Monday, August 31, 2009

Random books

Since I last wrote about a book I've read....

Robert Rankin - Greatest Show Off Earth: There are two Earths, did you know? One inside the other. One of the protagonists is left on the inside Earth (the one we're familiar with), the other is kidnapped by the outer Earth types. They want to close off the "ends" so that the inner Earth, our Earth, will suffocate. The story that follows is hilariously ridiculous. Rankin writes in the same tradition (if it can be called that?) as Fforde - very entertaining.

Jim Butcher - Death Maske. Recommended to me by my brother. One of the few of his recommendations that I didn't like. Chicago cop plus vampires plus magic - should have been good but just didn't do it for me.

Christopher Brookmyre - be my enemy. I have fallen in love with Brookmyre's writing. Ridiculous storylines, but so well written that you can't help but be entertained. Very Scottish though, so the language may not suit everyone. Excellent thriller.

J V Jones - Sword of Shadows trilogy (but is actually a quartet). The last book is not yet released so it's all up in the air.... Fantasy series that I found a bit slow to get going but find myself hanging out for the final installment. Bleak and cold describes the landscape. Interesting characters.

Caiseal Mor - King of Sleep and The Raven Game. Books 2 and 3 of The Watchers trilogy. I really enjoyed Mor's Carolan Concerto but these left me cold. Could have been great, given their basis in Irish mythology, but spoilt by simplistic, stilted writing. I got really annoyed by two particular characters - one was a "Druid", the other was "the Druid woman". Always, "the druid woman". I mean, if it's established early on that a character is female then it's established. It doesn't need to be stated again and again, every time the character appears. The male characters were just druids, warriors, servants, whatever. It REALLY annoyed me.

Ken Follett - World Without End. Finally finished this. I think I reviewed it already. Could have been great but was a tad too repetitive in the second half to be so.

Calr Hiaasen - Sick Puppy and Skin Tight. Hiaasen is probably the tamer US version of Brookmyre. Great environmental/liberal political undertones. Quirky heroes/heroines. Too many guns for my liking but a great storyteller nonetheless.

Christopher Brookmyre - A Snow Ball In Hell. Sequel to 'a big boy did it and ran away'. Simon Darcourt - the terrorist for hire - returns. Except this time, he's not a terrorist, he's just trying to make the world a better place for the son he didn't know he had till the end of the last book (a big boy did it...). So....he embarks on a campaign to rid the world of all that he doesn't want his son to have to grow up with - tabloid journalists, manufactured pop stars, reality TV "celebrities". It's hard not to agree with Darcourt's targets but his methods are somewhat beyond the pale. Excellent reading!

Sophia McDougall - Romanitas. Set in the present day except that the Roman Empire has never ended. The Imperial Family has become a target for assassins - so the 16 year old heir runs away for his own safety, meets up with a couple of escaped slaves of similar age. At first I thought this was a tale designed for teenagers, as the main characters are teenagers, but it's a bit deeper than that - super mental powers. The social/political structure is basically that of Ancient Rome but lacking the detail of someone who's done the research - therefore, the modern day setting which negates the need for real research/knowledge/accuracy. It's lazy in that sense - change the setting to cover up for the lack of real historical veracity. But, nevertheless, it's not a bad read.

M K Hume - King Arthur: Dragon's Child. Quite possibly the worst Arthurian novel I've ever read.

Hello blog, nice to see you're still here

Random thoughts:
I finished my course, successfully. Graduation's not till December though. Still, I should be applying for jobs now - who wants to come write the application letter for me, because I can't get it going. Confidence lacking? I think so.
The old folks are driving me crazy. Love them to death and so grateful that I can live here relatively cheaply. But....
I am not 15 anymore.
The old man's mind is definitely going. Memory mostly. Physically, he's fine - still plays golf twice a week - 18 holes on a Wednesday, 12 holes on a Friday with the seniors. It's making me angry though that he's not the same. And that subtle touch of childishness that's creeping in alongside the short term memory loss. I don't want to be angry but I can't help it. He's my dad and he has no weaknesses! Fuck!
Mum, on the other hand, has always had a selective memory so it's a bit hard to tell. She still works - part time at the local Steiner school, takes care of the "remedial" kids - teaches them spelling, reading, etc. 77 and still working, can't beat that. Just wish she wouldn't be so critical.

On a brighter note - the AFL home and away season finished this weekend. Saints finished as Minor Premiers with 20 wins, 2 losses. Oh man, it's been a record-breaking year for the Saints. I've been so low-key about it, don't want to jinx it.

Finals start next week - Saints play Collingwood (the team we all love to hate!), who finished 4th. If they win they have the next week off, but if they lose they get a second chance that next week.
All I can say is.....GO SAINTERS!!!!! Excited? Moi? You betcha. September is like Holy Month in Melbourne. Football finals - nothing else matters, especially if your team is playing. And mine is!!! :D

Had a Facebook message from my niece Holly yesterday - she's working in the UK for a year, on a Steinerish bio-dynamic farm in Sussex. She let me know about one of her neighbours - JIMMY PAGE! Has a place just a couple of miles away from where she is. Aaaahh!
'Course, by the time I get there she'll be back here. Still..... stalking possibilities :)
Speaking of Jimmy, got only 15 days left of my 365 day project. Over toooooo quickly.

Sooo looking forward to next year - who knows where I'll be 12 months from now?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vale Les Paul

Vale Les Paul, originally uploaded by jsarcadia.

June 9, 1915 – August 13, 2009.
Lester William Polsfuss, known as Les Paul, died yesterday from complications following pneumonia. He was a major player in the development of the solid body electric guitar - coming up with the Gibson guitar that bears his name in the 1950s. He is responsible, more than anyone else, for the sound of rock and roll - that get down dirty rawness that Fender could never manage.
So many guitarists owe so much to Les Paul, including Jimmy.
He was also a very fine player in his own right.
His influence is immeasurable.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Round 18

The Saints travelled up to Sydney to take on the Swans. The game was way too close for comfort. Sydney were playing to keep their finals hopes alive and gave the Saints their closest match of the season. One point! That point was kicked in the final few seconds of the match to clinch the win. What a heart stopper!
18 in a row. Unbelievable :)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Saturday Photo Hunt

The theme for this week is "entertainment". That means music and, at the moment, that means Led Zeppelin.