the beeb moves in

News of the day, sending shock waves through the backpacking community, is that the BBC has bought Lonely Planet. The match doesn’t sit uncomfortably and I sort of figure that Lonely Planet has become so ubiquitous that it’s often joked that the trick is to find a place not covered by Lonely Planet. A list of the top 10, or even bottom 10, places that don’t yet have a guide devoted to them would be fun to compile. If this means the Wheelers can spend less time on the business and even more time travelling, so much the better. They’ve done staggering well and achieved lots. I have a shelf devoted to their books and friends have at least that if not more. I don’t have my original guide to Western Europe, or “Westen Europe” as it said on the spine, as I’d ripped out the sections I wanted rather than carrying it all. I think I left it in England finally, before returning home after my first trip. I had too much stuff and figured it needed to be jettisoned, hard though it was. I’ve since bought another and added more covering Central Europe, China, and even the Mediterranean. Currently reading one on Iceland in advance of my 2008 trip.


While following links on words and dictionaries, I should point out that this is not an area I work in, nor a lexicographer of any sort, not even a neophyte, in such matters. I simply have a love of words and enjoy watching them used and watch others researching their history. I am a voyeur of words..though that doesn’t sound quite right. With that said, I am on the lookout for a new dictionary, alas no matter how I slice and dice, the full OED in print is out of my reach. As noted in the previous comment, there is a new edition of the Shorter Oxford out, the 6th. It had an August release in the US and is due here in December. There are 2 versions that interest me: the standard and the leather bound. I love books in leather. According to the Australian OUP site, the leather edition will be a massive $1,000! Doing a bit of searching I can get the US leather edition for US$220 (+pp), while via a local site, I can acquire it for Oz$560 (free delivery) which also seems to be the US edition. It’s a bit staggering really, I can wait til December and pay lots of dosh to get it locally, or I can order it now, get it from the US in a couple of weeks, and pay relatively little. The Oz$ is currently buying around 86 US cents too which only increases the temptation. I reckon I’d end up paying around around Oz $260-270 altogether which is still a lot of money I’d need to consider. At Oz $1,000, there’s nothing to think about, it simply ain’t happening. It should be said that the non leather edition is much, much cheaper at US $110 though I admit some confusion as to why, on Amazon at least, the leather has 807 pages and the non leather has 3,888. I’m hoping the former is a typo.

what are words for?

Recently I posted elsewhere a list of 5 blogs that currently had my attention. I’ve just now realised, somewhat belatedly, that one, language hat, also attracts interesting threads in the comments. Getting hat as a feed, meant that I was missing these exchanges, for which there is not a feed I can detect. It reflects somewhat on the disadvantage of reading feeds rather than blogs in that you miss some of the extra blog content, not present in the feed. Some blogs provide an additional feed for comments but this not yet commonplace; given my own lack of comments altogether on the previous incarnation of this blog, I feel I have jumped a generation or two in changing from handcode direct to the latest wordpress.

From such comments I arrived at another blog, The Lexicographer’s Rules, which has nice commentary on dictionary related matters, though I’ve but dipped my toe. The blogger recommends a few dictionaries but rests upon a preference for the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary if money was not an issue.

For some reason, my move to wordpress coupled with a renewed enthusiasm for blogging, has seen a focus on text and words and books. I don’t why that is, or whether it’s delving into suppressed regions of my brain. I have, afterall, been a bookworm all my life and am sounded by about 3,000 books, inherited from my father, not to mention that my mother has a similar number. I should  rephrase that “jointly inherited” as they’re for my sister and I, though I have the responsibility of disposing of dad’s books (mum’s still alive so we’re not touching her’s). I’m tempted to retain them all if I can, alas I have a couple of thousand of my own, and unsurprisingly a chronic lack of space. My dad’s books are on the shelves (of the house he and I bought) and mine are mostly in boxes. So books are ever present and I have been rediscovering forgotten pleasures in the reading and collection thereof, and of course pleasure in the language contained within.

days gone by

Hmmm…was reminded somewhat of my public library days when reading about interesting patrons elsewhere. My own library regular visitors, some of whom you could smell a mile away. Others were occasionally strange but get them on their topic and they became engaging and interesting. Occasionally the library was used as a drop by drug gangs in the area, part of the ceiling in the lift always seemed to be left askew. Then there were the delights of noisy, and occasionally violent, students. Security guards were a regular feature, one during much of the year with up to three in peak periods. Even had the odd guard or two beaten up, just the sort of thing to make librarians feel relaxed. Despite the negatives, there were good times too: lovely patrons, inquisitive kids, interesting questions and lots of passionate folk.

back on deck

Normal service will resume shortly. I arrived home from NZ last Thursday and drove to Melbourne on Friday, driving back on Monday. Needless to say I remain somewhat exhausted and barely catching up. Life itself continues to keep me somewhat occupied. Codex had arrived and is now in my possession. When at my girlfriend’s place, we decided to keep her ILLed Codex (US 1983 edition) and mine (Italy 2006 edition) in separate rooms lest the meeting of the 2 books resulted in eddies in the space time continuum. I know not how many copies are in Australia but suspect it is few, though there are at least 3 copies held by Australian libraries. Of course, once one embarks on such a journey, it is hard to stop at one, or even two. I’m now exploring the idea of setting up a shelf of my own devoted to similar sorts of tomes, some based on the real, and some on the imaginary including:

among other things. Other things that I’d like to own copies of include the Voynich Manuscript and the Archimedes Palimpset. No doubt there will be more to add to the list.

there’s a desert in new zealand

  • Good news: my codex has arrived in Sydney
  • Bad news: I’m in NZ

Oh wait, that’s wrong, it’s a bummer that the book is in Sydney and I can’t pick it up til I return in a few days. However today I had the pleasure of driving from Rotorua to Palmerston North. The drive included the Desert Road which was simply divine…I love driving in NZ. I like these work trips where I get to visit such lovely places, it’s a bit like being on holiday but more tiring…hmmm admittedly even my holidays are rarely relaxing.

more of rotorua

Another day in NZ. I got to hear Roy Tennant speak. I am happy. For me, one of the crucial comments he made was with regard to the ubiquitous of net access in the US. You pay a set charge and access as much as you like. Compare that with the hotel I’m staying in which charges NZ$33 for the first 50Mb, then NZ10c/Mb after after that. I’m dreading my internet bill tomorrow. With unlimited net access, you’re more likely to play and try out new stuff. Roy covered some of his usual areas, like keeping catalogues away from the public and also looked at some of the stuff the OCLC made possible via worldcat. For a much better summary of his talk I recommend Deborah Fitchett, who has managed to blog several of the sessions including Roy’s.