Today we’re celebrating the birth of Fritz Lang, although some people might not be as some of the information I’ve found points to him not being a nice person. I admit it’s challenging to find information about him as the resources I’ve found sometimes contradict each other and themselves. He fought in WWI in Russia and Rumania for the Austrian army and while he was recuperating from war wounds/shell shock he started writing. He started directing films in about 1918 producing his most famous movie, Metropolis.
Lang was married three times with the marriages finishing when the current wife found proof of his infidelity. He was apparently quite hard to work with and many actors refused to work for him. One of the flood scenes in Metropolis took 14 days to film, it included the regular cast and 500 children from the poorest districts of Berlin in a constantly flooded set which Lang deliberately kept at a low temperature. One simple scene where Freder (our hero) collapses at Maria’s feet took three days and at the end the actor Gustav Fröhlich could barely stand from exhaustion.
He may not have been a nice person to work with but he did produce amazing films. His masterpiece is Metropolis, a movie that’s been celebrated, cut, mostly restored and adapted while the music has been released and rerecorded in many different forms. Originally it was too long for the cinemas so a number of communist themed scenes were cut, Georgio Moroder restored and re-released it with a new soundtrack (one of the songs was done by Queen and their filmclip is something that flashes through my mind on many occasions), in 2008 a copy of the original movie was found in Argentina after much restoration work most of the movie was recovered and this was subsequently released in 2010.
I felt like a character in a book today, we’d run out of electricity. Every time I turned around to do anything I need electricity and there wasn’t enough to even boil the kettle. Gah!
All hail the internet!
A few days ago we had internet problems. This started on Monday night and wasn’t fixed until Tuesday lunchtime. Interesting how when something like this happens all we want to do is on the internet. I couldn’t write anything for the blog (but that’s okay as I could read the book I had in mind for Mondayitis), I couldn’t do Facebook, Twitter or any other online writing or researching or… I think you get the idea. I did manage to finish my book in time then drove off to a cafe on Tuesday where I sat and wrote, you can read the results here.
What was interesting about the lack of internet is the accessibility we have. Both of us have smart phones, the OH has lots of data available (I’m sure this makes no sense to people who don’t have smart phones) but I was running low and didn’t think to bot off the OH’s hotspot. One of us had very slow internet while the other did stuff offline.
There’s a wonderful forum called Whirlpool which is the go-to place for all technology problems. We were able to monitor the discussion and get an estimated time of repair using Whirlpool. There were suggestions reminiscent of the IT Crowd such as ‘turn it off, then turn it on again’ and much discussion including the specific network exchanges the people were on. As it turned out a part had broken, the replacement had to be taken to the site and installed. Besides being in Perth, I have no idea of where the location of the server is and where they have to get the parts from. The thread is currently up to 10 pages and ongoing. Most people were back online Tuesday lunchtime but it seems some people are having ongoing problems.
Onto the electricity.
Last night we lost some power, very strange as some things went off and others were working intermittently or strangely. The kitchen fluorescent lights had this very loud hum, the dishwasher beeped at us and the computer turned off and wouldn’t turn on again. There were other problems with other equipment and we went round the house testing and discussing the possible insurance claim before finally going to bed. The electricity did come back in part at some stage so we were able to use the computers for a while but bed was the easiest option.
This morning things were no better so I rang the electricity company before breakfast and they promised to have someone out within four hours. It’s a good thing I popped straight into the shower as they arrived about half an hour later, so much for the four hours. After some time working in the rain they knocked on my door to tell me they’d replaced the service line and could I test things out. Everything worked fine! The line running from the electricity wire to the house had been damaged, it was the original line and the rubber covering had worn away so it’s no wonder we had problems. All our equipment seems fine so I don’t think we’ll be putting in any insurance claim this time.
So that’s two problems this week, I do wonder what the third will be.
Riley was a good sort. When his business was doing okay it was he advised me to study and better myself, when things weren’t looking good for aviation in general he gave good advice on getting hired by Rawdon.
Riley managed to keep himself working as a pilot and his name came up when the gentlemen decided to enter the Laverock in the Brussels Race. He was a good pilot, I never could work out how he crashed in Hurstony and he never regained consciousness so could not tell me. When they asked him to pilot the Laverock he showed he understood their dilemma and how little money they had for the venture by only asking for expenses and 15% of the prize money.
It was only when I met his cousin, Helen, I found out how good he really was. I’d mentioned to him my proposal to her and how I’d had lost the prospect of that job in rubber and couldn’t afford to marry. He’d brewed on that conversation and as his wont made a rough draft of a letter to her, the pages were found in his pocket when he crashed. Roger Lechlane was at that time engaged to Helen Riley and also engaged in winding up Riley’s affairs, he handed the rough draft to Helen and enabled her to break off their engagement. All this she told me on that corner near Northleach.
Riley was a good sort and we toasted him at our wedding.
So, here I am behind a table at the MSFC Mini Con for 2013 waiting to pounce on unsuspecting persons to talk to them about Pratchett and Discworld. Well, not entirely unsuspecting as I’d already had to make a presentation at the opening ceremony.
The Melbourne Science Fiction Club run a mini convention every year and fan clubs are invited to have a table and make a brief presentation at the opening ceremony to introduce yourself and your club to (hopefully) new and strange people. Normally this is held at their home base but the building is being sold and they’re having to pack everything up and look for somewhere new to house their library and hold weekly meetings so this year it was held in Parkville. Nice location and I didn’t even get lost driving there.
I got a bit carried away and bored with my whiteboard. It started with the official words and you can probably read them if you scroll in a lot or if you prefer this is the text:
GODDES AND MEN SAIDE IT WAS NOTTE TO BEE, BUT THEY WOULD NOTTE LISTEN!NULLUS ANXIETAS V*Now In Glorious Octocolour!You are cordially, warmly and enthusiastically invited to join us as a Guest at the Fifth Australian Discworld(TM) Convention. Walk the red carpet at Novotel Parramatta, Sydney, NSW from Friday 10th April to Sunday 12th April.Daring Chases! Dancing Trolls! One Thousand Elephants**!
Anyway, the minicon was great, very laid back with only one panel at a time. The loudspeaker system worked very well, so well in fact that the people seemed to be in the room with us. It is highly possible they came into our room calling loudly about the next panel but I wouldn’t dare tell you that.
November has been a frantic month and as I get to the end I find I’m doing stupid things, this includes leaving my camera on macro and taking photos from far away making the photos absolutely useless. I had a photo of a typo and another of a typical Australian tree but I’ve had to ditch both of those. All I have is this photo of a llama standing on the back of a ute, there are two but I was driving at the time and couldn’t tee up the photo properly. Don’t ask why a llama is standing in the back of a ute.
Just because one photo isn’t enough I’m pulling photos of books from my archives at random.
Astrid Lindgren also wrote the Pippi Longstocking books. I loved them when I was young and obviously someone else loved them too as there are movies, several movies made at different times. I have yet to see any of them.
Street directories can be very collectable. I sold this one earlier this year on eBay. The thing about street directories is the collectors generally want all the editions, I’m sure some people want specific years but their in the minority. Melways are more collectable than Morgan’s, if I’d had a Melways in this condition from this era I would have doubled my money.
I rang the radio yesterday, the discussion was on anthologies and I rang to tell them about ASIM. I was so nervous I didn’t manage to say much more than the name and how they have many different authors.
Just because I’m really organised I’m doing this today instead of combining it with yesterday’s post.
I’m very excited to have been given two Bananagrams to giveaway. If you look at the photo below you’ll find some of the letters from Bananagrams scattered on my table, your task is to make the longest word possible from these letters and post it as a comment. You may only use letters in the photo, you may not use any letter twice and I won’t allow any punctuation. I must be able to find your word in a dictionary, I favour the Merriam Webster. It would be nice if you also followed my Facebook page.
You have until midnight AEDT Friday 13th December 2013 to get your entries in. If there are multiple words the same length the winner will be drawn at random by me literally throwing the words at someone until they catch one and only one. I’ll do this at the new Discworld klatch on Sunday 15th December at Notions Unlimited and post the results the following day. Only open to Australian residents.
If you don’t win you can always buy Bananagrams at your local toy shop.
Bananagrams is yet another great gift idea. For a change this one is based on words. It reminds me very much of scrabble but you don’t need a board and lots of rules. It comes with 144 letter tiles and rules for a number of different games. I tried out one game on my own and came up with the following word grids fairly quickly.
You can play it in many different forms with as many as eight players. The instructions say it’s for ages 7 and up but I’d be happy to let anyone who can read play with it. It’d be great for helping with spelling and teaching new words.
If you have a child who struggles with the physical act of writing but has no trouble reading I’d be suggesting you buy two packs as they’d be really good for both parent and child to leave messages for each other. I know that’s not helping their writing skills at all but you’ve got to keep them involved somehow and I’m sure this could gradually lead to writing at some stage. Some children can read from kindergarten age but their fine motor skills are not advanced enough for them to write and this would encourage them to write short sentences without putting them in front of a computer. So long as they’ve passed that stage where they put everything in their mouths…
The zip up banana case is small and light enough so you can take it almost anywhere. Great for travel, hospital, or even (surprisingly enough) at home.
Many people have bad memories of me and yet I am just a sword. Made by elves with all their skill I surpass so many other swords, well made I am and give skill to a skilled swordsman I do. Brom took me from the dead hands of Morzan with what intent I know not. He gave me to Eragon to forge a new story.
Ah, Eragon. I knew, from the moment I felt his hand on my pommel how much promise he had. We spent much time sparring with Brom until, finally Eragon understood from within his whole body how I should be used. From then I looked forward to forging memories anew. Much time it took until my name became a force for positive, I was reviled and hidden for far too long.
I knew Murtagh not when we first saw him, he was much younger when he last picked me up. Grown, yes, he has grown many times and become a good sword fighter in his own right. Proud I was to see him grown so well.
This is part of my loot from Tez, you should read her blog as well. We have similar views on reading but hers are expressed more eloquently. It’s a Harlequin Teen book but I was assured before I picked it up that it’s not romance and Tez was mostly right as there is a little romance but not terribly much and very much glossed over.
My name is Kestrel. Kestrel Murphy. NEVER call me Susan.
Who ever heard of a witch named Susan?
A year ago, I was on the white-magic side. Lately, I’ve been leaning toward the black. I blame the universe. What’s the point in being a nice little white witch in the universe I’ve got? If I could choose my own universe, I’d be a white witch in it. But black makes a lot more sense in this universe.
Not that I’m complaining. A witch never complains. But if I did, I’d have a lot to complain about. For instance: Richard Milhous Nixon High.
What’s a teen witch to do when she’s stuck in the most unmagical high school in the universe? Create her own “majix.” Take notes. And above all, avoid nasty classmates, heartless grown-ups and and boys who may prove a little too distracting for a serious teen witch to handle…
An interesting premise and one dealt with quite nicely. Kestrel is sent to live with her aunt for an unspecified length of time as her father has had a heart attack and needs some quiet…for some reason Kestrel is not peaceful I’m sure this has nothing to do with her being a teenager. Kestrel doesn’t want to go to her aunt’s but goes along and finds she’s a much better parent than her parents. This is the biggest lesson in this book and one I’ve seen happen on many occasions, sometimes we’re not the best parents for our children. Aunt Ariel believes in standing up for people’s rights and is very firm about it so Kestrel learns many lessons about standing up for oneself and also for others.
She also learns that sometimes the bad kid in school just needs a bit of steering to become good. Blake Cump is the bad kid who is out to get Kestrel and anyone who stands up for her i.e. Laura and José, but when José gets his big brother to help out things change and Blake becomes a nice person who helps others.
There is magic in this book but it’s focussed on assisting the universe to flow in the right way rather than forcing things to happen. To me the magic is incidental despite there being a lot of it, this book is more about fitting in and change within a teenager’s life rather than the magic. We do see things from Kestrel’s point of view, including how angry she is and how she feels she’s been thrown out of home because her parents don’t understand but she comes around in due course.
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to any teen.
There are advantages to following people on Twitter, distinct advantages. Not only do you get all the news and gossip but you might also get notifications about competitions and giveaways. The photo above is my loot from TezMillerOz. She is sent so many books for review on her blog that she eventually gives up and offers them on Twitter for the price of postage. I chose three books from the list and then gave her vague parameters and asked she fill up the prepaid satchel with books of her choice. I started reading Majix by Douglas Rees last night.
This was taken on a bus in New York. Look carefully to find the typo, I haven’t highlighted it for you but it’s in the last sticker.
The next three photos are the last of the advertising in NY for ordering food from Seamless. I took a liking to the marketing and took lots of photos of them.