DevOps is the Devil

Been a crazy week. Anxiety dreams to start, work quirkiness in the middle, and a DevOps conference at the end of the week. The DevOps thing was... odd. Not my technical ball of wax, and it wasn't aimed at the newbie. I did learn some stuff, and got random inspiration for other work stuff. Too bad the airflow sucked, and I spent most of the two days sweating like a pig. Oh well.

The weekend has been good. First, I have Labor Day off, yay three day weekends. Friday night I didn't do much besides try to cool off, then sleep. Yesterday I did some chores, and hung out with Amythest and Nymaz. Due to various job foos, we haven't hung out in a long while. Watched 'Deadpool 2' (which I didn't see in theaters) and 'Infinity War' (which I did.) Was fun, we ate pizza, laughed, chatted. And I got to pet cats. Sadly, my allergies kicked up hard...luckily I had benedryl.

Today would have been Mom's 86th birthday. So I planned today to be pretty busy. I got up fairly early, got my ducks in a row. I originally meant to go out to a place me and Mom went to for breakfast, but honestly I wasn't really in the mood. So I got to-go breakfast, and headed out. Hit a total of 4 bookstores, Recycled Books up in Denton, and 3 Half Price Bookses... Booksi? How ever you pluralize a plural. Got a nice variety of weird fiction and esoterica. Drove while listening to DART radio plays, and plotted some other stuff out while driving. Came home, by way of lunch at Jason's Deli, and took a long shower to de-sweat, and have been futzing around online and listening to audiobooks.

Tomorrow I'm going to try to take care of the remaining chores, as well as engage in more hermiting. Then it's back to work, but hopefully it will be a productive week, I have plots and plans. For now, I'm listening to a audiobook about H.H. Holmes and the Chicago World's Fair. Amazing how bonkers Chicago in the Gilded Age was.

And I've been staring at this post for an hour, so I'll call it done. *waves tentacles*

Eyeballs and Books

Look, two posts in a weekend. Yesterday was the mental health day I took from work. I spent most of it watching various horror flicks, and futzing around online. Oh, and some vague chore doing at home. I'm slowly getting rid of clutter. Then I'll start on rearranging things a little better. I'm also going to pack up some of the scifi/fantasy section of the Starry Wisdom Library, and probably put it in storage. Shelf space is at a premium, and history, esoterica and Mythos has priority. (also, I have piles of books that need to be organized). Worked on that also this morning, along with more (and worse) movies.

Went to the eye doctor in the afternoon, when it was 105 out. Glad my eyeballs didn't melt. Long story short, my distance vision is a smidge better than it was, my up close vision is a tad worse. So new glasses are in my future. But otherwise my eyes are healthy, come back in year and get dilated.

Came home after that, where I ate way too many chicken tenders. I have to remember, when I have the brilliant idea 'I'll get a family meal, and I'll have 3-4 meals out of it', portion out the damn things...otherwise I keep eating them til I'm about to explode. Haven't done much else this afternoon/ evening. Rearranged a few things, made some mental notes. Found a random flat in London that is not only cool looking, but is the same building for the hero in 'The Devil Rides Out', with the same cool terrace design. But, since I haven't come into my Innsmouth gold inheritance, I don't see me relocating Château Innsmouth to the UK.

So what is Vulpine reading ? Currently I'm reading a history of the Cathars, The Lost Teachings of the Cathars by Andrew Phillip Smith. It's a reread, but given the news lately, who doesn't need a book on medieval quasi-Gnostic dualism. Enjoyable, if nothing really new to the subject. I recently finished a novella, Maniac Gods by Rich Hawkins. Unlike m y current read, this is a little more...intense. It's Lovecraftianesque cosmic horror, with the emphasis on horror. Cult does bad thing, divorced Dad tries to save his ex-wife and kid, bad things happen. Yes, this is done a lot. But Rich gleefully dives into the guts of the story and runs it at full tilt, and when you get to the obvious 'and here's more horror' he slams on brakes and does a 180 that almost hurts. Then he slowly ratchets things up...and then if you want more, go buy the book. *wink* In the bullpen is a number of other British horror novels, I may have gone a little crazy during Amazon Prime Day.

So that's about it for non-brain meats thoughts. Tomorrow I go see Denzel Washington beat people up, and then it's back to work of some stress. But I will survive. Cthulhu's told me so. (Oh yeah, and if you wonder why I have more links than usual, I changed some stuff in my ViM configuration, and this seemed a good test. Yay geeking)

To the Devil a Daughter…and more rambles

Home from work, dinner eaten, books added to catalog and shelved. Am pretty pooped after the work day. Going to go to shower, bed and book soon.

Listening to 'To the Devil a Daughter', I knew that the movie was very different than the book, but the only thing they both have is the evil priest. The good guy, Verney is made up of 3 characters in the book. And if you're looking for habit wearing hotties, well this stories has nun ;) Pretty sure I can guess why Wheatley was so torqued off at the Hammer production. It's a slow start, lots of English people complaining about France, while in France. But we got to the crazy Satanist monologing about his plan to a hero, and boy is it bonkers. Also there's a call back to the novel 'The Devil Rides Out' which makes my little geek heart happy. Still have hours to go to listen, might switch over to reading the book the old fashioned way, see if the plot runs off like a crazed hare...like the movie does.

Night all.

Starry Wisdom Retreat: Part 1

I had an amazing time in Providence. Not everything went according to plan, but my plans were made to be flexible, and with the understand that this would probably not be my only trip there. So while I didn't get to visit all the museums I wanted to, or the zoo, I did get to explore Grandpa Theobald's stomping grounds, see lots of nifty old building, and eat some amazing food.

I'm not going to do a day by day, action by action post...I'd be writing for hours. I'll ping the high notes and interesting bits as I think of them. Start with my hotel. The Dean is a small 'boutique' hotel a few blocks from the Providence Biltmore, where StokerCon was being held. I later found out from a friend that it used to be one of the more notorious strip clubs in Providence, with the rooms being rented by the hour. Was a fun place, staff were friendly and the room was nicely sized and mostly comfy. There's a leather reading chair I wanted to steal somehow. Recommended if you're in town and like smaller hotesl.

Now lets move on to Lovecraft. I visited 3 of the places he lived, though only one house is still around (and moved from it's location when he lived there). I also visited the house he used as the setting for the story 'The Shunned House', the Fleur de Lys building which is mentioned in 'The Call of Cthulhu', and where the Church of the Starry Wisdom was in 'The Haunter of the Dark' (though the church was torn down and made into a park.) I also wandered around Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design, on College Hill. Lots of climbing that hill. I visited the John Hay Library, but I didn't request to view the Lovecraft collection, I felt funny about it. I also didn't go see his grave marker at Swan Point cemetery. I found walking in his footsteps more interesting that visiting a grave.

Now lets talk books. Oh lord, is Providence a city for me. 3 used/indie bookstores in downtown (including the amazing Lovecraft Arts and Sciences), and 2 more a bit east around where HPL's birthplace was. I spent a lot on books, oh so many books. I ended up shipping a decent sized box of books home...then I went to StokerCon for more. Cthulhu books, history books, esoterica, stuff on Providence, things that just looked cool. At StokerCon I bought a few books based on author's elevator pitches, or from authors I've been talking to online. So many books...my bookshelves are groaning in pain.

StokerCon itself was fairly low key. It's mostly a 'con for writers to network and talk ideas and techniques. But there were some panels that were less focused, like panels on pulp and weird fiction, or Stoker's writing habits, or Hammer & Universal movies. I also listened to long time favorite authors Ramsey Campbell and Caitlin Kiernan do readings. Every one was really friendly, even the bigger names in the business, and had one author correct me when I said I was 'just a reader'. Also, the above mentioned Lovecraft Arts and Sciences hosted a poetry reading by a number of weird poets, including Donald Sidney-Fryer, who blew me away with how he read. Definitely worth braving the Nor'easterner that hit Friday. The whole con was fun, relaxed and well organized. Definitely recommend. The next one will be in Grand Rapids, MI. See details at stokercon2019.org.

Stay tuned for part 2, where I discuss stingrays, food and friggin' in the riggin'.

Random microblog posts from the weekend

Saturday 21:45
'Black Panther' was simply amazing. The heroes are heroic (with the female leads stealing the show), the antagonists aren't just bad, for the most part you can see how their views conflict with T'challa, so better than most bad guys in comic movies. Lots of good fight scenes, lots of great one liners and character interaction. Plus, the depiction of Wakanda is just amazing. One foot in traditional cultures, one foot in the future and just plain nifty. My one complaint, I wanted more of a tour of Wakanda vs superfights. But I can hope for special features on the bluray.
5 out of 5 Vibranium Claws.

Sunday 16:29
Going to the store today took my last bits of ability to cope with humanity. The urge to scream 'Move your ass' at the people ahead of me in check out was almost uncontrollable. Possibly in Koine Greek because life should be interesting like that. (note to self, learn to say 'move your ass' in Koine Greek before going to the airport next week). At home now, doing laundry. Cthulhu bless my gillslits, I'm tired.

Sunday 16:55
Well last night's dreams were weird. From historical churches with ancient cults and exorcism schools (convenient placement there), to fighting against a zombie horde invading random suburbia with one of those magic movie katanas that is more lightsaber than steel in it's ability to remove limbs. I'll take zombies apocalypse and horrors from beyond space time over my usual anxiety dreams.

Sunday 17:19
Last night after 'Black Panther' we stopped by the nearby Half Price Books. I didn't get anything, nothing I couldn't live without, and I have plenty of book shopping plans for the trip to Providence. But I did find, in the rare/nostalgia section, volumes one and two of "The Encyclopaedia of Russian Crime Tattoos." Not something you find in bookstores every day. Almost got them for the oddness factor, I think they were $30 each. (If anyone is interested in them, I can send you the info of the store, I'm sure they'd be willing to ship for a reasonable fee, or I could pick them up and you could pay me back. I'm sure one of my author or game designer friends could make good use of them)

Sunday: 19:32
Self quote of the day.

"Must try to stop reading the Latin aloud, just frickin' Google it!"

Sick fox is recovering

Not been doing good healthwise. Thought I had a bad sinus infection, but I woke up yesterday in major pain centered around a tooth. So yay, dentist. I'm very phobic about dentists. They ended up extracting the tooth, which was a royal pain in the jaw because I'm a mutant, and I have extra roots that extend deep into the jaw. So it took forever to extract, I had to repeatedly remind myself that clenching up every muscle wasn't going to help things. Still I came out of it in more pain in my joints and neck than in my jaw. My hands were shaking and I felt light headed most of last night, and I barely slept. Took today off as comp time (working on President's day, a Carcosa Corp holiday). I'm mostly spending today eating soft food and watching 80's horror movies. I'm hoping I'm back to normal enough to spend some time with friends tomorrow.

Providence trip is a week from tomorrow. I'm kind of a basket case about it at the moment, the trip, the state of me, etc. To be honest, I've thought about canceling it...will decide later on. 'Try to avoid major decisions when depressed, in pain, or stressed'. So we'll see. *sigh*

On the bright side I've read a lot of good books in the last week. I highly recommend 'Widow's Point' by Richard and Billy Chizmar, a classic ghost story that grabs you and doesn't let go. If you like military sci-fiesque, 'The Void' by Greig Beck won't let you down. Super-soldiers vs space monsters. If you rather have movies, 'The Ritual', an adaptation of Adam Nevill's novel will convince you to never go hiking again. Or if you want horror comedy gore, see 'Victor Crowley', the 4th 'Hatchet' movie. So that's my random one line reviews.

That's about it. Hoping I can make til bedtime tonight, and get some real sleep. I'll also like it when my body stops being in full flake mode. Have a good night boys and ghouls.

Liber Cultes de Vulpes

Well my idea about transferring my Facebook posts to my blog didn't work for the last couple of days. Too busy to transcribe. So, instead I thought I'd talk about something near and dear to my heart. Books.

Half Price Books is a chain of used book stores, quite a few in Texas and other scattered across the US. The flagship store is in Dallas, north of SMU. I like going there because they have a lot of book turnover. The downside is, occasionally my book expenditures are a little...crazy. Today was such a day, also, things got weird.

First part reminded me of the opening scene of a horror movie. I walked in, by a display of journals and notebooks, and the word 'Satan' caught my eye. Odd for a journal... so I looked. It's a 50's hardback about diabolism and assorted related stuff, mostly translated from a French medical journal about religious Psychology, if I'm reading right. Lots of S.J. (Jesuits) as article authors. It should have been in the rare/nostalgia section, but I guess someone was being silly. So yeah, I grabbed it. As I was wandering around the store, I kept thinking. "Jeez, I've seen this horror movie where the lead finds a random book on Satan in the first act, and then all hell breaks loose.' Which had me giggling. I may leave the book in a box of salt though...just in case.

I found a number of other odd books. A hardback collection from the 40's of weird fiction edited by August Derleth, 'The Night Side'. Not Arkham House, the publisher is Reinhart, which I haven't heard of before. Nice book, some authors I don't know, but it's got Lovecraft and Machen and Dunsany. Bloch and Wandrei and Kuttner as well. Also for a reasonable price, or so I told myself *wink* This was also in rare/nostalgia.

In the horror section I found a couple of S.T. Joshi edited criticism, a nice trade paperback of Chambers 'The King in Yellow', and two paperback story collections. One 'Cults of Horror' is a 90's DAW collection, with a reprint of Karl Wagner's 'The Sticks', and one of those classic covers. The other is 'Tales of the Occult' from the 70's, with more Machen, MR James, Blackwood and some other authors. Always good to find old friends in books. Last was 'The Green Man' by Kingsley Amis. The back blurb mixed words like 'horror' 'satire' 'post-Lovecraft' 'slapstick' and other weirdness. So I grabbed it, odd to find that mix of words anywhere. So yeah, a lot of good things in the horror section for me.

I also picked up a Eurohorror flick, 'Beyond the Darkness' which seemed weird and up my alley. It's playing now, pretty standard Italian horror bizarre...with the plus of a soundtrack by Goblin, same band that did the music for 'Suspiria'. I saw a couple of other movies I wanted, but not for the price they were asking. Then after some more wandering in the rare book area (No I don't need an 18th century book with a Latin title that sounds like it's out of Lovecraft's library...it was a medical text I think), I headed over to the religious/metaphysical/occult section...

The occult side of things seemed to be the usual Wicca and related stuff, with a fairly nice selection of 'the history of witchcraft', but nothing that leaped out at me. Same with the Druid side of things...but under the actual 'Occult' shelf, there was something that had me written all over it. A Princeton University press work on Greek and Roman Necromancy. Author is Daniel Ogden. Hits a number of my buttons, ancient history? Check. Scholary work? Check. Esoterica? Check, double check and mate. Plus I got a good deal on it, about half what it seems Amazon wants for it *grin* I think that just leaped to the head of the to read pile. They also had a big section on 'esoterica' (read Templars, Masons and Jesus conspiracies) and 'Gnosticism' (Dead Sea Scrolls, more Jesus conspiracies, and similar), but nothing else leaped at me, at least that I wasn't sure I already owned. Will have to do some organizing and list making before a return visit.

So yeah, my book hunt was fruitful as heck. Necromancy, random book on Satan waiting for me as I walked in, and lots of my favorite kind of fiction. Now if I suddenly go silent, make sure to not read aloud any of the books on my desk, and 'have ye words for laying ready at readie and stoppe not to be sure when there be any Doubte of Whom you have.' *grin*

Yog-Sothoth Neblod Zin
Vulpine

Vulpine, what is best in life ?

Yes, two posts in one week. Don't panic, everything is under control. It's been a pretty shitty week, and today followed the trend. But rather than vent about today, I want to talk about various good things I didn't think to post last time.

  • I managed to pay off my car a couple of months early. Yay new year and new budget.
  • I've gone almost 2 weeks without sugar in Château Innsmouth. No soda, no candy, no cookies. I'm a horrible snacker, so why keep temptation in the house? I've had a couple of sugar drinks while out and about, but it's hard to say no to cherry limeades.
  • I received a metric oodle of ebooks from a Kickstarter I backed, the dead tree editions will be here soon. So much Mythos.
  • Paul Naschy Fest is chugging along, on film 8 of 10. I'm really enjoying these, high quality transfers, cheesy horror, and lots of fun
  • 2 new Dark Adventure Radio episodes in hand. 'Rats in the Walls' and 'Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar'.
  • Also have an audiobook edition of my favorite S.M. Stirling novel, 'The Peshawar Lancers'.
  • I've joined the 21st century, and did my first online grocery order. Worked out perfectly, but some of the items from Amazon are so/so in quality. Not sure I'll keep using it or not though. Also going to try ordering groceries for curb pickup, see how that works.
  • It's the weekend, 2 days away from the databases from heck

    So that's 8 good things. Nice change from complaining about my mood. With that I'm going to call this a post. Night all.
  • Sleep? What the hell is that?

    Rough week. I haven't slept a solid, or even semi-solid night since the weekend. Patching prod Tuesday generated 2 overnight calls, and a similar issue got me called on Wednesday/Thursday night. Last night I didn't get called, however I woke up anyway at 3am. Tried to go back to sleep and failed. Got up around 5am, futzed around, then got a little more sleep. Then I got up, got ready for work, got to work...found out I'd left my badge at home. Without my badge it's kind of difficult to get around Carcosa Corp, so after I drove home to get it, I said screw it and worked from home.

    Last night was rough. Finishing up the non-customer facing production servers. And I had more problems with the last 4 servers than the almost 100 other servers. I ended up arguing with Nagios because the new version added weird example templates, creating phantom hosts that obviously were offline. Our cacti install just broke utterly, new version will not work with the old database. And since I didn't want to spend half the night fixing mysql issues, I rolled back to the snapshot I made before patching. (I had a bad feeling, and oh I am so glad I listened to it). *shakes head*

    I'm really exhausted right now. I took a nap after I logged out of work, well mostly I just lay there and listening to the white noise generator (beach sounds). Got up again, listening to The Black Stone right now, but I'll be going back to bed soon. This weekend is a social get together tomorrow, and Sunday is probably going to see 'Murder on the Orient Express'. Plus the chores and stuff. Oh, in book news, I picked up something special. Many years ago, my uterine sibling was given a copy of 'The Collected works of Edgar Allan Poe' by a teacher. It was this epic gothic looking book, printed in the mid 20's. It really does look like something you'd read aloud from to summon 'something'. I 'borrowed' it for years, was how I got into Poe, right before I discovered Lovecraft. I eventually gave it back but I always remembered how cool it was. A few weeks ago, I decided to go hunting. All I remembered was the cover, and the approximate time it was published. After a few google searches I had the publisher, and looking on Amazon I found a copy for $20. Needless to say, I bought it. It came in today. And it's in amazing shape for a 90 year old book. Spine is pretty tight, no loose pages, a little browning, but all in all it's just about perfect. So it's sitting with some other treasured books of mine on my desk, next to my epic fancy editions of HPL, and other weirdness.

    So that's this week in Vulpineland. Now, I'm going to fiddle around with some things, and probably make it an early night. Ciao.

    Horror and the literate Vulpine

    Had a good Saturday. Woke up way early, not originally the plan but I had weird dreams and I just wanted to be out of that weirdness. Did the usual Saturday foo (store run, other chores). I was going to leave early to go raid a bookstore and be social with friends, but I ended up dealing with a fiddly database server, so I didn't leave til later than I planned. Not a huge deal, just felt a tad off. Finally did leave, and headed up to the flagship Half Price Books in Dallas. Sold a few DVDs back, as much to clear up space as anything else, besides a few bucks I got a 10% off coupon for my purchases. Useful that. I only picked up 3 books, a bibliography of Lovecraft (it's the older edition, so it's out of date on stuff but still useful), a book called 'The Magick Bookshop', stories about an occult bookshop, and 'Secret Agent 666: Aleister Crowley, British Intelligence and the Occult', which I've had on my esoterica wishlist for years. Should make for some interesting reading. Well, not the bibliography, that's going to be more for digging into randomly.

    After the book raid, I went to visit some friends and watch movies. We ended up shockingly watching horror flicks, well 2 of us did, while a certain raptor played Minecraft. Worked out well, got some puppy time, got to talk geek, was good. Had an amusing conversation with J about horror around the world, and we came to the realization that I've seen a LOT of horror movies from all over. I could rattle off theme differences between Spanish, Italian and French horror, or how Korean horror is what happens when you take Japanese and Hong Kong horror movies, and turn it up to 11. But I couldn't tell you about Vietnamese horror cinema at all, or names for Indian horror flicks (though I'm pretty sure Bollywood has some, and they have musical numbers). We also agreed that the world needs more Middle Eastern horror, and there's probably a ton of African movie makers who will scare the pants off people. (Not just South Africa, but Nigeria and others). So much horror, so little time.

    Came home a while ago, watching more horror (Hammer Films). Book time in a while, then hopefully getting to sleep in. A fox can dream at least.