Books I Read in 2013

I had meant to get this post up sooner, but the nature of a blog is to be ignored and ignored it was.

In 2013, I read a total of 20 books. It’s a little shabby, especially considering the large amounts of free time I had compared to previous years (though, I suspect the lack of free time is what pressed me to read more when I could). As well, I certainly spent more time writing for myself than I have in previous years, so at least I managed to strike some sort of rough literally truce between my pen and the books on my shelf.

Here’s what I plowed through last year:

  • Stephen King – The Green Mile
  • Frank Miller – Batman: Year One
  • Robert Jordan – The Eye of the World
  • John Wyndham – The Day of the Triffids
  • Harry Harrison – Make Room! Make Room!
  • Michael Pollan – The Botany of Desire
  • Sigmund Freud – Civilization and its discontents
  • Tristan Das – Documentary Screenwriting
  • Linda J. Cowgill – The art of Plotting
  • Kurt Vonnegut – Player Piano
  • Marilyn Webber – The Writer’s Road Map
  • Alan Weisman – The World Without Us
  • Edward Dolnick  – The Clockwork Universe
  • Maurice Druon – The Iron King
  • Stephen King – Insomnia
  • Robert Jordan – The Great Hunt
  • Bryan Lee O’Malley – Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life
  • Ethan A. Kincaid – Blood Of Midnight: The Broken Prophecy
  • Robert Jordan – The Dragon Reborn

I also read an ebook called A Crash Course in Visual Content Creation but I can’t seem to find the damn thing or remember who authored it.

I had a good year in the non-fiction category. Most were insightful, others life changing: after reading The Botany of Desire I can honestly say I will never buy non-organic potatoes again (in fact, the majority of all vegetables I buy are now organic).

I wasn’t expecting to read so much fantasy, but that’s just the way the cards hit the table this time around. As always, I squeezed in a few Stephen King novels in there, but that’s to be expected since everyone needs a little junk food now and then (and it’s so plentiful and wondrous!). What I did realize is that I need to branch out my reading patterns a little bit more and dive into new authors, which I have fortunately already started this year.



Mr Goudas Rice (Is Very Nice)

I don’t usually read the labels on the food I purchase, but something happened in my kitchen today.

Sure, I’ll examine the ingredients list with surgical precision (you have no idea how often one company or another will try to sneak beef stock into something masquerading as vegetarian) and I maybe give a cursory glance at the nutritional content, but the rest of the label might as well be non-existent as far as I’m concerned.


For one, I discovered long ago that the other 90% of the label is reserved for the usual marketing bullshit.

You know, that section where they cram as many “top quality”, “100%”, “premium grade” and other nonsense praising the subtle aromas of grocery store wine. It numbing and it’s all the same.

Or so I thought.

Earlier this evening, as I paced my kitchen waiting for some water to boil I passed the time by picking up a near empty bag of Mr Goudas rice and, for whatever strange compulsion, I read the labels.

At first I was put off by the strangely constructed phrases, leading me to assume it was simply the victim of some criminal transliteration. But then, I realized I misjudged the flavour text on my bag of rice and, simply put, everything I thought I knew about product labels came crashing down before me.

Mr. Goudas wasn’t try to play ball the way your average bag of rice tries to play ball. Quite the contrary: Mr. Goudas is playing a game of its own.

Instead of finding cooking instructions, I found a three paragraph rant on why cooking instructions on products suck and how we should never follow them. At first I thought it was just a long-winded way of getting to the topic; but nope, the label had no intention of telling us how to cook rice.

Intrigued, I continued to read. I suddenly noticed the crazy jingle about the quality of Mr. Goudas rice (it’s so very nice) that was smack on the front of the bag as well as the offer to visit the company’s website . (dead as of 2023 or earlier) I knew I had to.

The company’s website is, to put it bluntly, absolutely, marvelously insane.

Picture your average website, circa 1997: there’s an animated intro with a theme song; we’ve got Rastafarian beans praising the quality of Goudas’ rice; there’s a scrolling banner pulled by an airplane; there’s an an e-Book about cow’s feet and Rastafarian culture, with the opening disclaimer that that one should use the washroom before reading it lest they laugh themselves so hard they have an accident (it even contains the occasional smattering of phonetically cringeworthy patois yaaaa mohn); there’s also thousands of words of biography, history, blog posts, assorted rants and everything else under the sun.

Mr. Goudas is a remarkably bizarre brand, which kind of also makes it remarkably awesome. I don’t know whether half of what I saw was satire or just out of fashion, but I do know what brand of rice I’ll be reaching for the next time I’m at the market.

Technical Support

Battlefield 4 Mouse Not Working Bug – Solved

Note: this post was published 10 years ago. Hopefully these issues have been resolved by DICE since then!

Battflefield 4 is a buggy, but glorious, game.

It’s a total blast and a damn shame the thing doesn’t work most of the time.

The first month out of the box, I was getting a blue screen of death every couple of minutes (fortunately, the guys at DICE finally patched that problem and my video card no longer self-destructs on entry).

However, the other problem that started plaguing me as soon as that one was fixed:

Battlefield 4 doesn’t recognize my mouse or keyboard inputs.

As soon as a join a server and the tactical map comes up – BAM I’m locked out of all my controls.

The weird thing is, I know my mouse and keyboard are working because I can see my cursor move on the other monitor and they are fine when I ALT+Tab back to windows.

So what’s up?

The Problem:

After some head scratching, I figured out what was causing the game to ignore my mouse and keyboard!

The problem is rooted in some older versions of Google Chrome and the fact that Battlefield 4 has to launch through a browser.

Whenever you have Chrome running in the background, the game will still think you are using the other browser and not register any of your inputs.

The Solution:

Like they say: “60% of the time, it works every time”

  1. As soon as you load to the deploy screen, ALT+TAB your way back to windows.

2. Close every instance of Google Chrome you have running (including the one that the game launched through), and then ALT+TAB your way back into the game.

3. Money.

I mean it: with Chrome out of the way, Battlefield should now recognize that you have a working mouse and keyboard!

I’ve talked to some other people who were experiencing the same thing and this solution worked for them as well, so I’m not crazy. (I swear)

Curiously, other web browsers seem to have no problem running the game – such as Internet Explorer or Firefox. (Edge wasn’t tested, neither was brave).

Sadly, Chrome is my default browser but I have no intention of playing around so that the game opens up in IE every time I want to play.

So the best we can hope for is that they fix this little glitch in another patch down the road.