Krista’s 3rd Kindle

March 27, 2013

Edited 4/30/13:
I have been using this Kindle for about a month and have read about a dozen different books on it.  Now that I have gotten a more hands on use with this model, I do not like.  In theory, and in practice, I do like the touch screen and how it works, but with use, it does not perform as it should.  Often it jumps ahead many a stack of pages, requiring the reader to flip back through dozens and dozens pages.  With longer books it seemed to do this more frequently, particularly as I got deeper into the book.  It would often jump from 40 or 50 percent, up to 97 or 98 percent.  This has proven to be extremely distracting and frustrating.  And for this fault alone I give this Kindle model a very unfavorable review. 


My second Kindle crapped out on me last week.  I had it charging all morning, and at lunch I went to switch it on for a little zombie lit time, and nothing.  I tried a couple times, since it had stayed on a few times in the past, but the screen saver persisted.  The green light would not stay on, but flickered on and off a few times.  I did the hard restart.  Like 20 times.  Nothing. 

I called Amazon, and they walked me through the same process I had already followed and declaired it dead.  Boo.

Of course it is well out of warrenty, but they offered me a few special deal options.  I choose the Kindle Touch.  It still have the E ink, paper like, not back lite screen.  It has the same size screen, but is a bit smaller since there is no key pad.  I asked for over night shipping and Amazon was happy to include it. 

This is part of why I keep coming back to Amazon.  They have flat out fantastic customer service. 

My new Kindle arrived the next day, already set up and ready to roll.  I have used it for four days now and I love the new design.  The touch is quick and responseve, which I was concerned would be annoying, but I instead love it. 




March 11, 2013

Today is the late Douglas Adam’s birthday.  If you don’t know who Douglas Adams is, Don’t Panic, and type him into Wikipedia.

Today’s Google Doodle is in memory of the man, and in honor of his work.

Cheers Douglas, and thanks for all the fish.


What to Read Next?

I am still enjoying the Kindle Self Published books, in particular the zombie and apocalypse lit.  Some of it is poorly edited, but a lot of it is really spot on.  And all the reviews are really helpful.  But I am at a loss, and nothing new is jumping onto my Kindle for me.

I feel lost without a really good book.  I usually have to force myself to stop reading so I can do other things.


what to read what to read…

My Kindle. Actually my second Kindle. you can read about the demise of my first Kindle in a blog post back in December by clicking here.

This is How it Starts in Zombie Lit

This is how a lot of zombie literature starts out.  Crazy homeless person found eating another person, suspected to be caused by drugs.

Just saying.   

News report – Man eating another man

A New World Series, by John O’Brien

I love apocalypse books, and I have mentioned previously my semi recent enthusiasm for the Kindle self published books and how they have made available so many more apocalypse adventures I can partake in while still comfortable in the safety of my home.  Recently I was reading the descriptions of some of the Kindle books Amazon was suggesting for me, and I read the review of John O’Brien’s, A New World: Chaos, and I decided to give it a try. 

The next day I was frantically looking John O’Brien back up on Amazon and downloading the next book in the series, A New World: Return.   

This guy is really putting a well thought out, enjoyable and action packed series together.  No joking either.  During the wait for book #3, A New World: Sanctuary, to come out, I read his Amazon bio four or five times.  And as I picked up from reading the first two books, John is not BS-ing the details present in his books.  This guy knows this stuff first hand.  His bio includes “a former Air Force fighter instructor pilot who transitioned to Special Operations” and “became a firefighter/EMT” among other qualifiers.  Yeah, so, it’s pretty clear, this John guy, knows his stuff. 

He speaks at length and detail about weapons and tactics, writing about military actions, using military talk.  He doesn’t dumb it down to the point of watering anything out.  And just the way the main character, Jack, thinks and plans and reasons thing out, rings truth.  And all survival details and necessities are being taken into account at a reasonable point in the storyline.

Like any other enthusiast, I am annoyed when I read a book with inaccurate details.  And although I am not a pilot or aircraft mechanic, I do work in aviation, and know enough that I would be aware if he was faking the use of acronyms, flight paths, the capabilities of particular aircraft, or the way a pilot would think in an apocalyptic situation.  Aviation?  John’s got that.   

Stacy Westfall riding with no hands
(Photo from Google images)

Side note, or rant, however you wish to refer to the following – I am an equine enthusiast, in case you had not caught that in many of my previous blog postings, or taken notice of my other blog, Blue Ridge Pony , that I frequently plug and also have linked on a side bar of this blog.  I am also a fan of fantasy literature, which often involves horses.  Hence, I am often annoyed at the inaccurate details involving horses a writer will lob into a story to help generate validity and realism.  On more than one occasion I have read details written referring to how experienced or skilled a rider is because said character is able to ‘steer his horse with only the use of his knees’.  AHHH!  Yes, a skilled rider can steer without their hands, but not by using their knees.  To hand out a very brief and elementary lesson in equitation, a rider controls his/her horse using his/her entire body.  But very simply, this idea of steering with the knees, probably directives from a rider using their heels and lower legs to steer (with ‘steer’ being a horrendous choice of word for this action).  But the knees up through the thighs would be used more for grip and balance, not steering.

And now back to our current blog post, complimenting John O’Brien on his mad writing skills. 

So yes, O’Brien knows his stuff. 

He also has drawn us some realistic dimensional characters.  The main one, Jack, is a likeable, talented, take charge mo-fo, that any apocalyptic survivor, that’s not hell bent on being an unsavory rouge, would want to be led by.  He gathers and leads and creates survival.  Sometimes I picture him like a younger William Schatner (who I happen to think is a pretty cool guy), but more frequently, I picture him pretty close to the image of John’s bio photo on Amazon.

When I finished reading book 3, I punched up Amazon to leave a review, because this book deserved one, and also to check for book 4, knowing it couldn’t possibly be there yet.  But surprise, book 4, A New World: Taken, popped up that day!  Way to kick ass John.  Those fingers must be on fire.    

John has a lot of threads going in this series, and several tantalizing foreshadows that I am eager to see carried forward.  I like what he has done with his “zombie” like characters, which are not very zombie like.  They are more of an original creation, with the similarity of eating human flesh.  But their heightened senses and abilities, and their functional communication, are not even loosely traditional zombie. 

I look forward to the next book.  And I have already added both John and Jack to my fantasy league zombie apocalypse team, or maybe I should be added to their team instead?

Horse Racing; Historic, Nostalgic, Entertainment, Monetary, Cruel

Grand National Track (

This past weekend the Grand National Hunt Race was run near Liverpool, England.  It is a world famous annual steeplechase, with history dating back to 1829. 

The Grand National is a real beast of a race.  It requires competitors to traverses 30 fences over an incredible 4 mile course taking about 9 minutes to complete.  This year 40 horses started the race.  The largest field consisted of 66 runners in 1929.  The age of the horse tends to be older than most US race horses with all previous winners falling between the ages of 5 and 15 years old.  Mares are permitted as are geldings.  Many of the horses that start this race, do not finish it.  The most horses to have completed the race was 23 in 1984 and the smallest number to finish was 2 horses in 1928. 

This is the copy of the National Velvet Book that I have

A little comparison can be made using the popular US thoroughbred race, the Kentucky Derby, which is run on the flat over a 1 ¼ mile course that takes about two minutes to complete.  It is run on a dirt tack and requires horses starting to be three year old Thoroughbreds.  The field usually consists of 20 horses and they do permit fillies.   The Kentucky Derby is the longest continuously run horse sport in US history. 

Both races have attracted the attention of animal activist for an array of reasons.  There were two horse deaths at this year’s Grand Nationals.  You can see in the video that the pack is diverted around one of the fences on the second loop to avoid an injured horse being euthanized behind a black curtain.  The statistics state that there are six deaths per 439 horses that take part in the race, taken from 2000-2010 (found that on Wikipedia).  Thoroughbred racing, speaking of the industry as a whole, is similarly pinned for several reasons including the young, under developed age of the horses that causes some of them to breakdown.  This industry is also criticized with how the horses are treated at the end of their very short racing careers.  Both races and industries do attract a massive amount of spectators and have become part of tradition with lengthy histories with a lot of financial backing.   And both the Grand National and the Thoroughbred Racing industry are trying to make compromises and enact better policies to minimize some of the issues. 

Velvet and Mi - Image from the Movie

The race is a bit nostalgic, and when I brought it up to a friend she said when she was a girl and read the book, National Velvet, she wanted to ride Pie in the Grand National.   Although now that she is an adult, the thought of riding in it scares the pants off of her.  I also read the book and watched the 1944 movie, over and over again.  I also wanted to be Velvet Brown, played in the movie by Elizabeth Taylor.  The book was published in 1935, with the story of this 12 year old girl taking place in England in the 1920’s,  when it was still common for armatures to take part in the race.  Although not women.  Velvet took an unruly horse and with the help of her best friend Mi, played by a young Mickey Rooney  in the film, trained for the Grand National.  With her identity and gender hidden, she took part in and won the race.  Quite the story for the horse crazed little girl! 

Sure sure, Velvet passes for a Russian Man, she doesn't look anything like a 12yo British girl. (image from the movie)

This weekend I looked at amazing and horrendous pictures taken at the 2012 Grand National.  I won’t place any of the photos in this post because I am not sure if that is ok since they are all professional and such.  But feel free to Google image search “Grand National 2012” for yourself.  If you have any interest in amazing action photography, or train-wreck-like-incidents caught on film, it will be worth your effort. 

I also watched the video of the race, which I have stuck into this post for your viewing pleasure.  Pretty wild.  Another friend commented that those animals want to win.  Which I think is pretty clear towards the middle where a rider-less horse leads the pack, and is clearly pushing to continue on in the lead.  The fences range between about 4 ½ and 5 feet, with varying ditches and drops added in.  Take a watch.  Even my husband, who has no interest in horses or any type of horse racing, was captivated. 

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