Monthly Archive: September 2007

And Muck it certainly is

I have recently had the task of reviewing this memoir by Craig Sherborne. I only have myself to blame, since I chose it myself from a list of options – and I was enticed by someone the publisher had dragged in who said that it was a ‘masterpiece’. Well, masterpiece ain’t what it used to be.
The book is a memoir – set in Sydney where Sherborne lives and goes to a swanky private school. And it is also set on a ‘large’ dairy farm in New Zealand, where the family spends their holidays building a legacy for the family. Here, they manage to antagonize a whole community by flaunting their wealth and looking down their noses at the way things are done.
The thing is, the memoir could have been funny. Sherborne’s observations of his parents, Feet and The Duke, are achingly scathing and pointed. What stops it from being funny though, is the remembered teenage boy himself. I found that I intensely disliked him. To the point where I really didn’t feel any sympathy for him at all, and his could-have-been funny observations of his family became just petty insults from a spoiled rich kid brat.
Sometimes, if a protagonist is unlikeable, they can redeem themselves in the eyes of their audience by having some sort of pathos – I’m thinking Holden Caufield here – but this guy has none of that. He is just plain unlikeable.
I can’t recommend this book at all – sorry Sherborne, but I kind of thought it was muck.

News of a different kind

I’m a conscientious news reader. I open my browser every morning, and I read about 5 papers. The Norwegian one, the Adelaide one, the Australian one, the British one, and the American one. I feel like I get a pretty rounded perspective on world affairs, and I feel pretty informed. Takes me forever of course, but that’s what my two giant mugs of coffee in the morning are for.
But in the end, the news just gets a LITTLE serious. For years I read The Onion to counter this. The problem is that so much of the funny stuff on there is about American sports, and I’m just not into them really. But just recently, I discovered this little gem: The Daily Mash … which is kind of like The Onion, but with a British perspective. I liked this article today. Gave me a bit of a chuckle, and although it’s a little harsh, I agree with most of it :). So, if you ever need a bit of a chuckle when you read the news, I recommend the Daily Mash … puts the brighter side of things perspective on it!

Bears are Boring – or why I’ll never like my druid …

No, this is not turning into a wildlife blog …. This time it’s my vanity in gameplay that’s the issue. And I think that I can’t be the only one who has the issue, but anyway:

I’ve always thought druids would be a cool class to play. Their ability to solo, heal, and tank is pretty awesome … and I have a REALLY hard time killing good ones in pvp. But, when I try to level one I get stuck. Not because I don’t know how to play one, but because their LOOK is pretty boring. Now, call me vain or whatever, but I spend a looong time creating my character. I want it to look just right. So, obviously, I can’t play a cow (Tauren), but have to resort to the Alliance and playing a Night Elf. This in itself is not so bad. I kinda like the way the chick up above looks. That’s my druid in Night Elf form. My problem is with the shapeshifted form. You spend a LOT of time shapeshifted into, for example, a bear. Like so:

The problem is, that once you’re a bear, you look like every other bear druid in the game. I feel no connection with the way this bear looks AT ALL. The bear is boring and it is generic. No personality whatsoever. So I get bored with it. I think the problem could be easily solved like this:

Granted, my skills with graphics are way beyond limited. But you might get my point. Isn’t there a way to let the bear form keep some of the characteristics of the toon you made? The same hair color for example? Maybe then it would be easier to identify with.

Until then, my druid is on hold, I’m afraid.

Not one but two

Well, I’m not usually a nature blogger, but today I had just an incredible experience right in my own front yard.
I was sitting here, ‘working’ hard when I heard a koala sound (if you don’t know what that sounds like, you can hear it here). Now, living in Australia, that in itself is not actually THAT unusual, although it’s not an everyday experience either, so I tore myself away from the keyboard to have a look.
Imagine my surprise when our gum tree had not ONE but TWO koalas in it! I had never seen that before! Koalas are very territorial, so I figure either it’s mating season, or someone had accidentally stumbled up someone else’s tree. I think it was the latter actually, since neither one of them looked particularly pleased with the situation. So, how do koalas decide who wins? The one with the loudest growl? Or the one furthest up the tree? I watched for a long time, but they seemed to be at a stand-still. And while I was away picking the kids up the situation must have been resolved, because now there is only one.

ยท Violent Acres

I thought I’d give the gal at Violent Acres a plug. She’s on my daily ‘to read’ list. Be warned, she’s not very politically correct. She says exactly what she thinks, doesn’t allow comments, and doesn’t mince her words. A lot of the time, I agree with her completely, others I think she’s way off base, but it’s always very refreshing.

I particularly like her story about trying to go buy Ny-Quil.

One day, when I think of something truly startling to contribute I may enter her Catchphrase Contest, but until I think of something appropriate, I don’t want to spoil my chances!

As for my picture choice in this entry, I really just needed a picture, and I like this one — and I thought VA would approve.

Dying in Make-Believe

So, I really think dying in World of Warcraft is a complete PAIN. When you die, you either have to face the massive ghost-run back to your body, or see the spirit healer, and take a 10 minute resurrection sickness penalty. Not to mention the surge in repair costs. If you die too much, you will end up a very poor person – especially if your gear is really uber.
But face it compared to some games, the penalty is pittance. If this place is something to be believed, dying in the good-old dice version of Dungeons and Dragons can be a REAL pain.
This one dungeon master says:

You let your players cast Resurrection? How cheesy. In my game, if you want someone raised, you need to get the High Priest to do it for you. First, you have to do a quest to get someone to tell you where the High Priest is. Then you have to do a quest before they’ll let you in the temple. Then you have to do a quest before they’ll let you talk to the High Priest. Then you have to do a quest to prove to the High Priest that you’re serious. Then it’s time for some REAL questing. After that you can get your friends raised, just in time for the obligatory post-resurrection debt quests.

I mean OUCH!! Isn’t there a limit to how much you want the role-playing to seem realistic?? I guess it can discourage the idiots who don’t know how to play well, but seriously, doesn’t everyone have their off days?

Two lives; two wives

So, this guy in The Times ‘confesses’ to being a cheater. He’s got a wife and a mistress that he’s had for 15 years. And he sits there justifying how great it all is and how it all works. One of the women (the mistress) knows that she’s one of two, while the other doesn’t … although he suspects she might know doesn’t ‘rock the boat’.

GIVE ME A BREAK! This guy thinks both women are happy with the way things are. Well, he can justify it all he wants, but in the end, he’s living a lie. At least with one of them. He’s lying to the one that doesn’t know every single day. And the mistress? Is she really and actually happy with the situation? Does she not hate that she can’t go around with him openly? Sure, it’s all well and good for him, he’s got a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Well, I suppose for all I know, she might too.

No, if the man must so absolutely share his life with two women, I think he should do so openly. Like in HBO’s series Big Love. Not that I fancy sharing my house with two other women. Much less my husband and children. But maybe there are women who thrive on that commune idea. I don’t know. But it has to be better than living 15 years in a lie.

More Norwegian Literature

I just finished Anne B Ragde’s Berlinerpoplene. It is available as Berlin Poplars in English if you prefer of course! This family drama is not like other family dramas. The story of these three brothers is gripping. It is stark and warm at the same time. Set in the north of Norway on the farm that has been in the family for generations, it weaves a story with unforgettable characters. It is both stark and warm at the same time. Ragde treats her characters with a gentleness that lets them unfurl on the pages in all their strengths and weaknesses. I absolutely loved this book … I think everyone should have it! The link on my Shelfari bookshelf on the left should take you to where you can get a copy.