While I was in NZ on holidays recently I found a Top Gear book, and one particular bit particularly amused me:

The default supercar for the post-war European male is, was, and probably always will be, the Porsche 911. Although finely honed and all too ordinary today, it was a unique proposition a few years back, both in terms of its looks and its handling. Or rather, the lack thereof. Porsche ran a sort of accidental eugenics programme for the best part of thirty years, by producing a car that appealed to one of society’s least likeable types, and then promptly wrapping him around a tree.


Having finished Harry Potter I am finding myself ruminating a lot over it.

Part of it is the usual feeling of hollow sadness that I get after any book/TV/movie series that I have become particularly engrossed in comes to an end, the same feeling I get when I loose a friend because one or other of us moves away to continue our lives. I feel sad because I know I am going to miss their company.

Part of it also seems to stem from the fact that so many of the characters I have come to know and love end up dying, and while I won’t spoil the details for those who have not read it, it becomes a little overwhelming towards the end as so many end up dying sad and slightly futile deaths.

Ultimately I think a lot of it boils down to the fact that I kind of wish I too could do magic (and as much as I try and convince myself that some of the stuff I do at work is, in the grand scheme of things, pretty damn amazing, it’s somehow not in the same league as Patronuses and expeliarmus) and it frustrates me a bit that after getting so immersed in the Harry Potter universe for the last few days I have to return to my at the moment rather mundane life. <Sigh>


Well I just finished reading the last Harry Potter. I read 350 pages of it today (which for those of you who know how slowly I read, is quite a feat in itself).

Pretty good yarn, but I want more, and particularly stuff filling in those 19 years. Perhaps some stories about Neville and Hermione and what they get up to after school.

Anyway. It’s another thing out of the way on my “After I’ve sat the exam…” checklist.

A correspondence

Simone rather likes two series of mystery books by an Australian author by the Name of Kerry Greenwood. The first is the Phryne Fisher series, based around the exploits of a socialite and amateur sleuth in 1920s Melbourne and greater victoria. The second is the Corinna Chapman series, base around a Baker who finds her self unintentionally solving crimes.

I haven’t read any of either of them, but Simone has read them all, and owns most of them. She frequently complains about the fact that she’s read them all and thinks that Kerry should get busy and write some more. I told her she should write to Kerry and tell her this, and eventually that is exactly what Simone did.

And wouldn’t you know it, Kerry wrote back!!

Just because I find the whole thing so amusing, below are the two emails.  This should also serve s a handy hint for some good presents for Simone for christmas (hint hint) 🙂

Dear Kerry,
I have read all your Phyrne Fisher and Corinna Chapman books and enjoyed them immensley.  In fact I have read them all several times and was wondering when the next are due out.  Will there be anymore Phyrne Fisher books now that she has reached the end of 1928?
Looking forward to some new adventures for Corinna and Phyrne.
Kind regards,
Simone Ramsay
Dear Simone
Thank you very much! New Corinna Trick or treat in Septmeber, new Phryne for Christmas.
You keep reading them, I’ll keep writing them, deal?

The flourishing of wands

On thursday I went with Simone and two of our friends Margaret and Prue to see the new Harry Potter movie.

It was good, although having recently re-read the book as some light bedtime reading I found it a bit frustrating how much of the good stuff in the book they had to cut in order to fit it into the 2 1/2 hours. This phenomenon is becoming more and more prominent (and, in my opinion, problematic) as they get further and further through the series. Harry is also starting to look disconcertingly old, and perhaps more incongrously, buff for the character he’s supposed to be portraying.

Still, I enjoyed it overall, and it’s only a short while until the next book comes out (with recent suggestions in the media that JKR may not be as averse to writing more Harry Potter books in the future (contrary to her previous assertions that there would only be 7)).

I also saw the other day that they’ve released the companion game for the Order of the Phoenix movie, and one of the flavours it comes in is for the Wii. This is cool, because it would appear that part of the game is that you use the Wiimote as a wand to cast spells. I must say I’m looking forward to wingarduim leviosa’ing stuff, and perhaps even Reducto’ing a few things. 🙂

Cheers Big Ears (Part 2)

You sass that hoopy Douglas Adams? Now there’s a frood who knew where his towel was.

If you understood even half of that preceeding sentence you would probably appreciate the concept of International Towel Day (May 25th), where you are encouraged to carry your towel, and appreciate all those wonderful things that Douglas Adams brough into our lives.

Having recently re-read the increasingly inaccurately named Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy (a trilogy in 5 parts) I love the idea, and can’t wait for the opportunity to wear my towel and wave my elecrtonic thumb.

One step closer

I have in the past commented several times on my opinion that a really worthwhile application of digital technology lies in the ability to digitally photograph, catalogue and store the contents of old and rare (particularly religious) texts so that they should be accessable to everyone.

The other day I stumbled on another little technology that makes this an easier and more realistic prospect.

It’s called DjVu and is a new image compression system designed specifically to allow documents to be scanned so as to be readable, and to compress the resulting files to be smaller than if they had been compressed with other systems such as JPEG.

One step closer.

Same old tired rhetoric

The new Harry Potter book is only days away from being released, and already the same old boring stereotypes are coming out with the same old boring rhetoric about what a bad influence Harry Potter and his love of witchcraft and wizzardry is, and how the books promote un-Christian ideals.

It really is rather tiresome. It also seems rather pathetic really. If [insert your religion of choice here] is really that good and inviting and all embracing, then they have nothing to worry about, but to me the wails and castigations from the pulpit just indicates that a little work is needed to make [you faith of choice] more accessable and relevant to today’s youth in today’s world.