I Love Trashy Action/Adventure Novels

A recent discussion brought back to mind one of my favorite hobbies through the years – reading trashy “male testosterone action/adventure” novels like the Mack Bolan “The Executioner” book series.

I had a good collection of the first 25 books in the series back in the late 80s and early 90s, and would pick them up whenever I found them at flea markets and used book stores. When I lived in Austin from 1996 to 2004, I got my “fix” from a neat little used-paperbacks-only book store on Burnet Road called Book Exchange. I think I still have a lot of trade-in credit left on file there from when I cleaned out my garage one weekend…

Now that I’m in Houston I’ve been unable to find any neat little “hole in the wall” used book stores that carry tons of paperbacks and the “male adventure novels” I look for. Half Price Books is good for sci-fi and everything else. They carry plenty of romance novels (the Mack Bolan series is published by a division of Harlequin) but none of the actual Bolan series or spinoffs.

So far it looks like my only option is to rebuild my collection via eBay, but if anybody that sees this knows of good hole-in-the-wall used book stores in Houston, please let me know via email or comments – and if you’ve got a box of Mack Bolan books in the back of a closet, get in touch.

Anniversaries and HVAC

Amy and I met in person for the first time on February 14th, 1998. Due to stuff going on, we weren’t able to properly celebrate our 10th anniversary on February 14th this year.

We were married on March 31, 2001. So, we’ve been together for ten years, and married for seven. I think we’re going to spend our seventh wedding anniversary just relaxing at home, considering that we had a new HVAC system installed today (our old AC was mismatched, and turns out it was causing some condensation problems).

For anniversary presents, we each bought the other new computers. I’ll be upgrading from an “early 2006″ 2Ghz CoreDuo iMac (20”) to a “late 2007″ 2Ghz Core2Duo Mac Mini with a 20” Acer flat panel.

I have NO IDEA what I’m going to do with the iMac after I migrate everything over. It’s still in decent condition (has been my main system 24/7 for the past two years), works fine, and has another year of AppleCare left. I may just end up putting it back in the box and storing it.

Sharp and pointy things

I finally got most of my knife collection together for a picture.

I still want a Gerber Mark II, but they’re too expensive now since they’re no longer made.

Update: My ebay purchase of a Commander I Mark I variant finally arrived, and it’s in perfect mint condition – original box, and it still “smells new”, like leather and ozone.

Now I just need to find a Mark II or a Command II (single-edged version of the Mark II, made for cities or states where double-edged blades are illegal).

Just a minor speedbump on this weekend’s project…

I recently bought a Via PC2500E motherboard in order to build a low-power replacement for my current backup / rsnapshot system, a 2.5-year-old Dell SC420.

Got all the parts in, assembled the system tonight, and went to boot Solaris Express Community Edition; the latest release being Nevada B83a. I got the ISO image downloaded, burned a DVD, and booted the system.

For some reason, it boots straight into a grub prompt, and not into the installer or even a boot menu.

Oh well; now I have to spend another three hours downloading the latest Solaris Express Developer Edition, which is Nevada B79b. Hopefully it will work properly on the Via board.

I really don’t want to have to run FreeBSD 7; it’s ZFS support is still a little unreliable.

Finally got the ultimate iPhone case

I’ve had an iPhone since they came out last year, and ever since I got the phone, I’ve been on the search for the perfect iPhone case.

I started out with an iPhone Total Body Skin from BestSkinsEver (ShieldZone sells an identical product, at a higher price). This protects the screen, and adds some not-really-needed protection to the back and sides of the phone that gives me some peace of mind.

First, I started out with a generic snug form-fitting rubber/plastic case bought off eBay. It was okay (better than nothing at all), but didn’t quite fit right and started to “sag” and get loose after only a month or so.

My second iPhone case was the Incase Leather Fitted Sleeve for iPhone. I bought this one from the Apple online store, using part of the store credit that Apple gave out after the iPhone price reduction. It was in use less than a week; the case didn’t fit properly (too tight) and the stitching started to put little divots/indentations into the screen and body protective film. The port access holes never lined up right, and the leather bits on the sides of the phone would “roll” one way or the other. I eventually just took it off and threw it in a drawer somewhere.

My third iPhone case was the DLO Jam Jacket. This was a big improvement over the generic rubber sleeve case and the leather fitted case. However, I don’t use the iPhone earbuds and don’t need to carry them around, so I used a razor blade to cut the “earbud holder” off the back of the case. I used that case for six months or so; my only real complaints are that the texture and “tackyness” of the rubber used tends to attract dust and dirt and that the holes on the side for volume and mute access aren’t very user-friendly (I often had to just pull the top part of the case off the phone when I needed to get to the mute switch).

I was at MicroCenter tonight, and ran across what is, for me, the best case for the iPhone – the XtremeMac Tuffwrap. It’s got the same basic shape and “grip” as the DLO case but without the headphone stuff on the back, and has nicely-formed ports for access to the lock button, side buttons, and bottom dock connector. It came with a TuffShield screen protector, but I’m not using that because the phone already has a protective skin permanently installed.

Other than the generic rubber case I first got off of eBay, the XtremeMac Tuffwrap is also the cheapest case I’ve purchased for my phone, at $19.95. I don’t think I’ll need to find an alternative!