Sunday, 27 December 2015

Another Christmas things-we-did-this-year letter

2014 | 2013

Some nice people send me pix or letters of what they got up to during the year. And this is what I've made to send back. Its not very well organised, just like last year.

General: Miriam and I now work for Qualcomm, which bought CSR, which formally no longer exists. The increase in general stupid bureacracy is distressing but not yet fatal; apart from that, work continues to be interesting and rewarding. Daniel is in his last year at the Perse and awaiting the returns from his university applications to study engineering. His game of the year is without doubt Dota2. Miranda is, errm, in whatever year she is in and enjoying herself and her circle of girly friends; her game is Dominion, both on and off line. Miranda continues the clarinet and greatly enjoys the school wind band; but has given up the piano. We celebrated their 18th and 14th birthdays respectively with no great formality, but I did keep their birthday cards.

As usual, this is very me-focussed, because my "diary" is public, Miriam's is secret, Miranda's is in Greek and Daniel, as far as is known, keeps one not.

April: I only ran one marathon this year; Rotterdam, in 3:55. I blame being too busy at work to train. I did manage 44 mins for a 10k in Cambridge, though.

June: I still keep bees, badly.

July: Daniel, having finished his first year of A-levels, went off for a long-planned three weeks in Ladakh with the school. This is a good month to report rowing stuff, which continues as my main sport. We - M1 - ended up two down this year; we somewhat struggled with depth.

August: And while he was out there, Miriam, Miranda and I went back to the Pelponnese, having liked it so much last year. This time the emphasis was on relaxation.

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Then a long weekend with Annie, and a bit of hill practice for Daniel's legs prior to... a week in the Stubai with Daniel and Jamie introducing them to the delights of the Austrian mountains. Not technically finished yet but I'll get round to it one day.

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September: Boston Marathon in my fastest-ever time of 3:52; preceded by the Great Ouse half marathon; the mixed VIII has been our best boat this year.

October: Miriam organised us a long weekend in Paris; lovely.

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November: to Chatsworth with Howard again. He becomes ever more Americanised: shall we see his like again?

December: more rowing; the Christmas head where we all dress up in fancy costumes.

I have as you likely know, another blog, stoat. Most of that is about global warming and related matters. A little bit is more general; if you haven't already seen it, I recommend wildlife photographer of the year; and .the RS version; and, indeed, rice terraces in Yunnan.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Book review: The Eye of the World

The Eye of the World is yet more fantasy trash I read in Waterstones. It is a pretty thick book all by itself, but is only the first volume in an n volume series. Having ploughed through it I decided by the end that I enjoyed it; but when I started on volume two I realised I was bored and stopped.
All in all, it is too cliched, in a genre prone to that. The Dark Lord, sealed by some cataclysm, and yet leaking out. The Young Heroes from a distant shire, helped by people who turn out to be far more important than they thought. And so on. It felt like he'd used up all his ideas, thin as they were, in volume one; and was unlikely to do more.

Here's a quote from a review that says some of what I mean:

It's clear that he's trying to build a massive, detailed world, but it's not an interesting, original world. It wouldn't be so bad if the lengthy asides were interesting, in and of themselves. If each little piece was amusing in its own right, we might forgive. But instead, we get dry, lengthy explanations of extraneous facts that we have no reason to be curious about.
To be fair, another review also says something of what I found, in that whilst somewhat unoriginal it can be a fun read.