35 to go?

i’ve been to 16/51 of the united states of america.

i make it 15/50 actually, even i know that the district of columbia isn’t a state. this doesn’t include states that i’ve only passed through – i’ve done most of my us travelling by on the ground. it seems a bit of a cheat to say that you’ve been to oregon when you’ve just sat on the train from seattle to san francisco.

i’ve been to a measly 3% of the countries in the world though (not counting amsterdam and istanbul airports for the same reasons as above). (and the map doesn’t seem to work.) i was busy travelling round the states when i should have been interrailing i suppose, must do europe…. (must do far east, must do australasia, must do africa, must do middle east, must do south america… but europe is probably most realistic at the mo!)

you can create your own map of the united states or the world.


there’s a bug in ikea: the walkthrough. it’s missing the last level. the puzzle level where you try and fit all the boxes in the car and fail and have to queue up at the returns desk and come back for half of them another day.

[found via jill/txt]

Death’s Own Door by Andrew Taylor

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It’s about this point in a series where I start to cross my fingers when opening a new book because I want the magic to last and I don’t want the author to come out with the obligatory dud book yet. Please not this one I’ll say to myself.

Also I knew this was the last published book in this series and try as I might my will power wasn’t up to leaving it unread on the shelf for more than a few days. Combined with the first point though at least if it did turn out to be not such a good book after all then I wouldn’t feel so bad about having reached the end of the line.

Of course it turned out to be a great book and I was pleased to find another Lydmouth book is scheduled to be published later this year. Especially pleased since this one does feel very much like an end of series book. Events in the life of Jill Francis and Richard Thornhill have been building up a head of steam through all the books come to blowing point in this one.

The plot is as competent as ever but it’s once again the realism of the way the nineteen fifties is portrayed that stands out. As seems to be usual theres a theme behind everything in the book, here it’s the way homosexuality was perceived at the time. I’m really impressed with the way Taylor manages to give people viewpoints that were prevalent at the time and are frankly repugnant today without making the people seem like they are repugnant themselves.

I wonder how much more life there is in the series but I’m pleased that the ongoing plotlines are changing rather than becoming stagnant and i hope that there’s quite a bit more of the story to be told.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 12th January 2004.

talking to myself

i’m no good at distinguishing voices on the phone even when they are ones i know really well and when i talk to my brother on the phone these days he sounds dead like my dad. which amuses me and probably doesn’t amuse him.

the other day i was using the answering service on my mobile phone and picked up a message from my boyfriend. ‘blah di blah di blah, dial hash to call the call return number’ said the answering machine woman. i dialed hash. the phone at the other end rang.

then my mum came on the line telling me she wasn’t there. ‘useless answering thingy’ i thought, ‘it’s dialed the number from the wrong message.’ then it dawned on me that it wasn’t my boyfriend’s mobile, and it wasn’t my mum’s recorded message, he’d called from home and it was my own voice on the answering machine.

rather chilly

this winter i’ve read about a million weblogs that say ‘it’s frigid outside!’ and each time i’ve ranted inside my head: ‘that isn’t what frigid means! it doesn’t mean it’s like a fridge out there!’ i say to myself.

this morning i came across the word again and ranted to myself for the thousandth time. i pulled my concise oed down off the shelf above my computer to show everyone i was right (there’s only me here, i’m like that).

1. very cold. …

ooops. dictionary.com says so too.

actually it’s quite mild here today.

Babel by Barry Maitland

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My enthusiasm for this series is waning a little. I’ve got a bit fed up with the way that DS Kathy Kolla throws herself into danger at the end of every book, it’s in character but it’s over the top. In this book Kathy is still recovering from the events of the end of the last book so she’s a bit less sure of herself and it’s actually DCI David Brock who walks into a stupid situation near the end. I’d say that he has more logical reasons to do so than Kathy usually does but it still needles me and the high drama that results is all a bit silly.

There’s a lot of good and interesting stuff in this book, mostly to do with the plot that concerns itself with religious fundamentalists, there are some good relationships portrayed, Kathy’s love life actually seems realistic for once, but there were more than enough bits of the book that had me rolling my eyes as people acted in not quite believable ways. On the whole I did enjoy reading it but I’m not sure that it’s going to stick with me and it won’t be a favourite.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 12th January 2004.

Death of a Dancer by Jill McGown

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This story centres around a death at the St. Valentines Day Ball at a small failing boys school populated with the kind of oddball staff who make mystery novels fun. The book is full of interesting relationships from those among the staff to that between Judy Hill, her boss Lloyd and her husband Michael which portrays the way that people manipulate one another especially well.

An interesting series, I’m glad I have plenty more to read.

More information about this book can be found on goodreads.
Purchased on 12th January 2004.