Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Archive for the month “March, 2012”

A guide to bigotry in the 21st century

A lot of things have changed in our modern society. I’m writing on the internet, you could be from just about anywhere in the world, and we can all agree that the US government should tactically nuke the Kardashian residence. Bigots are no longer able to say the things they used to be able to. In this modern age they need to know who it is okay to insult.

Former Targets

Racism, sexism and the like are no longer cool. We’ve realised that everyone has the same colour blood, that women and men are two sides of the same coin and that religions are all saying roughly the same thing – hell, Jews, Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

It has to be said that gay people, especially men, still suffer as a target of bigotry. I’ll leave it to Steve Hughes to point out the flaws in the bigot’s statements.

Line Call

Fundamentalist religious kooks

Yes, kooks. Even I can’t help myself. The reality is that there are extremists out there hiding under the banner of religion. It is a pity they are giving religion a bad name, especially with the promotion of anti-science. As a result it is only okay to be bigoted against idiots who are giving religious people a bad name.

New (acceptable) Bigotry Targets

Fat people

Between the double chin and the ability to eat a weeks worth of groceries in one sitting, fat people are one giant target for bigots. There is no end of insults available and doing so only makes them an even bigger target, as they seek comfort snacks. Plus, it is easy to justify the insults out of love and concern for their health. And the laughs.

Racists

It’s about time racists got a taste of their own medicine.

Sexists

This group are so popular that you don’t even have to be a sexist to have been accused of being a sexist. All you have to do is be part of the demographic that used to be sexists a generation ago.

Scientists

Where do scientists get off anyway? They just don’t understand the world like normal people. With all of their study into how the world works, they have lost touch with all the people who don’t know about the world. Snooty bastards!

Politicians

This group have always been a bigotry target and they will remain one of our favourite targets until society dispenses with them for good. Fuck ‘em.

Reality TV Stars

If they are going to be attention whores, then at least let the attention be negative. The person who flour-bombed Kim Kardashian recently got their bigotry target right.

People who are sick but come in to work anyway.

You know who you are. We all hope you burn in hell next to the rapists, child molesters and people who talk on the phone in the cinema.

People who talk on the phone in the cinema.

These people rightly deserve every ounce of hate they receive. Hopefully it comes in the form of Terry Tate.

Reason Rally – Adam Savage

As a fiction author I am rather disturbed by the anti-science trend that appears to be occurring in society. If the real world treads into fictional territory all the time then fiction authors will have to start writing non-fiction. I think we can all agree that science is a good thing and that fiction should remain in the books that we read and movies/TV that we watch.

Adam Savage gave a good speech at the Reason Rally on the weekend, check it out.

A gripping scene

Coolest bookcase ever!

In some of my spare time I like to make things out of wood. I’ve already built and filled up one bookcase and am working on finishing a second. I suddenly feel the need to scrap the project and copy Hannah’s fantastic design.

Have to love a TARDIS inspired bookcase!

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Bram Stoker is Rolling Over in His Grave

We all need to take book reviews with a pinch of salt. In this case people seemed surprised to find vampires don’t sparkle.

Guide to becoming an omnivore

The internet is filled with guides on how to go vegetarian, and increasingly how to go vegan. Of course the reality of these diet changes is that at some stage vegans and vegetarians are going to have to come back to eating meat, as they discover they lack energy, are anemic and their B12 and calcium levels require them to eat real food.

In an effort to help my malnourished friends before their bones shatter, I thought I would put together this quick guide to becoming an omnivore.

It isn’t as easy as just starting to eat real food again. If it were that easy, vegans would be jumping back on a normal diet all the time. The problem is that the human digestive tract changes so that your body doesn’t starve without meat in the diet. As a result it stops making the digestive enzymes that help you digest meat. Changing back to a meat diet would then mean there is a shortfall in pancreatic secretions required to digest the meat in the short-term. The changed flora in the gut would also be affected. The “sick” feeling is just your body getting used to eating properly again.

Step 1:
Go to your local butcher and purchase meat.

Step 2:
Start off small. The longer you have been unhealthy the smaller the amount of meat you want to start eating to become healthy again. Remember, you are restarting your body, so you need to be consistent and gradual so that you can adapt.

Step 3:
Increase the portion of meat in the diet gradually until you are eating normally again. This will take time, as pointed out. The end goal is to avoid all the problems of not eating meat, so stick at it.

Step 4:
Make sure you are still eating your vegetables, they make a great side dish to meat.

Step 5:
Congratulations on becoming normal again. As an omnivore you are now able to keep up with the kids, won’t have the nutrient deficiencies, will be eating complete protein sources with a good balance of amino acids and will have lowered that osteoporosis risk.

FAQ:

How soon should I make the change to eating meat again?
ASAP.

Will I be healthier as an omnivore?
As long as you eat right (meat+vegetables+fruit+cereals = right) without going all Hurley on the food you will be much healthier.

But I heard meat gives you cancer?
And I heard Elvis is still alive. Most foods contain carcinogens, that’s why you are meant to eat a balanced diet and not get fat. All of the studies that claim you will die of cancer from eating meat are lying, as they forgot to mention you also have to be inactive, fat, not eating vegetables, smoking and drinking like a fish as well.

Will I be sexier eating meat?
There is nothing sexy about salad.

But won’t I be hurting animals?
No. Animals like sheep and cattle have been bred for thousands of years to enjoy being your food. They even try to eat as much garnish as possible to make themselves tastier.

But aren’t animals farting too much for the environment?
Animals fart and burp, that’s natural. Digging up coal, oil and gas to burn for energy is damaging the environment. Plus animals are cuter and friendlier than oil executives.

Nothing is impossible

Book Review: Double Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Double DexterDouble Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dexter, how I love thee.

It hard to find some reading time these past two weeks. When I did find the time, what better way to spend it than reading a Jeff Lindsay novel.

If there are authors I would like to emulate, Jeff Lindsay and Robert Crais – with their wit, humour and thrilling plots – would be at the top of my list. This outing sees even more of the witty insights into Dexter’s world, my favourite being the final exclamation by Astor, Dexter’s step daughter.

I can’t give this book five stars, because it isn’t as strong as the others in the series. Crunch time hits in the plot about page 200 and is the taut and witty Dexter we know and love. I don’t normally say this about books I read – as I object to it myself – but sticking with this Dexter outing is well worth it.

Also worth mentioning is that Jeff signed my copy of Double Dexter. I asked him about the difference between how Dexter sees himself as “big brained Dexter” and yet exhibits traits that counter this statement. Jeff had some very interesting insights into the psychopath mind that he shared with me on this topic, summarised as “They are never as smart as they think they are.”

Read and enjoy.

View all my reviews

I saw you coming

As a scientist I am often dismayed at people’s gullibility to believe some of the rubbish that is out there. I find Harry and Paul always cheers me up.

So the big question is, do we try and protect the gullible or just make sure the gullible’s opinions are ignored in public discourse?

Magazines and Newsletters that never took off

Our local bookstore is actually the newsagent, so you have to walk past the magazines to find the book (yes, not pluralized). I can’t figure out why some of these magazines never took off with readers.

Particle Physics for the Left-Handed Extrovert

A big field, from what I hear.

American Jihardist Today

The contacts and personal pages must get a lot of attention.

Better than your Neighbour’s Home and Gardens

I believe this has been renamed to Better Homes and Gardens.

TV Shows You Missed

Nothing like hearing about the stuff you missed while you were busying doing something important.

At the Movies with Ben Stiller & Adam Sandler

Why are they still allowed to make movies!?

Outdoor Activities for Agoraphobics

The equestrian edition would be very interesting.

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English 101: Listen Up, Internet.

How to use apostrophes

Good things come to……

Truth is not usually this simple.

The news can be funny

Usually the news does little to inform us, but sometimes it can bring us laughs.

Perth Writers’ Festival 2012

I can’t believe that it was over a week ago that the Perth Writers’ Festival finished. This year was a much bigger and better affair, showing Perth is worth flying to, despite being out-of-the-way, from everything other than Perth. What better time to present a recap of my highlights than now. Warning, this post doesn’t contain my usual sarcasm, satire, humour and insults directed at the author James Patterson.

Publishing Seminar

An entire day on how to get into publishing: sounds like a good idea. One hundred and forty of us were in the comfort of an air-conditioned tent to listen to publishers, manuscript assessors, agents, lawyers, union (yes, Australia Society of Authors, I’d call it a union) and book sellers. Hard to sum up an entire day of information in a few words, so I’ll make some general comments. The industry is still generally a positive field, but don’t give up your day job. There was a lot of talk about the industry having declined – 17.5% in December, 21.5% January, 29.5% to second week of February – and the usual memes were rolled out (E-books, etc), although it was good to hear some realists talking about overpricing and particular market segments. I got a lot out of the day, like having my need to write poetry stifled for good, with the realisation that Penguin compiled a “best-loved” Australian poetry collection and sold 700 copies. But it has to be said, it is good to see the gender balance in writing, being one of thirty men in the room of one hundred and forty. It is also amazing that, for a group of writers who are supposedly skilled at expressing themselves, there was a lack of ability to orally express opinions and statements (I’m biased, having a background in extension). I’d also like to acknowledge the guy, who is at every writers’ festival, by quoting him “I have a bestseller” with the caveat “not quite finished yet.”

Pants on Fire

This session was all about writing perspective. Who wants to read an honest character? Every character is lying to themselves about something, creating that flawed and unreliable narrator that people love. Is the writer really lying to the reader by keeping them in suspense? Probably, but I’d like to think of it as telling the truth at a certain pace.

Sex, Lies and Literature

I love sessions that end up, inevitably, discussing censorship. This is topical, given the recent PayPal directive made to Smashwords. My general opinion on censorship was upheld by the presenters and assembled crowd, even if we were having a reading of octopus tentacle bestiality as a prelude to the discussion. An interesting article from the 1930’s was read, apparently women at that time had worries about the same body issues they have now.

Banality of Politics

Combine a respected reporter, a biographer and a politician who actually has something worth saying, and you have the recipe for one statement. Politics has become about distracting the general voting masses with shiny objects. George Megalogenis provided his usual erudite insights, and Andrew Robb proved he is still one of the few politicians worth voting for (Lindsay Tanner having retired).

Reading In An Age of Change

Book stores are going the way of the literate high school graduate. This session was all about what the future holds for book sellers and how the market will change. Alan Sheardown made some very poignant points about the industry. Running an indie book store he understood what was actually happening with book sales and how to keep the customers. I also became a Kobo fan after hearing Malcolm Neil’s thoughts and comments. There have already been rumours starting about Kobo being the other e-book market after Amazon, after this session I have little doubt. Malcolm didn’t pull any punches.

Enigmatic Individuals

All I really have to say about this session is that Western Australian authors are alive and well, especially in crime fiction. Keep an eye out for us, we’re awesome!

Not Everyone Gets to Eat Like We Do

As much as I love intellectual discussion, I really do wish more intellectuals would give some credit to agriculture. Tim CostelloDavid RieffTom KeneallyKatie Smith Milway and Carmen Lawrence spent this session discussing various aspects of the food demands of the world. Unfortunately Katie was the only one that had any agricultural knowledge. Despite this, the discussion made some good points about the need for a shift in government focus and how poorer nations need support, not handouts.

Crime Writing for Dummies

The Saturday morning writing seminar was not actually for dummies. Felicity Young took us through a few activities, including a group plotting exercise. Our group killed off Jo Nesbo with a hardcover edition of his first novel, Redbreast. His body was discovered by one of the class after the white peacock on the grounds was seen covered in blood – Redbreast: we were hilarious! I think the team has a bestseller in the works after this session.

It Just Feels Real

Lauren Beukes needs to give up coffee. She destroyed her laptop prior to the writing workshop. I know that computers always say coffee resistant on the label, but I bet they only test it on espressos. Lauren took us through a few different exercises and examples of good and bad prose. She also gave me some good feedback on my writing, so I feel like I’m on the right track.

A Glass of Wine and a Good Book

David Whish-Wilson interviewed Felicity Young whilst the audience relaxed with a lovely wine or three. David ran the workshop I attended on writing last year, so it was two of my writing tutors in one session. It was a good discussion, but the wine was even better. Check out Lamont’s winery, their white was the perfect end to the day.

Phantom

Take one international bestselling crime novelist, known for his talent and wit, not to mention a former career as a successful musician, and you should have a great evening. Pity the interviewer wasn’t up to the challenge. Either way, I got my novels signed by Jo. I remember having heard of Jo Nesbo as a result of his awards for crime writing. You would think that stores would stock his books as a result, but they didn’t. I ended up ordering Nemesis online (Booktopia rocks) only to find all of his novels in an indie store a week later. Another reason the big stores are dying.

I Believe In An Open Mind – But Not So Open My Brain Falls Out

If I had one highlight of the festival it has to be this Sunday session. The speakers were Misha KetchellStephen LewandowskyAlom Shaha and James Paterson, and had a hearty discussion about science, communication, the media, think tanks (of which James is editor of the notorious IPA) and climate change. Alom was someone I hadn’t head of before and it was great to hear his contributions. It was also great to meet Stephen and Misha in person after the session.

Northern Lights

This was the second session I went to with Jo Nesbo featuring. This time he was joined by Johan Harstad, and a decent interviewer, Mark Naglazas. The discussion was around how fantastic the Scandinavians are at converting oil wealth into societal wealth, which trickles down into supporting the arts. Both authors had interesting things to say and Mark got the best out of them.

Truth In News

The media are a funny bunch. It was only in the previous day that George Megalogenis was discussing how poor a job the media did, yet this session was all back patting. I admire the journalists that take the time to really dig their teeth into a story, do the hard yards and learn about their subject. There will have to be more of it in the future, well, unless we just want to know celebrity gossip.

Congratulations to the organisers for putting together a great event. I look forward to next year’s event.

Book Review: Raylan by Elmore Leonard

RaylanRaylan by Elmore Leonard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Raylan: “What did he want to know?”
Art: “Whether you’d shot anybody this week.”

I remember reading Elmore’s rules of writing and fixing upon his rule “leave out the stuff people skip”. This novel is a testament to that rule; there is nothing you want to skip in it. This is one of those books that feels like you are immersed in a world, something that Elmore has been widely praised for.

This novel, Raylan, is not really a novel. Think of this work as three novellas held together with some overlap, like, say, a TV series. I think it is fair to say that you can see entire plot and character arcs from seasons two and three of Justified in this book. Clearly this isn’t a coincidence, with Elmore joining the writing team for Justified in the second season.

Far from being a criticism, the similarities between Raylan and Justified actually makes this book a cool compendium companion to the series. Just be warned, Boyd is not quite the devious and intelligent character you want to see succeed, as you do in Justified.

For fans of Justified, you will no doubt have your Morgan Freeman and Sean Connery moment, as you read all of the book with the character’s voices.

View all my reviews

Reading survey – Are you avid?

Raise your hand if you actually read more than one book a year. Ever wonder about every reader out there? Well, some good folks did a survey to find out about us readers.

http://www.versoadvertising.com/DBWsurvey2012/

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Book Review: Parallax by Jon F. Merz

ParallaxParallax by Jon F. Merz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The paranormal is an interesting genre for me. As some of you may have guessed, I’m a scientist and skeptic. Basically this means I want evidence of claims, not some beliefs and suppositions. Prove it to me.

When it comes to entertainment, the assumption would be that anything other than realistic fiction is not going to grab me. The key word here is fiction. Just as Lt. Shane Shcofield’s adventures are as realistic as Abraham Lincoln being a vampire hunter, the paranormal can be just as entertaining to this scientist and skeptic.

This is the second of Jon’s books that I have read. Parallax was a very entertaining read that reminded me of some of the earlier paranormal works I read that combined the paranormal with the crime or noir genres. This novel works as a straight crime story, the mental link between the two main protagonists serving as a twist on the formula.

Worth checking out if you like a tale about hitmen having to redeem themselves.

View all my reviews

Snape is an awesome guitarist – still killed Dumbledore

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