Books: Jeff Lindsay “Darkly Dreaming Dexter”

October 31, 2010

I am a big fan of the TV Series Dexter!  There really isn’t much out there like it – the production look is what first grabbed me with the almost overexposed sepia look of Miami, then of course there is the actual murder mystery that is taking place and finally the twist of the main character being a serial killer himself.  The story is told by the main character, Dexter, and often from inside his head, with flashbacks and inner monologues.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter” is the first of Jeff Lindsay Dexter books and covers (more or less) the first season.  However, I didn’t find the book as interesting or gripping as the TV show.  Not only does the show ‘pad-out’ or add a lot to the story but the characters have more depth, the back story and upbringing is explained better and all in it is just better.  Meaning that if you are a fan of Dexter (the show) don’t expect to get more from the book.

The end of the book is totally different from the end of Dexter season 1, but I still wouldn’t say it is worth reading just for that.

offline blues

October 30, 2010

So much stuff stuff happening that each evening when I’ve made it home all I’ve been able to do is huff and puff at my broadband modem to try to get it to go faster.  I’ve been getting speeds of less than 0.002 monkey-nuts,  when I want, expect, even pay for “up to”  9.7831 bananas!  (yes units are in fact mostly irrelevant in the market of ISPs).  But have been too busy to get around to fault tracing to find out if it is my home network or the ISPs broadband modem.

Tonight I finally had enough and put in a call to India… I pressed #1,#2,#2,#3 and then..

“Hi, my magic white box with wires and flashing lights isn’t working”  ….
“yes I have tried switching it off and back on again – I am an IT professional you know”  …
“ok, I’ll wait” … HOLD

I listen to Rio by Duran Duran, followed by ABC’s classic ‘Gold’, I was happily dancing around the room when I was interrupted by..

“could you tell me Mr Lunch, what lights now are appearing on your wired-less modem” …
“I am sending now an update to your wired-less modem” …
“The update didn’t work you seem to have a very slow connection” …  *@!?!!##*&@!
“we will have to send a technician to your address, will you be in when?”

So here I am (again) using a 3G modem – oh well, at least I don’t need to check facebook :-)

wedding – food – music – busy Saturday

October 10, 2010

To the SECC for the Scottish Wedding Show!  For some reason people seemed surprised that I would be interested in going to this at all.  I wasn’t the only ‘groom’ in the room but I do think D might have gotten more out of it if she was with her bridesmaid(s).  Lots of cars to sit in and try to have an opinion about, many cakes, dresses, wedding bands, photographers, etc.  what there wasn’t much of was things that are a little out of the ordinary or quirky – so I don’t think we came away with any new ideas.  There really is a massive industry built around weddings and I don’t think I saw anything today about making your marriage last after that one day, or the commitment involved in the sacrament of marriage, which is a bit sad.  Perhaps there is room for a christian marriage preparation course to market itself at an event like this.

After an exhausting afternoon going up and down the isles of this exhibition we had a bit of a rush to get into town and had to grab some place quick to eat before the concert.  We almost walked past Dragon-i, but had a quick check of the menu and from then on everything was quick – and excellent!

Dragon-i is on Hope Street (across from Theater Royal) and is a modern fusion Asian restaurant with influences from Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The pre-theater menu (at £12.95 for two courses) had more than enough choice for us and we had hardly started our complementary crackers before the first course arrived.  Between the two of us we had nothing bad to say about anything we ate.  The service was quick, friendly and efficient, the garlic rice was lovely and flavorsome.  We were slightly rushed but I would certainly like to go back to Dragon-i – my new favourite Asian restaurant!

Lastly, the slight gamble of the weekend was a surprise for D, we went to an RSNO concert in the Royal Concert Hall.

Nice’n’Easy was billed as a celebration of your favourite hits from the 50s, 60s and 70s by such songwriting greats as Bacharach & David and Henry Mancini.  …Music to Watch Girls Go By, Soul Bossa Nova, Do You Know the Way to San José?  The Girl from Ipanema, Strangers in the Night, etc.  This was a fantastic evening of great performances and lots of fun.  Most of the music was nice and familiar with a few new arrangements of songs.  There were lots of nice highlights in the evening but the standout performance was certainly from Peter Grant, check him out if you like that style of music.

By the way – I found out about this concert and got two tickets for the price of one through the 5pm email list!  5pm often has good deals worth being reminded of.

Books: Lee Child “Worth Dying For”

October 8, 2010

Possibly the best Jack Reacher novel yet?!  I’m a big fan of Lee Child‘s series and this latest book just released lives up to standard.  There was (n my opinion) a bit of a dip, but with the last book “61 Hours” and this one he is right back on form and writing at the top of his game.

The climax of “61 Hours” was truly breath taking and left you unsure of Reacher’s survival and the book closed with the phrase “to be continued”.  So I really was looking forward to this book.

At first I was a little disapointed that this climax from the previous book wasn’t addressed at first – I was still asking how he could possibly have survived the climax of “61 Hours“.  This question is eventually resolved, but no big deal is made of it which means that it really wasn’t necessary to link the two stories as closely as appeared to be the case.

In this story, again we find Jack Reacher dropped into a situation on his own and helping the innocent fight against some kind of injustice – sounds formulaic, but it really isn’t.  The brilliance in Lee Child‘s writing is the detail, twists and turns that keep you guessing and the sheer momentum that keeps driving things forward.

In “Worth Dying For” a major feature (that I don’t remember from previous novels) is that as the story unfolds from different character’s point of view the assumptions that they each read into the same information plays a major role.  Other than that I’m not going to get into the plot – it is great, keeps you guessing and unsure of what Jack will do next.

I’ve you haven’t read a Jack Reacher novel – get on with it!


the Isle of Lewis & me

October 1, 2010

It has been far too many years since I visited the Isle of Lewis, Stornoway and North Tolsta where my mum grew up and is now buried.  I have often thought about visiting, but it generally takes a lot to make me take time to myself and it has always been easier to put it off than get around to.  However, one of the good things about getting engaged is that I have to take my fiancee to meet the relatives, show off the land of my birth (OK I wasn’t actually born there) and mainly to see why I have so many paintings and photos of Lewis around the house.

The weather forecast was lousy, and wrong!  It was very sunny clear skies, often with a breeze that kept it from actually being warm but for the tail end of September with no rain you can’t complain and it really does make a difference seeing it that way.  The beaches are magical, especially in my opinion, Garry Sands with its awesome rock formations soaring out of the sand or the long stretch of Tolsta Beach.

Of course we also visited Callanish Stones, which on one hand is an incredibly historic land mark which stirs the heart and mind with its 4m high stones that were placed over 5000 years ago, creating a stunning mark in the landscape and a memorial to past times.  On the other hand, it is one of the few tourist attractions on the island so you kind of have to go there.  Personally, whether you have to go to the stones or not I think there is something very special this place and I was very glad we had good enough weather to enjoy them – the last time I was there it was a gale, and we just sheltered beside one of the big stones till it was too cold to stay any longer.

Of course the main reason we visited was to meet up with some of the many relatives I’ve got on the island.  Which means being spoiled and constantly fed by my Aunt Anne!  I won’t go into the details but suffice to say that Sunday lunch wasn’t just ‘a roast’ but included roast beef, roast lamb and roast chicken!  There was so much left over we were still eating it that night after church and just for good measure some roast pork was added!  I would however like to point out that I managed to resist 3 of the 4 puddings that followed Sunday lunch :-)

We spent a lot of time hearing stories and looking at old photos, enjoying the views, the sun and playing with the Ben the mad dog.  I think D saw a side of me she hasn’t seen before and I hope it didn’t scare her too much to see that or meet the MacLeods.  I also bored her with all the stories I knew about black houses and cutting the peat, etc. but she still enjoyed our little island holiday.  I think everyone should go to Lewis – it’s a very special place with very special people.