Thursday, October 13, 2005


I've tanked the coding on the 50 book list... give me a day or so to sort it...

Oh, and it looks like I havenae read a book #30 yet, so I guess I'll just call the one I'm on now #30... oops...


Pop quiz. You are a (semi)regular blogger who is keeping his readers up to date on his 50 Book Challenge progress for the year. You have just a read an awesome book by a well-known Australian author-journalist-historian-comedian and consequently write a review of it. One day, while checking your e-mail, you find that someone has posted a reply to that review. You follow the comments link and find this. You click on the comment's origin link and, yes, it is *that* person.

Now you have to work out if you go all fanboy and gushy (really, he is a freakin' awesome writer) or try and play it down and act all suave and nonchalant.

Of course, I now realise that by this very post I've scuppered the whole suave and nonchalant thing. Damn.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

I stand corrected

About the whole Transformers name thing. Sheesh.


The last few silly personality tests I've done have been from and for little timewasters they're pretty good. They don't outstay their welcome and aren't always obvious with which answer leads to what.

For example,

You Are Somewhat Machiavellian

You're not going to mow over everyone to get ahead...
But you're also powerful enough to make things happen for yourself.
You understand how the world works, even when it's an ugly place.
You just don't get ugly yourself - unless you have to!

Not even trying...

While I am willing to believe that maybe in Japanese it means something else, this has to be the laziest Transformer name ever.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Book 43 1/2

"Coraline" by Neil Gaiman.

Want more gushing? Well you've got it. I'm only counting this one as half a book, 'cause it wasnae very long, but it was a great read.

Coraline, our eponymous heroine, is a little girl whose parents don't seem to pay much attention to her. When she finds a door in her house that leads to another house just like hers, with parents like hers - except more attentive and fun and with black buttons for eyes - it seems she has found a better place. Or has she...?

This is more of a children's book (albeit a scary one), and even has a comment on the back written by Lemony Snicket, but like any well-written children's book, adults can read and enjoy it. Well, I did and I'm almost an adult.

With his usual flair for smooth narrative, believable fantasy rules and masterful grasp of the perfect detail, Gaiman - like Lemony Snicket, J.K. Rowling, Eoin Colfer and Terry Pratchett (to name a few) - is also able to aim this one at children (or parents reading it to their children) without talking down to them. Oh, and he also completely understands cats.

Four small stones with a hole in the middle out of five.

PS: It even has a nifty web site. Although the music does get a bit annoying after a while.


Dark clouds gather on the horizon. The ground trembles and birds take flight as an ominous rumbling rolls through the forest. Villagers working in the fields drop their tools and flee before the shadow that flows over the land. The stout wooden gates of the town are closed and barred, the strongest armed and the weakest hidden in cellars and hay lofts. A lone greenskin, scout and assasin, looks out from the forest, sniffing the air.

"Manflesh," he grunts and his leader growls an order. With an unholy roar the Warband of Grot the Discourteous falls upon the village.

Or, to put it another way, Age 5 has started.

Smurfs + Violence = Anti war message or hilarity?

Saw this linked in a couple of my friends blogs. I have to say I am curious to see the clip, although I have no doubt that it is pretty freakin' messed up.

However, I actually found something else while bouncing around trying to find the clip. It was a post title on someone's blog (a link from a alink, if you know who you are or who they are please tell me) and it was this;

"I say we smurf off ans smurf the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be smurf."

So, apart from being one of the best subject headings ever, it got me thinking (and I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this) about smurfing up other great movie lines. My first thoughts were were;

"There is no smurf"

"The first rule of Smurf Club is you do not smurf about Smurf Club"

"There's only two kinds in Texas, Smurfs and Smurfs and you don't much look like a smurf to me, so that kinda narrows it down!!"

Any others spring to yer diseased minds?

Yo tengo mucha energia!

I'm back at the gym after almost two weeks of coughing up a lung if I had to walk from room to room in the house and boy it feels good! 45 minutes on the bike yesterday and my program and 30 minutes in the bike today. Now I am full of vim and vigour! What shall I do with the energy? How shall I harness this enthusiasm? Why, by sitting on the couch playing "GTA: San Andreas" of course. Duh.

Book 43

"Stardust" by Neil Gaiman

I read it in a day.

That's pretty much my review. A typical Gaiman stunner, with amazing use of language, brilliantly realised plot and his usual smattering of mythology that may or may not be completely made up but nonetheless feels just so right. With my previous Gaiman review(s?), it is clear to see that he is one of my favourite authors and everything I read of his just reinforces that opinion.

Set in Victorian England, and initially in the small village of Wall, a young man (who is a half-blood faerie, but doesn't know that) is walking with his girl (the most beautiful girl in the village, mind) when they see a falling star. He has been trying to sneak a kiss as they walk, promising all manner of fancy things, when the young lady says that if he goes and gets her the star that fell, she will give him what his heart desires. The man agrees and sets off to find the star, with the small obstacle that it has fallen on the other side of the wall from which the town gets its name, a wall that separates the land of Man from the land of the Faeries.

Of course the young man is not theonly one who wants the star and so, with a witch queen of the Lillim and the would-be Lords of Stormhold also trying to find the fallen star, our hero has his work cut out for him and all manner of mystical adventures and whackiness ensue.

This is a modern (sort of) fairy tale in the truest sense of the world and was a hugely enjoyable book to read. I just wish it had been a little longer, or that I'd paced meself.

Four and a half sivler chains woven of moonlight, cat's whiskers and fish scales out of five.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hours of fun

A wee bit of harmless time-wasting.

Not one for Eliane, tho...


I not only got into the show I auditioned for, but also got the role for which I auditioned. I am now Captain Horatio Crouch (RAN) and with a day of rehearsals under my belt, I can see that this will be a great show. I'll get back to you with more details and things, but for now I have to go and dust or Carmen will beat me with a wire coathanger when she gets home.

Seven days to the new job and counting...


Wilde? Pah!

W.C. Fields? Tish!

True, high-brow comedy at it's finest can be found here.

Not work safe, tho...


No review. No spoiler risk. Go. See. Enjoy.

Book 42

"World War 2.2: Designated Targets" by John Birmingham

Observant readers (specifically, those what read my friends' blogs) will remember that Sam IV has already had something to say about this one. I would like to echo most of his thoughts (and save space by suggesting you follow the link and read his plot summary) with one notable exception. I really, really enjoyed the first book. I also really, really enjoyed the second one and am really, really, really looking forward to the third. 2006 they tell us.

After reading the mildly interminable "American Front", I would have to suggest that Mr Turtledove get himself to his local bookshop and read Mr Birmingham's two offerings. He's got everything here that Turtledove was going for - examination of socio-cultural ramifications, intricate plotting, multiple storylines and brilliant action sequences - but executed (for the most part) with an elan and smoothness that Turtledove has yet equal (or approach, really).

With the near-future military contigent racing around 1942, Birmingham has given himself some very shiny toys with which to play and he uses them brilliantly. Even when the high-tech side is not being exploited, such as when SAS Major HRH Harry Windsor is fighting hand to hand with SS paratroopers, the narrative hammers along at a cracking pace. I actually had to stop myself reading this one during a stage door shift because the constant need to do the job I was being paid for was bringing me to the point of yelling at the people backstage to fuck off so I could finish the book.

While not a perfect book by any means (a couple of times Birmingham even falls into a near-Turtledove repetition trap - yes, John, there are thousands of planes battling over the English channel. You've told us five times), "Designated Targets" is an excellent and enjoyable one.

Four and a half hand-made Vulcan cannon out of Five.

PS: In finding the link I notice that we got the book before the US. Oh, and they don't call it World War 2.2. Apparently in America it's the "Axis Of Time" Trilogy. What a dinky name...

PPS: Oh, and the proofreader needs a stern talking to. There were about half a dozen spelling errors (wrong word, usually, or missing letter).


Can it really be a simple coincidence that Age 4 of Kings Of Chaos has ended just as my time in hospitality is finally coming to an end? Will I take an idle moment on my first day at IP (if I get one) and find that KoC Age 5 has just started? If so, what does that mean?

In truth (and in a Northern English voice, coz why not); it probbly means foock all.

W. T. F. ?????


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Personality Tests

Yoinked from Ratti's blog, and I gotta say, how cool is it to get exactly the character ye want on a "Which [TV show/film/book/comic] character are you" test without massaging your results?

Okay... maybe not cool... but fun. :)

You scored as Hoban 'Wash' Washburne. The Pilot. You are a leaf on the wind, see how you soar. You have a good job, and a stunning wife who loves you (and can kill people). Life is good, which is why you can't help smiling. Now if you can just get people to actually listen to your opinion things would be perfect.

Hoban 'Wash' Washburne


Kaylee Frye


The Operative


Zoe Alleyne Washburne


Inara Serra


Jayne Cobb


Simon Tam


River Tam


Capt. Mal Reynolds


Shepherd Derrial Book


Which Serenity character are you?
created with

You scored as Carrot Ironfounderson. You are Captain Carrot Ironfounderson of the City Watch in the greatest city on the Disc â?? Ankh-Morprok! A truly good natured, honest guy, who knows everyone, and is liked by all. Youâ??d rather not be reminded that you are the true hair to the throne, but that does explain why people naturally follow your ordersâ?¦

Carrot Ironfounderson


Gytha (Nanny) Ogg


The Librarian




Cohen The Barbarian


Lord Havelock Vetinari


Esmerelda (Granny) Weatherwax




Commander Samuel Vimes




Which Discworld Character are you like (with pics)
created with

Book 41

"The Great War: American Front" by Harry Turtledove

Have ye ever got 2/3 of the way through a book and suddenly realised that ye've read it afore? I was reading "American Front" and thinking to myself from time to time "this is just like the last WWI Harry Turtledove I read". And with good reason.

The basic story is that the South (aka the Confederate States of America) won the civil war and split the country in two. Then 1914 rolls around and WWI breaks out with the United States of America (the North) on the side of the Germans and the Confederate States (the South) on the side of England. There's a land war on North America as well as Europe and nastiness ensues. And Turtledove manages to make it kinda dull. Another realisation I had halfway through the book was that I was mainly reading it because I had started it. I was mildly interested in what was happending, but there are about a dozen different plot strands running through the bok and although the research was obviously in depth and the ideas behind the book are excellent, the execution is often clunky and regularly repetitive. Turtledove again over-emphasises his point on numerous occasion and one is left with a "we know, Harry, now get on with the story" feeling.

I'm not completely dismissing the book, and will no doubt grab the sequels in the future, if for nothing else than idle 50 Book challenge fodder, but a lor of polishing still needed doing on this one, and maybe the excising of one or two tertiary plots.

And, yes, I am counting this toward my total, even though I have read it before, because I didnae realise til 2/3 of the way through and a damn well read the whole bloody thing anyway.

Two Communist Negroes out of five, with a half a Communist Negro subtracted because it was so unmemorable took me so long to realise I'd read the damn book before!