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THE COLD COMMANDS By Richard Morgan – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2013 by stanleyriiks

I read the first book in this series around two years ago, and you know what, I can barely remember any of it. I remember the three main characters (after my memory is jogged reading about them again), who are all here, present and correct. I vaguely remember feeling like the book ended on a cliff-hanger and feeling a little bit cheated, but I still enjoyed it enough to put the second book in the series (trilogy?) on my Christmas list for Santa to buy me. So in amongst my stacks of drugs and porn and alcohol (ok, so it was pretty much all books that Santa brought me!), I found this SF/fantasy novel (and it’s got a nice cover which always draws me in) and sat down to read it.

Ringil Eskiath is a true antihero, although we find him rescuing slaves after his cousin was imprisoned by a slave-trader. He’s a tough, no-nonsense S.O.B. who demands your attention, a mean man with a massive alien sword.

Archeth is a half-alien female who works for the new emperor, a paranoid young man intent on ridding his empire of enemies by having them flayed alive by octopi.

Egar the Dragonbane is having an affair with the wife of a war hero, but his adventures into a religious fortress will bring the three old friends back together, whether they like it or not, with magic, death, and betrayal to get in their way.

This book (I think like the first, my memory is not what it once was!) takes a long time to gather speed, there are almost three hundred pages of build-up as the story meanders along, setting everything up for the inevitable climax. When it does comes there’s plenty of action and intrigue, although Ringal is a little too superheroic and never appears in danger of being hurt, let alone losing a fight. He’s a bit too invincible, like Judge Dredd with a sword.

Morgan’s writing is good, he manages to draw you in without you realising, the atmosphere and world are vividly portrayed, but there’s a lingering sense of missing something. Perhaps it’s been too long between instalments, but I felt like I missed the oft-referred to war (did it appear in the first book?).

Despite confusing the hell out of me, the grey lands are strange and mysterious and make everything seem a bit too easy at the end. I couldn’t help but enjoy Egar’s tough steppe barbarian, Archeth’s frustrated diplomat and Ringal’s menacing killer. The characters are really what make this book, and Morgan has done a first rate job with them. I’ll be back for more despite my misgivings, fantasy doesn’t get much more original or compelling than this.

Credit Crunch: A Survivor’s Guide – Seepage, Wastage – Being switch-conscious

Posted in Life..., Personal Finance, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2010 by stanleyriiks

Did you know it takes about 40-90 minutes to charge your phone? How long do you leave it plugged in? Once it’s fully charge, which most phones display, you’re just throwing money at the electricity company! Don’t overcharge! This goes for rechargeable batteries (which are much better value than regular ones so invest in some if you use a lot of batteries), electric toothbrushes, iPod (although you’re more likely to plug those into a PC.

Switch off at the plug, seepage means your electricity is draining away. For multiple plug sockets, videos, dvd players, microwaves, kettles that light up, internet routers/modems, anything with a display that is left on, will move that little electricity meter and cost you more money. Unless you use it your plugged in device as a clock turn it off! At the plug! Never ever use standby, it uses almost the same electricity as full power.

You can buy special plug sockets that power down certain PC accessories for you when you’re not using them. But how about not switching on your PC speakers when you’re messing around on myspace or downloading porn! If you don’t need it on then don’t plug it in!

And remember when you’re switch-conscious you are not only being good to your pocket but also to the environment.

Work… It’s shite

Posted in Life..., Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 12, 2009 by stanleyriiks

I don’t normally let work get to me. I’m a fairly easy going person, and I’ve worked in the same place (although doing slightly different jobs) for almost ten years. I’m an administrator in a large public company, so very unexciting for the most part.

I’ve been fortunate so far. I generally don’t have to do too much work and can get away with doing more important things in my work-time, such as looking at porn, playing on myspace, writing (when I get some occasional peace!), and reading things that I probably shouldn’t be reading at work. I see these as perks of the job that make up for the poor wages.

Apathy is killing my career. In fact, it’s only this year that I’ve begun to think of my job as a career. Before I turned thirty-three it was always a job, just a job, and eventually I’ll get a proper job. With real money. And real work.

But at the beginning of this year something started to change. I got a lot more work to do, not only enough to fill my time (which was pretty well filled with my hobbies anyway), but it spilled over into my time and made me quite stressed. I cut out the hobbies and found I had a little more time to fit in work-related stuff. Then the work continued to pile up.

It’s still continuing, the work is still piling up, due to a merger our department had with another department. Right now I’m doing far too much work and my easy life is over. The thing that makes it worse is that the threat of redundancy has been hanging over us since January and still no one quite knows what’s going on, not even the managers. Which really can’t be good.

The sheer amount of work I have to do is finally getting to me, and I think I’m gonna have a meltdown sometime soon. Last week I made an error which will cost the department money. This week, the week yet to come, we will be running something we shouldn’t be running due to a miscommunication that could be construed as my fault, although strictly speaking it wasn’t.

Also this week I have to fill in a form to say why they should keep me. As if it isn’t obvious!  

Right now I’m thinking unemployment can’t be that bad! I’d get a lot more time to read and to write and watch porn and horror films that I record on cable. Except cable might have to go to save a bit of cash, and new books will be impossible. And I might have to cut down the broadband too, no more myspace, no more porn… What other hobbies are not cost effective?

Work sucks. But what’s the alternative?