Top pick squee pictures from Failblog Squee website… A great site if you are looking to laugh, waste time, and boost your own esteem through the fails of everyone else. Most of their sister sites adhere to producing those results. However, the Squee sister site offers the hilarious and adorable pet pictures that result in all of those effects, just not at someone else’s expense.
Alright, I finished the first book in George R. R. Martin’s series, A Song of Fire and Ice, A Game of Thrones and am ready to review.
First a summary. This epic series follows many characters from all over the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, many from one of several houses. Each house, Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Frey etc. have very specific codes of life, motos, symbols of their lineage and family and all are apart of the events that take place in Realm. Events that shape the future, sometimes a butterfly effect that takes time to see the pending tsunami, sometimes a very swift consequence results. With Lords and ladies, peasants, butchers, white walkers (zombies), dragons, dark magic, savages, knights, kings, dire-wolves and the old gods and the new, this story is packed with characters. When the Hand of the King dies, the King announces Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell to take his place, but this means moving the Stark family from the cold wintery North to the Summer South, a move not easy to make. When Lady Stark learns that there may have been foul play regarding the death of the Hand, the Starks agree Eddard must go to discover the truth… And so much truth there is to find! Across the sea, the last of the House of Dragons, the Targaryens, plot to retake the Iron Throne. Meanwhile something is awakening beyond the wall, something that is stirring up winter, a very long and cold one soon to be upon the Realm.
I don’t want to give anything away (for those of you under a rock, who still have not read or seen the show), so that’s about as much summary as I can muster.
So, I’ve already talked about how much I like the show (a lot!) and I mentioned really enjoying the book when I was not finished with it, so my judgement on this one is no surprise -I loved it.
What I think is exceptional about this book is the epic quality. It seems that every character, no matter how large their role, whether they die within 20 pages or last till the end, all have a great depth. I think what adds to this are the roles of the houses, and family ties. Each house has a very specific mood, attitude, and the members of the house all exude those qualities (with some strong exceptions), even the symbols of the house reflect who they are and what they are like. I think that makes the reader already mindful of a history of each house without needing to delve extremely far. It seems that many of the devices Martin uses are along the lines of “it’s the little things.” I think the author does a great job at giving you enough information that you understand the history, and yet he does not bore you with over explaining or lose you in a run down of what happened before the current King. The author allows the history to be brought up in conversations, so the reader gets a piece by piece picture of the entirety all while the current events are changing the future of the kingdoms, in significant, maddening ways.
One thing that took me by surprise is how dang close the show and books are, seriously, nearly word for word. So much so that I am tempted to skip the second book and plunge into the third to keep up with show.
There are 2 things the book offers a (slightly) deeper view into: Bran (a Stark boy, who loses his ability to walk, but gains a third eye type visionary wisdom) and the dire-wolves in general. In the show you see the same three-eyed crow that leads Bran as in the book, but in the book there are a few more dreams, a few instances that show his abilities. For the dire-wolves in the show, viewers understand that they are extensions of the Stark children, but in the book the dire-wolves connection with their respective owner seems magnified. I’m not sure whether it’s simply reading the words versus watching a picture, but something in the book makes them even more of a special addition to the story.
I was talking with someone at work about Game of Thrones and because it’s fantasy, and the author names sound similar, J. R. R. Tolkien came up in the conversation. My coworker looked shocked when I admitted that I think Game of Thrones is better than Lord of the Rings, but here is my reasoning. While Tolkien is an amazing visionary writer and the plot is fantastic, and the characters are loveable, he tends to write several tens of pages on walking in a forest, or a swamp, eating biscuits and elf bread. Don’t get me wrong, Tolkien’s a master of fantasy, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t skip full paragraphs, because walking is boring. That’s where Martin shines. He brought the cliffhangers of a thriller into the fantasy, and a character never walks for a full paragraph without something interesting happening or a new thought, or an emotional connection being built. His editor was, hands-down, a genius. Almost every single chapter ends when you don’t want it to, right in the middle of a huge event, or right after a revelation. He leaves you never bored and always wanting more and that’s the secret. Cut the stuff people are going to skim through anyways, reduce it to a concise transition and then cut the reader off from some information, leave them pining for more.
The other, and possibly only other, area Martin outshines Tolkien is character development. While Tolkien has as many characters and races as Martin, their treatment varies. Both authors built up rich histories for the races/houses and the characters themselves, but where Tolkien’s characters are added depth and revealed from a handful of perspectives (mostly good guys), Martin uses each chapter as another character, constantly changing the view until circling back around and repeating. Martin’s characters in general are not specifically bad or good, which I think makes them deeper automatically, because you see each character make good and bad decisions, it creates a grey area of their personality and makes them very relatable, very human and you find yourself feeling bad for the bad guys and wanting to smack the good guys. It complicates how the reader feels about the characters. Also, Martin has the guts to kill off beloved characters. With Tolkien, you could trust that everything was going to work out. Not with Martin, even if you think a person is the main character, there is no singular main character, just the realm and the game of thrones.
Gasp! Evil Dead is out and I am trembling with excitement to see it, but I am going to wait until my brother comes to town next week. I have been reading many reviews, from Entertainment Weekly to random links off news pages and all have said the same thing- it’s a cringe worthy, shut your eyes, nibble your nails, scare and gore galore, blood on blood bath.
Now, I’m not the type of horror fan that completely relishes in only carnage, (But sometimes I do relish, for instance: first Saw was great, all the rest, meh, at the same time I will go see any and every Final Destination) I need a decent story and above all I want that anticipation that leaves you tightening your fist and pulling your knees up just so they are not dangling over into the dark unknown void under your theater seat.
The story is the basic formula of many horrors, teenagers awakening something evil and trying not to die.
The question is does Evil Dead deliver on building tension and absorbing your attention? My bet says yes. Have you seen the trailer??
Are any of you excited to see Evil Dead? And who will you be seeing it with? I know you’re not going alone, even if movies do not scare you, you might just need an extra sleeve to heave into when the razors and tongues come out.
Today we have an exercise in sound. Now, there are several ways to incorporate sound in your writing; by way of similes, metaphors, onomatopoeias, etc. In my opinion, I lean towards using similes or metaphors more often than onomatopoeia because I find that onomatopoeia tends seem more childish, the clock goes tick, the horse says neigh, the horn went honk. I think that if you want to use words that mimic their sound, the sentence has to be a bit more complicated. When your sentence is more complicated and uses more educated words, certain onomatopoeic words blend well and add that sound effect the writer is looking for. I still think when I see something like:
Crash! The car skidded into the power box and sparks illuminated the hood in brilliant flashes.
sounds a little young, simply because of “Crash!” I think the writer’s goal is to surprise the reader and by making a one word sound/action it hooks the reader, but from a readers stand point I think a little bit more subtle hits me harder and grabs me. Instead try:
That’s when they crashed. The car skidded into a power box and sparks illuminated the hood in brilliant flashes.
It’s a statement and although the reader will take more time allowing the to figure it out before they finish the sentence, it works to build tension.
In other cases onomatopoeia works very well. You could argue that “skidded” from that sentence is onomatopoeic, the skid mimicking the tire vibration when the car slides and in this case it serves the sentence very well. Other not quite so blatant words like “plop”, “giggle”, and “sizzle”, when used well transform the mundane sentence into a well rounded sensory expirience.
But in no sentence does the word “buzz” belong.
Do you know of any instances where an onomatopoeic word worked well, or did not work at all?
Okay, today I get to tell you about the amazing plans I have for the backyard. First we are removing the bricks that outline the yard so that we can extend both sides of the patio completely across. Then we are taking back about a foot and a half off the patio. With those bricks we plan to create a half moon area from the middle. The next goal is to build up a brick bench and fire-pit (I found a how to that looks pretty simple).
Then for the grass area,we’ll put in some sod. In the far left corner we want a small fountain and pond, maybe some koi then from the pond extending out a small river.
For plant life, we would like to have on the right side, a peach tree, a plum tree and a lemon tree. I really like these specific trees because they do well in the desert, the color of the leaves on the lemon tree is vibrant green, the peach and plum both flower, one white and one red and I use all three fruits. Climbing plants all along the walls as well as stalks of bamboo and (maybe) sunflowers added when we have even more available funds.
I know all if this can take quite awhile, but we are only doing little bits at a time as we have the money to do so. For right not we are just focusing on the bricks and sod. When we see how many bricks we have left over (if any) we will have a better idea what we can afford to do next.
The movie Solomon Kane is currently on X-Box for free viewing. Since I saw free I decided to check it out. I viewed the trailer first, to see how interesting it seemed. Well, I was surprised it was a free viewing, because the production value was pretty darn good, the storyline seemed promising and there were intriguing characters I wanted to see in action.
And it followed through.
Who doesn’t like a story about a ruthless, greedy pirate (maybe privateer), whose soul is damned and needs redemption. Sound fairly decent for the foundation plot? I’d say so. Solomon Kane is fearless, he is ruthless, his men are expendable, killing comes naturally to him, until on a raid he comes into a room where, after all his men are killed by souls/demons, he stands alone, still fearless, against a reaper. The reaper informs him that the darkness will come for him and he is bound for Hell. This scares Solomon into seeking sanctuary and restoring his life to a peace, in hopes that he will find redemption. Still haunted by dreams of his past Solomon is asked to leave so that he may find his own path of redemption.
Leaving his sanctuary, but upholding his peaceful ways Solomon refused to fight when he needed to the most -not to kill for the sake, or because he is good at it, or for greed, but because it fighting is sometimes the correct response.
The consequences of his lack of fighting and standing up for others, forces him back into the killing lifestyle, forfeiting his redemption, but a large point in the movie is that many different journeys are actually the path to redemption, and for Solomon, killing is a part of himself part of his path to redemption.
The movie definitely delivered interesting creatures, from the initial mirror souls, and the reaper, to witches and Black Plague zombies, sorcerers and a masked raider, but this plot had a lot going on. So much so, that in fact may have been its hiccup. It was all great, but I wanted to see more of certain things. The revelation at the end was fantastic, but it was muddled by another character being present. I think this could have been solved by making the movie longer, or cutting some characters so the main ones can have more time. I think it actually would have worked well as a mini series.
Another thing that threw me off a little was trying to figure out the time period. With the buckled pirate/privateer look, the donning of the Puritan buckled hat, the castles, and the wood carriages, the presence of the Black Plague, I may be completely wrong here (I’m certainly no expert) but it just had me flipping from the 14th century to the 16th.
All in all it was really entertaining, very well done in most respects. It made me wonder why it did not release to theaters, because if Eragon could make some money, this one certainly could also.