NaNoWriMo 2013: Baby Boomers – Want to Write a Novel?

Ok, I’ve decided to take the plunge. I will attempt to add 50000 words to finish ” The Last Baby Boomer” novel by 30 November. Wish me luck!

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It’s just a few days until November, and you know what that means: National Novel Writing Month, better known ’round these parts as NaNoWriMo, is near.

Have you always wanted to write a novel?

We know some of you have been waiting all year for this month! For those of you who are new to this project, here’s the gist:

View original post 894 more words

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Fibromyalgia Study – Results Released

Late last year until early 2016, I participated in a study of the effects of MitoQ, a supplement believed to utilise the energy of the mitochondria to facilitate the uptake of C0Q10 into the body of sufferers of Fibromyalgia (FM) and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (CFS/ME).Anecdotal reports and earlier research had postulated that the effects of using such a supplement would bring about decreases in fatigue and improvements in cognitive functioing in FM and through my own experience I believe this to be the case.

The study results are now out. Click the following link to read the full study:

http://www.mendus.org/#!mendus-reports/x53z8

Regards,

Vikki

 

Books With Attitude – Or Why I am Starting a Vintage Bookstore on Etsy

Well it has certainly been a ‘busy’ (read boring) couple of months for me! You might remember that on Boxing Day 2015,  I broke my ankle. The downside of this is that I have spent two months: laying around in pain, hobbling from the bedroom to the bathroom and generally training myself to use crutches, before wonder of wonders, being able to go downstairs again. Phew….talk about testing one’s patience!

I have since come to realise that there is an incredible upside to this torture. My hubby and daughter have noblely picked up the reins to steer this frisky horse that is our family life down a different trail. Hubby takes my daughter to school every morning and picks her up in the afternoons (of course, she has her Learners Licence so is really dropping herself to school and back). I no longer pack school lunches for daughter or dinners for hubby’s night shift. I went out a total of 5 times during the two month period….in the car, driven by others to not so far away places.In short, I have learnt how to relax! And have had plenty of time to think about the next stage of my Boomer life.

Not having the luxury to retire as yet, I have decided that I need to do something else (besides reading numerous novels and writing the occasional blog post) to fill the days and perhaps earn a little extra income. I have finally let go of the idea that I can return to my old (or ANY work for that matter),  as my fibromyalgia, bicuspid valve an extreme tiredness will not allow such nonsense.  So what do I do……?

Something with books of course!

I started cataloguing my 1000s of books. That took a few days, but with the aid of an app and a camera, I managed to put all of my hubby’s, daughter’s and my own books on a database. I then sorted out which ones I would keep in  my collection and which were duplicates or now superfluous to my needs. Another few days passed.

Soon the days began rolling by and after checking out ebay, Alibris, Abe Books, Trading Post, Gumtree, Shopify and Etsy, I have chosen the latter as my platform. At the moment I am busy listing my items on my “Books With Attitude” shopfront on Etsy Australia.

I have many interesting, surprising and dearly loved classics, fiction, cookery, biography and sci fi and fantasy books to offer. I have not yet posted the link to the hundred or so books that I want to stock my shelves with, merely because it is taking me for ever to do things ‘properly’. In the near future, I also intend to attend (or get hubby to attend) some local markets to show off my wares.

If you want a sneak peak please visit:

https://www.etsy.com/au/shop/BooksWithAttitude?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Please do not criticize or make suggestions at this point, as I know that the web page is a bit rough around the edges right now.

Anyway, if you’re into books, particularly of the vintage type, take a squizz. I hope to soon have something for everyone listed on the site!

Cheers,

Vikki

 

 

 

Beware the Ides of March

Happy Ides of March day to all and sundry. But what does this even mean? Yes it is a quote Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Yes it was an underwhelming 2011 movie starring George Clooney. So why do I wake up every 1 March and say, “Beware the Ides of March?”

According to the following article from the Observer, it is just another day. Borgna Brunner writes:

“The Ides of March – just one of a dozen Ides that occur every month of the year”

{© 2000–2016 Sandbox News Inc publishing as Infoplease on 1 March 2016  http://www.infoplease.com/spot/ides1.html}

Blog caesar

The soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March,” has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. But in Roman times the expression “Ides of March” did not necessarily evoke a dark mood—it was simply the standard way of saying “March 15.” Surely such a fanciful expression must signify something more than merely another day of the year? Not so. Even inShakespeare’s time, sixteen centuries later, audiences attending his play Julius Caesar wouldn’t have blinked twice upon hearing the date called the Ides.

The term Ides comes from the earliest Roman calendar, which is said to have been devised by Romulus, the mythical founder of Rome. Whether it was Romulus or not, the inventor of this calendar had a penchant for complexity. The Roman calendar organized its months around three days, each of which served as a reference point for counting the other days:

  • Kalends (1st day of the month)
  • Nones (the 7th day in March, May, July, and October; the 5th in the other months)
  • Ides (the 15th day in March, May, July, and October; the 13th in the other months)

The remaining, unnamed days of the month were identified by counting backwards from the Kalends, Nones, or the Ides. For example, March 3 would be V Nones—5 days before the Nones (the Roman method of counting days was inclusive; in other words, the Nones would be counted as one of the 5 days).

Days in March

March 1: Kalends;
March 2: VI Nones;
March 3: V Nones;
March 4: IV Nones;
March 5: III Nones;
March 6: Pridie Nones (Latin for “on the day before”);
March 7: Nones;
March 15: Ides

Used in the first Roman calendar as well as in the Julian calendar (established by Julius Caesar in 45 B.C.E.) the confusing system of Kalends, Nones, and Ides continued to be used to varying degrees throughout the Middle Ages and into theRenaissance.

So, the Ides of March is just one of a dozen Ides that occur every month of the year. Kalends, the word from which calendar is derived, is another exotic-sounding term with a mundane meaning. Kalendrium means account book in Latin: Kalend, the first of the month, was in Roman times as it is now, the date on which bills are due.

 

Book Review – Go Set a Watchman

 

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Last year I set myself a goal to read 52 books. Well – I must admit that I didn’t quite make it. I was pleased with the 32 I had read and reassured myself that it was a reasonable effort for this Baby Boomer, given all that was going on with my health in 2015. My goal is the same this year. 52 books here I come. I am determined to do it this time!

So to my review of Book 32…..

With all the hype surrounding the release of Go Set a Watchman, I had mixed emotions on opening my Christmas present hardback with the deep red cover. Never being one to shy away from a literary challenge, the anticipation got the better of me and I dived right in! But I made one mistake….

I realised that it was many years since I had immersed myself in one of my fave books ever – To Kill a Mockingbird. To complete the experience, I decided to refresh my mind with the original, much lauded tome and yes, yet again it affected me. With a vague mix of excitement and anticipation (read trepidation) I launched into the ‘sequel’.

Things started well and though I did not feel that the follow up book based on Harper Lee’s notes, rang as true as Lee’s original voice, I was soon further disillusioned when a large paragraph, equivalent to almost a page, was pretty much lifted word for word from To Kill a Mockingbird.

Yes, I know that there needed to be some backtracking for those who did not read the original. Yes, I know that some critics claimed that it was acceptable as a new work in its own right. But, for me – the repetition was grating, the voice too thin and some important characters were only alluded to throughout its pages. I was disappointed!

However….the further I got into the book, the more I was appeased. For Scout fans, the precocious child is now a precocious woman, who hasn’t quite found her place in the world. When she revisits the town of her youth, things have changed. Is the South that she knew gone forever? And what does Atticus Finch do to cause her to consider leaving them behind for ever?

The only thing is to pick up a volume and find out.

I rate it 3 out of 5. Worth a look.

PS I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts.

 

 

2015 Be Gone. It’s the New Year..

 

 

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The winds of change have been a constant theme for my family this year… and surprisingly, have not caused the angst that usually accompanies big diversions away from the norm.

I heard today on the local Brisbane News that 100,000 people will be at South bank for New Years Eve. Numbers are down. The terrorism threat level is ‘Probable’.  What does that even mean? These days,  I can’t think of anything worse than being in a crowd of 100,000 tonight. A crowd of 3 will do for me!

This year I have changed considerably. I have let go of a lot of ‘the old me’, (aka ‘the young me’) and sought: solitude over crowds, silence over talking and familiar over strange. I have calmed down and actually not fought or even mourned the loss of my previous life, but reminisced about it often and smiled.

The professional person,  the Audiologist, the Rehab Counsellor, the Psychologist in me has retired. The incessant traveller and adventurer has not been overly bothered by not leaving my own State all year. The parent is enjoying her girls beautiful transformation into a loving, kind,’sort of’ independent woman, slowly amassing skills in housework, cooking and driving.

Funnily enough,  I look at the world on the eve of 2016 and don’t recognise the world I grew up in anymore. People don’t care as much, acquisitiveness and anti-Islamic sentiment are rife and terrorism is a reality, but I feel more empathy for myself and less stress about being me than I ever have. And it’s a good thing.

I am tempted to say that I am wiser, but think I should downgrade the term to more ‘even-handed’. I can understand your position and agree to disagree on issues. If you don’t like it, thats your problem.

So here’s to 2016 – the leap year, the Olympics and my 53rd year of life.

Watch this space for more Baby Boomer tips, fun, insight and book reviews.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 730 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

School Reunions and Regular Holidays

I feel a little shell shocked. The Spring holidays are over and though we didn’t travel far, it seems like I’ve been around the world and back again. Facebook can do that to you!

Thankfully, despite missing the 35th Year Dalby School Reunion, I managed to ‘catch up’ with my old chums via Facebook and the initiative of a Dropbox Reunion Book with several pages reserved for each student to detail the detritus that is their lives up until now. I wouldn’t have thought it, but the idea of the book file on Dropbox was a winner (although so far only 7 people posted their Readers’ Digest lives and accompanying photos). So why have I not included my 4 pages?

Is it because I don’t know what to include? Is it that my photos are terrible or that I have a deep,dark secret or two that may come  to light? No. It isn’t for any of those reasons. I simply didn’t want these people to have my story in 4 pages…..

No matter what I wanted to say, it all sounded either like boasting or…just plain cheesy

So whilst I was happy to read about ‘the most wonderful man in the world’ that my friend married or ‘the amazing trek from the North to the South of New Zealand’ that another couple embarked upon, I found myself judging them. In small ways. Yes they looked happy in their holiday snaps, their daughters and sons were fresh and smiling and were the spitting image of their parents and that New Zealand trek looked enticingly spectacular. But was it REAL? I’m not doubting that they did these things (though I’m sure there was one guy who appeared to have Photoshopped himself with an inordinate number ov  celebrities). I just didn’t want to be judged, like I was judging them.

My life has been a BIG one in many ways. I’ve taken paths not chosen by others, marrying late, only having one kid, working in places like Botswana. But more than anything, I wanted to show them what it was really like…seeing a Poacher hanging from a tree with his eyes pecked out by birds, showing pictures of me at my worst in the heat of the day and the moment when I fell and hurt myself. I seek to lay everything bare in front of their beady eyes. The way the world is and was, the conflict, the sadness and the pain not just the good times.

Is that wrong?  Many of you would say it isn’t. It is just that people don’t want to know the truth. People only want the shiny eyes, the beautiful sunsets and the perfect weddings. It is my belief however that we can see more about the person by looking behind the photography studio shots and that is why I am not contributing to that book. I am at the stage where, as a Baby Boomer with an head full of what happened, I only want relationships that are real and photos that show wrinkles and pain etched on weathered faces. Reunions are not for me. Only memories. And remembering what things were really like – the TRUTH.

Book Review – A Fortunate Age

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A Fortunate Age seemed like an unfortunate title, but the heralding of an ‘astute’ debut and the setting of New York in the days leading up to 9/11, spoke of infinite promise. From the start I could relate to the six friends and that time after college when aspirations are shouted to the world, without fear and friends from college are friends forever.

And so it was for the first third of the book. The ability to carry and develop 6 main characters in a meaningful and true to form way is no mean feat and was carried out with aplomb. The usual hiccoughs and failures of life however, crept in sooner than I thought they would and I must admit that the feel good component suddenly fell flat around half way through. Yes it is a conceivable plot line, not everything goes to plan for everyone in early adulthood, but faced with the impending doom of the 9/11 incident, I was disappointed that not one of the friends came out unscathed.

Maybe it is my age or maybe it is the times that we live in, but the title suggested some kind of struggle that was overcome through strength and grace. I read the book in hope of a happier tale to balance out the inevitable tragedy of 9/11, but instead, I found little in the way of climax and at the end, was left with six stories of doubt and failure fizzling out into a feeling of loss.

Yes, the writing is excellent, the characters all too human and the storyline cleverly woven with nuances of New York life, but the overwhelming emotion I was left with at the conclusion of the book was loss. Perhaps that was the Author’s intention. Personally I felt a little cheated. We hear enough about failed marriages, lost dreams and death on a daily basis. Does it have to show up in so many modern novels?

25 August 2015

Book Review – Trigger Mortis

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What do Sherlock Holmes, a popup interactive site in London and the recently released thriller Trigger Mortis all have in common?

Anthony Horowitz, of course!

Tagged as one of the most anticipated releases this year, Horowitz channels Ian Fleming to bring the newest Bond tale to our stores and ebook readers. Trigger Mortis is a term used by the military to abort a mission if all else fails. In this manuscript from the vault, we find that James Bond has mellowed a bit with age, but like a fine wine, he also can end up on the floor or all over the place. One thing is for sure…Bond is back!

Pussy Galore is staying with James, M is still in charge, Miss Moneypenny is mysteriously absent and James seems to not check in at headquarters too much anymore, but the original style of Fleming, based on his notes, rings true in Horowitzs’ hands. With the background of the race track, an evil Korean joins with SMERSH to bring all of the action and intrigue required for a Saturday night thriller, which does not let up until the final page.

Now it’s a long time since I read a Bond book and I am not really a member of the fan club, but this book had me smiling. The combination of the unstoppable spy, headstrong female characters and the crazy Korean is not too cheesy and I believe that Bond fans won’t be disappointed.

Will a movie be made? The jury is still out, It will be interesting to see if Flemings’ estate offers Horowitz any more of the literary tidbits that are stashed away. Or could this be a one off? The talented Horowitz is never far from his next project, be it a book, film or television script, but it will be up to the fans if he manages to land a Bond coup and collaborate again with Flemings’ ghost.

Love Bond or not, it is a non taxing and amusing read for those rainy Saturday nights, when books beckon from their shelves. I give it three stars.

Revisiting The Baby Boomer Death Counter and other Baby Boomer Haters

Well, welll, well! Two years ago, I started this blog after reading about a number of Baby Boomer haters out there in cyberspace. The infamous Baby Boomer Death Counter has been shut down and comments have prompted me to investigate further.

Here is what I found:

http://www.ldsfreedomforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=3865

Who produced this macabre counter?

James Love, an Internet publisher, satirist and writer.

He created this web site spur discussion regarding the mortality of the Baby Boom generation. Much is written of accomplishments, attitudes, consumer patterns, but little is written about the curtain closing on this large generation. He created the counter to spur/provoke this discussion.

On a Generation Dying Well
by James Love

We, the baby boom generation, were a burst of life just after the Second World War. Hospital wards bustled with little bundles, new suburbs were put to pavement, and schools popped up across North America. It was as if a new age of humanity was upon us and indeed some declared that the Age of Aquarius had begun.

A few decades later, as the first of the boomers turn 60 and the last of the boomers mid-sections have joined the great collective expanse an existential reality remains for which we seem to be avoiding. Sure, we know of “so and so” that got cancer, and how “such and such’s” wife died of a heart condition. We know intellectually that with each day the wheel of time seems to spin faster and we occasionally hear the bony footsteps of the Grim Reaper shuffling behind us. For all our bombastic youthful chutzpa, our collective fear of death seems out of place for us. We close our eyes and whistle in the dark; looking at the slow click of the clock and realizing each day that its “click, click, click” is speeding up.

I don’t intend to be overly unkind when I say that I find this collective fear amusing. Individually, I’ve held the hand of numerous dying folks and understand the personal pain and emotional suffering around death. That is not funny, although many people do find humour in their own dying. I must however confess a certain schadenfreude as I witness the death of the Baby Boomers as a whole. It’s the fall of the false-pride of our generation that seems to be the source of it. Yes, older boomers try to hold back time with tucks, sucks, and spending big bucks, but let’s face it, we’re not young any more and we never will be. That horror we experienced a couple years ago when we looked in the mirror and cried out “Oh my goodness, I – look – like – my – Dad/Mom”, is soon to be replaced with the shock of looking like our grandparents! Know this to be true; the first grey hair “down there” has been an existential crisis for many a boomer. And of course, the Age of Aquarius in the 1960’s gave way to the sexual license of the 70’s and the Barbarous 80’s. I don’t know what to call the 1990’s other than a handful of years until the Gulf War Decade (lets hope its a decade). For all our youthful pride, we ended up faced with the daunting struggles that every generation has to deal with given the complexity of the human situation and the tenacity of evil.

I do have hope however that the introspective side of our generation will win out over our narcissism. Old people can be powerful people; for good or for evil. We’ve known that all our lives; don’t trust anyone over 30 and all that stuff. Old people can be powerful because collectively they have money, experience, and have been around long enough to know how the system works; or dare I say it, how to work within the system! If you don’t believe me, just ask any congressman whether he wants to make the American Association of Retired Persons angry at him! We’re going to have a different kind of power as old folks, and I hope we use it well. If the excessive pride of our youth has run its course towards an excess of humility in old age, I suspect our generation will show itself as one of the most powerful in remedying a few of the great evils of our time. I’ve discovered in my few short years on this earth, that the widows penny is worth far more than the pontificating of a soul empty of good deeds.

Sure, there will be a period coming where all we baby boomers will talk about is our coming deaths, but once the great collective narcissistic lament is finished, I hope we’ll move on to being great old people. Yes, we’re going to be dead like every other generation, however it is my hope that we won’t just die like any other generation. It is my hope that we will spend our last years well and will be remembered as a truly great generation and a burst of positive human energy that will be felt for generations to come.

PS  There are even more Baby Boomer hate sites than in 2013. Let’s emphasise the positive and leave the ‘Die Boomer Die’ set to worry about why they are spending so much energy on denigrating us. In the words of Taylor Swift, “Haters gonna hate,hate,hate,hate,hate. Shake it off. Shake it off! Sorry I couldn’t resist!

Book Review – Last Words by Michael Koryta

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A lot of people may have been in the situation where they found themselves saying the wrong thing to a person, before leaving them; sometimes never to see them again. Whilst Detective Mark Novak’s last words to his wife ring true, they are perhaps the only part of this book that is believable.

Enter the inhabitants of a small Indiana town, a dead girl, a psych case (or two) and a Sheriff who used to date the dead girl’s Mother. Mix in a thug or three and a plot that leads inevitably to it’s expected conclusion and you have what is called a Bestseller (or as I call it, Pulp Fiction). Not my favourite genre.

To give Koryta credit, he does have a swag of “Bestsellers” to his name, but not having read any, I cannott comment as to whether they follow a similar pattern. From the first page to the last, I encountered what I term, ‘an eye roller’ and found it excrutiatingly difficult to finish. Most page turners, I’ll read in under a day. This took me the better part of a week for 440 loooonnnngggg pages. In the end, I found myself becoming a little involved and could even see the appeal of his style of writing. Sort of. Like watching a goldfish swimming around in a small bowl, I could view the Detective’s progress with wonder at how and why he kept going round and round, coming back to the dull town of Garrison for more.

If you’re a fan of the this type of bookish navel-gazing, that can be read without having to invest much emotion or even attention to the plot, then this is the book for you.

No, I am not rushing out to devour his other novels. That’s enough formula fiction for now,