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mingo "111bingomaster" (london)

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Back to Blood
Back to Blood
by Tom Wolfe
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This isn't a Book, it's an Event Horizon, 16 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Back to Blood (Hardcover)
"Back to Blood, Back to Blood, Back to Blood..."

Chapter One and he sets out his stall very clearly. A non event when parking a car ends with that refrain, that observation, that for all our civilisation we are all very expert these days at collapsing, at reverting to type or tribe - demanding even that we be allowed to do so, and if we don't know how to devolve - there is enough sex in the air these days for it not to matter if we are as rigourous as possible with our manners. It's always back to blood - every few seconds, or minutes perhaps if you are getting on. Whether you enjoy this book may depend largely on having the refinement to appreciate how darned affected you are. This isn't a book, it's an event horizon, and it's among his best work, and may prove to be his greatest novel. That Wolfe can conjure something this confounding, relevant, and thoroughly entertaining at his age is utterly astonishing.

Having only recently finished the novel I am happily not in possession of a solid assessment of it, which is kinda delicious. I'm not sure what he was trying to do, I have some idea of what he was trying to say, I just know it is vivid, and day-glo, and in my thoughts.

I spent alot of time in Miami in the 90's - a great deal of that among Cubans, and I didn't detect a single bum note in his depictions of the two Cuban leads and their families. He is extremely deft, and up to date. Nestor fretting over his poor Spanish, and his observation that it's hardly his fault when iPhones et al are better in English, struck me as a gem, and a very delicate and real way of addressing multicultural angst globally. I credit the book with far more reach than others, but for my money Nestor could have been an Afghani and nearly all the story would have still stuck. This is not small stuff, easily earned on any page, surely?

The book is largely about race, and so is a minefield, but I think he gets everyone through it... more or less. Astonishing stuff.

And sex, it's about sex. If you want a better allegory for sex and media than the Regatta at the end of the first section then good luck finding it.

And it's about art, taste, refinement. OH BOY, is it ever about art, taste and refinement; the thin tasteful line between us and the seeds of our destruction. He basically has a triad of themes which couldnt be more relevant, or complimenatry to one another.

I hear this book tanked, and that his 7 million dollar advance basically means each copy is currently costing his new publisher 112 dollars. Please trust me, click that Buy Now button, and do something to redress this!

Samsung Chromebook XE303C12-A01UK 11.6-inch Laptop (2GB RAM, 16GB HDD)
Samsung Chromebook XE303C12-A01UK 11.6-inch Laptop (2GB RAM, 16GB HDD)
Offered by High-end Laptops & More
Price: £222.92

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future of personal computing!!!!!!!, 3 Mar. 2013
Ok, I've only had it five hours :-)

Here's my first impressions, I'll try and update this review when I've had it a while.

Mine was flat broke out the box - samsung wouldnt wake up from sleep - every lid close. And it took four hours to fix it, but I've spent the last few hours having the best, most analogue computing experience I can remember.

There's a sort of irritating leap of faith with advocates of a total web device, but the aesthetics and ergonomics pushed here are deep, and smart, and even green. This low watt, washed out but wildly beautiful slice of for the masses cutting edge digital tooling grips well and runs fast, and looks real.

The screen is washed out thrift store junk, but it's my favourite thing. black on white pages are a blur - the worst thing, but youtube, full screen, floating like an analogue miracle has just blown me away. This thing is holographically light and slim but it purrs with the true power of a broadband world and the perfect ethics of less hardware. Sometimes it's about what you take away. My other laptop is a macbook pro - awesome machine that's served me well - but its very heavy and expensive and using it feels nerve wracking - too much to do, to maintain. All that data on a small fortunes worth of ageing hardware... But pull the plug on this puppy, or throw it in a river, it's just not a problem.

Tabbing around and using the web for five hours and everything is still running nearly instantly. The 16gb ssd is pulling alot of weight. It's a browser, but it is a supercharged browser.

So far it's just knocked too many balls out of the park for me to count. It is an awe inspiring machine for the money. If this keeps up, I'm going to get a Pixel. Seriously, it's that crazy.

UPDATE - Had it 3 months now, have started to code Ruby on it using online IDEs, I use Chrome browser across all my devices - synched. I used google drive and google docs to apply for a job, (and got the job). The Chrome experience is like having ur own data centre basically. The kids use it relentlessly when im not on it - user switching is the best available. The 100 gigs of free Google drive storage holds a back up of myh most precious stuff The 100 gigs is free for 2 years, then it becomes read only if you dont pay after that - no issue at all)

Brilliant device. Best new machine Ive bought since going to macbook pro from Windows 5 years ago. I will be getting a pixel (or next revision of)

Down to a Sunless Sea
Down to a Sunless Sea
by David Graham
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.99

6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars rubbish, 15 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Down to a Sunless Sea (Paperback)
I am speechless at the good reviews of this book. It is childish, amateurish rubbish. Nothing about it, besides the premise, is anything other than offensively bad. I checked afterwards to see if this was a 'vanity publishing' publisher as I cant believe anyone would pay for it's blend of half cooked geopolitics, broken narrative, and comic strip characterisation. Everything, and I mean everything about this book is third rate. It reminded me of Guy N Smiths series of giant crab horror books from the eighties. If you can stomach the 'hero' who just sounds like the author having a lurid fantasy about himself, then you're fine I guess - but really, God I cant say it enough - everything about this book stinks. Everything.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 22, 2014 9:02 AM BST

Squeezebox Wireless Network Music Player - All Black
Squeezebox Wireless Network Music Player - All Black

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The finest thing I have ever bought., 26 Aug. 2008 on this thing is amazing; personalised music radio station, it even crossfades the tracks.
six stars.

Apple MacBook Pro 15" 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo/2GB/200/SD/AP/BT
Apple MacBook Pro 15" 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo/2GB/200/SD/AP/BT

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, 21 April 2008
Very nice.
I only got it on friday but my god is OSX ever better than Windows.
The battery life runs about 3.5 to 4 hours, and when you close the lid it goes in and out of sleep mode quickly and without errors, very nice.
The keyboard put me off at first (tiny return key) but it only takes an hour to get used to it and then it comes into it's own, very good keyboard indeed, a breeze to use a great size, and the light sensitive backlighting is a stroke of classy genius.
One of the main reasons I went for a MAC is the last powerful laptop I got was a Rock Pegasus TI99 2.0 GHz, back in 2004 and the fan noise from it was unbearable. I want a machine I can take into an office, or work away on while my wife watches a bit of telly without having to leave the room, and with MAC having such tight control over their own hardware I figured this would be better built. Wasn't wrong, it's very, very quiet, and it runs very cool even if you're multitasking quite heavily. Interestingly, the only time it's gotten hot was last night, when I installed the Parallels VM and got Windows XP installed. OK, it's two OS's running simultaneously though I wonder how much of it was just XP's bloaty old fault? I'll do an Ubuntu VM as well and see!
MAC OS X is just fantastic, never used it before and it was a bit confusing at first, but after a couple of hours everything just falls under your fingertips exactly as you would want it to, and it is blindingly fast. It could be having two gigs of memory but there was virtually no paging happening, everything just blinks into view, and the eye candy is great, it just looks and feels super sweet to use. It doesn't get in your way in the slightest. The whole OS just seems to be designed to get you working quickly and efficiently while it retreats discreetly into the background like a good waiter!
Oh, and the multi-touch touchpad is a stroke of genius, not least because you can right click one handed (something which kept me away from MACs for years). You just tap two fingers together on the pad and a context sensitive menu pops up. It works beautifully.
And the wi-fi is very fast, it's twice as fast downloading as my other two laptops (The Rock, and a Thinkpad X31) I downloaded a 720MB image file for Kubuntu in under half an hour, no sweat, over my 8Mb connection.

I can't think of any cons, it's just a great machine, with a lot of thought and attention put into it. I know it's a few hundred quid more than an equivalent Windows specced machine, but it's the little things that just set it apart, and make for a really pleasant user experience, far better than any windows box I've ever had. It Just Works, is an apt motto.
As an aside, I got this because I didn't want to buy a new machine with a strong spec, and then have Vista smother it with it's enormous code base. I was going to get a 600 quid laptop and install Ubuntu, but I just didn't like the idea of kludging around getting the new hardware to work. I have an ultraportable that also needs replacing, and I'll get an Asus eee pc for that.

Oh, and the reason it gets four stars? It's not really the laptop, it's a swipe at Mac themselves, their product lines seem to have been designed by an evil scientist. I ended up spending far more than I really wanted to, because the normal Macbook and the Air both have little features missing that would otherwise have had me buying them instead, and saving myself about 300 quid. Bottom line, you want multi-touch, backlit keyboard (shallow of me I know, but before you cast stones tell me why you don't have a pink laptop boys.... uh huh, you see my point) good connectivity, a Matte screen that doesn't reflect everything behind you, and a deicated graphics chip, then you HAVE to get this, which is a shame as I was very close to getting the Air....
Still, you pays your money, I've paid mine, and I am in love with this damn thing more than any other system I've owned.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 16, 2010 10:45 PM GMT

World War Z
World War Z
by Max Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book on zombie warfare rocks, 8 April 2008
This review is from: World War Z (Paperback)
Very gripping. Great page-turner, imaginative. He takes a ludicrous premise and goes at it, never disbelieving, and relentlessly peppering it with everyday details and dead-pan accounts of an unstoppable horde. He has some imagination, and has obviously mulled over the question of what the world would be like faced with a zombie plague at great length.
The format, like Cloverfield, is the real star here though. Using interviews as the basis for the text allows him to cherrypick his scenarios, so that they are nearly all worth reading. favourite moments: (SPOILER ALERT) the grunt who swears blind he was fighting alongside Michael Stipe, and the Chinese naval officer who steals his countries most bad-ass nuclear sub. Also loved the use of waterborne zombies, very startling and just plain creepy thing to think about. Makes Jaws seem like a rubber duck.

by Oliver James
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.24

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I know someone who is reading this,.., 14 Mar. 2008
This review is from: Affluenza (Paperback)
I applaud the sentiments of the book, I know we have a problem with a society which is now governed unilaterally by capitalism, and which is communicated through a media which serves it's own ends as a business before providing any meaningful, healthy discourse between people, but I work with someone who is a poisonous, pompous ass, and this sort of thing seems to encourage him to new heights of pretension and arrogance, so on that basis alone this appears to be dangerous, pre-chewed garbage for destructive simpletons. Didn't Marx outline the central thesis of this book 130 years ago? Is he even namechecked within it? Does a self help pamphlet for a narrow, comfortable sliver of society really provide any answers? Dig deeper people, there is stronger thinking on this out there...

Nathan Barley: Series 1 [DVD]
Nathan Barley: Series 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nicholas Burns
Price: £8.00

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rise of the Idiots - Amen!, 24 Oct. 2007
I don't know what this is really about, I think 'cool' people, ie fashion, and media types in general, so it's appeal is a lot broader than you might fear. I don't think nu-media is the focus here at all. To be honest, if you lived in a small town in Yorkshire and watched this it would probably work, as it's a sharp parody of metropolitans.

Worth watching for the tortured eyes of Julian Barrett, which make the bombardment of horrible characters something you feel all the more. Also, one of the funniest and most disturbing touches is that ALL the girls Nathan bumps into give him the glad-eye, presumably because he appears to be such an upbeat, fun guy, but also quite a chilling detail, raising the fear that we live in a culture where our standards and attitudes are at rock-bottom, and that this vapidity has breached one of our last bulkheads against it: natural selection. :-)

I think that this show might be much more widely known and appreciated five-ten years down the line, if the media's pervasive influence on our attitudes continues to grow unchecked within our society, a situation from which I just cant see an easy out. I'd go as far as say that this is Morris's masterwork.

Best episode - the Vice one, quickly followed by Geek pie. And yes, Kevin Eldons barber has magic. I also liked the TV producer from Seven "Are you the crew? Is something brilliant happening here?..."

The Worm Ouroboros (Millennium Fantasy Masterworks)
The Worm Ouroboros (Millennium Fantasy Masterworks)
by E. R. Eddison
Edition: Paperback

4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yeah, its pretty amazing, 10 Jun. 2006
I was lucky enough to have Clive Barker himself recommend this to me many moons ago, and i found a cracked, musty copy of the 70's edition in a second hand bookshop.

I prefer this to Tolkein, it makes Tolkeins characters seem aneamic by comparison. Imagaine a world where all the men have the masculinity of Brian Blessed, Oliver Reed, and God all mixed into one and you get the idea. For the women, hmmm, Helen Mirren in the Long Good Friday comes to mind!

It perfectly captures an ideal of nobility, across moral divides, and presents it in a rush of conflicts, rendered with an archaic prose that really evokes worlds and classes of people lost to us since the Golden Age of Hollywood. An imoprtant book, and one that I would love to see throbbing away on the silver screen.

Daewoo DS700 Freeview Box
Daewoo DS700 Freeview Box

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars yeah its good, 17 May 2006
Had it six months, works perfectly in all ways except couple of glitches with the EPG with no program info showing on some channels, but rescan fixed that. Interesting to hear about quality issues from other punters. This has been bashed about by my toddler a dozen times and shows no ill effect. I guess you either get a good one or you don't.

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