The Account of a Lifetime

April 9, 2010

Another year, another pile

Filed under: A day in the life of...,Books & Media,Reflections — xisor @ 9:20 am

Pile of books! I can barely believe it’s April already, but to help quantify and qualify things, here’s a reading list to keep things up-to-date! I should stress that it is certainly not in the order of reading, overall. Flatland and Lolita were indeed first, but it slips up a bit from there on in. So, read-on…!

Books of 2010

01. Flatland by Edwin Abbott Abbott
02. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
03. Innocence Proves Nothing by Sandy Mitchell
04. Gateway by Frederik Pohl
05. Professor Calculus by Farr
06. A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeil
07. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
08. The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
09. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
10. Tales of Heresy (again) edited by Kyme & Lyndsey
11. 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith
12. Soul Hunter by Aaron Dembski-Bowden
13. Damned Cities by Ross Watson
14. The Radical’s Handbook by Ross Watson
15. Rynn’s World by Steve Parker
16. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
17. Brothers of the Snake by Dan Abnett (READING)

And that’s me for now. I’m in a bit of a kerfuffle at the moment. Awesome tea is short on the ground, as is money, as is weather. The saying goes “a mind without purpose will wander in dark places”, I think I’ve happily skirted those dark places, but I can’t help but feel their tenebrous pull.

Adventures to boot!

As my ‘last adventure’, and my central ‘solo’ adventure of my time in New Zealand, I went to Wellington. Once upon a time I was supposed to go there, but you know how it is. You wake up…the alarm isn’t going, you touch the clock, it starts beeping, it is three-hours too late…that old chestnut! No, this time, that did not happen. This time, surprisingly, everything went absolutely fine. Better than fine, you might say. I arrived in Auckland in good order, I ventured up the Skytower. I reminisced, largely to myself. I perused around town, I wandered, I viewed. You know how it is to be in a massive city, surrounded by the pressing hoards of people, yet to be pressingly alone. It’s a wonderful feeling, one of my favourites. On the cusp, on the edge, out there doing something alone and without support. It’s not independence, it’s not thriving or somehow prospering. It’s not running away either, or embracing, or indulging. It’s something still stranger. For me, it’s something decidedly personal. Between myself and wherever I am at the time. If you were to go to a botanic garden on a quiet day, on your own, it’s something like that.

But this is Auckland still. I had the week before been in Auckland visited by two particularly unexpected and quite startling apparitions: amongst my oldest friends at university, Ashleigh and Viki, en route for Samoa. It was the day after this surprising meeting that I rescheduled my return, my triumphant return from Exile to the wilderness years. Whilst I was walking some days ago, I came up with a phrase for the time as it is now, but alas I forget it. Which, as is very amusing to me, is not optimal.

Nevertheless, my story stands with me in Auckland, almost unexpected, organised only a twenty-four-hours beforehand. Lengthy, circuitous, gruelling some might even go so far as to say. I was bound for Auckland, bound for a hostel, bound for a 0630 rise, an 0730 train and a twelve-hour journey ahead of that! But the evening before: I enjoyed myself. I did that other most liberating of things: to know you only have a set amount of cash to last you an indefinite time…and to know that there’s no ‘resupply’, no saviour-supply in some hidden account: simply that if you spend it, it’s gone for a long time.

So I went to the pub. Galbraith’s, to be specific, high up in Auckland headed for Mount Eden. In here, I had my standard-fare; lots of lovely beer (Grafton Porter), a St Benedict’s Pie and then, in a moment of wondrous discovery, I sipped the first taste of what became an extremely amiably viewed beer.

What’s this then, this marvellous beer I speak of? Why, none other than Tuatara London Porter. Delicious, I might add.

But this story is not of beer. It involves a lot of beer, but it isn’t even really a story. A ramble along memory lane, perhaps. I make no secret of my spending far too much money on delightful-tasting beer. It is not a shame!

So, as one might imagine, I imbibed rather a lot of the stuff that evening. Still, not-worse-for-wear, I made my way for bed! Within eight hours, I was bound for Wellington! But, actually, as this is very early morning and, I think, the Wellington story(ies) deserve far more than a meagre tacked-on-end to a blog post, I shall simply say this: THE STORY WILL CONTINUE! (Whether you would like it to or not.)

So, for now, and also because I really have to now go for a run, I bid good day to you!



  1. X, what’d you think of Flatland?

    That caught my eye, as I’ve not read it, and really want to.

    Comment by aarondembskibowden — April 9, 2010 @ 3:04 pm | Reply

    • It’s quite good. As I’d done a fair bit of post-high-school geometry, a lot of the ideas were really rather simple and not quite as exotic/innovative as the book’d be to someone who’s not looked much into the implications of geometry for story-telling.

      As a book, simple and effective. Reads like a ‘quite clever’ kids book (which is, in essence, exactly what it is). Rather insightful and a very quick read too.

      (As an aside, I like my maths-science-fiction; there was an excellent anthology called” Mathenauts” my dad acquired for me some years ago; one story dealt with an unexpected side-effect of a certain method of interstellar travel: wrong chirality [handedness of forms]. Imagine a ship exited the warp, but had been flipped to its mirror image; if everyone’s left was now their right and vice versa. At first, everything’d be all right, just ‘the wrong way around’. Inside the ship, everything’s normal because everything is the wrong way around [even the crew’s eyes], but try to eat food from off-ship and you’ve got problems with proteins in your food being the wrong way around…)

      Which is to say: “Flatland”‘s very much worth a look, could be something very interesting and unusual for you, alternatively it might come off as a bit of a weak gimmick. At very least, it’s an interesting and accessible excursion on the topic!

      Comment by xisor — April 10, 2010 @ 12:14 am | Reply

  2. MISTER XISOR! Let’s keep RPing for Perius. I do believe that it would help to have everyone’s favorite one-eyed, womanizing Roadwarden-Inquisitor make himself known.

    By the way, two-thumbs up for me on the Radical’s Handbook. They took the Ian Watson approach to the Inquisition, enough said.

    Comment by TheBaron — April 26, 2010 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

  3. Don’t forget about Dokhrin either ya big Dorkhin 😛

    Comment by TheBaron — April 28, 2010 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

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