Archive for September 24th, 2004

September 24th, 2004

For John



September 24th, 2004

Ou est le Centre de George Pompidou

So I was in Paris (again) for a couple of days at great personal inconvenience. I like Paris, but I am not always the best single treveller in the world. That tends to exhbit itself by me not talking to anyone outside of business relationships and by me eating alone. This time was no different and I ended up having Mexican food both nights.

Mostly this was because I was out by Place de Bastille and there were lots of Americain themed restaurants in the area and one does what one can. I had to change hotels on wed as there was a fashion show a car show and soemthing else on at the same time and Paris was absolutely mobbed. On Thurs the RER emptied at Parc Des Expositions and not at the airport as one would usually expect. The first Hotel was ok 2 stars and only 68 euros a night. The second Hotel was 3 stars and 110 euros a night. Breakfast in the 2 star hotel was better.

The walk from the Bastille towards Notre Dame, the Louvre and the River is pretty good, especially if one has a passing interest in History. The Palace des Vosges, Hotel du Sully, Place Louis XIII and Bld Henry IV all just ooze history and XVI and XVII century atmosphere.

And of course the Pompidou Centre, which I have never been in because I only ever seem to come across it on random walks of Paris and almost always on a Tuesday, when it is closed. As it was this Tuesday and I didn’t have time to see it on Wed either. Next time…

I brought back some chocolate for the WAR group and whskey for the flat.

As for the title. Anyone young enough to remember zig and zag

“Roses are red, violets are blue

Mais ou est le Centre de George Pompidou”…

September 24th, 2004

Adrian has put up some photos from graduation here is Dr Skitz from ssmh

and a WAR group shot

Back: Michael, Neville

Front: Ronan, Nicola, Eduardo

September 24th, 2004

Cracking the Da Vinci Code

[puts on an absurd smile]

That was a well-plotted piece of nonclaptrap that never

made me want to retch.

Sideshow Bob: The Return of Sideshow Bob

Finally got around to reading the Da Vinci Code and I must remember in the future to put Sean in the same category for recommending books as Ronan is in for recommending movies. I can’t think of any good things to say about the book, which seemed to have no redeeming features at all.

I had my doubts about it from the start – especially when 1 of the reviews said “a cliffhanger in almost every chapter” and another referred to the many and amazing plot twists (not a direct quote I don’t have a copy with me and as I plan on never picking the book up again I will probably not put a direct quote here). And whats worse they are both true. If a chapter doesn’t end in a cliffhanger (often on a fairly small cliff) then a short 1-2 page chapter is inserted to move the “plot” along, insert “tension” and provide the missing cliffhanger. This pads the novel out to greater than 100 chapters in less than 600 pages. See I can’t even remember how many pages were in the book – and I am not going to try very hard to remember

And for a novel with maybe 2-5 major and 7-8 minor ones and one dead one all but 3 of them undergo some kind of transition in the book from good to bad or from bad to duped. It was freaking ridiculous. On top of that the characters were ALL stereotypes and not even one-dimensional. Even the locations were stereotypical. The Louvre and the Ritz in Paris, Westminster Abbey in London. I hope they all end up in a Douglas Coupland Novel and have BAD things happen to them (as opposed to the bad thing of being a character in the Da Vinci Code)

The main plot point in the book is the quest for the Holy Grail. And the whole nutjob conspiracy theory stuff about the grail myth is well presented if a bit (read a lot) simplified. I’m not inserting any spoiler warnings here as something would at some stage have to be fresh or new to go spoiled and this book ain’t one of those things.

Jesus marries Mary Magdelane and after some unpleasantness she and the kids flee to France. Eventually they marry into the Merovingian dynasty. After that you can choose whether they stay part of the European Royal bloodlines or not (Brown chooses the latter). In either case the Templars and the Priory of Sion (and the rest) are established either to protect the bloodline or kill it off. Are you with me so far. good explaining this is at least 1/3 of the book.

So the present day and the heroine (well the female protagonist) is the last surviving member of a special family. But not the bloodline of Jesus as she doesn’t have the correct last name. Except she is because her last name was changed to hide her identity just as it had been MANY TIMES PREVIOUSLY (e.g. when the Merovingian dynasty almost died out).. Not to mention the odds of any family identifiably surviving the 2000 years to the present day are pretty astronomical. I mean, look how Royal English/British dynasties changed since 1066. And I thought Jews were Matrilineal so how does that fit into a Patrilineal system like feudal kings in Western Europe.

And thats it, the main plot twist is that the “Sophie is the Holy Grail” plot line is rejected as her last name is incorrect but that was just a ploy and she is of the bloodline of Jesus after all.. Apparently Brown has written 3 other books that aren’t as good as this. PAH!

I really really hope that Opus Dei hunt down and do bad things to Dan Brown, not because they are treated particularly badly in the book (even though the are) but because

1) It would confirm their status as a secret dangerous organization

2) Stop people writing crap about them in books and

3) Stop Dan Brown writing crap books about anything.