Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Personal Spending Downfalls

I have been scrupulously saving money lately, because I have an important financial goal looming. And because it's so important to me, there are sacrifices that I am willing to make. But there are a couple of things that tempt me and that are harder for me to give up.

Eating out is a big one, since Joe and I often meet up in the evenings. We have been working on that one together, and trying to eat in more at his place or mine.

Books have also been a difficult thing. I do love nice vintage copies of classics, and I have run into some lovely ones lately. I need to stop looking, that would help immensely.

One thing that has been easier to give up has been my special coffee. I can drink coffee for free at work, and also, staff members give each other cards for a "job well done" that add up and you can spend at with our barista. So that's become a treat rather than the norm.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Book Review: King Solomon's Mines

Does anybody else remember the extremely cheesy Allan Quartermain movies starring Richard Chamberlain that came out in the mid-eighties? Horrid. They were a complete rip-off of Indiana Jones. And, let's face it, how could anyone measure up to Harrison Ford? So really, they are best forgotten altogether.

I say this in introduction, because I almost skipped King Solomon's Mines in book form due to a lousy film adaption. I should know better.

Having a long drive makes it nice to listen to books. Having a smartphone with free downloads of many classics makes it even better. I was in the mood for a bit of adventure, so I began with the 1885 H. Rider Haggard classic.  Here's what I learned: the actual ripper-offer was Indiana Jones. I suppose the makers of the Indy movies would say they were paying homage to the Haggard series, and that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. And, all in all, the Indy movies certainly are a much better "adaptation" of the books.

King Solomon's Mines is set in southern Africa and is a tale of the quest of a man to find his lost brother, who had been searching for the infamous diamond mines of lore. On the trek, the band of three white men and a party of natives, face starvation, dehydration, heatstroke, freezing temperatures, hostile natives, a tribal war and a treacherous fiend of an old woman.  Allan Quartermain is not, I repeat not, tall, dark, nor handsome, and describes himself as a bit of a coward who would rather stay out of trouble. But he ends up in the midst of the fray and is a bit of a hero, planned or not.  The only love story is of the brief longing, inexpressible romance between the white captain and a black Kukuana girl. It is dealt with in a surprisingly understanding manner (for that era) and while the romance can go nowhere, it is not condemned outright by his companions.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike many books of the late 1800s, it is written in very common English and was easy to listen to, without feeling as though I needed a dictionary nearby. By chapter 2, I was hooked, and waiting for my next trip to work. The series was wildly popular among the lesser educated masses when it was written, and I leave you to draw your own conclusions about my enjoyment.