Sunday, December 30, 2012

Book Review: The Truth of All Things


     The Truth of All Things starts out with a bang-or rather a stab-when a prostitute is found with a pitchfork stuck into her body, candles nearby, and an incantation in a Native American language written on the wall above her. Pressure is put on Archie Lean, the deputy marshal of Portland, Maine. Despite his initial distrust, he accepts the aid of Perceval Grey, whose father was of the same tribe who uses the language the killer did. Grey, a Pinkerton detective, uses budding forensic technique and his own perceptiveness of criminal behavior. When they realize the prostitute was killed in the same manner one would dispose of a witch, they enlist the aid of Helen Prescott, a historian specializing in the Salem witch trials. It appears the killer is not only using an ancient spell book that has been lost to the ages-but he plans to kill again and again until his ritual is complete.
     This book was…good. Not bad. Not great. Just good. I feel like Shields had some great ideas on where to go, but didn’t follow through with them. We have a medium, who is able to prophesy on some things, but other than that there is no hint that this is nothing more than a Crazy Serial Killer and His Rituals book. I suppose part of my disappointment was that the book is listed as a fantasy novel, but nothing but the brief use of the medium really justifies that label. My other problem is that Shields tried to insert a romance, but it didn’t really work at all. The woman shows some interest, but there’s no more mention of it till the end when “suddenly they’re together”. The end felt slightly disjointed, and I don’t feel that Shields tied up his plotpoints very well. The novel had some great ideas, and was entertaining enough, but it could have been done better.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

BEST. PRESENT. EVER.


But in all seriousness, Merry Christmas everyone. I still don't get why Google says a generic "Happy Holidays" when it's obviously Christmas, and if they wanted to be generic they should've had "Happy Holidays" up for basically the entire month of December, and possibly sooner if you count Thanksgiving. But I digress. Church was lovely, I have a Kindle, my parents went on a Blue Person kick for presents, and husband tried to find a copy of the Necromonicon, but they were sold out (which is rather distressing actually; what are all those people doing with the Necromonicon...?) so I just got a copy of Lovecraft's stories instead.

Merry Christmas, and please, please, try not to summon Cthulhu. He's just kind of a drag at Christmas parties.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Hobbit: The SERIOUS Review


     I’ve occasionally shouted things about Peter Jackson that were very mean. I feel I have good reason. On the one hand, I really loved the LOTR films as a whole. On the other hand, he pretty much took several characters and flanderized them into something completely different. Aragorn was not the reluctant king, he was biding his time to take back the kingdom. Faramir was not another Boromir; he rejected the Ring’s temptation and did not take Frodo fifty miles out of his way so some Nazghul could come have a looksie. Frodo did not succumb to Gollum’s lies about Sam, because Frodo was smart enough to know Gollum couldn’t be trusted, no matter how nice he was to him. (Blindness and kindness? Did you read that line?) But I digress. Overall I liked the movies, and overall I liked what Peter Jackson has done with The Hobbit.
     We knew before that he planned on adding the supplementary material we only hear a bit of in the books. While I question the need to give Elijah Wood a cameo, I’m not complaining too much, because the rest is wonderful. Jackson maintained the lighter tone that The Hobbit has (which Tolkien hated, but I’m not complaining). I also appreciated the greater focus on Thorin’s character, and seeing more clearly why he’s so grumpy (pun not intended). And I liked our divergence to Radagast (WHO IS THE MOST AWESOME WIZARD EVER AND I WILL FIGHT ANYONE WHO DARES SAY OTHERWISE) and his notice of the Necromancer’s *coughSauroncough* evil. Also spiders. I really don’t like spiders.
     The movie flowed well, and even though I found the literal rock giants a bit odd, it was okay. If there had been more explosions I would have suspected Michael Bay was the true director though. I was a bit amused that even though Gandalf technically outranks the elves, he still seemed awed by Galadriel. Then again she was totally flirting with him. Okay, maybe not. Either way, I enjoyed the movie, diversions and all. However, teasing us with Smaug-that was mean, PJ. That was very mean.
     Awesome movie. I MUST SEE IT AGAIN.

    Also Radagast.

I bet he has a huge army of songbirds.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: Who Could That Be At This Hour? by Lemony Snicket


     Lemony Snicket (i.e. Daniel Handler) is a very odd fellow. Which is probably why I love his books so much. He packs them full of references and wry, off-beat humor, while still maintaining a mostly light-hearted tone that helps his books appeal to children as well. I read through A Series of Unfortunate Events rather quickly, and appreciated that he didn’t end it on a “happily ever after” note, but still left it on one of hope.
     His new series, “All The Wrong Questions”, has a similar approach. The series is meant to follow the fictional Snicket’s first cases in the VFD, that secret organization that seems to have been established because…reasons. The first book, “Who Could That Be At This Hour?”, jumps right into the oddness, and bizarrely imitates a noir mystery. The young Snicket, only 12, has just “graduated” from the VFD spy school/academy/whatever-it-is. He goes through a very convoluted process of meeting up with his new mentor, who is meant to show him the ropes of being a volunteer. However, a change of plans means he cannot carry out a scheme with a fellow volunteer, and is stuck in the middle of nowhere with an incompetent chaperone, solving a crime that may not have been committed, for a woman who may not exist. (Typical Snicket fare, if you couldn’t tell.)
     The tone of this book was just a little more serious than the Unfortunate Events series. The incompetence of the adults is a little less humorous and seems to be a bit more realistic, if you can even use that word in conjunction with Snicket’s writings. It’s clear this new series is for somewhat older children, who are more likely to catch some of the subtleties. There were also some more amusing references to other books. I especially liked one line, which was something like “one of those books where elves and other people fight over a piece of jewelry that no one can wear, and there’s a very powerful wizard who doesn’t do anything”. I giggled over that one for a while. The book ends, in classic Snicket fashion, on a cliff-hanger hinting that there’s more to come. And I am ready for it.

And for extra lulz-"Scream and Run Away" by the Gothic Archies:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hate Groups and Free Speech


     The shooting in Newton was a tragedy of the worst sort. However, like all tragedies, you have the vultures that try to benefit from it as much as possible, or use it for their own agendas. Enter Westboro Church, who I refuse to call Baptist because I’m not even sure where their theology is from at this point.
     Apart from their complete lack of Biblical knowledge, they seem to have a funeral fetish. They want to use any tragedy to show that God is judging this land, and they do so by shouting how He hates mainly gay people, but this hate seems to extend to everyone. Since they forget the idea of sin and death infecting all creation and “the rain falls on the righteous and the wicked”, they insist all their ideas are Biblical. Here is where the big controversy comes in though.
     Some people want to have them placed on a hate group list, pretty much stopping them protesting. However, others insist that this will prevent their free speech, and thus could extend to any of us. But that won’t happen.
     There is a difference between expressing your opinion and harassing other people. I could sit around and shout all day about hating people as much I want, and that would be okay. If I went up to someone and started telling them how much I hate them, even if I was standing a good distance away, I could still be arrested for harassment. "Harassment covers a wide range of behaviours of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing" (from Wikipedia) and "the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious." (Harassment)Why, then, is Westboro’s actions protected under free speech but the other is not? Simply put, people don’t want to fight their lawyers and prove that it isn’t protected after all. What Westboro is doing is harassing large groups of people under the claim that they have permission to protest. But if everyone at the funeral stated they felt harassed, could Westboro not be told to stay away? It won’t prevent them protesting, but it will prevent them from protesting near the funeral.
     So don’t use the term free speech to defend the actions of the evil. If they can find loopholes, so can we.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Silly Hobbit Review: Possible Spoilers if you don't read

ZOMG so Bilbo was all like "So Frodo that Smaug guy was a real jerk" and then Gandalf was like "Imma troll Bilbo a bit here" and then dwarves happened and they trolled Bilbo some and then Bilbo fainted then he was all like "CHANGED MAH MIND" and then trolls happened and Radagast is like "I'M CRAZY AND SAURON SCARES ME" and then giants and then Thorin's like "I hate elves!" and Elrond's like "LOL U MAD BRO" and then Galadriel's like "Oh God does Saruman ever stop talking?" and Gandalf goes "lol no" and then more orcs happened and Gollum is saved by puppy eyes and then even more orcs and then Bilbo hides the ring in his pocket and Gandalf's like "YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME" and then EVEN MORE ORCS and then eagles and then Bilbo's like "well I guess that was the worst of it" and Gandalf's all "SHUT UP BILBO YOU FRIGGIN JINX" and then Smaug's like "lol hi" to the audience and I want more.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quick Update

So I'm going to just disappear for a while until finals are over.

And I can stop reading these ridiculous Seedeater blogs. New non-Slendy horror to keep me awake at night! Yay!

Ain't he just precious?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

OH THE HORROR

So they're making another Slender game. Slender: The Arrival. LOOK AT THE LINK JUST LOOK AT IT.

I...I don't know how to describe my feelings...This is as good a picture as any...

I can't feel my legs. What should I do?