The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

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When I bought this I thought it was the second of the Marlowe novels coming after The Big Sleep that I’d already read. It turns out it’s actually the sixth and last of them. Ho hum.

I enjoyed this more than the first book, partly because I had no clue as to the plot whereas I already had a fair idea of the plot of The Big Sleep from other sources and partly because I was just in more of a reading mood for this book. Sometimes with Chandler you feel like you’re reading something so cliched that it’s silly but you have to stand back and realise that this is exactly where all the cliches come from. I liked the story a lot, it has all the elements that I’d expect to find in a forties noir novel (even though I know bugger all about forties noir) and exceeds expectations by being a lot better than the authors who have tried to imitate him.

I’ll definitely read some more Marlowe but I think these are books best spread out over a long time.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 3rd March 2001.


  • large bag of books
  • small bag of clothes
  • this wool to knit these with
  • pair of walking boots
  • digital camera
  • case of wine
  • ever optimistic bottle of suncream and sunglasses

back in a week. off to laze by a soggy loch and do as close to nowt as possible with the aid of the above props.

it would be a tad refracted

This site is best viewed through a 25cl glass of slightly chilled Viognier

sounds good to me. this bottle of trivento was my first viognier and it was bloody lovely. i wish i could say some wine connoisseur type things but i can’t so you’ll have to drink some yourself and see what you think.


Most modern programming languages do not consider white space characters (spaces, tabs and newlines) syntax, ignoring them, as if they weren’t there. We consider this to be a gross injustice to these perfectly friendly members of the character set. Should they be ignored, just because they are invisible? Whitespace is a language that seeks to redress the balance. Any non whitespace characters are ignored; only spaces, tabs and newlines are considered syntax.

it gets better the further you dig into it.

menu search

google menus looks like a good place to look for salad ideas for tea….

marinated in a ginger tamari (*) vinaigrette w/ red bell peppers
bean sprouts, shitake mushrooms, sesame seeds

and lots of other yummy sounding stuff. i’m pedantically amused that they have dishes with worchester ($) sauce and whalnuts in them though.

(*) tamari seems to be a type of soy sauce in case you didn’t know. i didn’t.

($) i used to have the idea that americans pronounced this war-cess-ter sauce which feels backed up by this spelling, but i know that in maine they pronounced it wuss-ter-shy-er thereby pronouncing what it says on the bottle more correctly than i’ve ever heard it said in england (i’ve never heard anyone say the shire on worcestershire sauce here.)

October Sky by Homer H. Hickam

Cover of

A friend recommended this to me years back and although I was interested enough to chuck it in my shopping basket at Amazon a couple of years back it’s taken me until now to get around to picking it up to read. This is the story (true) of Sonny Hickam and his friends known as the ‘Rocket Boys’ who, in the late 1950s, were inspired by the Sputnik satellites to build and launch their own rockets in a small coal mining town in West Virginia.

The moral that’s often repeated throughout the book is that you can learn anything if you want it hard enough. This is the journey from ramming tubes with explosive and doing nothing more than setting the garden fence on fire to well designed rockets that eventually fly six miles into the sky and take Sonny out of the coal mining valleys and to the national science fair (and after the book closes give the author a career at NASA). I’m amazed at the organisation of the boys in the book as my childhood science experimentation was always lacking in refinement and progress.

I enjoyed the story because I enjoyed watching the ‘Big Creek Missile Agency’ team develop and learn. The family and cultural background of the book is interesting but sometimes gets a bit sickly sweet with nostalgia for a way of life and an era that’s now gone. And as always with true life stories there are things that would seem too pat if they were featured in fiction but I expect that those incidents are the truest of the lot.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 15th January 2001.

it seems to be summer

my wish list:

  • baseball cap, or other hat with a brim to keep the sun out of my eyes
  • parasol, possibly, to act as a large scale version of the brimmed hat
  • a supply of paperweights
  • some sun cream, preferably with the kind of spf intended to protect newborn babies.

in all other respects working outside on the patio is bloody wonderful.