This one is worded very interestingly. If my gym programme didn’t work I’m sure I wouldn’t want my old body back. Anyway, how would they do it? Would they do surgery to pile back on the kilos? Maybe they’d force feed me as they do geese to get foie gras…what a horrible thought, no wonder I don’t eat foie gras. Put your suggestions below, I’m sure they’d be entertaining.
Found this book shop in the Oakleigh Centro this week. Didn’t dare go in, my To Be Read Pile is almost as tall as me.
This is one of the books I got in my loot from Tez as mentioned here. I can’t remember if it’s one those I chose or a random book but I’m happy it came.
Talent Borrows. Genius Steals. Evil Delegates.
It’s a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Pretender is back…and he’s got helpers.
As The Pretender’s disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and the FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won’t risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll – she’s beside herself and ready to snap.
The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch…
This looks to be a promising premise and I found it delivered…in spades. This book is well written, the idea that a psychopath will create a game and enlist other psychopaths to murder is very worrying but Ellison makes it work.
What made me really sit up and take notice was the blogger. Colleen Keck is a blogger who is making a modest living out of blogging about crime and helping to solve some crimes. We see how she works and we see her talking about verifying her sources to ensure she only puts out good information. To bring this terrifying idea of a game designed for psychopaths into my world made me both squirm and applaud. It was lovely to see blogging used in a book.
One thing I didn’t like was the use of plastic surgery as a disguise. From what I’ve seen of plastic surgery it’s nigh on impossible to change someone’s appearance enough to make them hard to identify and still have them looking really good. I felt this stretched things a little too far.
- Lots of murder, death and swearing.
- Challenging to put down.
I picked up this book specifically because it’s Ursula le Guin, she’s written a lot of books and all the ones I’ve read have been very good, I found this was the odd one out and I should explain.
Changing Planes is a series of short stories written as if for the tourist industry, whether by travel agents for as blogs is irrelevant. The idea behind the book is that when you’re sitting in an airport, bored, uncomfortable and waiting for a flight that’s delayed by several hours it has been discovered to be possible to slip from that hard, plastic chair to somewhere else, another plane and explore the countryside, eat and get to know the locals.
I found the book rather slow and boring until one story just had to be tongue-in-cheek and I realised the whole book was probably tongue-in-cheek and I’d missed this vital fact. In fact, when I look back into the book she makes mention of this in her Author’s Note. It doesn’t help much as I still found the whole book to be boring and hard to read. Each story was about a different plane so when one became too boring I could just force myself to finish the final page or two and then move on.
Normally le Guin has lots of excitement and adventure but this book seems to have been written in the same style as someone sitting in an airport awaiting a flight that’s been delayed several hours. It’s slow, very descriptive and doesn’t have much excitement. Although, I’m not sure how much excitement I’d expect from a travel book and this is essentially a travel book.
If you’re a fan of le Guin I’d certainly recommend it as so many people want to complete reading the set. Don’t expect to be excited, do expect sarcasm and lots of descriptive passages.
I think I’m just going to declare December a debacle month, if it can go wrong then it probably will. You know about the internet and electricity problems because I mentioned them a couple of weeks ago, I’m still trying to get the garage door opener fixed, well, Sunday night I broke my website completely. It’s a very good lesson in why we should do backups before upgrading anything. You guessed it, I didn’t do a backup, if I had the problem would have been solved in a few minutes and no-one would have known.
The details, just because I can.
My dashboard suggested I needed to upgrade my shopping cart so I did. The next step is to activate the plugin and that’s when the whole thing broke. No-one could access the homepage, I couldn’t access the dashboard but I could get into my cPanel over on my webhost…sometimes. Working on some advice from my shopping cart people I renamed the folder containing the shopping cart and hey presto everything is back to normal but minus the shopping cart.
Deep breath and relax.
Now I need to reinstall an old version of the shopping cart. There isn’t one available on the web and I don’t appear to have kept a copy on my computer. Clever but not a disaster or even a debacle as I have been planning on changing shopping carts for a few weeks, I’ve been hoping to put off swapping until winter when I expect I’ll have more time to do the work and that would give me plenty of time for research. Anyone looking to buy part-work magazines through me won’t find a shopping cart full of them, I’ll put a message up top that things will be back to whatever passes for normal in due course and that any buyers should email me directly.
It turned out we had three winners and with only two prizes I had to do as promised and throw the words at people until they caught two only. The words were:
All three words are in the dictionary, although the last one is a legal term I did find it eventually. I wrote each one on a separate piece of paper, folded them the same and threw them at my DD who finally managed to catch two of them. Well done to Sally and Emily for their words of transportability and irresponsibility, your prizes should be on their way.
As this was so much fun I’m thinking of instituting a similar game on my Facebook page using a points system. I’m thinking of allocating points for long words, unusual words and then points at random. Only the points allocated at random will be discussed, all others will not be up for discussion. There will be a minor prize once a month and a major prize once a year. As I haven’t made any proper decisions about the prizes I’m not announcing them as yet.
Thank you to all those who entered, you made it fun.
You might possibly, vaguely, have noticed there’s no Mondayitis today. Having lost yesterday I decided I didn’t want to keep people waiting for the results of the competition. I might do Mondayitis tomorrow or I might leave it until next week, I’ll make a decision as I go through the day.
Nice little typo here. These people did a good job on our showerscreen. Yes, I did drop in and tell them about the missing letter!
This is one of the most common typos, it’s so easy to miss that letter and then not see it missing. Spell check will not log this as an error as ‘you’ is a word.
A delightful display of Tom Holt books in the op shop in Murrumbeena. I didn’t buy any of them as they were closed.
This is an interesting typo as I can see it being a transliteration error, English is obviously not their first language.
You know, I had two whole paragraphs written and it read like self indulgent rubbish so I’ve just deleted every word and I’m going to write about a magazine I picked up an an op shop a while ago. It’s called the Smithsonian and is published by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. The Smithsonian had an interesting start it was funded by a bequest by a British Scientist, James Smithson, who’d never been to America and stipulated the money should go to his nephew but if he died without heirs the money should then go to the United States to set up a Smithsonian Institute in Washington. There are now 18 museums in the Smithsonian as well as a number of affiliates around the world.
The magazine has a lot of interesting articles and I’ve read it from cover to cover. What brought my attention was the cover article about cover art for pulp magazines. As you may have guess if you’ve been reading here long enough is that pulp magazines are very dear to my heart, many writers and many artists got their start writing and drawing for pulp magazines. This article makes it clear that many artists learned their drawing on the job, some of them were given a story and requested to give it decent cover art while others handed in artwork which was then given to a writer who’d be asked to write a story to go with it.
Some of the art work was really great and if you look at the photo below you’ll see what I mean. It shows a man in an incinerator holding onto a rope, holding his hand out for the gun the beautiful girl is giving him, the handcuffs intrigue me.
Many ‘real’ artists of the time felt this work demeaning so they threw the original out as soon as it was used, very little original cover art was kept so what little was kept is now worth quite a lot of money. Many of them are unsigned as
artists trained in the finest arts schools in the country considered this a lowbrow activity.
Ernest Chiriacka painted hundreds of covers for magazines such as Dime Western Magazine in the 1940s sometimes signing them “E.C.” but mostly leaving them unsigned
“I was ashamed of them,” he confesses.
The art was masterful and hardly subtle with bold brushstrokes, colours raw and saturated.
There are times when I’m reminded of the power of books. Robot Visions by Isaac Asimov was in a bundle of books I picked up, we have a lot of Asimov books and I’ve read all of them at various times in my life, some of them multiple times and I picked up this book to help fill in the gaps. Asimov was a prolific author having written or edited more than 500 books in his lifetime so I have a way to go to read all of his books as we’ve only got less than 100.
Getting back to the power of books. I opened Robot Visions, started reading and instantly both relaxed and was transported back many years. I may not like Asimov as he’s conceited enough to write himself into his own books but he was good. He was also a scientist so the science parts of his books should be sound (not that it worries me too much as I don’t have a scientific mind and don’t understand many of the concepts, but I do enjoy looking at some of the ideas and looking around now to see how those ideas have entered reality). I found it interesting how I was transported back to my childhood when I first read Asimov and also how it relaxed me.
Many of the stories used computers and robots…actually, all of them…and I found it very interesting how Asimov predicted so many robotic and computer ideas but still had computers being incredibly big and still had them using tape for their programmes. It was truly interesting how in the 1970s when he was writing he couldn’t see how computers would become smaller and use different methods of transferring programmes from one computer to another.
Just to give you a for instance with how far we’ve come with computers. My mobile phone has more computing power than the computers that helped land men on the moon. My phone which is small enough for my hand and I can carry around in my pocket! When I first got my hands on a personal computer in the 1980s for sustained computer time we were still using floppy discs and every time I wanted to play a game I had to insert the 3.5 inch floppy disc to load the game. The computer had a half a mg of memory and I considered it reasonably fast. It was very big and cumbersome and I was scared to turn it on by myself. I now use an iPad with 16gb and happily take it places and use it for work, for taking photos, for playing games. If you look at the photo above it was taken on my iPad and emailed to my computer for rotating and cropping before inserting it into this article (I’ve used it in a previous article as well).
Slightly digressing before I publish this article. That computer I used in the 1980s had a very basic word processing programme which made it really easy to write letters, before then you needed to use a lot of DOS commands to do anything much but this programme (Microsoft Word, first released in 1983) helped to change that. It made it possible for people like me who couldn’t remember commands to be able to produce decent looking documents. It was the first word processing programme designed to be used with a mouse rather than a keyboard and made things so much easier and possible for many people to transfer from manual or electric typewriters to the computer.
I have known much hardship in my life and much abuse but I will always remember those who looked after me when I was young. One of those was John.
John Manly was the coachman who worked for the Squire. They were both good men but John knew when to calm me down and when to give me my head. The days I’d been too much inside he would tell me to calm down until later and then gave me a good trot to get rid of the ‘fidgets’ as he called them, I would come back to the stable feeling much calmer. It’s not good to be inside all the time and John knew that.
He treated all the horses well, gave us good feed and made certain we were as comfortable as it was possible with the saddle and all the other accoutrements, I never liked the bit but the shoes became a part of me so that when one came off I was in trouble and became lame.
I am sad I will not see John again, I miss his gentle ways.Black Beauty
Today I’m foregoing Friday Photos as it seems wrong to write something so trivial on the same day of the death of someone who has had such a profound impact on the world.
Nelson Mandela’s name will forever be on the lips of those who believe in freedom and equality. He was born in 1919, he worked as a lawyer and was arrested for seditious activities on many occasions eventually being given a life sentence in 1962. After serving 27 years in prison international lobbying had him released in 1990. Since then he’s continued to increase his list of firsts:
- First black President in South Africa
- First President elected in a fully representative multiracial election
He followed his work in South Africa, after his retirement as President, by entering the world stage. Mandela didn’t change and was quite outspoken on many issues including HIV/AIDS, NATO Intervention in Kosovo and other wars around the world.
You can do your own research if you want more, in the 23 years since his release he’s done so much. The feeling people have for him is reflected in my Facebook and Twitter feeds both of which have been taken over to announce his passing and to send condolences to his family and friends.
Mandela has been ill for some time and while I never want a person of that stature to leave the world I’m content that he is finally out of pain and discomfort. He leaves South Africa and the world in a better place than when he entered it. I am proud to have lived at the same time as a person such as him. So much has, and will, be written about him, this is just my short piece.
I send my condolences to his family, friends and South Africa.