War Trash by Ha Jin. Novel about a Chinese Korean War soldier who's captured and held in US prisoner of war camps. Feels very much like a memoir: written in the first person in a low key manner without undue drama. Despite that read it in nearly a single sitting: the events follow quickly enough that it feels very fast paced, and it's written in a very simple, lucid English.
An interesting read because of the subject matter: not often you hear views from the neglected side of this neglected war. The prisoners are forced to choose between being repatriated to Mainland China or to Taiwan: the camps are bitterly divided between the two factions and to choose either has dangers in the near and long term. Worth a look.
Downsides: might feel a bit cold for some. The bit where he abandons hope of reuniting the girl he's been waiting years for is handled in a few dispassionate sentences. Suspect it was supposed to hint at a grief too great for expression. Since I'm not what you'd call a passionate man, at the time it just seemed to me that he was just not that into her.
What I'm Watching
Saw "Transformers" at the cinema. Thought it was pretty good, though I was too old for the toys so my childhood remains safely untramplable by Michael Bay. (George Lucas pretty much crushed it into pancakes anyway).
Liked the robot designs and the transformations. The robots really seemed to have a feeling of weight, I think helped by the fact they weren't so big that the physics was completely ludicrous. Fortunately cars, trucks, helicopters, tanks and aeroplanes are small enough to move fairly rapidly. The transformations seemed geometrically possible, and I liked the intermediate half-transformed action too.
Mixed feelings about the action: did like the TV-news style fragmentary style where you get to see brief flashes of action from a particular viewpoint. On the other hand, it did make it a bit tricky to follow what was actually happening.
Human-stuff: about what you'd expect: fairly dull but not actually excruciating. Would have liked to see a bit more about the characters of the Decepticons, though it was a bit too long as is.
Worth seeing if you like action movies.
Operation Don't Get Fatter
11st6 the same as last week: hopefully two weeks in a row means the reading is true.
Have used up most of the Meal Replacement Bars, but still have
a load of the milkshake powder left due to the buy-one-get-one-free.
Seems a bit wasteful to throw it out.
Suffering various annoying household things.
The washing machine has been leaking water in the draining parts of the cycle. Normally that means the pipes are clogged up, so I had to drag it out and clean up a hideous mess of water, soap remains, and the remains of old rat droppings from behind it; then Mr Muscle the drain pipe, after which it seemed to run clean.
Even then though, it still leaked water when I did the next load. Found a bit more water in an overflow container which I've now drained, and de-gunked a filter-thingy; but don't think they were causing the problem. Will have to hassle the landlady if it's still leaking on the next cycle. Wish I wasn't so useless at all this practical shit.
Also suffering yet more coffee-machine woes. Managed to drop a small jar
of sandwich paste from the cupboard, which with almost laser-guided precision
hit just on the top rim of the glass
jug carafe, shattering
the whole thing.
The Morphy Richard site has the replacement part listed as both "Out of Stock" and "Available to buy online". Not sure what that means: is there just going to be a delay if I order it? Or will they take my money and never deliver anything, leaving me coffee-machineless for weeks when I could be buying a new one? Gah.
Also, while there's been no sign of rats, mice or slugs for ages; I do have a bunch of ants. I've got powder and spray, but they only seem to climb walls for brief stretches in the kitchen; so don't see where to lay the powder and not poison myself. Homebase has traps which I might try, but it says they're for black ants and these are medium brown. Double gah.
Been feeling kind of down and antisocial lately. Maybe it's the hot weather. Have some time off soon though.
Distraction game. Good chance for only children to get the Sibling Experience.
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