The Great Mozart Marathon: Episode 2


Mozart’s first violin sonata. This was his first composition for more than one instrument and it seems to me his first real attempt at a proper composition (though I’m no expert). The previous ones seem more like exercises in composition. (Yes, I know, he was 5 or 6, give the kid a break.)

I hated the first (Allegro) movement. The harpsichord just seemed to repeat ad-infinitum in the background. The second (Andante) movement, though, I enjoyed. Much more harpsichord movement and it seemed that the violin worked with it more instead of just hanging out in the same piece of music. Overall the piece is obviously much more advanced than the previous ones, so any sort of comparison (for me) is hard.

So, that’s all from me. Stay tuned for the next violin sonata…

Around the World in 205 Books


With my Great Mozart Marathon off and running it is time to introduce my next “project”.

I do quite a bit of reading (though I am pretty slow) but generally stick to fantasy and science fiction. And I generally stick to the more well-known (in the west) authors. Now, there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that, but I thought I would try to branch out a bit anyway. So, as the title of this blog entry suggests, I am going Around the World in 205 Books.

I’m reading The Scar by China Mieville at the moment (and loving it, BTW) but after that I’m going to find a book by an author from Afganistan because Afganistan is the first county in an alphabetical list. Or, failing that, a book set in Afganistan or… You get the picture. Then Albanian, Algeria, Andorra and so on. All the way to Zimbabwe. According to my list, which I found on the American State Department website, that is 205 countries. (Though somewhere else on the web said there were only 196 countries, so who knows. My list does include Taiwan, which technically isn’t a country, but I’m not sure where any other discrepancies might be, unless some new counties have formed recently.) Anyway, 205 it is.

After each book I’ll be doing a review. Or at least posting something about it. And I am not guaranteeing to finish every book. If it is crap I might just dump it and move on to the next country (and come back to that one later).

At this point, my choice for Afganistan is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. He does live in American but has the required background and, I have to say, there really weren’t all that many choices that I could find. If someone else has any suggestions, be sure to let me know. If there are any suggestions for the upcoming countries, let me know them as well.

If it comes down to a choice between two books that sound interesting I will be probably be leaning towards books by women, just because, and books that are shorter, for the obvious reason that I will probably be doing this thing for the rest of my life, (one a month is about 17 years…) especially since I will not just be reading books for this challenge.

So, let me know what you think. Offer some suggestions. Offer to accompany me on this wild and wonderful (and bloody crazy) journey.

The Great Mozart Marathon- Episode 1

So, it’s been a while since my crazy Year of Poetry ended and I was looking for something else to do. (I wasn’t actually, but you know.) So, now I have it, my new project. The Great Mozart Marathon.

What I will be doing is listening to every one of Mozart’s compositions chronologically. Well, that’s the plan. I will be looking for them on YouTube so I don’t have to pay, and it is quite possible (though unlikely) that I won’t be able to find some. If that happens I’ll see what else I can do. (If I miss any, please let me know.)

Now, I’m not an expert on any type of music and I picked Mozart ‘randomly’. (The other choices were probably Bach, Beethoven, Handel and Hayden. They seem like the big names to me though, as noted earlier, I’m not an expert.)

So, I’m starting right now with his first few short works.


I don’t want to keep saying “I’m not an expert” so I won’t and I’ll just have to hope that people coming along later pick up on that fact on their own.

But, to me, the jump in the maturity of the music after the first two piece is noticeable. (Admittedly, this could also be about the performance.) According to the website that I’m getting the list from ( the first ones were written in ‘Early 1761’. The rest were from Dec 1761 to Jan 1762. (All were written in Salzburg, which probably isn’t really relevant to the level of dissecting that I’ll be doing 🙂 .) Minuet in F and Allegro in F are probably my two favourites. (Maybe I just like F?)

Anyway, that’s it for today. Stay tuned for more episodes in the Great Mozart Marathon. These episodes will come along whenever I feel like it. I will not be trying to keep to any type of schedule with them. I will be announcing another ‘project’ ver soon as well. That will not be run like clockwork either.


Well, that was a longer break than I was hoping for.

I have been trying to finish the next draft of A History of Magic before posting, but I discovered that I have to write a whole new day (it is broken up into days) and so that is obviously taking a bit more time than expected. I am so close though. It’s frustrating…

So, anyway, I am, to announce the winners of the hardcopy of my soon (yes, we all know my version of ‘soon’ so don’t be holding your breath) to be available 366 Days poetry book made up from last years posts.

And, the winner is…

Zoe, from over at Zurk Poetry. Yay, let’s all hear it for Zoe. The odds were in her favor seeing she made more comments than anyone else over the year. And look how it paid off for her. She must be very excited about now. 🙂

So, the book will get made, and I shall send a copy out for Zoe, and of course announce it here so everyone can rush out and buy a copy for themselves. But before that, you can still get one of my novels, and A History of Magic is coming. Hopefully it won’t be too far away.

And I will post here more often. I have a poem I’m playing with at the moment, so that will be up before the end of the weekend, I promise. Now, to work…

Poetry (Day 366): Zero Sum

So, here it is. The last day of my marathon.

I think there were four days where I missed a post. Once, I was in hospital. Once, I was working until midnight and posted a poem at about 12:30am. And yes, that leaves twice that I must have just plain forgotten. I remember one of those occasions, I can’t remember the other. But I made up for it every time with two poems soon after. (The next day on three occasions, about three days with the hospital thing, seeing I was recovering from pneumonia.)

All up, I’m going to say I succeeded. So, woo hoo. I did it.

Next year I’m going to do even better. I’ll make sure I don’t miss any… Huh, who am I kidding? There will be no next year. I intend to write more poetry, but my other writing has suffered because of the poetry so I’m not going to commit to anything at all. Maybe it will be more like one a week or something.

Either way, today is your last chance to enter the competition. (Okay, I’ll give you until the end of the January). Reblog, share or tweet any of my posts or comment to go in the draw. I haven’t started working on the illustrations yet, but it will happen as soon as I finish the current draft of my latest book. A few weeks, hopefully. So, while you are waiting for that, you could go and check out my novels on Amazon. I like to think they are well worth the money.

Or just come and say hello. Tell me you poetic highlights for the year For those who have visited regularly, I thank you and I hope you keep coming back.

And here it is, poem number 366. I was going to do something about beginnings and endings, and it kinda is…



Zero Sum



They say it is better
to die on your feet
than live on your knees.
But life, despair, hope
are not zero sum games
and you are
a long time dead.

Poetry (Day 365): Going Back

So, apparently, I had two Day 280’s. I’m just letting you know, in case you were worried or anything.– I’m not actually going to change anything (other than putting the right number today.)


And here is that correctly number poem for you.



Going Back


Driving back to a place
that once, long ago,
felt like home.
Road winding past
the old mill, the
swimming hole, the
school. I knew it all
so intimately
when I was young,
like a prisoner knows every
brick of his cell. But now
the memories are just a movie,
playing unnoticed
in the background of my life.