Thursday, 29 November 2012

I can read, I can READ, I CAN READ!

Well you would bloody hope so since I am a librarian but what I'm really getting at is that I have finished NaNoWriMo for another year.  52,371 words submitted and validated.

And 2 days early I might add.

Yes, Yes, Yes.

I can finally get into the ever increasing pile of books that has been giving me accusing looks for the past 30 days.  So much so that I swear they have been talking to me.  Tempting me with their words of adventure and excitement and far off places.  It has been a real test of wills.  Me writing and doing NaNo or picking up one of the many alluring books that has been staring at me with bedroom eyes, saying read me, read me, read me.  Now, Now Now.

Thank god NaNo is over and I can get stuck in and read something other than my own writing.

Now the only hard decision is deciding which one to start with first…

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Everyday Heroes: A book that will restore your faith in humanity

Scott Harrison from Charity: Water is bottom left
Everyday Heroes: 50 Americans changing the world one non profit at a time 

Photographs by Paul Mobley ; text by Katrina Fried 

I'm a huge fan of Charity: Water so I picked up this book just to have a quick look at how Scott Harrison started a non-profit that has provided clean drinking water for over 2.7 million people in developing countries. His story is completely fascinating to me so I decided to get this book out and read the whole thing.

The people in this book are completely amazing. The subtitle pretty much tells you what this book is about but it's incredible to read about how everyday people can make a difference. A big difference.

Everyday Heroes features stories of people selflessly working to improve the lives of others their stories are a necessary reminder that everyone can and should contribute to bettering the world.

We can't do everything, but we can do something.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Fun summer reads

The holidays are coming soon (yay, one month to go!), and if you've been waiting a while since your last one, your brain probably resembles something like...hmm, I'm thinking pan drippings left out overnight. Burnt crunchy bits included, if you're feeling particularly fried.

At this time of year, it's nice not to have to think too much about what you're reading. Your mind should just drift peacefully on a soothing, gentle sea of words as it washes you along. There are two kinds of book that do this:

1) Action novels.
You know the ones I mean. The ones where everything follows a certain pattern: bad guys, good guys, no doubting who's who, and the good guy always - always wins. There's a girl somewhere too, so the hero can prove how hot he is in every way. Stand up, Clive Cussler and Lee Child.

2) Romances.
Don't need to spell this one out. Some can be erotic, some can be screwball (whoops, no pun intended), and some can be "sweet" like a Nicholas Sparks. Whatever you're into, you know pretty much exactly what you're getting. Like a Griffins sampler.

So here is a list of new and forthcoming books that might just put the sauce on your chips this summer.

Fifty Bales of Hay - Rachael Treasure
Just love the title of this one! Saddle up for a collection of "agricultural erotica" from Australia, featuring lots of luscious cowboys, cheeky farmhands and fun with a stock and a whip. Whoa, Nelly.

Friends and Rivals - Tilly Bagshawe
Record label Jester boasts some of the hottest musicians on the planet, but their shining star is super-diva Kendall Bryce - the girl with the voice of an angel and the attitude from hell. To the world it seems like owners and old college friends, Jack and Ivan, are living the dream - until the betrayal. Jack has no choice but to walk away from Jester and start up his own label and with the help of his own new discovery - the talented, beautiful and sweet Ava Klein - he is ready to take on Ivan. As passions rise and the desire to win becomes all-consuming, the two young and brilliant pop beauties and the two bitter ex-friends race for the Christmas number one record.

Dirty Little Secret - Jon Stock
Described as one for fans of Jason Bourne and James Bond. Salim Dhar, the world's most wanted terrorist, has disappeared after an audacious attack on an American target in the UK. The CIA believes Daniel Marchant, renegade MI6 officer, was involved. But Marchant has a bigger secret: Dhar has agreed to work for MI6. In return, Marchant must help him with a final strike against America. Should Britain sign up to this Faustian pact or hunt them both down? Fast and furious with the inevitable romance thrown in.

Threat Vector - Tom Clancy and Mark Greaney
Jack Ryan has only just moved back into the Oval Office when he is faced with a new international threat. An aborted coup in China has left President Wei Zhen Lin with no choice but to agree with the expansionist policies of General Su Ke Qiang. They have declared the South China Sea a protectorate and are planning an invasion of Taiwan. A new breed of powerful Chinese anti-ship missile endangers the US Navy's plans to protect the island. Meanwhile, Chinese cyberwarfare experts have launched a devastating attack on America. Jack Ryan, Jr. and his colleagues at the Campus may be just the wild card that his father needs to stack the deck. There's just one problem: someone knows about the off-the-books intelligence agency and threatens to blow their cover sky high.

It Happened in Venice - Molly Hopkins
For fans of sweet and funny romances. Evie has a handsome fiance and a fantastic job that takes her to fashionable Dublin, in-vogue Marrakech, cool Amsterdam and romantic Paris. But her fiance hates her job and her flatmate hates her fiance. And when an unexpected event strikes the epicentre of her happiness, Evie is driven to gin and tonic. If she doesn't sort herself out, her liver and her bank manager will hate her. So when she's offered a luxury trip to the sensual city of Venice, with its shifting silver canals and rose and vanilla hued architecture, Evie jumps at the chance. Four days in the city of light and love is exactly what she needs. The sumptuous Grand Hotel, the gondolas, the wine, the Italian men...But within hours of Evie's arrival, her life is poised to change for ever...

Newton's Fire - Will Adams
Luke Hayward is adrift. Blacklisted out of academia, he is in no position to refuse when a client asks for his expert help in recovering some lost Isaac Newton papers. But a chance discovery in a dusty attic plunges Luke into a race to uncover the truth behind some seemingly random scribblings - a race which pits Luke against a fundamentalist madman with dangerously powerful friends. Luke discovers connections between Oxford, London and the Old City of Jerusalem in a breathless chase to uncover a secret hidden in the eccentric ramblings of a mathematical genius; a secret that, in the wrong hands, could be used to spark the holy war to end all holy wars.

The Husband List - Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly
A historical romance that evokes the glittering world of the Rockefellers and the Vanderbilts. New York City, 1894. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While they are off buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand, like the questionable Lord Bremerton. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all, Jack, an Irish-American with new money and no title. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love.

The Hunters - Chris Kuzneski
A team of renegades - an ex-military leader, a historian, a computer whiz, a weapons expert and a thief - financed by a billionaire philanthropist are tasked with finding a vast treasure lost nearly a century ago. Fearing a German victory in World War I, the Romanians signed a deal with the Russians to safeguard their national treasures. In 1916 two trains full of gold and the most precious objects of the Romanian state - paintings, jewellery from the Royal family, ancient Dacien artifacts - were sent to the underground vaults in the Kremlin, only to be lost after the Russian Revolution. With a haul valued at over $3.5 billion, everyone wants to claim the vast treasure, but its location has remained a mystery - until now.

Ultimatum - Simon Kernick
8am: an explosion rocks a London cafe. Minutes later a call is made to a local radio station: 'We've just detonated a bomb. Another will explode shortly to prove what we are capable of.' The government has until midnight to meet all of the terrorist demands before a far greater attack takes place. Sixteen hours is all DC Tina Boyd and Mike Bolt have to find and stop the killers - before it's too late.

Bianca - Bertrice Small
Florentine silk merchant Giovanni Pietro d'Angelo and his wife want nothing more than to marry their daughters to wealthy men of distinction. But when their son's dangerous indiscretion implicates him in a tragic accident, it is their eldest daughter who must pay the price. Blackmailed by the powerful and debauched Sebastiano Rovere, the Pietro d'Angelos must give beautiful Bianca in marriage to Rovere to buy his silence. It is the shocking murder of her husband that allows her to find the possibility of love at last. But Florentine society would never approve of the man she's chosen: Prince Amir, grandson of Memhet the Conqueror. Two passionate lovers...two different cultures...two worlds determined to keep them apart.

Do enjoy, won't you?

Monday, 26 November 2012

Planning your summer feasts #3

Celebrating three awesome Auckland eateries who've launched cookbooks this year. These books also give you a behind-the-scenes look at the experiences of those visionaries who set out to do something a little bit different in the Auckland foodie scene.

A life at Mudbrick : stories and recipes from Waiheke's famous Mudbrick Vineyard and restaurant by Robyn Jones. Over 20 years ago, Robyn & Nick Jones planted a small vineyard on Waiheke Island. This book details their journey and shares award-winning recipes from Mudbrick.

La Cigale : recipes and stories from the family who brought a slice of France to New Zealand by Elizabeth Lind. If you've not yet had the pleasure of perusing the French-style markets in Parnell, then you're missing a real treat. Get yourself along to experience a slice of France here in Auckland.

The Engine Room : No. 115 eatery by Natalia Schamroth and Carl Koppenhagen. Based in Northcote Point, this restaurant has become a drawcard for foodies across Auckland. My highlights from the cookbook include Ricotta Gnocchi with tomato basil sauce, Balinese Pork Belly with Tumeric Rice & Tamarind Salad and Salted caramel & chocolate tart.

Treat yourselves to a little bit of decadence & difference this Christmas, try out some of the delicious recipes on offer in these books. Be inspired by the people who've taken a different path to create the foodie magic.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Attack of the Munchies i.e. Zombies Take Over the World

I've recently developed a relationship with The Walking Dead.

And surprisingly I mean that quite literally.

Now I've never been much of a horror fan.  All that blood and guts and gore just freaks me out and not in a good way.  And yes I know it's kind of weird considering how much I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (BTVS), The Vampire Diaries (VD...mmm unfortunate acronym) and Supernatural.

Then again none of these shows have much to do with horror and instead are all about great characters, great story lines and great music.  The blood letting is in fact quite minimal, which is just the way I like it.  Gore has never been my thing and I've mostly kept away from anything stomach churning.  I know, it's very wussy of me and wuss that I am I've avoided watching The Walking Dead.

Until recently that is.

It's a love/hate relationship at best. 

I love the tension and excitement and some of the characters and hate all the rest... you know the blood and guts bits... of which there are several... which of course means that I generally watch the show with my eyes half covered and my fingers in my ears because yes the sound effects can be pretty yucky as well, all that squishing and oozing and splashing of blood well it's enough to give you nightmares... which again  means I generally watch this show in the daylight.

As I said it's all very wussy of me. 

As my good friend Xander (from BTVS) would say "I laugh in the face of danger and then I hide until it goes away"

Of course this new found love/hate of The Walking Dead has led to some rather strange conversations with my other half, such as me informing him that if he were to ever become a zombie I wouldn't hesitate to shoot him in the head, which he thought was a) rather sweet and b) just a tad worrisome...

I, of course, would probably be first on the menu.  The life of a wuss never ends well.

"After an epidemic turns people around the world into zombies, a police officer leads a band of survivors as they look for safety and try to find a cure."

Based on the hugely successful comic by Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead craze has taken over the world.  Gory it is, but it is also exciting and tension filled, with characters that you either loathe and wish the munchies would just take a bite out of or love and cheer on as they fight for survival.

A zombie movie that is funny too, featuring the always awesome Woody Harrelson as a gun-toting zombie slayer, a guess appearance by Bill Murray and Jesse Eisenberg as a wuss who learns to fight back.

Now this is my kind of zombie movie, violent yes but low on gore and with a sense of humour.

The Return Man / V. M. Zito.

"The outbreak tore the USA in two. The east remains a safe haven. The west has become a ravaged wilderness. They call it the Evacuated States. It is here that Henry Marco makes his living. Hired by grieving relatives, he tracks down the dead to deliver peace. Now Homeland Security wants Marco, for a mission unlike any other."

A serious zombie book, if you can have such thing, and one that is really good.

Outpost / Adam Baker.

"They took the job to escape the world, they didn't expect the world to end. A derelict refinery platform moored in the Arctic Ocean with a crew of 15 who must battle not only the elements but the hell that awaits them on the mainland."

Personally I think if a zombie apocalypse broke out, the last thing I want to do is to stay on the mainland and an oil refinery in the middle of nowhere sounds like a great haven to me, then again wuss here speaking so you'd know I'd be the first one heading for the hills if things went bad...

"The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. This is a firsthand account of the experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years."

Considered one of the greatest zombie books ever written this classic (can a book that is only 6 years old be considered a classic?) is now headed to the big screen with a highly anticipated release due out next year.

Rot and Ruin / Jonathan Maberry

"In a post-apocalyptic world where fences and border patrols guard the few people left from the zombies that have overtaken civilization, fifteen-year-old Benny Imura is finally convinced that he must follow in his older brother's footsteps and become a bounty hunter."

The first in a series of three this book aimed at teens but more than suitable for adults follows the tale of Benny a teenage zombie hunter and saviour of the world. 

And we thought our life as a teenager was hard.

"Forget stress balls: next time things get tough, express your feelings by ripping a zombie apart. No need to feel guilty about it afterward, either - fitted up with Velcro strips, its just as easy to put him together again. 8 full zombie characters are laid out here in neat little sets, each part knitted quickly and separately."

Feeling the need to cuddle up with your very own zombie, then look no further.  These zombie toys are the perfect Christmas present for that Goth Girl (or Guy for that matter).

"Easy to follow, step-by-step instructions show you how to fold simple origami paper into some of the most revolting creatures of the night. This origami crew of the undead includes Starvin' Marvin who hungers for a sip of fresh blood; Idle Hands, whose hands are no longer attached to his body and Suzie Gravemaker, everyone's favourite zombie mum!"

And the zombie craze continues with this origami book.  Why you would want to I have no idea but each to their own.

Zombies Hate Stuff / Greg Stones.

"Zombies hate clowns. They also hate hippies, penguins, nudists, weddings, and kittens but strangely don't mind Canadians. Each ghoulishly colorful painting reveals a funny and unexpected scene of zombie disgruntlement, cataloging the stuff that really riles up the walking dead with wit, humour, and, of course, brains."

Just when you thought the zombie craze couldn't get any stranger a book like this comes along. 

Forget about vampires, Zombies are taking over the world.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The world's most exciting kid's book.

Inventions by Adam Hart Davis

'If you've ever wondered why the pencil came into existence, or how a steam engine works, or when we started using flushing toilets, this book has all the answers. Based on seven key areas of invention, it tells the stories behind steam power, lighting, toilets, clocks, communication, bikes and flight, and how they are relevant to our world today.'

You know how pop-up books and books with tabs you can pull are more exciting than 'normal' books? Well this has the most exciting pully-tabs of any book I've even seen! It's completely interactive while still being educational. For example: I learned that a Pendulum was more than just a drum and bass group.

It's hard to describe how awesome this book is without looking at it so I recommend you get it out ASAP!

Monday, 19 November 2012

Planning your summer feasts #2

I can't go past planning for easy & delicious summer feasts without reaching for cookbooks written by Annabel Langbein.

In my opinion, Annabel Langbein is New Zealand's answer to Nigella Lawson. Annabel makes the recipes all seem completely do-able, no matter what your level of cooking ability is. She combines down-to-earth ingredients, with an occasional dash of unusual ingredients, to conjure up amazing feasts. She has nearly 20 cookbooks to her name, as well as the recent Free Range Cook TV series.

Her latest cookbook, Simple pleasures : the free range cook, features several recipes that I want to try out at upcoming summer BBQs, including Corn & Israeli Couscous Salad. If you're a fan of Pinterest, visit Annabel's page for ideas & photos to inspire you. You can also check out her website for more food ideas as well.

And with a tip of the hat to Nigella (since Whittakers have featured her in their recent TV promotions), I'm going to recommend Whittaker's passion for chocolate as the go-to present for all the chocoholics in your life. They will love you for it.

Friday, 16 November 2012

5 ways in which dogs are better than cats

"I am not a cat man, but a dog man, and all felines can tell this at a glance - a sharp, vindictive glance."
- James Thurber

Title: Why dogs are better than cats
Author: Bradley Trevor Greive (photographs by Rachael Hale)
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Pub.
Published: c2009

I'm not a cat person. Nor a dog person. Or, in truth, a child-friendly person. This isn't to say that I'm UNfriendly to any of the above. I just don't have strong feelings about them either way. I can take or leave animals and/or kids. Weirdly, this makes them like me more. It's like they can sense my feelings - or lack of them - and want to squish me that much harder (children I meet for the first time), jump on me that much more (dogs and cats I meet for the first time), and find ways to sneak into my room and put their mark all over my things. (Yes, Mr2, I'm talking about YOU). So do I truly believe dogs are better than cats? Irrelevant! The point is, this book's author does :) And here are 5 reasons (from the many) for why Monsieur Greive believes that dogs have oh so much more awesomeness than cats.

Are you a dog person? Or a cat person? OR a child person?

Dogs want love. Cats want fish
Dogs offer us such vast amounts of help and happiness and yet seek almost nothing in return.

Dogs have helped us explore our world and our universe
The heroic actions of dogs are the stuff of legend. Can you even imagine a cat saving you from drowning? How about dragging you out of a burning building? Or digging you free from an icy avalanche? I don't think so. Cats don't rescue anybody - they just get rescued. And they never ever say, "Thank you." (pages 168-171)

Dogs see you as a parent, partner, best friend, and soul mate
Cats see you as a source of warmth and food. (page 71)

Dogs are social, cats are sociopaths
The reason dogs surpass all other species is quite simple: They get people - they really do. It's been this way since dogs and humans first bumped into one another and thought, "Hey, this could work!" (page 61)

There is a dog for everybody
Dogs come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and most important, dispositions - from gentle giants to little dogs with big personalities. This canine cornucopia means that the perfect dog is out there to complement every single human being's personality and lifestyle. Regardless of where you live, no matter how noble your endeavours, or how twisted and shameful your secret quirks, there is a dog that is just right for you. I guarantee it. (page 29)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Music or How to Ease the Craziness of NaNoWriMo

I seem to be in a musical frame of mind lately.  Last week it was classic rock, this week it's the new artists and albums that I have been checking out and listening to over the past year.

I blame it all on the madness of NaNoWriMo which is currently making my brain so fried that the only thing I am capable of (other than writing) is listening to music.

Youtube is also partially to blame.  A click here, a click there and suddenly I'm busy checking out songs and artists that I have never heard of, all courtesy of the side bar which leds you to similar songs and artists etc. It's seriously addictive stuff.  And also a big time waster (i.e. procrastination...).

Sadly for me a lot of the songs I like aren't known and easily available on CD here which is such a pity as there is some really great music out there in Youtube land.

Still some of my favourite's are available and I've been giving them abit of thrashing in the last few months along with the classic rock featured last week and others.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

All Blacks in the kitchen.

NZ Rugby Kitchen : celebrating the love of food, family and rugby 
by the New Zealand Rugby Foundation. 

Take several All blacks, add over 150 recipes, combine with a charitable foundation. Mix well.

Featuring recipes from the likes of Richie McCaw, Piri Weepu, Dan Carter, Jerome Kaino, Ali Williams, Colin Meads, Andy Leslie and Graham Henry this book is sure to please a whole bunch of Kiwis. 

All the girls in the office have just agreed that an All Black cooking is extremely attractive so you should get this book out even if it's just to look at the pictures.

 I should probably point out the food looks really good too.

Good food, great All Blacks and it's for charity. I smell a best seller.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Review: Psychic Blues

Do you believe in psychics? Ever been to a mind, body, spirit fair and had your fortune told?

I'll put my hand up here - I used to be a believer. And in recent years, I've come to feel I've been conned. I once wrote two crime novels featuring a medium as detective. Now, I'm not even sure they exist.

Psychic Blues: Confessions of a Conflicted Medium, by self-confessed fraudster (and renowned psychic) Mark Edward, hasn't helped matters.

In an unusual take on the psychic autobiography, Mark Edward doesn't set out to convince his followers that supernatural powers are real and available to all. He freely acknowledges that he doesn't know anyone who's genuine, out of his vast range of contacts in the spiritual industries - including himself. Instead, he exposes the tricks and tactics used by tarot readers, mediums and psychics alike. Edward himself started out as an illusionist, branching out into psychic predictions when he saw it made more money. People are far more impressed when the trick is about them, than when you saw yet another screaming beauty in half. They know magic isn't real - but they're not sure about The Other Side.

Edward talks of those who are convinced they have real abilities, simply because they begin to believe their own stories. It's hard, he says, to withstand the constant adulation of your public, simply because your techniques happen to strike a chord with them. If you're good enough at psychology, and research, it's not hard to predict something eerily close to the truth. There's a fantastic story in here, of an Englishman of Mark's acquaintance, who once challenged a psychic who gave a reading for his wife, and told the psychic he could do an equally good job. The man was so successful he became a well-known medium himself - and doesn't believe in the other side at all.

This is bound to upset some of you. Disagreements over faith always will. And I admit, some of Edward's confessions are a bit hard to take. He talks about making up stories for gullible people, mocking them by performing readings using bananas, then announces he is not unscrupulous, as he will not keep people coming back for months, merely to milk them dry. He is a man with "integrity". Hmmm.

If you're considering visiting a medium, or want to know more about how things are done, however, Psychic Blues is well worth a read. The book is certainly amusing, especially when it discusses the foibles of the kooks and dollars-can't-buy-me-sense Californians who regularly cross his path. Edward's recommendation is to treat psychics as mere entertainment - if you go in without expecting to learn anything about your future, but to receive a bit of flattery and validation, that's the best course.

That needn't stop you pursuing an interest in the other side. There are a lot of shysters out there - but maybe, just perhaps, you have to rub a lot of crystal balls to find the diamond...

How about you? Are you a believer?

If you're interested in this book, I also recommend:
Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre
Haunting Violet - Alyxandra Harvey (a bit of fun)
Talking to the Dead: Kate and Maggie Fox and the Rise of Spiritualism - Barbara Weisberg
We Hear the Dead - Dianne K. Salerni
The First Psychic - Peter Lamont

Monday, 12 November 2012

Planning your summer feasts #1

With summer heading our way, and various holiday plans being hatched, now is the perfect time to pour over the cookbooks, plan some easy-to-put-together meals, write a shopping list, and maybe even think about giving great cookbooks for holiday presents.

I'm going to tempt you over the coming weeks with delights from some new Kiwi cookbooks.

Peter Gordon : everyday

I've long been a fan of Peter Gordon's food, so I was very happy to read through this one and be inspired several times over. The recipe for Banana and Coconut Fritters with Passionfruit Sauce is definitely on my list of recipes to try out this summer.

My favourite section of the books has to be Tea Trolley & Desserts. I'll be trying out Chocolate Ganache and Membrillo Tart with PX Cream (though I probably won't make my own sweet short-crust pastry) and Strawberry & Ginger-Beer Jellies.

The Food truck cookbook by Michael Van de Elzen.

I thoroughly enjoyed the TV series earlier in 2012 (the DVD is currently on order) , so am eagerly awaiting to get my hands on a copy of the book so that I can recreate some of the healthier versions of takeaways and fast food.

Let's see what I can tempt you with next week ...

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Rock On Supernaturally

"Driver picks the music.  Shotgun shuts his cakehole."  Dean Winchester from Supernatural.

You just knew that I would get around to doing this eventually, a post dedicated to Supernatural or least one aspect of Supernatural. 

If you've read any of my previous posts then you know that I am a HUGE fan and one of the reasons (and there's alot of reasons...) is that it features some of the best classic rock music around. 

I have gotten almost every song from the show loaded onto my MP3 player.  From foot-tapping, head banging rock songs to power ballads to good old fashioned blues, it's all there.

Don't you just love shows like this.  Shows that have great music that you just have to have and listen to again and again.

With Supernatural, every fan (of course) has their favourites.  My current top 5 (in no particular order) are
  • Thunderstuck by AC/DC
  • Carry On Wayward Son by Kansas
  • Wanted Dead Or Alive by Bon Jovi
  • Shambala by Three Dog Night
  • Locomotive Breath by Jethro Tull
Though if you were to ask me tomorrow this list would probably change, it's just so hard to pick just 5 as they are all so good

Strangely enough no one yet has thought to bring out an CD featuring music from the show.  I'm crossing my fingers that someday someone will.  After all if they can do soundtracks for Glee and Twilight surely a Supernatural soundtrack is a must.

Until that day comes why not try some of the following CD's to put you in that Supernaturally frame of mind and rock on.

Never really that big here, in the US Journey along with lead singer Steve Perry were mega popular, despite the fact that they never had a No. 1 single.

Their popularity, even today, can be shown in the fact that Don't Stop Believin' was the greatest selling song in itunes history.

My personal favourite is Who's Crying Now

Even though most of the band are nearing retirement age AC/DC are still considered one of the bands to see live. 

Hugely popular with rock fans around the world, their album Back in Black is the 2nd biggest selling album in music history, being beaten only by Michael Jackson's Thriller. 

Not bad for a group of Aussie boys.

I've been a Foreigner fan for a long time and it's no wonder with such great rock songs as Juke Box Hero, Double Vision and Cold As Ice as part of their discography. 

Again like Journey they were never really that big here, yet in the US they had 9 songs that reached the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

Who hasn't heard of Smoke on the Water.

Considered one of the greatest rock songs of all time and a song that pretty much every wanna-be guitarist learns, this classic rock song is familiar to many, even those that aren't rock fans, which is pretty amazing for a song that never even got into the top 20 let alone the top 10 on the Billboard charts.

I mentioned my love of this band in my very first post which goes to show how much I enjoy their music.

Still performing and producing albums, they have lasted more than 30 years in the business, continuing on after the tragic death of their lead guitarist as well as surviving alcohol addiction and a drummer who had to adapt his drum kit so he could continue playing after he lost an arm in a car accident.

Women can rock too and Heart have done this for almost 40 years.

The core of the band are sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson, Ann's the voice and Nancy the guitarist and together they have had 7 albums reach the top 10 on the Billboard charts and even had a No.1 hit song with These Dreams in 1985.

The Sound are one of the newest radio stations around.  

Dedicated to playing rock music from the 60's, 70's and 80's this compilation CD features such great rock songs as Don't Fear The Reaper by The Blue Oyster Cult, Dream Police by Cheap Trick and Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon.

Looking for some head banging rock?  Then look no further.  Pure Hard Rock is the CD for you.

Featuring classic rock and heavy metal songs by Alice Cooper, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Ted Nugent and many more there is something here for every fan.

The greatest hits of mullet rock has never looked so good.

Double shot blues

Blues is the grand daddy of rock.  Pretty much every rock artist and band have gained their inspiration and style from blues music.

Its changed and adapted over the years but blues still rocks on and this CD has features the likes of Janis Joplin, George Thorogood and the Destroyers, Robert Cray, The Allman Brothers and so many other great blues exponents.

If you've like some of the above you might also want to check out some (if not all) of the following bands: Black Sabbath, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Bad Company, ZZ Top, Jethro Tull, Kansas, Styx. Joe Walsh, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin.

Monday, 5 November 2012

See the world one drawing at a time

Nowadays when I travel, I tend to buy postcards to augment my collection of not-so-well taken photographs - so that I have at least a somewhat semi-interesting collection of visual reminders of my travels. While I used to sketch things from my travels when I was a kid, I didn't really ever take it further than childhood doodling.

I've recently discovered that there is a whole urban sketching movement. While it is sometimes about travellers sketching memories from their wanderings, more often than not, it's people wanting to visually capture a snapshot of the urban surroundings where they live & work & play.

What a cool idea. It appeals to my childhood memories of sitting down for a quick sketch, scratching my pencil across the page, collecting a one-off memory of a person, place or event.

Gabriel Campanario showcases different artists and different locations from around the world, to demonstrate the subtle & unique beauty of sketched art in The art of urban sketching : drawing on location around the world. It's made me want to dig out some of my old sketchbooks and perhaps even start a new one.

What would you capture in an urban sketch of Auckland?