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Saturday, March 31, 2007

More early works of Terry Pratchett

Just finished two more of Terry Pratchett's early works:
  • Carpet People was originally published when Terry was innocent 17 years old. After his huge success with the Discworld novels he was asked to republish this story as well. He conceded, but only after rewriting it. So it's only in parts still his earliest work. But to the story. Did you ever think a carpet was a boring place? Think again, then it is home to Munrungs, Wights, Deftmenes, Pones and other wondrous people all worth paying attention to. The focus of the story are two brothers who, with their village in tow, travel to the capital to discover why no one arrived for the latest counting...
    It's an appealing story about how to overcome differences in the face of a shared enemy and how even a single person can have an impact.
    Compared to Terry's later works it is but a short story and therefore all the more worth reading.

  • The Colour of Magic is the first book in his well known Discworld series and it introduces the concept of a flat world traveling through space on the back of four elephants which in turn stand on a giant turtle. The "heroes" of this story are the luckless wizard Rincewind who finds himself trying to protect Twoflower the Discs first ever tourist.
    It's the first book in the series and that is apparent in some places, for example the characters of Death and the Patrician undergo quite a change in the later books. Nevertheless it is full of jokes and puns and as with every one of Terry's books I've read so far I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sun Certified Java Programmer

That's my new title ;). I took the exam this morning and have to say that it was quite challenging. It's amazing how many details about the API you need to know. Not to mention all the things that can lead to compiler errors. Both things that a modern development platform takes care of for you. Still, I've learned a couple of new and interesting things about Java studying for the exam and I'm looking forwards to the raise that I'll get for completing the exam *g*.

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Labia: 25

It may seem hard to belief, but I visited my 25th Labia concert yesterday :). Well actually it was only a very short show, taking place at the Swiss Metal Battle in the club Transilvania in Erstfeld. Two of the five participating bands could win a ticket for the Swiss Final in the Salzhaus in Winterthur.

First to the club itself: It is an extremely cool location, well decorated with lots of space. This turned out to be a drawback, however, because there weren't enough people around to fill the empty places...

Labia's gig was great, they played a very powerful and hard-core set consisting of three new(er) Songs as well as the old favorite Shiva. Looked at from a technical aspect, Labia was far superior to most of the other contestants. Unfortunately, the jury was looking for a strait metal band and they didn't appreciate Labia's more melodious side. So two other bands made the cut. To be fair, SAC played a very solid, if a bit monotonous set. On the other hand I can't quite agree with the nomination of the second band, of course I'm biased, but even when they were playing I couldn't get the hang of their drummer, whose base drum seemed quite out of synch with the rest of the band at times.

Anyways, this event just goes to show again that Labia cannot be pigeonholed into a genre and thus form a league of their own ;).

It being such a special event for me (25 gigs is quite an achievement, I think *g*), we took a picture with the band:

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Spring already or still Winter?



Picture taken this morning...

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Birthday Cinemathon

Something special had to happen to celebrate my 25th birthday. And going to the movies all day long is something unique, something I haven't done before :). To my pleasant surprise lots of people decided to join me, even if just for one or two movies. Nevertheless, there were four of us going the whole nine yards.
The day started at 2pm with 'An Inconvenient Truth', Al Gore's documentary about global warming. To be honest, there were now new facts revealed, but it was nevertheless very interesting to see those facts condensed and supported by powerful pictures.
After a short break we continued with 'Pan's Labyrinth', which turned out to be my favorite movie of the day. A compelling fantasy-tale about a small girl trying to flee the cruelties of war into a fantasy world, it isn't a movie for children though.
Third in line was 'Smokin' Aces'. The trailer looked quite promising, but the movie failed miserably. We weren't sure if it wanted to be more comic or more dramatic, but neither approach worked. The term 'mindless violence' quite closely fits the feeling that we left the movie with.
To round things up we visited the midnight screening of 'Ghost Rider'. After 'Smokin' Aces' this was a real joy. The movie was funny and successfully so and still had very cool characters and scenes.
On the whole it was a memorable birthday party :)

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Snowshoeing

Last Sunday our Zühlke team went snowshoeing in St. Antönien. The timing was perfect, we had a beautiful, sunny day and lots of snow! Pictures from this monumentous journey ;) can be found in the usual place :).

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link

Two posts within two days, you might think I'm sick ;), but I just have to tell you about this book!

Magic for Beginners is a dazzling short story collection by Kelly Link that deftly intermingles reality, fantasy, mystery and magic. Some stories are deeply mysterious, others highly complex and others tell stories within stories within stories... Underneath it all is such an easy and fluent storytelling that it sets your imagination on fire. A must read!

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Strata by Terry Pratchett

I was thrilled last week to discover that audible.com (the audio book shop of my choice) finally decided to offer all of Terry Pratchett's books! So I went straight ahead got one.

Strata is one of Terry's earliest works. Not a Discworld novel per se, but still a novel featuring a disc world :). It works very well as a piece of science-fiction but it lacks stupendously funny scenes that make his later works so enjoyable. Nevertheless it is a very good book which I can recommend to any science-fiction and fantasy fan :)

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Labia & Henchman @ Böröm Pöm Pöm

Having missed the last two Labia concerts in December because of my vacation, it was a no-brains decision to go support them in Oberentfelden.

Böröm Pöm Pöm, was the location of this gig. A small, but neat party location in the industry zone of Oberengstringen. It may sound like the end of the world, but there is a connection to the autobahn just down the road.

Labia played a very powerful and energetic metal set. And, as usual, I was happily head-banging in the first row :). At times I almost missed the older quieter songs, I could have used them to get my breath back. Five new songs (either all new or songs that I haven't heard before) were part of their set, showing a tendency to harder metal, maybe a consequence of the addition of Phillip on the drums. I very much liked what I heard and had a fantastic time. My neck still feels like it isn't sure if it wants to stay connected to my head ;).

Headlining the evening were Henchman, promoting their new album Unmistaken. They convinced with solid, energetic alternative rock, definitely a band to keep an ear out for. Which shouldn't be too hard, with their CD now part of my modest music collection :).

Between the two concerts I used the free time to have a look at the approaching lunar eclipse. I even spotted the red moon at the hight of the eclipse after the gig, unfortunately there were a lot of clouds around and I couldn't get a picture... Maybe next time in 20 years or so :).

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