Monday, March 21, 2011

Episode 910: Eventful Day!

It's been an eventful day. Stayed up till past 1 am to finish Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl, which I really enjoyed (the book, not staying up), although I did think the ending was too precipitous and would've liked more closure for some of the characters. If Bacigalupi ever writes a sequel though, or another novel set in the same biopunk universe (as some of his short stories apparently are), I'm so there. Was woken up by a text from Sarah Adamson, asking if I'd be in to do administrative work for Kidz Klub. Completely slipped my mind to check on Sunday, but since it's the holidays, I manned up and got out of bed. Didn't realise there was no one in the building when I got to church though, so I triggered the alarm and had no idea how to turn it off. Worst possible timing ever, as it was lunchtime and people weren't picking up when I called. In the end, Anne came over from the vicarage and deactivated it. While I wasn't massively terrified during those five or so minutes, I was wondering if police were going to show up and I'd have to explain that I was not in fact breaking into a church. That would have been awkward, wouldn't it? Got all the stuff done though, so that was okay at least.

Also found out this morning that Poetry Quarterly have launched a journal exclusively for haiku, called (what else, really?) Haiku Journal. Not sure I agree entirely with the layout of the online issue, which is a tad too spartan for my liking, but it gives a lot of white space that is admittedly rather appropriate for this particular form. I am quite pleased, however, that they insist on a strict 5/7/5 syllabic count for submissions. I'm not one of those people who uphold the argument that haiku written in English need to be condensed into even less syllables to achieve the economy of expression you get in Japanese. In some things, I am an unashamed formalist. So I sent off a couple of haiku, including that one with the word 'anthocyanin' in it, which I wrote for David Morley's session where he told us to print off the poem and display it somewhere on campus. That's the one the editor(s) accepted, which I'm very happy about. Publication is on a rolling basis, with a new issue being started once 50 poems have been published. Last time I checked, there were only a dozen in Issue 1, so it's worth submitting if haiku are your thing. Go here to do that.

Finally, I just want to say that as a company, Amazon might be behaving terribly and abusing its market position, but it sure knows how to treat its consumers right, which is why I guess you don't hear consumers making much noise about it. To illustrate, consider my latest battle to find the 5th Anniversary Edition of Ted Dekker's White. I bought this together with a bunch of other Dekker books, including the 5th Anniversary Editions of Black and Red, which come with the graphic novel versions of the story attached at the end. Amazon UK currently advertises the same edition for White as being in stock, but today, my replacement copy for the book I originally received that was not this edition also turned out to be just an ordinary paperback edition. I sent a politely-worded e-mail to Amazon UK, suggesting that if they didn't actually have it in stock, it was somewhat disingenuous to have it listed in their catalogue. To which I received an apologetic e-mail, informing me that I should send the book back, for a full refund this time, since the problem was likely to be at the fulfilment centre and posting another replacement to me wasn't going to address the issue, which was going to be investigated. Loads of companies could learn a thing or two from Amazon's customer service, I think. Am still a bit annoyed that I can't get the right edition of White to complete my Dekker collection though, so I might have to get it from a third-party seller. Or just buy the full-colour omnibus edition?

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