tomf's recent activity

  1. Comment on What are you reading these days? in ~books

    tomf
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    Over the past few years Michael Connelly has sort of lost his edge with the Bosch series. He's splitting the books between Rachel Ballard and Bosch. They're fine -- but they're very much 'they did...

    Over the past few years Michael Connelly has sort of lost his edge with the Bosch series. He's splitting the books between Rachel Ballard and Bosch. They're fine -- but they're very much 'they did this, then that, then this.. and uh oh! danger!' -- the formula is a bit much. I like the other characters like Mickey Haller (The Lincoln Lawyer) and Jack McEvoy (a reporter) and will always read everything he puts out.

    I try to rotate between non-fiction (psychology, meditation, business stuff), essays, fiction, and an autobiography. If I don't, I end up burning out on a genre and never want to go back.

    Ultimately, I want a series that is a little pulpy, well written, several books in the series, a good narrator for the audiobooks, and, more than anything, not boring.

    In my hunt for a good, long series, I started with the following:

    • Robert Crais - The Monkey's Raincoat (Elvis Cole #1)
    • Lee Child - The Killing Floor (Jack Reacher #1)
    • Brad Parks - Faces of the Gone (Carter Ross #1)
    • T. Jefferson Parker - Laguna Heat
    • Lawrence Block - The Sins of the Father (Matthew Scudder #1)

    Elvis Cole is annoying. There are two parts to this series, Joe Pike being the second. I think Joe Pike's stories will be a little colder. My main issue is that Crais tries to hard to make Cole a wise-cracking neo-noir-like private detective. A lot of references to Hollywood are heavy handed and don't land well. Crais did find his rhythm in the second half. I'll read a few more from this series to see if it balanced out. The worst part about this book, and this is a general criticism of all books, is that they seem to meet up with some random woman and within minutes they're banging.

    The Jack Reacher book was pretty good, although a little far fetched at times. Reacher is a wanderer who magically finds himself in situations that allow him to flex his skills as a former Major in the military police (the book says that this role requires him to have all the skills and more of the top military folks. Whether this is true or not, I have no idea.) I have a feeling this will be another 'man shows up to town, meets woman, makes sweet love with woman, solves/fixes everything, leaves woman' series, but we'll see.

    Brad Parks' Faces of the Gone launches the Carter Ross series. Carter Ross isn't too far off from Connelly's McEvoy, which is music to my ears! The book is great, even though its a little predictable. A good, mostly light read. I'm looking forward to this series.

    T. Jefferson Parker's Laguna Beach was good. Its a standalone novel, however. Major beef: Again, another random sexual encounter with a woman.. but this time they were banging in the ocean while treading water. Lucky he was able to get his foot on a rock... then the second they finish the woman says something along the lines of, 'this is a one time thing. later.' --- its a bit much and these stories can easily go without this sort of stuff.

    Lastly, Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder is great! He's a retired cop who is working as an unlicensed private detective. He's given 'gifts' of cash instead of strict payment. He's grizzled without being cliche. The tone of the books is dark but not heavy, which is a good balance. This is another series I'm looking forward to sticking with. Scudder is great. So far he isn't hooking up with random women. He seems to have an escort he meets up with -- which seems like a GFE. If the protagonist has to have sex with someone, at least let there be some sort of existing relationship or a way to justify the suddenness of the exchange.

    One thing I like about Connelly's writing is that his heroes don't hook up with strangers. It always feels so forced when authors write this in --- as if some publisher is saying, 'but what about the lonely housewives?' Its corny.

    if anybody has some suggestions that are similar to the good ones here, let me know! I'll read anything once. :)

    24 hours later...

    The first Pike book is great! Crais found the right tone for Cole in this one. Almost like Daniel Dreiberg / Nite Owl II from Watchmen --- a slightly dorky sense of humor without being too much. I hope he maintains this level with the other books.

    2 votes
  2. Comment on Recommend me a podcast app for android in ~tech

    tomf
    Link Parent
    yeah, totally -- but its a great acquisition for them. :)

    yeah, totally -- but its a great acquisition for them. :)

    1 vote
  3. Comment on Recommend me a podcast app for android in ~tech

    tomf
    Link Parent
    I had no idea! WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life --- that's awesome.

    I had no idea! WNYC, NPR, WBEZ and This American Life --- that's awesome.

    3 votes
  4. Comment on Does anyone else feel like they don’t know how to talk to people anymore? in ~talk

    tomf
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    I went to a birthday thing at the beach a few weeks ago. We had a fire and all that and it was great -- but everybody was rusty at first. Typical conversation Person1: What have you been up to?...

    I went to a birthday thing at the beach a few weeks ago. We had a fire and all that and it was great -- but everybody was rusty at first.

    Typical conversation

    Person1: What have you been up to?
    Person2: Nothing
    Person1: Me neither. Nothing is new.

    After the initial stuff was covered everybody slowly got back into the rhythm and the evening was fantastic. I'm not the type of person who ever asks how work or anything is going. If I know a mutual interest, I start with that and build.

    Everybody is going to be rusty, though and you'll definitely get back into the swing of things after some initial awkwardness. Its just another muscle that needs to be worked again.

    3 votes
  5. Comment on How do you actually meditate? in ~talk

    tomf
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    I do a super relaxed form of mindfulness / visp every day for anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. I focus on the breath (roughly 4-7-8) and that's about it. Got an itch? Acknowledge it,...

    I do a super relaxed form of mindfulness / visp every day for anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

    I focus on the breath (roughly 4-7-8) and that's about it. Got an itch? Acknowledge it, scratch it, come back to the breath. These days I don't really leave the 'state' to scratch or adjust my position or posture.

    All in all, I keep it easy and don't get caught up in mantras or anything. Above all, comfortable breath and an overall focusing on recentering, if that makes any sense.

    I tried more formal techniques, but I just couldn't get into them. I'll often do a subtle version of this breathing throughout the day -- waiting in line at the store, driving, whenever.

    tldr; in the nose for seven counts (your definition), hold for four, exhale with a whoooooosh for eight. If you're in public, skip the whoooooosh and exhale normally.

    3 votes
  6. Comment on Amazon is acquiring MGM for $8.45 billion in ~movies

    tomf
    Link Parent
    yup! This looks like a decent list of what they have on HBO Max.

    yup! This looks like a decent list of what they have on HBO Max.

    2 votes
  7. Comment on Amazon is acquiring MGM for $8.45 billion in ~movies

    tomf
    Link Parent
    yeah -- its all such a mess. That being said, another service should have them -- a lot of them are public domain, I believe.

    yeah -- its all such a mess. That being said, another service should have them -- a lot of them are public domain, I believe.

    2 votes
  8. Comment on Have you ever met a psychopath? in ~talk

    tomf
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    For anyone interested in this sort of thing who can also handle disturbing stories, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare is great. Hare developed...

    For anyone interested in this sort of thing who can also handle disturbing stories, Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare is great. Hare developed the psychopathy test. Another good read is The Psychopath Test from Jon Ronson -- which relates to the first, but you don't need either to understand the other.

    2 votes
  9. Comment on Amazon is acquiring MGM for $8.45 billion in ~movies

    tomf
    Link Parent
    Not sure if all of those are coming across, actually. source Some of the older films mentioned in the article (12 Angry Men) were UA.

    Not sure if all of those are coming across, actually.

    The pre-May 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer catalogue is owned by Turner Entertainment Co., a division of WarnerMedia, with distribution handled by sister company Warner Bros.

    source

    Some of the older films mentioned in the article (12 Angry Men) were UA.

    3 votes
  10. Comment on How to build a quick and dirty subtitle player in ~comp

    tomf
    Link Parent
    thanks! I was using this Penguin one, but it would run out of sync by upwards of 10s every fifteen or twenty minutes. :)

    thanks! I was using this Penguin one, but it would run out of sync by upwards of 10s every fifteen or twenty minutes. :)

    1 vote
  11. Comment on Listen to old podcasts on a modern release schedule in ~tech

    tomf
    Link Parent
    they really are. One guy helped me find Courier of Death simply by saying that the lead guy was a nerd and the bad guys had matching sweatsuits.

    they really are. One guy helped me find Courier of Death simply by saying that the lead guy was a nerd and the bad guys had matching sweatsuits.

    3 votes
  12. How to build a quick and dirty subtitle player

    On my desk I have two screens -- one off to the side for movies, TV, etc and my main in front. Sometimes I find myself wanting subtitles on my main screen. The main issue I've found, at least with...

    On my desk I have two screens -- one off to the side for movies, TV, etc and my main in front. Sometimes I find myself wanting subtitles on my main screen. The main issue I've found, at least with macOS, is that the SRT players suck.

    I figured, why not just generate a tiny black video with embedded subtitles?

    ffmpeg -i subs.srt -t 3:00:00 -s 40x10 -f rawvideo -pix_fmt rgb24 -r 25 -i /dev/zero subs.mpeg
    

    Set the ratio to be super small without being too small. This video is 40px by 10px and the video only takes a few seconds to generate. For me, this generated at ~850x speed.

    From there, jack up the subtitle font size and shift it up a little bit so nothing gets cut off. This also works really well with tiling window managers.

    Screenshot

    11 votes
  13. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    tomf
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    Heads up for the Marvel fans --- M.O.D.O.K is out... and it looks amazing.

    Heads up for the Marvel fans --- M.O.D.O.K is out... and it looks amazing.

    2 votes
  14. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    tomf
    Link Parent
    yeah, you could add most bad things after blatant. The Jerky Boys are one of the many things from the 90s I will most likely never revisit. Breeders is also on FX. I haven't watched it, but it...

    yeah, you could add most bad things after blatant. The Jerky Boys are one of the many things from the 90s I will most likely never revisit.

    Breeders is also on FX. I haven't watched it, but it looks like it might be alright... though, a bit stressful with all of the kid noise.

    1 vote
  15. Comment on The Freenode resignation FAQ in ~tech

  16. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    tomf
    Link Parent
    oh my god --- The Jerky Boys were AMAZING. The 90s had a lot of gems. Rescue Me has some scenes that are really amazing --- like, really well thought-out concepts. You'll know them when you see...

    oh my god --- The Jerky Boys were AMAZING. The 90s had a lot of gems.

    Rescue Me has some scenes that are really amazing --- like, really well thought-out concepts. You'll know them when you see them. :)

    1 vote
  17. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    tomf
    Link Parent
    haha.. a bit he stole from Louis CK! :)

    haha.. a bit he stole from Louis CK! :)

    1 vote
  18. Comment on TV Tuesdays Free Talk in ~tv

    tomf
    Link Parent
    no problemo. I really liked Rescue Me, even though Denis Leary is a total asshole. It works well for his character. The Shield is very much of its time... rap rock and all. :)

    no problemo. I really liked Rescue Me, even though Denis Leary is a total asshole. It works well for his character.

    The Shield is very much of its time... rap rock and all. :)

    2 votes
  19. Comment on The Freenode resignation FAQ in ~tech

    tomf
    Link Parent
    I'm just under 11 years on my current account. I love IRC and I'll be there until it absolutely dies. You should definitely pass off the archiving duties, though. Anyone with a bouncer can do it...

    I'm just under 11 years on my current account. I love IRC and I'll be there until it absolutely dies.

    You should definitely pass off the archiving duties, though. Anyone with a bouncer can do it just as well. I used to end up being an op in every channel I joined, but now I only op about two or three. Its nice to just chat and not have a job. :)

    6 votes
  20. Comment on The Freenode resignation FAQ in ~tech

    tomf
    Link Parent
    the whole thing is crazy. Here's Fuchs' resignation. It isn't open yet, but it looks like there will be a push to move to irc.libera.chat.

    the whole thing is crazy. Here's Fuchs' resignation.

    It isn't open yet, but it looks like there will be a push to move to irc.libera.chat.

    3 votes