July 23rd, 2003

Dark Tower

Books

Can I get through this with my credibility intact? What credibility?

It's been a strange day. Went to work for the first time in a few days, did vaguely productive things. Saw colleagues throwing silver balls at another ball some 25m away (those who weren't juggling). Failed to have lunch. Went home to convalesce. Got a cheque from White Wolf in the mail (for the Demon Players Guide, which has been well received by most reviewers).

Got Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Adult edition.

Now, I try to be frugal about these things, and hate the whole idea of collectable comics, with the multiple covers, etc, etc. The idea of the Adult editions also seems pretty silly (adults not wanting to be seen reading kids books). So I didn't buy the Australian Adult edition after buying the normal one, though it was cheap. And pretty. Much prettier than the normal edition (that's a daft looking phoenix), and the other adult covers in the series (#4 isn't too bad). Then I finished reading the book, hung round on eBay considering for a few days, and just bought the fucker. Somewhat more expensive (since if I was going to buy it, I might as well go for the British edition), but I paid for seamail delivery and it arrived about 2 months earlier than expected.

Wow.

Got a first edition copy of Tomorrow When the War Began.

There's a book I never thought I'd see a copy of. It apparently had some tiny first run in hardcover (500 or so), and then went on to become the most popular novel for Australian teenagers ever, or some such thing. Regardless of that, it -- and the whole series -- are excellent reading (I got suckered in about two years ago by a free handout of the first 90 pages), and read the seven very quickly thereafter. Being the collector that I am, I looked out for 1st eds, got 2-7 pretty easily, and now have #1. It just turned up on eBay one day, without any fanfare, and after a nervous week I won one of those annoying (but sort of fun) last minute bidding frenzies (I just put one really big bid on with a few minutes to spare, and watched several other people get frantic).

Wow again.

(I have the Adult edition of Tommorow when the War Began as well, renamed When the War Began for no apparent reason. Not a bad cover, but not as good as the more recent 'normal' editions. Must resist urge to buy more books...)

That's it, really. Better go write some words of my own.
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Dark Tower

Modern PIs

Finished Patricia Holt's The Bug in the Martini Olive last night -- a biography of Hal Lipset, one of the most famous and influential PIs in post-WW2 America. Interesting stuff (more so than the name indicates, I think, although apparently it's a famous incident).

Apart from various useful bits of research, I was taken by his approach to 'the System'. As portrayed, his greatest conviction was that the 'adversarial' Court system of the modern democracy was the perfect way of finding the truth -- as long as those with the power let the process take its course. Sounds reasonable, but he was willing to put the tools of the system at the service of pretty much anyone who walked into the office. He worked for Jim Jones and investigated Watergate (he started by investigating crime by US soldiers in WW2). He'd rescue people from cults on their parent's behest, and then ask them where they would prefer to be. It's a philosophy that seems both pragmatic and profound, and the book covers some of the problems (and solutions) of the approach.

Anyway, worth a read.

(Meanwhile, I'm still trying to get a handle on Jay J Armes -- a PI without hands who apparently had a gun inside his hook attachments, and has done all sorts of derring-do around the world. He's real enough (and apparently well-known in the US), but none of the sources I've seen seem to know how much of his background is real, or if it's just some guy with too much money and imagination. Very weird...)
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    Songs from Rage, disc 2 (for a while, anyway)