My Soul to Take by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

Yrsa, born 1963, is an Icelandic author.

My Soul to Take is the 2nd book in her Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series.

Perhaps my last. Too many characters. Too complicated.

The killer revealed in a way that would not impress Agatha Christie.

Like the first book, the plot sounded interesting.

In the mystical Snæfellsnes region on Iceland’s west coast – at a New Age health resort in a renovated farmhouse – the body of a young woman is discovered, savagely beaten, with pins inserted into her feet.

Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, lawyer and single mother of two, has been retained to represent the resort’s owner and prime suspect.

But a fresh corpse is not the only abomination Thóra encounters here – for local legend says this place is haunted, and a bizarre series of inexplicable occurrences soon suggests it is so.

As Thóra digs deeply into the farm’s past, she unearths a shocking history of evil and depravity, and her once-solid view of reality begins to waver.

But a second murder, shockingly similar to the first, pulls Thóra back to earth by making two inescapable truths abundantly clear: the killer she seeks is very real and is not finished yet.

Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling

The ultimate party song.

Tonight’s the night (hey), let’s live it up (let’s live it up)
I got my money (I’m paid), let’s spend it up (let’s spend it up)
Go out and smash it (smash it), like, “Oh my God” (like, “Oh my God!”)
Jump out that sofa (come on), let’s kick it, off (a fee-)
Fill up my cup (drink), mazel tov (l’chaim)
Look at her dancing (move it, move it), just take it, off (a fee-)
Let’s paint the town (paint the town), we’ll shut it down (shut it down)
Let’s burn the roof (ooh-woo), and then we’ll do it again

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Sad Cypress by Agatha Christie,

… first novel in the Poirot series set at least partly in the courtroom, with lawyers and witnesses exposing the facts underlying Poirot’s solution to the crimes.

The title is drawn from a song in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. …

One reviewer remarked “it is economically written, the clues are placed before the reader with impeccable fairness, the red herrings are deftly laid and the solution will cause many readers to kick themselves.” …


Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

An Afternoon in Florence

Hmm …

I debated taking the short train ride to revisit Florence, one of the most popular tourists cities in the world.

And on a sunny Saturday in May?

A hot, crowded tourist trap. The over-priced attractions were all lined-up and impossible to enter. BEST book your tickets online.

The one place I wanted to pay to visit was the Boboli Gardens. But the line-up at the ticket wicket was too much for me.

My favourite stop was Michelangelo Square, for the panoramic vista.

If you are some sort of puritanical prude, convinced you’ll burn in Hell if you see God’s creation without clothing — don’t come to Florence.

Michelangelo Gay porn is everywhere. 😀

I did my own walking tour of the major plazas and oldest bridge, Ponte Vecchio.

As a fan of statuary, Florence is a terrific outdoor gallery.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

On the advice of the waiter at a chic eatery 😀 called Porks in the central market (Mercato Centrale) in Florence, I had Tagliatelle with Amatriciana sauce for lunch. Better than Bolognese, I thought.

Amatriciana sauce on Tagliatelle

An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten

Five connected stories.

Maud is an irascible 88-year-old Swedish woman with no family, no friends, and… no qualms about a little murder.

… funny, irreverent story collection by Helene Tursten …

Ever since her darling father’s untimely death when she was only eighteen, Maud has lived in the family’s spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg rent-free, thanks to a minor clause in a hastily negotiated contract. …

Now in her late eighties, Maud contents herself with traveling the world and surfing the net from the comfort of her father’s ancient armchair. It’s a solitary existence, and she likes it that way.


Vancouver’s 1st POD hostel

I’ve stayed in a number of pods over the years.

BEST was in the Canary Islands – Atypicap Capsule Hostel. USD $26.15 / night.

The worst nation in the world for accommodation options is Canada. And Vancouver one of the most expensive cities.

So I was enthusiastic to try the new Panda Pod Hotel near the airport.

Reviews are pretty good on TripAdvissor.

It’s ideal for someone who has a layover at the Vancouver airport — and who wants to get some sleep and a shower.

I’ll definitely be staying there in future.

Easy transportation via train.

Cost is about USD $61. Expensive for a hostel bed, but not expensive compared with other options in Vancouver. A friend got a room in a Richmond AirBnB for not much more, however.

It’s one big room full of independent bunk beds. A bit crowded.

Luggage storage is convenient. First item free, second piece will be charged at $5 per night per item. HOWEVER — they won’t store a bike or bike box. I had to take a taxi back to the airport and check it into airport luggage storage. (Maximum 48 hours).

The Perfect Assassin by Patterson & Sitts

James Patterson partnered with Brian Sitts to reboot the Doc Savage stories from the 1930s and 1940s.

In the NEW book (2022) — Dr. Brandt Savage, a professor of anthropology is kidnapped off the street by the enigmatic Meed and is schooled in the fine art of assassination

In fact, Meed makes him something of a superman. Physically and mentally transformed.

But why?

Brandt is the great-grandson of the original Doc Savage. He has the right genetics to do what Meed needs him to do.

YES. It’s dumb. The plot makes no sense. Like the original pulp fiction, perhaps.

Detectorists – season 1&2

A most British comedy. 😀

Bad teeth and all.

96%+ on Rotten Tomatoes.

… The plot revolves around the lives, loves and metal-detecting ambitions of Andy and Lance, members of the Danebury Metal Detecting Club. …

The show ran for three series from 2014 to 2017, including a 2015 Christmas special. A further Christmas special aired in 2022. …

Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times “can’t recommend it enough”, saying: “Like the ordinary lives it magnifies, Detectorists has the air of seeming to be small and immense at once, to be about hardly anything and almost everything. It is full of space and packed with life.” …


Diana Rigg had a funny role in this series. Sadly, she died in 2020.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

I’ll bet you can’t pronounce Yrsa Sigurðardóttir. 😀

Yrsa, born 1963, is an Icelandic author.

Last Rituals (2005) is the first book in her Thóra Gudmundsdóttir series.

Good, not great, is my review.

The premise is interesting:

At a university in Reykjavík, the body of a young German student is discovered, his eyes cut out and strange symbols carved into his chest.

Police waste no time in making an arrest, but the victim’s family isn’t convinced that the right man is in custody.

They ask Thóra Gudmundsdóttir, an attorney and single mother of two, to investigate.It isn’t long before Thóra and her associate, Matthew Reich, uncover the deceased student’s obsession with Iceland’s grisly history of torture, execution, and witch hunts.

But there are very contemporary horrors hidden in the long, cold shadow of dark traditions. And for two suddenly endangered investigators, nothing is quite what it seems . . . and no one can be trusted.


I NEED a First-Person-View (FPV) Drone

My retirement hobby is making hiking videos.

Best of all is drone video.

What’s next?

Certainly I’ll be getting an FPV drone … sometime.

If I HAD to buy one today, it would be the DJI Avata. But the price of U.S. $1428 is too steep.

That will come down quickly.

My current drones cost me about U.S. $300 each.

Here’s the kind of fun shots you can plan and shoot with an FPV. It’s radically different than a normal drone.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.