July 2010 Archives

Book Review: The Poacher's Son

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  The Poacher's Son (Mike Bowditch Mysteries)The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron

My rating: ★★★★✩

The Poacher's Son tells the story of a young game warden in the backwoods of Maine, trying to escape the shackles of a broken home and make a life for himself. His dad, a bit of a lowlife and (ex?)poacher becomes a suspect in a gruesome murder of another game warden and the rep of a company buying up forests in Maine and threatening to kick off people who have quasi-legal houses on the land. Tauntly and authentically written, this book is the first one in a while that kept meup reading.

Game Warden Mike Bowditch's life is a bit of a mess. Newly graduated from college, he loves the idea of being a Maine game warden, but his new wife isn't so crazy about life in the Great North Woods and has left him for the "bright" lights of Portland. Then he gets a mysterious message on his answering machine from his dad, who has become a fugitive after a double murder in his small home town. Now everyone suspects Mike's motives, although he's convinced the cops have the wrong man and is trying to find the truth without stepping on too many toes.

As a guy who has spent more than his fair share of time in the Maine woods, I can say that Mr. Doiron has nailed the woods, game wardens, and the relationships they have with everyone else. My relatives were more on the other side of the law :) but this Maine author writes with amazing clarity and accuracy. Hard to believe this is a debut novel!

My biggest complaint (and it's a tiny one!) is one I have had with plenty of mysteries lately - the police get fixated on a suspect too quickly and with too much rigidity. I think the police would be more flexible in their suspects, but many books have them picking someone out early and sticking with them, right or wrong, good evidence or bad. Seems a little forced, and it did here, as the evidence mounts in other directions.

But other than that, it was a really fun read. I couldn't put it down, staying up way too late the first night and finishing it up the second night. Easy read, with a tense, interesting story. I can't wait for Mike Bowditch #2!

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Joke: Parking Spot

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A guy was driving down the street in a sweat because he had an important meeting and couldn't find a parking spot.

Looking up to heaven, he said: "Lord, take pity on me. If you find me a parking place I will go to mass every Sunday for the rest of me life and give up me whiskey!"

Miraculously, a parking spot suddenly appeared.

http://i596.photobucket.com/albums/tt45/getfrank/070510/parkingspot.jpg

The guy looked up again and said: "Never mind, I found one."

Joke: Bud Goggles

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The latest joke carelessly tossed over the email transom:

A husband and wife are shopping in their local Wal-Mart. The husband picks up a case of Budweiser and puts it in their cart.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the wife.

"They're on sale, only $10 for 24 cans" he replies.

"Put them back, we can't afford them" demands the wife, and so they carry on shopping.

A few aisles further on along the woman picks up a $20 jar of face cream and puts it in the basket.

"What do you think you're doing?" asks the husband.

"It's my face cream. It makes me look beautiful" replies the wife.

Her husband retorts, "So does 24 cans of Budweiser and it's half the price."

On the PA system: "Cleanup on aisle 25, we have a husband down."

  The Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching TogetherThe Best Old Movies for Families: A Guide to Watching Together by Ty Burr

My rating: ★★★★★

Wow, what a wonderfully fun book! Lots of great movies to expose the girls too, who already have a pretty good appreciation for B&W movies. They loved "The Kid", enjoy the 3 Stooges and really had fun with "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein" (even if Burr disparages that classic).

Definitely going to show them "Bringing Up Baby" and "Meet Me In St. Louis" next. Wish more of these were available on demand as opposed to DVD rental, but hey, what can you do?

So if you love "old" movies, even if you don't have kids, get this book. There are lots of recommended movies, with plenty of interesting tidbits, to keep you entertained for hours.

If you have kids, don't really know old movies, and want to show them the classics, get this book. Burr goes to great lengths to explain why a movie might appeal to a younger generation, splitting the movies up into 3 groups - for the youngest of them, "tweeners" and teenagers. With 2 daughters of his own, this book hits particularly close to home and I am anxious as all get out to try a few more on them.

I'm marking this as "Read" but really will be returning to it often. My first purchase on my new Nook and a great reference to keep stored there.

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Nooks and Crannies

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After much deliberation and searching, I finally broke down and bought an "eReader". The new price cuts of the Amazon Kindle (down to $189) and the B&N Nook (down to $149 (wifi) and $199 (wifi & 3G)) got my friends and I talking about them, comparing them, and wondering about them. I had a $30 gift certificate to Best Buy (who sells the nook) and am doing a lot more traveling these days (we bought a camp on a lake in Maine), so I decided to splurge and pick one up. Disappointingly, Best Buy only carries the wifi+3G Nook, not the less expensive wifi-only one. I don't really think I need the 3G, especially as it doesn't look like the area where our camp is located is covered by the AT&T network (I don't have T-Mobile 3G but my wife has Verizon 3G). But I'm an impatient guy and want it now, so I splurged on the 3G version (disappointingly, 3G coverage seems to be the only difference).

I got it home, opened it up and here are my first impressions after lightly playing with it for a couple of hours:

  • It came with 1.3 version of the software, which I got to use for about 10 minutes, then it installed 1.4 automatically (and a little invisibly). Didn't really notice any difference.
  • You can't read it in the dark. Seriously, I wasn't sure about this! Guess that's why all the little book lights are sold for it.
  • It flashes from black on white, to all black, to black on white on every page turn, although I guess you get used to it. After playing with it for a couple of hours, it has already faded from notice, although not completely. The Kindle does this too. I'm surprised no review of these readers ever mentions this.
  • The touchscreen isn't as responsive as I'd like. And supposedly you can "swipe" it when it is dark to "turn" the pages, but that is even more sporadic. Not worth even doing. Edit: After reading the user manual, it seems there is a special swipe to use - make sure your finger is moving before it hits the screen. This seems to work better but it still annoyingly misses swipes, or turns the screen back into the menu selection.
  • If you have any idea you'll get a nook, or even if you don't, get a bn.com account set up. You'll need it to register your nook.
  • You need a working credit card even to download free stuff. I hadn't used my account in so long my CC on record was expired and I couldn't download anything.
  • I got 3 books with it free - Pride & Prejudice, Dracula, and Little Women.
  • There's currently an excellent promotion with a bunch of free classic eBooks like Huckleberry Finn, Red Badge Of Courage and more. Get an account and "buy" them, which puts them in your eLibrary, where you can later download them, either to your computer or your nook: All-American B&N Classic eBooks
  • You really really really want a touchscreen for the big screen too. At least I do, as I'm used to a touchscreen on my phone. Sometimes lists will show up and it is just soooo painful to scroll down the list using the arrow buttons on the little touchscreen. I realize there are tradeoffs here, but still... I did find one handy shortcut - press and hold on the down arrow and the cursor will skip to the bottom selection.
  • Looks like many books are wifi download only, making the 3G even more useless.
  • There's only like a dozen magazines and an equal number of newspapers, so that's hardly a big selling point. Wish there were more magazines.
  • Speaking of sparse, they waste a button for "games", which is chess & soduku. Woo hoo. It would be nice if they opened up a "market" for the Nook, as then all the Android software could move over to it.
  • Looks like plenty of bookmarking and note taking capabilities, but I haven't explored them much. You can only use these on books, not blog posts or other docs.
  • My page on the B&N social site is: My B&N. Come by and be my friend there :)

More notes from playing with it since yesterday:

  • The lending feature is something else that is overblown. You can only lend some books, and then only once for a short 14 days.
  • Calibre is one sweet eBook management system!
  • PDF reading is pretty rudimentary. At small font size, it scales to fit the display, but it really hard to read. At bigger font sizes, the line and page breaks are wacky. Hopefully, as I use Calibre to convert to ePub, it will be better.
  • It doesn't recognize MP3 v1.1 tags, so I needed to make sure the v2.3 tags were up to date on my songs. And even then, it doesn't look like the nice little color display shows the cover images :(
  • I wonder how good the graphics conversion works? Haven't tried installing any wallpapers or screensavers yet.
  • From The-eBook-Reader.com comes some nice site lists: Free eBooks and Where To Buy eBooks
  • Man, eBooks sure are expensive! I know even paperbacks are expensive these days, but still - $10 for most eBooks? Ouch.


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This page is an archive of entries from July 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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