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Devil Said Bang (Sandman Slim, #4)

Review:

There is hard­ly a part of poor James Stark that has not been shot, cut, set on fire, hacked of­f, or sent to live in Bur­bank.

There is no weird wom­an in Los An­ge­les he has no his­to­ry with, no kind of su­per­nat­u­ral life he has not kicked the ass of, no lame bar where he has not had a drink, no clever but tough yet deep in­side nice bar­tender he has not hit for a smoke, no re­pul­sive act he has not com­mit­ed.

You get the same thing as in the oth­er three book­s. Ex­tra noir di­a­logue, smar­tass­ness, a clever phrase here and there, blood and gut­s.

The schtick is grow­ing stale.

The Rest Of San Francisco

I wrote about the trip and the seg­way tour a while ago. But that's not all that hap­pened in San Fran­cis­co, of course.

I for­got to men­tion that on one of the air­ports there was a dis­play of an­tique boardgames:

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Ale­jan­dro Cu­ra would have bro­ken that glass, and tried to play while the po­lice chased him.

I did­n't know San Fran­cis­co had a sign-in-the-hill like Hol­ly­wood

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Not quite as glam­orous.

The Seg­way trip end­ed in a ... rather scenic place:

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Old ship... check.

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Sky­line... check.

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Al­ca­traz... check.

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Bridge view... check.

So there I said good­bye to my steel pony, good old seg­gcrates, and went out for a walk.

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Ar­gen­ti­nes-on­ly joke:

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La fo­to con la es­tat­ua del lobo mari­no!

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The sea li­on colony at the pier­s.

We had a grilled cheese sand­wich, went to the hotel, yad­da yad­da yad­da. The next day was our last day of­f. We had a car. So we went to ... Fry's! We got a met­ric crapload of gad­get­s, in­clud­ing a tiny USB bat­tery, a pow­ered 7 port USB hub, beef jerky, usb flash drives, SD card­s, ca­bles, a sim card, a cam­er­a, a Nexus 7, a back­pack, and oth­er stuff.

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Some of the afore­men­tioned gad­getry.

Af­ter fight­ing for two hours to get a phone with a da­ta plan, we sailed of­f, guid­ed by google maps and EDGE. Yes EDGE. It worked, though!

We had a very vague no­tion about head­ing north, in­to San Fran­cis­co, across the Gold­en Gate in­to who knows where (end­ed up be­ing Na­pa Val­ley).

So, we start­ed, and found our­selves in­to (I think) the Pre­sidio Park, which is love­ly but the pic­tures are in Lu­cio's cam­er­a, so it's up to him to post a link to them in the com­ments. emade And of course, the Gold­en Gate. Which is a very pho­to­genic piece of iron. So we got off the car, at the park­ing lot, and saw this:

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Saved! Ka-ch­ing!

A lit­tle walk through a fort...

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And there it was.

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Of course I took a ton of pic­tures. The rest is in the gallery if you want to take a look.

So, we got a cup of ghast­ly cof­fee, got back in the car and set across the bridge.

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Yes, I should straight­en it.

Then there are some hill­s, and this cute tun­nel:

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Nice land­scapes, in a sur­pris­ing­ly ru­ral area 15 min­utes off the city.

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Re­al­ly ru­ral.

Then the in­fa­mous home­made jerky in­ci­dent hap­pened.

So, home­made-­jerky-­less we con­tin­ued in­to the Sono­ma Val­ley, and got to the Viansa Win­ery where we stopped for a taste (Lu­cio, I don't drink. Al­so, I don't drive so just a taste).

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In your face, in­sta­gram!

It's a re­al­ly nice place. Love­ly handrail­s, too.

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I mean, love­ly handrail­s.

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This part was closed, boo!

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Love­ly views.

We got some sou­venirs, some pic­nic sup­plies (salami, cheese, olives, Pel­le­gri­no lemon­ade, cros­tini), and start­ed off again. We for­got to re­set the GPS so in­stead of go­ing back, we kept for­ward in­to Na­pa Val­ley. And we got to some vint­ner's mon­u­ment which clos­es at sun­set. Right on time.

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The im­ages don't cap­ture the scale of the thing. Or the cold.

We got back via Oak­land, at night which means there's no more pic­tures. I was shocked to find out that not on­ly does ask.­com still ex­ist, but that they pay for bill­boards with inane ques­tions in them.

The rest of the trip was ba­si­cal­ly work, with din­ner ex­cur­sion­s. We had amer­i­can (Cheese­cake Fac­to­ry), lebanese (at tan­nourine ok, sort of bor­ing), and .... mon­go­lian at Lit­tle Sheep Hot Pot.

At the mon­go­lian restau­rant none thought of bring­ing a cam­er­a, so the on­ly pic­ture that ex­ists is tak­en with a Nexus 7's fron­t-­fac­ing cam­er­a. Since the Nexus has no cam­era ap­p, I had to take it us­ing twit­ter. I am ashamed.

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Yes, worst pic­ture ev­er.

So, what is that? You get a pot of soup which is about 40% gar­lic, 40% pep­per, 20% un­known things, and you check box­es in a menu for things to dip and cook in them. Since we are ad­ven­tur­ous nerd­s, we in­clud­ed:

  • Rice and pig blood cakes (tastes ex­ac­t­­ly like a rice and mor­­cil­la sand­wich)

  • Goose in­­testines (taste like in­­testi­­nes)

  • As­­sort­ed mush­­rooms

  • As­­sort­ed meat­balls (in­­clud­ing beef ten­­don meat­balls (taste like noth­ing))

  • As­­sort­ed seafood

  • As­­sort­ed beef slices (looks creep­­y, taste as beef)

and a ton of oth­er stuff. The bad side of it is that af­ter a while it all has ex­act­ly the same taste: hot, spicy soup. The good side: it's fun to eat, and fill­ing.

We had a last shop­ping spree a few days lat­er, (I got shirt­s, 24 pairs of sock­s, a suit­case to put all the things I could not fit in the old one), and I start­ed back alone to Ar­genti­na (Lu­cio stayed).

The re­turn trip was com­pli­cat­ed.

  • I for­­got the car­ry­on suit­­­case in the air­­line's desk, so I had to do the se­cu­ri­­ty check twice.

  • I did­n't know the checked-in suit­­­case was head­­ed to Buenos Aires di­rec­t­­ly, so I tried to check it out and back in, and thought I had lost it. Of course, not lost, but I paid 5 dol­lars for a cart I used for 5 me­ter­s.

  • Dal­las->Ezeiza plane got de­layed be­­cause it was "too ful­l" (WAT?)

  • For­­got my pass­­port in the back­­seat pock­­et, so I had to run across Ezeiza twice to get it back, got so flus­tered and ner­vous my blood pres­­sure spiked. Not fun.

  • Got stopped at cus­­toms be­­cause I had not de­­clared my lap­­top on the way out. Luck­­i­­ly, I talked my way out of it.

But got back, was fun, and very use­ful in the work-re­lat­ed bit­s.

A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5)

Review:

In an un­even se­ries, this is a good one, bet­ter than the 4th book, which was a not-­so-­good one.

Read­ing the se­ries en­tire­ly in se­quence in a few week­s, I no­ticed a few things.

1) The char­ac­ter sprawl is to­tal­ly out of con­trol, so much that the au­thor had to use two books to tell the sto­ry of a few weeks or month­s. That's nut­s, and hurts the book­s, be­cause there are a lot of char­ac­ters that are, sim­ply, not very in­ter­est­ing.

2) This sto­ry seems to be about 40% done, which means an­oth­er gazil­lion years wait­ing for it to end.

3) Un­like in star trek, here even is bad, odd is good.

4) If I had the time, I am sure I could find trends in word and ex­pres­sion us­age. Neep and nun­cle, leal and "The bas­tard of" are on the rise.

5) I don't re­gret read­ing it but ...

6) The sit­u­a­tion, af­ter thou­sands of pages, is com­plete­ly un­re­solved, and it's be­com­ing a bit grat­ing to move the ac­tu­al plot so slow­ly, even with all the things that are hap­pen­ing. It feels like noise.

Refreshed rst-cheatsheet

A while ago, I cre­at­ed a 2-­page PDF ver­sion of the re­struc­tured text quick­start meant to be print­ed, fold­ed in half and kept handy un­til you fi­nal­ly re­mem­ber how to do foot­notes (10 years and still wait­ing, in my case).

It was brought to my at­ten­tion that the github project did not men­tion how to build it. Then I no­ticed that not on­ly it did­n't ex­plain that, it was al­so miss­ing crit­i­cal files.

So, I added the files, fixed a cou­ple of things that were not work­ing per­fect­ly with the lat­est rst2pdf and there is now a fresh PDF ready for you!


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