Title: Death on Ibiza
Author: Katja Piel
Rating: ★ ★ ½
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Reading period: 11 June, 2016
Nick Behrends wakes up after a party at a drug dealer’s house on Ibiza
with a gun in his hand,
no memory of the last few hours,
and a roomful of dead people.
He goes on the run,
and soon encounters a Russian hitman
who’s looking for his abducted 12-year-old daughter.
Predictable plot, cardboard characters.
As I wrote last week,
we had one more rehearsal to go before
our 2016 Reading of Ulysses for Bloomsday.
That was tonight.
Mostly we worked out seating and other logistics.
We are intercutting two different chapters,
with the readers playing different roles in each chapter,
so it’s a small but satisfying accomplishment
to have a seating arrangement that works for both chapters.
I wrote this last night on Facebook:
Even 25 years after coming out as bisexual,
I still censor myself and still check myself about coming out yet again.
Even though Seattle is about as safe as it gets
and most people here are queer-friendly, it’s reflexive.
And even in Seattle, queer bashings happen.
We came very close to an even bigger tragedy in a gay nightclub in Seattle
on New Year’s Eve 2013,
when an arsonist lit a fire in Neighbours while 750 people were present.
The fire was promptly detected and put out,
no-one was injured, and the perpetrator is in prison.
I became aware of my sexuality in a very different …continue.
I spent the last 90 minutes reading Facebook,
and my feed has been absolutely overwhelmed with Orlando-related posts,
be they grieving, discussing homophobia, calling for gun control,
or reacting to reactions.
I’ve never seen such a skewed set of posts.
Some of it is surely Facebook catering to what it knows are my interests,
but it seems like the vast majority of my friends
and the pages that I follow can talk of nothing else.
Even Trump/Clinton/Sanders articles, except as they pertain to this,
have temporarily disappeared.
So far, I have seen nothing useful from Republican politicians
regarding gun control or homophobia.
I woke up this morning to news of another American massacre:
a lone gunman had murdered 50 people at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando,
and injured another 53 people.
It was the worst mass shooting in US history and also the worst hate crime.
I put it out of my head for the afternoon while I attended an old friend’s wedding,
but it’s been at the forefront of my mind ever since.
Only in America could we put up with massacre after massacre,
yet not find the political will to do anything meaningful about gun violence.
Craven politicians in thrall to the NRA mouth platitudes,
but will not make any …continue.
Title: The Simple Art of Murder
Author: Raymond Chandler
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
Keywords: crime, criticism
Reading period: 3–10 June, 2016
The Simple Art of Murder comprises the essay of the same name
and four early non–Philip Marlowe stories (in some editions, there are eight stories).
The essay is justifiably famous and worth reading;
the stories are of middling quality.
All are available online:
The Simple Art of Murder Essay, Spanish Blood,
I’ll be Waiting, The King in Yellow, and Pearls are a Nuisance.
In the essay, Chandler takes aim at the sterile confections of deduction
that comprised most detective fiction written in the 1920s and 1930s,
which “do not …continue.
Without an Address, You’re No One introduced me to What3Words,
an innovative system that uses just three English words to address
any 3m×3m square on the planet.
These words are drawn from a 40,000-word vocabulary.
A 3m×3m square is precise enough to identify a particular doorway in a large building
or a towel on a crowded beach.
I spent much of my childhood living at uses.pills.crunch (Dublin).
I spent ten years working at navy.clear.poems (Microsoft’s Redmond campus).
If I pinpointed the buildings that I worked in,
they would each have completely different w3w addresses.
It reminds me a little of Diceware which strings together several words
to form an easy-to-remember but hard-to-crack password.
I said …continue.
Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 Presidential race.
Although Sanders has not yet ended his campaign, he can’t win.
I voted for Sanders in the Washington state caucus
and I still have his yard sign sitting in my front yard.
Unlike some diehard Sanders’ supporters,
I have absolutely no qualms getting behind Clinton.
She’s one of the most qualified candidates ever to run.
If elected, she will be on the right side of many of the issues I care about
and she will make good appointments to the Supreme Court.
She’s competent and capable and gets things done.
Clinton has survived more scrutiny and more attacks than …continue.
I wrote in Preparing Bloomsday Scripts back in late March,
that I was getting ready for this year’s reading of Ulysses.
Our 2016 Reading is a week and a half away, on Sunday June 19th.
We’ll be reading Chapters 3 (“Proteus”) and 6 (“Hades”)
of James Joyce’s masterpiece at the Seattle Central Library.
We had our first full readthrough at tonight’s rehearsal,
one hour fifty five minutes.
Next week, our dress rehearsal.
I’ve bought only three cars in my life:
a new red VW Golf in April 1992, when I moved to Seattle;
an 18-month-old black VW Golf in April 2002;
and a 2007 Mazda 3 in April 2016.
The 2001 VW was still running fine and had recently passed the 150,000-mile mark.
However, it, like the 1992 Golf, had a manual transmission (a “stick shift”).
Emma had a Morton’s Neuroma removed from the ball of her left foot around 2003.
It seems to be coming back
and she was having increasing difficulty depressing the clutch.
Between the ever-increasing traffic in Seattle and Seattle’s steep hills,
drivers need to change gear often.
It was …continue.