User Profile


Joined 11 months ago

Software engineer from #Pittsburgh, PA, USA. Opinions are my own, not those of my spouse, employer, child, or pets. In fact there are few areas in which we agree.

Interested in #FOSS and #Linux, as well as federated social nonsense like the #Fediverse and #XMPP and #Matrix

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ssweeny's books

Currently Reading (View all 5)

2024 Reading Goal

46% complete! ssweeny has read 7 of 15 books.

reviewed The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events)

Lemony Snicket: The Reptile Room (Paperback, 2000, Scholastic) 4 stars

Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a …

More darkly funny fun

5 stars

Really enjoying reading this series to my child. She and I both have a similar dark sense of humor and that fits well with these books.

The villain's scheme is more abstract and less gross than in the first one which is much appreciated.

Already started on the next one. I feel like we're going to blow through the whole series this year.

Carey Pietsch, Clint McElroy, Griffin McElroy, Justin McElroy, Travis McElroy: The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins (GraphicNovel, 2018, First Second) 4 stars

Delightful find at my local library

4 stars

I came across this book at the library, and, having heard of the associated podcast I decided to give it a try.

I've never actually listened to said podcast, and if I'm being honest I'm not a huge fan of the McElroy Family family of podcasts in general.

That said, this was a delightful read. As with other recent D&D live play adaptations into other media (see: "The Legend of Vox Machina") it really does capture the spontaneous humor of play at the table, while (I assume) cleaning up some of the diversions and focusing on the plot. I enjoyed the DM interjections in particular.

Definitely a fun read, and I'll be on the lookout for others in the series.

Alan Moore: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 (2000, America's Best Comics) 4 stars

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier is an original graphic novel in the comic …

Fun adventure story with a team of awful people

4 stars

Not sure why it took me so long to get to this. I'd already been a fan of Watchmen and V for Vendetta. I know there was a poorly-received movie some time ago which I haven't seen. Maybe that's what put me off.

I have a passing familiarity with the characters from their original stories, and that was enough to grip onto as everyone was introduced and we got to see how they got on. I did probably miss out on something by not having read the entirety of 19th century British literature before this, but one only has so much time for homework.

The story itself is quite good. It's fast paced, and the banter between the team is snippy and sharp. I liked the pastiche of a contemporary action serial magazine for boys, which added a bit of fun in the literal margins.

There's unfortunately plenty of …

reviewed A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1)

Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events (Hardcover, 1999, HarperCollins) 4 stars

After the sudden death of their parents, the three Baudelaire children must depend on each …

Does what it says on the tin

5 stars

Read this to my kid after we'd watched the Netflix show together.

I really enjoyed the asides to the reader. They reminded me a bit of The Hobbit even if the tone was quite different.

It's definitely very dark. My kid and I share a taste for the macabre so we both ate it up. It starts with a tragedy, then moves into a nice mix of farce and heartbreak. I'm excited to start the next one.

Atul Gawande: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right (2009) 4 stars

More the Why and Not Enough of the How

4 stars

I found this book much more interesting than a lot of nonfiction books I've read lately, but it still had that same feeling of "I want to convince you that this thing is good, so I'm going to spend 200 pages telling stories about people who were already convinced".

The stories were actually interesting, though. Demonstrating how experts in construction, aviation, and medicine rely on checklists so they won't trip over the mundane aspects of their jobs. I guess the point is to show that these respected professionals use checklists, so the reader shouldn't feel as if they were beneath them.

I could have used a bit more advice on how to make a useful checklist. There was some in a few places, but it was definitely not the point.

Kelly Weinersmith, Zach Weinersmith: A City on Mars (Hardcover, 2023, Penguin Press, Penguin Publishing Group) 4 stars

Earth is not well. The promise of starting life anew somewhere far, far away - …

A human is, to a first approximation, a pillar of liquid about two meters high, in which are suspended various moist and jiggly biological systems — digestion, waste storage, sense of balance, the movement of blood. All of these systems evolved in an environment where a 6-billion-trillion-ton sphere called Earth sat at the pillar's foot.

A City on Mars by , (Page 43)

Most of this book is about how settling space is much harder and less desirable than most people think. I'm glad it's so funny because otherwise it would be too depressing for my nerd brain.