Wednesday, December 19, 2007

How Do You Spend Your Free Time?

Yesterday was fairly relaxing ... I've rediscovered computer games :) I say that because I don't think I've played one since I moved to Joburg. I used to quite enjoy the occasional strategy game like Sid Meier's Civilisation or Sierra's Caesar III. And now that I suddenly find myself in Cape Town with time to spare ... who wants to be out driving around or wandering the malls like the rest of the people down here seem to be doing? Yes, admitedly one could interject here with a "Who wants to be sitting in front of a computer in that divine weather" but that is besides the point right now because the answer is: I do. I'll get plenty of time to relax and enjoy the weather when I am electricity deprived at our holiday house out past Simon's town (we'll be there between 20 & 27th December).

In the mean time, I am becoming a far calmer and more relaxed version of myself and it is thanks to my books and computer games. I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling just before I left Joburg.

'His hand closed automatically around the fake Horcrux, but in spite of everything, in spite of the dark and twisting path he saw stretching ahead for himself, in spite of the final meeting with Voldemort he knew must come, whether in a month, in a year, or in ten, he felt his heart lift at the thought that there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Hermione.' With these words "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" draws to a close. And here, in this seventh and final book, Harry discovers what fate truly has in store for him as he inexorably makes his way to that final meeting with Voldemort. In this thrilling climax to the phenomenally bestselling series, J.K. Rowling will reveal all to her eagerly waiting readers.

I liked this book, as with all the other Harry Potters in the series. But, I must say I'm glad the series is now closed. It's not that I wouldn't read another, if it were written ... it's more that I think JK Rowling has run out of Harry Potter stories to tell.

As I read I did have a theory or two about how she was going to end it, since she was not only ending a book, but an entire institution. She handled it delicately and I guess the way one would since there were so many fans out there waiting with bated breath. Still, as I said, I liked it (although the future based epilogue really annoyed me).

And Eternal by Craig Russell which I finished while lazing in bed this morning.

'We are eternal'. 'The Buddhists believe that each life, each consciousness, is like a single candle flame, but that there is a continuity between each flame. Imagine lighting one candle with the flame of another, then using that flame to light the next, and that to light the next, and on and on forever. A thousand flames, all passed from one to another across the generations. Each is a different light, each burns in a totally different way. But it is, nevertheless, the same flame'. 'Now, I'm afraid, it is time for me to extinguish your flame. But don't worry... the pain I give you will mean you will burn brightest at the end.' An environmental campaigner and former left-wing radical is murdered, his body scalped. When a second scalped murder victim, a geneticist researching the possibility of inherited memory, is found, the media latch on to a new serial killer. Jan Fabel and his murder team have nothing to go on other than a single red hair left as a signature at each scene, each hair cut from the same head, at least twenty years previously.;Connections begin to appear: a long disbanded terrorist group and its infamous leader; a mummified body over 1500 years old; and a killer who believes he has been reincarnated to exact a terrible revenge on those who betrayed him in a previous life.

This was the second of Craig Russell's books I've read and although the storyline is generally good, I just don't find them an easy read. This one was particularly slow and I'm not sure if it's because it's Germany-based as opposed to the usual British or American based novels we all generally read. Either way this one had a fantastic surprise ending that at the very least kept me gripped for the last few pages.

Craig Russell also takes care to make his characters 3 dimensional, they all have little sub-plots going, if not things in their life at least things in their psyche that affect who they are and the decisions they make thruout the story. Not a bad read, I'd read another of his books, but it's not earth shatteringly go-out-and-tell-all-your-friends brilliant either.

I have also been playing a fairly old computer game. After scouring the internet for whatever free downloads and demo's I could of the games I remembered, I eventually gave up - demo's that only last 2 levels do nothing much to calm me :) So I went out and spent a mere hundred rond buying myself a copy of Age of Empires Collectors Edition with AOE and AOE II and it includes an expansion pack for both games. I doubt my interest will last longer than this week, but at least next time I'm feeling the need for escapism and I have 3 hours or so on my hands I'll be armed with a real copy of the game. Come on, it's a little better than mindlessly watching series, right?

I was going to be attempting to track down Varen's Christmas gift today but it seems it's not so viable to transport it up to Jhb, so I'll have to wait till I'm back. Luckily it is going to be his Christmas and birthday present as it seems I will probably not be around for his birthday. Got a call from work yesterday morning asking if I was available to go to the UK in January for about 3 weeks. Yippee :) Anyway, I'm sure he's distracted by his flight to Cairns this morning and his impending dives on the Great Barrier Reef ... although he did somehow manage to send me flowers yesterday (yes, all the way to my door in Cape Town - isn't he the sweetest?). Am definitely missing him by now.

Holiday Status update:
1) See The Divine Miss M (x) - will be doing this again a little later this afternoon :)
2) See Interviewing for a Husband (x)
3) See Jam ( ) - will hopefully get to do lunch tomorrow
4) Spend some time at Millers with the family ( ) - we're heading down there on Friday for a week :)


akika said...

You know me - I'm all for gaming. So, what's going to be happening to those games when you depart? Will they be going with you? If they're not, can I have them? Do I even like that game? Can they only be on one computer?

phillygirl said...

@akika - I'll be taking the installer dvd ... but it's already installed on the folks machine (and my laptop) so you should be able to play it :) dunno if you even like this game, but you're welcome to give it a bash!

Anonymous said...

Free time in 2008?

A few things to discover in 2008 (just google):

1) Philosophers Garden
2) Reflection of the complexity of Life
3) Succulent Life
4) Maze
5) Weird & Passionate Hosts
6) Irresponsible tourism in Robertson
7) Rocking in Robertson
8) Crazy Dutchman (Malle Hollander)
9) Real Wire Art
10) South Africa’s primary unusual attraction

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