Friday, January 31, 2014

Pearl

Found this beautiful song based on the poem "Pearl" by Sir Orfeo.

Actually, all the songs by the Mediaeval Baebes are awesome. Go listen to them.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Movie Review: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

     Okay, let’s have a more serious review of this movie. Per Mr. Jackson’s usual trend, the second isn’t as good as the first; however, if the trend continues, then the last movie will be excellent.

     The film starts out with a flashback-this one, to Thorin meeting with Gandalf in Bree. Gandalf not only presents him with the map to the Lonely Mountain, but also warns him that there is a price on his head. This leads us to where the last film left off-the company is still on the run with orcs following. Gandalf leads them to the relative safety of Beorn’s house, who aids them in making their way to Mirkwood. At Mirkwood, as in the book, Gandalf parts ways with them-he and Radagast will go investigate the Necromancer.

     Mirkwood was done a bit differently. Rather than falling into an enchanted stream, the forest itself seems to have a soporific, and almost maddening effect on them all, causing them to stumble right into the spiders’ territory.

     Can I just remind everyone I don’t like spiders? Because I really don’t like spiders. Watching this part was nightmarish. However, we see that the Ring is in some ways having an effect on Bilbo here-he has a freak out and kills a spider all to protect it.

     The scene in the wood elves’ home was done extremely well. Thranduil was appropriately arrogant and snobby, yet somewhat more sympathetic than expected. For one, Jackson seems to be going with the interpretation that the Arkenstone is in fact one of the Silmarils that was lost (probably the one Maedhros dropped into the fissure in the Earth); we also see that Thranduil is taking an isolationist policy against Sauron, something that you don’t get in the book itself. He also hints at having fought firedrakes in the past, and clearly doesn’t wish to anger another one. However, the plot must go on, and the Elven Drunk Party ensues. The barrel chase is exciting, but complicated by the addition of some random orcs that apparently decided to show up for the sheer purpose of injuring Kili so several of the dwarves would be stuck in Bard’s house during the latter half of the movie.

     During all these scenes, we cut back to Gandalf, and oh, it is glorious. In the book we only get the merest hints of his fight with Sauron. Here, we see the confrontation and the Super Magic Wizard Battle that ensues.

     The conflict between Bilbo and Thorin, and Thorin’s growing obsession over the Arkenstone, is set up briefly but effectively.

     One part that I was surprisingly pleased with was Tauriel’s role. I feared she would be relegated to “token female” and merely there for Orlando Bloom to moon over. However, it all took a surprising and, actually, sweet twist. It’s completely unnecessary to the plot, but it was completely adorable, and I shamelessly squee’d over it.

     That said, there are parts that irked me. Beorn’s role was far too small; the early arrival of the orcs, while explaining why a gigantic army is about to show up, was unnecessary and complicated; and quite frankly, Tauriel and Legolas’ subplot is unnecessary, even if it led to adorableness.

     But the best part, the part that everyone was anticipating, was Smaug, and oh, can Benedict Cumberbatch do sinister. He gets Smaug’s personality down perfectly: the oily, dangerous charm and the raw power that makes Smaug such a perfect villain. You really see just how in over their heads Bilbo and the dwarves are. Bilbo finally gets it in the end, with the very last line of him saying, “What have we done?”


Good question, Bilbo. Good question.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Series Review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

     I remember watching My Little Pony when I was a kid.

     I remember getting bored and thinking that I’d rather watch Transformers. Although I liked the toys. Pony toys were awesome. Having pony toys and transforming car toys at the same time was also awesome. Having Barbie ride in on a pony to help a transforming car save the day from an evil Sorry piece was fantastic. I was a strange child.

     However, I began to hear a lot of good things about the new series. It was funnier; it was designed so adults wouldn’t get bored when their kids watched it; an alarming amount of teenage boys and male college students thought it was great. That last one is what has gotten the series so much attention, either as a positive thing or accusing anyone who is male and likes it as being a pedophile. (Yay logic.) Either way, the hype was enough that I decided to give it a try.

     Okay, so the opening theme wasn’t that bad. Annoying after several repetitions, but not that bad.

     Twilight Sparkle doesn’t have time to go party; she wants to read. YESSS I HAVE FOUND MY CARTOON COUNTERPART GOD BLESS YOU LAUREN.

     That was it for me. That entire pilot episode had me hooked. The five main characters were extremely different, but that was part of the appeal-really, the writers do a great job portraying how such different personalities would interact and handle one another. Some of the plots are over-the-top silly; Pinkie Pie is over-the-top silly. But they have some fantastic, charismatic villains (ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNO-DISCORD), wonderful character interactions, an excellent story arc, and some great kid-friendly creepy moments.


     DID I MENTION THEY HAVE JOHN DE LANCIE? BECAUSE THEY HAVE JOHN DE LANCIE.

This did not actually happen. But it should have.
Picture by tan575 on deviantART.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Parody 5: S1, E8: My God, It's Full of Plotpoints


A couple of guys in epic cloaks arrive. They are clearly sketchy.


Knight 2: Found our target.

Knight 1: Sinclair, eh?

Knight 2: Let’s start building our Plot Device.


SINCLAIR IS DISAPOINT

Sinclair: So Benson, you know if you get into debt with bad people, terrible things could happen and even cause plot problems. You could totally let us know that. You know.

Benson: Gambling? What gambling? I don’t gamble. Why would I gamble? That would be silly lol. And if I were in trouble, I certainly would not make a deal with strange people wearing cloaks.


BUT WE WON’T TELL THE AUDIENCE THE PLOT

Knight 2: The energy pod will be here.

Knight 1: Wait, the what?

Knight 2: You know. The thing. That does the thing.

Knight 1: Oh, and it will help with the thing. I see.


FRANKLIN’S BACKSTORY

Delenn: So you hitchhiked?

Franklin: With my towel, yes. I lost my towel in the war. They wanted me to use my notes about Minbari for biological warfare. I destroyed my files. So what did you do during the war?

Delenn: LOOK OVER THERE!  A BIG DISTRACTING PLOTPOINT!


LSD IS BAD KIDS

Sinclair wakes up from his PTSD dreams, walks down hallways, and discovers there is literally no one else on the station.

Sinclair: Don’t tell me I’m in a frikking horror movie! Where is everyone?

Computer: There’s someone else here. In Blue Sector.

Sinclair: Who?

Knight 1: Welcome to the Matrix, Mr. Sinclair.

Sinclair: What.

Garibaldi: Hi Sinclair.

Garibaldi: Ohai Sinclair.

Garibaldi: What’s up Sinclair?

Leo: WATCH ME STRUT SINCLAIR!


C&C

Ivanova: Maybe Sinclair got Shanghai’d by pirates!

Garibaldi: Maybe you should…um…check outside.

Ivanova: I’m Russian and even that’s too depressing for me.


PLOTCEPTION

Flashback

Mitchell: Hey Sinclair! Watch this!
*gets blown up*

Sinclair: Mitchell, no! I’m the only one left against the giant Minbari ship! Only one thing left to do. Computer, full speed ahead. YOLO!!!!

Knight 1: So this is where you “blacked out”? Or maybe WHERE YOU MADE A SECRET DEAL WITH THE MINBARI AGAINST ALL HUMANS!

Sinclair: Not this again!

Sinclair punches the knight who feels it in his SOUL.

Meanwhile, Benson is panicking because he accidentallied his commanding officer and gets shot trying to figure out the plot and Garibaldi is already way ahead of him.


ALAS, POOR BENSON. WE HARDLY CARED ABOUT YE.

Garibaldi: Poor Benson. The bad guy couldn’t have gotten far though. Quick, fetch my fedora!


EVEN MORE BACK STORY!

Knight 1: I want to know why the Minbari surrendered! They knew invading Earth could be a problem so they decided to start subverting Earth policy!

Sinclair: Well there was that crazy Wind Sword Minbari…

Knight 1: We could find out what happened together. It’ll be fun. I’ll hold your hand.

Sinclair: Don’t make it weirder.


MOAR FLASHBACKS! MOAR!

Sinclair YOLO’s the Minbari ship again, gets brought on board, is symbolically crucified in front of the Grey Council, and then Delenn appears in a gigantic hood and holds up the glowy triangle thing.

Sinclair: What.

They let him down from the crucifixion metaphor and instead gets magick’d by the Grey Council’s wizard staff. This is more than enough to cause him to escape from his mind screw machine and punch the knights.

Sinclair: Minbari stole my money have to get back to my ship…

Also everyone is now a Grey Council member.

Delenn: Ohai Sinclair. We’re BFF’s.

Sinclair: I remember seeing you…at that one party…I don’t remember much…BUT THERE’S SOME WEIRD GUY IN A CLOAK I WILL SHOOT HIM!

Sinclair then faints, because hallucinating that much really takes it out of you.


PLOTPOINTS FOR MONTHS

Delenn: Do you, ah remember anything about what went on?

Sinclair: Ummm…nope. Nothing. Not even you in an epic hood or anything. Kthxbai. *flees*

Blind Grey Council Guy Who Appears Out Of Freaking Nowhere: If he finds out, we have to kill him.


Delenn: ...why are all the side characters jerks?

Blindy: IT'S FOR CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review: When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket

     I was at the library, as usual, working on projects which have absolutely no connection whatsoever to secret societies. It was mid-day, and the sun was shining. In fact, it was blinding me. Isn’t it odd, how the brightest moments in our lives lead to our darkest hours? It reminds me of a dreadful book I came across while working well apart from any secret societies. I saw the book in our beautiful new catalog, titled When Did You See Her Last? I suspected this was going to be something dreadful, yet I clicked on it anyways, and typed in my card number, and ordered it in. I included a note: “There is a hole in the bucket, dear Liza. How do I fetch water?” This was a joke, and not at all a secret message for anyone.

     When the book arrived, its cover was as frightening as I expected. A note was attached: “WHY WOULD YOU READ THIS BOOK? TELL NO ONE.”

     Naturally, I read the book and decided the best way to keep it secret was to post it on my blog.

     I was right about how dreadful it was. It was, in fact, the next in the infamous Mr. Snicket’s chronicles of his miserable apprenticeship in the VFD, which is a secret society that I have no connections to at all. A girl has run away from home. Her car is left on the side of the road and hides stolen melons. No one seems to care, except about the melons. S. Theodora Markson’s hair is still questionably unpleasant. Taxi drivers won’t charge you as long as you tell them about a good book. It does not work this way here.


     The tale is quirky, as well as tense and occasionally amusing. The mystery behind the enigmatic villain Hangfire deepens. If there is one thing I learned from Mr. Snicket’s horrible tale, it is this: we are all in very great danger.


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: White Fire by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

The Gentlemen (Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child) have delivered once again! White Fire is a first class Pendergast story, complete with all the things we love: an interesting setting, intriguing mysteries, hints at future plotlines, and, of course, Pendergast’s crazy antics.

The book starts out in the past, at a restaurant dinner attended by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is introduced to Oscar Wilde himself, who in his usual laconic way apparently tells him a tale so ghastly that Doyle flees to the bathroom to be sick. In the present, Corrie Swanson is preparing her research project for an important scholarship. The project centers around the disinterment of a group of miners killed by grizzly bear attacks-the same story Wilde told Doyle. Corrie goes to Roaring Fork resort to study the remains before they are reburied. But she discovers something strange about the remains and winds up in jail. When Pendergast arrives to bail her out (again), he becomes involved in both Corrie’s research and a series of arson attacks amongst the very wealthy of the town.

White Fire gives us a breather from the intense Helen trilogy. Corrie is further developed; while she is still a brash loudmouth, she has come far from the angry Goth stereotype she was in her first appearance. Pendergast is still subtly suffering the effects of the previous book’s events and has started showing more vulnerability as a result.

The Gentlemen also give us several delightful villains to hate, from the merely selfish to the truly dangerous. (I’m quite proud to admit that I guessed who the main villain was.) My favorite is Mrs. Kermode, who might as well be a Texas Umbridge.

This book is definitely being added to my favorites list. However, for anyone interested I would strongly advise starting the Pendergast series at the beginning. It’s marvelous to see how he has developed over the years.

Aww, look,they even signed it!



Monday, January 20, 2014

Madness? THIS! IS! BLOGGER!

Today is my 300th blog post! The only reason it deserves its own post is because 300.


Thus far, my blog posts have ranged from nonsense stories, political rants, trolling, babbling about the Slender Man, and occasional actual reviews like I was intending to do in the first place.

At least my blog is aptly named.

And I'm really not sure what this post is even about. I was going to go on a bit of a tear about using the concept of "head of household" as an excuse for spousal abuse, but there's really not much to say about that problem beyond "no seriously don't do it", and people will repent and stop or you have to politely punch them in the face. I mean rebuke them. Politely rebuke them.

In addition to this, I was going to point out that a doctrine is not invalidated by someone misusing it, but that's also sort of obvious and people will either get it or they will impolitely punch you in the face. I mean rebuke you.

Then I thought "but why spend all this time writing out what's obvious?", right after I wrote out the obvious. At that point, it occurred to me that nothing I was typing was really making much sense. So I just gave up and started narrating my thought processes as I wrote this post.

I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT ANYMORE SO HERE'S A PICTURE OF DISCORD

Coffee. It gives you ideas.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Parody 5, S1, E7: The Racism Episode

In Delenn’s quarters, Delenn chats with an old friend about poetry and life and Space Elf things.

Delenn: Life was so simple.

Mayan: Yep. But it’s awesome now. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to walk back to my quarters. Alone. In the dark.

Delenn: Great idea!


Walking to the Quarters Alone in the Dark

KKK Home Guard guy: Lol freak.

*knifestabheadbrand*


ARGUMENTS!

Sinclair: Don’t worry Delenn, we’ll find the idiot who did this!

Delenn: Well that won’t help!

Sinclair: Well we’re looking for him!

Delenn: Well look for him more!

Sinclair: I don’t even know!

Delenn: Neither do I!


PLOTPOINT NUMBER 2

Ivanova: So we have detainees that aren’t dangerous. They need to be given to someone of command rank.

Garibaldi: I don’t have time.

Ivanova: Neither do I.

Garibaldi: Well I’ll just go destroy that illegal coffee plant.

Ivanova: BRB DEALING WITH DETAINEES.


WELL THIS IS AWKWARD

Kiron: Wait I thought Vir was the ambassador.

Londo: What.

Vir: Err hi Londo this is my cousin and his girlfriend. They got arrested!

Sinclair: They stole money.

Londo: …

Vir: Ohhh…

Sinclair: They’re all yours have fun.


ANVILS EVERYWHERE

Roberts: Aliens are out to get me! All of them!

Garibaldi: Can’t blame them.

Roberts: This isn’t fair! I should be able to beat up any aliens I want to!

Garibaldi: *facepalm*


TROLLING!

Sinclair: Ohai Kosh! You know, you could totally take care of this problem in like a second. Just tell everyone you don’t care who started it, you’ll finish it!

Kosh: Lol no.

Sinclair: So what are you doing?

Kosh: Studying everyone’s problems.

Sinclair: …


IT’S ARC RELEVANT

Sinclair: So Kosh was poisoned via the hand. How’d he get poisoned if he wears that suit?

Ivanova: No idea. Vorlons don’t tell anything. He probably just does it so no one sees what he looks like.

Sinclair: Yeah, only Lyta and Dr. Kyle saw that. And of course they both…got…recalled?

Ivanova: I'M GETTING REALLY TIRED OF CONSPIRACIES SIR.


LONDO’S PERSONAL ISSUES

Londo: So their families are going nuts. We need to send them home.

Vir: But they’re in love.

Londo: Oh come on, look at the women I married! Three of them, no less. Tell your cousin and his girlfriend they’re leaving tonight.

Vir: *sigh*


SUSAN DATED SOMEONE, ONCE

Malcolm: Oh Susan, we’re enjoying ourselves so much. Did you miss me?

Ivanova: kindasortamaybe. But I am not leaving Babylon 5. Good God, the place would probably fall apart.

Malcolm: That’s fine. I’m opening a not-at-all racist business here!


WHAT WAS EVEN THE POINT OF THIS?

Kiron: I promise not to marry the horribly ugly chick.

Aria: And I promise not to marry an incredibly old guy.

KKKHomeguard Guy: And I promise to punch you both.


At this point, Vir stumbles in and looks horrified and there are riots in Brown sector and G’Kar is trying to start a revolution, he always does that, it’s just his thing, and some Drazi decide that the best way to deal with racism is to be racist and it’s all just horribly, horribly anvilicious.


MAYA IS A TROLL-POET

Aria: I want to talk to him.

Mayan: It will help. The Power of Love will help him recover. After all, sentient beings have a need for love. Even if they live without it TROLLOLOL.

Londo: …


WELL THAT RELATIONSHIP WENT REALLY WELL

Sinclair: So basically, we have this interesting recording regarding your boyfriend…person…thing.

Malcolm Recording: Oh Roberts, how terrible what the horrible aliens are doing. Join AlienAway.

Sinclair: Can you introduce me to him? Say I’m unhappy with the aliens on Earth. Then I’ll go undercover. I’m totally good at that.

Ivanova: Can I shoot him out an airlock after?

Sinclair: No. No you cannot.

Ivanova: >:-(


LONDO TRIES TO SAY SOMETHING WISE

Vir: You know what Londo? Love is more important than money. There, I said it.

Londo: When my father was old, he complained his shoes were too tight. But it didn’t matter because he couldn’t dance. And now my shoes are too tight.

Vir: …is this a metaphor?

Londo: Yes, Vir. This is a metaphor.

Vir: …about what?

Londo: *sigh*


ACTUALLY SINCLAIR IS A TERRIBLE ACTOR

Delenn: This is a person from Abba 4.

Kalika: So how’s it going with this security and all?

Sinclair: It’s fine, EVERYTHING IS. TOTALLY. FINE.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go talk to a HUMAN.

Kalika: …is he trying out for a school play?

Delenn: I…think?


…AND HE’S A BIT OF A HAM TOO

Sinclair: On the line we always said the only good alien is a dead alien. I’m not saying I hate aliens, but I hate aliens.

Malcolm: I know. You know, on Earth we have AlienAway. We have to show everyone Humans Are Special. I can introduce you to some friends. But first, you must show the aliens who’s boss.


THE LEAGUE DOESN’T SEE A PROBLEM THOUGH

Sinclair: There are no problems! At all! The attackers went to Earth! Or the moon! Or something!

G’Kar: I don’t believe you! Clearly you’re plotting against us all!


LONDO HAS A PLAN!

Vir: You can travel in a few days.

Londo: And when you get there to Centauri Prime, you can be my cousin’s foster kids until you’re older and can choose for yourself! That way you can learn how to be the best Centauri ever!

Kiron: …is being the best Centauri a good thing?

Londo: Probably not BUT DO IT ANYWAYS.


SILLIEST TERRORIST MEETING EVER

Malcolm: Well, here we are. Cozy, eh?

Sinclair: So what’s with the Death Eater hoodies?

Malcolm: Because we’re awesome. In two days’ time, we’ll assassinate the four alien ambassadors here. Including Kosh. That damn Kosh.


SOME TIME IN THE FUTURE

Sinclair: And this is where a racist was force-punched by a Vorlon!

Tourist: Wow!


BUT REALLY SINCLAIR IS A BAD ACTOR

Malcolm: Just get us in the ambassador’s pad and then off the station so no one knows. And now, if you’re so evil, kill this cute Abba 4 alien!

Kalika: D-:

Sinclair: KILLING ABBA 4 ALIENS IS JUST PLAIN WRONG! AND NO ONE SHOULD DO IT EVER!

Suddenly, the security team heads down, and Sinclair and Ivanova start shooting at the racists. A LOT.


ANVILS FOR DAYS!

Sinclair: You ready to go, YOU HORRIBLE KITTEN-EATING RACIST?

Malcolm: I love you Susan why did you do this just for aliens?

Ivanova: BECAUSE I HAVE AN ANVIL!

Malcolm: :(

Friday, January 10, 2014

"And then the author was never heard from again..."

So I disappeared. At least from this blog. I've still been existing. At least I think I have. (It's easy to start questioning one's existence after marathoning Night Vale.)

So first off, we moved last weekend. We are now in a house (okay, half a house) with random stray cats in our basement across from the grocery store in a small town that only has one stop light, and that stop light is really just a red light dangling over a four-way stop to remind people that they're supposed to stop at four-way stops.

However, there was a...complication. See, I had a bit of a cold. After wandering around in the snow and icy air for hours, that cold developed into a full-blown sinus infection that had me questioning my existence. (Or maybe that was the Night Vale marathon...) I was too sick to leave the house and so wallowed in misery for several days, and after that it was enough to go to work and back. Also we have a problem of no Internet.

But here I am, ensconced in the Stanford's warm house because I don't fancy driving 50 minutes to get to work by 8:30 in the morning while the roads are covered in ice. (CURSE YOU POLAR VORTEX) There is Internet, and there is warmth, and I just discovered there will be pizza, which is of course amazing.

All this to say...I am not dead (possibly) and I will not be posting again until next weekend, when we sell our souls to Mediacom.


This may or may not be the CEO of Mediacom.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

And now, a word from the author

Having a cold makes my mind do funny things.

I'm always saying words on here. And I'm going to say more than one word. In fact, I already have.

MOVING ON.

I became slightly better at, you know, actually keeping up with this blog; however, I kept getting behind with my book reviews, and I do like writing those as soon as possible after I'm done. Therefore, I'm going to get caught up with my reviews before seriously reading anything for said reviews. That said, I'm going to read White Fire whether or not I can read aloud to Dale, because the idea of a Pendergast book sitting around being unread is painful to me.

So, blog goals this year: Write my reviews in a more timely fashion; continue work on the 100 Themes, for great writing practice; continue with Parody 5, because I'm just having fun with those.

As for my personal goals, well, I sort of fell off the wagon health-wise these past few weeks. Being in the middle of a move makes it difficult to find time (or space) to exercise, and it's the holiday season, which means that work is naturally filled with all this food that is very bad for you, but just sits there and calls to you until you eat it.

So, this year: I will take my own snacks to work every day, and make sure they are substantial enough that I'm not getting hungry; exercise three times a week, since doing it every day seemed to just accelerate burn-out; work on my writing apart from this blog and 100 Themes, for great publishing ambitions; read more; and try to do all this while catching up with Doctor Who, because let me tell you that show is addictive.

Now, I'm going to go nurse this badly-timed cold and watch as my kitten attempts to climb into the box I had to lay on its side because she kept jumping in and getting stuck.

Yo Frenzy, I herd u liek boxes...