Friday, 26 October 2012

Scenes behind scenes, reading between lines

The thing with re-reading Gaiman, I am beginning to find, is that since you know the story, there is a somewhat lower likelihood of bypassing some of the attendant darkness. I mean, this is some seriously disturbing stuff! And there I went, the first time around, catapulted right past all (well, maybe most) of it in my hurry to find out what happens next.

But, and you might call this a superlative coincidence, or not. I came across this article. Notice the bit about why ghost stories are so awesome? So that's really not something you want to read right before heading into the last four chapters of American Gods. (Not counting the epilogue. But by then all the proper action's done anyway. And Laura's no longer not-dead. Which is a bit of a shame really. Woman kicks some serious ass!)

The reason you don't want to figure out why ghost stories are so much cooler than real disasters is that it sort of takes the fun out of this perfectly good ghost story just a little bit. I think. I really, really hope they'll do a re-read of Neverwhere sometime soon. I mean, I have this totally fun, mostly harmless, slightly off kilter, but really, quite a happy notion about that whole story in my head. Now that I think about it, I find that I might be slightly mistaken. Either way, should be fun.

This, now, has nothing to do with Gaiman. Nick Hornby's About a Boy, apparently, is a very popular book. It is also quite popular, it would seem, amongst people who have never ever heard of Nirvana. Or Kurt Cobain. I mean, why else would there be, literally, hundreds of people searching for "who is Kirk O'Bane" all the time?!!!!

Please, people, leave my humble post on that book alone and go here instead to find out a little more about the man who, famously, quoted Neil Young then promptly and tragically shot himself in the head. I sometimes wonder, did he really mean it the way wannabe punks quote him all over the world? Probably not.

Currently: rock and roll central (aka weather downtime)
Listening to: bond - Beatroot

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Of miracles, magic and time travel

Who would have thought? Ordinarily when things stop working around me, they stay not working. Not in this case. Having given up on it for dead, I decided to give the power button one more try before I returned it for good. It booted right up! And three days later, it's still booted up! (Yes, I'd been pretty sure it was dead when I'd checked last week. Yes, I'd had the power connected, or the battery. And yes, by now I have a rather unhealthily detailed understanding of how to take apart a laptop. Actually, all you need is a cross-head screw driver. And patience.)

But that hasn't stopped me from clinging to the Kindle for much of the time I have had to myself this last week. Which hasn't been that much. But such things as work do happen, now and then. There wasn't a whole lot of The Ring of Solomon left unread by the time I left home, and it ended on a flight, rather like the last Bart book. I quite liked it! The last couple of books with Nathaniel had been a little on the downer side. This one was, happily, a lot more like the first book :). Snappy, fun, with minimal darkness and a happy ending :D. Have I mentioned? I love happy endings. Especially when I'm otherwise worried sick about missing tight flight connections. (Which was in this case quite unfounded in reality. I had an hour or more left in both transits, neither of which were much over an hour to start with.)

And then I embarked upon To Say Nothing of The Dog. It's an odd mix :). Part sci-fi, part period mystery, thoroughly hilarious and quite simply unputdownable! To say nothing of the dog. :D It's not exactly comparable to anything I've read before, but now I want more :). Also, I totally want to get a hold of Have Space Suit - Will Travel! In the mean time, the American Gods re-read has passed the half-way mark. And I'm beginning to come across bits and pieces of the story I must have rushed past before. More parts of the puzzle are falling into place a little more neatly. And that's even without help from :). (Yep, tumbling into the bunk knackered has never been more fun. Although, I think I should charge the thing. Soon.)

Currently: knackered
Listening to: Greg Edmondson - Heart of gold montage (Firefly soundtrack)

Monday, 15 October 2012

Arriving somewhere, but not here

Just when the weather's really beginning to get quite nice... It's actually cool most of the time. A little damp, but that can be forgiven. But now I'm all set to leave. With less than a week to go for the beginning of Durga Pujo too! Oh well, I guess my Pujo celebrations will consist mainly of shivering on the Pride's back deck.

Unfortunately, once I leave home, it'll also be bye bye personal computing equipment. Well, operational equipment anyway. After four years of getting dragged around all over, the laptop's finally given up. Not even a whimper of a response :(. On the up-side, this might be a good time to give up on laptops altogether! Hmm, given the USB situation on most substitutes, that's not likely. Still, who knows.

Good thing I got the Kindle when I did. Looks like it'll more or less be my only source of entertainment for a little while. Not that I'm short on reading material :) Bartimaeus is entertaining as expected, and while I thought two chapters a week would be a bit annoyingly slow for the Gaiman re-read, thus far that has not been the case. Every Wednesday I keep getting surprised exactly how many things I seem to have missed on my first read of American Gods. I wonder if all Gaiman's books are that way.

Right, flight-mode beckons. Time to get ready. Ready to disappear into the loneliness in the midst of hundreds. Let's hope this time there's less drama than the last transit.

Currently: leaving
Listening to: UNKLE - Lonely soul

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

When will our Atlas shrug?

It would appear that I am to have one more look at the wind-blown Scottish north-east. Seeing how I'm headed back to Aberdeen at the beginning of next week. This time around I might even get an overnight stay. Maybe there'll be enough time to look around. We shall see.

In the mean time, this break's gone by rather quick, well, quicker than usual. I suppose the book might have had something to do with it. Yep, finally finished with Atlas Shrugged. I think I mostly read books for stories. A little bit for the opportunity to marvel at the way different people choose to breathe life into their characters. And sometimes take it away. Pretty much never for philosophy. That I prefer to infer on my own, having read the story.

Unfortunately, the one thing Ayn Rand gives you a lot of is raw, undisguised, unadulterated philosophy. And by lot I do really mean a lot. Being one of those people who'd do something just 'cos I'm told not to, it was a bit of a struggle at times, the spoon-feeding. On the other hand, once you've got a handle on the story, you do really want to see where it goes.

The ending, unfortunately, is a little predictable I thought, all things considered. But what did I expect? After being handed unhealthy doses of barely veiled hints at the inevitability of the conclusion, there can really be no surprises.

Well, I decided to move on to more familiar ground with Jonathan Stroud's return to the world of Bartimaeus, The Ring of Solomon. Thus far, it appears happily free of philosophical discourse :).

Current mood: Why is John Galt?!
Listening to: Fever Ray - If I had a heart