Monday, January 30, 2012

Of Dragons and tiring hackneyed fantasy tales.

i never read the Christopher Paolini "Inheritance" series (Eragon et al) until we bought it for the man of our house for Christmas cos he also wanted to read the set ... and the books do have some very eye-catching artwork ... and i do so love dragons (being one myself).

The Inheritance series has to be read with the following in mind:
a) the lad was only about 15 when he wrote it
b) it was self-published first by his parents company
c) Random House have now taken over and it's sold gazillion copies internationally (gazillion copies does not equate to quality product).

yes, it's rather weak in parts and too contrived.
yes, the dialogue is stilted, awkward and adolescent.
yes, the character development is sketchy
yes, too many logistical problems crop up all the time, only to be deftly solved with one sentence (plot contrivance)
yes, it makes me very angry sometimes when I read how sloppy it is

it has a lot of merit and moves along at a fair enough pace (if you ignore all the technical lapses)

do NOT read this Inheritance set directly after reading George R R Martin's Songs of Ice and Fire masterpieces. It will just make you so miserable.
George's books are ART, they have longevity, weight, substance and will last for generations to come. They are already classics.
The same can not be said of the Inheritance cycle and nobody should make that assumption (some have and it makes my blood boil). I keep wanting to write stuff on the pages (especially where there are blatant editorial and penmanship mistakes), pad it up a bit, give it some ADULT content, some balls, some credibility.

And i am very jealous - cos my dragon book (still in my head) beats the pants of this lot! Duh

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sh#t my cat broke

One of our house cats is a Manx, called Merlin. He’s about 7 years old and a big old fuss pot. When he was a baby his sphincter didn’t work properly, so every evening when his mum got home from work, she had to clean all the klingons that had stuck to his bum. He drools. When you get out of the shower he expects you to massage his head with your wet foot, otherwise he’ll get mean and try to grab your naked leg with his claws. Other than that, he’s harmless, sleeps all day and most of the night and is scared of just about anything

This morning, a chap comes banging on our front door and accuses us of not controlling our cat (that looks like a Rabbit, the one with no tail) who comes into his house a lot and fights with his cats (who are very timid and never leave the house). This mean man accused our cat of pee-ing on his furniture (something Merlin never does at all, he doesn’t defecate inside a home and is well-trained and very clean). Then this horrible man said that Merlin had knocked over his lamp and broken it in the middle of the night. How this twit could have made that assumption is beyond us, he didn’t actually witness it ... anyhoo, half an hour later, we discover that the strange bloke up the road has gone and dumped the broken lamp outside our front door. God knows why - maybe he thinks Merlin is going to replace it with next months' pocket money.

Anyhoo, here's an out of focus picture of Merlin (because he was so incensed at being referred to as a Bunny that he wouldn't sit still) and the ugly horrible lamp (can't see why anyone would get upset about it being broken, I personally think Merlin did the twat a favour).

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Bought Ceremonials yesterday - that's quite a compliment i be paying this Florence lady - I don't buy cd's, specially by chicks
The album is something quite unique to my world - an entire record of songs, sung by a FEMALE that i can listen to in one go and not run screaming from the room. It goes well with the George R R Martin frame of mind i'm in (reading the Storm of Swords series at the moment) ....

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Some foties from the camping hollerday

One of the swimming beaches
Our camp site, partially set up
Lagoon from our campsite at sunset
View looking out onto the Marina from our campsite
View looking back down the Kowie River to the Port Alfred bridge from our campsite (the bridge was lit up in the evenings)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

holiday updates

Camping in the Eastern Cape
The drive down to Port Alfred on Boxing Day took 16 hours - due to the man of the house programming his GPRS to a different town (Port Edward ... duh, which is in Natal and not the Eastern Cape!), so we went to the Eastern Cape via Pietermaritzburg.

We were travelling in two cars. I organised a rental because my Proton has some issues with the front panels and it is way too small to take on a long trip with a child. EuropeCar gave me a Toyota Corolla, with 6 gears. It would have been nice if it also had an engine.
The car is perfect on straight bits of road but once it sees a hill (god forbid a mountain), it freezes up inside and wants to go backwards.
Because of the mix up with directions, we ended up going through the Transkei for a good deal of the trip. Holy God. The road is non-existent in places, pot-holes as large as your bath, dead animals lying all over the place. In one spot, a huge ginger horse lay sprawled across the road - nobody had bothered to move it off the tarmac. Cows, goats, chickens and sheep wander aimlessly across the road at any time and anywhere. The road is not fenced and has no 'roadside' or kerb, it just disappears into sand in places and winds its way up motherfucking great mountains and down again into valleys littered with makeshift rondavels and lean-tos. Everywhere there are children walking alongside the road, or men standing idly about watching you drive past the hovels. Mount Frere is the most depressing place i've ever seen. I was shattered by the time i'd finished driving through this stretch of the trip - but at least we could share driving (myself and my daughter, and the kids were in the hired car), the man of the house was driving his bakkie with all the camping equipment.

We arrived at Port Alfred round about 8pm (we'd left the house at 4am that morning), it was dark and raining. Of course, we got lost, couldn't find the camp site (because nobody listens to my directions). Lady of house is in tears, kids are tired and crying, everyone's had it up to here. Eventually pull into a garage and get given the directions (which i had all the time but nobody would listen to me) and voila, there is the campsite. We put up one half of the main tent (because it's a motherfucking huge great canvas job that needs a team of ten people to erect under normal circumstances). We managed to get to bed and crashed out, completely exhausted.

Morning came and we were able to explore our surroundings and see that we had basically been given the best site in the park! We erected my tent, the rest of the huge canvas tent, gazebo, sorted out kitchen etc. etc and started the holiday.
Completely grand time was had by all of us - i don't have a camera so can't upload my own photos but will pinch some of my daughters when i get a chance and post up here on the blog.

Our camp site backed onto the lagoon and in front of us was the river and marina. Gorgeous place, although the ablutions were a bit old fashioned and there was no bath, which is a bit of a problem when you have small children in tow. Port Alfred is a cute little place.

The night before New Years Eve, the town had a Rave and it oonced oonced on until about 2am - needless to say I was ready to shoot people by then.
New Years Eve came and it was like a ghost town, deathly quiet- so odd! We were in a great place however, to watch the fireworks display which was set off from the beach and went on for about half an hour.
New Years Day was a killer - it seemed like every Black person and his brother within 100 kilometres of Port Alfred descended on the lagoon, camping in the small parks on the side of the road, even trying to get into the camp site through the fences. I've never seen so many people crammed into such a small space! The noise level was so bad, we went away from the campsite that day and to the beaches up the road, which were relatively quiet. Had a lot of fun playing about in the surf and rock pools.

We got home for supper and the noise level had increased - the cops started herding people back from the beaches and out of the lagoon area round about 11pm and by about 2am in the morning it had quietened down enough to fall asleep. I've never experienced a level of noise like that in my life - it was like two football stadiums full of people all screaming, ululating, shrieking, singing and chanting in unison. 2012 got a very noisy welcome in Port Alfred!

The rest of our holiday went by way too quickly and in no time at all we were packing up to come home. This time, we drove back via Bloemfontein but it still took 14 hours.
Next time, i have the crazy notion to go camping in the Eastern Cape, we will stop over!

I hope everyone who flicks through this blog from time to time, had a really spectacular 2012.