Thursday, 29 January 2009

Jane Austen would be turning in her grave...

literally in this book. I'll be honest and admit that I love Pride and Prejudice. It is the biggest chick-lit one can imagine but every time I read it I still hope that Elizabeth will get together with Mister Darcy in the end. ( Yes, it is that bad... I reread it a couple of times)

Anyhoo with this... ehm... enriching of the story I will not have to be ashamed anymore of reading Pride and Prejudice in public.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Thursday, 22 January 2009

At last - the end of Gitmo

As promised President Obama - ooh that feels good btw - started with the process of closing down Guantanamo today.

Of course there is a crap load of complex questions to be resolved - what will be done with the remaining 245 detainees of Gitmo; many of them already detained for years in a kind of judicial purgatory - but at last we finally have someone in the White House who openly states that torture is not okay, period.

For more info read this New York Times Article

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Why do I have to pay more for this?

"Why is this twice as expensive as your regular manga?" a customer asked me yesterday.

On the counter between us: a hentai magazine from the section where we keep the naughty books; the cover prominently displaying drawings of young schoolgirls undressed and in rather 'mature' poses.

"Well... uhm," I stumbled;"I guess this falls more into a niche market and the regular manga we purchase with bulk prices."

"Hehe, you said bulk," he giggled.

"Uhm..." uhm, indeed.

It's a bit more then I expected

How many cannibals could your body feed?

Friday, 9 January 2009

Fahrenheit 451 - 50th anniversary edition cover

Last week we had a new shipment of books coming into the store. This edition of Fahrenheit 451 caught my eye. I’ve read it a few years ago and it made a big impression on me. So I’m thrilled to see such a beautiful cover for the 50th anniversary edition.

If you have never read Fahrenheit you really should. It is the American equivalent of Orwell’s 1984 novel.

Monday, 5 January 2009

Ze New Year - Looking back and forward

Already a few days into 2009. How time flies by. Looking back at last year I can say it has been overall a good year.

The good stuff in 2008

My relationship with Deborah grew even stronger during 2008. Last sunday we were together for 8 years. Yeah me, and yeah Deb.
During 2008 we really helped each other through a few tough issues. It is nice to have someone you can depend on and it is also nice to know you are that special one for someone else.

Both of us got nice jobs last year. In May after eight years of being a postmen I switched jobs to become a bookseller at the American Book Center in Amsterdam. I love books so this feels like working in heaven for me. Plus it's a great job with all kind of nice perks - 40% discount on all books, oh yeah - and my colleagues are the greatest people in the world. No kidding: they are fun, smart, friendly and kind. I couldn't wish for nicer people to work with.

Deborah also decided to look for a new job. It was really amazing how the phone was literally ringing non-stop with job offers after just a few days of looking around. This made me a wee bit jealous but then again does she get a 40% discount on books? ( Well actually she does through me but that is besides the point) After just three days of searching she got a nice job at an organisation that provides childcare for children from broken families. She does not work with the children herself but she is responsible for a lot of financial things. I pay the rent and most of our groceries, so almost everything Deborah earns goes to a saving account. We are planning to use that money for when we move to a larger appartment later this year. On the educational front we are back on track. We both got stumped for quite a while at writing our master thesis, but now we have focus and are finally working again on getting that master's degree.

During the summer of 2008 we had two lovely and adorable guests called Elmo and Martin. They are the most fluffiest and cutest Persian cats we ever met. Actually our neighbour was babysitting them for a friend who went off to the Olympics in
Beijing, but they kept crawling under the fence to our place. Eventually we gave up of blocking it and they just spend whole days with us. Needless to say their fuzzy, adorable looks melted our hearts. Deborah even made a little toy by attaching a rubber band to a little ball of aluminium foil. Martin absolutely loved to jump after it every time I swirled it in the air. Elmo was a bit more dignified but even he couldn't resist the glittering ball for long.
When the Olympic flame stopped burning both Deborah and me were very sad, because it meant the end of Elmo and Martins stay with us. To be honest I had to wipe away a few tears the evening their owners took them to their home again.

2008 was also a nice year because I won a shared second place in a writing contest at Whatever, the blog of my favorite SF writers John Scalzi. Of course the contest was modest, it's not like I won a Pulitzer or something, but it is still nice when one of your favorite authors says: "Hey, I like what you wrote, lets give you a prize for it."
( Although I am still waiting for the book Mr. Scalzi promised to send me, apparently the
Ohio mail services are stuck in an alternate time continuum.)

The not so good stuff

I really acted like a slacker on all things related to physical excercise. Yes I still do my situps every morning - well almost every morning if I remember to do them - but I skipped a lot of karate practices. And with a lot I mean a freaking lot, so much my sensei now jokes every time he sees me: "Ah, new face!" Anyways, this year I have no conflicting agendas so I plan to go to every practice I can go to.

And of course I slacked with the blog. Not that I kid myself that a lot people noticed it, but still I could have honed my writing skills with the blog instead of playing computer games.

Looking forward 2009

I am planning to do a few things in 2009:

- Blogging on a regular basis. One of the reasons I neglected it was that I had no clear focus on what I should write. After a bit of soulsearching I decided that my the blog should become more personal, more about me instead of funny links. Yes, I know, the world is not interested about the daily events of a bloke in
Holland, but hey it keeps me writing and it will also be a kind of historical document for me, maybe even for my children or grandchildren. ( "Oh geesh, here comes grandpa with his old blogposts again.")

- Writing on a regular basis. I really want to practice my writing skills this year. I realized in 2008 that I want to become a writer. A Science-fiction writer even. You don't become a writer by only thinking about it so I will really work the writing muscles this year. I am planning to get a lot of practice by writing short stories and try to sell them to online SF magazines. With luck I might sell a few and start of a career, in the worst case I get a professional advice on why I suck.

And to finish the first post of the new year... I present to you:

Elmo & Martin and the Kingdom of the Aluminium Ball