Database Nerd – Haiku

Queries so complex
take ages to run and give
results that are wrong


Rewind & Mainline – Dexter Season 1

This weekend I revisited an old friend in Dexter Morgan. I do enjoy a show where the main character is the most unlikely of people to whom you should form an emotional attachment. Our beloved serial killer Dexter is certainly an unlikely hero.  That is, if you can call him a hero, which you shouldn’t.  He’s not even really an anti-hero.  He does have his (or Harry’s) “code”, of course, whereby he only targets other really bad people to slice up on his table – that doesn’t make it right.  He keeps trophies after all, if he were altruistic, he wouldn’t need to do that..

Dexter Opening Credits: the morning routine.

So why do I still like him so much?  Hopefully that doesn’t say too much about my own personality (*not* a serial killer, honest!), but I do really enjoy horror shows and movies.  Even bad horror, so bad it’s good horror – Sharknado, I’m looking at you.

It’s not just because it’s a crime drama from the perspective of (one of the) bad guys, but it’s also a really complex, twisty, turny, risqué and very sweary crime drama.  It ticks all the “Adult” boxes.

Dexter’s internal monologue tends to drive most of each episode, and reveals that he’s constantly battling with his “dark passenger”.  There’s definitely more to this guy than either the mild-mannered blood spatter analyst, or the fierce stalker in the shadows of the Miami night.  The main big bad of the season – the Ice Truck Killer – ties together many of the smaller plots, and when you finally figure out who he is, the flashbacks to Dexter’s past and the little clues that had been left throughout the season begin to fall into place.

Shiny! - Dexter might just approve of these utensils.
Shiny! – Dexter might just approve of these utensils.

As for the other characters in Dexter’s life; I adore his adoptive sister Deb, the foul-mouthed opinionated cop, newly assigned to the homicide division and keen to prove her worth.  The poor thing gets tangled up with the ice truck killer in more ways than one!  Rita and her kids, Dexter’s unsuspecting girlfriend.  Angel, the detective with a great big heart, but keeps getting himself into personal troubles.  Doakes, the only cop who detects that there is something “off” about Dexter, and yet because you’re rooting for our favourite serial killer, you hope he never finds out the truth – SPOILER (it’s been a few years since this has been broadcast, but just in case…) he will in a later season, and it doesn’t end well for the guy!  Lastly, the Lieutenant LaGuerta, the woman battling the glass ceiling of the homicide division, and having to play a game of her own just to keep her job.

Even though this was my second viewing of the season, I was still gripped by the fast pace and energy of the show.  It’s a multi-layered story and I couldn’t remember everything from the first time round (and I usually remember a fair bit!), so it’s well worth revisiting again, or watching for the first time if you previously missed it.  It’s dark, it’s brooding, gory, sexy, and seductive.  What’s not to like!?

The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss

The Vesuvius Club
The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a brilliant book. I adore Mark Gatiss’s writing style and turn of phrase. Set in the early 1900s, a dashing, suave, sophisticated artist leads a double life as an agent for His Majesty’s Government. Full of tongue-in-cheek humour, plenty of action, and just a little bit naughty in places. This book is a joy to read. Excellent!

One word of caution if you buy the Kindle version: the illustrations have all been removed, and therefore in my opinion it is incomplete. Find yourself a hard copy.

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Crochet Flower Purse Project

I’ve made two of these purses now (or handbags for us British!).  The first one I made for a family member as an engagement present and was in simple greys and white.  I decided that I also wanted one for myself!  So a few months back I made a start.  This time I added a splash of colour by choosing some tones of green and teal.

If you’re looking to make something similar yourself, the tutorial I used was one from that wondrous resource YouTube!  The channel and video is available at Meladora’s Creations for Crochet.  She also provides a link to the written pattern.

The first step is to create the rectangle of flower motifs, with options for small, medium and large – add in extra motifs as required.   Then you have to fill in the gaps between the flowers to finish off the square of fabric that you later pull together to make the bag shape.  This is a small bag 7×5 motifs, and took me a good 7 days (evenings) to complete.

Flower Pattern, before filling in all the gaps and loops.
Flower Pattern, and the gaps and loops between filled in with my 4th colour option.

Because you have to weave your motifs together as you crochet, you need to cut the length of yarn before starting each individual one.  In order to find the correct length, I make up one flower on it’s own, and then leave a tail of yarn – then UNDO the whole thing and use that length as your template for the rest.

The next part of the procedure is to make the handles.  This is done by crocheting around the edges of the rectangle, and the shape will come together on it’s own.

Handles finished.  All it needs now is a proper lining before you can actually use it - or things will fall out!
Handles finished. All it needs now is a proper lining before you can actually use it – or things will fall out!

Lastly, you have to sew a lining because the pattern leaves an open weave.  You have to keep all your valuables safe!  You can also sew on a button a crochet a loop on top for extra security.

The colours on my photos don’t really do it justice!  The green and teal don’t clash in real life – the camera flash added it’s own dimension of tone to the images.

It’s such a pretty design, I’m excited to put it into use every day now!

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Doctor Sleep
Doctor Sleep by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some minor spoilers are contained within this review.

A solid sequel to The Shining. The character of Dan, although an important part of the story, was again not the main protagonist. Instead the young girl Abra is the main focus of the plot. The cult of the True Knot are introduced as this novel’s foe; they apparently feed on a person’s “shining” and torture their intended prey in order to prolong their death (in order to get a bigger meal). By feeding in this way, they are immortal.  (SPOILER WARNING!) Except that they’re not. In fact, the cult are already dying of a mysterious form of the measles, and as such I felt as though they didn’t come across as particularly menacing. (END SPOILER!) There is one murder that leads Abra and Dan into an investigation of the True Knot, and therefore bring Abra’s shining to their attention as their next meal.

I very much enjoyed the character development of Dan as we learn how he battles with alcoholism and becomes a better person thanks to AA, and through the help of his friends. More so, the latter. I’m not sure, based on their description here, exactly how helpful AA meetings in fact are.. perhaps that’s just me being cynical (which I am!). More importantly, how Dan has put his shining to good use by helping folks in a hospice to pass over peacefully; with the aid of a slightly psychic pet cat – which does seem to actually happen in real life.

Stephen King, as usual, writes evocatively and eloquently and Doctor Sleep is a solid book. Personally, I enjoyed the characters themselves and reading about their lives more than the supernatural battle with the True Knot. Maybe in a future instalment, Abra will be able to “shine” on her own.

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