Monday, 31 August 2015
This bibliophile added 6 books to his bibliofile in August and it was quite an eclectic collection beginning with an old favourite, Jack Reacher, in his tenth outing in The Hard Way. Jack's not a sleuth per se but a lonely, roving bit of a tragic figure who nevertheless involves himself in cases that need solving. I always enjoy these tales.
Harper Lee's Go Set A Watchman was an interesting and enjoyable read. It's a sequel to Go Kill a Mockingbird, steeped, surprisingly perhaps in southern racial overtones. The media hype around this novel was substantial so I had to see if it lived up to it. I must say I enjoyed the book much more than the hype.
A book with the unlikely title Follow The Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records in the Great Years of American Pop Culture fulfilled my monthly music hit. This was a fascinating account of how Jac Holzman started Elektra records as a folkie label which he then grew to be the label to go to for artists of the 60s and included such artists as The Doors among many other well known artists.
One of my favourite authors, Ireland's Ken Bruen, has another hit with Green Hell. Jack Taylor, a former cop, investigates crimes when he isn't drinking himself under the table. Despite his faults, Taylor is a likeable fellow and his exploits are fun to follow.
I sometimes am so backed up with books I forget how I came across them. This was true of the next two books, the first being Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. I liked parts of this book and other parts, meh. I guess you'd call this a coming of age novel but I found the main character to be an all-together unlikable guy. This was somewhat off-putting. Especially, not to give too much away, his so-called relationship with the dying girl.
Finally I read Imperium by Christian Kracht. I have no idea how this was recommended to me but I undertook it nevertheless. It's about a radical vegetarian nudist from Germany who travels to German New Guinea in the early 1900s to establish a coconut business and worship the sun. Hey, I said this month was eclectic.
Here's how I rated this month's reads:
The Hard Way (Jack Reacher #10) - Lee Child ****
Go Set A Watchman - Harper Lee - ****
Follow The Music: The Life and High Times of Elektra Records
in the Great Years of American Pop Culture - Gavan Davis ****
Green Hell (Jack Taylor #11) - Ken Bruen ****
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl - Jesse Andrews ***
Imperium - Christian Kracht ***
So as August ends I've read 48 books since January. That's a lot of pages, both electronic and paper.
Thursday, 27 August 2015
At first he didn't notice her. She sat several rows back in his civics class. But she noticed him. And she knew his every move in advance.
She knew he was going to McDonald's after class for a coffee and an Egg McMuffin and she knew he would spill his coffee before he had a chance to add milk and sugar.
"I knew that would happen" she whispered from behind him. He turned to look at her and smiled sheepishly as he took some napkins to wipe up the coffee.
"You did, did you?" he replied. "Well, yes" she replied. "Of course."
He smiled again as they parted. "Hmmm, nice" he thought as he walked home.
A week later he bumped into her again on the way into his civics lesson. They sat together throughout the class.
"I knew I'd run into you again" she whispered. "Really?" he replied.
"Say, what are you doing this evening?" he asked. "Could I take you out to dinner?"
"I knew you were going to ask me out" she purred. "Yes, I'd love to."
So that evening he took her to a lovely restaurant in the heart of downtown.
As he held her chair for her she looked him in the eyes and said "I knew you'd bring me here". "Now wait a minute" he countered. "Why is it you always tell me you knew I was going to do something before I do it? I don't get it. Just who are you?
"Why I'm Clair" she said. Clair Voyent."
"I knew you were going to say that."
Vatic/Clairvoyent are this week's prompts from the folks at Studio30+. I knew that would be the prompt.
Friday, 21 August 2015
Brad started his week with a breakfast of two sausage and egg McMuffin sandwiches. Every Monday, without fail, Brad would zip through the McDonald's drive-thru and place his order. A medium coffee, double-double would complete his meal.
Throughout the week, Brad would make himself a couple of eggs and bacon for breakfast. But on Friday he'd hit up the nearby restaurant and have two eggs over easy with sausages, potatoes and toast.
And that's just breakfast. For lunch Brad would have a sub, a burger or a couple of hot dogs. Not the healthiest approach to eating, for sure.
Brad's wife, Paula, was becoming concerned with Brad's eating habits. He was seriously out of shape and she told him so. Brad would joke "Hey, round's a shape" as he went searching for a second helping of their dinner.
But Brad knew Paula was right. And he decided to take matters into his own hands. He went for walks, bicycle rides, did stretches, push-ups and sit-ups. He was determined to find his abs which for some time had gone missing beneath several layers of fat.
Brad thought to himself "I seriously have to renounce my current eating habits. I have to get healthy."
And soon, after much hard work, Brad sported the abs of an Adonis. Well, maybe not quite an Adonis but you get the idea.
But Paula noticed a difference and happily remarked "Brad, congratulations, you've worked very hard to, you might say, ab negate."
The prompt from the folks at Studio30+ this week is abnegate/renounce.
Saturday, 15 August 2015
I wish Bob could understand me. Oh, sure, he knows when to take me for a walk. The signs are unmistakable. Be that as it may, I've been good. I haven't had an accident in the house in years. But I wish he could decipher my whines and growls. Sometimes I just want to be petted. You know - be shown a little doggie love.
Or when the water bowl is empty. Hey, Bob, more water please. I'm thirsty over here.
Bob wasn't always like this. He was far more affectionate and tuned into my needs before SHE came along. SHE made Bob pay me less attention because he paid way more attention to her.
And what's with the closed bedroom door. There was a time I had free passage into the bedroom and even slept up on the bed. I don't know what's going on in there but they can sure make a lot of noise. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in the kitchen with an empty water bowl.
I''m not alone. I've compared notes with my friends at the dog run and many have the same problem. You introduce a third person into the man and man's best friend equation and you start to wonder just who is man's best friend after all.
"Rex is looking out of shape, Bob" she said one day. "Maybe we should change his diet and buy him healthier dog food." Hey, who asked you lady? I'm quite content with my dry dog food supplemented by table scraps. You know what I'm saying?
Who would have thought? Look at me. I'm a shadow of my former self. Is it any wonder why I quibble over Kibble.
I wish she could understand me. Woof.
The prompt this week from Studio30+ is quibble/pettifog. Yeah, you heard me, pettifog.
Friday, 7 August 2015
I've reached, and may have passed somewhat, mid-life. But where is the demarcation point? I'd like to know. 40? 50? 60? Well, I've passed them all, so I'm pretty sure I've hit mid-life somewhere along the space-time continuum. And I find I've slowed down. I no longer rush here and there cramming as much as possible into a day. I relax, take my time. If I don't get to it today, I'll get to it tomorrow. So my mid-life philosophy. might be in keeping with that great Eagles tune "Take It Easy".
And that includes golf. Golf? Before you think I've just run roughshod over a non-sequitur golf is one of my mid-life activities. I started playing about four or five years ago and have been an avid player since. Avid not accomplished. I'm pretty bad truth be told but at the end of the day I'm a 100-110 stroke 18 holer.
Now people tell me that's a damn fine score for a beginner. What can I say? I keep my own score. Yeah, and I cheat. Who can even begin to count all those strokes where you miss the ball, or lose it in a water hazard? Six swings in a sand trap don't count. Only the one that gets the ball out. And I lose balls. Like crazy. I must go through a bag of 60 reconditioned balls from Wal-Mart every week.
But I love it. And I love shaving strokes. I do show some talent. There are times I can whack a ball for miles. And there are times I can't. But then who's counting? When golf partners tell me "That's a good lie" I'm hoping they're commenting on the position of my ball. Not how I'm keeping score.
Lie or Fib is the prompt over at Studio30+ this week. Drop on over and see how believable the other guys are.
Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Well July was a holiday month for us with Maryse and I taking the roads less travelled through New Hampshire and Maine for a couple of weeks. Needless to say I didn't get much reading done. Only two books: SJ Watson's Second Life and Neil Stephenson's Seveneves.
They were both kinda meh. The first I picked up on the strength of Watson's first effort Before I Go To Sleep which I quite enjoyed. The follow-up not so much.
I don't know how I picked up Seveneves. It may have looked interesting but I tell you it was a tough slog to get through. The premise was interesting. The moon blows apart, destroys earth, but not before a community forms in space. But it was the detailing, the minutia that really got me bogged down. And the minutia, for me, came at the expense of the character development and detracted from the actual story. Stephenson is either a researcher extraordinaire or has a very vivid imagination - or both.
Nonetheless I did finish both books but I didn't find either of them very satisfying.
So only 2 books in July bringing my year to date total to 42.
Second Life - SJ Watson ***
Seveneves - Neil Stephenson ***
What have you been reading? I'm always interested in recommendations. Let me know.
Saturday, 1 August 2015
Once upon a time there lived a carpenter who grew up in the land of Woody Hollow. He owned a horse but that really has nothing to do with this story. His mother took one look at his face when he was born and without hesitation called him Awl. As Awl grew he developed many woodworking skills and when he reached his teenage years you might say Awl possessed all the carpentry attributes necessary to live a more or less profitable life practicing such a profession.
All the residents of Woody Hollow would come to Awl with all their woodworking needs. From sideboards to chairs, from tables to picture frames. Awl made them all. He was a wizard when it came to using a hammer and saw. And if you saw what he sawed you'd say the same.
One day the Mayor of Wood Hollow, Woody Oakley, came to Awl with a request. The community fair was coming soon and a trophy was needed to award the winner of the long distance marathon which was run each year. Oakley had a piece of wood - maple - from which he wanted Awl to craft the trophy. Awl immediately set himself to the task.
Saws and sanders, chisels, calipers and clamps were all put to use until all that remained for Awl to do was carve the winner's name on the front of the trophy.
As he sanded down the trophy he dropped the sandpaper and quickly withdrew his hand yelling "Jesus Frickin' Murphy."
Mayor Oakley turned at the outburst and then laughed. Awl had nicked his hand on a small burr on the trophy's surface.
"Well, Awl. Jesus Frickin' Murphy, eh? I guess we could say that's your Nick Name!
This week's prompt from the folks at Studio30+ is Nickname. Check out the rest of the stories at their site.