Darwin Blog

So who is the little, bald guy interviewing Kathy Reichs?
Monday, 10 December, 2007, 12:21 am
Filed under: Personalities

Well it is Nury Vittachi from Hong Kong.

He writes novels for adults and children, which are published in many languages. He is the editor of a journal called the Asia Literary Review and a co-founder of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival. His latest book for adults is The Shanghai Union of Industrial Mystics, and for children, Twilight in the Land of Nowhen. He is also the author of The Karma Sutra of Business published this year.

Some background is available on Nury at Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nury_Vittachi and he also maintains a very interesting blog – http://mrjam.typepad.com/.  Interesting reading about the current situation of the Hong Kong Literary Festival.  I did enjoy the bits on how Asian are you and Indian humour – the blog as a whole is a very interesting read and is now one of my favourites. 


Ubud Writers and Readers Festival – Kathy Reichs
Thursday, 6 December, 2007, 12:53 am
Filed under: Best Kept Secrets - Bali, Observations, Travel


While away on annual leave earlier this year, I attempted to attend the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.  I say attempted, as for the six days I was in Ubud for this event, I was flat on my back with the worst flu virus.

I had booked and prepaid for a couple of events prior to arriving and one of those was a Literary Lunch with Kathy Reichs at The Viceroy Bali.  She is one of my favourite authors.

Kathy Reichs is a real life forensic anthropologist, who has taken experiences from her real life to write some fantastic, best selling crime novels.  The television series produced by Fox, Bones, is also based loosely on her novels.  As she says, her character Temperance Brennan featured in the television series, is a much younger one than is portrayed in the books and is designed to appeal to a much younger audience.

Kathy is native of Chicago and works as a forensic anthropologist, an academic, and bestselling writer of mystery novels. She is a Professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, but is currently on indefinite leave.[2] She divides her time between work for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology[3] and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Her schedule also involves a number of speaking engagements around the world. (Wikipedia)

Her latest novel, Bones to Ashes, had been released just prior to me leaving on holidays, so I bought the book in Darwin and spent a couple of days reading the book prior to attending the Literary Lunch.  Later when Kathy signed copies of her books, she was surprised I had her latest book, let alone had read it.

I was surprised to find at the intimate lunch of about 60 people, that many had not read her previous books.  I had indeed read them all, so when she referred to the different scenarios in her book, I knew exactly what she was talking about.

When we entered the pavilion at the Viceroy for lunch, I was greeted by a woman who had asked if I read any of Kathy Reichs books, I answered “yes, all of them”.  She responded with, “she can’t write for shit”.  It made me wonder why on earth would you go to a Literary Lunch with the author if you did not care for their work.

Kathy Reichs brought one of her daughters with her on the trip to Bali.  All her children are intelligent, high achievers not unlike their parents.  In fact, Kathy herself is not half as glamorous as the book sleeve photos we are used to seeing.  She is an engaging speaker, with lots of good stories to tell.  She revealed how she came to be published, through a friend of a friend of a friend.  She explained that she is committed to a a 10 book deal and takes a year to complete each book and has another three to go in this current contract.  She endeavours to make each book feature a different aspect of forensic anthropology and revealed how she incorporated elements of a personal life, such as her children’s names etc into the tapestry of Temperance Brennan.

I did say to her that it was time to find a new love interest for Tempe, as Andrew Ryan is not working for me and perhaps, I suspect, Tempe.  They can still be colleagues, but the sexual tension seems to be waning a bit.

I will admit that this was one of the highlights for me during 2007

To read and learn more about Kathy Reichs, go to her website http://www.kathyreichs.com/welcome.htm.

Coffee Fiends
Thursday, 6 December, 2007, 12:19 am
Filed under: Observations

This morning I decided to pop into the Laneway Cafe to get some fruit toast for breakfast.  Their fruit toast is by far the best in town, thick and buttery.

What I noticed driving down Mitchell Street and from going to and from the car, is how many people in Darwin are into the styrofoam cup, cafe bought coffees. 

We look like a mini New York with everyone racing to the office with their cups of coffees, some of them giant sized.

So when did we get too posh for the office coffee?  I guess we can thank the influence of Starbucks worldwide and maybe, Hollywood.  Whilst we don’t have Starbucks in Darwin, we do have the Coffee Club, BB’s, Gloria Jeans and many little cafes that are peddling takeaway coffee.

Honestly, I think it is all a bit wanky.

Are people in that much of a hurry in the mornings that they don’t have time for a quiet cuppa before leaving the house?  Is it that hard to have a plunger/ percolated coffee in the office?  Or do we have that much of a disposable income that we can afford from $4 to $10 a day on coffees?

I am not a big coffee drinker and when I do, I am quite fussy.  I have bought an excellent, quality plunger coffee at the supermarket and a Bodum One Cup Coffee Brewer, so that when I do feel like a coffee – pronto.  Okay I have to wash a couple of bits and pieces, but really it is no trouble.  And the coffee, the taste and temperature is perfect.

I was reading an article, online I think, that stated that bosses are wising up to the fact how much time is being spent out of the office and in lines at cafes waiting to purchase coffee.  Some of the bigger companies have done the sums and have estimated how much time and productivity is being lost.  Therefore, they are now spending big dollars to have coffee machines installed in offices.

Will this make people change their coffee drinking habits?  Perhaps.  I know if Government workers in Darwin were able to get something for free, they would be in on it, in a flash.