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Won a Book: Juror No. 7 by Mallory Kane

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

Win Mallory Kane’s Juror No. 7 at Ticket to Anywhere.

A romance book? Yes! Let a girl be a girl. I’m not quite ready to give up on the romance genre yet, not until I’ve read a few books enough to tell if it’s for me or not. I won’t let one or two bad books spoil the bunch. This one is going to be fun for that reason alone! Self discovery, baby. And it will be a great addition for a challenge that I am currently doing for 2009. Like always, expect a review.

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Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

I won the book Queen of Oblivion by Giles Carwyn & Todd Fahnestock at At Home With Books.

This is volume three in the The Heartstone Trilogy, so I am off to collect the other two and read them before delving into number three. I just put them on my Amazon wishlist, in fact! I have a soft spot for fantasy because it was the genre my mother read to me to put me to sleep as a child. Needless to say, I look forward to being able to start a new series. In a way, I love books in a series more than stand alone novels because I feel closer to the characters and to the world they live in.

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Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

I won the book Every Good and Perfect Gift by Sharon Souza at Cornhusker Academy.

This will be my introduction into Christian literature. It has not been a genre explored by me since I am not and have never been a practicing Christian. However, I feel that there are lessons and values to be learned in any good book. A good book, one based on human nature and morality, transcends religion and digs deeper even when religion is at its fundamental core. Needless to say, I can’t wait to give this book a go and see what it brings to me. I will happily post a review once done!

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Monday Musings: Assigned Reading

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

How did you react to assigned reading when you were in school/university/college/etc? How do you think on these books now? What book were you ‘forced’ to read when you where in school that you’ve since reread and loved?

For the most part, due to my major (history), I was given a lot of really great books to read in my classes. Sure, some were tedious. I had to read an entire biography about Reagan that about killed me! But, most of the books I was assigned to read, I got into by virtue of the fact that I was immersing myself in something historical. If anything, I could enjoy picking apart the historical accuracy of a book… which was probably why I was reading it for the class anyway! A lot of the books I was assigned to read I still have. Some of them are favorite books of mine and ones I keep at the forefront of my research and ‘for fun’ collections. Every now and then, I pick up one of the books and reread it for fun, such as I am now with Caputo’s A Rumor of War. It’s a great book and that it was assigned to me was just a mere method of discovery.

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-01-11

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

Powered by Twitter Tools.

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I did battle and won!

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

So, I did battle with Dreamhost and Wordpress today, and the evil 500/503 errors plaguing this site.

Last night, my databases went off across the board and I went to bed with them not up yet. So, as soon as I woke up today and had a moment, I came online to investigate and see if my sites were up.

The answer: yes and no.

Every site was up and functioning but this main Wordpress blog. I was getting 500/503 errors. On one refresh, it would be a 500 error and on the next, 503 error. It was really bizarre, but this has happened to me before with Wordpress and has been one of a two things:
1.) A Dreamhost problem that they reset.
2.) My .htaccess messing up and inserting strange characters again

My first reaction to a 500/503 issue is to check my .htaccess and remove anything that shouldn’t be there. If that fails, I contact Dreamhost. They give some excuse about servers and backups and a bunch of things– it changes every time, so I don’t even bother paying attention so much as cheering that my sites are up and functioning. When I contacted them today, they told me something about my sites being down because of memory usage… okay. I went through the whole process of investigating my usage through SSH/Shell, but to no avail. Nothing there seemed out of the ordinary and none of my scripts were using a huge amount of resources. Really, it was strange. It was a mess. I was truly beginning to think that I would never find the problem.

Finally, one last idea to restore an old Wordpress database from two days ago. I did and, luck of lucks, my blog started to work again.

It was so exhausting. So… so exhausting. I had a friend working on it with me and we’re both totally worn out from the experience. I am not at all convinced that what I did fixed the problem because I am not all that sure my usage was the problem. As I said, Dreamhost has a way of making up reasons for problems. My database has changed ZERO in the past two days. I think this is another case of a Dreamhost problem that they clear up on their own time. I could be wrong, but I don’t know…

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Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

10 Things I Want to do in 2009

  1. Get into Graduate school.
  2. Watch all of the movies on my to watch list.
  3. Read at least 50 books.
  4. Cut down on a few of the websites I own to save myself more time.
  5. Start working out. I’m not looking to lose weight so much as get healthier.
  6. Set writing goals and be able to complete them.
  7. Learn how to my hair a little less frizzy.
  8. Go to Jamestown in the summer.
  9. Get a driver’s license.
  10. Learn to knit and make a scarf.
  11. </o>

End of the net! Livejournal in trouble!

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

This news story broke early this morning: The Russian Bear Slashes a Social Network. Suffice to say, the internet, or at least the Livejournal community, is in a fresh tizzy. All across the board are absolutely apocalyptic cries of, “what am I going to do with my life if Livejournal disappears? I’ll be left with nothing… NOTHING.” Because, you know, there’s no such thing as the outside world or making real life friends. Without the internet, the world is nothing but an empty and pointless void.

What happened was this: A few months back, a Russian company called Sup bought Livejournal from SixApart, which was a veritable wankfest of its own. Unfortunately for Sup, they are making no money through their Livejournal venture. One would think that buying one of the most popular websites on the net would be lucrative, but it’s not. It’s so not. Ad revenue is not enough and Livejournal extended the sale of permanent accounts, but to no avail. The thing is, most Livejournal users are using the free service. After various dramas of the past like Strikethrough and Buyout, Livejournal has alienated a large portion of its users who remain part of LJ but contribute no money to it. I use Firefox with Ad Block, so I never even see ads and therefore provide no exposures or clickthroughs for ad buyers on Livejournal. It’s a big ball of complication and Sup isn’t doing too well with this. Economic hard times have forced them to lay off an ample number of US employees. OH NO. This means Livejournal will vanish one day! It’s the end of the internet and not even Anonymous can save it now.

Naturally, mature and predictable Livejournal users begin to comment on a totally unrelated Livejournal News post to get their riotous voices heard. I suppose it’s naive of me, but I am always taken aback by the immaturity level of some people. What the hell public business is if of the public how many employees a company fires? Even if the news states it, the company doesn’t have to release some super public statement of shame notifying the world that they had to let x number of people go for y reasons. Sure, a company has a responsibility to inform users of what is going on, but there’s no law that states they must. A user says, “I would also like to hear about the fact that 20 out of 28 employees have been laid off please.” You did. It’s all over the internet. You must have heard about it to know the stats and specifications. Nothing like redundancy to assure you the world is falling to pieces.

People are ignoring or perhaps just plain ignorant of the fact that there IS a press release. Livejournal says that to save money, they are shifting operations. Reasonable. A sign of the time. Yet some people just say absolutely stupid things. Livejournal is moving operations more heavily to their homebase and that’s the end of English at Livejournal forever? Are you that dumb? Do people think before they post illogical moronic nonsense?

Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing is one big sad mess for the people laid off. The economy is crap. All over, people are losing jobs and having a very hard time finding new ones. I have a college degree and I can’t find one to save my life– there’s literally so little out there that we’re all scrambling for the same crumbs. Mad dash. Blood will be drawn, oh yes.

Things come and go and this includes the internet. I mean, I thought the Bar None candy bar was the best thing in the world and it vanished. The world is cruel and merciless and will break our hearts, one at a time or in one collective motion.

What Livejournal does need to do: make a satisfactory public news statement to either warn members of pending disaster or assure them that collapse is not imminent. They ‘owe’ users that much, especially people who have paid over $150 for a paid permanent account. The press release wasn’t enough to satisfy concerns, obviously. Or maybe the release was too technical and vague for people who are gnawing fearfully at their bottom lip and wondering what will happen to the years of their life that has been devoted and documented on Livejournal. It’s not going to stop the incessant complaining and conspiracy theories that Sup is an evil facet of our doomed future otherwise known as Cold War Part II: Russian Conquers the Net. What more do you want? Twitter says it’s going to all all right.

How to Save the Memories (otherwise known as Saving Your Livejournal Posts)
Ljbook- Turn your entries into a .pdf file
Vox- Made by SixApart and has a function to transfer livejournal entries though, from what I hear, there is some difficulty with locked posts
How to move posts from Livejournal to Wordpress
Backing Up Your LJ: For Windows Users- A few methods for saving your entries
LjArchive- Sourcefrog hosted program for archiving Livejournal entries

A Note: If content is that important to you, host your own blog. I do. You can pay a company like Dreamhost a few dollars a month to host your own blog and control the content. Install Wordpress or Cutenews and back up frequently and you’re in business. Sure, you won’t get friends lists or communities or 100 icons, but you will get reliability and control of your own content. Furthermore, you can use plugins such as the LJ Crossposter to post automatically from your Wordpress blog every time you publish. That’s what I do. I have a free Livejournal account that mirrors this site’s content. It’s published there with a click of one button. In the end, I don’t have to worry what will become of my life should Livejournal tank because I have this here. Food for thought, baby.

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Manic Monday #149

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.

Do you have any idiosyncrasies or unusual quirks when it comes to food and/or eating?

My sister teases me mercilessly about the way that I eat. Apparently, I eat like a rabbit where I chew very fast. And, I always move my fork around my plate. I can’t sit there and eat with my hands still– I have to keep them moving, which means moving food around on my plate with my fork constantly. And, the one thing that they tease me the most for, I hate it when my food touches. This quirk of mine gives me enough opportunity to move my fork since I’m always arranging my food into tidy piles with enough space between them that nothing touches. It takes maintenance to keep things on the plate tidy.

Have you ever written love letters? If so, do you still have any of them?

HA! No. I’ve never written a single love letter. I was too shy growing up to consider doing such a thing. My self-esteem was crap. Now, there’s just no point. I don’t think Alfred would be all that thrilled with a love letter; doesn’t seem like his thing to want love letters and love notes.

How easy or difficult is it for you to say you’re sorry?

It depends on how sorry I am or how justified I feel in what happened. If I don’t think I should be sorry or I realize I should be sorry but felt what I did was justifiable, it is very hard for me to apologize. If I am truly and genuinely sorry, I don’t mind saying it. I also don’t mind saying it if I would prefer to dissolve the situation rather than escalate it or keep it up.

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Review: Battle Royale

Originally published at Morbid Romantic. You can comment here or there.


Title: Battle Royale
Author(s): Koushun Takami
Genre: Fiction - Dystopia
Tags: alternate universe, dictatorship, dystopia, fascism, japan, survival, violence
Finished: January 5, 2009
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review:

I’ve been eager to read this book for a while since I own both Battle Royale movies and I read the manga years ago. This book is as troubling as it is insightful– troubling because it shows you the truth depth of human desperation and troubling because it makes the reader enjoy it. This book isn’t full of thesaurus words or flowery, flowing descriptions. It’s simple and to the point, and every effective. The book shows us how people, normal people, can descend into madness. How many of us would be able to kill someone? I’m sure many people would say, “not I,” yet how do we know until we’re put in that position? Each character in the book experiences their own personal reaction to fear, violence and the threat of death, which could come at any moment. How each handles this situation is where the insight comes in. We come to see that fear is more complex than the word describes. Some justify killing with logic, however poor, some do it out of instinct, and some do it to protect others. This isn’t a book to pass over lightly because of its subject. I know that the thought of middle school students killing each other off on an island is sour, but Battle Royale is an excellent book about human nature and how humans exist in a world out of their control. There is hope, though! The main characters Shuya and Noriko fight a force far larger than themselves, which gives a glimmer of hope in the madness. Granted, there is no peaceful resolution at the end. The world as the characters know it does not crumble or end. It stays strong and in control, but the resistance of a few is only a minor shine to the possible resistance of many. Even in a world of chaos and death, there is loyalty and friendship.

- More can be found on my Library page1

- If you would like me to review your book, send an email to me at morbidromantic@gmail.com.2

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  1. All reviews are an expression of my own opinions and contains my own personal analysis. []
  2. I review honestly and can promise my review will reflect my true feelings towards a book, good or bad. []
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