Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Tribute to Talking Books ...

This week I have spent some time listening to Auntie Vera's podcasts. I download them and listen when I take my morning walk at 5am. Why do I walk at this time? Because I am stupid. I'll tell you about the time I nearly walked into a cow because it was so dark at some other time ...

Listening to Auntie Vera has brought back my love of talking books. About six years ago I was working on a film, which became the film from hell for reasons not related to talking books, but somehow connected to an actor who will remain nameless. My commute to and from hell each day was 90minutes long. In an attempt to save my sanity a friend loaned me a CD copy of the original BBC radio play of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The recent American film was no good, the BBC TV miniseries was great, but the original radio play was magnificent. It kept me sane for a week. Which probably saved this particular actor's life.

When I'd finished Hitchhikers Guide, I went in search of more talking books at my local library. The range is pretty wide; fiction, non fiction, biographies etc. I chose a few and stashed them in my car, rather looking forward to my next trip to the Shoot From Hell.

The first one I listened to was an unabridged version of Carl Hiaasen's Sick Puppy. Now, until that time I had not heard of Carl Hiaasen, but he is now one of my favourite authors. To say that I loved this book is an understatement. It is screamingly funny and very political. I've since read all Carl Hiaasen's books several times.

What made Sick Puppy more amusing for me, though, was the person who read it. It was read by a man named Nick Sullivan, whose tone, phrasing and intonation gave the book the exact mix of humour, sarcasm and irony that pervades all Carl Hiaasen books (at least in my mind).

I enjoyed Nick Sullivan's reading so much that when I saw another book by another author I'd never heard of but read by him, I naturally took it home with me. I've forgotten which title it was, but the author is a man named Steve Hamilton, who wrote a pseudo detective series about a man named Alex McKnight. Now, I don't normally read detective novels, but these aren't ordinary detective novels. Alex McKnight is an unlikely hero who is way more interested in Canadian beer than detecting. Set on the US/Canada border somewhere in Minnesota I think, these books have exactly the same sarcastic, smart ass humour that I loved so much in Carl Hiaasen books. And Nick Sullivan read each and every one so very well.

Since that time I have listened to many more talking books, but none have given me as much pleasure as the Nick Sullivan ones. I get Sick Puppy from the library at least once a year and still laugh at the jokes.

Just yesterday I was talking to a friend who, as I write this, is out picking up her brand new soft top Mini Cooper S complete with racing stripes. Ever since she ordered it I've been saying that I don't understand why people like convertibles, I wouldn't own one etc etc. GTB, listening in on this conversation, asked me why I didn't like them. I told him that I don't like the wind in my hair, it's way too hot here, you get sunburned, you get wet when it rains and I can't hear my talking books when I'm driving. He and my friend looked at each other, then looked at me and started laughing. GTB then told me that he didn't think sports car sales would drop because the drivers couldn't hear their talking books.

Things I have learned this week;

It's uncool to listen to talking books

I still don't want a convertible

I will still listen to talking books

Auntie Vera could read the phone directory and I'd listen

I think I am getting old ...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Knee Trembler ...

Here in the subtropics where I live we get a lot of storms. The latest storm blew up my broadband modem and because I live in rural Australia, these things take an eternity to fix. I could go on about how the government promised not to privatise Telstra until regional service was as good as the city or how rural Australians are the backbone of the country so Telstra gives us priority - but I won't. You know what I'm going to say, anyway. (BTW, at home I can only get dialup - supposed to be 56k, but I usually only get 28 - I don't bother with it anymore.)

This setback, added to my blogfucking (yes, Jock, it does leave a bad taste in one's mouth) and countered with an increased workload, a week long migraine and general bad humour that on one day was also shared by Jock and Vera, means that I have written nothing.

The headache is still simmering and my eyes are blurred today, but I am functioning, so I have decided to poke my head up and say hi.

I've been at work since 7am, but my wonderful boss is coming at 9 to take me out for the day. A few weekends ago, GTB and I baby sat her two children for the weekend so she could take her husband away for a dirty weekend to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary. So today is a thank you gift. It will involve shopping, eating and wine.

I will get around to posting some pictures soon, but for now this is it.

Glad to be back hugs ...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Watch this space ...

After a brief hiatus I am returning. My archives have been removed because someone has been messing with my blog. I will post a proper entry later in the day. I just wanted you to know I am still here.