Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin

A Song for the Dark Times (2020) is the 23rd Rebus book by Ian Rankin.

I’ve read them all.

This one is as good as ever. Despite Rebus being long retired. I said goodbye (the first time) in 2007 with Exit Music.

Rebus had to move to ground floor residence as he can no longer do stairs. And he keeps his inhaler at the ready.

Brexit looms. But there’s no talk of COVID-19.

When his daughter Samantha calls in the dead of night, John Rebus knows it’s not good news. Her husband has been missing for two days.

Rebus fears the worst – and knows from his lifetime in the police that his daughter will be the prime suspect.

He wasn’t the best father – the job always came first – but now his daughter needs him more than ever. But is he going as a father or a detective?

My brother Randy linked to this video of a recent discussion of aging characters: Rebus v Harry Bosch.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Amazon, Apple, education, Google, internet, things getting better

Online education SUCKS

There’s no way online classes will be as bad in 2025 as they are today.

I expect Google, Apple, Amazon to be amongst the companies disrupting the current expensive American College system.  Taking their money. 

But it’s this organization — Outlier — that won a Time magazine BEST inventions of 2020 award.

At least they are trying to improve the experience.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Code to Zero by Ken Follett

Code to Zero (2000) … follows Luke, an amnesic who spends the duration of the book learning of his life, and slowly uncovering secrets of a conspiracy to hold America back in the space race.

It’s set in 1958.

Luke wakes up in a men’s room with no recollection of his past.

His clothing, associates and surroundings suggest to him that he is an alcoholic derelict, however his behaviour, intelligence, morals and instinct lead him to investigate and research his past. 

As always with Follett, the plot is intriguing. The love story passionate.

There was talk of a TV adaptation, but I’m not sure that happened.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Miquel Benitez/REX Shutterstock (4700397d) Ken Follett the day before Sant Jordi’s Day Ken Follett press conference, Barcelona, Spain – 22 Apr 2015
cycling, health & fitness, hiking

I HATE Running

But days are too short in November – January in Canada to do multi-day hiking or cycling trips. I’m stuck with it.


Right now I’m alternating:

  • Runs up to an hour. Up to 10km.
  • Stairs series
  • 100m sprint intervals

For runs I head off from home towards my favourite park. Turn around at the half way point in time / distance.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.


Click PLAY or watch running Parksville in the Spring on YouTube. Flowers!

Click PLAY or watch running Bermuda on YouTube.


The Code (Aussie TV series)

Because I enjoyed Australian TV series Pine Gap, I went looking for more.

The Code — season 1 2014 — is a six-part series set in both outback and metropolitan areas of Australia.

Very intense.

Fantastic ending.

The main story is brothers Ned (Dan Spielman) — a journalist — and Jesse Banks (Ashley Zukerman) — a hacker — who publish a video of a mysterious outback accident.

Zukerman’s performance a socially dysfunctional genius is impressive and emotional. He was nominated Best Lead Actor in a Television Drama in 2014 in the Aussie AACTA Awards.

I’ll definitely watch season 2.


A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

I was keen to get my hands on this book.

The author won the 2020 Hugo Award for her debut novel A Memory Called Empire (2019).

Arkady Martine is the pen name of AnnaLinden Weller, a historian and city planner in New Mexico.

AnnaLinden was a SciFi geek from a young age. A big reader too.

The book starts well.

A young female ambassador is sent from tiny Lsel Station to the home planet of the Teixcalaanli Empire.

She’s a fish-out-of-water. Unsophisticated. But with a secret technology.

I was hooked.

But about half way through I was tempted to give up. The palace intrigue not intriguing enough for me.

Not enough action.

Most people love this book. I made it through. But I won’t continue with the inevitable sequel.

related – The Verge – A Memory Called Empire is a brilliant blend of cyberpunk, space opera, and political thriller

books, movies

Girl in the Spider’s Web (film)

I liked the book — The Girl in the Spider’s Web — and finally got around to watching the 2018 film version.


It stars Claire Foy in the role of Lisbeth Salander and follows Salander as she battles against a mysterious notorious organization, the Spiders, who seek world dominance. …

box-office bomb, … mixed reviews from critics, although Foy’s performance was praised.

Lisbeth Salander is one of the great characters of modern fiction. She’s been played by Noomi Rapace, Rooney Mara, and Claire Foy. All 3 superb, in different ways.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

related – Which Actress Is the Best Lisbeth Salander: Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, or Noomi Rapace?

Apple, video

my NEW MacBook Pro

A Mac geek, I sagely advised Rockin’ to NOT buy a first generation product.

Get the MacBook Air. It’s enough computer for 99% of the world.


Myself? I ordered a first generation SILICON MacBook Pro day 1. It costs CAD $400 more than the Air.

So far, I’m thrilled. 😇

It’s a speed demon.

The 1% who need the Pro are those wanting to video edit in 4K. Drinkin’ the fanboy Kool-Aid.

Click PLAY or watch a review on YouTube.


Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan


Based on a true story. 

Tom Holland will play the lead in the Hollywood movie adaptation.

For some reason I’d never thought about Italy during WW II — before reading this book.

Pino Lella wants nothing to do with the war or the Nazis. He’s a normal Italian teenager—obsessed with music, food, and girls—but his days of innocence are numbered. When his family home in Milan is destroyed by Allied bombs, Pino joins an underground railroad helping Jews escape over the Alps, and falls for Anna, a beautiful widow six years his senior.

In an attempt to protect him, Pino’s parents force him to enlist as a German soldier—a move they think will keep him out of combat. But after Pino is injured, he is recruited at the tender age of eighteen to become the personal driver for Adolf Hitler’s left hand in Italy, General Hans Leyers, one of the Third Reich’s most mysterious and powerful commanders.




Pine Gap (TV series)

Pine Gap is a 2018 Australian television series …

… set around the Australian and American joint defence intelligence facility at Pine Gap, south-west of the town of Alice SpringsNorthern TerritoryAustralia.

In fact, I tried it on Netflix because I’d never made it to Alice Springs as a tourist.

Pine Gap is an actual U.S. / Australian satellite surveillance base. The TV series is based around a real thing.

Quite good. Sounds like there might be a season 2 in the works. I’ll probably watch it.

Mark Leonard Winter as Moses Dreyfus, an autistic geek, was easily my favourite character. But many of the personalities are engaging.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.