While I am on the net I spend a lot of time researching different things. Sometimes it’s book related research, sometimes completely random stuff like who played so and so in the film I just watched. Occasionally when I’m doing this I come across a little gem of information which usually causes me to be distracted while I explore further.

Pieces of Eight

When I was doing research into book 1 I briefly looked up when pieces of eight were used as legal currency and subsequently found that they were actually spanish dubloons cut quite literally into pieces in a similar manner to how you’d cut a cake into eight pieces. A spanish dubloon is four in a normal dollar therefore there are thirty-two pieces of eight in a dollar.


While browsing wikipedia looking at singers, a certain singer who shall remain nameless, I found mention that she was a contralto rather than a soprano (soprano’s sing high). Naturally I clicked on the word to find out what wikipedia thought a contralto was. A contralto is someone who sings much lower than the average soprano voice almost to the point where they sing in a similar range to the highest male voice. It also turns out I’m a contralto and the reason I have struggled to hit the high notes is not because I’ve got low range but because my range goes a lot lower than I had previously realised. Contralto’s are also one of the rarest singing types.

Stargate special effects

In the first few episodes of Stargate sg-1 the stargates opening kawoosh is actually just the image from a camera underneath a stone falling into a bucket of water. It is one of the cheapest special effects in the whole thing and it is arguable one of the most important. They even named a company after the kawoosh noise.

Karate Kid (the original)

Noriyuki ‘pat’ Morita is the guy that plays Mr Miyagi. Most people know that and are ok with it. What most people don’t know is that he was born in California, actually had an American accent, and faked all the cute quirky Japanese accent and antics for the Karate kid films. He was also trying to be a comedic actor rather than the serious kind of thing these set of films demanded of him. He’s also the voice of the emperor of China in Mulan.

Van Gogh

This one was something I learnt on twitter. A very kind friend sent me a message when they heard my first book sales figures telling me I had smashed van gogh’s lifetime sales record. In further research I found that during his lifetime Van Gogh only sold 1 painting. He painted somewhere in the region of 900 paintings before his death at 37 but only 1 of those 900 sold. Makes my sales figures on my book look very very impressive.