What I Read in February

A little late posting this but I’ve been busy, the weather has been shitty, and my mood matches the weather. But here are the books I read in February:

The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskens. I had really high hopes for this one. It had a good rating from GoodReads and the premise was interesting. A student doing a paper interviews a terminally ill convicted murderer. The writing was a bit lacking for me and despite an entertaining start, it collapsed soon after. Meh.

Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe. This one feels pretty dated and although a precursor to other books in this genre, I just wasn’t feeling it.

The Pillars of Hercules, by Paul Theroux. I’m good with Theroux’s travel writing for about 300 pages and then I want it to end.

Keith Richards: The Biography, by Victor Bockris. Probably the best read of February for me. I’ve read Richards autobiography but it’s nice having the light pointed from a different direction.

Goodbye Things, The New Japanese Minimalism, by Fumio Sasaki. A friend recommended this to me when they recommended Marie Kondo. Poorly written (or poorly translated at least), and completely nonsensical. It’s weird for an author to hate consumerism and then herald Steve Jobs in the next sentence. (He was referring to Jobs’ hardware designs, but, COME ON!) The only thing I got from this book is that minimalists are the vegans of materialism.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I’m an introvert so I really don’t care about “winning” friends nor influencing people. But, this is the granddaddy of self help books. So I thought I would give it a spin. And the only thing I learned from this is that self help books have always been filled with nonsensical dribble. Carnegie’s basic principle is, just be agreeable and people will like you. Hard pass.

The Hunger, by Alma Katsu. Because the Donner Party wasn’t fucked up enough, let’s add some supernatural element to it. Ok, it worked for me!

Pancakes in Paris, by Craig Carlson. True story of an American who opens up an American breakfast diner in Paris. Quick and entertaining. Made me crave for pancakes at 11pm. That’s not good.

Elevation by Stephen King. A novella! Unfortunately, it was one of the worst stories I’ve read by King. But the amazing thing to me is even when King is far from his best, he’s always entertaining at the very least.

The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris, by Alicia Drake I’m not into fashion and had to skim some sections but the actual biographical part on Yves Saint Laurent was very well done.

And did you read anything good last month? Post your recommendations in the comments.

I Got Around to Watching Tidying Up With Marie Kondo

I’ve been hearing about Marie Kondo lately. She’s a guru of tidying up and has a show on Netflix (along with several books) that is all the rage these days. So I thought I’d give it a try.

Forgive me for being a bit snarky on this but, isn’t what she does just basic common sense? One of her tips is to use boxes to organize some of your stuff. BRILLIANT! I would have never thought that we could use boxes to organize shit. Granted, I usually don’t take a moment to thank the house before cleaning. I watched about three episodes before giving up (they were basically the same show, different people) and maybe it’s because the people she is helping out are borderline hoarders who need somebody to tell them that they have too much shit. I dunno. The idea to only keep things around you that spark joy is a lovely sentiment but stupid in practice. A can opener really doesn’t spark joy for me, yet, I kinda need it.

I can’t believe we need a Netflix show now to teach us how to tidy up a room. I need more coffee.

Why ‘ji32k7au4a83’ Is a Remarkably Common Password

From Gizmodo:

For too many people, moving the digits around in some variation of Patriots69Lover is their idea of a strong password. So you might expect something complicated like” “ji32k7au4a83” would be a great password. But according to the data breach repository Have I Been Pwned (HIBP), it shows up more often than one might expect.

This interesting bit of trivia comes from self-described hardware/software engineer Robert Ou, who recently asked his Twitter followers if they could explain why this seemingly random string of numbers has been seen by HIBP over a hundred times.

So why then??

Several of Ou’s followers quickly figured out the solution to his riddle. The password is coming from the Zhuyin Fuhao system for transliterating Mandarin. The reason it’s showing up fairly often in a data breach repository is because “ji32k7au4a83″ translates to English as “my password.”