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November 2019
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December 2019

Headache or death?

Having AFib hasn’t really impacted my life all that much. I have to take some medicine twice a day, which is surprisingly difficult to remember, and that’s about it.

 

Oh, and now whenever I get a headache I have to make sure I’m not having a stroke. That’s fun.

Good thing I don’t have headaches that often, though the other day I had a pretty significant one come on and was worried for a bit. Good news, everyone, it wasn’t a stroke!


Oh, right. Loot Crate is a thing.

A couple of years ago Loot Crate announced they were doing Star Trek “mission crates.” If you ordered a year of the crates (6 boxes of Star Trek related stuff) you would get a discount on a year of CBS All Access as a bonus.

I signed up on 8/23/17 and the first crate (according to my email) was shipped almost a year later. Turns out, Loot Crate had a lot of trouble creating these things. And while they included some fun t-shirts it was mostly crap I didn’t need. I got a few more of the crates and cancelled my subscription.

Then I forgot this thing ever existed. And forgot that I had paid for a year of crates (though I had paid for them 2 years ago). Forgotten about them until yesterday when the 3 remaining crates arrived on the same day. I was supposed to get them, according to the names of the crates, in July, Sept, and Nov of... 2018.

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Better late than never, I suppose. The only wrinkle is that the fine folks at Loot Crate didn’t tell me these were coming. They just showed up. Why is that a problem? Each box includes a t-shirt, which is good. But I selected my size 2 years ago when I was much heavier so I went with XXL. I’m an XL now, and these fancy shirts (and I do quite like them) are way too big. Bummer.

I’ve reached out to Loot Crate support, so I’m hoping I can exchange them for a smaller size. Though the response of “we are working on our shipping process so these late deliveries don’t happen again” that I got doesn’t make me think Loot Crate is great at actually reading the email folks send them (and that lots of people are contacting them about these very late boxes randomly showing up now!).


The Best Books I read in 2019

Tomorrow is Christmas, which means you might be looking for a few last minute presents for the kind of important people in your life. Why not get them an ebook? You can buy it at any time and it is delivered instantly! Plus, you can tell people you scheduled the delivery weeks ago so people don’t think you forgot to get them something.

I read 71 books this year and as is my tradition I will share the ones that I deemed five star worthy. Surely, any person who were to recieve any of these books as a present would be very lucky indeed.

Non-fiction

Like books about real stuff? I generally don’t, but I did read a couple that I very much enjoyed this year.

  • Underground by Will Hunt - I often idly wonder about what’s happened beneath my feet. Will is one of those brave souls who actually goes to find out.
  • The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe - Turns out this book that won lots of awards and everyone says is excellent... is very good indeed. And not at all what I expected.

Novellas

It seems to me that novellas are making a comeback. A bunch of publishers are pushing them, which resulted in me reading a few this year. The great thing about novellas is that they aren’t too long but you still feel like you’ve read something of substance.

Don’t start here

Since I’m a big nerd I, of course, read lots entries in series. I enjoyed all of these, but you shouldn’t start any of these series with this installment:

Novels

  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk - One of the odder mysteries I’ve read...and one that was very well written. Also, what a great title!
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia - I enjoy books that force me out of my worldview in interesting ways, and this one certainly does that. And the main character is a hoot.
  • Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett - Do you like books that have detailed magic systems? I do! And this book has that AND a pretty exciting story. Bonus.
  • Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller - One of the more exciting (and depressing) sub-generes of Science Fiction is CliFi (Climate Fiction). These books spin tales about a future shaped by climate change. This book does that very well without being heavy handed and includes a polar bear.
  • Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City by K.J. Parker - Another great title! K.J. Parker is on my list of authors whose work I just buy, but this book is a great intro for anyone interested in trying out his work.
  • A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine - A great modern space opera, and another book is coming soon (so you should start here).

Do we need Healthcare reform?

Last month I went to my doctor's office and ended up in the hospital (the whole story is here).

Here's a list of the high points of the care (which was very good!) I received:

  • The emergency room
  • A few EKGs
  • Some medication
  • Saw a few doctors for a few minutes each
  • Stayed overnight for observation
  • Had a stress test
  • Bunch of lab work

How much do you think 1 night in the hospital with pretty minimal usage of services costs?

$33,739

I'm not paying that much since I have health insurance and they have agreements that mean they are only paying a fraction of that cost... but if I didn't have health insurance I'd be screwed.

I probably wouldn't have went to the doctor's in the first place and my heart would just have kept on beating oddly until I had heart failure or a stroke. Fun!