Fun with Kobo, Calibre, and Discworld

Following up on my previous post: I decided to fool around a bit again today with Calibre and the Discworld books from Kobo. This time, I installed Adobe Digital Editions, “downloaded” the books from the Kobo web site, brought them into ADE, then from there into Calibre. That actually worked. So I now have 39 Discworld books as DRM-free EPUB files that I can (hopefully) read on my Kindle. (I only loaded one of them to the Kindle, and it worked, so presumably the rest would too.)

I also decided to try loading some DRM’d books I’ve gotten from The University of Chicago Press into ADE and them Calibre. That worked too. Previously, for those, I’ve followed the instructions from UChicago, which was to download them directly to the Bluefire Reader app on my iPad. (That app is tied into Adobe’s DRM system.) I’ve discovered that I can take the files from Bluefire, save them to OneDrive, then strip the DRM with Calibre. So that’s cool, and it means I can finally read those books on my Kindle. (I have about a dozen unread books from them. Maybe this will actually get me to read some of them. Or not… I have over 600 books in my TBR pile on Goodreads right now.)

And, since this has gotten me thinking about e-readers and tablets and stuff, I decided to finally trade in my old 2015 Fire tablet. It only cost me $35 when I bought it, and it no longer powers on, but Amazon gave me $5 for it, plus 20% off a new Fire tablet. (That’s assuming they accept it. I guess they could reject it, but I already told them it doesn’t power on or hold a charge, so it should be fine.)

I don’t really intend on using that 20% off on a new Fire tablet, but I poked around a bit, just to see what they have. The Amazon Fire HD 8 Plus is on sale right now for $75. So I’d get another $15 off, bringing it down to $60. That’s not bad. Of course, I have no particular need for a Fire tablet, so I need to remember that.

I’m still kind of curious about picking up a Kobo Libre 2 maybe, but of course I don’t need that either. Still, e-readers and small tablets are a lot cheaper than, say, the Apple Vision Pro, so if I’m going to get tempted into buying gadgets I don’t need, I’m better off with e-readers and cheap tablets, right?

Discworld bundle

A few days ago, I noticed that Humble has a Terry Pratchett Discworld bundle up right now. Thirty-nine books for $18. I love the Discworld books, but have only read 3 or 4 of them. So I was ready to jump on it, and get (nearly) all of them, but then I saw that the books aren’t DRM-free, as they usually are with Humble. Instead, they’re redeemable through Kobo.com. I don’t have a Kobo, and have never really delved into the Kobo ecosystem, so my first though was “oh well, not for me.” And I should have left it there, but I’m a weirdo nerd, so I started looking into what I could do with Kobo books.

It turns out that you can download them, strip the DRM, and pull them into your Kindle library, so that got me interested. I decided to play around a bit. I installed the DeDRM plugins into my Calibre install on my PC, registered a Kobo account, and started reading up on things. I decided that it was doable, and $18 wasn’t that much anyway, so I went ahead and bought the bundle.

The simpler method of stripping the DRM didn’t work for me. That involves using a plugin called Obok, which should be able to pull the files from the Kobo desktop software, strip the DRM, and import them into Calibre.

There’s a more complicated method that involves transferring the books from Kobo into Adobe Digital Editions, and then stripping the DRM from there. I haven’t tried that yet. It would definitely be time-consuming to do it for all 39 books in the bundle. Maybe I’ll try it on just one and see how it goes.

Meanwhile, this has gotten me curious about the Kobo e-ink devices. The Kobo Libra 2 is interesting. There’s no particular reason why I can’t buy one and have both a Kindle and a Kobo. Except that I don’t really need yet another software platform/ecosystem in my life.

Sigh. For now, I’m just going to leave the Discworld books in my Kobo library. I’m plenty busy with the Wheel of Time books right now anyway. I’m not sure when I thought I’d have time to read 39 Discworld books…

New Year’s Day 2024

Well, here it is: my traditional New Year’s Day blog post. I first wrote one of these in 2008, and have been writing them on and off since then. Here’s a link to last year’s post, and just for fun, here’s a link to the post from ten years ago (2014).

I don’t have a lot of energy today, so this may be less organized and comprehensive than some of my previous posts. When I think back on the last year, I really feel like I’ve barely stumbled through it. I took no real vacation last year. And I didn’t go into NYC at all. I did get out to see a couple of movies in a theater (Across the Spider-Verse and Elemental). Both were reasonably good, but I got sick after both of them. If there’s a theme for 2023, for me, it’s “every time I go out, I get sick.” And, of course, this was the year I finally actually got COVID. And, to complicate things further, at work, we switched from 2 days in-office per week to three days, in September. I’ve been having a little trouble with that.

Health

In terms of all this health stuff, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do in 2024. I guess I’m just going to continue being careful about going out, and stumbling through as best as I can.

In terms of other general health stuff: my weight right now is just under 160. I started the year at 150, so I’ve once again put on almost 10 pounds in a year. I’m still not too worried about that, since a few people have told me recently that I look healthier than I did when I was in the 130’s, so maybe the 150’s are where I need to be. Regardless, I really do want to draw the line at 160. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to do that or not, but I’m going to try.

I’ve been doing pretty good with exercise. I’m still using my Apple Watch to track everything, and I’m still getting a lot of walking done. (In fact, I just ordered new shoes and insoles, since the ones I’m wearing are getting a bit worn out.) My move goal is currently at 540, and I generally meet that goal, if I’m not feeling sick.

Work

There have been a lot of changes at work over the past year, and I think there will be a lot more in 2024. My long-time boss retired at the end of 2023, and I’m now under a new guy. He’s new to the company, so I don’t have any previous relationship with him at all or really know anything about him. So that’s a big unknown for 2024. (Most of IT management right now is new guys, brought in from outside, so there’s a lot of uncertainty there for the folks like me who have been around a long time.)

And I got moved back out of management myself in 2023. I’d had three CRM programmers under me for a fairly short period of time, from Nov 2022 to July 2023. But they decided to consolidate things, so there would be fewer managers with more direct reports. So I didn’t do anything wrong, or get demoted. It was just a reshuffle, and I’m fine with it.

In theory, we should start working on our migration from on-prem Dynamics AX to the cloud-based Dynamics 365 this year. That’s anticipated to be a three-year project. And I’m not sure how involved we’ll be with that (vs. how much is going to be outsourced). So all I can do at work is do my best with what I’m assigned, try to build up a good reputation with the new guy, and see where it takes me.

Finance

There’s a lot I could say about finance right now, but I’m going to hold off on that. I did fine in 2023. I’m starting to look ahead to retirement, in around 10 years. I may write up another post, later, about subscription services, and other stuff I’m spending money on, but I don’t want to do that now.

Fun

I often put a section in these posts with links to my Goodreads and Letterboxd “year in review” pages, and stuff like that. I don’t really want to do that now, since it’s getting a little late, and I don’t have the energy. I will say that my big reading accomplishment in 2023 was starting the Wheel of Time series, and getting through the first five books. I blogged about that a few days ago.

For the rest of the day today, I want to read a couple of chapters in Lord of Chaos, and maybe watch a movie or two. And I may need a nap at some point. Then back to work tomorrow.

Lord of Chaos – getting back into the Wheel of Time books

I took a break from reading Wheel of Time books after finishing The Fires of Heaven in November. But I’m ready to dive back in now, I think. I made it through the first five books last year. I figure I can make it through the next five in 2024. Or maybe even finish out the series, though that may be a little too ambitious.

The next book up is Lord of Chaos, which is either the longest book in the series, or the second longest, depending on who you believe. This page seems to show LoC as slightly longer than The Shadow Rising, which other articles say is the longest. I may have gone down a “pointless analysis of WoT books” rabbit hole just now… Here’s a reddit post with some discussion of word counts, and a reddit page with links to a bunch of other weird little bits of analysis. Do you want a stacked bar chart analyzing Nynaeve’s braid tugging habit? It’s out there!

Anyway, what was I really going to talk about here? Oh yeah, so I have the book downloaded to my Kindle and ready to read. And I checked the audiobook out from my local library, and have that on my iPhone. I don’t know if I’m really going to listen to it at all, but maybe I can make it through the book faster if I switch back and forth between the ebook and audiobook. (Of course, that would be easier to do if I just paid the $7.50 for the Audible narration option from Amazon, but I’ll see how far I get with the library copy before shelling out for that.)

I also downloaded a handful of the Tor articles about the book to Instapaper. I had been reading all of those recap articles, for the first few books, but I gave up on it at some point, since I didn’t feel like I really needed to, and I didn’t want to slow myself down. But I want to try getting back into them again, at least at the start of this book.

(I mentioned in another post recently that the price of Instapaper Premium is doubling soon, so I spent a little time looking at alternatives. But I think I’m going to stick with Instapaper for now. I may be writing a blog post about that, and some related topics soon. Or not, depending on time.)

Windows 11, and more audio stuff

I feel like I’m blogging too much lately, but I also feel like I have a lot of stuff rattling around in my head, and I need to get it out.

I’ve mentioned in a recent post that we’re in the middle of a company-wide Windows 11 upgrade at work. They finally got around to pushing it out to my desktop on Wednesday and my laptop on Thursday. The desktop upgrade broke networking, which was a bit of an issue. I won’t get into the details, but I had to unplug the PC and walk it over to our help desk so they could get it working again. That cost me a couple of hours, between the upgrade and all the troubleshooting and back and forth.

The laptop upgrade was easier. I had a similar networking issue, but I knew how to fix it now, and could do that myself, in that instance. Also, I could continue working on the desktop while the laptop was updating itself. (With the desktop, I hadn’t brought in the laptop that day, so I was stuck fooling around on my phone while the upgrade was running, and while I was waiting on the help desk…)

Windows 11 hasn’t broken any of the tools I rely on for work. It’s made one or two things slightly harder to do. I don’t think it’s made anything easier. (I’ve probably said this before, but my criteria for OS upgrade success these days isn’t “does it make things better?” but rather “does it break anything important?” and “how much more of a pain is it vs. the old version?”)

I’ve been toying with the idea of upgrading my home desktop PC to Windows 11, despite the fact that it’s not really supported. (The CPU is too old.) I set a registry value that is supposed to bypass the CPU check. But that still wouldn’t allow me to run the installation assistant. So, then, I made a bootable installer on a USB stick, but that won’t let me upgrade, just do a clean install. So, anyway, that was all a waste of time.

Back on the audio stuff: There were three football games airing exclusively on the NFL Network yesterday, and I wanted to watch them. (Maybe not all of them, but I wanted to kill a little time with football playing in the background.) My NFL+ subscription lets me do that, but I couldn’t get the audio working in the NFL app on my Apple TV. This is one of those things that should just be a minor irritation, but I was in enough of a mood when this happened that I got really frustrated with it. I actually could get sound, weirdly, if I switched from my TV speakers to AirPlay output to my Sonos speakers. (I’m using a Sonos soundbar as my TV speaker anyway, but I have it directly hooked up to the TV, so the Apple TV isn’t normally aware that it’s even using the Sonos.) I’m definitely not the only person to have this issue with the NFL app. I’ve found references to it on Reddit and the Apple forums. And the NFL+ site has an article about troubleshooting audio problems, but it’s typically generic and useless.

The frustration was mostly around how complex something as simple as watching TV has gotten… It used to be that you could just turn on your TV, and, you know, watch a football game. Now I have to turn on the TV, switch the HDMI input to the Apple TV, turn on the Apple TV, launch the app, watch it lock up, force quit the app, relaunch the app, wait for it to load, find the right button to press to get into the right feed… Yeah, I know I’m an old man. I should be happy I have so many options for quality entertainment.

And a little more on my new Beats Studio Pro headphones: I found a good video review of them from MKBHD. And I used them last night to watch 65 on Netflix. “Loud dinosaur movie” was a good choice for checking them out. They worked well for that, and successfully drowned out the Christmas music outside.

I’ve been awake today since 5:30 AM. It’s almost noon now. I haven’t done much useful, but I made myself a nice breakfast, went for two walks, listened to some music, read some comics, and had a croissant for a snack, so life is good, I guess.

Beats Studio Pro

As mentioned in my previous post, I ordered a pair of Beats Studio Pros from Costco yesterday, and they arrived today. Setup was simple. They’re definitely more comfortable to wear than my Solo Pro headphones, so that’s nice. The sound quality is probably better too, though I haven’t spent any time comparing them. I listened to a bit of Mammoth WVH II, and it sounded pretty good.

The one weird/annoying thing is that they don’t automatically turn off when you fold them up, like the Solo Pros. You actually have to press the power button to turn them off and on. It’s funny — I’ve gotten so used to my AirPods turning off when I put them in the case, and the Solo Pros turning off when I fold them up, that having to actually use a power button seems weird.

An interesting feature that I haven’t tried yet is that you can use them wired, either with a USB-C cable or an old-fashioned 3.5 mm cable. At some point, I may try the USB-C audio with my MacBook, just to see how that works. And maybe I’ll try the 3.5 mm cable with my old stereo receiver, and see how they sound as “traditional” headphones.

Speaking of USB-C, these charge via USB-C rather than Lightning. I guess that’s OK, but it a little inconvenient for me, since all of my other Apple devices charge via Lightning, except for my MacBook Air. So, to charge these, the easiest thing for me to do will be to unplug the cable from my MacBook and plug it into the headphones. I guess, eventually, all the Apple stuff will use USB-C, but for now, it’s a little annoying to have to deal with both connectors.

They’re playing Christmas music outside again today, so I’ll probably try them with the Apple TV later, and watch a movie, so I can find out how well they work with that.

audio stuff (mostly)

In my last post, I made mention of an audio issue with my home desktop PC. It was bugging me again, so I decided to take a stab at solving it, and I think I have. (At least for now.) My old speakers where hand-me-downs from my brother, and were at least 20 years old. I remembered that I also had a pair of speakers from my Dad’s old computer. Those are at least ten years old, but they’re probably a little newer than the other speakers. They’re also taller than the other speakers, so I can’t put them on my desk surface like those, since they don’t fit under the hutch. So I put them on the hutch, behind the monitor. (There isn’t enough room to put them on either side of the monitor, so they have to sit mostly behind it.) That’s not perfect, but it works, and I’m not getting any interference now. I’m not sure if that’s because the speakers are better shielded, or just because they’re a little further from the router, but I’ll take it.

The old speakers came with a subwoofer that I kept under my desk, and that really improved the overall sound. These speakers are just a basic stereo pair, but they’re pretty good. And I don’t really need great sound quality at my PC. It just needs to be good enough for some background music while I’m working.

On a semi-related topic, I ordered a pair of Beats Studio Pro from Costco last night. They’re on sale for almost 50% off at a bunch of places right now, so I decided that $180 was a reasonable price to play for a set of headphones that will get some use, but probably not as much as my AirPod Pros, which I use nearly every day.

I bought a set of Beats Solo Pro headphones in 2021, and I only use them occasionally. The Studio Pros should be, hopefully, a noticeable improvement on the Solo Pros. I feel a little bad about buying these, when the Solo Pros aren’t quite three years old yet, but hey, at least I’m (still) not buying the $550 AirPods Max.

So I now have my old AirPods (bought in 2019), the Solo Pros (2021), and those 20+ year-old PC speakers to get rid of. I guess I should just recycle the old PC speakers. They’re probably still fine, if you’re using them in an environment without any wifi interference, but I’m not likely to find anyone looking to buy them. And the AirPods and Beats both still work (and hold a charge, though probably not as good as they were when new). I’m not sure if I want to go through the hassle of selling them on eBay though. Maybe I should see if Goodwill accepts old headphones. I know a lot of people don’t like the idea of used AirPods, but if you clean them up a bit, they should be fine.

We’re having some kind of Christmas Jubilee here in Somerville tonight, and they’re already playing Christmas music outside. I just looked at the schedule, and it looks like it’ll be going on until 9:30 PM. And I’m guessing the noise level will get louder once the main part of the event starts up. So I guess it’s going to be another night of drowning out Christmas music with Monarch: Legacy of Monsters and other loud TV shows. (Maybe the new season of Reacher? That’s loud, right?)

I’ve found one new Christmas album that I really like this year: The Frostbound Wood: Music for Christmas by Peter Warlock. (It’s not really new, of course, just new to me.) It’s nice and calm.

progress? (maybe a little.)

I thought I’d post a follow-up to yesterday’s post, with a few little items.

  • I did manage to send my Christmas cards out yesterday. I only sent out seven cards. And, two seconds after dropping them all in the mailbox, I realized that I hadn’t put return address labels on any of them. Oh well. My handwriting is atrocious, so they may or may not make it to their intended recipients. And, if they don’t, they won’t make it back to me. But, eh, I did my best.
  • I did get that email from our “talent team” confirming that the guy I assumed was going to be my new boss is, indeed, going to be my new boss. Also, there is no change in my title or salary. So that’s (probably) good. (Certainly better than getting laid off or demoted or something…) That reminds me that I never did find out if I got a raise after my year-end review. My old boss was supposed to let me know, but never did. So I guess that’s another thing I’ll have to figure out at some point.
  • Still no clue when my work machines are going to get upgraded to Windows 11. Theoretically, that should happen at some point this week, and I’d like to get it over with, but I guess I still have to wait.
  • I still want to write a new blog post about subscription prices. In addition to the aforementioned Instapaper price doubling, I got an email reminder today that my Evernote subscription is going to renew in January, at the new rate of $130/year. (The old rate was $70/year.) I knew that was going to happen, but hadn’t been thinking about it lately. I’m going to let it renew, since I couldn’t convince myself to switch to Obsidian, back when I was experimenting with it over the summer.

And one thing that’s unrelated to anything from yesterday’s post: Ever since I got a fancy new router last year, I’ve been having an intermittent problem with noise coming through my PC’s speakers. I have the router on my desk in between the speakers, so it’s not that big a surprise that this would happen, but it’s never been a problem with any of my previous routers.

I’ve read a few articles about ways to fix this. The obvious thing would be to move the router away from the speakers, but that’s easier said than done, given the constraints I’m working with. There’s really no other place to put the router. I’ve seen conflicting opinions about whether or not putting ferrite core(s) on the speaker wire(s) would help. And I found one suggestion that wrapping the speakers in aluminum foil could help. (I’m not trying that. But I’m tempted…)

My speakers are pretty old. I got them from my brother Pat, and he passed away in 2004, so they’re at least twenty years old. So maybe I just need new, better shielded, speakers. But trying to get info on which speakers are well-shielded and which aren’t is a little tough. One other thought I had was to switch from a pair of speakers to a single soundbar. If I did that, I could put the soundbar right under my monitor, and that way, I wouldn’t have a cable running right past the router. But the speaker would then be right above the router, so maybe that’s not any better… I don’t know.

The noise comes and goes, and it’s usually not noticeable if I play music through the speakers. For some reason, it was really bothering me today though. That might just be because I was unusually twitchy today. I’m also wondering if I should wait on this until I get a new PC. (Assuming I do get a new PC… that’s another thing I’m dithering about…)

stumbling through the holiday season

We’re almost at mid-December, and I’m really stumbling through the holiday season this year. I got a bit sick last week, and had some trouble making it through the work week. I worked from home on Wednesday, but then decided to go into the office on Thursday, and I think that was a bad idea, because it left me really drained on Friday, enough that I had to take a half-day. My intention for Friday afternoon was to fall asleep on the sofa, but, of course, they started playing Christmas music outside at noon, and that made it impossible for me to fall asleep. Instead, I watched the latest episode of Monarch: Legacy of Monsters on Apple TV+ and several episodes of Godzilla Singular Point on Netflix. Nothing drowns out Christmas music quite like Godzilla!

The Christmas music thing this year has been a pain, but it could be worse. They’re only playing it on certain days. I guess it’s just when there’s some kind of Christmas thing happening on Main Street. And it’s generally just been noon to 6 PM. (And no one has screwed up the timer this year, so there haven’t been any surprise midnight Christmas music incidents. Yet.) But it’s been noticeably louder this year. Hence the necessity for Godzilla shows to drown it out.

I think I’m now over whatever it was I had last week. I was still pretty bad yesterday, but I have a lot of energy today, so far, for some reason. I just came back from a 30 minute walk, after getting zero exercise Friday and Saturday. (The reason I have so much energy this morning might have something to do with the fire alarm we had at 6:45 AM. Nothing gets the blood pumping like having to throw on your clothes and run outside early on a Sunday morning!)

This coming week is going to be interesting, I think. My boss at work is retiring at the end of the year, and there’s a lot of uncertainly about what’s going to happen to my group next year. I got an email late Friday from the guy I assume I’m going to report to. The email was a heads-up that the transitions that would have happened in January have been moved up, so I should expect an email from our “talent team” next week with my new assignment info. He didn’t come out and say exactly who I’d be reporting to, but I guess it’s either going to be him or somebody under him. He works out of our Austin office, but will be in NJ next week, and I have a one-on-one meeting scheduled with him. So I think I’m going to need to stay healthy next week, and make it into the office on all the days I’m expected to be in, so I can get some “face time” with the new guy.

Meanwhile, I haven’t sent out Christmas cards this year, and I’m not sure if I’m going to. It’ll be the first time in a while (or maybe the first time in my adult life) that I haven’t. If I can work up some Christmas spirit this afternoon, maybe I’ll do it. I only really want to sent out a half-dozen or so, so it shouldn’t be too hard to manage.

One other work thing: We’re supposed to be doing a company-wide Windows 11 upgrade this month. They’re sending out weekly status emails, and apparently we’re 90% done. But I have a Windows 10 laptop, desktop, and VM, and I haven’t seen any sign of the update getting pushed down to any of them yet. And there’s no way to “force it” on my own. So, on top of all of my other anxieties, I’m also worried that they’re going to push out the update to me at the worst possible time, and it’s going to fail and screw up one of my machines or something. Oh well.

I have a bunch of other stuff I want to blog about, including:

  • my efforts to figure out if I can upgrade my personal desktop PC to Windows 11, despite it being unsupported, and whether or not that’s a good idea.
  • some notes about shopping around for a new Windows 11 PC.  (And thinking about a Mac Mini instead.)
  • my mixed feelings about the three new David Tennant Doctor Who specials.
  • my thoughts about starting a reread of Jaime Hernandez’s earliest Love & Rockets stories, in Maggie the Mechanic.
  • Instapaper doubling their price to $60 per year, and getting me to rethink read-it-later services.
  • more thoughts about the Godzilla shows mentioned above.

That’s all going to have to wait though. This post was probably useless to everyone but me, but felt necessary, just to clear my head today.

Bah, humbug

It’s the last day of the four-day Thanksgiving weekend, and I’m having mixed feelings about things. I realized today that this is my longest stretch of time off from work this year, except for my five days off with COVID, and that definitely doesn’t count as a vacation. And I haven’t done much with the time.

It’s been a mostly relaxing four days. I had a bit of a wobble yesterday, when they started playing Christmas music here in Somerville, too loud, and I started getting the shakes. I’m half-kidding about that, but the multiple “Christmas music playing all night” incidents here on Main Street have definitely scarred me a bit. So any holiday spirit that had started percolating up in me was quickly tamped down.

I’ve read some actual, printed, standard size, physical comics this weekend. I haven’t touched my “to be read” comics box in quite a while. From my notes, it looks like I might not have read any “real” comics since… Halloween 2021? (That can’t be right.) Well, either way, it’s been a while. (I’ve read some digital comics this year and last year, and some physical graphic novels, though.)

I read all twelve issues of Brian Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes run earlier in the weekend. I’d been looking forward to that. It was… OK. I was disappointed with certain aspects of it, and found it overall a bit frustrating, but there were some fun bits. I guess that, if I want to read Legion comics like the ones I read when I was a kid, I should just go back and re-read those.

Today, I read the first six issues of Warren Ellis’ The Batman’s Grave series. I’ve always really liked Ellis, but I haven’t read anything by him since mid-2020, when all the… unpleasantness came to light. At that time, I’d already bought about half the series, and was pretty much committed to buying the rest of it. I don’t think he’s done any comics work since this, so this might be his last long-form comics work? It’s pretty good, honestly. I’m a big Batman fan, but sometimes I get tired of of the character. I don’t think I’ve read any Batman books since this one, around two years ago. (And I notice I mentioned “Batman fatigue” in my review on that one, so I’ve really been cutting back on the Batman stuff, apparently.) Anyway, I’m finding this series a lot more satisfying than the previously-mentioned Legion series. It’s a lot of fun, with some nice banter between Bruce and Alfred, and some great art from Bryan Hitch.

I just googled Bryan Hitch to see if I was spelling his name right, and found out that he’s one of the founders of Ghost Machine, a new comics company that I was vaguely aware of, but hadn’t paid any attention to. It looks interesting, but of course the last thing I need is more comics!

The search also turned up some news about the recent casting of the actor who is going to play The Engineer in the next Superman movie. Again, I was kind of vaguely aware of this, but hadn’t given it any thought. I’d forgotten that The Engineer was created by Ellis and Hitch. I imagine the movie folks will want to play down Ellis’ role there. I can’t say I’m too excited about the movie, but maybe it’ll be interesting. It’s been hard for me to work up any enthusiasm for DC-related movies lately.

And, as usual, that search got me off track from whatever it was I was meant to be writing about here. I think I was going to mention that I had drowned out the Christmas music yesterday by watching Netflix’s Bodies mini-series. I was going to mention that it’s based on a comic that looks interesting, and that I’ve added to my Amazon wish list. I noticed that the comic isn’t available digitally, which is kind of unusual. I have no clue why that is, but I may give in and buy a physical copy at some point.

I’ve noticed that reading comics this weekend has caused me to add a bunch of other comics to my wishlist, and has also moved me to buy a handful, via Amazon/Comixology. Some of that is from books related to the ones I’m reading, and some is from seeing stuff in house ads in the comics, and thinking “oh yeah, I wanted to buy that.” I think the problem here is that I went (mostly) cold turkey on new comics in mid-2020 or so, and that’s when these books I’m reading came out. (And Amazon has some big sales going on this weekend, so I can get stuff cheap.) The Legion books led me to Future State: Superman, which was on sale for $3. The whole Future State thing is one of the reasons I stopped buying comics. I wasn’t opposed to it, per se, but it made for a good jumping off point. But for $3 for a 400+ page book, why not give it a try? I also bought N.K. Jemisin’s Far Sector collection for only $2. I’d actually wanted to pick that up, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. I saw a house ad in one of the comics I read today, so that reminded me, and got me to check the price on Amazon. I also bought a few more books that were on sale for $2 or $3. I don’t feel too bad about any of that, since I’ve bought so few comics this year. Still, my Comixology “to be read” list has 239 items on it right now…

It’s 1:30 PM right now, and I don’t hear any Christmas music outside, so I might be lucky, and yesterday’s music was just a one-time thing  for Small Business Saturday, and not a daily thing that I’m going to have to put up with until December 25.