Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Audio books on Kindle

Audible are giving away 1 free audio book - you've probably seen the ads as they are everywhere.  Well I downloaded Stephen Fry's Chronicles onto my Kindle.

The book was great, they service seems good, and the offer genuine, but the user experience was a nil out of ten.

The navigation on the kindle for the audio book was practcally non-existant. 

I read in bed.  The kindle is great for that - no heavy book, and when the kindle flops over because I have fallen asleep it turns itself off and remembers where I've read to even if I don't.

The audio book keeps on reading to you - it needs no time lapse of inaction to assume you're no longer paying attention.  So you wake up with someone speaking into you ear and you have no idea what's going on.  There's a jumble of wires around your head, and you yank out the headphones when your arms flail about thinking something is wrong.  Then when you come to yourself and realise it's just Stephen Fry getting to an interesting bit, you don't know what you have missed, don't know where you fell asleep and you are torn between spending the next 10 minutes trying to find your place, by which time you'll be thoroughly awake, or going back to sleep and staring all over again tomorrow.

I hated it.  But I enjoyed the bits I did hear so much that I'll get the book, either in kindle or hard copy. 

The audible offer does allow you to choose the device you download to, so perhaps I should have chosen the PC or ipod.

I'm not sure how a device can tell you have fallen asleep.  But anyway there should be better nav.  A chapter listing would at least let you go back to the last chapter.

Rant over, I'm off to draw a caterpillar.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Sphingidae caterpillar

Just uploaded this to the Sphingid page.  We haven't had very good butterfly weather recently - too much wind and rain.  Today it is pouring again.  Oh well off to the wet woods with a delighted dog.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Octopus by A C Hilton

I've been up to my eyes in emails, gardening and trying to catch and photograph a male scorpion fly.  I've seen a few males, but have yet to catch one.  I've given up trying to photograph them outside as I cannot get anywhere near enough. Oh well, now time to veg out on the sofa and watch a prog called The joy of stats. - oxymoron if I ever saw one! 

To relax I've been reading the Faber book of comic verse, and came across this.
The Octopus by A C Hilton

              Strange beauty, eight-limbed and eight-handed,
                 Whence camest to dazzle our eyes?
              With thy bosom bespangled and banded
                  With the hues of the seas and the skies;
              Is thy home European or Asian,
                  O mystical monster marine?
              Part molluscous and partly crustacean,
                  Betwixt and between.

              Wast thou born to the sound of sea trumpets?
                Hast thou eaten and drunk to excess
            Of the sponges -- thy muffins and crumpets,
                Of the seaweed -- thy mustard and cress?
            Wast thou nurtured in caverns of coral,
                Remote from reproof or restraint?
            Art thou innocent, art thou immoral,
                Sinburnian or Saint?

            Lithe limbs, curling free, as a creeper
                That creeps in a desolate place,
            To enroll and envelop the sleeper
                In a silent and stealthy embrace,
            Cruel beak craning forward to bite us,
                Our juices to drain and to drink,
            Or to whelm us in waves of Cocytus,
                Indelible ink!

            O breast, that 'twere rapture to writhe on!
                O arms 'twere delicious to feel
            Clinging close with the crush of the Python,
                When she maketh her murderous meal!
            In thy eight-fold embraces enfolden,
                Let our empty existence escape,
            Give us death that is glorious and golden,
                Crushed all out of shape!

            Ah! thy red lips, lascivious and luscious,
                With death in their amorous kiss,
            Cling round us, and clasp us, and crush us,
                With bitings of agonised bliss;
            We are sick with the poison of pleasure,
                Dispense us the potion of pain;
            Ope thy mouth to its uttermost measure
                And bite us again!