book: Stuart Woods “Dark Harbor” & “Fresh Disasters”

March 25, 2010

I’ve blogged about lots of Stuart Woods books now as I’ve worked through the series with the Stone Barrington character.  However, they all have basically same story where something happens to our hero, he or his friends are in danger, there is a who-done-it element and everything is resolved.  I like this familiarity and the sheer fast pace of these Stuart Woods books, however I wouldn’t recommend ANY of them to anyone other than the first in the series – New York Dead.

So, Dark Harbor sees Stone receiving an inheritance from a distant cousin who apparently committed suicide.  Stone checks it out and discovers that it was murder – there is then a series of murders and eventually this is resolved.  I must admit this was the first Stuart Woods book where I actually spotted who the bad-guy(s) were before the end.

Next, Fresh Disasters – which I only finished a day ago and had to look at the back to remind myself what it was about – follows two stories.  First we are reintroduced to the hapless character of Herbie Fisher who is in trouble again and wants Stone to sue a Mafia boss.  The other sub-plot is a masseuse who turns out to have a stalker – Stone get’s involved, people start trying to kill him and we don’t know which plot it is from and in the end everything is resolved.

I very much enjoyed both of these books and will keep reading this series.


I object to this!!

March 21, 2010

Because I bought a blu-ray “It’s a Wonderful Life” and have blu-ray “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” in my wish list amazon somehow thinks that I might like Susan Boyle’s CD ?!  What’s that about!


Time Flies… (+ve or -ve)

March 20, 2010

So many things happening that I only have time for a quick +ve  or -ve update…

  • +ve visited my sister and family in Dunoon.
  • -ve had to pass through Gourock :-(
  • +ve went for a nice drive in the country
  • -ve my car is falling apart
  • +ve I get to go car-shopping soon
  • -ve I had a large ‘fry-up’ last night
  • +ve it included (in fact was caused by having) Charles Macleod’s Stornoway Black Pudding
  • +ve helped friend with video project that has worked out really well
  • +ve not stressed at all about Deeper this weekend
  • -ve probably forgotten something for Deeper this weekend
  • +ve attended an excellent reading and book signing by Simon Varwell of his book “Up the Creek Without a Mullet”
  • -ve I’ve already read it
  • +ve finally got hold of a CD of Seasick Steve (listening to it now – excellent!!!)
  • -ve sister’s been not well  :-(
  • +ve been in touch with a couple of other folk who do Worship VJing
  • -ve going to the dentist this week for the first time in many many years :-<
  • +ve was sunny today and I spent some time in a park sketching, then doing some guerrilla filming on Byres Rd.
  • +ve stuff I can’t blog about ;-)

OK, so to tally up…   11 +ve  /  7 -ve   …so all is well and good with the world.  So here is a photo of Jake and I relaxing during the morning service last week (sorry about the messy background, what can you do)!


book: Stuart MacBride “Cold Granite”

March 14, 2010

Cold Granite is Stuart MacBride‘s first novel published in 2006.  I have in fact recently read the 2nd novel ‘Dying Light‘ and there were so many references there to recent achievements of the main character DS Logan, that I wanted to go back and find out what had happened.  I have to say that this wasn’t entirely successful as this book is also littered with references to the last big case that had left him injured and on long term sick so it looks like that is just the style or perhaps at some point there will be a prequel to fill in the past.

‘Cold Granite’ is set in Aberdeen and takes place over the course of less than two weeks as DS Logan returns to work in the midst of a series of child abductions and murders.  A serial killer is at work.  As the story unfolds new cases come out, children go missing but are they related to the case?  a child’s body is discovered but is this related to the case?  The local press seem to be getting details of the story that shouldn’t be known, etc. and as these pieces are gradually put together a complex series of characters and events gradually unfolds.

The subject matter of child murders isn’t great and some of the details are a bit too graphic for my tastes but that didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the suspense, humour (often at the expense of police procedure or error) and fast moving plot.

I will certainly return to this author for more gritty stories from Aberdeen.


Visiting the Past

March 13, 2010

My mum and her sister my Aunt Annie were from the small village of North Tolsta on the Isle of Lewis and at some point I think in the late 50s were working on the Maid of the Loch which at that time would take passengers from Balloch to Tarbet at the head of Loch Lomond.

I have some old photos from those days and figured that the only time they could be taken would be while the boat was tied up in Tarbet because that would be the longest break the crew would get.  So today when on my way to Dunoon I took the long way around and looked for where these photos might have been taken.

Here is Aunt Annie with an unknown cheerful looking bloke on Tarbet pier, the pier isn’t the same but I lined up the hills (Ben Lomond) and got as close a match as possible.

Then on the main road in Tarbet (there really isn’t much more than one road) I managed to match up this photo with my mum on the left and I think her brother Hugh on the right.

These photos are fairly small so not much detail, but here is the best I can get of the faces…


movie: Micmacs

March 5, 2010

Micmacs is a nice little french film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, Alien: Resurrection & Amélie) at the GFT.  The movie is a colorful, quirky and other-worldly that tells the simple story of Bazil, who is shot in the head, survives but the bullet can’t be removed – oh and his father was blown up by a landmine 30 years earlier.  Doesn’t sound much fun yet does it?

Bazil, gets by with some interesting street performance and eventually falls in with a strange group of misfits in an underground world of their own.  Then he finds the arms manufacturers who made the bullet still in his head and their competitors who made the landmine that killed his father and starts to set them against each other.  After some comical misadventures they kidnap the two heads of the rival firms and… well I can’t give that away but its a nice twist.

It is a lovely little film with lots of laughs, chain reaction situations and well shot with incredible color schemes making a larger than life fantasy world.

By The Way: this is a great story and character based movie and wouldn’t have benefit in any way from being 3D – we don’t need 3D movies!


book: Mark Kermode “It’s Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive”

March 5, 2010

It’s Only a Movie: Reel Life Adventures of a Film Obsessive” by Mark Kermode is an odd book which doesn’t really fit any category.  It isn’t an autobiography but does follow elements of his life story from job to job.  It isn’t a collection of movie reviews or movie geek backstage info.  And it isn’t just a collection of anecdotes, stories and interviews… ok well actually that is more or less what this is.

I have to say that if it wasn’t for the book signing event at the GFT last month I might never have gotten around to getting this book but I’m glad I did.  While I found that the book started a bit slow, there were enough interesting and funny moments to keep my going and by about half way through it was really flowing with very funny stories – the incident where a naive ambitious movie critic arranges to interview Linda Blair from The Exorcist (his favourite movie) had me literally laughing so much it hurt.

I’m a big fan of Mark Kermode because I find his review style easy to relate to and it seems to give a real insight into the movie in question and his reasons for building it up or tearing it down.  He leaves enough space for you to agree or disagree with him while still understanding his opinion.  Anyway it makes good radio.