Painless: Derek Ciccone

The first book to be finished by me of 2011 was a page turner that I accidentally started. It is a free download for the Kindle from Amazon, which was how I came across it (the publicity will help their print sales).

Cover shot of the book Painless by Derek Ciccone
by Derek Ciccone.

What the blurb says:

A fast-paced thriller mixed with a heartwarming story of redemption. A series of ominous incidents make Billy Harper realize there is something very different about Carolyn Whitcomb. But when a rogue organization called Operation Anesthesia learns of Carolyn’s “gifts,” Billy must risk everything to save the life of the little girl who taught him to live again.

What I posted as a review to Amazon:

Cons first: I found some of what the girl says to be far beyond the 4 years old that is claimed, even when she’s supposed to be intelligent, but that was the only thing that jarred and it didn’t stop me really enjoying the book. The rest of her character & what she understands is well developed and convincing.

I read this in just a few days, starting on my daily commute and then shunning films and TV programs in order to complete it – a real page turner!

I found this to be a thought provoking story about the value of pain. I don’t remember having lingering thoughts on life from any of the best of John Grisham.

As a particular plus, there was no gratuitous glorification of sex or violence, although both were there. There were places in the story where other writers would have gone to town in this, but what Derek Ciccone has done is far more fitting for a story about a child and a guy. The military aspects would draw in the male readers who wouldn’t normally go for this kind of story.

I don’t yet know if I will ever reread this book, but I will remember it.

The book portrays pain as a mechanism to stop us harming ourselves. Pain receptors didn’t come in with the curse of sin, but perhaps our distress at what we feel did.

100WS: 2. but that’s too short

Word count: 105. Already?

The wee man wailed inside his head, ” I’ve got another idea to cram in first”.

Were this important, desperation would have sent up cries from his numskulls of “Adrenaline!”, “Up with the heart rate!”, and all attention would be focused; the paragraphs decimated and reworked; and the wee man satisfied.

But it wasn’t important, so casually five words were removed from one, then ten added to improve the flow of two, then another idea occured for three. The wee man wailed some more,
“NOO, that’s more to fit in”, “what can I leave out?”

100WS: 1. what to write?

[Control+A][Backspace]. Another stab at a 100 word story scratched out. It wasn’t an ambitious target, he knew that!

But why no progress – he did have ideas! The one about Zaphod Beeblebrox’s brother, an intergalatic policy advisor who was struggling without the charisma that propelled Zaphod into the limelight. It lacked a plot. Is he jealous? pretentious?

Next he thought of writing about the toils of a computer program, but how is drama and interest injected? Maybe it was a rogue program. Did it know about man?

What about understanding why 100 words is so hard?

How to archive or zip a folder with a command line so you can transfer it

I had to figure this out myself and thought I’d share what I’m doing.

Make an archive:
tar -cf TargetFile.tar Foldername/
The c flag tells it to create an archive.
The f flag tells it that you’re making an archive from files.

Compress it:
gzip TargetFile.tar

And the resulting file is:


If you want real good compression and so on, you’ll need to play around with the flags, but this will do when you simply need to transfer quickly. I tested on a big folder of about 250MB, the .tar file was 285MB and the resulting .tar.gz file was 211MB.

Limerick: Of Auchintoul …

Of Auchintoul there was a young drummer,
who auditioned for bands for a summer,
they all told him to fleet,
cos he couldn’t hold a beat,
and now he’s training to be a plumber.

My limericks may not yet be of the highest standard, but it’s good to be thinking differently. I welcome limerick replies or improvements in the comments.

Limerick: There was a young blogger …

There was a young blogger of Scotland,
whose writing was as boring as sand,
his blog had no locus,
for he lack’d any focus,
and now he’s writing limericks offhand

I intend to clean up, organise and focus this site soon. A post or two in the pipeline looking at the easy mistakes and pitfalls of starting a blog and suchlike.

Stay updated via RSS for more limerick fun 😉

5 quick tips for a consistent image on your website and social media

1. Use similar usernames

2. Turn your face into a signature

  • Use the same profile picture everywhere. You know yourself how quickly you can recognise people on Facebook by the tiny thumbnail next to their comments. Exploit that power.

3. Design scheme

  • At least use the same background color. Check Gareth’s tutorial if you have a logo and want that everywhere.

4. Like #2, have a logo for each project

  • The profile picture identifies you, but you can create logos for every project you hope people might identify. Brains are incredible at remembering images, and what they associate with an image comes to mind – whether that’s a snappy caption or the overall concept (if they’ve read up on it before).

5. Encourage connections across all forms of social media

  • You may have people who subscribe to your RSS feed if you’re a good blogger, or only like your Flickr if you’re a photographer. If you really want people engaging with you, you need to attract them to engage everywhere. Offer contests or unique bonuses (like extra content), but only to those following on a particular stream. Advertise it on the others. I saw one venture capitalist blog that had grasped this idea. He constantly told readers that they would only post to their blog 2-3 times a week, but they tweeted useful links and quotes 2-3 times a day.

I hope you like these, perhaps put one or two into practice now?
Please leave a comment below if you have any to add or to correct :).

Confession and forgiveness – Hugh Martin

“God offers [forgiveness] on the understanding that your sin deserved his wrath and curse, and that even his own Son’s Godhead and holiness and value in his sight could not exempt him, standing in your place, from having to bear that wrath and curse instead of you. Christ, by the sacrifice of his death, puts away sin…. You, while defending and excusing yourself, are labouring to put away the law.”

so then

“True confession is taking guilt to ourselves before God.”

From “Christ for us”, sermons of Hugh Martin, p40-41.