July 3rd, 2020

It's My Birthday

Well, today is my birthday.

This one is a sort of special one. I'm not embarrassed about my age; I turn 65 years old today. I am now officially a senior citizen, with all the supposed advantages and disadvantages that age brings. No real motto for today, but I do feel that it's gotta be a better year than the previous one was. :) (But isn't that always the case?) In a lot of ways, the previous year was one that had some good times, bad times, and saw a few health problems crop up. Not to mention the coronavirus for the last four or five months. More good times than bad, hopefully, but like I said, there were some great moments scattered among the rough patches. I like to think that I am a bit better of a person for it and all. The year saw various ups and downs in my life, but *that is life*. That's how it works.

So, what was 1955 like? Well, a lot of stuff happened in 1955.

The Wikipedia page on events in 1955 gives a good account of what happened during the year.

Here's a list of famous and not so famous people born On This Day, July 3rd that has some stuff of interest in it. And here's another list of Famous Birthdays on July 3rd to check out as well.

It was a terrific year for books as well, as evidenced by this list of Most Popular Books of 1955 found on the Goodreads site. So many great titles published during that year. No wonder I turned out to be an avid reader! :)

For some of the musical stuff that was going on back in 1955, check out this good link.

Some of the movies from that year include Bad Day at Black Rock directed by John Sturges, The Blackboard Jungle directed by Richard Brooks, East of Eden directed by Elia Kazan, one of my favourite films of all-time, Kiss Me Deadly directed by Robert Aldrich, Disney's Lady and the Tramp, The Night of the Hunter directed by Charles Laughton, Rebel Without a Cause directed by Nicholas Ray, The Rose Tattoo directed by Daniel Mann, The Seven Year Itch directed by Billy Wilder, and of course, To Catch a Thief directed by Alfred Hitchcock, to name but a few.

Lots of good stuff the year of my birth.

I'm not planning on doing anything special to celebrate my birthday this year, and I won't be spending some time with a few friends and family. I'll not go out to dinner tonight somewhere, but the extent of my celebrating will involve a bit of Chinese food (maybe) and possibly some chocolate cake of some sort. Might see some Black Forest cake on the weekend to come, but that remains to be seen. No Bailey's Irish Cream this year, but possibly a beer (or two). So I'm not going to indulge too much. (Besides, if I can't have a bit of cake or whatever on my birthday, when can I, I ask you?)

Anyway, I hope that I'm a better person in the coming year, and I hope that I get a bit of happiness, good health, peace and prosperity for the coming year as well. Oh, and some love or romance would be nice, too. :)

My LJ Anniversary

While today is my birthday, there's also something else...

Today, this LiveJournal is fourteen years old. Yes, I started this LiveJournal on my birthday in 2006, and so it's got a bit of history to it now. To be honest, I never really thought that I would have all that much to say in the Journal, and yet, I guess things occur that one wants to write down for posterity, that one wants to be able to re-read at some time down the road, just to see how one has changed over time... hopefully for the better.

Frankly, I've never thought of myself as being a supremely interesting person, and feel myself to be quite mundane for the most part. As such, I never really expected folks to read the Journal, let alone comment on some of the entries (and to be truthful, there aren't a lot of comments on my Journal, at least not as many compared to some others I've seen), so it is good to know and see that someone actually reads the oft-times drivel that I write here. Considering the fact that most of the folks who used to blog here have abandoned LJ for other sites, and well... Anyway, fourteen (14) years today.

So I want to take this time to thank everyone who reads these Musings and Ravings for doing so, for commenting sometimes on the thoughts that I jot down here, and for being my friends, even only in a virtual sense (although there are some of you that I know outside the virtual environment).

So on to the fifteenth year's worth of journal entries...

Books Read in June, 2020

As is my standard usage of my blog space at or near the beginning of the month, I present the listing of my June, 2020 reads.

Books Read in June, 2020

April, 2020 Locus

The Bride Price by Cat Sparks

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr. (r)

Firebird by Jack McDevitt

Zorro: Legendary Adventures #1-4 (Comics)

Zorro: Swords of Hell #1-4 (Comics)

Zorro: Legendary Adventures Book 2 #1-4 (Comics)

Zorro: Sacrilege #1-4 (Comics)

Zorro: Rise of the Old Gods #1-4 (Comics)

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (r)

The Magicians #1-5 (Comics)

Dejah Thoris Vol 3 #1-4 (Comics)

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #3 (Comics) (r)

The Void of Muirwood by Jeff Wheeler

Crisis on Infinite Earths 100-Page Giant #1-2 (Comics)

Wonder Woman 100-Page Giant #2 (Comic)

Young Justice #13 (Comic)

Amethyst Vol 4 #1-2 (Comics)

The Secret of Nestor Ambar by Fria Ligan (PDF) (RPG) (r)

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 8 #4-5 (Comic)

June, 2020 Reader's Digest

From Beyond the Unknown Giant #1 (Comic)

Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian with Morgan Grant Buchanan

Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Zorro: The Complete Dell Pre-Code Comics Adventures (Graphic Novel)

Last Voyage of the Ghazali by Mattias Lilja and Christian Granath (RPG)

And that was reading that I did in June of this year. This was a pretty decent month of book reading, both in terms of the quantity and the quality of the books read, though there were also a few re-reads in the book stack that I read. There was also a good number of comic books read, catching up on four months of comics reading or so that I needed to do. The variety of reading this past month was pretty good, but regardless, my bookcases are stacked with a pretty large To Read Queue (TRQ) still. The books I enjoyed the most were:

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas - A tantalizing time travel murder mystery from a new voice in the field. In 1967, four female scientists invent a time travel machine. But then one of them suffers a breakdown and puts the whole project in peril... In 2017, Ruby knows her Granny Bee was the scientist who went mad, but they never talk about it. Until they receive a message from the future, warning of an elderly woman's violent death... In 2018, Odette found the dead women at work – shot in the head, door bolted from the inside. Now she can't get her out of her mind. Who was she? And why is everyone determined to cover up her murder? This novel explores many ideas about time travel and its associated fields, and plays with reality in the process. However, rather than focus on the physics and quantum science aspects of time travel, the author has chosen to focus on the cognitive effects of such an epic exploration. What happens to our minds when they are stretched too far? Does our sanity start to crumble as it is subjected to such a mind-boggling experience? It's an interesting question, and one that I liked about the book the best, as the novel feels very realistic and offers a great theory on time travel. Told through a multitude of perspectives across different time zones, The sychology of Time Travel is driven forward by a mysterious dead body found in 2017. How do you catch a killer who could be from anywhere or anytime? Not easily, that’s for sure. Because of how the mystery unfolded in the book, I was hooked and kept reading, and that's a good thing when it comes to mysteries. This could have easily turned into into a tangled mess of interweaving story threads. That said, all became clear as everything slotted neatly into place at the end of the book, and the author's cleverness is revealed when all is said and done. Highly recommended.

Firebird by Jack McDevitt - The sixth book in the Alex Benedict series by the author. Forty-one years ago, the renowned physicist Dr. Christopher Robin vanished. Before his disappearance, his fringe science theories about the existence of endless alternate universes had earned him both admirers and enemies. Now his widow has died and Alex Benedict has been asked to handle the auction of the physicist’s artifacts - leading the public to once again speculate on the mystery surrounding Robin’s disappearance. Did he finally find the door between parallel universes that he had long sought? Intrigued, Benedict and Chase Kolpath embark on their own investigation as they follow the missing man’s trail into the unknown to uncover the truth - a truth people are willing to kill to protect... This is a solid entry in the Alex Benedict series, and I rather enjoyed this book due to a variety of plot elements (that I won't go into here for spoilers! reasons), but what had me hooked was Alex's mysteriously championing a spooky fringe science and parading it around as an unsolved mystery, much to Chase's annoyance. Chase kolpath serves as the narrator in the books in this series, and once more she's a delight to be the eyes that we, the reader, see the world of Alex Benedict through. To make me even more addicted to the story, a story that sees to be about alternate, or even colliding, universe turns into one that deals with a pattern to missing spaceships! Totally hooked! There's also an AI rights sub-plot that is pretty cool, and my take on this book is that the events here will have consequences in future books of this series. The author's writing is on a par with earlier efforts in the series, though I've noticed that Chase's narrating has become more confident as the series goes on. This book is not a stand-alone, building on the five previous works, but... Highly recommended.

Babylon Confidential by Claudia Christian with Morgan Grant Buchanan - A non-fiction (though at times you have to wonder!) autobiography by the actress who played Lt. Commander Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5 (among other roles). When actress Claudia Christian flees a troubled childhood and moves to Hollywood at age 17, she steps through the looking glass into another world. From the set of Dallas to her starring role on the sci-fi series Babylon 5, Claudia's affairs with billionaires, supermodels, rock stars, and celebrities are mixed with shootings, stalking, heartbreak, and betrayal. Onset and off, drama follows Claudia - an alcohol-fueled coke run and makeout session with a bridesmaid on her wedding day; her tempestuous, love-hate relationship with actor Angus Macfadyen; the conspiracy theories surrounding her ex-husband’s death; and a 20-year on-and-off relationship with billionaire Dodi Fayed before he dated Princess Diana. Hollywood life takes its toll on Claudia as she descends into alcohol addiction and a desperate battle to reclaim her life. Rehab, alternative treatments, and even hypnotism can't break the cycle of alcohol abuse that threatens to destroy Claudia. Close to despair she discovers The Sinclair Method, a treatment that saves her life. While I'm not a celebrity memoir type of fella, I bought this book simply because I loved Claudia in Babylon 5 (as did many people) and I had heard over the years that she had a really interesting life and background. And how right what I heard was. Even though the book doesn't spend even two chapters on the Babylon 5 stage of her life, it's not easy to dislike her or her life story. The book has a large amount of tragedy in it, but it's not a depressing read. It's thoughtful, surprisingly optimistic, and laugh-out-loud funny at times. Worth reading just for the anecdotes about the many Hollywood stars Claudia has worked with over the years, as well as other miscellaneous very famous people, the theme of alcoholism which dominates the book is given far more humour than one would think possible, yet it remains fascinating and insightful. It's not a demanding read, but neither is it vacuous, and is a view into a world that most of us see from the other side but don't really know about. Quite a good read. Recommended.

I also enjoyed the re-reads that I did in June, as to be honest, these brought back some wonderful memories of those books. And the comics reading was quite enjoyable, especially the Zorro tales.

Overall, I managed to read 8 novels, 2 RPG and RPG products, 2 magazines, 39 comics, and 1 graphic novel in June. This brings the year total for 2020 to a set of numbers that look like this: 47 books, 12 RPGs and RPG products, 10 magazines, 68 comics, and 2 graphic novels.

Anyway, thoughts and comments are always welcome. :)