More on the January update…

There is more going on on the story front, and just to keep my mind active, or tortured, as the case may be, there are a number of other stories I’m working on.

In particular, there is the story with the description, what happens after an action-packed start.

Quite a lot. In the third section of the story, episodes 31 to so far 44, we have flown into northern Nigeria, and then crossed into the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in search of two men being held to ransom.

Previous attempts to rescue them had failed, this one had to succeed. It’s a matter of dealing with local militias who are tricky to deal with and then get out of the country after affecting the rescue.

At times, while writing it, looking at a map and using google earth to see what it is like, I felt like I was there looking down the barrel of a gun, and then, in the helter-skelter of getting to the evacuation point, I’m sure my heart rate had lifted considerably.

Right now, they’re about to get on the plane, back in Nigeria, but there’s a wrinkle, the kidnappers and the army are not happy and are sending troops in by helicopter.

Just imagine this …

A DC3 versus a very maneuverable helicopter. Stay tuned.

Next is the surveillance story where nothing is as it seems, which in the espionage business is nothing unusual. Nor is the fact you cannot trust anyone.

It starts out as a routine surveillance operation until a shop front explodes a moment or two after the target passes it. In the ensuing mayhem, the target reappears, now in fear of his life, and our main character tracks him to an alley where he is murdered before his eyes.

Soon after the two men whom our main character is working for appearing and start asking questions that make our main character think that they had perpetrated a hit on him, and decides that something is not right.

From there, the deeper he probes, the more interesting the characters and developments. Who was the target? What was he doing that got him killed? What did he have that everyone wants?

I’m about to start on the next phase of this story…

Then there is what I call comic light relief, the writing of stories inspired by photographs I’ve taken. Some, however, have exceeded the 1,000-word limit that I’ve set, only because I want to explore the story more, and some are spread over a number of stories.

The first book of stories, 1 to 50 are to be published next month. Currently, I’m working on number 93 of the second volume of stories, but number 88 is my favorite so far, simply because it involves a starship.

 

 

The movie Dolittle

Never have so many waited so long for so …

I was going to say little, but that would do the movie injustice.

Dolittle, the umpteenth variation on the theme of talking to the animals is not all that bad, but my problem I think was that I couldn’t hear what Robert Downey Jr was saying most of the time.

It may have been the attempt to use a Welsh accent if there is such a thing, but perhaps his dialogue delivered with Iron Man force may have resolved that problem.

Perhaps it may have been the start that was the let down for me because it seemed slow and tedious without context.  We do learn why he was that way, later on, but the start needed something extra to drag us in.

Certainly, I liked all the animals, particularly the gorilla and the squirrel who took on the persona of a starship captain without the stardate.  These animals were also the children’s favorites too.

But we needed a bit more humor.

And whilst I realize this film is more for children, all in all, it was three stars out of five.

Come on Robert, you can do better than this.

A book review, “Life at the end of the Rainbow” by Jenny Andrews

Life at the end of the Rainbow, by Jenny Andrews

https://amzn.to/2Xbl4ZX

Poetry is like art, its beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

But, while art can be very subjective, poetry often has a special meaning, to both the writer and then the reader.  In turn, for each of us readers, a poem will have a different meaning, some will see what it represents, and others may not.

And, whilst I have not read a lot of poetry over the years, that changed recently when I subscribed to several blogs and discovered this whole new class of literature.

This view was strengthened when I came across a volume of poems by Jenny Andrews, titled Life at the End of the Rainbow.

For me, each poem is an insight into an extraordinary life, where the author sometimes lays bare those raw emotions, which, at times, we will find ourselves drawing parallels.

In a sense, I think we have all been to this mythical place called, The End of the Rainbow, and sometimes need a gentle reminder that it took a lot of ups and downs to get there.

This is, to my mind, a remarkable piece of work.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what the next stage of the journey will be.

 

And yet another Star Wars

Yes, we succumbed and went to the cinema to see the final chapter.

But, Disney on a winner, will it be?

However…

What was I expecting?

A mega weapon in the hands of the bad guys that can destroy planets.  Tick.

The bad guys amassing to destroy the resistance.  Tick.

The last of the resistance amassing to take on the bad guys in a battle they can’t win.  Tick.

The fate of everything put on the shoulders of the Last Jedi.  Tick.

A bad Jedi versus a good Jedi.  Tick.

And, of course, the bad Jedi trying to turn the good Jedi to the dark side.  Tick.

It doesn’t matter what we call the bad guys, whether it’s the Empire, the First Order or the Last Order.  They’re all going to lose; we know that before we stepped into the cinema.  It’s what we came to see.

The internal struggle within those who are the Jedi provides some deep thought-provoking moments along the way, but this ever-pervasive sense of doom and gloom is overshadowed, and sometimes counter-balanced by the comic light relief that the robots, sorry droids, provide.

And the fact no one really dies.  The physical version might disappear, but they always come back, glowing, and with all of their powers somehow still intact.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one.

Along with the fact that only the magic of the movies could bring back someone who had died years before, and appear so lifelike.

There were surprised, and a few of my assumptions were dashed, but it was worth it, despite some of the negatives I’ve read about it.  Could it be longer and flesh out some of the disjointed plot lines, maybe, but 140 minutes was long enough for me.

Long enough to prove that good will always triumph over evil.

But I do have one question; going back to the days of old westerns where you could always tell the bad guys because they always wore black; why were the empire/first/last order stormtroopers always in white?

Searching for locations: Hong Kong

This is not so much about searching for a location, as it was for the experience.  Seeing is one thing, but experiencing a different culture, and what it might have been like back in another era made that visit all the more worthwhile.

Not that I’m about to be writing about Hong Kong in the early 20th century, but you never know.

 

I’ve seen in many times when we visited Hong Kong, but never quite made it to stay at the Peninsula Hotel, not until I decided to put it on my bucket list, and, having just turned 65, we decided to spend my birthday there.

 Of course, arriving in a green Rolls Royce helps to enhance the experience. and is, if you are going to stay at the Penisula, a mandatory extra.

It is rather difficult to imagine what the hotel would have been like in 1928 when it was built.  Without the central tower behind the old hotel building, the tall buildings around it, and all the buildings between the hotel and the waterfront, it would be easy to say it had a prime position.

It’s not far from the Star Ferry terminal, the main transport from Kowloon to Hong Kong Island.  Since then, there is the MTR and the underground tunnel for vehicles, but back then it was the ferry or nothing.

Outside, the centerpiece to the driveway is a fountain.  Around the edges are the cars, the Tesla’s, the Mercedes, the Audi’s and a Rolls Royce or two.  There was even a Lamborghini.  I could see myself doing a tour of the island by Lamborghini.

Or not.  The traffic would be very unkind to such a machine.

Inside the front door, the main part of the ground floor foyer stretches from one side of the building to the other, save for arcades of shops at the ends.  High priced goods can be bought here by the rich and famous.

What is interesting is that they have a very smartly dressed porter at the front door to open it for you.  It seemed very appropriate for a hotel steeped in old world charm.

Either side of the entrance walkway that leads to reception and the concierge desk, and two magnificent staircases.  It is all marble floor, marble columns with sculptures at the top and ornate ceilings.

And the endless cacophony of sounds you would expect in such a large space.  Either side of the central walkway is the cafe, elegantly set tables, each with its own flower.

People coming and going, people meeting other people, people arriving, people departing.  Hotel staff bustling from place to place and serving staff moving among the guests dining in the Foyer cafe.

The staircase leads to the mezzanine floor where there are more shops, and then up to the first floor where the veranda cafe and the Spring Moon restaurant is located.  The Spring Moon is where we will be having dinner tonight.

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It’s dark, it’s late, we’re waiting for the rain…

Yes, it’s dark and late at night on this side of the world, and I’m guessing where you are, it’s probably winter, the sun’s gone, the day is cold, even freezing, and you’ve got better things to do than go outside and shovel snow

Here, in the so-called land down under, which surprisingly a lot of people from the other side of the world do not know about…

Now, hang on, that can’t be true, because we all know the world is round and there had to be something or somewhere opposite.  I know that north we have China, and Europe, and further away, the United States.

Been to China, and Europe and the United States, so I know you’re all there, somewhere.

And, as you can see, the impending rain and the rather warm night has amped up the boredom factor and pushing me to do anything other than writing.  I have three jobs I’m supposed to be doing,

  1. Writing the next Walthenson case, the next Private Detective novel
  2. Writing several episodes of a serial story about surveillance going wrong, and
  3. Finishing off the last of the edits for “Strangers We’ve Become” the last before publication (Yea!!!!)

None of them is appealing to me at the moment.

Instead, I find myself looking at what is showing on Winter TV in the US and Canada, trying to find out when Murdoch Mysteries restarts, what’s going to happen next in God Friended Me, and curiously interested in a show called Emergence.

Fascinating, they are, but no Murdoch yet.  Guess I’ll have to settle for Masnifenst, series 2, FBI, and something called Lincoln Rhyme.

Then there’s one of my favorites, Elementary, on the re-runs.  I’m a Sherlock Holmes nut, but what’s getting me is the fact Lucy Liu has blondish hair.  Sorry, it’s distracting.

There’s the InBetween I’m watching again, you know, that spooky place between life and death, much the same as saying I see dead people, hang on, didn’t Bruce Willis say that once upon a time?  It was interesting, but will. there be a second series.

But, the thing I like most about northern winters, the ice hockey.  Yes, we are huge Maple Leaf fans, and even though they are having an up and down year so far, and a change of coach which doesn’t seem to be helping, we are glued to the TV watching the live-action.  Fortunately, that’s on at about 9 am or 10 am here so we can watch it at a respectable hour.

Good thing, then I’m almost retired, except for the writing thing.

There’s more, but I better get back to work.

 

 

Is it possible we can make a better world?

I’m not sure what started me off in pondering this almost imponderable question.

It was probably the endless bombardment of political advertising, leeching out of every form of media, and reaching saturation point.

Yes, down here in Australia, we have federal elections, where one of the two major parties are hoping to be in control, and all of the minor parties are hoping they will be in control.

You see, here, you don’t have to have a majority in the lower house, called the Representatives, you need to have the numbers in the upper house, called the Senate.

And the Senate is where the cunning voters make it so that no major party can go berserk and introduce a whole lot of policies that benefit one group or the other.  Sort of like sticking up for the rich, and keep the poor in their place, or sticking up for the poor and taxing the rich, who, apparently, don’t pay their fair share of tax.  That gem of information comes from one of the parties.  As if any of us didn’t know that to be the case anyway.

Only that doesn’t work out so well, because the leader of the splinter party gets a whole lot of stuff for his electorate, and we, the rest of the people, get shafted.

As for me, I’m sitting on the poverty line, neither rich nor poor enough for either party to help.  Me and about 65 per cent of the rest of the population.  We used to have a middle class, but tax and bad political management have slowly eroded the middle classes so that most are now living hand to mouth at best.

No one can afford to save, and when we do, the interest, what little of it there is, is taxed, so, no incentive to save.  Both parents have to work if they want to have any sort of life, and more so if they have children.  Childminding costs are horrendous, Medicare fees are equally so if you want to have adequate medical care, and the thought of owning one car, let alone two which is a necessity for families, costs a small fortune when you take into account buying the car, upkeep, petrol, and the governments grab for registration.  They say it’s for road maintenance, but let’s not talk about roads, but the maintenance of two Boeing 737’s just to ferry politicians around.

And instead of telling us what they intend to do to make our lives easier, the ads are about dredging up the opposite party’s previous mistakes.  We already know what they are, what we want to know is what they intend to do to fix all the problems.

Sorry, just being a grump.  I know my one person rant doesn’t matter one fig, but I had to get it out of my system.

I also know my one vote doesn’t really matter much in the greater scheme of things but if I could just influence another 500,000 to vote with me, wow, think of what we could do.

Maybe I should run for parliament, or not.  I don’t think I could survive the evenings in the parliamentary bar, the free lunches, or being chauffeur driven.   And flying first class everywhere, I just might get used to it, and the retirement fund, that’s just too much money to think about.

I’ll just stick to being the poor, cynical voter that I am.