Get kitten

I upload a lot of images when testing for various things. And of course, I don’t want to use any of my own images. So what would I do instead?

Kittens!

$ get-kitten

Downloading a 640 x 480 kitten
Downloading to kitten-1.jpg

$ open kitten-1.jpg

Perfect.

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Split a file with headers

I have a bunch of files with Arabic content that I need to split into chunks so they can be better run in parallel1. But by default, when I open them in a text editor, the encoding changes from windows-1256 to utf-82. I could use the Unix split command to break them into chunks, but I need to preserve the headers. So… how do I fix all this?

Write a script!

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Sherlock Holmes and the Miskatonic Monstrosities

Did not finish at 60%

I’m not actually sure what it is about the books. The writing is fine–it’s overdone in a way that feels ‘Holmesy’ with a Cthulhian creepiness throughout –but I just can’t get it to stick. And then about halfway, suddenly we have a few chapters of a flashback from entirely another set of characters, which I actually enjoyed reading more. But that’s not the book I started to read.

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A Column of Fire

The simple idea that people should be allowed to worship as they wished caused more suffering than the ten plagues of Egypt.

Four hundred years later… Sometimes things are better. And sometimes things feel like they’ll never change.

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Trojan Odyssey

He smiled to himself at remembering what a reporter wrote about him, in one of the few times his feats had gained distinction. There is a touch of Dirk Pitt in every man whose soul yearns for adventure. And because he is Dirk Pitt, he yearns more than most.

So. Homer’s Odyssey was real. But they weren’t Greeks but rather Celts and they weren’t in the Mediterranean but rather in the Americas? Sure. The baddies are a cult of Celtic Druid superwomen, all hot as heck kickass redheads? Sure. The evil plot is to dig a giant tunnel to redirect the Atlantic Current and freeze Europe?

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Valhalla Rising

Well that’s one heck of an opening. A ship on fire! Trying to fit thousands on a ship normally crewed by dozens! Mysterious baddies! Action on the high seas! One of the things I like most about these series.

Get through all that and… rescue in a submarine! More adventure! And a rescue by Clive Cussler! He gives them a bit more direct help than sometimes, but it works. Plus you get a line like this:

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Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows

You are far too stolid and unimaginative, Watson, to invent a tale like that.

Sherlock Holmes and the Shadwell Shadows is a strange book. In a nutshell, Sherlock Holmes and The Call of Cthulhu are both in the public domain now, so author James Lovegrove essentially took them and mashed them into this unholy (yet at times awesome) abomination. In universe, these stories are told by Watson as ‘the real story’, where all of the rest of the Sherlock Holmes mythos was fiction made up to hide the darker, Cthulhuian truths. They found their way from Watson to Lovecraft…

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Blue Bay Mystery

Vacation this summer? Let’s get purposely stranded on a tropical island!

There’s actually a lot more of the feel of the first book to this one, since they’re on the island for a few weeks without any way of getting more supplies other than what they can build and find themselves. They do have two adults along though: Grandfather and newcomer Lars Larson1–who previously got shipwrecked here … and apparently wants to go back for vacation now? Sure. And Mike again, who’s fun enough. Do any of the other children have friends to spoil with vacations from a rich grandfather?

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Atlantis Found

One of the things Clive Cussler does really well is take some bit of knowledge or lore and turn it up to eleven and see where that takes the world. Raise the Titanic! A treaty that sold Canada to the US. Lincoln kidnapped and shipped to Africa.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be that accurate to what actually happened, but almost all of the stories make a good ‘well it would be cool if it was true’. Atlantis Found is exactly that sort of book. You have a lost advanced civilization well before the earliest known examples that eventually became the story of Atlantis with a reasonable enough reason why we haven’t found any examples of them in modern day (until now!). The science isn’t perfect, but it’s close enough to make a good story. Add in some neo-Nazis and a doomsday plot? And you have classic Dirk Pitt.

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Mike's Mystery

So… the children own a town now? That’s cool. And Mike’s family (Surprise Island) lives there. Such mystery!

No, actually the mystery comes up when Mike’s house burns down. Which … actually ends up working out because instead of doing laundry (which she doesn’t care for) now Mike’s mother can make pies for a living. 60 pies a day! Sure.

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