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Captain Fantastic

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Everything posted by Captain Fantastic

  1. Yep. This was Ford's greatest failing with the feature. You can turn it off, but you have no option to make "off" your baseline. You have to push the button every single time you start the vehicle. Annoying isn't a strong enough word. Why? As mentioned before, Ford wouldn't get credit for it as gas-saving/pollution-reducing feature if the consumer had the option of just leaving it turned off. It had to be automatic (hence, the black market dongle solution that permanently disables it). Get the government out of my truck!
  2. Just finished A Gentleman in Moscow. Due to my schedule the past few weeks, I had to grab it in snippets where I could -- which is NOT how this type of book should be read -- so it took me a while to finish it, but thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless. Be advised that this is not a page turner when it comes to action or thrills, but the writing is stylistically superb. The reading experience is akin to sinking into a comfy leather chair with a glass of good whiskey (or, in honor of this book, perhaps vodka). In other words, the book is comfortable and thoroughly a pleasure to read. Bonus points for being educational -- a fiction story with sprinklings of Russian history in the 1920s-1950s time period in which it takes place. And a few unexpected twists. Of course, my tastes normally run more toward thrills than languid reading so I probably won't rush out to read all the other books by Amor Towles right away, but this particular novel is worth the time invested. I shall now return to the trash I normally read and enjoy.
  3. Aaaawwww....thanks for making my day, @facook. Very glad Hostile Takeover was worth your time. Hope you feel the same way about Second Son.
  4. Finished Billion Dollar Loser a couple weeks ago. The story of the spectacular rise/fall of WeWork and its founder Adam Neumann. Certainly interesting in terms of looking at the uber-crazy (pun intended) era of over-funded pre-profit "unicorns" of Wall Street. The book itself was good-not-great. It's the sort of thing Michael Lewis would write about but do it much better (no offense intended to the author). The challenge with the book was that it very much feels like a set of journalistic essays rather than a single-book narrative, which is not surprising because that's basically how the book came into being. For instance, The Wolf of Wall Street was compelling because it was written from the first person point of view (by the guy whom the story was about) so it held a nice, linear "here's what happened, when/why/how, and here's where I ended up" flow. And the book was partially business but much more so human craziness. Billion Dollar Loser takes snippets from various parties and alludes to the human craziness, but it's not exactly linear and probably tries to cover too many bases (totally understandable given the scope of the story). It's one of those "okay" books where, upon turning the final page, I felt informed but not moved. But definitely worth your time if you like reading about business successes/failures from a not-all-business point of view. Started A Gentleman in Moscow the other day (back to fiction! yes!). About a third of the way through. Enjoying it so far. Feels cozy thus far. Interested to see if it develops intrigue or thrills. Side note - Just noticed that Dean Koontz is doing a "Season 2" of his Nameless series. The first book is now on my Kindle. I think this is SUCH a fascinating (and anticipated) development for authors. Basically telling a series of linked stories and selling them one at a time - akin to the serialized novel so popular in the time of Dickens with Stephen King attempting to reignite it with The Green Mile years ago (anyone else buy those installments one-at-a-time like I did?). Anyway, I'm a sucker and kind of like buying "books" that have less than a hundred pages and paying $1.99 for it. They're short and readable in one sitting. And I'll confess to enjoying Koontz's Nameless series (who knew it was just "Season One" of the series?). Good stuff.
  5. Thanks, @Joe Mammy! If it helps the reading experience, my voice is like a cross between Patrick Stewart and James Earl Jones. Or perhaps my voice sounds absolutely nothing like them but that would be a cool voice to hear in your head while you read the book so knock yourself out.
  6. Thanks, @facook. Much appreciated. Hope the book proves worth your effort!
  7. About to sound hopelessly self-promotional, but since you mentioned trilogies, I'll post this for the whole team... Hostile Takeover (Volume One of the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy) is currently on promotion on Amazon. Kindle edition available FREE this weekend (Sat 5/22 - Sun 5/23). The book is currently ranked #1 in Amazon's "Suspense" category (nothing like offering something free to increase downloads), but it will likely drop back to the ranks of anonymity soon. The series is composed of thrillers (obviously) which are standalone stories but tied together with a few recurring characters and an underlying thread related to the bad guys. Some of our FBG readers have taken the dip and reported favorable results (THANKS, GUYS!!). All this to say, if you have a Kindle, feel free to download for zero dollars just in case you ever want to read it someday. Self-promotional commercial over. In books being read (the point of the thread), I'm in the middle of "Billion Dollar Loser" - story of the founder of WeWork and that spectacular flameout. About halfway through. Interesting. Shades of Wolf of Wall Street but not quite as compelling (significantly lower quantity of hookers and blow in this one). Still, seems worth the time thus far.
  8. Read the new Stephen King book - Later - last month. Enjoyable read. Fascinating that King has really chameleon'ed himself in his later years. It feels like maybe 50% of his books these days would fall under the "classic King" category (probably more like a third). No complaints here. I've always felt King is a masterful storyteller in whatever he puts his mind to (though he has had a couple of clunkers IMO...can't win 'em all). And even in writing outside his most popular niche of "horror", he still feels like King and is eminently readable. I'm now wrapping up another Wodehouse book - Thank You, Jeeves - which is fantastic as ever...though this particular volume would come under high scrutiny today given some of the subject matter (spoiler alert - two separate English gentlemen characters don blackface for various reasons). Not sure what's next on the horizon. I have some time on a beach coming up. Some sort of reading material will be held in the hand not gripping an umbrella drink.
  9. I've also just introduced myself to Wodehouse the past few months and didn't realize how dashed empty my life had been up to that point. The good news about the Bertie/Jeeves books is that Wodehouse's style didn't change much at all from the first to the last (whether this is a compliment or an indictment probably depends on who you ask, but I'm a big fan of the consistency). In other words, if you start with a later book, you aren't encountering characters who have changed dramatically over the series nor a writer whose style has "elevated" to a different reading experience. However, there are recurring characters that become slightly more meaningful if you've read the series from the beginning (and Bertie will sometimes refer to past events and how they've shaped his outlook in whatever unusual circumstance he now finds himself in). Whether you start with the first couple of books (which are set up as short stories) or the later novels (like Code of the Woosters, which actually maintains a novel-length narrative told in chapters), you're going to have a great time. Side note, you'll also find yourself wanting to use "dashed" and "rummy" and "what?" with considerably more frequency than before you read these books.
  10. Thanks, @Poke_4_Life! Very glad you enjoyed the books. The trilogy is complete but the door is certainly open to revisit a character (or two) in a future thriller, and that particular gentleman likely has more stories to be told. Having said that, I will confess that my next book (the current work-in-progress) is completely unrelated to the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy. It's going to be a mystery with plenty of humor, not quite as serious as the trilogy (though I did try to integrate enough humor in those three as well to prevent them from being "dark" since I prefer light moments even in "serious" thrillers). Thank you again - and to all our FBGs who have given the books a whirl - I really appreciate you guys.
  11. That's an entirely separate poll. Highly divisive cereal (and the most ready-made for a Seinfeld bit...they're not grapes, they're not nuts, what's the deal?). I used to eat them to feel healthy then realized how calorie-dense they are (though calories of relative quality). Cereal stays off my radar these days. So delicious, but I can't come anywhere near the recommended serving size and feel full. Oh, and I lost a tooth eating a bowl of FrankenBerry when I was little. Thought you all should be aware of this fact. Carry on.
  12. Bravo and congrats. Happy days ahead (with "happy" sometimes stepping aside in favor of exhausting, bewildering, frustrating and rewarding). All best to you and the whole expanded clan.
  13. Okay, this may come across as self-serving, but I'll put it out there anyway because I've had others in the financial services industry do this with positive results (Goldman, Merrill, etc.). I wrote a Christmas book a few years ago. Hardcover is out of print but I still have a few boxes for things like this. The Three Christmases of William Spencer hit #1 on Amazon's holiday book list and has 200+ 4/5 star reviews on Goodreads. Not saying that as a "look at me", just letting you know that it's legit and wouldn't embarrass you if given to clients. The "nice" edition is red linen, gold-embossed hardcover. It's fairly short (the audio book version is 57 minutes). And you can always check it out on Kindle for cheap. Anyway, if you're in a bind and want something different for your clients, I can sign/personalize books and ship them to you for personal distribution or directly to individuals. I'll typically sign something along the lines of "Warmest wishes for a merry Christmas and a thank you for your business on behalf of gruecd." (or whatever you want) Hardcover books are $14.95. I'll sign for free (FBG'ers get all the perks). But you'll need to cover shipping. For what it's worth, the book is fiction and family friendly (think "Chicken Soup for the Soul" warmth). There is a component of Christianity (the main character prays in the third story), but it's not a religious book. You can read more about it on Amazon. PM if interested. If not, no offense taken.
  14. That's great, DQ! Thanks for the shout out. Since this is our reading crew, I'll broadcast the news (please forgive the self-promotion). Very happy to announce that FINAL RECKONING was officially released on Dec 4th. Phew! This book wraps up the Hostile Takeover Thrillogy. If you've read the first two books (Hostile Takeover and Second Son), I hope you enjoy this one and find it a satisfying conclusion to the story. Beyond the thriller trilogy, if anyone is interested in a shorter, family-friendly Christmas story, please feel free to check out The Three Christmases of William Spencer. This was my first book and hit #1 on Amazon's holiday book sales once upon a time. 🎄 And if you want something completely different, Tango Six is a screenplay I wrote a year ago. It's an action adventure (similar vibe of action and humor to what you'd find in an Indiana Jones movie...but with fewer bullwhips). Not many people read screenplays, but if you like that sort of thing, please give it a shot. Who knows? Maybe one of these days it'll get picked up by a studio and become a real movie (um, if anyone happens to know a studio exec, I'm open to an introduction...). Thanks for the personal messages some of you have sent. Very glad you like the writing. Hope you enjoy the new one!
  15. Anybody else showing a zero for Chase Claypool this morning? Weird...
  16. I remember that one! No Kurt Russell but it did have one of the brothers from Simon & Simon. Cool ending IIRC, but can't remember whether he actually touched the mirror or if it cut to black right before his fingertips reached it. I do remember thinking it was the most John Carpenter'y music of all John Carpenter's movies (and that's really saying something). 😀
  17. Definitely a tough call on Kirk. I was a major believer that he'd step smoothly into the #2 WR role this season (and with that offense set to hum, my expectations were that the #2 role might even match the WR1 in fantasy points with Hopkins drawing the tougher coverage). Now I'm struggling with the notion of keeping Kirk (don't overreact) vs swapping him out for a guy like Brandon Aiyuk who could possibly take the reins as the top WR in SF...but who knows if that's worth more than the WR3 in AZ? Guys like this, do you cut bait and take a shot on another rising star (before their star has risen) or do you have faith in your original gut feeling and stick it out. I believe I'll be sticking it out for a couple more weeks. Intestinal fortitude! 😣
  18. You know, one of life's great pleasures is discovering an older book/author that you really enjoy. There are so many great works I finally get around to reading and--beyond having that sense of accomplishment of "phew! I've finally read ____"--they don't exactly sweep you off your feet. Finished The Duel by Anton Chekhov the other day. Book was fine (not a waste of time by any means), but I guess my reading sensibilities have never really jived with Russian authors. Meh. On the other hand (and the reason for this post), I've only recently discovered PG Wodehouse (pronounced "wood-house" as I later learned) and can honestly say my life was incomplete up until that point. And THEN realizing that this guy has been a mainstay as "the writer that other writers list as their favorite writer" forever, well, WTH? I guess it just blew right by me for years. Anyway, if you've heard of Wodehouse, you're saying "yeah, of course he's awesome, everyone knows that." But if you've never sampled his work, I'll just ask you, "does the name 'Jeeves' sound familiar?" There's a reason for it. These books--which are basically compiled short stories of the misadventures of Bertie Wooster and "his man" Jeeves--are brilliant. There are very, very few writers who can make me laugh out loud but Wodehouse does it on a pagely basis. How did I not know about these books?! It's often said that the two most difficult types of writing are comedy and horror, because done badly, one begins to feel like the other. I concur. That makes Wodehouse all the more impressive. I've only read the first three Jeeves books, but (since I don't often contribute on this thread other than to shamelessly pimp my own work) I had to light the batsignal just in case you other constant readers haven't yet had Jeeves in your life. Since these are older books, they're not all available on Kindle (I had to get a hard copy of Carry On, Jeeves through thriftbooks), but they're worth your time. Also nice that the format allows you to just indulge in a chapter/story here and there (as a break from more "serious" books) if you don't want to plow through the whole thing all at once. The unofficial reading guide is here. Good stuff. Carry on. 🙂
  19. So having nothing to do with anything beyond "no matter the topic, someone is exploring it on the internet...all the time", this article popped up today ranking the best TV theme songs of all time. Writer is clearly a Millennial who shows a wee bit of disdain for the world that existed before he was born, BUT he also recognizes the great art of theme songs had a golden age (and that age occurred well before the century flipped into the 2000s). I neither endorse nor decry this article. Just presenting for public consumption. Carry on...
  20. I hear you. That line of dialogue - and that shocking ending (at the time) - was a seminal moment of television from my childhood. I remember thinking "no way" and "that's the coolest thing I've ever seen." One more reason we're the generation that sees zero problem with Han shooting first. Okay, back to the music topic. Thanks for the sidetrack, @Sullie and @Osaurus. I may have to rewatch these one of these days.
  21. Not to wander off-topic @Sullie, but how was Magnum PI upon re-watch? Many fond memories of the show (and Tom Selleck is eminently watchable in anything) but not sure how it would be watching it again today.
  22. Auction last night (in the Dallas area, so Cowboys players are well observed), CeeDee Lamb went for $2 more than Amari Cooper (and Gallup for about half of Cooper's price). Granted, plenty of variables in an auction based on when players are nominated (CeeDee was earlier than Cooper so owners generally had more money to play with), but this is the direction the needle is pointing before the first snap. Right or wrong...
  23. Thanks for reading @shuke! No worries at all on the order. Second Son and Hostile Takeover are each standalone stories and can be read independently of one another. There is an underlying thread that connects them, and the third book - Final Reckoning - pulls that thread to join the stories and wrap up the loose trilogy. (Final Reckoning is currently targeted for release on 11/12) Hope you're enjoying Second Son! 🙂
  24. Eek! Totally remember that now. Embarrassed am I. 😳 Still, um, glad you liked it. 👍
  25. Hey, @prosopis. Not to be overly self-promoty, but since you specifically mentioned Southwestern mystery/crime, I'd be remiss not to recommend Hostile Takeover. Suspense/thriller that takes place in the desert of New Mexico. If you read it, please let me know what you think. 🙂
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