Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Silly Railway Station Names

As all good Adelaide folk know, there is something a little bit cool and a little bit special about the Seaford Railway line. It is the only line on the Adelaide suburban rail network to have electric trains and modern railcars (thanks Tony Abbott for cutting off funding to the project when the Gawler Central line was only half done--I'm sure this played a part in the fact that you are no longer Prime Minister,) and you never have to put up with being crammed in like a sardine on one of those tiny 3000 class railcars that (lets face it,) never really were a suitable replacement for the iconic Red Hen railcars. Anyway, I was travelling on the Seaford Railway line recently, I got a little bored and my mind started to wander. Then I started coming up with stupid alternative names for all of the stations. And they were all so dumb and unfunny that, naturally, I decided to share them here ...

Mile End - Smile End
Adelaide Showgrounds - Adelaide Snowgrounds
Goodwood - Goodwood, Badchipboard
Clarence Park - Sir Clarence Park
Emerson - Emerson & Emerdaughter
Edwardstown - Edwardstown & Bella's Village
Woodlands Park - Woodlands Spark
Ascott Park - Ask Scott Park
Marion - Marionette
Oaklands - Croaklands
Warradale - Warradale, Not a Valley
Hove - Shovel
Brighton - Brighton My Day
Seacliff - Sea Cliff Richard
Marino - Marino Wool
Marino Rocks - Marino Frocks
Hallett Cove - Hallett Cover
Hallett Cove Beach - Hallett Undercover Beach
Lonsdale - Lonsdale, Shortvalley
Christie Downs - Christie Ups & Downs
Noarlunga Centre - Snoarlunga Centre
Seaford Meadows - See Ford Meadows
Seaford - See Ford Cars

Can you think of any silly railway station names? If so, feel free to share them in the comments section. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Review: Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

I was strangely fascinated by Night Owls from the moment I read the description and I am pleased to report that it is a story that does not disappoint. Beatrix is a nice girl and an aspiring artist who lives with her mother and brother who are struggling to make ends meet. One day Beatrix meets Jack on the Night Owl, the night bus that services San Francisco and discovers his secret--that he is one of the city's most notorious graffiti artists. Far from being a story of a good girl led astray, this is a story of how, through their shared love of art, Jack and Beatrix are able to help one another heal from their difficult and broken pasts.

I found Night Owls to be very cleverly plotted. We learn about Jack and his situation bit by bit and it is obvious that he is far from the juvenile delinquent that the police and media believe this mysterious artist to be. Beatrix also makes for an interesting protagonist, a young woman who is unduly, and unfairly, damaged by her parents divorce and one parents need for revenge. Jack's home situation is just as interesting--not only is it believable, but readers should make sure that they have some tissues on hand for when they discover the reason behind his graffiti. 

Well written with believable characters, interesting situations and a good old fashioned dash of romance. Highly recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my ARC.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

I am not sharing street art this week, but a shot of the bridge that crosses the River Torrens at Elder Park. I love that the bridge ends in a fountain.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Deadbeat Dad Disappointed by Belated Father's Day Gift

NOWHERESVILLE AUSTRALIA--Twenty-seven year old Rocco Baker, who has not seen one of his eleven children in the past two years, and who recently taken to court by all five of his former partners for his staunch refusal to pay child support, was left feeling 'disappointed' on Father's Day, when none of his children bothered to buy him a gift. 

"My children are nothing but a bunch of ungrateful little shits," he told our reporter. "I went to the trouble of giving each of them life--even the ones whose mothers were like, ugly and shit, and now they can't even be stuffed thanking properly for that on Father's Day. They didn't even have to visit, at least one of them could have thought to have left a slab of beer at the door."

A few days after Father's Day, Baker's hopes of a gift were, at least partially restored when he received an envelope in the mail addressed to him in a childish hand. "I opened it, hoping that it would be a cheque or something, but all that was inside was this shitty handmade card from someone called Naomi."

When asked by our reporter if it was correct that one of his daughters was called Naomi, Baker looked momentarily confused and then nodded. "Yeah, I think so," he said. "What an ungrateful bitch, eh? She couldn't even be bothered going to the shops and paying for a card."

When it was pointed out that Naomi Baker was six years old and the cost of a greeting card may have been a little out of her budget, Baker looked surprised and then annoyed. "Yeah well, whatever," he said. "But next time, you think if she's going to draw all little hearts on the card that she could learn to colour within the lines and not do it so crooked and shit ..." 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Friday Funnies: Advice From Miss Piggy

I saw the above meme doing the rounds and I thought that it was giggle-worthy enough to re-post it here. While my favourite Muppets are probably Rowlf and Gonzo the Great, I have to admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for Miss Piggy. Miss Piggy is all woman--she's beautiful, brave, smart and devoted to the man, uh, sorry, frog, who she loves, but her real tragedy is that her love for Kermit is completely misguided given that he is, well, indifferent to her. (The thing about Kermit is that his life is just fine as it is. He has no need, or desire, for a relationship.) And Miss Piggy continues on, falling into the trap that every woman has fallen in to at one time or another, foolishly believing that if she just tries that little bit harder, or becomes something a little bit more, that she might just win Kermit over. 

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Review: Imitation of Life by Fannie Hurst

Although I am very familiar with the 1959 movie of the same name, until recently I was completely unaware that it was based on a book that had been written some years earlier. And then, when I found a copy of the book, I was in for a bigger shock. Unlike the film, which examines racism and mother/daughter issues, in a soap opera like fashion Fannie Hurst's Imitation of Life is, at its heart, a feminist novel that offers a chilling message--that women cannot have it all.

The novel tells the story of Bea Pullman, a young woman who was forced by economic circumstances to marry a man many years her senior and soon finds herself a widow and young mother with a ailing father to look after. No one will give her much of a chance, and her only income is through selling maple syrup and things look pretty desperate, until Delilah comes along and helps Bea to reshape her business. The pair enjoy a long and successful business relationship that lasts right up until Delilah dies, but much of their success is at the cost of their relationship with their daughters. Bea's lover runs away with her daughter, while Delilah's problems are much more complex--while Delilah and her daughter are black, the daughter, Peola, has skin so light that it passes for white and she eventually abandons her mother so that she can live as a white woman and enjoy all of the advantages that white women experienced in America during the 1920s. (And this is despite the fact that her own mother is a successful businesswoman in her own right, which, sadly, the daughter cannot see.) 

Although a little dull in places, this book was such an important one in its time, that I am surprised that it is not better remembered or treated with higher regard. For anyone with an interest in feminism, this is well worth a read, though it needs to be examined within the confines of its social and historical context. 


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Review: Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines

American author Abbi Glines moves back into high school/YA territory with her latest release Until Friday Night. It's the first novel that the author, best loved for her NA romances has set in a high school since The Vincent Brothers. And given that Glines is somewhat prolific, that was many, many releases and series ago. Anyway, Until Friday Night is a sweet romance featuring West, the star of the high school football team and all around popular guy and Maggie, the sweet new girl in town who also suffers from selective muteness after witnessing a terrible incident two years ago that tore her family apart. West's own life is not going so well--his dad is dying--and it is Maggie who offers him comfort, while offers a friendship that allows Maggie to feel safe for the first time and to speak once again. But could the pair be more than just friends?

This one is a light, touching romance. It never tries to be anything more than it is and the experience is enjoyable enough, with a more than satisfying ending and a bit of light kink. The author leaves the doors wide open for a sequel featuring an important but not leading character from this book.

If you like YA romance, you're bound to love this one. Recommended.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This is another of the many mosaics that decorate Beach Road, Christies Beach. This one is about midway, along the southern side outside a real estate agent.  

Friday, 18 September 2015

Friday Funnies

I think Friday might be here ...

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Review: Going Solo by Roald Dahl

Picking up where his first autobiography, Boy, left off, Going Solo tells the story of Roald Dahl's first journey away from home--one that would last for many years thanks to the onset of the Second World War. The first half of the book cover's Dahl's adventures in Africa working for Shell--from an unlikely adventure with a lion who carries a woman away, to the more frightening prospect of having to stop a bunch of Germany citizens from escaping the boarder. (And the terrible way that their bluff was called when they tried to escape.) Moving on from there, we get to read about Dahl's often dangerous adventures as a Second World War fighter pilot and his occasional daliance with daredevil photography. Much like Boy, I am left with the impression that some of the stories were a little embellished or even made up, but consider who the author is and the stories that he writes for children this is totally forgivable. Much harder for modern audiences to digest is the way he speaks of many of his African counterparts, though Dahl is not so much a racist as he is a victim of the era and place in which he was brought up. We also see the genuine sympathy that he had for the many Jewish people who had been displaced by the Second World War.

Anyway, this one has some funny bits and also some truly frightening anecdotes about the Second World War. 


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Review: The Beasts Garden by Kate Forsyth

Australian author Kate Forsyth takes the story of Beauty and the Beast and makes it massively original by setting it in World War Two Germany. Ava is the Beauty--an innocent young woman with a beautiful voice who marries a well-respected member of the Nazi party in order to help her family. Leo is the Beast, the member of the Nazi party, the latter as we know being responsible for many horrific crimes. But just as in the tale of Beauty and the Beast nothing is quite as it appears on the surface for these two young people and both are secretly conspiring against the Nazis--Ava as part of an underground resistance movement, while Leo is part of a group who is trying to assassinate Hilter.

The author does not shy away from showcasing much of the brutality that occurred during World War Two in Germany, and the terrible treatment of the Jewish population and anyone else who happened to get in the way of the Nazi party. The novel is extremely comprehensively researched, and the author demonstrates real empathy for the main characters, all of whom were quite likeable. (Though Jutta took some getting used to.) I was a bit skeptical and was not sure that I was enjoying the book or that I would even want to continue to read it, until I got about one hundred pages in the plot began to take shape. From there the tension grew and I started to want more. By the end of the book, reading about Ava's daring attempts to rescue Leo (would she make it in time,) I was completely and utterly hooked.

Highly recommended.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This war memorial has sat proudly and quietly at Norwood for many years now ...

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Review: Exit to Eden by Anne Rice

Very few authors can write about any topic with the level of class that Anne Rice can. In the course of Rice's long career she has written about vampires, witchcraft, retold the life of a young Jesus Christ and turned a fairytale (sleeping beauty) into an erotic novel that will most likely become a classic. In Exit to Eden Rice writes about a forbidden romance that begins in the most unlikely of places--on an island that houses a BDSM resort--and between two unlikely characters, one of the young female owners of the resort and a brand new and very willing male slave ... 

I enjoyed reading this Exit to Eden, which I found to be quite well written and unique. Lisa and Elliot are far more than their roles on the island (her as a dominant, he as a slave,) and their forbidden romance brings out the complex nature of their lives and their sexualities. There is a real depth to the writing and a complexity to the characters and their situations. While some readers may be disturbed by the concept of the island and some of the graphic depictions, this novel is well worth reading simply for its exploration human nature, relationships and sexuality.

Almost completely without flaws. Highly recommended.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Friday Funnies: Avant-Guard Dog

Too funny not to share ...

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Review: Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino

I have to admit, I am normally very fussy about what romances that I read and I can be a harsh critic of the genre, especially when it is an NA romance. This time around, something about this book had me hooked from the moment that I read its description. I guess that I have a bit of a soft spot for love stories that involve second chances, or the one who got away ...

Before We Were Strangers opens with Matt, a thirty-something man who has recently suffered the humiliation of his wife cheating on him with one of their colleagues and then leaving him. He claims to be over it and not interested in finding anyone else. Then one day while he is travelling on the subway, he sees a familiar face, Grace, a woman who he loved during his college days and who mysteriously disappeared when he went to work abroad one summer. And with no way of being able to contact Grace, Matt publishes a beautiful note to her online. From there, the story goes back in time to tell the how Matt and Grace met, details their friendship that developed instantly despite their very different backgrounds and a relationship where they were never quite open with one another in the right ways. When we move back into the present, we discover a cruel betrayal and a very unexpected surprise ... But can Matt and Grace overcome all obstacles to be together the second time around?

For me, this book was enjoyable light reading. Although both Matt and Grace infuriated me at times, the author wrote both characters with a lot of empathy, which is very important for a story like this. I did feel that Matt's voice was a little inauthentic--I think that it could have had a more masculine edge. But that said, he is an interesting and likeable character.

A beautiful, light story about second chances. Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia for my reading copy.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Around Adelaide (Street Art)

This artwork sits at the main entrance to Flinders Medical Centre at Bedford Park, just near the bus interchange. It has been there since 2009 and is part of a project for reconciliation.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Kathryn's Inbox Exclusive: Pyromanic Blows Up Petrol Station, Claims Actions Are Not Illegal

NOWHERESVILLE, AUSTRALIA--A self-confessed pyromaniac who deliberately blew up the Nowheresville Petrol Station for 'entertainment,' killing three people and causing millions of dollars worth of damage has spoken to the media for the first time, claiming that her arrest is unfair. "I know its sad that the petrol station isn't there any more and that some people got killed, but I don't think it's right that the police should arrest me," twenty-nine year old Skyla McDonald told our reporters from inside her cell at the Nowheresville Remand Centre yesterday. "I mean, they're treating me like I'm a criminal."

Prior to blowing the petrol station up, Ms McDonald had purchased a can of coke and a chocolate bar from the business. "This made me a paying customer," Ms McDonald explains. "And the customer is always right. So if I feel like blowing a business up and murdering the staff in the process just because I am bored, then I should be allowed to."

Our reporters tried to question Ms McDonald further, but were interrupted by the arrival of her lawyer, who begged her client not to use the phrase the customer is always right in court. Ms McDonald's lawyer has subsequently been sacked and is now looking for a new office as her previous premises burned down on the same night that Ms McDonald staged a daring escape from the remand centre.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Friday Funnies: Daria

Got to love Daria.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Review: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook is a bittersweet look at mental illness, the end of a relationship, grieving and acceptance. (It also has remarkably little to do with the movie that was based on the book, but that is fodder for another post.)

Thirty-something Pat Peoples is returning to his parents home after a stint in a psychiatric hospital. He knows not how long he has been there, but he knows that for now he is not allowed to see or speak to his beloved ex-wife Nikki and that she will only take him back once he one, recovers from his illness and two, becomes all of the things that she wanted him to be. Much to the chagrin of his family and friends Pat does not heed their advice about letting go and moving on. Readers are drip fed information about what went wrong between Pat and Nikki (a woman who, for all intents and purposes sounds like a stuck up cow, but then again, the reader is supposed to be on Pat's side,) whilst seeing Pat move on with his life--even if he doesn't realise it. Central to the story is Tiffany, a young eccentric and slightly damaged widow who may just be the perfect person for Pat ...

I absolutely loved reading this one, even if it was a bit of emotional roller coaster. None of the characters are perfect, which seems to fit in with the novels message about acceptance. Pat's relationship with Nikki was quite troubling to read about and it would be quite interesting to read a novel written from her perspective to show her side of the story--was she really a selfish bitch who incited her mentally ill husband so that she could gain all of their assets, or was it a tragic and violent end to a relationship that had passed its expiry date? Why was she wearing Pat's scarf at the end of the book? (That one haunted me for a while.) But, as the title suggests, not everyone nor everything has a silver lining.

It also offers a great insight into how mental illness can be stigmatised and the experiences of people as they try to return to their everyday lives.

Although the novel is quite sad in places, I highly recommend this one.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Review: Blurline by TW Lawless

Larrikin Aussie journalist Peter Clancy is back and this time around he's in London ... where he has found himself working for a gutter tabloid publication. It does not take long though before Clancy finds himself embroiled in a glitzy, scandalous journey where he's bedding the daughter of a famous rock star, whilst ghost writing the memoirs of a disgraced famous actress. And, of course, in the lives on London celebrities nothing is quite what it seems and there may be something more sinister afoot ...

Fans of TW Lawless earlier Peter Clancy novels can expect to be pleasantly surprised by the third novel in the series which, in my opinion, is easily the best of the lot. (It can also be read as a stand alone, so don't despair if you haven't read the previous novels.) It's difficult to write a review without spoilers, so I'll just say that I enjoyed this one--particularly the setting. TW Lawless writes well and the prose is quite addictive and kept me turning pages.

For extra fun, I also highly recommend checking out the official facebook page for Peter Clancy.