Equal Rites, Mort and Sourcery…

The plane journeys to OpenWorld and back gave me plenty of time to read…

Equal Rites – Nice enough story, but it didn’t find it all that funny compared to the previous two. Maybe I’m to invested in Rincewind and Twoflower. Maybe it just suffers in comparison to the first two, which are great.

Mort – Very funny. It’s a great idea and the Death is central to it, which is cool because he’s the best character on Discworld, in my opinion.

Sourcery – Rincewind is back on form. Conina is a great character. Coin is very mysterious. Good job.

Cheers

Tim…

Flashback, LogMiner and The Light Fantastic…

I put an article about Flashback and LogMiner new stuff live the other day, but forgot to put a post here. Better late than never. I feel a bit cheap and dirty admitting this, but I’m starting to like the web based Enterprise Manager. 🙂

The new LogMiner interface is really easy to use, and the integration with Flashback Transaction is right on the money. I guess LogMiner isn’t the sexiest of features, and I’ve had very little cause to use it since I first tried it out in 8i, but at least now it’s a no-brainer in terms of ease of use.

On a separate note, I finished The Light Fantastic last night. It seemed marginally more serious than the first book, but was still very funny. The introduction of character Cohen was very cool. Had me in stitches. I adopted a Sean Connery accent (in my head) for most of his dialog. Off to the book shop on the way home to buy the next couple…

Cheers

Tim…

The Colour of Magic…

Last night I finished reading The Colour of Magic. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but reading isn’t really my bag. If the writing style is too complicated I quickly become lost or bored, or both.

When I started this book it was a bit unnerving because there is a barrage of weird names and the story seems to skip around all over the place. A couple of times I assumed I had missed some pages out, only to find that the huge change in tack was intentional. Quite confusing, but fortunately there were some very funny bits that helped keep my attention.

About half-way through the book I seemed to get used to the writing style and, for want of a better word, relaxed into it. There is some really funny stuff here. I literally put down the first book and started on the second (The Light Fantastic). I have a horrible feeling I’m going to end up reading all 38 of the DiscWorld series…

Cheers

Tim…

Articles and stuff…

Articles:

I think I’m finally getting myself back on track. It’s been an unusual few weeks though.

I spent quite some time complaining that I couldn’t think of anything to write about and hoping 11g would inspire me. Since the release of 11g and the inevitable installation articles, I’ve felt rather lethargic again. Getting into a new version of the database is always a bit odd. For me it’s a combination of excitement and denial… 🙂

Well, I’ve finally updated the VMware RAC article for 11g, which was dependent on a RAM upgrade. It works fine, but very slow. Unless you want the ASM experience, I think the NFS RAC method is a lot cleaner and easier.

I’ve also started to plug through the DB new features. The first thing I played around with was Partitioning. I’m hoping I can keep up the momentum for a while. I wanted to sit the 11g beta OCP exam, but I know so little about 11g at the moment it seems really unlikely I’ll get to grips with it before the beta exam closes. It’s a shame really because it’s nice to be involved in the process.

Stuff:

I finished reading Vittorio the Vampire. Of all the Anne Rice books I’ve read I think it’s the weakest. It’s all a bit flowery and “mills and boon”. Not my cup of tea.

On a more serious note, my 5 year old nephew was in A&E last night with pneumonia. I was with him all day yesterday and although he wasn’t well, we didn’t suspect something so serious. A bit of Calpol and he was up attacking a balloon octopus with a plastic sword… Things got worse through the night which resulted in the A&E visit and the diagnosis. The doctor was surprised he was so active and chirpy considering. Tough as old boots! 🙂 He’s back at home now and all looks good, but it’s very unnerving. I suspect within a couple of days he will be back in full effect.

Cheers

Tim…

Taltos…

I’ve had an extended break from reading fiction. I’ve never been a big fan of reading, but I’ve been trying to force myself…

After reading the 10 books that make up the “Vampire Chronicles” I moved on to the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches”. This was a three book series, but I stalled after finishing the second book (Lasher). In a fit of boredom I recently picked up the final book (Taltos) and read it. After about 10 pages I was gutted I had waited so long to start it. Whether you love or hate Anne Rice, she has a really good knack for pacing a book just right. I think this makes about 15 or so books I’ve read and she seems to get me hooked so easily.

All of the main players were familiar because of the previous books, and the later books in the Vampire Chronicles explain some of the characters lives after this book ends. This is bit weird as you already know who what happens to people, but it doesn’t spoil th fun.

I’m now moving on to “Vittorio, The Vampire”. This is the second book in the “New Tales of the Vampires” series. I left this until last as it is apparently a stand alone story, with no ties back to the other books. It’s supposed to be a bit more like a love story, which doesn’t bode well, but I bought it when I bought all the other books, so it seems a shame not to read it.

A couple of the guys at work have been telling me to read the Discworld stuff by Terry Parachett. It sounds kinda fun, but with 37 books and counting, it’s really rather daunting. I guess time will tell if I get suckered into that one.

Cheers

Tim…

The Sound of Laughter…

I’ve just finished reading “The Sounds of Laughter – The Autobiography of Peter Kay”. It was a Christmas present, and quite a welcome one too. After my recent daliances with vampires and witches, it made a pleasant change to read something a bit lighter.

Peter Kay is a comedian from Bolton, in the north of England. I’ve seen him interviewed on TV a number of times and he seems to be a really nice guy.

I think this is the first time I’ve read an autobiography, so I don’t know how it compares to others, but I found it really cool. Rather than tell a complete life history from birth to present, he tells a selection of funny anecdotes that describe his life and attitudes, and those of his family. It’s not so much a factual account, as a feel of the way things were.

It’s not a big book, and it’s pretty easy to dip in an out of as each chapter is reasonably self contained. I think he’s got a really good perspective on things and I found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions. He’s renowned for talking about normal life in a funny way, and he did this again and again. I think I was able to relate to almost everything he said.

Cool!

Cheers

Tim…

Lasher…

Last night I finished “Lasher”, the second book in “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series by Anne Rice. As expected, this follows on from the first book, “The Witching Hour”. Same characters and similar “goings on”. Maybe I was distracted by the events of the last few weeks, but I really didn’t get caught up in this one.

Most of Anne Rice’s books have several story lines, each told in chunks, constantly messing with the time, and finally bringing it all together. I seemed to struggle with that in this book. I guess part of that was because I was really into some of the story lines, but quite bored by others. I would reach the end of one chapter, desperate to know what happens next, only to find I had to read 80 pages of dull crap before I could continue.

If the book had been half the size and contained only those story lines I liked I would be saying it was a classic, but it’s not.

Cheers

Tim…

The Witching Hour…

“The Witching Hour” is the first of 3 books in the “Lives of the Mayfair Witches” series by Anne Rice. The later books in the “Vampire Chronicles”, especially “Blackwood Farm”, had links with this series.

Let’s start by saying, this is a seriously big book. I’m not the quickest reader, so it was quite a daunting prospect, but the events of the last few days have left me with more time on my hands.

The book traces the history of a family of witches and their ghostly companion. The story starts 300 years ago in Scotland and concludes in the present day in New Orleans. It skips between each era quite a bit, but is drawn together by the story of the current generation. A pretty cool story and a good introduction to the family…

Cheers

Tim…

Pandora…

Pandora is one of two books by Anne Rice known as the “New Tales of the Vampires”. Pandora is a character mentioned repeatedly in the “Vampire Chronicles”, but very little of substance is said about her in that series. Since this book relates to the other series, I thought it only fitting to read it before I moved on. I know I said I was all vampired out, but it’s a really short book. It’s 400 pages, but the writing is really big, so it only took a few hours to read.

If I have one criticism of the Vampire Chronicles it is this. Most of the Vampire Chronicles are centred around male characters, or male interpretations of female characters. I don’t think Anne Rice has any real sence of what it’s like to be a man, hence all the male characters are overly emotional and typically gay. It would have made a change if one of the vampires was an ugly, hairy-assed geezer who likes nothing better than sinking a few jars with his mates down the pub.

In Pandora, Rice writes about a strong female character, from the the perspective of a female. I find this easier to connect with, maybe because it sounds more “real” to me.

All in all, a good yarn that spans the last 2000+ years, and mercifully short. 🙂

The last of the vampire books by Anne Rice, Vittorio the Vampire, is totally unrelated to any of the other books, so I’m going to rest this until I’ve read “The Lives of the Mayfair Witches”.

Cheers

Tim…

The Blood Canticle…

Last night I finished reading “The Blood Canticle”, book 10 of the Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. There is a drastic change in the style of writing in this book. Most of the sentences are very clipped, unlike the flowing style of the previous books. Also, the lead character, Lestat, seems to come up to date in his language, saying “Pa-lease” and “Cool” a lot. It’s not exactly what I’ve come to expect from this character. It’s still a good story, but it’s difficult to get lost in it with such a staccato style of writing.

Anyway, that’s the last book in the series so I’m free for the moment. Ten vampire books in two months is enough for anyone! 🙂
Cheers

Tim…