Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Institute Review


The Institute by Stephen King

Children with telepathy or telekinesis are being kidnaped and taken to the Institute where the staff run tests and do experiments on them.  

I have read some reviews of this novel and it seems in most cases people either loved or hated it.  I'm more in the middle.  There are some very interesting ideas presented but there were points that I was not a fan of.  The characters you are introduced to first are, to me, the most interesting and well developed characters in the book.  But then they are dropped completely for a very long time.  Until you almost have to look back in the book to remind yourself who these people are when they reappear.  Then the story becomes about the kidnapped kids and what happens to them at the institute.  And the plot slows down to a crawl.  And I got a little bored waiting for it to go somewhere.  And when I did  find out the reason for the Institute I was a little confused why they would have chosen this convoluted, overly complicated and morally ambiguous plan to achieve their goals. Some of the characters were a little too simplified too.  One of the employees is afraid of a situation that was solved by a simple Google search.  The head of the institute is self-righteous and self-important to such extremes that by the end of the book she becomes slightly absurd.  Toward the end, when things start to happen, I did start to root for Luke and the other children and feel I was starting to get involved with the characters a little bit.  But it was too long in coming to redeem the book completely.  A lot of reviews also mention that King included some politics.  I remember that, but at the time I read it without a thought.  It didn't seem like a big deal to me and I don't think that should stop you from reading the book if you are interested.  I wouldn't say I would recommend this to someone as a good introduction to King but if you are already a Stephen King fan I do think it is still worth a read.

Friday, September 24, 2021

The Friday 56



* Grab a book, any book.

* Go to page 56.  Or 56% on your ereader. 

* Find a snippet, short and sweet.

* Post it and add the url to your post at Freda's Voice.

My book this week is Radio Free Albemuth by Philip K. Dick.  A book that was published posthumously in which Dick made himself  character where his friend starts getting messages from a mysterious unseen force called Valis.

My 56:

"You go along with them," I said, "and maybe your body lives, but your soul dies."

Which poses quite a dilemma for our hero.  As it has for countless other people.  What are you willing to give up to survive?

Sunday, September 12, 2021

I Love Noodles!

 I love noodles (especially Asian noodles) and peanut sauce.  So I was very happy when I found this recipe for Asian Peanut Noodles with Chicken on Skinny Taste.

So this time I came really close to following the recipe.  But.  Well, I never really use chicken breast for anything so I used thighs.  Also I used regular peanut butter.  So basically I changed everything that made it healthier so it wasn't so 'skinny' anymore.  But it was tasty.

There is a little prep work.  You need to cut the chicken into strips, grate some ginger, crush or mince some garlic and chop some peanuts.  But there isn't that much to do.  I shredded my own carrots because I had some in the fridge but you can buy some already shredded to save time if you want.  

The recipe says to boil the water for the noodles but it also says cook them according to the package directions.  Well, the package said to put them in really hot tap water.  So I did.  But they did not seem to be getting as soft as I wanted them so I did add boiling water to the bowl to help them along and that seemed to work.  The next hiccup I ran into was with the garlic.  Now, I know you are supposed to read the recipe all the way though before you start to cook.  But I didn't.  So when it said in the ingredients list to mince two cloves of garlic for the peanut sauce, I did,  But the directions say to add three cloves of crushed garlic.  I went with the two minced.  And the ingredients list for the chicken said four cloves.  And then it said to put the garlic in with the chicken strips.  So I put it all in with the chicken.  So when later it said to put two cloves in with the vegetables I thought that might be too much garlic so I didn't.  But maybe the intention was that half go in with the chicken and half with the veggies?  I might do it that way next time.  But what I did worked just fine. 

I chose to mix the veggies in with everything else.  I just found it easier that way.  I think it would have been a prettier dish if I put them on top.  But it certainly didn't hurt the flavor.  I will hold onto this recipe and make it again.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Take a Sail on a Tall Ship

 Do you live in Boson or are you going to be in Boston?  Then I suggest you look into a cruise on a tall ship.  

My husband and I were going to take a vacation.  We had all sorts of plans.  Things did not really work out on any of then.  Travel is still a little difficult and some things are still closed so we decided to stay home and do some local things.  I was actually looking at something else when I happened upon Liberty Fleet of Tall Ships.  

We had a choice of two ships.  I picked the bigger one.  The Liberty Clipper.  Just because.  I took the sunset cruise but there are other options available.  The tickets were $45 dollars each but I would suggest you get the weather coverage.  If they have to cancel the cruise due to weather you will get your money back.  If you do not have the weather coverage you will get a credit and be able to reschedule but sometimes (lets says for tourists that need to go home) that might not be an option.  Luckily I did not have need of it because it was a beautiful night.

There are bathrooms on board.  I never used them so I can't tell you what they are like but one of them is down a steep stairwell.  We were warned about it before getting on the boat but still as soon as we stepped on the boat a girl asked where the bathroom was and promptly fell down the stairs.  She was fine.  But I decided if I had to go I would use the other one.  They also have a cash bar on board.  I got a beer for $6.  I don't know what the hard liquor cost but you can buy drink tickets ahead of time for $6 so it might be the same price.

They will ask you to help them raise the sails.  You don't have to.  Not everybody can even.  But.  If it is anything like my cruise the guy will be telling people to line up and grab the rope and no one will.  I think partly people are not sure what he is asking of them and partly no one wants to be the first.  Go on.  Be the first.  That's all everyone else needs.  Someone has to be the first and everyone else will follow.  I had to be the first on my ship.  (Well, on my side of my ship.  I don't know what was going on on the other side of the ship.)  I don't know how much help I was in actually raising the sails.  But I do know we were not going anywhere until somebody grabbed that rope and was willing to help.  So, go ahead, be that someone.  And yell when they tell you to yell.  (If you can.  I was busy pulling sometimes and really couldn't.)  Participate.  It adds to the fun.

We didn't really go anywhere.  It wasn't a tour.  No one pointed out the sights and told you about them or gave you the history of anything.  We just sailed around the harbor for two hours.  But there were some beautiful sights and just being out there on the water was a really nice time.  I would suggest you bring a jacket, even if the weather is good when you take off.  It gets windy out on the water and I was glad I had one with me.  

It is something I will do again.  Maybe next time I'll take the I'll take the Cocktails, Rum and City Lights Cruise.  Who doesn't like rum on the high seas?