ArcoJedi's Holocron

Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2020/07/15

I ... Can't Read

It's time for me to admit something that embarrasses me,... but first let me get this reference to a Beggin' Strips commercial from 1998 out of the way.

What's in that bag? ... I can't read!!!

Heh, classic. Okay, time for the embarrassing admission. It appears that I can't read!

Or ... sort of. Maybe? Obviously I'll need to explain this a bit better.

It's not exactly that I can't read anything. I can clearly read well enough to write this post. I can read instructions. I can read a recipe. I can read most articles on certain topics. I read twitter multiple times a day and scan the headlines on CNN, NPR and Reddit among other places with a bit of frequency. Perhaps too much frequency. In fact I probably read a lot every single day right now.

It's just that I used to be a seriously avid book reader. I used to devour books, usually in rapid succession, novel after novel after novel. And I was proud of it. I'd go through shelves of them in a whole year. If I haven't mentioned it, Stephen King is my favorite author but I've got so many other books too. Piles of Star Wars books, fantasy, sci-fi, adventure, all kinds of digital books too, Lovecraft and graphic novels and vampire romance and more. Reading has always been so much fun for me.

However, it seems that with the passing of the last year or two, I've really slowed down and have read almost NO BOOKS that I can think of. I got several books of varying size for Christmas this past December and I've been handed or recommended a few since my birthday. And they are all sitting here stacked on my bedside table almost entirely untouched. What happened?

Obviously, I could list the things that I'm busy with instead. I guess. My current job now and the jobs I've had for the past few years before that have kept me pretty busy, which is good. I don't want to get into it right now, but the politics in my country have been a horrible nightmare since at least November 2016. So that's a bit distracting. More recently there is a global pandemic to think about constantly.

But these all seem like part of the problem. I hate to admit it, but I think the real problem is that I'm buried in my phone so much. Obviously, I'm doing a lot of reading there, but I'm also doing a lot of gaming, scrolling, retweeting, reblogging, liking, tagging, upvoting and trolling. And also a lot of doomsurfing, which also isn't healthy. It feels like my reading comprehension, which I've always know was super high, is slipping into an abyss.

I have got to get back into reading and reading right now and reading heavily. It may not solve any of the other problems rolling around, but it's so strongly a part of who I am and who I want to be that I feel out of place just recognizing that this change has occurred.

Who am I? Time to open a book and find out.

2019/04/03

A Streetcar Named Desire @ Florissant Valley Community College

Oldest daughter Reese is once again impressing everyone with her thespian skills.

And here the performance back in February of Streetcar was reviewed by professional reviewers on their YouTube channel. Reese shows up at 1 minute and 25 seconds.

2018/03/03

Delicious Bookmarks

Back in June, I posted about del.icio.us again and how the site was being mothballed. I spent a few hours looking at alternatives but didn't get very far. All the official announcements everywhere suggest that adding new bookmarks was blocked back in July and now the site is forever read-only with no ability to create new.*

It turns out that although that is the case for the official bookmarklet which loads a "Sorry" message if tried, that post URL was not the ONLY method available over the lifetime of the site. Older bookmark form URLs were different and one of them still works. I'm not sure if the new owner is unaware or if he just doesn't really care. My intuition tells me the situation is temporary, but here we are several months later and I'm still adding new bookmarks.

Some of my favorite features don't work. For instance, there was always an RSS feed of the various pages, but the entire subdomain for feeds appears to be down or inaccessible. This means that a lot of the automated accessories I'd set up around del.icio.us are defunct. For example, the reposting of my bookmarks to my wordpress blog via IFTTT stopped working and some of the topical RSS feeds I'd followed are unavailable. But the main feature -- a public repository of links that I collected, tagged, shared and curated -- continues to be there. A lot of the shared network features appear to be broken, so I can't see any of the other members that I was following.

Come to think of it, I therefore can't tell if I'm the only one that is still adding bookmarks. I'm probably jinxing things by mentioning it because there's always the slim chance the new site owner will get an alert about this very blog post. My apologies in advance if that's the case.

Delicious Alternatives

Eventually, I'll need to do something and move my bookmarking elsewhere. But I can't muster excitement about any of the choices I've found. My bias is probably clouding things. Let's see...

  • There's Pinboard, which seems like the most obvious choice. Seems likely to have all of the same features, several new ones and a viable profit model. The price of $11 / year is super reasonable.
  • Diigo exists and I even used it as a direct backup from Delicious for a while (via IFTTT). Comparably, it's a little bit more modern and slicker interface, which isn't really a draw for me but whatever. Also seems a little more corporate and has a higher price tag of $40 / year.
  • Google Bookmarks is still around, but let's draw a big question mark around that one.
  • There's Are.na, which seems to be a combo of the social bookmarking of Delicious plus the automation tools of IFTTT. They must be new and small, because I can't find much about them other than their site. Basic version is free, with premium add-ons.
  • There are some open-source self-hosted alternatives to Delicious, but I haven't tried any of them out yet.

There are others, but the main reason I haven't pursued one and moved on is that the old one still works. Eh, it will happen one of these days.


* There was a whisper of an impending announcement posted on Twitter back in August about the long-term future of Delicious offering "free bookmarking to K-12 teachers worldwide" but from what I can tell there was no follow-up.

2018/02/01

My Eldest Child is in College

This is still a little mind-blowing to me, but my daughter Reese is in college. How did that happen? I'm not old enough to have college-age children. Someone explain.

Anyhow Reese is doing great and juggling school and working part-time. Here she is playing ukulele at church a few weeks back.


20180114_110648

The video might not be playing right now, but I'll resolve that soon enough. Update: it works now!

2018/01/27

Don't Watch Ancient Aliens

The more you watch this show, the more you'll get sucked into the weird ass conspiracy theory that they are pushing. Any idea that someone repeats with no way to argue against it, just starts to seem to make sense after a while. I'm not saying the theory is wrong (I guess), but the show will swallow your spare time very quickly.

Do you know what you should do differently with your life if long dead aliens visited humanity in the past? I'll give you a few seconds to think about it.

If your final answer is 'absolutely nothing' then congratulations. Go play outside or something.

2018/01/17

MOVIE REVIEW: Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

A while back I reviewed and gushed about the book Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter. And seriously it's a really great book. But shortly thereafter I meant to review the movie they made from the book. I was excited to learn they'd made a movie, but was a little perplexed as the book covered a lot of ground quickly, straddling the line between a historically accurate biography coupled seamlessly with a gothic-horror historic fiction story. And whereas Lisa and I missed the film in the theaters, we did rent it hoping that it would be a good rendition of the story.

Let me say this right away. This movie is terrible. Truly terrible.

It's angsty, over-the-top, campy and treats the subject matter with some sort of ignorant disdain. Don't ever watch it. I watched it and I hated it right away. My wife left the room within the first 20 minutes and refused to consume even one more frame. I powered through, hoping beyond hope that it might get better at some point and redeem itself or at least apologize for besmirching a book that resonated with me.

It did not. It could not. The only way for me to even remotely pretend to enjoy the film is to try to forget the book I love existed and mentally separate the two stories. AND that is a ridiculously hard mental exercise. Don't ever see this movie if you can avoid it.

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Lucas James Arconati

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