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Archive for October, 2010

On last Saturday afternoon, the Claynadians met at their usual venue to talk, eat, drink, and enjoy themselves while watching videos of Clay Aiken in performance.

Apparently a screenshot of a ‘bootleg’ video is verboten because Photobucket rejected my slideshow saying it contained copyrighted material. Since all the very so-so photos were taken on my camera, and are therefore my work, I can only assume that somehow Photobucket recognized Clay’s face in the video screen shot that is in the background on one or two shots. I can’t think of any other explanation!

The large pink drink in the video is the “Clay Aiken Smoothie,” which the restaurant added to their menu for the afternoon. Clay himself had suggested what would be appropriate in a smoothie. By unanimous verdict, the peanut butter was omitted from the final drink as offered!
We of course toasted our favourite singer with his eponymous drink. You can tell by looking at it that it was based on strawberries. What you can’t see is that it was immediately christened “The Cloothie.” Too funny.

Here’s my slideshow of the photos I took (and did not edit or adjust) It kind of just stops (I hope to get better at this in the future!)
It’s in m4v format if you want to try to capture it.

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Author: Barclay, Linwood
Publisher: Anchor Canada
Copyright: 2010
Fiction-Thriller Personal ranking 10/10
Wow, what a page turner! Barclay does it again. Could not put this book down.
He has a genius for writing a plot with characters who are duplicitous.
In this story, the narrator is David Harwood, a journalist at a local newspaper in an upper NY state town called Promise Falls. He has a wife, Jan, and a son, Ethan, age 4. When the story opens, Harwood is secretly working on a story that is going to expose the fact that there is corruption (connected possibly with his paper) involved in the (probable) upcoming construction of a ‘for-profit’ privately-run prison on the outskirts of his town. Wife Jan (who is suffering from a bout of depression) and David, decide to take a break and take Ethan to a local theme park (he’s scared even to look at the roller coasters.) This apparently mundane family outing turns into every family’s nightmare when Ethan disappears at the theme park. The parents separate to hunt around the grounds for their son. In short order, Harwood finds the stroller, with his son unharmed. But when he tries to call his wife on her cell phone to tell her that Ethan is safe with him, her cell phone goes to voice mail. Jan has disappeared. This is the jumping-off point for a roller-coaster ride (pun intended) that involves stolen identities, stolen diamonds, really crooked people, and normal suburbanites who are at the mercy of the bad guys. The good guys feel like people you might know, and the bad guys are people you hope never to meet. It’s a fast-moving yarn, and I guarantee that if you like thrillers, you will love this book!

Linwood Barclay talks about his thriller:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/mpd/permalink/mBWOQ0XTSFD0W

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Author: Gladwell, Malcolm
Publisher: Little Brown and Co.
Copyright: 2008
Personal ranking: 9/10

Downloaded from iTunes and read in 2 days flat! This was after wrestling with Kobo for a week with a copy of Freedom (chosen by Oprah for her book club) that would not work on the iPhone. I finally gave up with Kobo. I asked for my money back and they credited the cost back to my VISA. Darts to Kobo for selling a file they knew would not work on a smart phone, and kudos to them for refunding the money.

Outliers downloaded from iTunes into my iPhone easy as pie, and was so well-written! I couldn’t put it down. It’s a long time since I read a non-fiction book that was pure psychology and sociology. This well-researched book is the one that promoted the thesis that it takes 10,000 hours of repetitive practice of anything to become an expert or a great success. Seldom is such success overnight. Winners have put in the time.  Whether it’s playing hockey, writing computer programs, or playing the violin, it’s going to take anyone 10,000 hours to reach the pinnacle of success. I won’t argue with that. Outliers is not a new book; I’d intended to read it for some time. Other writers are now referring back to the theses that Gladwell makes (very authoritatively) in this book.

Gladwell proves that hockey players born in the first three months of any year will have a great advantage over any others born in their same year. He also shows us how “culture” can affect decisions and decision making.(e.g. How scary is it that your airplane can crash because the first officer cannot tell the captain that he is wrong? And that the reason is cultural: he cannot even seem to be criticizing his superior.) This is fascinating stuff, and the only reason that I did not rank this book as a 10/10 is because I prefer to reserve that personal rating for the best of fiction. Read this wonderful and best-selling book, easily one of my most enjoyable reads of this year. I’m going to be reading more of Malcolm Gladwell.

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