI (Nap Index): 1, during the slow third movement of Beethoven’s Ninth. There was one old guy that slept through all three musical pieces. His loss.
  • Overall Grade: A


I did not receive anything concerning this concert, and the Federal Trade Commission can kiss my sixty one year old sagging white ass if they think they can regulate my free speech in my blog.

C-ya!
Leroy

Current Location: In front of my computer
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Tchaikovski's Second Violin Concerto
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