Saturday, April 30, 2011

These Few Months

April is coming to a close. If that wasn't obvious, look at your calender. Unless it's already May, for you. So, we're one third of the way through the year. Maths, easy. Only, these few months from January to April seem so long and drawn out, and I feel so desperate to write something to distract from the approaching May Madness, that I wished to reflect on the past few months.

January is easy: I started the year in Meath. Lots of people got drunk. People did things I wish I could forget. A good night was had. A couple of weeks later, I started to teach. This was, of course, preceded by lots of panicking and stressing and getting things done last minute. Then for two weeks my days became a monotonous repeat of: Wake up, go to school, teach, go to college, prepare lessons, go home, sleep, and wake up to start it all over again. At least, it ought to have been that way, except that I went into the city with a couple of friends during the weekend between teaching weeks to finish getting things and to generally burn off some steam, and I went to Eddie Rockets another night with a different friend. I had many days of panicking over everything and moaning to people about these new non-teaching panicky Things until finally getting them sorted out, and before I knew it, I was back in college and beginning the lectures that would bring me the rest of the way through the year. Thankfully, my teaching weeks ended with a script being written and submitted to a competition in the college, so I wasn't at a total loss for creativity.

February is where things become... different. I was blogging again. I was reviewing books and I was giving out some general advice I had procured over the years, and right smack-bang in the middle of the month I turned twenty. I was no longer a teenager, no longer able to cling to silly youth and childish games. The next day I got drunk for the first time. Take THAT irony. My best friend came down from Meath for the night - I hadn't really been fused about the whole affair, except that I got to see him for the first time since December. He got me quite intoxicated, failing to hear me say "No more drinks after this one." I still laugh about it, and the moment of realising I was drunk. Things were looking up for the month. Then the big issue with The Book arose in college, and I began to spiral down into this horrible mood. It got to a point where I didn't think I ever wanted to write again. Eventually I was snapped out of it, but not before a non-too-happy reading week.

Come March, I was back in the game of writing. I wrote a piece of fiction that I was really happy with, and I was thinking more and more about writing. I was getting somewhere happy, for a change. I had an essay to write in college, but I was okay with that. I liked the topic. I also had the pleasure of going to the O2 twice. I got to see The Script early in the month, and Elbow at the end of the month. I had a great time both nights, though they were wholly different experiences; the music was different, the company was different, and I got drunk after the Elbow concert. Throughout the month I was thinking about books I'd started and books I'd written and books I wanted to write, and constantly my mind was being changed and even more so I was thinking of ways to fix the broken constructs of novellas I wrote last summer. To bring the month to a close - before the Elbow concert, that is - I climbed Croagh Patrick. It was a good month.

April. Oh April. I didn't do very much in April. College ended un-spectacularly for me. The highlight of the last day was seeing myself in Writing Magazine. A good highlight, but not enough to make the next few weeks bearable. For three weeks I was off college. I did some reading. I did a tiny bit of writing, though not much. Much less than I'd have liked, considering I found study so daunting I couldn't force myself. Just the starting is the problem for me. During the weeks off I had a bit of a freak out - as is natural for me, seeing as I am completely insane - and I thought more and more about what writing I would do during the summer.

Now, with the month coming to a close in less than an hour (for me, at least), I have to face the horrible soul-sucking reality of May; we're talking thirteen exams, even less of a social life than before and only one thing to spur me on aside from the plans to write like a mad-man - the very last night of college. On Wednesday 25th, the people of God College will be getting drunk and it won't matter. They will be drinking until they're forced to go home, and some of them will keep drinking after that. Some of them won't ever be going out as college students again, some of them will be back in August to do repeat exams, and no one will forget the night. Or at least, no one will forget the buzz from the night. Probably half will actually forget the details of the night. But unfortunately, there are, as I mentioned, thirteen exams for me to do before that night of drunken debauchery, beginning with the oh-so-riveting topic of Christology and Revelation. And not the fun, apocalypse Revelations, but the not-so-fun "I see the truth" Revelation that Fundamentalist Christians think is all the rage.

These months have felt like such a long time. It feels weird to be able to summarise them like this, but alas that is the way things go. When trying not to bore people with the details of every single significant event, I subsequently report only the vaguest of details about most things. A whole month of summaries is due to begin as I prepare for my exams. If you don't hear from me, it's probably because I'm on the run for killing someone for trying to borrow a single page of my notes without asking first. In short, I will become even more insane for the month, and the chances of me reverting back to relative normality (i.e. my present state of mind - still totally insane) are slim. I do wonder if I will become increasingly strange and mad as the college work mounts each year... I suppose I'll just have to figure that one out when I push someone to the limits and he has to punch me in the face to snap me out of whatever it is I'm going through.

See you next month! (Or something...)

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Summer Writing Plan

In an effort to procrastinate further, beyond gathering all my first semester notes together, I've planned for the second time my writing time for the summer. I've split my time to writing fiction on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; editing on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and writing non-fiction on Saturdays and Sundays, which also includes the necessary research for it.

I plan - perhaps too-optimistically - to write about five thousand words of fiction on each of the days. I hope to write more, so that I can get through more books. I have, at the moment, nine lined up to write. While that seems like I'm already well on track, to me it's nine casts of characters all trying to live their stories all at the same time, and it gets crowded in my head. I have a plan drawn up for one of the books - the first one I'll be writing - and notes for six of the remaining eight. But at five thousand words a day and three days per week, I'm only doing enough writing to maybe finish three first drafts. That's not enough for me, thanks to the modules of God College, which inspired three of the nine books from just the second year work. There are chances I could get yet more ideas next year, which will only drive me completely and utterly mental. Fact.

As regards editing, eleven pages a day. Not a huge amount. I'll probably cover more with some books each of the days than others. It's twenty two pages a week, and with the books I have lined up I still have time to edit a book of about 35,000-40,000 words, based on my estimates. The eleven pages was just my rough estimate for a bare minimum - the higher estimate, mind you, since I'd originally been vague and said between nine and eleven pages. But with eleven, I can get Meet Sam edited within a few weeks. By then, I hope to have the first novel written for the summer. I'll be moving on to edit Love is a Remarkably Destructive Bitch second, taking the advice of another author to use emotional arcs more than actual events when writing; I'll be reconstructing a lot of the dynamics of the book and removing many resemblances to real life. I really liked writing the book last year, so I want it to be something I can still be glad to show my friends, even if I later decide it's not worth submitting to a publisher. The editing will make that decision for me. I have two others books from last summer to edit, too mind you, but I'd like to edit the first novel of the summer early on, so they can wait. If I edit quicker than I thought I would, I'll still have plenty of time for all five books to be edited.

As regards non-fiction, I only have two ideas for books, and only one publisher in mind for them. I haven't exactly gone looking around for another one, I just liked the look of this one. It's not a big publisher, but it will do. I have to research one of the books quite a bit, though I'm fairly comfortable with most of the material already. The other I really just have to write well, because the idea is too simple for me to have to do much research. I will see. That may change. If either one goes well, there's a chance they could be available by New Year's. I think. I'm not too sure how long the process takes, but with my taking the publisher and format into consideration, if a book is accepted and submitted in the summer, it shouldn't be too long before it can actually be bought. They only publish e-books. If someone can verify that estimate, please do.

And of course, I have deadlines to meet with some other things. One of the books needs to be written, edited and submitted by summer's end, though it's significantly shorter than I want some of the others to be, and could actually be written and edited within the space of just a month. There are also short stories with varying deadlines and interesting themes. And I'll be working during the summer, though at the current rate only on weekends. While I do have some plans to do other things, such as step outside every now and then, I have not directly made plans for that. I have simply planned to write a lot more than is healthy and see where the summer takes me. I have personal deadlines for things, obviously. I want to get my first novel done completely before the summer is over. I want to get the shorter book done by about half-way through September, editing included. I want to get most of these done in as short a time-frame as possible, because I will be hand-writing them and will later need to type them. Thankfully I'm a fast typist. I just find that I can let myself write more if I'm not restricted to my laptop. Plus, I can avoid the Internet if I'm writing by hand.

It has been advised I go on walks. I will probably do so. I don't know where I'll go, yet, but as I begin to get the need to see places I haven't seen in a while, I will get my runners on and go for a walk. I will enjoy the sun, until I lock myself away with a book in the making. I will appear anti-social, until I pop onto Facebook and Twitter to announce my accomplishments, like walking a ridiculous amount or beating a target a day.

While I am aware I have to sit exams before all that, I can face the summer with some sort of determination now that I am not just planning to write during the summer, but planning what to write. Last year it was simply write for the summer and be happy. It didn't work out that way. I wrote three novellas, yes, but I wrote them within short periods of time, and a couple were based on dreams. I tried and failed to start another book, which is my first book to write this summer, now that I have a plan, a character and some motivation for the project. I have an idea of where I want most of these books to go, and it will be but a matter of deciding what to write when. And of course, once I meet my targets for the day, I can read. I have my reading list all made up, and I will pick books from that based on how much time I have to enjoy them, and my general enthusiasm for the book at the particular point in time.

This will be a productive summer, and not one I want to let waste. Who knows, it may by the summer that gets me published along the line, and I will be all the happier to know that I went into it ready and determined to show myself what I've got.

Oh, and if you're in college with me and aren't in your final year: I plan to start a Writing Society in the college in September, but you need at least five members to start up. I'm hoping to do a few interesting things aside from just having writers in the college (of anything: novels, short stories, poems, drama/film, songs, personal essays, etc.) come together to work; I want to keep ideas private for now until I can determine some costs in advance, but there'll be some fun stuff to do, and some of it will look good on a CV. If you're interested in joining, could you email me so I can remind you closer to the time? College email number is 22.

Now, it's about time I got on with some study. Jesus isn't going to study himself. (No seriously, Christology and Revelation... it's a hoot!)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Review - Plague

Plague: A Gone NovelThe fourth book in Michael Grant's Gone series, Plague, was released a few weeks ago in the UK, with its lovely black and red cover. I much prefer the UK covers to the US ones, but the book is essentially the same (i.e. brilliant.) We're met with a new problem in good ol' Perdido Beach: a plague. And not just any old plague... this one is basically a flu, but Super. You know how people cough so hard it sounds like they're about to cough up a lung? Well, in Perdido Beach, that's not just an expression.

To make matters worse, flesh eating parasites are forming inside people, eating their way out after making their victims numb to the sensation. The bugs eventually get out and move on to find a new delicious victim. Meat is murder, ladies and gentlemen. Juicy, delicious murder. And a town full of kids is a main course for an army of bugs.

And of course, Grant throws more problems into the mix - a character from Lies becomes more of a problem, as you would expect; the water problem in Perdido Beach gets worse; and naturally people begin to get more and more suspicious of some of the strange things that happen in the town. I'll say no more. It's natural psychology to become suspicious of the people you're trapped with.

How did the book compare to the others?
I didn't think it was possible, but it's possibly the best. Less psychologically engaging than Lies, but more interesting, I think. With the plague and the bugs spreading, it was becoming more and more difficult to tell who would live and who would die, and it forces readers to align themselves with some people of Perdido Beach and not others (like, who wants the bad guy to live if it means the good guy has to die?) This emotional shift and the continued degradation of the minds of the kids of the FAYZ really helped this book along the way. The sense of adventure following some people, the madness of others and the nasty little plague spreading like a... well, a plague, just sent this thing miles ahead of the other books in terms of making a good story.

Death by bugs or death by plague?
Death by bugs, definitely. While it has the disadvantage that they might make me a host to some of their own kind, thus putting others in danger, they also make it so that you don't feel anything. As opposed to the Super flu, which gives kids high temperatures, fevers and increasingly violent coughs that eventually kill you. And I'm fairly sure coughing up a lung or coughing so hard you break your neck is not a fun and painless way to die.

What do you expect from book five?
Ah Fear... obviously, I expect fear. Something has to happen early on that gets kids freaked out and screaming. While there are some pretty scary characters in this book, I don't think one of the existing ones will be the source of all this trouble. After all, there's so much more Grant can still throw at the characters. Like, the fact that they're still trapped in a bubble. Or the fact that the wildlife is becoming increasingly more dangerous to them. Or the fact that more kids are developing superpowers and attitude problems, almost at the same rate. And lets not forget the Darkness, which is bound to become bored and attack. Unlike Voldemort, though, it doesn't wait until the end of the book to do so. It tends to launch its attacks in new and interesting ways before the first quarter of the book has passed, and that attack continues on the sly for quite some time until there's a Eureka moment and they have to try stop whatever sort of Super Evil it throws at the kids of the FAYZ. And I imagine it will gets a whole lot worse for everyone. Based on the original title of the book, Darkness, I have my suspicions that the FAYZ wall will become less than just an illusionary projection of the outside world minus any potential activity on the other side of it, and more a constant starless night. And you know why people are afraid of the dark, right? They think there's something lurking in it. Which, in this case, will probably be true! (Wow, I hope I didn't just spoil the book on myself before it's even been released!)

What do you think of the twists?
Every book has twists. They're essential to keep the reader interested. In series books, there needs to be a twist near the end that makes the reader want to keep on going with the books but that isn't so extreme is puts them off. Michael Grant has just the twist for readers in Plague. It's not just made me more interested in Fear, but also in the series finale, Light. Unfortunately, that probably won't be released until 2013, when I'll have the fun of fourth year in college to face. Even still, I want to know how all of this is going to end. So many questions have been raised by the events in Plague that any who loses interest in the series must be mad! Time and time again Grant has given readers something new and wonderful to look forward to. These books are never a let-down, and it's likely due to the twists that Grant throws in that so many people love them.


Housekeeping note: No review next week. If I have the time and inclination, I will be writing a series of blog posts to replace the review during May. These may or may not come into fruition. For personal reasons, I will not be tending to the blog for some time. I may be back sooner rather than later, but not until I have resolved a number of issues, not least of all being that I need to study for exams. If I find I have something to say, I will be here. Until such time that I am back, I bid you adieu. Happy reading!

If you wish to contribute to my Summer Reading List please comment here with a suggestion. To check out more reviews, visit my Book Reviews page.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review - Sh*t My Dad Says

Sh*t My Dad SaysWhat do you get when you send a twenty-something year old man back home to live with his dad who doesn't give a damn about what people think? That's right, Sh*t My Dad Says. The book came into existence when people began to realise how funny the Twitter page was and everyone wanted to know more. So Justin Halpern wrote the book about his dad.

It's one of the few biographies I own, and probably the only one I've finished. In my defence, I'm more of a fiction person and when I got half way through the only other biography I started I picked up another book instead. However, in this case, I couldn't put the thing down! I sat in my kitchen the night I bought it and I just read it all. Very few books can keep me that interested to just sit in my kitchen and ignore everyone walking past me. Normally someone distracts from the reading, but not with this book!

So, what's it all about..?
Okay, so Halpern lost his apartment, his girlfriend and he'd started a new job that let him work from anywhere. He tells that part much better. He goes back home because his parents are the closest living people he knows at the point in which he is homeless. He moves in, starts work, and has to get used to his dad's one-liners all over again. He eventually moves out, pursues writing in LA and then we get this book, some time later. That's the jist of it. Of course, the book is also full of the fun little details of his growing up, mainly the ones where his dad could be seen as embarrassing or hilarious. Thankfully, he only comes off as hilarious. So many people have read this book and thought, "I wish that was my dad." I don't, but I'd damn-well like to know the man!

Is it worth the read?
It's worth the read, the time and the $8.97 Amazon are charging for the edition I've linked to above. You'll laugh, a lot. Unless you think his dad is just an asshole, in which case you have to try sympathise with the other people, which is a lot harder to do when the book is about this guy saying ridiculously funny things in his day-to-day life, making small but meaningful differences to people's lives and mainly being the focus of attention. Even though Justin tells the tale, it's his dad who takes the spotlight.

Is it really all that funny?
I laughed. A lot. I mean, I laughed so much my family got annoyed. Of course, if you want a sample, go to and you'll see that his dad is hilarious. And the book is actually even funnier than that! As well as being oddly moving.

Who would like this book?
Anyone who doesn't mind a small bit of foul humour. Seriously. It's funny, it's not too big, and you'll love the relationship between Justin and his dad. I know I did, and I know I'm not alone in that, so it's an almost 100% guaranteed truth. The book is split into anecdotal chapters, each divided by yet more quotes that didn't find their way into the stories in the book. You can read it all in one go or take it chapter by chapter. People feel better for reading this book. It's absolute genius in its simplicity.


Additional house-keeping note: I bought and read a book last weekend even though I wasn't supposed to, so there will be one more review, next week. After that, unless I have time to review the novels on my course, there will be no further reviews until June 2011. I will be posting a Summer Reading List and will be looking for suggestions. You may leave them here.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Rebecca 'The Randomer' Woodhead

Available from
I first encountered the wonderful Rebecca Woodhead shortly after she began her Twitter journey, which quickly threw her into the Ms Twitter UK competition. She ended up winning, against all odds, against Vanessa of The Saturdays, earning herself the nickname 'The Randomer'. But more than that, she earned herself The Word Nerd Army. See that delightful little knight in my sidebar? Word Nerd Knight. The slogan: "The Pen is Mightier Than the Pin-Up." Rebecca won with literary stand-up against the very typical pin-up girls that had thousands of adoring fans.

Impressive enough, before you even take Rebecca's biography into detail. She lives in the Cotswold, in England, has a degree in English literature and has written three novels. Fair enough, there could be any number of people in small settings that have done this. Except for one key difference: Rebecca was in a car crash as a child, left in a coma, and taught herself to read and write against the odds and against tides of bullies. Reread that: taught herself. No professionals to help her along the way. Suddenly those three novels and that degree in English literature are even more amazing. She's an inspiration, not just to me but to so many of her (thousands) of followers on Twitter.

She's been starved and freezing the first Winter I knew her, and now she has a place in Writing Magazine writing about social media for writers. She's writes for Groupon every week. And, most importantly, she's now a self-published author. Her first novel, Palaces and Calluses, was released on April 6th, and since then she's song enough copies at a temporary reduced rate to make a profit. In one week, she's made her advance.

This is so important because Rebecca's not just selling the novel to make a living; she's testing the market so that other people can do what she did. She's taking the risks, figuring out what works, and doing it all alone. She told me earlier today that the point was to offer an alternative to writers. Many traditionally published authors get dumped by their publishers if they don't make their advance back. This can be what they turn to next if they so choose. It's a lot of work, but it's also a rewarding process.

At the present moment, the book is only available through Rebecca's own website. No Amazon, no Smashwords, no distributor but the very people who have been following her from the beginning, and the website she set up. Up until April 20th, the book is priced at £2.99 (£4.99 after). The simple facts: this is cheaper than a decent sized Easter Egg. Rebecca wants to start a tradition of giving ebooks are presents at Easter instead of chocolate eggs; they're healthier (won't overdose you on sugar, and fiction is shown to improve your IQ!), they last longer, and you can use it again and again.

How does it work? Rebecca has no restrictions on her book. When you buy from her website, you'll get a download link emailed to you. You can print this email, put it in a nice card and give it to a friend and/or loved one. It's as simple as that.

I'm yet to read her book in its entirety, but the first three chapters, available for free here, are a fantastic teaser to what I am assured by the many responses from readers as being a brilliant book. It's well-written, funny and heart warming, and as soon as my exams are over I'll be tackling this beauty! So far it's only available as an ebook, though a print version may become available in the future, based on the sales of the ebook. There's also some thought going into releasing it on Amazon, though that's Rebecca's call.

All in all, a pretty fantastic story. I was so happy to hear about all the successes Rebecca was having with writing and with marketing herself. She really knows her stuff, she's always very friendly and she only ever means the best for everyone. Please support her in this. I know you won't be disappointed.


Palaces and Calluses is available to buy from and You can follow Rebecca on Twitter at Highly recommended if you're: (a) a reader who likes good books, (b) a writer looking into self-publishing, (c) working in the industry and looking for a remarkable writer who's showing how successful one writer can be and/or (d) someone who just loves a great life story/novel/person/outlook on life.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sexy Sea Anemones

Before I begin this less than scientific entry on the sea anemone, I would like to explain why I am writing about it. Firstly, I requested topics on Twitter to write about and this is all that came up... so to speak. Secondly, I saw a lot of potential to make dirty jokes. Rude not to. So, with that in mind, be prepared for a piss-take of one of God's lovely creatures...

The sea anemone (SA) is related to the jellyfish and other such species. We'll just get that out of the way. Most of the time, varieties of SA remain suctioned to the underneath of a surface, like a rock. They're cylindrical in shape... in other words, they're an gelatinous phallus. With the exception of the tentacles being at the end of their form as opposed to the base, they more or less fit the description grotesquely and perfectly. The tentacles release toxins, which seems to suggest this thing is capable of transmitting STDs, some of which can induce paralysis. Basically, it's a predators that looks like it's sexually abusing its prey.

Okay, it actually gets worse. See, the mouth is at the end of the cylinder, so it paralyses its prey before eating it. Unfortunately for the SA, its mouth is also its ass, so everything it eats ends up being passed out the same way it came in. Wonderful, isn't it? Gotta thank evolution we didn't end up like that!

And, even more dreadful for some species of SA, they reproduce asexually. This is where the tweeted suggestion comes in... "the masturbatory fantasies of sea anemones". Imagine a creature that can't masturbate for fear of reproducing! This thing can only imagine what it's like, getting pleasure without having to split in two. Yes, that's right, split in two. Thanks to being a penis made of jelly, these things can just divide when they reproduce this way. Some varieties use the old fashioned sperm and egg technique, but the asexual ones can only dream of being that way.

Imagine being the laughing stock of your species! You can't mate, you can't think of sexual pleasure, and when you reproduce (with yourself!) you become half of what you once were. How much would that suck? (no pun intended... the SA, asexual or otherwise, knows nothing of sexual pleasure in this way, due to the tentacles of their sexual partners, and the fact that they also take a dump out of their mouths.

Wow, this has been a filth-filled post. Here, let me make it up to you.


Better, or Worse?
It would be so much better if things like the SA didn't exist on the Internet, and instead all jellyfish and related species were like the good old-fashioned Tentacool from the early Pokémon games. That way, you wouldn't have something that looks like a sexual organ and craps out its mouth, right before splitting itself in two.

Filthy jokes aside, of course, I hope you are now somewhat educated in the wonders of nature and the fantastically absurd creature known as the sea anemone. If anyone can explain its purpose in this world, please don't hesitate to put me in my place. I wrote this as a joke, but I'm genuinely interested in the creature's purpose in this world.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review - Lies

Lies: A Gone NovelWhen Michael Grant first released Gone, I was really excited for it. When he released Hunger, I was equally excited. When he released Lies, I was excited but busy, and it sat behind the till in work for about six and a half months untouched. I finally bought it and read it, which the excitement for Plague building up, because the latter was due out in the near future (FYI, it's out now!).

So, with so much excitement for the book, I had a few expectations. Naturally, Grant and his publishers built on this excitement with the combination of his count-down chapters and the awesome blurb on the back of Lies that made me want to read it even more. Already being a nerd and falling in love with superpowers from an early age, a YA series about kids with powers and all sorts of demolitions occurring in an adult-free society was just the sort of thing I needed. The series escapes the normals of reality while maintaining certain degrees of realism: the kids of Perdido Beach need: food, health care, a government and power. The latter is actually both power in the new society and electricity, both of which come lacking for many.

So what did you think of the book?
Overall, a pretty damn fine novel! Even apart from the other books, this is a brilliant story. Focusing on the idea that the kids need honesty and that lies are very easy to spread, the whole of the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) is susceptible to dishonesty. Everything is in imbalance, and I love it! As readers, we're allowed to know some of the lies and truths, while others remain a mystery to us until the other characters find out what's going on. We're allowed to figure some stuff out, too, ahead of time, but ultimately it's not until the end that the lies begin to unfold entirely for us. Which really just makes you want to keep on reading!

All the while, the diverse range of characters and what they want just keeps everything going. More lies spread, more truths are upheld and typical of Grant more battles are fought. But the more the series goes on - and this is book three - the more we see into the minds of the cast of characters, and the greater the dangers become for them. While they could deal with the loss of the adults, and they found ways of dealing with the hunger, they're suddenly split by themselves. And, from what I can discern of the later books from titles and the trailer for Plague, things are only going to get worse, and new and greater troubles arise in the FAYZ. Naturally, the Big Bad of the series - the Darkness - will be at the heart of these troubles.

How did this book compare to others in the series?
In my opinion, it's the best one yet. While I loved the concept of Gone, that's still carried on in this book, along with the hunger problems. Grant doesn't just ditch old problems, so I'm assuming the books will only get better assuming he doesn't get worse. But as Lies begins the psychological breakdown of the kids of Perdido Beach, it reaches a new height. And of course, the implications of the book's countdown - revealed in its early chapters - become increasingly more problematic as the book goes on.

Who do you recommend the book to?
I sometimes respond with "everyone". Not this time. Obviously, if you liked the other two books, you'll love this one. And obviously if you liked my review, I encourage you to get the book - and probably the other two if you haven't read them already. If you like superpowers, this book gives them an interesting twist, and if you're interested in looking at the fall of a society gradually, then definitely check out the series! Other than that, if you like dystopian novels and/or Sci-Fi, you'll like the Gone Series. (i.e. this series of books).

Looking forward to Plague?
Is the pope catholic? I can't wait to finally get my hands on it. Though that probably won't be for a while.


Some housekeeping: I have exams in May, which I will be busy studying for, so assuming I won't have time to write reviews of the novels I have to read before my English exams, I'll be writing my last review until June next week. This also assumes I won't take time off to read for pleasure. I will, probably, but not during May.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Wanderings Through Dublin

So I got off college yesterday and the wonderful time of a quarter to eleven and as soon as I'd paid a quick visit to the college library, I headed into town with a friend. Of course, no visit to the library is complete without a glance at the books for sale for one euro, and of course I cannot resist buying books sometimes. I ended up buying a book about counselling children, just because I have an interest in psychology. I have no idea when I'll actually get around to reading that book. On top of that, I also got myself copies of Willingly to School by Paddy Devitt and The Experience of God by Dermot Lane, because the latter had been recommended for an exam, and copies of the Junior and Leaving Cert English syllabi, and the Junior Cert English Teacher's Guidelines.

We bused it into the city centre going to one of the most famous bookshops in Dublin, Chapters. I made sure to head straight to the Classics section, looking for a copy of A Sentimental Journey by Laurence Sterne. I did not find one, though I did pick up a copy of Tristram Shandy. Our lecturer mentioned it several times in the past, so I figured I'd give it a shot at some stage. Not content to leave without some sort of back-up plan in case I couldn't get a copy of Sterne's other book, I grabbed copies of Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe and Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, which I was going to get anyway in work, except there was a Wordsworth Classics edition here, so it was much much cheaper. I made sure to flee the shop before I spent yet more money.

We got lunch before moving on to Eason, where I had gone to get one thing and one thing only: Writing Magazine. And why..?

Oh my God!
So yeah, my face is in a magazine. I'm also quoted quite a bit. That was fun! There's also the added benefit that I really like reading the magazine anyway, so I just had more incentive to buy it than usual.

Of course, I was thinking I might get Sterne's book in Eason... so I went downstairs only to find myself disappointed. However, I couldn't stop myself picking up a copy of Moby Dick by Herman Melville, because I think I need it at some stage for my course, and because I was trying to convince myself to be a good little reader and attempt more classics. I also couldn't stop myself picking up 50 literature ideas because we only ever had the physics and maths ones in work. Delighted. I'd paid for them when my friend pointed out Rory's Story Cubes at the till, and I'd been looking for them for a while. I bought them... I'm so weak sometimes.

We moved on swiftly, avoiding the rest of the shop lest our bank accounts suffer more, but not before stopping for a cup of tea in the cafe upstairs. We headed towards the South Side, stopping off in Forbidden Planet but not having the money to buy anything from it. We just nerded out for a bit. Following that, we went to Tower Records on Wicklow Street, the only shop in Dublin I have been able to find a selection of Mountain Goats albums. I bought one... I was quickly becoming poor.

We ended our journey through the city centre at St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, where I managed to find a copy of Writers Forum magazine in Hughes and Hughes. With a heap load of stuff weighing me down at this point, I said my goodbye and headed for the bus.

The day was mostly boring after that, though I did have a short chat with a friend having discovered he had a phone again (long story, not mine to tell) and I began to write a short story in response to a call for submissions in Writing Magazine. I announced the details of my story on Facebook, and professional help has been advised. This is a good sign.

I'm off college for a few weeks, now, before the Dreaded Exams begin. At that point, I will turn from eccentric to downright insane, unless I learn to procrastinate a couple of times. That was always fun last year. After that, we're into the summer... I can't believe how little time, relatively speaking, there is before that.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Review - The Necromancer

Michael Scott's The Necromancer (The Secrets of Immortal Nicholas Flamel) (Hardcover)(2010)The fourth book, The Necromancer, in Michael Scott's series about the immortal alchemyst Nicholas Flamel came out last September. Between then and about three weeks ago, I had been reading it on and off (mainly off) at work. I eventually decided to just buy the book rather than leaving it there every weekend and finished it post-haste. In short, I loved the book.

The series is great for people who like fantasy and who like myths, bringing old faces to the present as immortals or Elders, and introducing the twins Sophie and Josh as figures from prophecy that can potentially destroy the world. Throw Nicholas Flamel, a man steeped in myth, and his wife Perenelle into the mix, and things get messy. The couple are but two of the famous faces from history to find their way into Scott's series, which involves a lot of racing across the world to train the twins in the four elements: earth, air, fire and water.

Seems simple enough, until you add the gods of ancient lore, deceit, monsters on Alcatraz, and four very powerful swords. Then it's not just a really old couple creepily bringing teens around the world; it's life and death! (Okay, I was having a joke, it's not so creepy in the books because there is some quite clear danger chasing them the entire time, and a deadline to meet before all the events need to come to a close)

How did the book compare to the others in the series?
I thought it was one of the best! While the first had the excitement of introducing us to the idea, nothing much seemed to have happened otherwise; two books went by and it seemed a lot like setting up for The Necromancer, a realisation made in hindsight. While so much excitement is to be found in those books, it's not until the Grand Plans of the villains start unfolding and the dangers become more and more real that the books really pick up. Now, with two books left to go, there's a lot of dangers out there, less time than ever, and fewer allies the twins can rely on. It's really, really fantastic!

Team Sophie or Team Josh?
Oh look, I can poke fun at Twilight fans... If I had to pick a twin... I couldn't. Josh has the cool sword skills (when he gets to use them!) but Sophie has the additional magic available to her due to her early training. Josh has the BFI (Brute Force and Ignorance) that appeals to male readers, while Sophie is calmer and more calculating. And she has the kick-ass magic... Yeah...

Who's your favourite villain so far?
This one is tougher. obviously John Dee is the most intriguing and the one we've been with the longest throughout the series, but Machiavelli has this whole 'I'm contemplating your death silently and distracting you with words' thing going on. And when you consider that circumstance and perspective should be applied, the Flamels become villains themselves... in which case, it'd be rude not to pick Perenelle! She's got brains, control, ghost-sight (!) and very powerful magic. Otherwise, John Dee. Strong magic, lots of cunning, a Master Plan, and he's not always a winner.

Would you recommend this series to everyone?
Not everyone. If people liked Harry Potter, they will like this. Probably even more, because the early books aren't overly innocent like HP. Plus, no incantations. Good when you're twelve and living in my generation, bad when you're twelve now. In this, no incantations, just the pure awesomeness of elemental magic, gods of myth and auras with smells. (caution: some may make you hungry). If you like teen fantasy books, you have to look these ones up. If you go into an Irish bookshop, make sure to check if there's an Irish Fiction section in the Kids Section - that's where you'll find them. Otherwise, follow the link at the top of the page or click the book's cover, and you'll be taken to where you can purchase from there.

Are you looking forward to The Warlock?
Am I what? Uh, yes! It comes out May 24, just one day before my exams finish. I canny wait for it!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Increasingly Busy Plans

It's happened again; my summer plans have gotten somewhat more busy. Keeping in mind they are still plans, I probably won't be too busy. But essentially I'll be doing a lot of writing. I've got two ideas for non-fiction books, now, and a whole lot of ideas for fiction books, ranging from teen fiction to more adult stuff. And then there's the editing... I have the obvious one to edit, Meet Sam, but that's not it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I'll be editing the novellas I wrote last summer. I have them printed off (taking advantage of the temporarily lower printing costs in college) and ready to tackle one by one to turn them into better works of fiction. It's not that I ever intend, directly, to do anything with these books, but I'd like to know I have them there in case I wish to use them. I don't know where the next few years will bring me with my writing, but I know that everything I've completed to date will be helping me along the way, though not necessarily because it'll be on sale. I have two books written that will never see the light of day, mainly because they're really, really bad.

One is a poorly written adult sci-fi, which is becoming, in essence, The Jump. The other is an even more poorly written children's fantasy novel that is not only too long, it's too...bumpy. I mean, the overall plot is good, but the way the book is written is just bad! I remember writing it, age 14 (finishing age 15) and aiming for quantity of words over quality. Well, actually, I aimed for pages. Little did I realise in my youth that while I was writing the same amount of pages for every chapter, I was doing so in single line spacing. The book became quite bit, which I didn't really realise, and it wasn't exactly good. There were things I wanted to express but couldn't, and the whole thing needs a re-write. And a lot of stuff cut out of it. I mean, it's 120,000 words long. About half of it is any use. That may be a slight exaggeration.

So, with four books to edit and two non-fiction books to write (one of which requires research) I'm going to be quite busy. So attempting to write things like my YA Apocalypse novel or The Jump or any of the six or seven ideas I have for adults books is just madness. Madness!

I can't wait!

Last summer, I wrote my three novellas quite close to each other. I spent long days writing them, and longer days doing nothing of any importance. I met up with friends quite infrequently, I rarely found excuses to leave the house (note to self: find excuses to leave the house) and I basically wasted away into an incarnation of boredom. In that state, I'm basically the most annoying person you'd ever meet. I do wonder why some people didn't try run me over in a car...

This summer will be different, though. I'll be keeping myself busy, I'll be making some more socialising plans whenever possible, I may be writing short stories and articles to earn money on the side, and if I'm lucky I won't succumb to the boredom all over again. Thankfully I have dozens of unread books on my shelf, more coming into shops every month that I haven't bought, twelve DVDs in my room alone that I can watch (and obviously many more not in my room) that I haven't seen before (three of which contain six episodes each of Black Books) and enough stored madness to continually drive forth my creative spirit.

If all goes well, I'll have had my best ever summer. I'll be doing my best to keep in touch with friends whenever possible and when that fails and I still need fresh air, I'll just go on walks through Dublin, taking familiar routes for the heck of it, just to get out of the house. Besides, I'll also be working - probably only weekends - so I won't be entirely idle anyway.

Oh, except there's one thing that needs doing first. Exams. May is going to be hell. And the four weeks between now and the start of the exams... well, that'll also be hell. Basically, two months of hell for three and a half months of freedom (which has the potential to become hell).

'Course, there's also the chance I could be coming back to college with some publishing experience under my belt. You know, just saying. (Not that I would necessarily have a book released within three and a half months, but if I play my cards right and if I get lucky, I may be on track to releasing a book, which would be freakin' sweet! A man can dream...)

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Seldom Seen Kid

I was kidnapped at half six on Thursday. We drove into town, heading towards the O2 Arena. He hadn't been there before, since it was renovated a few years ago. He asked halfway there if I had the tickets, then laughed at the idea that I would forget them. Needless to say, I told him about the time I forgot to bring some ID to a gig last year and had to get my brother to drive it in for me.

The original plan was the head into the O2 at eight, but we ended up getting there at around seven, maybe a bit later, finding our way to stage right and staying there for the night. I say staying there, we got drinks - Carlsberg, tasted like piss and alcohol the first time around - and after The Villagers had done their set, we moved along. The Villagers were actually really good! I hadn't really listened to them very much beforehand, despite my brother giving me a loan of one of their albums.

The announcement came: it was a totally no-smoking arena. There was some mild swearing, some agitation, and then he decided he needed to go to the toilet. We went the long way around - really we didn't know where we were going, but we'll just call it the scenic route past the girls' bathroom - and lo-and-behold, a smoking area! I've never seen someone look so happy to find a smoking area in my life. He'd been giving out that I didn't mention it was no-smoking in the arena before we went in. Well, not really giving out, more like complaining. This was something I should have checked before I left my house.

We got more Carlsberg - mainly because there were no spirits that I might have otherwise drank, even though I can't really stand Vodka - and yes, it tasted like piss, but I finished this one. The key was to drink it quicker, before it got warm. I then made the mistake of showing him I was done, but actually using sekrit-drink-code for "Want another round?" My bad! We waited a little bit - Elbow were already on stage at this point - and got the drinks as Neat Little Rows played.

There was a lot of "interactive audience bullshit" during the concert - that's what Guy Garvey called it - like raising hands in the air and singing along to With Love. That one was good: sing it like you're breathing in on "with" and breathing out on "love". Then get several thousand people to join in with you. Fantastic.

He began a series of love songs by asking was anyone in the audience in love. Some people put up their hands. Then, was there anyone in love with another person present, but that person didn't know! Naturally my friend - with only a little bit of alcohol in his system - turned to me, laughing, and shouted, "I love you Paul!" We drank to that, and kept laughing.

He'd dubbed some girls  near us as lesbians. I suppose if you wanted to interpret things like holding handbags for each other and one of them having very short hair and some hugging as lesbian actions, and if you had a little bit of alcohol in your system and no shame, you very easily could think they were lesbians. The joke was fun, anyway. It began with "Can you spot the lesbian?" and simply turned into "Look, lesbians." Good times.

On a more serious note, can all my female readers please tell that they don't spend the whole concert talking over the music? Because it's kind of annoying to everyone else there to hear a dozen women (they actually were women, mind) chatting away the entire time Elbow were on stage. And, you know, every other band. The only reason no one punches the talkers is because it's a bit disrespectful (and, you know, a slight overreaction to a bit of talking), but really everyone is hating the voice of the person who starts talking and doesn't stop.

Grounds For Divorce came on at one point. If you don't know, the lyrics begin with "Mondays is for drinking to the seldom seen kid." My friend turned to me, "I am the seldom seen kid!" Naturally, my response could only be, "I know! You bastard!" Good times.

When the gig ended - and it was all pretty awesome! - we went to the pub near God College. He went on the Guinness, I went on the rum and coke, and we started talking about just about everything that came to mind. The place was empty, which we didn't mind one bit; we could talk in peace, without the constant interruptions of friends. It was the first time it had ever just been the two of us and no one else in a pub, or anywhere, really, where it was actually possible to talk about things. Nobody in pubs cares what the strangers at the bar are talking about.

Obviously, I won't divulge all the topics we covered in our long discussions, but we shared a lot of stuff with each other that normally only really gets said at three in the morning when he's walking home from the pub and he calls me when I'm in bed, and in those cases I'm sober but tired, and he's drunk. In this case, in the pub, we were both getting a little bit drunk, and as a result of my climb the day before, I was very tired. So, midway of the conversation, I went to just put my head on the bar for like a second...

Nobody said things move quicker when you drink. I wasn't advised on all these little things about alcohol before I started drinking. It was my second time being drunk. So, I had a slight bar-to-head collision. You know I regretted it immediately.

Following a brief chat with a couple of the girls from college who were moving on to an over twenty-ones night club in town - which is why we didn't go, me being only twenty - we got to the stage of the night where we began to make promises with each other. Again, secrets. But they meant a lot to me, both the ones I made and the ones said to me.

Our talk continued outside the pub as we waited for someone to get home to let the seldom seen kid sleep in one of the beds in the house, by invitation of the owner, who wasn't presently in the county. He smoked, I wobbled (then sat down quickly), and while the conversations were quite serious, it was still some of the best fun I'd ever had. Dublin city is completely different at night when your drunk and with your best friend than when you're sober and alone; it seems less harsh than it can be, freer and wilder and the darkness is nothing but a backdrop as opposed to an all-consuming curtain pulled around the lonely street lights that barely taint the world orange.

I left at half three, as he and a few others attempted to get a key for the house - don't ask. We said our goodbyes, and not for the first time that night told each other that the night was only as good as it was because of the other person. I got into a taxi and headed home...

Normally, that's where my stories end, with me going home. And while the taxi ride was less than eventful, the night wasn't over. I got in the door, locked up, the works. I was drunk but I hadn't actually drank anything in an hour, so I was more coherent and less wobbly than I would have been if I'd gone straight home - which I almost did, except I decided to wait with him. I headed up the stairs and there she was - the mother. She asked me a few times if I was okay, if I was drunk - then she smelled the rum, and she knew the answer - and I kept wondering why she was asking if I was okay. I told her I was fine, had her go off to bed and went to brush my teeth - even drunk I don't forget. That's when I saw it - the mark on my head from when I'd had my bar-accident. I let out a laugh - more like a sigh, but happy - realised it wasn't sore unless I actually poked it, and even then I could only just feel it (it wasn't that big, either, thankfully) and went to bed.

I woke up hungry. I had a slight headache and realised it was half-eight - too little sleep. I got a drink of water, then my breakfast, and I was grand. I was still remembering things from the night this morning. It wasn't that the alcohol made me forget. I think it was more to do with the fact that the nine hours I'd spent with the seldom seen kid were all melting together, and it took some time for it all to spread out so I could remember all the secrets and all the promises and all the silly little things we talked about.

It was the best night out in my life. And I said that about my birthday, but this was so much better, because it wasn't a night where it's easy to believe it's all about you. This was a night I'd been looking forward to for months - I bought the tickets in October - and that I had been getting excited for for the past few weeks, and all my fears about him not being able to show up were washed away even before we drank. I got to see my best friend, talk about things that really mattered to both me and him; I got to see one of my favourite bands play live; I got to relax and enjoy myself without worrying about college the next day. It was a night with no bad consequences - I still don't think the bar-accident was bad, since it's something to laugh about now and laugh about then, and it doesn't hurt and it didn't impair. I don't think the night could have been better.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

On Tuesday night, I stayed in a friend's house doing things like going onto the roof and watching The Wedding Crashers, and going to bed at half one. We got woken at half three by his flatmates' friends coming in drunk and loud and generally disturbing the peace. We fell back asleep, and woke at six. We left the apartment shortly before seven and walked to college.

Yes, we walked to college at seven in the morning. We met up with a whole bunch of other people who also went to college extremely early. We were all tired. Some of us were cranky. Mostly people were talking and laughing. We got on a bus. Yes, there was a bus at the college. I don't think I need to spell it out any further than that: we were going on a field trip. Only, you know, it wasn't going to be to a field. The bus left the college at eight in the morning. I was beside the college director. He made awkward small talk for a lot of the journey. It last three and a half hours and I went between being conscious and semi-conscious the entire time, never really falling asleep. We got food and drinks along the way, going through Kildare and Westmeath and Longford and Roscommon and then we were into Mayo and passing through Castlebar, and I thought two things: I've gotten phone calls in the middle of the night from here, and I know a writer on Twitter from here, I wonder if he'll see the bus.

We pulled up at half eleven at the foot of a mountain. Not just any mountain, though. Croagh Patrick, the biggest and most unforgiving mountain in the country. Lunches were distributed, the bathroom was visited, and a quarter to twelve a few of us set off ahead of the group. We began our great ascent into the clouds.

I went the entire way with three of my very good friends. There was a lot of struggling and swearing and forcing people to drink water. But we also talked a lot, laughed a lot, and did this thing called 'bonding'. We had to take a lot of stops, though mostly I just wanted to power through and only stop when I needed a drink. At the same time, I didn't want to try keep up with the people who literally ran for most of it, and I didn't want to go up alone.

One good thing about the climb was the scenery... almost worth it!

The mountain is no easy climb. The first 90% of it involves a steep walk covered with rocks, travelling at an awkward angle and knowing you have to keep up some sort of speed or you won't get to the top quickly enough to get down to the bus before it leaves. When you get towards the end of the climb, it becomes a lot steeper. The climb is harder, but you have the use of your hands at this stage, so you can at least take some of the effort off of your legs. But if you want to stop, you do so almost vertically.

We reached the peak after about two hours and ten minutes with at least fifteen minutes of that time being used for the frequent rests. We weren't the last ones there by any account, which meant we could catch our breath... this translates to waiting in a cloud for the rest of the group to show up. Eventually we were all there, over forty of us - the most that's ever gone from the college - and we had mass. Outside the chapel. In a cloud. Needless to say, we didn't waste time getting into the line out of the cloud and down the mountain once the mass was over.

But this part was equally tricky. Or trickier. Less use of hands at the top, still very steep, and practically sliding down some of the way. The rocks were treacherous, and I'm fairly sure I twisted my ankles into uncomfortable and painful positions about a dozen times each on the way down. Thankfully I was not injured. My toes were in all sorts of pain, mind you, pressed against the inside of my runners for the steepest part of the journey down.

We spilt up into our groups again, based on how fast people could walk, mainly, and we had our laughs and our long chats and we even stopped to take some group pictures. It was windy and we kept hurting ourselves, but it was fun. When we eventually reached the bottom, the first thing I did was wash my hands. The second thing I did was drain half a bottle of water and eat some biscuits and crisps.

By the time the bus got going again, I was asleep. Like, literally passed out. I woke up just as we cross the border into Roscommon and thought, Where the hell did Mayo go? We kept going on, until we reached the wonderful drive-through-quickly county of Longford. We stopped there, against our better nature, to go to McDonalds.

Best. Meal. Ever.

Nothing beats a healthy climb up a dangerous mountain like eating McDonalds. Actually, that's not technically true. Getting a cup of tea afterwards beats the McDonalds.

Best. Tea. Ever.

We got on the bus - and it was dark by this stage - and headed off home. There was a film on - The Hurt Locker - so most people just sat and watched it. Some people didn't shut up and kept talking about other films and, as we got into Dublin, the personal lives and problems of other people, saying things quite loudly that shouldn't have been said at all. Honestly, why would anyone announce that they stopped someone committing suicide and then tell the person who it was they saved? I was baffled and seriously wanted to punch some sense into the guy who was talking. Privacy much? At that point I was glad the trip was almost done so I wouldn't have to put up with all his chatting casually about the deeply personal issues other people had.

As we turned the corner to get to the college, my bus home passed by. I swore. I won't deny that fact. It only comes every half hour. It was a quarter past ten. I grumbled as I got off the bus. But, I was then informed that my dad was in the college grounds ready to drive us home. I was sure, then, that there was a God and He was merciful. It didn't take too long to get home on account of the time. I got straight into the shower. I had a cup of tea. I crashed into bed.

Never again... (I tell myself now...)

Fixing Mistakes

Editing is an annoying part of the writing process, but something that can and will be of great importance to every writer. It helps to remove all those annoying little grammatical errors that you didn't notice when you wrote the piece, it helps to make the piece flow better, and in my case it helps to cover up the stupid little mistakes I made.

This summer, along with write a whole load, I plan on editing the three novellas I wrote last summer. By and large this will just be for myself so that I can clear the books of a certain feel to them, too real to be fiction and too fictional to be biographical. I want these books to be my own, and so during the edits I'll be making them different, adding people here, removing people there, twisting the already twisted lying memories into something truer than ever before, true in its fiction, not in the anecdotes the books twist into full-blown stories.

Unless a writing career develops that calls for need for these books, they'll largely just be something for myself. They'll be mistakes I've made and corrected, practice in writing and practice in editing, and that is something I can be proud of. Fixing the mistakes of my past seems to be a continuing theme of my life, making sure all those little things I did get made up for.

A year ago, and since, my blog has been a forum of discussion of many of the affairs of my life. I have been comfortable talking about some things, uncomfortable talking about others and expressing my anguish poorly and indirectly, and while I have moaned to some extent about certain people publicly I have kept their names a secret; I understand the importance of being somewhat discreet in these matters and know that public defamation, all legalities aside, is just plain wrong.

So my blog is transforming into what I want it to be - a place where I can review books, a place where I can share anecdotes about my life, and a place where I can talk about the writing I am doing. I'm liking it more this way. Obviously if something drastic happens that darkens my mood and I feel the need to complain in some way, I will probably resort to my blog for that, but this is my way of maintaining contact with my sometimes-few readers.

Official housekeeping stuff: I know I missed my review on Wednesday. I'll post it this coming Wednesday instead. And I will explain why I missed it in a future post, as well as explain why I didn't explain why sooner in another post. It's been a busy few days.

Super cool announcement: Way back when (I can't quite remember how long ago - not too long - so I'm over-estimating... it was last month) Rebecca Woodhead put out a call for people to answer some questions about Facebook. She was writing an article for the May 2011 issue of Writing Magazine. I answered her questions on her blog ( and Rebecca, being such a lovely person, got back to me shortly afterwards and said she was going to quote me in the article. Yes, that's right: thanks to the ever-brilliant Rebecca Woodhead (whose début novel is coming out in a matter of days! Go to her site, now!) I will be making a cameo appearance in a national (and the best selling) UK writing magazine. How cool is that?! I can't wait to go into town right after college at the end of the week to get it!

That's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow or Tuesday to write about last Wednesday, a review will be up this Wednesday, then I'll be writing about Thursday just gone and Monday coming over the next couple of days after that. They almost became one big post, but I figure the events were significant enough for me to separate them in worded-awesome. Until next time, take care!