A dangerous question

“How old do you think I am?”

Did you ever find yourself in a situation where somebody (usually a woman) asks you to guess their age? You don’t have to be a guy for this to happen to you; a lot of women are equally happy to ask this of a man or another woman. And a woman would be faced with the same problems when answering. It’s a good candidate to be the most dangerous question in the world of social interaction. There is no safe way to answer it.

You might answer truthfully, without thinking or wanting to insult the asker. You think it’s a simple answer to a simple question.
Except, it’s not. You might get lucky, and your estimate might be lower than her actual age. Then again, she might look a hell of a lot older than she actually is, and there you go, open mouth, insert foot.

You might be tempted to subtract a few years from your actual guess, which is also not without risk. Most women who look their age or older know that, too, and if you say something to low, they will see through that and will still feel insulted.

So, I usually plain out refuse to answer. I tell them I’m bad at guessing, and if they insist, I tell them I never answer this question because it usually causes problems, even if you try not to make a big deal out of it. It’s a tricky question that’s usually asked out of vanity, although I’d be very careful to suggest that to the asker ;-). If I’d know her well enough I might, but if you want to do that you’d better be damn sure she can handle it.

Unfortunately, my method only works for women. If you are a guy, possibly in early dating stage, I’m afraid I don’t really have any good advice for you… except maybe, turn tail and run? 😉

“The Magician’s Apprentice” by Trudi Canavan

Rating: ★★★★★

Just finished “The Magicians’s Apprentice” by Trudi Canavan, a Christmas present (which I got a couple of days early or I either wouldn’t be through or not awake yet ;)) and it was absolutely fantastic. I can only recommend it!

Apart from a great story very well told, I was also very impressed with the fact that, being a prequel to “The Black Magician Trilogy” (also very recommendable), it was very consistent. My usual experience with prequels (be it books or movies or television) is that the writers tend to contradict their own original work (whether because they thought the new idea was better and that they should have written it differently in the original story or whether out of inattentiveness is hard to tell). A good example is the series of Star Wars prequels, where Padmé dies despite the fact that in “The Return of the Jedi” Leia, when asked by Luke, tells him she does have a vague memory of her real mother. I always find that bothering me; not enough to dislike the whole thing if the rest of the story is well told and conclusive in itself, but still. To me it makes the difference between a good story and a great story.

Spoiler coming, click “show” to read.
This part is directed at people who have already read the book, hoping to spark a little discussion. If you haven’t read it yet and are planning to read it, it will spoil parts of it for you. That’s why it’s called a Spoiler. You have been warned 🙂

[spoiler]There was a little predictability in there, though it didn’t bother me too much. After realizing that in this story the Kyralian magicians don’t have healing magic and the main protagonist being the very dedicated daughter of a healer, it was easy to guess that by the end of the book they would have figured it out. But that part, too, was very logical. In “The High Lord”, the last part of the “Black Magician Trilogy”, Sonea realizes that the invading Sachakans don’t know how to heal with magic, and if it was the Kyralians who came up with it it is only logical that they wouldn’t share something that important with the Sachakans. Although, now that I think about it, it’s actually a little surprising, that in all the time that passed between The Magician’s Apprentice and the Black Magician Trilogy none of them ever came to Kyralia or Elyne and found out about it (and lived to bring news of it back). Not saying that they would necessarily have figured out how to do it, but they shouldn’t be surprised by it, either, but they are. So, while writing this review I found a little flaw in logic after all… But fortunately it’s minor enough that it wouldn’t effect the 5 star rating 🙂 After all, while it wouldn’t be very likely in the real world considering that it’s not a big secret in Kyralia or Elyne, it’s still possible, I guess.

The one thing she doesn’t explain is why “Higher Magic” was banned by the time The Black Magician Trilogy takes place. It’s possible that it has something to do with Lord Narvelan’s detonation of the store stone and consequential creation of the wasteland, but unless she’s planning on giving an explanation in a later book we’ll have to guess. Which is fine with me.[/spoiler]

When I opened the book for the first time I accidentally skimmed some of the pages at the end. The words that stood out where “Cery” and “Epilogue”, which was an unfortunate combination… made me hope for an epilogue set in the time of the Black Magician’s Trilogy. Unfortunately it turned out to be an excerpt of “The Traitor Spy” Trilogy. I decided not to read it and instead went to the computer to look up the books on Amazon, only to realize that the last one is yet to be released. If there’s one thing I hate about books it’s buying the first one or two of trilogy of which the last part isn’t released yet. Happened to me by accident a few times (John Twelve Hawks “The Traveler” or Philip Pullmans “Golden Compass”, not to mention Harry Potter, which had still three books coming when I started to read), and I was always really mad at myself for not paying attention. So, as much as I’m itching to read more of this story line, I decided to wait. (The next Christmas is sure to come — if you don’t believe the Mayans, that is ;-))

Welcome to my new blog in English :)

It’s been bugging me from the start that for my blog, at www.lazyteddy.com, I had to settle for either English or German. I chose German because I know a lot of people who would have trouble reading it otherwise, including my parents. Sometimes though I find myself not writing a post because, when I had the idea, I started to mentally compose it in English and it just wouldn’t translate. Now I finally decided on a solution for the problem… I’m simply starting a second blog 🙂

I really felt like doing some web designing again anyway; it’s been a while since I started something from scratch. I mean, a WordPress theme from scratch. I don’t do static websites anymore 🙂

There will still be a few tweaks and fixes to apply to the theme, I will do that as I find them. All in all, I’m quite happy with it. I didn’t test it in IE though… Oh well. If you’re reading this from an old IE and the design sucks, get a better browser :mrgreen:. I’m tired of writing fixes to standards compliant HTML and CSS just because there are still people out there who don’t know updating your browser is a good idea.
As a matter of fact, I’m already contemplating a way to lock out IE6 users entirely… maybe by showing them a page that contains nothing but a link to abetterbrowser.org? 😈

I also still have a couple of pages to write, so if you run into a link that shows an empty page I probably just haven’t gotten around to writing the contents 🙂

Anyway, bear with me while I’m beginning to get some interesting stuff together 🙂