Coincidence, Creepy, or Creepy Coincidence?

We all have had the experience of having ads in our Facebook feed that appear to based on conversations we’ve had. It doesn’t surprise me that my smartphone is likely listening to me. It is a little creepy when my landline seems to be in on the conversation.

A couple of months ago my wife said she was going to Giant because they had a couple of things we needed on sale. While she was gone our landline rang. The caller ID said it was Giant Food and had a local area code. I immediately thought something bad had happened to my wife and they were calling to inform me. I leapt off the couch and ran to the phone, heart pounding. It was spam call that just happened to be using the place she was on caller ID.

Recently, we were watching Cobra Kai. In the episode, Daniel was tracking his daughter’s location on Find My iPhone. He sees where she is and says “Reseda? Why would she be in Reseda?” Soon after that scene our landline rang. The caller ID said the call was coming from Reseda. Not quite as weird as the first story, but still a little odd.

We only have the landline because it comes with our Verizon package with our TV and Internet. Also, it’s the number my mother in law calls every Sunday. Are our Verizon devices listening? Is there some weird Verizon thing that pipes our conversations to some place that uses that for spam calls to the landline? Or are these just two weird coincidences? Has anyone else had this happen with a landline? Does anyone else even have a landline anymore?

My Week in Books, Movies, and TV 8/7/20

I can’t believe it is already August. Seems odd to type that date. Here is my weekly recap of what I’ve read and watched this week.

Movies – We watched two movies this week. One was 1917. It is the story of two soldiers who are sent across enemy lines in WWI to deliver a message that will stop 1600 men from walking into a deadly trap. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I had read some good reviews when it first came out but didn’t remember much about it. I thought it would be too slow for my wife. There was war action, but also a lot of time just walking. I think she might have liked it more than me. It was very tense and stressful. I would recommend it.

The other was the Disney original movie Upside Down Magic. I read and slept a little during it. What I saw looked OK. The actors were good. The story was good for a Disney movie. I’m sure the target audience enjoyed it.

TV – I have nothing groundbreaking to report on the TV front. My normal TV schedule these days looks like this:

If I wake up early on a non-work day I watch an episode of Shameless.

Watch an episode of The Gldbergs while eating lunch on work days.

After clocking out – watch old Amazing Race episodes with my daughter until Jeopardy. Watch Jeopardy

Watch The Next Step until I start to fall asleep and then doze on the couch while my daughter watches Criminal Minds.

That schedule will continue until she moves to her apartment in a couple of weeks.

Luckily, we have episodes of shows from last TV season still recorded so once she does move out we have some TV to watch. That’s good considering I don’t foresee any new shows coming this fall.

Books – I finished one book this week. It was Hearts Unbroken by Cynthia Leitich Smith. It is a YA romance book. Louise is a high school kid starting her senior year. She is taking a class that means she is on the staff of the school newspaper. She has just broken up with her boyfriend who is the most popular athlete in the school. She meets a new boy in the newspaper class who has just moved to the area. Her little brother is a freshman who tries out for the school play, The Wizard of Oz.  He wins the part of the Tin Man, but there is controversy. A powerful parent group is upset that white actors did not get the parts traditionally played by white actors. Dorothy is black. The Tin Man is native. Louise is involved both personally and as part of the newspaper covering the story. I thought it was very good and would highly recommend it.

On Deck – I hope to watch the new Jumanji movie this weekend. TV will likely be more of the above. I’m reading Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse.

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Wednesday Morning Thoughts

Wednesday is my evening at work so I am at home until 12:30 or so. That gives me plenty of time to be alone with my thoughts. Here are the ones for today, mostly brought to me by the coronavirus.

I’m sad about the disruption of school for my daughter. It sucks to go from living in the dorm, hanging out with friends, etc to classes from your couch home alone. That is not what the college experience should be. I’m sad that my kids live in a world where they can’t go to school because they might get sick.

I know that everyone says that mass gatherings are a bad idea, but I’m also hoping that March Madness goes on as planned. It is one of my favorite times of the year. I have been looking forward to it. It would be a nice break from all of the bad parts of life right now.

I’m worried that the conference I am supposed to attend in May will be canceled. It was another thing I was looking forward to give me a break from real life. I was supposed to have a week of one day at work, one day at our staff professional development day and then three days at a conference. It’s possible that will change to five days stressed and depressed at work. It seems all of the good stuff is going away but my life in a public building remains business as usual.

It will be nice to have my daughter at home. I won’t have hours at home alone anymore. It’s possible that my wife will also eventually be transitioned to mainly telework so I will come home to two people at the house. My son will continue living at his house so it won’t bring the entire family back to the house, but he still comes home once a week for dinner, so we will have more time together as a full family.

I know it won’t happen, but I will admit that I wish the decision would be made to close public buildings and that I would be forced to stay at home. Maybe me being at home for a time cleaning and cooking full time would convince my wife that it should be a permanent thing.

So, that is where my head is at this morning. Looking forward to the day when my thoughts aren’t consumed by how all of this will affect my life.

Rapid Fire Book Tag

I have been saving this one for a day when I needed a prompt to write something. Today is the day. I stole it from I Won’t Say I’m In Love With Reading. Go read their stuff!

You are supposed to answer with the first thing that pops in your head. Here are my answers.

E-Book Or Physical Book?

I still prefer physical books, but ebooks are good for when I fly and can’t pack a lot of physical books.

Paperback Or Hardback?

I like trade paperbacks. One thing I love about ARCS(besides reading books early) is how easy they are to carry around a read. Mass market is too small and some hardcovers are very heavy.

Online Or In-Store Book Shopping?

In-Store Book Shopping so I can stumble on books I didn’t know existed and also pick them up to read the flap.

Trilogies Or Series?

Either is fine as long as the quality remains. I just finished the 35th book in a series. I still enjoy the series and will read the next one. I’ve abandoned multiple series after a few books and some trilogies have dud third books. Quality over quantity!

Heroes Or Villains?

A villain with depth is always fun, but you need a decent hero to root for, even if that turns out to be the villain.

A Book You Want Everyone To Read?

Swan Song by Robert McCammon. It’s is my favorite book, but it is really long so I can’t get people to read it.

Recommend An Underrated Author?

I’m not sure I read any underrated authors. I read authors who used to be underrated but now aren’t. I will go with Chuck Wendig because I feel like he’s not completely mainstream yet.

The Last Book You Finished?

The Museum of Desire by Jonathan Kellerman

Weirdest Thing You’ve Used As A Bookmark?

My phone, but only temporarily because I had nothing else.

Used Books: Yes Or No?

Yes. I’ve bought tons of used books. Goodwill is a lifesaver when you run out of books on vacation.

Top Three Favourite Genres?

Fantasy, Horror, Thriller

Borrow Or Buy?

Borrow. I’m a librarian. I spend all day around books I can take home and read. Also. I’m out of space on my bookshelves ar home.

Character Or Plot?

Both. Without both the book falls flat.

Long Or Short Books?

Long, unless it is for work. I love a good long book.

Name The First Three Books You Think Of

Bloodsucking Fiends by Chris Moore, Wanderers by Chuck Wendig, The Stand by Stephen King

Books That Make You Laugh Or Cry?

Laugh. I love a funny book. That’s why Chris Moore is my favorite author.

Our World Or Fictional?

It depends I love fantasy books set in other worlds, but I also love a good mystery or thriller. It depends on my mood.

Audiobooks: Yes Or No?

Yes, but less so since my commute is shorter. I need to finish it relatively quickly because I get antsy for music.

Do You Ever Judge A Book By Its Cover?

Yes. People as well.

Book To Movie Or Book To TV?

Depends. Some books translate to a movie fine. Others need a series to tell the full story. Just end the series when the book is done. We don’t need another Under the Dome situation.

A Movie Or TV Show That You Preferred To The Book?

I did a post on this for my work’s social media and now I’m drawing a blank. I can remember what other people said, but I can’t think of one.

Series Or Standalones?

I like a good series and I read a lot of them, but I do get a little tired of everything being a series. Sometimes I want a good story that ends at the end of the book.


What’s Good in Tater Town 11/4/18

This week finding the good is a little harder. I’m still not smart enough to write things down as they happen. Let’s see if I can find the good in the last seven days.

  1. As I mentioned in last week’s, both of my kids were home on Sunday. We all watched a movie and ate lunch together.
  2. We also used my daughter being home as an opportunity to early vote. It was a nice day and we got to the polls at a time when the line was relatively short.
  3. I had to work Halloween night, but I got to wear comfortable scrubs for my “doctor” costume and we were able to enjoy the slow night.
  4. I had a training at another branch on Thursday. It’s always nice to get out of the building, especially when the weather is nice.
  5. I had my first Friday off with no one else at home this week. I got bored after 8 hours, but it was nice to have a day to myself.
  6. I had another free breakfast item from on of my fast food apps so I started m day alone with breakfast out with my book.
  7. It was a nice enough day that I was able to take the dog for a walk and spend an hour on the deck finishing my book.
  8. There was Kentucky basketball on TV again Friday night.
  9. I was able to leave work early enough yesterday to watch the Kentucky/Georgia football game. Kentucky lost, but it’s been a great season with 10-2 and a New Year’s Day bowl game still in reach.
  10. It’s going to be a nice day to be at the stadium watching a football game today.

Hopefully, this week will be one with so many good things this post will be easy.

My Year in Reading 2017

This is the year I finally got lazy and stopped keeping my written list of the books I read. I might try to go back to it this year. You never know when Goodreads might disappear. All of the stats are from Goodreads. My top book are the ones I gave five stars and then the four star books I felt were the best of the rest.  I started the year with a 1000 page book and ended the year with a 700 page book.This year will be an easier start for me. So, here it is – my year in reading for 2017:

Top ten books read in no particular order

  • Strange Weather by Joe Hill
  • Serpent King by Jeff Zentner
  • Revolver by Duane Swierczynski
  • Impossible Fortress by Jason Rekulak
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick(I might have a crush and it was audio so she read it to me)
  • The Nix by Nathan Hill
  • Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
  • Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Honorable Mention

  • Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King
  • The Chalk Man by CJ Tudor
  • IQ by Joe Ide
  • Spoiler Alert by Michael Ausiello
  • Unbelievable by Katy Tur

Book I would most recommend

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. It was close between this, Impossible Fortress and The Hate U Give

Worst Books I Finished

  • Who Is Rich by Matthew Klam
  • History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera(though a teenager implied I was too old to get it)

Book I Dustbunnied

None this year. I finished History is All You Left me because it was for work. I’m not sure why I kept reading Who is Rich. I need to be better about abandoning bad books.

Number of books read: 104

Number of pages read according to Goodreads: 30869. I did the math and that averages to 84.5 pages a day. I think I can do better.


My Life as a Jailbrarian: Prologue

After talking recently about my time as a jail librarian I have decided to do an occasional post with some stories about my life in jail. This prologue is not a jail story. It is the story of how I ended up in jail in the first place.

I was living in Cincinnati, working at a market research firm and had just finished going to school at night to complete my MLS(Master of Library Science) degree when we got the official word that my wife would be transferred to Washington DC.   We knew it was coming. I didn’t think it would happen that fast.  As the move got closer, I started applying for jobs in the DC area. I had one really good phone interview while still in Cincy that, unfortunately, did not result in a job. A few days before the scheduled move I got a call to schedule an interview with DC Public Library so I headed east a few days ahead of schedule. Unfortunately, this meant being extremely tired and possibly ill from eating bad road food when I arrived at the interview. My boss at my old job said that the DC people broke the rules and asked her about my health. I looked that bad. Needless to say, I did not get that job.

Once we were officially residents of the DC area I started sending resumes to every local library I could find. I hit the road and personally visited the HR departments of both public and academic libraries.  One public library system actually sent my resume back to me stamped rejected and accompanied by a letter saying they do not accept unsolicited resumes. This system will appear again in later posts. That was fun. I rode the Metro around DC to the colleges there. I was on my way to Howard University one day. I got off the Metro and asked a woman who was headed to work at the hospital for directions. Along with the directions, she also gave me advice for walking through the neighborhood: walk quickly, don’t make eye contact and run if you hear gunshots. I never made it to Howard. As soon as we parted company I went right back to the Metro station and went back home.

I eventually signed on with a temp agency that works with librarians. I worked for a week at a fancy law firm near the White House. I enjoyed eating my lunch in the park with a view of the White House. I worked for a week at the World Bank. I have no memory of anything I did there. I remember being bored. I was also still applying for every job opening I saw. I eventually was called in for an interview with the state of Maryland. It was at the Department of Education working with Correctional Education as a technical librarian. I was offered the job. It was only a contract position, but it was better than temping, so I accepted. The same week I received a call from the temp agency. They had a job for me that could turn in to a permanent position.  I turned it down because I felt a guaranteed position was better than a possible permanent position. I have no idea where the other job was. I made the decision to go with the job with the state without details on the possible other job. This decision led to my 20 year jail sentence. Sometimes I regret making that decision.

Next installment:  A Visit to the Big House

Survivor Game Changers: The GOAT vs the goats

Caution spoilers ahead:



We started the episode with a tribe swap and a switch from two tribes to three. I enjoy tribe swaps because it shakes up the game. People in trouble get new hope and people in power positions have to start over. I do feel sorry for the third tribe that has to go to a brand new camp and start from scratch. The bad thing about this switch was that it created clear majorities and easy votes unless someone decides to make a big move. Last night was nit the night for big moves in tribal council. Caleb being voted out was obvious and lacked any suspense at all. Luckily, the other tribes gave us some entertaining TV.

At the luxury beach we start with JT sailing his new tribemates out to snorkel and fish and then leaving them there while he makes up an excuse to go back and look for an idol. It was a smart move at the start, but he stayed gone too long and they all knew what he was doing.  This puts an even bigger target on his back until the self proclaimed GOAT of Survivor met the goats of Survivor. Apparently, there are a lot of goats living around this cam ad Sandra wants to eat them. They seemed to have no trouble catching some goats, but they are a mother and baby goat. The rest of the tribe have hearts and feel bad about eating a baby or leaving a baby motherless by eating the mom. Sandra does not care. She will eat them all. There is debate and they decide to free the goats and eat the chickens now that chicken king Tai is no longer there. The chickens are the big losers of the tribe swap. It’s probably good that Tai isn’t there. Sandra might opt to eat him if he tried to protect the chickens. I think this goat drama might lead to Sandra’s demise.

Over on the other beach, it’s clear that Troyzan will be the first to go, so he goes off to look for an idol. He finds a clue and discovers that it will be hidden at the immunity challenge. I love this. It makes for good TV watching someone try to grab the idol in front of everyone. He is successful so their first tribal council could be very interesting. Not much else about this tribe is that interesting at the moment.

They tried to make the vote on the losing tribe suspenseful, but it wasn’t. It was pretty clear it would be Caleb. What I found odd was that Caleb and Hali didn’t seem to be doing much to try to stay. They didn’t show any scrambling, looking for idols or anything. Maybe there was some of that, but it was boring. It just seemed odd. I’m not that sad about Caleb going. I liked him, but not nearly as much as I do the others in the game.

Next week: The revenge of the goats,

Tater Takes on the Internet

I spend a lot of tie on the internet. That’s probably one reason why the number of books I’ve read this year is lower than normal. Looking at Twitter, Facebook, Deadspin, etc. is mindless and easier than reading an actual book. I can do it while watching TV. I can’t read a book and watch TV at the same time. I also watch a lot of TV, so this works out well for me. As I spend time on he internet I sometimes run across things that I think I should write about, so here it is – my “what irritates me online” post.

First Name Basis: This one just came p again this morning. I am trying really hard not to read comments online, but I make an exception for some posts on TV Line. I like to see how others have reacted to a show or to casting news. I’ve noticed in the comments people have a tendency to call the actors by their first name like they know them personally. I don’t care how much time you have spent watching this person on TV. You are not on a first name basis with them. It’s just weird and you should stop.

Sharing Without Thinking: Fake news and conspiracy theories are big news right now, especially after a moron who believed a fake news story showed up at Comet Ping Pong with a gun. It would be nice to think that the people who believe these stories are a fringe element and not a large-scale problem, but I’ve seen otherwise. I have seen several instances of people who I know to be relatively smart, normal people share stories on Facebook and Twitter that come from suspect sources. They share them with confidence that they are true without ever doing due diligence to check the veracity of the story. Regular, non-crazy people sharing this crap gives it the look of legitimacy and helps it to spread further. Of course, it doesn’t help that we have a president-elect who is trying to erode trust in legitimate news sources while selecting advisers who believe and share the fake news. This means the rest if us need to be better about checking the facts and calling out those who are helping spread the lies.

Weather Hype: I follow a certain local weather guy on Facebook, as do a lot of my friends, who loves snow so much that he can’t be trusted once winter weather arrives. He looks at all of the models and chooses the one that calls for the most snow and runs with that forecast because he has “faith in the flakes”. TV weather people hype storms because they want ratings and weather will get people to tune in to watch the forecast. They care less about accuracy and more about clicks, sales of FITF merchandise and ratings. I prefer a simple, no hype approach to the weather that focuses on the science and not what’s in it for you.

Keyboard Warriors: Finally, the worst thing about the internet. People who have “keyboard courage” who feel the anonymity of the internet gives them the power to attack others online. The people out there posting racist, misogynist, anti-Semitic stuff at people who don’t agree with them because they feel there will be no repercussions. The online bullies who make others’ lives miserable, sometimes to the point that they take their own lives.   The worst of humanity made worse and given a platform to spread misery, anger and hate. People who delight in being trolls and probably feel like the suicides above are “mission accomplished” The internet can be a dark place.

Maybe I should go read a book.