Books are treasure chests

Of course, some books are treasures in and of themselves.  Rare first editions, illuminated 8th century manuscripts, limited edition collected works, and the like can fetch thousands, in some cases even millions of dollars at auctions and on the black market.

The stories inside them are also treasures, but neither of those are what I meant when I said books are treasure chests.

To find out what I meant you’ll have to click the link

Song Title Challenge #57: Number 9 Dream by John Lennon

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Leave a link to your post in the comments section.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is Number 9 Dream by John Lennon and was suggested by Matthew Wright.  He gave the genre as “surreal”, so Sci-Fi it is.  This one turned out longer than usual, but I’ve already cut two hundred words from the first draft so I’m leaving it as it is.

Number 9 Dream

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Mandela Day without Mandela

Today would have been Nelson Mandela’s 96th birthday.  As you hopefully know, his birthday was declared Nelson Mandela Day by the United Nations in 2009.  It is supposed to be a day dedicated continuing Madiba’s legacy, and to the idea that every individual can make a contribution toward making the world a better place for all.  I wrote about Mandela Day and in particular my opinion around the whole 67-minutes idea last year.

Today is also the first Mandela Day since his death in December last year.

It feels to me like it’s much less of a big deal this year.  Last year politicians were all over the place, putting in their 67 minutes of charity work.  This year (judging by newspaper headlines) they’re all sitting in budget votes or testifying before commissions investigating government corruption, except for our president who’s apparently cleaning a school.

I’m wondering if all the hype last year was simply because of Mr Mandela’s illness and the approaching elections.

I really try not to be cynical, but sometimes…

Update:  According to the evening news our politicians did indeed put in their 67 minutes today, and some of them even more than that.  It doesn’t temper my cynicism, though.  I can’t help but think our country would be much better off if they spent every day out in the streets picking up trash and giving food to homeless people, rather than sitting in parliament debating pointless laws…

Here’s an idea: people elected to political office must be obligated to spend ten hours a week minimum doing humanitarian work which requires them to be in actual physical contact with people requiring aid.  Attending fundraising banquets don’t count, nor does any work involving sitting in an office.  If I ever become supreme ruler that’s the first law I’m implementing.  I have spoken.

if all else fails…go multi-lingual

I don’t know about you, but I love the stats page, and the map in particular.  It really does it for me to see the map fill up as more and more people around the world stumble across if all else fails…use a hammer.  (Most of them run off again as fast as their legs can carry them, but that’s to be expected, what with hammers flying all over the place.  They probably forgot their hard hats.)

After a year and a bit of consistent blogging I’ve had visitors from most of the world.  Just look:

KokkieH Stats World Map

Africa and the Middle-East is under-represented (which is understandable) but on all the other continents this blog seems to have had pretty good exposure.  Someone has even been able to reach this blog from beyond the Great Firewall of China.  (If you know anyone in Mongolia, though, please share the blog with them.  That big white blob in the middle of Asia bugs me.)

You will notice, however, that the map is significantly darker in English speaking territories.  Again, understandable as I only write in English.  So, in order to make the blog more accessible to non-English visitors I’ve decided I need to make it multi-lingual.

Are you as curious as I am? Click here

Song Title Challenge #56: Butterfly Crime Scene performed by Sal Vulcano

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Leave a link to your post in the comments section.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is Butterfly Crime Scene performed by Sal Vulcano.  bumblepuppies reckoned it was a good title for a piece of historic fiction.  What do you think?

(P.S. There’s a little bonus video at the end of this one.)

Butterfly Crime Scene

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KokkieH Reviews Men At Arms by Sir Terry Pratchett

I reckoned it’s probably time I drop this laziness and do one of these again, what do you think?

Men at Arms - Terry Pratchett

Cover illustration by Josh Kirby

‘What’s so hard about pulling a sword out of a stone?  The real word’s already been done.  You ought to make yourself useful and find the man who put the sword in the stone in the first place.’

The City Watch needs MEN!  But what it’s got includes Corporal Carrot (technically a dwarf), Lance-constable Cuddy (really a dwarf), Lance-constable Detritus (a troll), Lance-constable Angua (a woman…most of the time) and Corporal Nobbs (disqualified from the human race for shoving).

And they need all the help they can get, because someone in Ankh-Morpork has been getting dangerous ideas – about crowns and legendary swords, and destiny.  And the problem with destiny is, of course, that she is not always careful where she points her finger.  One minute you might be minding your own business on a normal if not spectacular career path, the next you might be in the frame for the big job, like saving the world… - Book description on cover

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A World Cup follow-up

Aside

I feel after yesterday’s post I need to write a follow-up.  No, I did not cry when Holland was eliminated from the tournament.  And come on.  It was an excellent game.

I am wondering who to support in the final, though.  On the one hand I’m thinking Germany.  My ancestors on both maternal and paternal side come from there, and I know how to make glühwein to enjoy during the match.  On the other hand I have no problem supporting Argentina after their performance last night.

Really, I just want to see what happens when when the German scoring machine encounters that Argentinian defence.  I’ll rather not support anyone and just enjoy the show.

I fear I might be turning into a fan.  (I even looked up the meaning of “offside” the other day…)

On sports and other stuff that make people cry

I’m not too big on sports.  Some of my countrymen would say that just makes me a poor South African.  Especially the fact that I don’t particularly enjoy rugby (but considering that we are probably the only country in the world who fired our coach after the national team won the World Cup can you blame me?)

I watch the odd game of cricket (and by watch I mean I don’t mind it playing on the television while I’m busy with other stuff in the house) and at one point I even knew the names of the players in the national squad.  However, at the moment the only player in all of international and local cricket I can identify by sight is Hashim Amla.  Must be the beard.

And then there’s soccer.  I’ve never been able to get excited about Bafana Bafana.  I was not particularly upset when they dropped out of the FIFA World Cup in 2010 and, knowing they only made it into the tournament that year because we were the host nation, I wasn’t at all surprised when they did not qualify this year either.

(Hmmm.  That does sound frightfully unpatriotic…) Continue reading

Song Title Challenge #55: Listen to the Math by Tokyo Police Club

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  Leave a link to your post in the comments section.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is Listen to the Math by Tokyo Police Club and was suggested by mikiren at Jump Into the Fog.  No genre was supplied.  As always comments and critiques are welcome.

Listen to the Math

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It’s a puppet-pocalypse!

I’ve been very lazy with blogging the past couple of weeks.  You can probably tell, right?  I think it’s because last year this time I was relaxing at the seaside.  The feeling lingers.

This year, the wife and I are staying at home for the winter holidays.  One, we’ve already been on vacation this year.  Two, we don’t have any money to go on vacation.  And three, we each have a massive amount of studying to do, which won’t happen if we’re on vacation.

This week, though, we’ve been quite busy.  We got roped in to help a local church with a vacation club they’re running for the town’s kids, so we’ve been dusting off our puppetry skills (and rediscovering muscles and joint we had forgotten about).

As this meant getting all our puppets out from the various cupboard where they are usually stored I reckoned it’s the perfect opportunity to photograph them all so I can show you.  Previously I’d shown you the puppets we have made on order for other people.  Today?  Here’s a line-up of our puppets made for personal use:

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