by Joseph R. Lallo (2016)

Philo Middleton wasn’t having a very good day. It began with him waking up strapped to a chair inside a strange, high-tech chamber. His mind was wiped clean, even his own name unfamiliar to him. And yet somehow things went sharply downhill from there.

The Author writes in his Intro (abbreviated)

Some ideas just don’t fit anywhere. Maybe they are too comedic. Maybe they bend the rules of a setting a little too far. Maybe, let’s face it, they aren’t very good. I’m sure plenty of people can just throw these ideas away and move on, but I’ve got a terrible habit of fixating on something until I get it written down.

To solve the “stubborn bad idea” problem, I started a Word document on my computer labeled The Bad Idea Exercise. I would jot down, or sometimes even flesh out, the awful ideas that I couldn’t get past.

I’d decided I’d scrape the best of them together into a patchwork setting and start putting them out once a week, unedited and free, for anyone who wanted to read them. I called the result Between.

The Bad Idea Exercise continued to grow, and eventually I realized I might just have the dots necessary to connect into a complete story. I hope you enjoy this, the literary equivalent of turning spoiled milk into tasty cheese, because it was a riot to write it.

What he has ended up with is a very long (203k word) novel that hangs together surprisingly well. It contains elements of science fiction and fantasy, but it all comes under the ‘imaginative fiction’ genre. So I’m not sure why he thinks this would be difficult to sell. It could be compares to Terry Pratchett or Simon Haynes. There is a lot of comedy in the story, especially between the main characters.

Philo is a human dumped in a strange land. Trixie  is a Demoness with attitude and Trill a three headed snake.  They eventually get to solve problems and try escaping.

The main problem is the novel’s length. With a good editor it could have been halved in length and would sell well in the ‘Comic Fantasy’ genre.


Love This Way

Love My Way   by The Psychedelic Furs was released in 1982 is a long term favorite and recently got into my head again.

To get it out I searched out cover versions of the song.

Here is what I found………

Thick 4.5

The Thick of it 4.5


The unravelling of the key-worker housing sell-off policy forces both Nicola Murray and Peter Mannion onto the defensive, and thus begins a race for the moral high ground. But the more they try to spin the story, the bigger the scandal becomes.


Thick 4.4

The Thick of It 4.4


Malcolm’s patience with Nicola Murray’s leadership is at an end. As Nicola is stuck on a train on the way to Bradford with a crew from Sky News, and with Ollie in hospital recovering from an appendix removal, Malcolm hatches a plan with Ollie, Ben Swain and Dan Miller to double cross Nicola, and force her to resign


Thick 4.3

The Thick of It 4.3

Stewart Pearson takes Peter Mannion to a “Thought Camp” at a remote country mansion. While they’re away and out of mobile phone range, Fergus invites an attractive female economist into the department to discuss her idea about creating a taxpayer-funded community bank.

However, when NHS housing campaigner “Mr Tickle” commits suicide, Fergus is forced to make a rash decision and Peter finds himself on a slippery slope.

Thick 4.2

The Thick of it 4.2

Leader of the Opposition Nicola Murray finds herself facing a new set of pressures following her party’s election defeat, including being harassed by a man in an unusual costume. However, her problems mount when journalists get a glimpse of some embarrassing meeting notes – and she starts to worry about how close fellow shadow cabinet member Dan Miller is getting to media strategist Malcolm Tucker.

Thick 4.1

The Thick of it 4.1

MP Peter Mannion is taking charge at the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship as part of a coalition government. However, he must also work with junior minister Fergus Williams, an arrangement neither man is enjoying.

As the series begins, Fergus excitedly prepares to launch his new digital education initiative “I Call App Britain”, until Downing Street spin doctor Stewart Pearson announces technophobe Peter is going to be the spokesman for it instead.


Thick 3.8

The Thick of it 3.8

Malcolm finds himself running out of both options and friends as the election looms, until he finds help being offered from an unlikely quarter.



The Hoyts Experience


After going to the Hoyts counter to order a ticket, and finding the Cinema full, I decided to try something different and possibly change a habit.  I knew that Hoyts has a promo suggesting you could join them for benefits, so I joined.

First I installed the app on my phone. Seems to work OK.
It looks like you can scan a voucher to pay for the ticket.

The site is very graphics heavy but seems to work.
Finding a currently screening movie and a time was easy enough. I selected a seat and moved on. It’s not so easy to find screening times for movies yet to release. The web site is better.

I used the web site to complete the transaction. Now comes the interesting part – payment First, there is a $1.50 Booking Fee – Why, I don’t know. If you want people to use your service, why pay more ?

Then there is the payment method. It’s Visa, Masterpass or Gift Card. No PayPal ! Thinking the ‘Gift Card’ was the same as the voucher, I entered the details. That didn’t work. You have to go back and redeem a voucher (!)

So the ticket cost $12.50 – $11 (normal cost) and $1.50 booking fee.
At least I knew there was a seat and where it was.

They sent me an email with confirmation. This included a PDF that was obviously designed to be printed. I don’t have a printer, so opened the email on my smartphone and with some scrolling could display the booking info.

Then I read the attached –

– Please collect your tickets at least 15 minutes prior to the start of your movie.

– Bring a copy of this confirmation email or the confirmation number;
AND The credit card you made your purchase with;
OR Photo ID so you can claim concession, senior and student tickets or restricted films.

– Please note that your cinema allocation could change. Please check with a team member on entry.

1. So this isn’t a ticket after all. You still have to go to the counter
(isn’t this what this whole process was designed to avoid ?)

2. Why the Credit Card ? (I’m taking it just in case). I have made bookings through Ticketek and all you need is the ticket.
So the way this is written, take either a) Credit Card or b) Photo ID
But if you don’t need a concession, do you need the Photo ID ?
Bit confusing

3. What ! I just chose the seat I want. Why would it change ?

Going back to the Phone App, when I tried to login the thing crashed. I had to uninstall it then reinstall. Finally managed to login. Under ‘My Tickets’ – nothing. Going back to the online site, managed to find my transaction statement.

Looking at the reviews of the product on Google Play,
124 5 star reviews
100 1 Star reviews

The latest reviews indicate that a recent upgrade was not an improvement.

Break for Movie

At the Hoyts counter, all that was needed was to show the receipt to get the movie pass.

It will work. Just avoid the phone app and use the web site. You do pay a bit more, but it does mean that you can leave later and be sure of a good seat (at a price).

But the web site and phone app need a good clean-out  of the extraneous junk and streamlining. It’s clear that everything is designed to get you to the counter where they can sell you food.

and BTW at the theatre I sat next to a large guy with the proportions of Kim dotcom. He had a large bucket of popcorn, but it didn’t interrupt the movie as he polished it off in the first 20 minutes.