We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 12 November 2015

There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there have been no societies that did not tell stories. - Ursula K. LeGuin

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Australia - A.D. Hope

At the beginning of the year I did a Coursera short course on Australian Literature. For many years I have been intrigued by the Land Down Under. I had to share this poem, and thought it would be a good starting point for an exploration of Australian Literature here on Kahaani. So without further ado, here is the poem Australia by A.D. Hope.
A Nation of trees, drab green and desolate grey
In the field uniform of modern wars,
Darkens her hills, those endless, outstretched paws
Of Sphinx demolished or stone lion worn away.
They call her a young country, but they lie:
She is the last of lands, the emptiest,
A woman beyond her change of life, a breast
Still tender but within the womb is dry.

Without songs, architecture, history:
The emotions and superstitions of younger lands,
Her rivers of water drown among inland sands,
The river of her immense stupidity

Floods her monotonous tribes from Cairns to Perth.
In them at last the ultimate men arrive
Whose boast is not: "we live" but "we survive"
A type who will inhabit the dying earth.

And her five cities, like five teeming sores,
Each drains her: a vast parasite robber-state
Where second-hand Europeans pollute
Timidly on the edge of alien shores.

Yet there are some like me turn gladly home
From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
The Arabian desert of the human mind,
Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come.

Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare
Springs in that waste, some spirit which escapes
The learned doubt, the chatter of cultured apes
Which is called civilization over there.

A.D. Hope was born in New South Wales in 1907. He completed a Bachelor of Arts Degree at Sydney University - majoring in English and Philosophy. He worked as a psychologist for the New South Wales Department of Labour and lectured at the University of Melbourne. He became the first Professor of English at Canberra University College. He received his OBE in 1972. A poet and critic, he published 14 anthologies, an autobiography, several critiques as well as a play called Ladies from the Sea.You can read more about A.D. Hope and his works here

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The 4-1-1 on BOOKBUB

BookBub has been around for quite a while, having been established in 2012, however it has only recently come to my attention with an advert on Facebook and with bookish friends mentioning it on Twitter. If you haven't heard about BookBub yet, you're probably wondering what it is, how it works and how it will compound your book hoarding problem.

BookBub is rather like a bookish version of Groupon. You sign up to receive a daily email with deals on books that are either hugely marked down or free. It is also ridiculously user friendly - with the signing up and usage only requiring your email address and preferred genres.

What things look like when you first go to BookBub
Once you have signed up for BookBub you can select what you would like to read by either selecting one of the titles they have recommended for you based on your preferences or by browsing the various categories of books available via BookBub. Presently the categories include Action & Adventure, Bestsellers, Chick Lit, Cooking, Fantasy, History and Thrillers.

Jeffrey Archer, Isabelle Allende, Dennis Lehane, Neil Gaiman, Agatha Christie and R.L. Stine are some of the more popular authors who are available for selection at the moment. There is also a really comprehensive selection of YA titles and their collection of cozy mysteries is not too shabby either. The bulk of the YA titles are free.

The really great thing about BookBub is that the books that are available are available on various platforms, namely Amazon, B&N, Apple, Google and Kobo which makes it so much easier to get the ebook on your device as it will be what you are already accustomed to using. If you are like me and have more books than you could possibly read during your lifetime, then BookBub will definitely add more to your already teetering TBR pile - but what's the harm in that?

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Dan Carter's written an autobiography!

I am incredibly excited. A few weeks ago I found out that the greatest rugby player in the world wrote an autobiography and today I found out that the greatest fly-half in rugby history - Dan Carter has written an autobiography which will be available on 14 November 2015.

Titled "The Autobiography of an All Blacks Legend" this will be a must for not only fans of Dan Carter and the All Blacks but of the game of rugby.

Dan Carter holds many records and was recently awarded with the title World Rugby Player of the Year. His autobiography is sure to offer some great insight into the life of a player who has dedicated everything to giving the best he can to his team - The All Blacks. His book will also reveal to us Dan's feelings about the tragic injury that cut short his time at the 2011 Rugby World Cup hosted by New Zealand.

I cannot wait to get a copy of this as well as Richie McCaw's The Real McCaw.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Getting over the Death of your External Hard drive

There are many occasions in life where loss results in grief and mourning. The loss of a family member. The loss of a friend. The loss of a pet. The theft of your cellphone or laptop or tablet. The death of your external hard drive.

In the age where we buy fewer and fewer physical objects and instead download or purchase downloads our storage devices have become rather dear to us. Since I got my first external hard drive - a trusty 150GB - in 2008 the storage capacity of external hard drives have become quite immense with 3 and even 4TB being quite standard these days. The larger the capacity of your external, the less stable it is; but oh the possibility that lies in all the things you can save! So much space in just one item. So much of an investment in that item, that when it fails - it is not the loss of the object that one grieves, but rather the things contained within it.

My sister and I have this idiosyncratic habit of naming objects - from watches to laptops to externals. I tend to be more nerdy with the names that I select with eponymous characters coming from Harry Potter, Greek Mythology and other literary sources. I once had a 1TB external hard drive that I decided to name after the Muppet 'Animal' as the external made this strange whooping sound like a hyena, not that Animal makes that sound - but it just made absolute sense to me. Animal sadly died after about 6 months, and with it died so many series. My entire collection of Fringe, The Vampire Diaries, Greys Anatomy, Private Practice, series I hadn't even got around to watching yet... I shall refrain from listing them all as I would hate for this post to be a long list of series. I won't even mention the movies. It was tough, it was emotional, I shed a few tears, but after some months I eventually got over the loss of all of my digital treasures.

I suppose I should be thankful that (touch wood, fingers crossed, rub the Buddha's belly) I have only lost two external hard drives so far in 7 years. My most recent loss occurred in February 2015. A 500GB external hard drive tragically named Gatsby - I really should have known better. It was a Sunday. I was re-watching American Horror Story Asylum when suddenly the episode didn't want to play anymore. I tried playing
something else when a message popped up saying I had to format the drive. Format the drive? There was no way that I was going to format this external hard drive that had 3 seasons of Suits, American Horror Story, Parks and Recreation and Adventure Time. I didn't want to lose 2 seasons of The Americans, The Newsroom, Girls and House of Cards. I was not going to willingly format a drive that had every single episode of My Family and David Attenborough's amazing series Life on it.

 So I pressed cancel. Decided that maybe I should restart my laptop and hoped that it would all be fixed after that... Boy was I wrong! I unplugged Gatsby and restarted my laptop hoping that this horrible formatting issue would be a thing of the past. I plugged my external back in, only to hear a sound that is ominous to anyone who has read or watched Peter Pan, well ominous if you are or like Captain Hook. My external started ticking. Poor Gatsby was also not reading, the light was on but no one was home. I was dumbstruck I could not believe this was happening. Gatsby was not even a year old yet. Why would it die? What cruel fate was this? You see, I was in the first stage of grief - denial. This could not and should not be happening so soon. Gatsby was still so young, 500GB should have been quite stable, the odds were surely in my favour? Alack-and-alas 'twas not - Gatsby like his namesake was dead.

The second stage of grief came rather quickly. I still had some hope that things could be salvaged. I googled "what to do when your external ticks" I read several articles, hoping that something could be done - but they all said the same thing; the writing was on the wall. There was nothing I could do to  fix it. I was angry, I was on the verge of being  livid - this should not have happened. Everything was gone. I had been caught between Scylla and Charybdis. Lose your data or lose your data and your hard drive. I lost both, this was not fair. I could not give up so easily, and went into stage three of the grieving process - bargaining. I visited a local shop to see if they could fix it, but the death knell had wrung err ticked.

Then came stage 4 - depression. I was utterly bereft for the loss of all those series, but mostly the loss of the entire series of My Family. I had not watched past season 6 yet, I had 5 more seasons to go. I was fixated on the episode "Reloaded" as it had clips from the first 49 episodes, so it was basically a greatest hits in the form of funny moments. At the end, it had a sequence to the music of Madness' Our House and it was wonderful. I could not listen to Our House without feeling terribly sad and rather close to tears.

I have only recently reached the fifth and final stage of grief for my external hard drive and its contents - acceptance. Gatsby has been replaced by an as yet unnamed external hard drive and some of the series that was lost has been restored through the generosity of my cousins as well as me embracing the physical and buying the DVDs. The loss of Gatsby was unfortunate, tragic even, but in the words of Patsy Stone "These things happen".

Sunday, 1 November 2015

ALL BLACKS are World Cup Champions Again!

After waging a wonderful campaign of excellent rugby, the stage was set for a phenomenal game in the 2015 Rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Australia. Being an All Blacks fan for as long as I can remember, my hopes were high for a victory for the boys in black. As we have come to expect from them the All Blacks did not disappoint with 70 minutes of outstanding play. There were 10 minutes where it looked like it could go either way, but then the inimitable Dan Carter scored a magnificent drop goal and turned the game around back into clearly going the way of the All Blacks. I shall say nothing about what I deem to be the unfair sin-binning of Ben Smith.

The Game Changing Drop Goal
This was definitely the best game of RWC 2015 with the All Blacks all pushing themselves to the limits of their capabilities. Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, Brodie Retallick, Ma'a Nonu, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Sam Whitelock, Owen Franks, Joe Moody, Kieron Read, Dan Coles, Julian Savea, Jerome Kaino, Ben Franks, Charlie Faumuina, Kevin Mealamu, Sonny-Bill Williams, Beauden Barrett, Victor Vito and Tawera Kerr-Barlow all gave it their absolute best.

Nehe Milner-Skudder's try
Dan Carter well and truly deserved to win Man of the Match, especially since it was his last game in the All Black jersey. So many truly great All Blacks are retiring - Kevin Mealamu, Ma'a Nonu, Jerome Kaino, Conrad Smith and quite possibly Richie McCaw. We can only salute them for their wonderful service in their individual 100+ games in the All Black jersey. Congratulations to the best team in the world! You truly deserve the record of being the first team to win 3 Rugby World Cups and 2 successive World Cups.

I look forward to seeing the blossoming talent of so many amazing All Blacks including Aaron Smith, Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Julian Savea, Brodie Retallick, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Sam Cane. I look forward to the next 4 years of amazing rugby and best of luck for Japan 2019!

Nonu races for his try

Celebrating a well deserved victory!

We are the Champions!
Richie lifts the Webb Ellis Cup for the second consecutive time.
Legends of the game - Richie McCaw and Dan Carter
A post victory haka for the fans.