I Won An Award!

liebster21

Sandi, at What Oft Was Thought, gave me a Liebster award for Christmas! (Okay, I don’t know if it was for Christmas, but anyway…) Thank you, Sandi! I will cherish it always!

Here are the instructions:

  1. Acknowledge and accept the Liebster Award by leaving a comment on the blog where you were nominated.
  2. Copy the Liebster logo and paste it onto your own blog.
  3. Inform your nominees by leaving a comment on their respective blogs.
  4. In your blog post about the Liebster Award:
    • Link back to the blogger who nominated you.
    • Answer the 11 questions put to you by the person who nominated you.
    • List 11 random facts about yourself.
    • Nominate, and link to, three–11 other blogs which you enjoy and which have fewer than 3,000 followers.
    • List 11 questions for your nominees.

Here are Sandi’s questions to me, and my answers:

  1. What is your ideal vacation? This is a hard one to answer, largely because, since going on disability, life is like a vacation, albeit one where I’m worried about money all the time… Seriously, I traveled on business for years, so going somewhere really doesn’t appeal to me. Although, I always wanted to sit in a sidewalk café in Paris, drinking espresso and smoking Gaulioses, except I quit smoking years ago (I don’t think they let you smoke in the cafés anymore, anyway) and I would have to order un café déca (decaffeinated espresso) to keep my blood pressure down.
  2. What was your first job? I delivered the Chicago Daily News for Lewis News Agency in Rogers Park. The guy who ran the agency was Chuck Sucks. At least, that was what we saw written all over the neighborhood. And yes, we knew it was him. Talk about your weird coincidences: my sister-in-law and I got talking one night, and it turns out she worked for Chuck at the same time. I remembered her; she was a real pain… I say that affectionately, because she is a nice person, my brother loves her and they have two beautiful children, including my only niece.
  3. What motivates you to post on your blog? I post every day and have since July. Keeping the streak alive motivates me. It’s the motivation technique Jerry Seinfeld uses.
  4. Name a book that you recently finished reading. Just this past week, I read K. M. Weiland’s Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration: Learn to Nurture a Lifestyle of Creativity. It is a very good book, worth having in your library, and, at $3.99, cheap at twice the price.
  5. What is your opinion of reality T.V. shows? The networks love them because they’re a lot cheaper than having to pay for scripted television shows. It won’t be long before we are subjected to a show that’s nothing more than a man sitting on the toilet reading the newspaper for an hour. It’ll probably win an Emmy and be turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks, with Jennifer Aniston playing his wife (who bangs on the door and asks him if everything’s okay every twenty minutes). In short, I don’t waste my time.
  6. How do you feel when a snowstorm hits your area and everything is cancelled for the day? It was culture shock moving from Chicago, where we regularly had heavy snow, high wind, and record cold temperatures and went to work anyway, to Atlanta, where the mere hint of winter weather closes the schools, empties the grocery store shelves of break and milk, and sends the local TV stations into full emergency mode. To be fair, it snows so little here that most local governments don’t spend too much money on snow removal equipment, and the hilly terrain makes snow removal an adventure, but we’ve started seeing more snow that stays around longer than a day or two, so they might want to rethink their strategy. Anyway, when we hear bad weather is coming, we stock up on plenty of comfort food and sit around watching the panic on television. Mary knits, I write, and the cats sleep. Life is good.
  7. Last night, my daughter was telling me about a friend who was applying for dual citizenship in another country. If you could obtain dual citizen in another country, which country would you choose, and why? I spent a week in The Netherlands (I still call it Holland) and thought it would be a cool place to live. I also spend a week in Scotland, and that’s another possibility. So, one of those two.
  8. What is your pet peeve with WordPress? Actually, compared with Blogger, I’m happy with WordPress. Blogger doesn’t do pingbacks, and the editor spends too much time saving your work. I would like WordPress to have more HTML tags available on the editor, make it asier to create nested lists (like the one above), and support HTML5 better (particularly when dealing with videos). It’s a safe bet that I’ll end up moving to a self-hosted site in the near future (i.e. buy a domain, get a hosting package, and install the WordPress software myself), but that’s down the road.
  9. Recently, I saw a study claiming that people who read fiction tend to be more empathetic. This study has generated controversy in my household. What is your opinion about this “finding”? They need to examine the other possibility, that being empathetic causes people to love reading fiction. In either case, you’re comparing apples and truck parts. You can measure the amount of fiction someone reads fairly easily, but measuring a person’s empathy level is another whole kettle of worms. It’s like the statement, “cat owners are better lovers.” One doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the other.
  10. Did you believe in Santa Claus when you were a child? Of course. I also believed in the Easter Bunny.
  11. How do you prefer to learn about world news — through the internet? through the television? through a newspaper or magazine? Definitely through the Internet. Reading the newspaper with one hand is a challenge, and practically impossible with cats. We no longer have cable TV, and even when we did we rarely watched the news channels, and I’m convinced the networks are only carrying world news because it’s a tradition. The advantage to reading world news on the Internet is that you can read local news reports: if something’s going on in Japan, you can read Japanese news sources.

Now, eleven random factoids about me:

  1. I’ve worn my hair in a ponytail since 1992. It’s so curly that it’s the only way I can control it.
  2. I use a cane when I’m away from home. Mine is a replica of the one Hugh Laurie used during the middle seasons of House MD. I saw it, and told Mary that, if I ever needed a cane, I wanted one like that. Little did I know…
  3. I’ve had a mustache since I was nineteen. Yep, forty years.
  4. I have an uncle who worked for WLS TV in Chicago. Anytime one of their cameramen caught me on camera, it was a safe bet it would be on the news at 10. Then there was this
  5. I’ve been interested in weather and weather forecasting since seeing PJ Hoff on TV when I was a kid.
  6. I learned to use a slide rule in junior year of high school because calculators were nowhere as near ubiquitous as they are now and they cost a small fortune.
  7. I worked for one of the first US companies to make panko breadcrumbs.
  8. Mary and I have had many cats over the years, including a Siamese, three half-Siamese, a polydactyl named Thumbs, and two Devon Rexes. We got a rescued Devon from a breeder, and when the cat died the breeder gave us a kitten, Milton. Milton is not what you’d call the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  9. I didn’t get a driver’s license until I was 28. I was informed by the short-tempered football coach I had for driver’s ed in high school that I had a depth perception problem and probably should forget about ever driving. Showed him, didn’t I?
  10. I came in second in the Mu Alpha Theta math contest when I was in eighth grade, and got a huge trophy. The next year I met the guy that came in first; he sat either in front of or in back of me at the same high school. Nice guy. We had a good laugh about it.
  11. I first saw Mary in a training class at Marshall Field’s when I was a junior at Loyola. The next time I saw her was in the halls at Loyola. The third time, I was getting coffee in the cafeteria at Loyola, and she came up to me and asked, “Don’t you work at Marshall Field’s?” We’ve been together ever since.

All right, well…. Now comes time for me to nominate eleven of you. I would really hate to leave anyone out, so tell you what: If you’re a blogger and have fewer than 3000 followers, you’re nominated. Congratulations! Grab the badge and have a ball answering these questions.

  1. What browser do you use, and why?
  2. If you had to live somewhere else, where would you move?
  3. Do you have any pets? What are they (species, breed, etc.)?
  4. If you’re a writer, what genre do you write? What would you like to write?
  5. What sports do you enjoy, and what team(s) or athlete(s) do you like?
  6. What’s your second-favorite comfort food?
  7. What do you think of this recent controversy over the movie The Interview?
  8. What’s your favorite holiday, and why?
  9. Do you have any crazy relatives? What makes them crazy? (By crazy, I don’t mean mentally unstable.)
  10. What’s your favorite software app?
  11. What would be your dream job?

Again, Sandi, thank you!

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: No Excuses!

Another Stream of Consciousness Saturday entry. Click the picture below for rules and to see this week’s other participants. This is hosted at Linda Hill’s blog, but she’s on vacation, so the prompt comes from Leigh Michaels.

Click the picture to play along!
Click the picture to play along!

This week’s prompt: excuse

A great choice of prompts, particularly as 2014 is drawing to a close.

I see the expression “no excuses” all over the place, mostly ads for fitness centers (usually said by one of those characters who spends too much time at the fitness center), financial advisors, and business books by productivity “experts.” It’s supposed to be an inspiration to be more physically fit, invest your money a certain way, or be more productive/efficient. The last thing in the world I want to hear is them saying “no excuses.” What they’re really saying is, your way is R-O-N-G wrong, and therefore you suck, and you need to do what I do to measure up to my exacting standards. No excuses!

Remember this from “Bye Bye, Birdie”?

My stepfather used to go around singing that one line, “Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way?” whenever we got out of hand, by which I mean, being rebellious and wanting to go our own way and driving my mother crazy.

I’m just using these people as examples. They come in every shape and form. The holier-than-thou are great for it, too. (What, you haven’t done the novena to St. Peregrine? No wonder you have cancer. Well, I’ll do it for you. I’m not even sure there even is a novena to St. Peregrine, but if there isn’t, I’ll write it.)

You know the type… (NOTE: this was created by videotaping the TV screen and is not particularly good, but it’s nonetheless effective, and seasonal besides.)

Well, I’m going to give you a “no excuses” of my own: If someone asks you why you’re fat and out of shape, or inefficient, or sacrilegious, or any of a thousand other passive-aggressive questions meant to criticize you, the answers to which they really aren’t interested in, don’t give them an excuse. Tell them the truth: that you choose to be out of shape, inefficient, sacrilegious, etc. If they offer to help you get started in the direction they want you to go in, tell them no thank you, that if you change your mind you can find your own way there, thankyouverymuch.

Whether or not the path you’ve chosen for yourself is the right or wrong one is something you, and only you, can decide. And anyone that tries to manipulate you into doing things their way is frankly not someone you should be taking advice from in the first place, and you really don’t need them in your life. You know what you want to change — hell, maybe you don’t want to change anything — and, if you want someone’s advice or help, remember you can accept or reject it. If you paid someone for the advice and don’t like it, you can walk away. Same thing if you ask a friend. If you buy a book (or if one of your helpful friends buys it for you) and don’t like the advice contained therein, you can donate the book to the library, trade it in, give it away, or throw it away.

Okay? Okay! Straight ahead!

Straight ahead to 2015

I had something that I was going to post, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I hadn’t drawn a conclusion for everyone to think about, so that’s sitting in the queue waiting for further updates. You might see it next week, or sometime in the future, or maybe never. You know how it goes. I’m not so certain I’m all that hot about the topic.

happy_new_year_2015_312182

That, of course, leaves me without a post for today, so I thought it might be good to talk about 2015, and where I want this blog to go, and where I want my writing to go, because let’s face it, I’ve really been banging around like a boat without a rudder where my writing is concerned. Here are some thoughts I had.

  1. For someone that does this every day, I am remarkably disorganized. A lot of times I have no idea what I’m going to write about until I’m seated at the computer faced with a deadline. The reason I added a couple of the features that I did this past year (Blue Monday, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, the bimonthly Battle of the Bands) was because I needed things to write about. I’ve also fallen in to the habit of counting my ROW80 checkins as posts, something I never intended to do. I like doing Two for Tuesday, and although I sometimes have trouble coming up with a list of ten things to post on Thursday, I think that’s a worthwhile exercise, even if half the time I’m grabbing ten videos off of YouTube and embedding them into a post.
    One of Gibbs’ rules on NCIS is “trust your gut,” and my gut is telling me I need to start using an editorial calendar to plan out my posts a week or two into the future. I haven’t done that because I worry something will come up that I really, really, REALLY want to blog about, but I would have already posted for that day. Turns out, that’s just me making excuses for not doing it.

  2. I blog every day because I have no idea what to write about otherwise. In fiction, I’m pretty good at a couple of things (character building and dialogue) but I really suck at plotting and outlining my stories. In non-fiction, I’m drawn to memoir, but I don’t want to just write hilarious little vignettes about my early childhood and be done with it. In other words, I blog to avoid developing my skills in those areas.
    Lately, though, I think one of my stable of characters has a story to tell, and I think it’s time that I bit the bullet and learned how to write that story.

  3. I’ve been negligent in my reading. I’ve taken steps to remedy that situation, buying a new Kindle and sorting though our joint library to locate the books that I got for free and allowed to accumulate. I’ve started reading some of the books and made a terrible discovery: I don’t find them all that interesting. I haven’t determined whether my taste in reading material has changed or I’m just allowing myself to be overwhelmed. I think maybe it’s time I started looking for what I do like to read, besides writing books. Maybe starting with the books I blew off in high school, again.

Over the last two weeks of the year, these are the areas I’ll be focusing on as I come up with a decent set of goals to get me closer to where I want to be as a writer, a blogger, and a reader by the end of next year.

Have you given any thought to what your goals for 2015 will be?

Ten Christmas Novelty Songs

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Next week is Christmas, of course, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to play novelty Christmas songs on Christmas. I’m pretty sure it’s not appropriate now, either, but anyway…

Music and humor go hand-in-hand, and when you throw Christmas into the mix, the result is sheer madness pure magic. For this list of ten, I looked to one of the truly great names in novelty records, Barry Hansen, better known to all of us as Dr. Demento. I never realized this, but he’s from Minneapolis, which explains a lot. (in all fairness, Mary and I once had a dream of moving to the Twin Cities, and might have if I hadn’t spent so much time there during the winter.) So, what follows are ten of his more popular novelty songs, from his album Dr. Demento Presents The Greatest Christmas Novelty CD of All Time. Hope you like them.

  • I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas – Gayla Peevey

  • The Twelve Gifts of Christmas – Allan Sherman

  • Christmas at Ground Zero – Weird Al Yankovic

  • All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth – Spike Jones and his City Slickers

  • The Chipmunk Song – Alvin and the Chipmunks featuring David Seville

  • Santa Claus and his Old Lady – Cheech & Chong

  • A Christmas Carol – Tom Lehrer

  • Green Christmas – Stan Freberg

  • Jingle Bells – The Singing Dogs

  • Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer – Elmo and Patsy (What, you thought you’d escape this one?)

And with that… there’s your Thursday Ten for December 18, 2014. And, guess what? This was post #600!

#ROW80: A Rare Midweek Check-in

Click to visit the challenge!
Click to visit the challenge!

You’re probably wondering why I’m posting this. I just did a check-in on Sunday, and I check in once a week. Won’t that throw things off? Of course not. In my case, I’m posting this because that way I can do my end-of-round summary a week from today, and because I didn’t have a topic for today. (Well, I did, but I think I’ll hold that until Friday.)

I’ve been spending a lot of my days lately just hanging out with Mary and not getting to write until late. It’s been fun, because Mary is a lot of fun, and we’ve had a bunch of stuff going on this week. We bought a new dishwasher a couple of weeks ago, and it was delivered and installed yesterday. We had just replaced our old one a few years before, but it had sprung a leak and the electronic panel that controls everything went haywire, so, although it was still washing the dishes adequately, we had no idea what cycle it was on at any given time. We could have had it fixed, but the way we saw it, those electronic panels ain’t cheap and it would cost almost as much as a new dishwasher to replace. The new one is a KitchenAid, it’s nice and quiet, and seems sturdier than the one we got rid of.

Then, today, Pearle Vision called to let me know that they had our new glasses finished and ready to pick up, so we went there, then to lunch, Target, and the grocery store. Then, I upgraded the operating system on the desktop (a Mac Mini). I expected it to be done by the time I got home from our errands, but it was still chugging along and didn’t finish until eight hours later. I’m exhausted.

Anyway, my three-day summary:

  • Do 750 Words every day: Done, even if it at times it was a race to the finish. I tell you, the clock is a great motivator. I didn’t get started on the “morning pages” until 11:30 one night, and I managed to write them all in about twenty minutes. That’s a rate of almost 40 words a minute.
  • Read thirty minutes a day: The new Kindle Fire is great. Today I bought K. M. Weiland’s Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration, and read about half of it (new bifocals). It’s quite good, actually, and I may review it when I finish. This Kindle is a mini-tablet, which allows me to read my RSS feeds on Feedly and my saved articles on Pocket, take notes in Evernote, and play solitaire. Anyway, this made it easier to complete this successfully.
  • Write left-handed fifteen minutes a day: Ehh. Haven’t been near a pen all week.

So, that’s the poop at this end. Hope everyone else is doing well with their goals. I’ll be around to check.

Straight ahead!

Two for Tuesday: John Scofield

John “Sco” Scofield was fetured in one of the videos from last week, so I figured he needs a day of his own. I have one of Sco’s albums, That’s What I Say, his 2005 tribute album to Ray Charles, which also features Aaron Neville, John Mayer, Dr. John, Mavis Staples, and Warren Haynes, but he’s appeared on a number of tracks for other musicians in my collection as well. He has a distinctive sound, jazz with rock and R&B mixed in, a true “fusion” player. Rather than go into detail about John’s biography and discography, just follow the links to his website.

The two tracks I picked are representative of his playing, but there’s loads more on YouTube, including some full concert footage and several of his instructional videos. Track 1 is “Trio Blues,” with his trio (Sco, Steve Swallow on bass, and Bill Stewart on drums). This was recorded in November 2010 at Forum Leverkusen in Weisdorf, Germany.

Track 2 is “Hit the Road, Jack,” from the aforementioned Ray Charles tribute album.

John Scofield, your Two for Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Happy Hanukkah!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “White Christmas”

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

Welcome to another Christmastime edition of the Battle of the Bands!

Today’s song should be familiar to anyone who read my post from last week about Christmas songs written by Jewish composers

Bing Crosby first performed Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” on The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day 1941. A year later, it was featured with a number of other Berlin songs in the movie Holiday Inn, with Bing, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds, whose singing was dubbed by Martha Mears. It became popular during World War II, with its images of home and all that it meant, particularly with servicemen. In 1954, it was the title song for the movie White Christmas, a postwar version of Holiday Inn (that’s what I’ve always heard, anyway) which starred Bing, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen.

It’s a classic song, and has been done time and again by such artists as Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Taylor Swift, Andrea Bocelli, and the two singing groups that will be squaring off in this battle.

CONTESTANT #1: The Drifters

This was recorded in 1954 and reached #2 on the Billboard R&B chart that year. The following year, it crossed over to the Hot 100 and peaked at #80. It was played mostly on R&B stations until it was featured in 1990’s Home Alone, with Macaulay Culkin, Catherine O’Hara, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern et al.

CONTESTANT #2: The Barberettes

I was looking for a version of the song on YouTube and turned up this version by a Korean singing group called The Barberettes. Their Facebook page tells us that the singers are Shinae An Weaver, Grace Kim, and So Hee Park, backed by Sae Ha Lee on piano, Hyun Park on bass, and G. Young Kim on drums. They refer to themselves as “the time traveling girl group” and refer to their music as “Doo Wop/Vocal Music/Korean Retro.” I think you’ll enjoy them.

Now, it’s time to vote: which did you like better? The classic R&B stylings of The Drifters from sixty years ago, or the more updated harmonies of the three young women from Seoul, South Korea? Let me know in the comments below!

And, as always, after you’ve made your pick, the other participants in the Battle of the Bands have worked hard to come up with battles of their own, and would consider it a great honor if you would stop by their blogs and listen to what they have in store.

Tossing It Out
Far Away Series
StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands
Your Daily Dose
DiscConnected
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Creative Outlet of Stratplayer
Mike’s Ramblings
Curious as a Cathy

Results next week!

#ROW80: Heading into the stretch

Click to visit the challenge!
Click to visit the challenge!

What, eleven days left? This round will be over soon, and it’s time to start thinking about next round, and for that matter next year. First, the summary for this week:

  • 750words.com every day: I’m happy to say I’ve re-established the habit. Even better, I’m spending less time doing it every day. It used to take me 45 minutes or more. My fastest speed this round was 30 words per minute. That’s with one hand. 750 words in 25 minutes. I should aim for that every day.
  • Read 30 minutes a day: Not quite as good on this, although I read 30 minutes on Saturday because my Kindle Fire arrived. I’m having a lot of fun playing with the apps it delivers, and have a few books I’ve been meaning to get to loaded to it. Next year I plan on being a reading fool, because this year I didn’t do so well. I finally have a spreadsheet of all the items in our joint library so I can see which books I’ve purchased (some for free) intending to read them, and which ones Mary’s bought that I might be interested in. I’ve already begun the catch-up process.
  • Write left-handed 15 minutes a day: I discovered last week that I am doing all right with about five minutes a day. I’ve done such a good job adapting to using Evernote on the computer and my phone that I’m quickly realizing I don’t need it as badly as I once thought. Still be nice to do. And yes, Evernote is available for Kindle Fire.

So, that’s where I am. Hope last week was good to you, too. Straight ahead.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Back in the day

Yet another entry into Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted at Linda Hill’s blog, but this week the prompt is from Pavowski. If you’d like to join in the festivities, click on the picture below.

Click the picture to play along!
Click the picture to play along!

This week’s prompt: BACK

When I hear the prompt for the week, I immediately start flashing on the songs it brings to mind. This week is no different. Here are a couple by the Fab Four. First, one from the White Album.

And one from that last album, Let It Be. This is the studio/single version; the flip side was “You Know My Name, Look Up The Number.”

That’s Billy Preston on electric piano. By the end, Billy was like a fifth Beatle.

Ome more…

Most of us, I think, would like to be paperback writers, too. Or, almost fifty years later, Kindle writers, or Nook writers. Whatever.

Let’s change gears… something from my high school days, from Steely Dan.

Every once in a while, I wish I could go back forty-plus years and go back to high school, knowing what I know now. No doubt there are others who would. I think of all the stupid and borderline dangerous things I did in high school, and I would do anything to have those years back, knowing what I know now, except I know that the reason I know they’re stupid and dangerous is because I did them in the first place.

Speaking of which, remember the movie Back To The Future, with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, etc.? Remember this over the credits at the end?

Remember Christian Bale talking about Huey Lewis and the News in American Psycho? That was a strange movie.

One more… from the Jimmy Castor Bunch…. 1972…

I just learned he did this one, too… 1966…

There I go, drifting all over the place again….

Seriously, you know what we have to get back to? Loving each other. Maybe that’s why I always want to return to the 60’s and 70’s. That was what it was all about. “All you need is love.” Remember that?

This world scares me. So much hate. Maybe it was always around, but I remember we used to try to at least be civil to one another. If you didn’t like someone, you left them alone. Treat others the way you wanted to be treated. The Golden Rule. Remember that? The most important people in your life were your family, your friends, your neighbors, the people you worked with, and the people you went to church with. They needed you, you were there. And strangers were just friends you hadn’t met yet.

You know? What happened to that?

St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said, if everyone would sweep their own doorsteps, the whole world would be clean. You don’t have to change the world. You have enough work with the people around you. Take care of them.

You know, the way we used to, back in the day.

New glasses and a solution to a problem

Source: openclipart.org
Source: openclipart.org

We both got new glasses yesterday. Cost a small fortune, because Mary and I are both in progressive lenses, but it was worth it. My new glasses are almost exactly the same as the ones I have currently, except they have a silver frame rather than a black one. My new frames are also the kind you can twist and bend and they snap back into shape. Mary got plastic frames that look really nice on her. I think it was worth it. It’s not a lot of money when you consider I went nine years in these glasses…

Did you know that, as you get older, your distance vision improves while your reading vision gets worse? Both of us needed a stronger reading prescription and a not-quite-as-strong distance prescription.

I had the doctor check me for macular degeneration. Both my grandfather and godmother had it, and I think my father-in-law did as well. The doctor said there was no evidence that I was getting it, and to wear sunglasses when I went out and take vitamins for my eyes. Which I’m already doing. He did say that I have the beginnings of a cataract, but that’s normal.

135px-Wikipedia-logo-v2-en_SVG.svg

If you click on the Wikipedia symbol above, you might be prompted for a donation. Wikipedia is having an end-of-year fundraiser. If you use it as much as I do, you know how valuable a resource it is. Please, be generous, if you can.

Source: Amazon.com
Source: Amazon.com

Santa’s bringing me a Kindle Fire for Christmas! It’s supposed to arrive tomorrow. When it gets here, I can start loading the books I plan to read to it. And there are quite a few. Mary and I have over 3000 books that we’ve accumulated since getting our Kindles a few years ago. Mary has added the bulk of them, most of which are romance titles that I haven’t much interest in. You would think it would be an easy task of going through the list, finding the books I want to have, and loading from there, right?

Well, not really. As I mentioned on Sunday, there’s no real easy way to get a full list of the books by going to Amazon’s website and printing off a list or downloading it to a spreadsheet. After a week of Google searches, I found an answer: Syncing the Kindle desktop app with your account creates an XML file with all the pertinent information. You need to massage it a little bit (validate that it’s a valid XML file at a site like this one until the file is clean, then figure out a way to get it into a spreadsheet), but once that’s done, you have what you need.

In all, it’s been a good couple of days.

How have you been doing?

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