Port De Soller Mallorca

Port De Soller Mallorca

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Book Review: Gabriel's Redemption by Steve Umstead

I have been threatening to read one of Steve Umstead's books for some time now but kept putting it off.  The reason I was putting it off was that I had recently got back into the science fiction genre through two other Indie authors and whose books I really really enjoyed and then I read another one recently that left me largely disappointed, and that's the thing with a particular genre it is either good or very bad not really much of an in between ground to rest on.

So after reading the bad one I was again reluctant to pick up another author that I hadn't visited before, but I did with this one and was pleasantly pleased that it was not at all unsatisfying.

Gabriel's Redemption tell us the story of Commander Evan GABRIEL from the NAF, North American Federation, which comprises America, Canada, Cuba and Mexico and is head quartered in Toronto after most of the seaboard states have been swept away.   The South American Federation largely made up of Brasil and Argentina after that continent is blown apart by nuclear war is a bit player with ambitions.  GABRIEL is on the run, just because he doesn't want to be found,  and hiding out in flea bit hotel in Jamaica after  being dishonourably discharged when an off world mission on 'Eden' goes horribly wrong and he is the only survivor.  We don't get to learn to much about this previous mission, which maybe we could have done as it left a big gap in the character of the 'hero' (but I think that it may be covered in book two of the series looking at the teaser at the end of this one, still...)

Setting aside the 'Eden' question for a moment, Gabriel is recalled by an old commander and fed a story whereby he needs GABRIEL's special skills to lead another off world mission to close down a planet which is producing the latest high tech drug.  A drug that in it's production, an indigenous life form on another planet is being subjected to barbaric torturous methods to remove the gland needed to produce it.  It is difficult to write to much about the plot as spoilers are all to easy to give away the story.

Humans of the future have been surgically enhanced with neuretic enhancements allowing them to receive and respond to information, and holographic messaging in their minds eye, cool, I like that and it gives them the ability to intercept and decode messages, open doors, arm  weapons, all sorts of cool stuff.

The book offered a lot but didn't deliver as much as it offered in the main because the calamity of the 'EDEN' mission hung over the whole book like an unanswered question.  SANTANDER, the main protagonist, who we sort of saw was going to be the baddy from something we had hinted to us, turned out to be that baddy after all , but, then when we did learn that he was the baddy from that excursion we didn't learn about, it was dropped like a hot potato (mind you to then tell us about it in detail at that juncture would have taken the story off tack, so... )

It will al become clear and hopefully you will see what I mean WHEN you read the book.  Yes I am saying read the book, as apart from that one glitch (my view)  it is a good story and although there is not much action to talk about, I do like my action and the bloodier the better, the book is one of those that simmers just below boiling point.

Umstead has an easy flowing writing style and I think there are nods in there to other syfy such as Star Trek, remember the Kobiashi Maru, the ship where Kirk cheated, there's a ship in this called the Maru and a couple of other references to other syfy  shows and books as well.

The narrative flowed along seamlessly between Gabriel and his team being put together and their time between Earth and the target planet and between them and the main off world protagonist, and I have classified this under Science Fiction and Thriller, but I hope that book two doesn't take quite as long to get to the action and become a proper thriller.

Even although I have a few criticisms of it I can always tell how much I enjoyed a book by the time it takes me to read it, and that time is precious to me so if I pick up a book and I keep putting it down and going back to it over a few weeks, while I might like it (and I've bought it so I am darn well going to finish it) it's not the same as really enjoying a book enough to read over a couple of days.  I started this one on Thursday evening and completed it today, so definitely worth a read.

And as to my critique over the unanswered question of Eden I picked up in this plot style in another book recently and the author came back to me and said that 'You have to remember that this is the first in a series and so it will be developed on in the next instalments.' fair comment, not sure, I just don't like it where the emphasis is placed on something so heavily but it is really left hanging in the air.... But that might just be me.

Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 4 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5

Friday, 30 March 2012

An Anniversary Post

Well my friends, what does one say on their anniversary.  Oh! if you missed it, it is two days away from April and it was in April 2011 that I took the plunge and started blogging, yes I know, there are some out there who wish that I had never started but conversely there are a couple of folk who keep coming back.

I know this because this blogging thingy has a little gadget that tells you how many visitors have popped in and had a look at my musings,  and, as I write this there has been over 12400 visitors to the site which, for me at least, is astonishing, as most of what I throw out there is normally met with a sorry shake of the head by my wife of, -  talking of whom did I tell you that come April 17th I will have been stuck with Ishbel in marriage for (oh! god I hope I get this right) -  36 years, plus the couple of years before we got married, so in fact two anniversaries, one to celebrate and one to commiserate.......... commiserations are of course to the readers of my blog who pop in and are expecting something better and not to, well you know what I mean - shutting up now about this ........................

And of course it is astonishing when I look back and see that in April 2011 I had 80 visits and then I think in May I went back down to the twenties, so to be averaging over 1800 visits per month now, low compared to many but still astonishing for me.

The first post seems to have got mixed up somewhere and now has ended up in October, I have no idea, and it consisted of two paragraphs, read it here.

The next couple of blogs were the same and the third one also ended up being republished in October, again I have no idea why! The last one I wrote that month was Is blogging easy, is it for everyone?

When I still had no idea what I was going to blog about.  Some might say that I still have no idea, but it's mine and so to that, tough, and I have reproduced another one from that first month for you below.

The one thing I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, is that through blogging and Twitter I have met some fantastic people and I get to read their blogs, those that do them.  Some do it much more regularly than I and most do it with a great deal more interesting and with a degree of erudition than I can only ever aspire to.

So if you are a regular visitor, thanks and if this is you r first visit, take a moment to check out the pages I post a lot of rubbish but there are a couple of good ones in there, or so I am told, and thanks for being my friend

Oh you can also check out my favourite blogs to visit over there on the right of the page at BLOGS I FOLLOW AND SO SHOULD YOU

Do these tickle your fancy or sense of perverseness?

Things that I have seen or read this week that have amused, annoyed or just plain irritated me, what do you think?

27 year old Sales manager and her sister give an interview to a national paper, accompanied by photos of the sisters, about the disgust they feel for their estranged father who, apparently, is about to be elected/appointed as the local mayor and who is a member of the British National Party. I can't confirm which, as I got bored with the story after reading this quote,

" “We’re changing our surname. I can’t mention it at work in case I have to discipline someone and they say I picked on them because my dad’s a racist.”

Read more: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2011/04/24/we-disown-first-bnp-mayor-to-be-say-his-own-daughters-115875-23081971/#ixzz1KQTuvxxo

Now, the key parts of the quote are: "We're changing our surname." But, here we are anyway selling [presumably] our story to a national newspaper WITH ACCOMPANYING PHOTOGRAPHS, so that you will always know who we are........

and, "I can’t mention it at work in case I have to discipline someone and they say I picked on them because my dad’s a racist.” but, here we are anyway selling [presumably] our story to a national newspaper WITH ACCOMPANYING PHOTOGRAPHS, so that you will always know who we are........

Is it Me? or are these people just so dumb that they don't know what they are saying, or is it that the tabloid press is so dumb that they just write crap.....

Came across these in my computer and thought they could do with a repost:

An excellent phrase for an overweight person

A deeply unattractive person

Waving your arms around and talking bollocks

Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed, and who was responsible

A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and then leaves

The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

An office filled with cubicles

When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people ' s heads pop up over the walls to see what ' s going on. This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake

Single working girls. Single income, no boyfriend and desperate

One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a ' black box '

The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again

Similar to a French kiss, but given down under

That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you ' ve just made a BIG mistake (e.g. you ' ve hit ' reply all ' )

A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare

A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The ' no-stars ' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training

The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from the outside, but there ' s actually naught in there worth seeing

A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: ' Oo! Oo! Oo!
Aa! Aa! Aa! '

The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you ' re in the toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in

The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10-Pinter in your bed instead

The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise at 3:00am

The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after booze cruise, even though you ' re too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you ' ve come from

Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night

Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women

Tattoo on a female (of course this does not apply to my wife, youngest daughter or at least one of my gorgeous nieces'.)

A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she ' s got 4 buttocks

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Why children should ALWAYS be killed off in the first scene

I saw a link in a tweet between a couple of my favourite twitter Aunties, Julia Barrett aka @JuliaRBarrett and Jaye Manus aka @CalliesHand.  They are both aficionados of the TV show The Walking Dead, if you are not familiar with it here's a snip

Now the link that Julia and Jaye were sharing was to another blog, funnily enough about that show, and in particular to one cast member, a kid.  The blog was from a site called College Humour and it gave:

10 Reasons Why The Walking Dead Should Just Kill Carl

Carl if you don't watch the show, is a kid and the reasons it gave are here 

This got me thinking, that I should join in this debate as I am forever getting into trouble with my long suffering wife, Ishbel, aka @ishbelstronach.  You see if we sit down to watch a film or TV show that we know is going to be a 'shoot em up' come 'murder mayhem' drama and the first thing we see is the lovey dovey family group, the first thing out of me is an actual groan of despair, which in turn makes Ishbel roll her eyes and utter that well worn phrase, "Don't, don't even start".  "What," I say all innocently....

The most recent example of this, and I know it has been a couple of years now, but, 'Taken' with Liam Neeson.   "What!" I here you exclaim, this was a great movie, and yes I agree.  Who would have thought that Mr Neeson could be so dark, brooding and violent as he was in this, and that phone call;

I'll admit that you probably needed 24 year old Maggie Grace playing a 17 year old as the daughter to set the synopsis for the story but, for goodness sake did Luc Besson or no one else for that matter realise that the portrayal of a 17 year old 'All American Girl"  was so hammy that you could have slapped it between some bread with mustard on it, then decided you didn't like the mustard and thrown it in the bin ( cutting room floor) come on it was ALL of these scenes that made you want to see her dying from an overdose or being hit by a bus as she dashed across a road away from her kidnappers;

Truly awful acting from a 20 something that should never have made it onto our screens past the first scene, even the end scene returning to her mother at the airport was excruciating.  One can only hope that the traffickers cousins come looking for revenge in Taken 2 and make the effort to kill her off in the opening scene.....

Then of course there is the annoyingly little tough guy Edward Furlong as screechingly bad John Connor in Terminator and again I found myself wishing that the upgraded terminator would get past Arnies old style defences and just take the little prat out of the picture, of course the even better aspect of that had it happened, we wouldn't have had to watch the appallingly bad sequels, which would have been no bad thing.

And I would even have settled for Arnie dragging the little whining git into that vat of molten metal at the end of the Movie.

TV and 24's Jack Bauer.  One of my children, who shall remain nameless, Marie, used to get irritated with me when 24 was on and I would go on at length about it and how great Jack was.  Every man, and I suspect many women's dream guy.  Tough, in the extreme, endures excruciating physical and mental torture all for the sake of an ungrateful country, who doesn't want to know how he gets results but when he does get them and they find out how, boy is he then the baddy that no one wants to know.  I mean FFS what's wrong with chopping your mates head off and using it as an entry token to the real bad guys hide out.  Absolutely nothing wrong with it in my book ..... Ah Jack memories

and the only thing that let's it down is bloody Elisha Cuthbert as Kim the dopey blonde daughter who just kept getting in the way and had absolutely no redeeming qualities throughout, mean I know but there you go.

Let's face it most of the heroes of these shows are strong virile men, so it wouldn't be any great loss to them if they killed off the kids themselves at the beginning of the show......... they get the gorgeous woman at the end of the movie and can always make another one ....... as you just know that one or all of the offspring is going to keep breathing heavily, moan and groan as the killler(s) are closing in on them and they are about to give the hiding place away or there screams suggest that they have had a meat hook on a chain stuck in their back and they have then been hoist up and left dangling over a vat of boiling sulphuric acid..... if only they were and the chain broke and dropped them into cutting off their scream in mid decibel, is that to much to ask?  I ask you is there any need for these scenes of wretched screaming kids for any other reason.... No, exactly..

All they do is irritate the audience, well me anyway and I could do without them.  I want to see blood spilled and head and hands chopped off in my murder mayhem shows.  I don't want it spoilt by inane kids whose only purpose in the movie is to scream and scream and scream and occasionally whimper at an inappropriate time, GET RID OF THEM and give us more MURDER DEATH KILL please please please

There are many more better examples, but if I keep going it will need a book and as we all know I can't write wot like proper writers do


Book Review: In Plain Sight by C.J. Box

Joe Pickett books - Wow


What can I say that I haven't said before people! If you haven't started reading the Joe PICKETT novels by this author, you really are missing out on a good reading experience...

When we last left Joe he had just returned from assignment to another district where he ended up shooting a legendary game guide, fell out big time with the next  director of the Wyoming Game Service and arrested for almost punching the American Vice President this guy just can't keep out of trouble.  Added to that he had feelings for another woman, which we were all glad he didn't act on and then he also discovered that Marybeth, his long suffering wife had also had feelings for Nate ROMANOWSKI, which neither acted on.  Good lord but life in Wyoming is getting even more complicated than it has been.

IN PLAIN SIGHT introduces us to a new danger that threatens the whole family in the form of a deranged sole living survivor of the long departed KEELEY family who you may recall also had a daughter that the PICKETT’s tried to adopt, but before they could, she too died in tragic circumstances, something the family have never really recovered from.

So, John Wayne KEELEY is released from a five year prison sentence, where he has become more and more convinced that the reason he is the only survivor of the KEELEY clan is solely down to Joe PICKETT, and so heads North to exact revenge.

While he heads North, things in Saddlestring are beginning to fall apart as Opal SCARLETT, matriarch of the Thunderhead Ranch the biggest and oldest ranch in the valley goes missing.  She has been the glue and the buffer of the family, holding them together at the same time as setting her sons against each other as youngsters to determine who would be the strongest and meanest, and therefore able to take over the ranch and business when she dies.

The town of Saddlestring is split down the middle as the blue collar brigade come out in favour of Arlen SCARLETT, the oldest and most articulate of the brothers who is also the majority leader in the state senate, with the bars and labour faction on the side of Hank, Arlen’s younger brother.  A third brother, Wyat, is in the mix but he is despised by both the elder brothers and is the local joke for his simpleton and strange ways.

A dead Millers weasel is pinned to the PICKETT’s front door, four Elk are killed and decapitated, the carcasses left in town and the heads shoved onto fence posts outside the PICKETT house.  Nate ROMANOWSKI has been missing for six months and Joe is fighting his new boss, Randy POPE, at every turn.  He won't let Joe do anything without first getting permission.  Then, all hell breaks loose as the drought is broken, the river is in flood cutting off everyone from everyone else and the PICKETT girls are kidnapped... AND Joe crosses another line

Yet again Mr Box writes in an easy flowing manner, a book full of suspense and danger, involving a good man and his family, a family who are growing up and teenage rebellion is in the air, he continues to deliver a consistently great readable story.  You just can't stop turning pages.....

I am slowly getting there with these books, however as they are such a joy to read I am tending to keep those I have still to read in reserve, for that moment, where I know I want something special to read and I know I will get it from Mr Box through Joe PICKETT and his family

Book 1 - Open Season                
Book 2 – Savage Run                 

Book 3 – Winterkill                      

Book 4 – Trophy Hunt                

Book 5 – Out of Range               

Book 6 – In Plain Sight               

Book 7 – Free Fire
Book 8 – Blood Trail
Book 9 – Below Zero
Book 10 – Nowhere to Run
Book 11 – Cold Wind
Book 12 – Force of Nature

Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5 
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Did I tell you I Hate Pigeons! But are they afraid of being turned into Zombies?

No, not the kind that turn up on the dinner plate that live in the country and are nice little pigeons,  but the common town/city dwelling feral rat like creature that inhabits our towns and cities and where the idiot masses feed them leading to them congregating and breeding in even greater numbers.....

In my humdrum day to day existence I look after a small parade of shops and offices for a large property company and one of the bane's of my life is pigeons and the mess they leave behind.

It was only recently as well that I learned from an expert that pigeons are prolific breeders and are at it constantly, sex for reproduction.  Apparently they are ready to breed from a few weeks after hatching and then that's it eat, shit, sex,, lay an egg or two and start again.

They dominate the roofs and it doesn't help that a local pub closed down a couple of years ago bordering our property and the owners have left it to become run-down and derelict and this is where a large proportion of the local pigeons have taken up squatters rights.

Now a few years ago the anti smoking ban was introduced in this country but being the ass that I am, that while I enforced it throughout the offices, my office remained an illegal smoking zone, until two weeks ago that is.  I had the dreaded lurgy that was going around and didn't smoke for three days........  Okay go on get it off your chests I can here the moans and groans from here, I'll continue when your finished .....

Okay, ready....

So, anyway having given up for three days I went back to work on the forth day and my office had sort of been fumigated by the cleaners and smelled quite fresh, so I have decided to not smoke in the office and obey the law.  So, I have now taken to joining the other peasants outside and while on the outside having my fag I look up and see the pigeons and the seagulls on all the roofs.

But what I have noticed over the last week is that there is a pigeon free roost area and not just pigeons, but the gulls and other birds in the area seem to avoid one point on the roof, as if it were plague infected or as if there was a hawk perched there and they aint going near it for love nor money and it is the spot on the roof with all the mobile phone masts and antenna!  Is it going to turn them into pigeon zombies if they get to close?

So, all those Mums protesting about the proposed erection of mobile masts near to homes or schools, maybe they have a point!  Is this equipment sending out harmful radiation or whatever and birds are attuned to it, more investigation needed I think on this and in the meantime a call to the man with the pigeon traps for the roofs to try and reduce the numbers again.......

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Apparently there is a positive side to being Raped!

I read a report in The Guardian on line today, that made me feel quite ill...

For some people who've been raped and had the baby, even if they don't keep it, something positive comes out of that whole rape experience," pupils aged 14 and 15 were told.
Wow, who would have thought that something positive could come out of being raped?  But according to the statement above, it can!

Well, I have to admit here that I am a male and I have never been raped and while, as I understand it, that it is predominantly women who suffer this abuse I understand that men too can be raped as well.  Of course if a man is raped we would not continue to suffer in the way that a woman will through pregnancy and the decision to terminate or not, that pregnancy. I also have to confess that throughout my 'thinking' years as an adult I have from time to time read about the debate over abortion and I have always felt fairly ambivalent to the question of abortion but generally felt that it is a decision to be made by the individual to make, and hers alone.

But clearly this is not the case as 'pro-life' activists have decided that a woman attacked, abused and raped and who had no decision in that momentous and calamitous act carried out on them, should then have the decision on what to do with her body and that of the unborn child taken away from them as well.  Why don't we just tell women to get back to the chains of the kitchen sink and be done with it, let them know where their place is in life!

The foetus is an unborn child but it is still just a growing organism, which if allowed to come to term will be born and grow into a sentient human being, yeah, big deal, look at the sentient human being who attacked and raped the woman in the first place, one might argue, and I would, that anyone found guilty of such a crime should be medically castrated and locked away for life.  Yes, I am pretty unforgiving and I don't care who knows it.  I am married, have two daughters and 4 of my five grand children are girls.  

If any of them were ever to fall victim to this kind of abuse I would have a couple of reactions and they would be:

  1. Have an abortion, if they fell pregnant as a result of this attack upon them as I would want nothing to do with this 'innocent' offspring of a twisted demented progenitor, and 
  2. If I could lay my hands on the attacker I would happily take my sharpest kitchen knife to his genitals and leave him bleeding to death

But not the 'pro-life brigade, and what disturbs me even more is that these people are being allowed into our schools in the United Kingdom to spew their garbage to our kids, read it here and they are going on to tell them that if they do have an abortion that they are more likely to get cancer, including breast cancer,

"The link with breast cancer is because if a woman has an abortion, particularly in her first pregnancy, changes have to take place in her breasts. 

And then just to intimidate women even more they are turning up at clinics harassing them as they enter and leave, including photographing and videoing them.....

I'm sorry for saying it, well no not really, but, these 'pro-life' people are, as far as I am concerned, just as sick, twisted and deviant as the actual rapists who attacked the women in the first place.   They are continuing to abuse mentally, the woman who have already been put through, I imagine, one of the most horrific things that could happen to them in having their dignity stripped away from them, being physically  and mentally abused and then these 'pro-life' morons continue to hound them after the first attack,  and many are doing it in the name of religion as well.  Very caring, I don't think so.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

They Walk Amongst us - They really Do!


My daughter and I went through the McDonalds take-away window and I gave the
 girl a £5 note. Our total was £4.20, so I also handed her a Twenty pence piece.

She said, 'you gave me too much money.'

I said,
 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me £1 back.'
She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I
 did so, and he handed me back the 20 pence and said 'We're sorry but they could not do that kind of thing.'

The girl then proceeded to give me back 80 pence in change..

Do not confuse the girls at MacD's.


We had to have the garage door repaired. The GARADOR repairman told us that
 one of our problems was that we did not have a 'large' enough motor on the opener.

I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one GARADOR made at
 that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a ¼ horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4 and he said, 'NOOO, it's not. Four is larger than two.'

We haven't used Garador repair since. Happened in Bromley, Kent UK


I live in a semi rural area. We recently had a new neighbour call the
 Highways Department to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.'

Story from Crayford, Kent, UK


My daughter went to a local Kentucky Fried and ordered a Mexican taco. She asked the person behind the counter for
 'minimum lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

From Gillingham Kent, UK.


I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an Irish airport employee
 asked, 'Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?'
To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?'
He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'

Happened Luton Airport ..... UK


The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was
 crossing with an intellectually challenged co-worker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red.

Appalled, she responded, 'What on earth are blind people doing driving?!'

She is a Local County Council employee in Dartford Kent, UK


When my husband and I arrived at Our Local Ford dealer to pick up our car,
 we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the drivers side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. 'Hey,' I announced to the Mechanic "It's open!'
His reply, 'I know. I already did that side.'

This was at the Ford dealership in St Albans,
 Hertfordshire UK.

They walk among us... and the scary part is that is they have the


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Saucy little Snow People

No shame these snow people!

Liebster Award, WTF!

I got this the other day from a dear Twitter friend, and first time novelist, Kirkus MacGowan.  He was lucky, he was so close to getting blocked for spam as you do as you see your twitter name and a link popping up in the twitter time line and you automatically, when that is all you see, reach for the report and block button.  It was only then that I noticed it was from Kirkus that made me click on the link, taking me to his blog where I found I had been Liebstered!

Without being to sycophantic, I have been saying for a while, what a nice guy he (Kirkus) is and there he goes and nominates me for an award for the interweb detritus that people sometime’s, no doubt when they are really, really bored and there is absolutely nothing else for them to do, pop into my little old unprofessional weirdy looking blog, aw shucks [blushing], no not really.  It’s about time someone recognised me for the talent that I have, for spouting nonsense, bless him....

And while I am on the subject of him, here in the UK there is an advert running for a new TV programme coming to our screens, that every time I see the guy in it he reminds me of the great one,  that is MacGowan   

This is Kirkus’s Twitter photo 

 and this is

Morgan Spurlock   There is a resemblance.  Having no idea who Mr Spurlock is, I am sure he is not as nice as Mr MacGowan!  So, thank you Kirkus for the nomination, to kind.

(although Mr Spurlock does seem to have more hair but if no-one mentions it Kirkus wont notice either)

My Liebster Award Nominations
And for my nominations then I would like to nominate:

Emma Garaln for her Virtually Sensible blog.We just sort of met on twitter, no idea who followed who first but she is fun and serious and has a point of view that she doesn’t mind sharing with you, with even a little bit of poetry thrown in from time to time.

Julia R Barrat  for her Julia Barrett’s World.  Or as I like to call her (never met, but who cares) Aunt Julia, who is an author and blogger and lover of all things zombie, traveller, hiker, pet lover, nurse, wife, and the list goes on ..... well let’s just say an all round good un who occasionally let’s go with both barrels when something gets on her wick.  Whatever she writes on her blog, you can be guaranteed it will be good

Penny Watson for her Penelope’s Romance Reviews Another of my Twitter Aunties Penny is so much fun, especially if she has been knocking back the martini’s and they don’t even need to be alcoholic, and you get an inviter every week when she hosts yet another martini mixing party, what more do you need. 

Chef John Malik was recently introduced to me by Aunty Julia knowing that I am a sucker for good food and he throws out the odd recipe, like a bone to the dog.  He writes has appeared on some American TV show I have never heard of, but hey who hasn’t? Checked out his blog roll the other day and some amazing entries, I recommend his blog ‘Christmas Wishes’ very moving

And last but by no means least, Marie Kennedy, for her Musings of a Working Mum and Wife.  Marie is an infrequent blogger so might not fit into the awards category very well but I have known Marie all her life, I wasn’t exactly there, in the room, when she was born, I was outside having a fag at the time if I recall, so anything she says or writes, I listen, maybe not always as attentively as she would wish that I did/do, but I try....    

To accept the award you must do a few things:

• Thank the person that nominated you on your blog and link back to them.
• Nominate up to five other blogs for the award.
Let them know via comment on their blog
• Post the award on your blog
Thanks again for the Liebster nominations!

I'm changing the rules, don't know if I can, but hey it's what I do, being a non conformist.  You can still post a comment on your nominations blog but I think a message on Twitter is just as cool, so get to it.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Book Review - In Her Name: From Chaos Born by Michael R Hicks

This is the seventh book in the In Her Name series from Mr Hicks and when you think he must surely be running out of ideas he comes back just as strong as before.

In the previous books we discovered that the Kreelan were a female warrior race mysteriously linked through a mystical connection to their Empress and in some cases to each other.  We learned that they were a technologically advanced race, however when engaged in battle they only used technology that matched their opponents, in the later books that was us, the Human Race, but in the eyes of the Kreelan, we were nothing more than animals to be exterminated or culled as we did not have the ‘soul’ that they possessed.  Millions of people on hundreds of planets were annihilated before those wars came to an end with the ‘one’ who could save both races and so that should have been the end of it, sadly for us the followers of the In Her Name Series.

But, sneaky Mr Hicks had other plans, thank goodness.  He has sat down at his PC/Mac or whatever he uses to write his books and in between fighting for control of the keyboard with his cats he has written a book that goes back in time on the Kreelan Home world.  Hundreds of thousands of years, when humanity were still existing in caves, the Kreelans had existed and reached out to the cosmos.

We knew that all Kreelan Warriors were female and Hicks did inform us in one of the novels how this came about at the time that it did, but what we didn’t know was how the Kreelans got to that point, and the epic tale that led up to the point of becoming a Female dominated race.

Many authors, having six best sellers on their hands, would probably leave it at that, but luckily for us, Hicks has found his feet as a full time author and so, having nothing better to do with his time, has decided that we should learn just where and how the Kreelans evolved into what became humanities worst nightmare (but from a readers perspective a thoroughly engaging species).

From Chaos Born, begins to explain this to us and Hicks’s imagination and creativity is once again spinning a web of Love, Honour, Duplicity, Intrigue and War.  Instead of killing other humanoids, they are killing each other in single combat but as is usual for an In Her Name novel, also in graphically depicted and detailed battle scenes.

We know from our previous sorties into his stories, that there are mystical priestesses who guard and protect ‘The Way’  for the Empress and these Priestesses come from ‘holly’ orders that are as old as the Kreelan peoples  but that only a few of them exist in the later books.  Again, Hicks is beginning to tell us about the Seven Orders that existed and of the Priests and Priestesses.

The male warriors that coexisted and fought alongside their Consorts, it’s all there and more and it reads so easily that you once again get caught up in all of it you end up losing losing track of time.

In Her Name: From Chaos Born charts the birth of a new child, a child so different that a Queen needs to kill her.  A child so different that a priest defies, threats of a fate worse than death itself from his own kind , his High Priestess, and literally takes that one step over the threshold of the shrine, to lift the child from the safety of its dying mother’s arms.

In Her Name: From Chaos Born shows the Loyalty, Love and Savagery of Warriors who throw themselves into the path of death, to save a child who has been born different.....

And then that bugger Hicks does it again...... leaves us waiting for the next instalment There are some people you just want to slap and he is hitting the top of my list for this, not to hard of course just enough to say WRITE THE DAMMED BOOKS AND PUBLISH THEM SO WE CAN GET ON WITH IT

If you haven’t read any of his books, this is the order of the In Her Name Series they are worth the effort and once you start reading it takes effort to put them down

Book 1 - EMPIRE
Book 6 - DEAD SOUL

and if you head over to Mr Hicks web page here you will be able to nab a free copy of Empire to get you started 

The pages for Hicks Books on Amazon US is here
and Amazon UK is here 

My only criticism is on the Cover Art - Just didn't like it, but hey it's nice to know he isn't perfect 


Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

Saturday, 17 March 2012

A Gift for a Girlfriend

A young man wanted to buy a Christmas present for his new girlfriend.

They hadn't been seeing each other for very long and she lived in Scotland.  Chris consulted with his sister and decided, after careful consideration, that a pair of good quality gloves would strike the right note... not too romantic and not too personal.

Off he went with his sister to Harrods and they selected a dainty pair of fur lined quality leather gloves. His sister bought a pair of sexy knickers for herself at the same time.

Harrods had a free gift wrap offer but the assistant mixed up the two items, the sister got the gloves and Chris unknowingly got the knickers.

Good old Chris sent off his gift wrapped present in a parcel with the following letter.

Dear Maggie,

I chose these because I've noticed that you are not wearing any when we go out in the evenings. If it had not been for my sister I would have chosen the long ones with buttons, but she wears shorter ones (which are easier to remove).

These are a very delicate shade, but the lady I bought them from showed me the pair she had been wearing for the past three weeks and I hardly noticed any marks.

I had her try yours on for me and she looked really smart in them even though they were a little bit tight on her. She also said that they rub against her ring which helps keep it clean. In fact she hasn't needed to wash it since she began wearing them.

I wish I was there to put them on for you the first time, as no doubt many other hands will touch them before I have a chance to see you again.

When you take them off remember to blow into them a little bit because they will be naturally a little damp from wearing.

Just imagine how many times my lips will kiss them during the coming year.
I hope you will wear them for me on our next date.

All my love,


P.S. My mum tells me that the latest style is to wear them folded down with a little bit of fur showing.

Friday, 16 March 2012

His and Her Diaries - and @RachelintheOC may be right

Her Diary: 

Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird.  We had made plans to meet at a bar to have a drink.  I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it.

The conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet to talk. He agreed, be he didn't say much.

I asked him what was wrong. He said, "Nothing."  I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset.  He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it.

On the way home I told him that I loved him.  He smiled slightly and kept driving.  I can't explain his behaviour.  I don't know why he didn't say, "I love you too."  When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing more to do with me any more.  He just sat there quietly, watching TV.  He continued to seem distant and absent.

Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed.  About 15 minutes later, he came to bed.  To my surprise, he responded to my caress and we made love.  But, I still felt that he was distracted and his thoughts were somewhere else.  He fell asleep, I cried.  I don't know what to do.

I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else.  My life is a disaster.

His Diary:

My snowmobile wouldn't start today, can't figure out why, but at least I got laid!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

If you walk into a Gay Bar, how do you know?

The Bathtub Test

The  Bathtub Test  
During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the  director how do you determine whether or not a patient should be  institutionalized.

"Well," said the director, "we fill up a  bathtub, then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient  and ask him or her to empty the bathtub."

"Oh, I understand," I  said "A normal person would use the bucket because it's bigger than the  spoon or the teacup."
Answer from the Director
"No." said the director, "A normal person  would pull the plug.  Do you want a bed near the window?"  


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

I will Not F*^&$*^ Smile

I was clearing out my emails today and came across this sequence from 2010 and thought I would share:

I received this from a colleague in a weak attempt to make me smile

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul K
To: Tom Stronach
Sent: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 8:53
Subject: smile
Did I read the sign right?

In an office:

In a Laundromat:
In a London department store:
In an office:

In an office:

Outside a secondhand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer's field:


On a repair shop door:

Now that you've smiled at least once, it's your turn to spread the stupidity and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to (maybe even a chuckle). We all need a good laugh, keep on smiling


I was in my usual -in the f*&^%*& office - mood and sent this reply

From: tom stronach
Sent: 21 April 2010 09:30
To: Paul K
Subject: Re: smile
Do you bloody mind.....
I most certainly WILL NOT f*****G smile 
I have invested a lot of time and effort in mastering the art of the scowl, grimace and general unpleasantness that comes with working in P..... for L..  and NB and this general attack by L.. Management on my whole attitude of generally being a bit of a miserable bastard will be ignored and we would be pleased if you would refrain from further unsolicited attacks or the attempted undermining of our generally accepted belligerent demeanour 
So, F**k Off..............................

and finally received this reply - it's good when people remember what my job description entails

-----Original Message-----
From: Paul K 
To: Tom Stronach - 
Sent: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 11:48
Subject: RE: smile

Hi Tom, pleased to note (and apologies for forgetting the requirement in your job description) your curmudgeonly attitude prevails, and that you remain a fully paid up member (with a potential nomination for grand poobar) of the P.....  chapter of the Grumpy Old Farts brigade ….
S#d off then…..

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Book review Poems of Love and Hate by Julia R Barrett

How well do you know your friends on Twitter. You may never have met them and they might even be a well established author of a particular genre, that might not altogether be your cup of tea, but you have looked at it and that too has given you preconceptions of 'your friend'.

You have read her numerous blogs and found her to be funny, laughing out loud at her take on events in her life, even when they have been excruciatingly painful, as they happen to her, and she clearly sees the funny side of them too...

Then you have conversations with her and her friends on twitter and they make you laugh till your sides hurt and damn them (metaphorically only of course) they make you laugh so much you have to reach for the asthma pump...  So you've got to know her pretty well as a distant un-met dear friend.

Then out of left field she tells you in one quicky post (no I didn't feel used, that's what blogs and tweets can be quickies) that she is going to publish a book of poems and suddenly it is there and you take the day to read through them and you think... hell. I don't know this woman at all.  These are good. They are quite painful, the book is entitled  "Poems of Love and Hate"  by J.R. Barrett......

You wonder if the woman you have a dialogue with is on her 'second' attempt at life as the life she writes about in her blog bears no resemblance to the life she writes about in her book of poems.

You wonder if she has experienced the highs and the lows, the extreme love and the extreme pain that so often can be the flip side of that thing we call love, why 'Becuz' it's  all there in those 18 poems  and then you see some traits of your own contained in those poems and you wonder, 'are we all like that''

I used to,  'just sit there with your sports section And your bowl of cereal As if you're entitled And I'm Not'

I know this but I changed .... and became better, I hope for the change

But then you read, I remember the evening You beat me    Because YOU spilled the orange juice .....

Is this the same woman I have known for only a few months but it feels like years?  Well apparently it is and I don't know her half as much as I should and neither do you....

But you can rectify that easily by having a look at this moving tender and sometimes painful work of poems by an extraordinary woman   Julia R Barrett and her book Poems of Love and Hate

Available on Amazon US here and Amazon UK here


Social Housing Sell Off - Conservatives Never learn from Past Mistakes

I heard a snippet on the news this morning as I passed a radio that Government are saying that council house tenants may get up to £70k knocked off the cost of their house should they wish to buy it.

Now we all know that the cost of most council houses that form terraced streets are not that large, but have over inflated prices, that the estate agents and BANKS propped up from the 80's and continue to do so today, so there will still be a substantial mortgage left to pay on the property.  Of course another reason for the inflated price of houses in the UK was the last disastrous sell off of council homes, also led by the Conservatives, this time assisted by the LIB Dems, and ignored by Labour, was that Councils were not allowed to use the money to build  more social houses to replace that which was lost.... SHAME ON ALL POLITICIANS FOR THAT DEBACLE OF BAD GOVERNANCE

Of course the Government will argue that SOME COUNCIL HOUSES are too large for some of there occupants and they want to throw them out into single bedroom homes or care homes, just so that their families, sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters can't come for a sleep over, unless they all huddle on the floor of the lounge of the single bed home they want to force the current occupants to move into.....

Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps twitter) Welwyn Hatfield MP and Minister of State for Housing & Local Government. Website here http://www.shapps.com is always harping on about the good that he is doing for housing and local government, well Grant I have news for you, you aren't!  You are doing exactly what your predecessors before you did, you are creating a disaster for the rest of us to clear up, or not, in the not to distant future.

Is it just me?  Every day I see and hear ministers and opposition members of Parliament prattling on about the need to create jobs, and yes there are undoubtedly SOME jobs being created, but more and more jobs are being lost and unless some government brings in a law to restrict the use of labour saving technological advances that science is making every day, more and more jobs will be lost to these technologies with no hope of bringing them back...

If the work place is shrinking and our children are suffering the deprivation of poor and inadequate education to their and our future detriment, for goodness sake we aren't even teaching them how to claim benefits, although many learn that easy lesson from their parents, yet we do tell immigrants, legal and illegal how to do that!

The point is that while we should all aspire to be more in life than we are and to, if we can, be in a position to, buy and own our own homes it is an easy move from home ownership to being thrown out in the street when you fall behind when that manageable mortgage is suddenly no longer mangageable.  I have no statistics to back this up but I would be interested to know if after the first time this sell off occured under a previous Conservative Government what was the average debt level of a council house tenant when they rented their house and what it rose to after they 'bought' their council house and fell into the trap of being in the coveted position of being a 'home owner'.  What is it with we Brits, why are we conned so easily into believing that home ownership IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO?

Did you know that only 39 percent of Germans own their own home, compared 68 percent in the U.K.   Apparently Spain has the highest rate among advanced industrial nations in Europe at 82 per cent and in France it is around 56 per cent.  So while Spain beats us in this and I have no idea why, and maybe that is another reason to add for their current economic gloom which apparently is worse than ours, unless you are a banker or an MP or a member of the non elected upper house, with the salaries, expenses bonuses and platinum pensions, can you AFFORD TO BUY YOUR OWN HOME.  If I was sitting in a council house paying rent today, I would have to think long and hard about it and the answer would most definitely be a resounding NO.

Why, when so many people are unemployed? Why, when factories requiring thousand of shift workers are not being planned? Why, when so many people, like the country, are in debt?