Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

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Blade Runner 2049 plot holes

Spoilers abound! Don’t read this if you haven’t seen the film.


  • As a civilian, how was Luv able to traipse into a police station and steal Rachel’s bones without being apprehended/shot/zapped or whatever?
  • As a civilian, how was Luv able to traipse into a police station and kill the lieutenant, after previously stealing bones, and killing the forensic scientist?
  • As a civilian, how was Luv able to deploy an armed drone and fire missiles?
  • For that matter, how are air vehicles allowed to carry armaments and use them in a public area?
  • K is a LAPD cop yet he pulls his badge out on the orphanage master, and the film states he’s in the San Diego area. Isn’t he out of his jurisdiction?
  • Why would Wallace want to send Deckard off-world to show him pain? Doesn’t a guy of his clout and power have the facilities on Earth? Since his enforcer Luv has already demonstrated a blase disregard for the law, why would it matter?
  • What made K so special that he had Deckard’s daughter’s memories implanted into him?
  • Joshi and Luv seem to have a history. How do they know one another?

I’m sure I’ll think of more as time goes by. I liked the film, despite its propensity toward artiness and consider it a worthy successor to the original.

A revelatory book explored

A self-help book

The light bulb came on

If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All be Skinny, Rich and Happy – Brian Klemmer


I’ll be the first to admit that this post’s title would most likely fail SEO critiquing. On the plus side, it can certainly not be described as clickbait. No 10 reasons for blah blah here.

Anyhow, onward and upward. Some time back, my local library had a sale, disposing of excess inventory. I bought about 15-20 books for the princely sum of $10 Australian. A few were fiction, but most were non-fictional works on topics that I possess a passing interest in (at the least). This book was one of them. The title itself was intriguing, as I’ve sat and glossed over quite a few how-tos in my day, on a wide variety of subjects – including personal improvement.

This one is short at 149 pages, divided into ten chapters including an epilogue. Each of these chapters cover themes and concepts that could easily stand on their own, though there is ample inter-relationship, making this book a cohesive whole.

This book is strongly recommended.

Chapter 1: The secret

The key point of this introductory chapter is that we see things and the world tinted through sunglasses. While wearing these, we are loath to view the world (or anything) in any other colour or hue apart from what these glasses show us. We stubbornly adhere to the ingrained belief that there is nothing beyond this view, and you’re foolish to even try to describe the world in any other terms. So take them off and see what the world truly looks like.

Chapter 2: The Formula of Champions

For me, this chapter was the awakening. The formula to success is Intention + Mechanism = Result. This may well be self-evident to many, but the kicker here is what an intention is. The author argues that people intend to do things at two levels. There’s your stated intention – I’m going to lose weight – but your true intention is – it’s all too hard or it takes too long – therefore the formula collapses before it even starts. I’m proof of this intention vs true intention paradigm, just have a read of the Operation 47 pep talks I’ve posted here.

Once your true intention becomes what you’re truly desiring, then half the battle is won.

Chapter 3: The Key to Relationships

In this chapter, the author discusses the self-destructiveness of what he calls the 3R’s – resentment, resistance and revenge. He asserts that feeling these three emotions is natural. It’s not about avoiding them, but redirecting them into positive energy. Some excellent guidelines are provided to do precisely that.

Chapter 4: Responsibility

This one is self-explanatory. Taking ownership, and having the liberty to make choices.

Chapter 5: To think is to create

This chapter sums up the differences between the conscious and the subconscious. The author asserts that it is pointless to pep yourself up at a conscious level if your subconscious isn’t in line with it. It then discusses visualisation as opposed to imagination. Visualisation of wants and desires aid in realising them. Again, this is a landmark way of seeing things for me, much like what was discussed in Ch. 2. They’re limpid concepts that remain obscured to most people.

Chapter 6: Your vision 

This chapter is about goal-setting and some different ways of approaching them. Short and sweet.

Chapter 7: The power of balance

This is another one of those epiphanous chapters. Here, the reader is asked to visualise, or actually draw, a diagram based on four different aspects of your self (that’s not “yourself”) – physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Although the author is writing from a Christian point of view, he does stress that spiritual can mean whatever it means to the individual.

These aspects are rated out of ten with one being the least. The object is to balance the four aspects in harmony, without one or more having outliers and thus putting you out of balance.

Chapter 8: Oneness vs separateness 

Discusses how essentially that no human is an island. It goes on to explain that most of us have an ingrained us and them belief regarding others, and the object of this chapter is to remove this and become inclusive with those you formally excluded (mentally or otherwise). By doing this, life comes win-win for all concerned, rather than win-lose or lose-lose.

Chapter 9: an action attitude…first day, last day

How not to burden yourself with unwarranted fears and the like. Dreams are easier and simpler to achieve if the road ahead is cleared of all foreseeable trouble. Plus it tackles the subject of procrastination by asking you to roleplay your last day, and what would you do and/or achieve before you died at the end of that day.

In other words, there is no moment like now to get things going. See excuses for what they are.

Chapter 10:  Rags to riches…applying the philosophy 

Delves into a case study of an Hawaiian man who makes kites and yo-yos. This chapter is all about achievable goals and the art of goal-setting. Gives a ten point philosophy to make the transition from poor to successful, and most of these points were touched on in previous chapters, particularly win-win and visualisation.

The book then concludes with a summarising epilogue and an exhortation to being faithful and true to yourself while on the to a better life.

Elaine Bergstrom – Baroness of Blood

Baroness of Blood (Ravenloft, #12)Baroness of Blood by Elaine Bergstrom
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My, what a nasty piece of work is Baroness Ilsabet Obour. But she’s a complex and well-rounded nasty piece of work, which elevates this novel above popcorn level. More than most Ravenloft novels I’ve read, this one ascribes to many classic Gothic traditions, yet Ilsabet is imperilled not by a man, but by herself and her own courses of action. She is haunted – internally and externally, and throughout the length of the novel she vacillates and questions if what she’s doing is the wisest way, and in the conclusion, things get resolved in the poetic justice sense of resolution.

The novel is dark, make no mistake. There’s no light, joy or laughter anywhere here. It’s only the dumb and clueless secondary characters in this novel which stop me from awarding this five stars. Ilsabet is surrounded by idiots when her character cries out for effective foils and counters.

Still, this is one of the better Ravenloft outings.

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Richard Awlinson – Waterdeep

Waterdeep (Forgotten Realms: Avatar #3)Waterdeep by Troy Denning
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As good as the book before it in nearly every way. That’s to say we have x amount of pages of escapist popcorn-level fantasy that’s pretty much devoid of things like character building, literary flair and so on. Of course, you don’t read Forgotten Realms novels for these reasons – well, one hopes you don’t. Still, this is an enjoyable romp and wraps up a mostly serviceable trilogy about ordinary people becoming gods and goddesses in a magic-bedevilled world. So, this is the end for the “raven-haired mage”, the “hawk-nosed thief” and the “green-eyed warrior.” All wrapped up.

Well, it should wrap things up but there’s two additional books in this series. *Sigh* isn’t there always?

Whatever. It’s all good fun.

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Richard Awlinson – Tantras

Tantras (Forgotten Relalms: Avatar #2)Tantras by Scott Ciencin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Superior effort in nearly every way to its predecessor. It isn’t boring, which of course is a huge plus, and it’s almost a criminal offence for a D&D book to be tedious to read. Regardless of their value as literature, they should be popcorn page-turners.

Well, Tantras thankfully is. It’s competently written though it has all the faults of this particular niche of fantasy fiction – that’s to say minimal characterisation, few grey moral areas. overly tight plotting and character motivations that occasionally border on the nonsensical. Bad guys are bad guys because the plot says so, not from any logical reason or story progression.

But, as I keep saying in these D&D reviews: it’s all good fun. This time around, it actually was good fun. Here’s hoping the next instalment is just as fluid,.

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Edgar Allan Poe – Ligeia

LigeiaLigeia by Edgar Allan Poe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tumultuous vultures of stern passion! With this short sentence, Poe continues the alliterative colour of Shakespeare, even if the subject matter is grimmer and darker than anything the Bard conjured up. This, probably more than any story written before or since, is testament to love transcending death – or a cautionary tale about taking opium. Your choice.

This story creaks but it’s lost little of its power over the years and is probably required reading for any serious student of the Gothic or the Dark Romantic.

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Jack Williamson – Darker Than You Think

Darker Than You ThinkDarker Than You Think by Jack Williamson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I got the nagging feeling while reading this that it should’ve been better than what it was. It started off so well, with its mysterious woman and promise of some great mystery – but that mystery largely evaporated a third of the way into the book. While it never turned into a stock monster/vampire tale, I felt it was lacking, and most of that lacking lay in the character of Will Barbee, who spent the entire book in denial.

There’s a certain misogyny about the whole thing too, even accounting for its 1948 vintage. Williamson refers to April Bell throughout as a “white bitch”, and while he means it as a matter-of-fact descriptor for her lycanthrope state, the term and its 21st century connotations can’t be easily put aside. He plays April as the great evil seducer, an amoral Whore of Babylon leering into the face of poor Will Barbee and teasing him.

But as I said, most of this novel’s problem is Barbee himself, drifting about in complete and abject denial of the reality that’s brutally in his face. His abnegation of reality becomes annoying quickly, and as a result the novel suffers.

Withal, I can see why this work is regarded as a classic of dark fantasy, but it’s difficult to read it without allowing 21st century sensibilities and mores to intrude.

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Jack Vance – Lurulu

LuruluLurulu by Jack Vance
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m not mean enough to give Vance’s last published book one star though there are plenty of reasons to do so. As with Ports of Call, this book dispenses with any kind of plot and character development and instead we get a colourful travelogue, with a cohort of nameless ciphers who go traipsing about one planet after the other and not a whole lot happens, apart from an early episode of vengeance.

My pet peeve with Vance is all over this book too – everything and everyone is a miser. It’s all about the freaking money. One half of the universe is trying to rip off the other half who are trying to haggle their way out of paying retail. Seriously, Vance has been at this unwelcome shenanigan for much of his fantasy and SF writing career and it overstayed its welcome about thirty books ago.

Yes, I’m being captious. Vance was ninety or thereabouts when this book was released. Few people will live as long as he did let alone write legible fiction then. On its own merits, that aspect is to be commended. But also on its own aspects, this book is an ipso facto stinker. Not the most ideal way to bow out, Jack, but the sheer fact you even got this book out is something I’ll raise a glass to. Vale Jack.

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Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis – Dragons of Winter Night

Dragons of Winter Night (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #2)Dragons of Winter Night by Margaret Weis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not as good as the first one. It lacked a certain something, and the way the narrative jumped around wasn’t ideal either. I found it a little harder in this instalment to care about the characters too – the authors obviously want you to care – but for mine, there wasn’t enough given reasons to care. They’re not as cardboard-y or as stock as in some other D&D novels out there, but because of the frequently discursive narrative, there’s not enough time to build up a rapport.

And dare I say it, but of all the D&D worlds, I have a preference for the Forgotten Realms. Ed Greenwood may have his faults as a writer of fiction, but the world he created is a compellingly deep place. Krynn? Not so much – not yet, I suppose. Over the length of two books, it hasn’t really taken on more lustre than you’d expect from imaginary places on a drawn map.

In Krynn’s defence, I’m only two books in. With a few more tomes under my belt, maybe this initial shallow impression will deepen. I just hope there aren’t too many more blah instalments like this one.

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Jack Vance – Vandals of the Void

Vandals of the VoidVandals of the Void by Jack Vance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the first “new” Vance book I’ve read since Night Lamp about twenty years ago. So, I only need to get hold of Lurulu now and that will be soon. Then, I’d have read everything he’s published.

Ok, this isn’t a bad book, yet it’s a product of its time and the genre. Typical juvenile SF – young, resourceful lad uses tenacity, bravery and logic to overcome the nefarious schemes of adults. Vance’s imaginary future timeline at the beginning of the novel is off, and it’s actually rather odd seeing Vance write one of these and I wonder if an editor urged him into doing it (without researching the answer).

It’s an average work of fiction, tightly plotted and written in a straightforward, serviceable manner that’s largely unlike Vance’s usual way – outside of his mystery and police procedural novels. But his fondness for baroque language threatens to break through the simple and flowing text, hinting at where he’d been withThe Dying Earth, and where he would go with the remainder of his extensive SF and fantasy oeuvre.

Second order Vance for sure, but I’m glad I finally tracked this book down.

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