2015 has been a year of changes behind the scenes here at Fuddster Dot Com. Changes at home, changes at work, and, it seems, everywhere in between. Our daughter and granddaughter moved back home, I changed shifts at work, health and injury issues seem to be constant companions as we get older, family and/or friends have died, moved, got engaged, got married, had babies, and all the other stuff that people do. And it all seems to have happened when I wasn’t looking.

Having our granddaughter at home has been exhausting, but a lot of fun, especially for Pop-Pop. We are two peas in a pod and she absolutely knows that she has me wrapped around her little finger. Watching her grow from a curious one year old to a devious, adventurous, humorous, and intelligent two year old has been an absolute joy.

Between the time needed to care for our granddaughter and the latest stresses at work after a year of coworkers taking advantage of a generous retirement package, I decided to move to 2nd shift. The new hours took some getting used to, even though I worked this shift before, but it will work out better for me and my family in the long run.

As far as the site goes, well let’s just say I haven’t been very prolific. This is my third and last post of 2015, down from 18 posts last year. I only logged 10 books as read this year, although I know I reread two trilogies that I didn’t bother logging to my 2015 reading list. In other words, I didn’t pay too much attention to Fuddster Dot Com this year. I’m not sure how much that will change in the new year, but with the new version of WordPress that was just released, I may decided to shake things up a little bit.

All-in-all, this was the year that started with a sprint and never slowed down as it flew by. We managed it as best we could; now it’s time to look towards the new year and get ready for whatever is coming.

Happy 2016 to all of you!

You Deserve A Break Today

In the spirit of Throwback Thursday,* I am posting this video of a McDonald’s commercial from 1971 that stars a pre-Happy Days Anson Williams (“Potsie” Weber), a pre-M*A*S*H Johnny Haymer (Sgt. Zale), and a pre-Good Times John Amos (John Evans).

You can tell this is from the early 1970s because there are seven adult men in this commercial who seem to work full time jobs at McDonald’s and are happy enough to sing and dance about it.

* I didn’t post this on a Thursday. If you happen to be reading this on a Thursday, reward yourself with a cookie.

Back To The Future, Too?

bttf2-fluxHappy New Year! 2015 is here, and as everyone knows, by October 21st of this year we’ll have hoverboards, flying cars, dehydrated pizza, fax machine mailboxes, Jaws 19, and huge flat screen TVs. Well, one out six isn’t too bad.

Back to the Future 2 references aside, I’m optimistic about this year. I’ll be continuing to enjoy watching my granddaughter as she grows from a helpless infant to an inquisitive toddler. I plan on reading both fiction and non-fiction of varying lengths and continuing to document them here. I’ve also decided to attempt to keep track of my recreational watching and listening, although I’m not quite sure what form that will take quite yet.

In any event, whatever 2015 is ready to throw at me, I’m going to try to keep track of some of it here. In the mean time, I sincerely hope that anyone who comes across this note has a wonderfully happy and healthy New Year!

As The Years Go Passing By

KaleighThis year will always be remembered by my wife & I as “The Year of the Grandchild.” From waking up in the middle of a cold January night and getting to the hospital just before she was born, to watching all of her firsts over the course of the last twelve months, to getting ready for her first birthday in a few weeks, it’s pretty much been “all Kayleigh, all the time!”.

Not all the highlights of the past year had something to do with our granddaughter, however. We managed to finally pay off the mortgage, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and I celebrated 30 years working for the same company. I attended the 2014 Philcon, a local science fiction conference, and met quite a few interesting people. I was also able to spend more time (and money) cultivating my newest hobby, listening to the Blues.

The year hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns, though. I slipped and fell on the ice in my driveway early in the year causing some permanent damage to my ulnar nerve. I was in an accident over Memorial Day weekend that totaled my car; thankfully I only suffered a scrape or two. I also lost one of my dear cousins to cancer at 50; he was the first in my generation of the family to pass.

On a much less important note, my recreational reading took a bit of a downturn this year and I’ve only written about half the number posts this year than I did in 2013. I’m going to adjust my reading goals for 2015, mostly so that the number of books I read next year isn’t my main focus. As far as writing goes, I’ll have a few thinks about it and decide what, if anything, I want to do.

So 2014 has had plenty of ups and downs, just like all the years before it and all the ones that are on their way. As always, the key isn’t what happens to you during the year, it’s how you handle both the good and the bad that really matters.

Here’s hoping you have a great 2015 on your horizon!

My September Reads, 2014

Book StackThe Hugo Awards were presented at this year’s Worldcon in London on August 17, 2014. As a supporting member of Loncon3, I was eligible to receive a copy of most of the nominated works. Thanks to my spring/summer reading slump, I didn’t get around to reading any of the packet until last month.

I also read the September issue of Clarkesworld Magazine. Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to much short fiction reading at all after that. Hopefully, October will see me getting through more of my To Read stacks.

Hugo Nominees: Short Stories

  • The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu [Winner] (9/1/14)
  • Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar (9/1/14)
  • If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky (9/1/14)
  • The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (9/1/14)

Hugo Nominees: Novelettes

  • The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal [Winner] (9/14/13)
  • The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang (9/1/14)
  • The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (9/1/14)
  • The Exchange Officers by Brad Torgersen (9/1/14)

Clarkesworld Magazine, Issue 96, Edited by Neil Clarke

  • Weather by Susan Palwick (9/2/14)
  • Patterns of a Murmuration, in Billions of Data Points by JY Yang (9/2/14)
  • Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by Xia Jia (9/2/14)
  • Falling Star by Brendan DuBois (9/2/14)
  • Her Furry Face by Leigh Kennedy (9/2/14)
  • Giants by Peter Watts (9/2/14)

That’s it for now. Now to settle in with a nice Pumpkin Spice… Something. It’s that time of year, after all!


Happy Birthday Bluesday

Since today is B. B. King’s 89th birthday, here’s a YouTube clip of his song Happy Birthday Blues from the 1979 album Take It Home.

And just because, here he is performing on his 85th birthday at the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival in September of 2010.

The B. B. King/Eric Clapton collaboration Riding with The King came out in 2000, which is about the time I started to add some blues to my otherwise uninspired listening habits.

Happy Birthday, B. B.!

The Bluesday Brothers

Thanks to Saturday Night Live and the comedy genius of both Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi, my awareness of the blues increased with the release of the movie “The Blues Brothers” in 1980. While Jake and Elwood were on a mission from God to save the orphanage where they were raised, Belushi and Aykroyd were on a mission to bring their love of the blues to a wider audience while making one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen.

Here’s one of my favorite scenes from the movie, with Ray Charles and the Blues Brothers Band jamming to Shake Your Tailfeather.