Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Help Save the Internet as we know it

There is a bill before congress that if passed will force ISPs to block sites with offensive content, and basically gives the government the authority to block any and all sites that anyone says infringes upon their copyrighted ideas without need of showing proof, without question, and without giving a single warning to the owner of the site. This means that your blog, your twitter account, your facebook account, any sites or blogs that you visit, youtube, and many, many more sites could sudenly become illegal and censored by the united states government. Any comment that you make that any person finds offensive to them in any way will bsically make it so that you and every site/blog/etc that you own are effectively banned from the internet without warning and with no hope of ever getting them back. It is, basically, the death of the first amendment. And if Congress can so easily kill the freedom that it grants us, what others might they so easily strike down? Do not let them get their foot in the door with this. Send them a message that you will not stand for it.

Click here to sign the petition against this bill and send a message to your congressman that you want him to vote against it

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Book Review: The Alloy of Law

I've put up a new book review on The Alloy of Law: A Mistborn Novel by Brandon Sanderson if you care to read it, but your time would probably be better spent reading the actual book, as it was extremely good, very entertaining, and a great deal of fun for its short length.

Enjoy =)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lord of the Misunderstood Characters

/nerd rage on

Soooo, I got together with a bunch of people for a gruelling 11 hour marathon of all 3 extended version Lord of the Rings movies. Why? Because I'm a freaking geek, that's why. Do I need any other reasons?

Anyway, I typically watch movies in that sort of thing with people who are very vocal in poking fun and such, it's just so much more fun that way. Now, a bit of a heads up, if you know nothing of the Lord of the Rings, this rant will make very little sense to you.So we get to the part where Boromir tries to take the ring from Frodo at the end of Fellowship of the Ring, and everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, probably the 15 other people watching with me, start talking about what an evil douchebag he is. I'm really kind of getting tired of explaining this to people. If you think Boromir is evil, I'm afraid you've completely missed the entire purpose of his character.

There are several things that you must understand first before you can understand why Boromir tried to take the ring when he did. First of all is the nature of the ring, both in the story and what it represents in the real world. Tolkien is very huge on symbolism, and if you're completely oblivous to such things, his writings will not make much sense to you. The Ring is the power, the very soul and essense, of the Dark Lord Sauron. It corrupts EVERYTHING that it touches. Some have more resistance to it than others, but all who come in contact with it will eventually succumb to its temptations. This is symbolic of the power of Satan and Sin to pull you away from righteousness with their power of temptation. No one on Earth is immune to the temptings of Satan, and thus, no one in Middle Earth is immune to the temptings of the Ring.

Next you must understand what kind of man that Boromir is. He is the best general and warrior that the nation of Gondor has to offer, first son of the Steward Denathor, and sent on a mission by his father. Denathor has heard stories of the Ring, and its power, and he has seen the armies of the Dark Lord massing. With only his nation standing between the hoarde and the rest of Middle Earth, Gondor alone guards against a threat that it cannot possible hope to stop, or even turn aside. Boromir was sent to Rivendel to bring back the Ring so that its power might be used to save Gondor from the Dark Lord's forces. With each passing day, Boromir sees the enemy growing stronger, and he sees how hopeless things are becoming. He has placed his faith in what his father has told him, that the Ring is the only salvation there is for his people. He is a man of duty, and honor, and wishes only to protect those whom he has sworn to protect. This is illustrated later on when he sacrifices his life to hold off an army single-handedly so that Merry and Pippen could escape, fighting on though he was shot more than thirty times with arrows, and killing most of those who came for the Hobbits.

Why did Boromir try to take the ring? There are many reasons. He believes that it is the only salvation that his people have, and that they are simply throwing it, and any hope Gondor has away by destroying it. He wishes to be the hero that saved Gondor when the Line of Kings had long abandoned it to its fate. He wishes his father to be proud of him. But most importantly, he was tempted by the nature of the Ring. He was tempted by the power and the glory that he thought it could bring him, and the salvation that it could bring to his home. Every character in the Lord of the Rings comes into contact at one point in the story or another with the temptations of the ring, and either overcome or succumb to them. Boromir, unfortunately, succumbs. But you know what, so does Frodo in the end, so shut up!

The character of Boromir himself is symbolic, going into Tolkien's love of symbolism. He symbolizes a strong and righteous man, who falls to the temptations of Satan. His character is a lesson that Tolkien was trying to teach to his readers, that even though you may be righteous and strong, you can still be tempted by evil to do evil things, so its best to leave evil things be, and stay to the path of righteousness. By the way, did I mention that Tolkien was a religious man? So, if you believe that Boromir tried to take the ring because he was evil all along, you've completely missed the point, and Tolkien is rolling in his grave because the lesson he was trying to teach you has gone ignored and misunderstood.

Boromir is one of my favorite characters in the Lord of the Rings, and when I say that, those who don't just outright ask who the heck Boromir is and why am I such a geek, look at me weird like I said Satan is my favorite character in the Bible. It's because he is a strong man who was tempted by darkness to one dark act, for which he attoned for immediately thereafter in one of the most spectacular death scenes that any character has ever had in fiction. He is one of my favorites because of the lesson that he teaches, and the things he represents in the story. Yes, he was tempted, but so was every other character, that doesn't make him evil, it makes him human.

I really love the actor that plays him in the Peter Jackson movies. I can see that Sean Bean really does understand the character, and his motivations, and the symbolism behind everything. He does a very good job of showing how a righteous man can be tempted for a moment by evil. Give the movie another watch if you didn't notice. He gives a very good performance that illustrates exactly what Tolkien was trying to say with the character. Also, pay attention to things like camera angles, the composition of visuals, lighting, sound and music. All of these things contribute to his performance to make the lesson very plain to anyone who is looking for it. I especially like the shot where Frodo sees Boromir watching him through the Ring, symbolizing that the Ring has taken him with its temptations.

/nerd rage off

Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: The Dragon Reborn

In my reread of the wheel of time series in preparation for the final volue to be released sometime next year I've finished book 3: THe Dragon Reborn and you can read my review of it here.

I'll be taking a bit of a break from The Wheel of Time for the next couple of weeks as Alloy of Law and Inheritance both come out tomorrow, both of which are highly awaited by me.

Enjoy =)

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Eternal Chain Chapter 4 First Draft

I've finished the first draft of chapter 4 of The Eternal Chain and you can download it at the bottom of this page.

This chapter follows the same basic structure of the original upon which it was based, however it is very much different from the original. Brand is sent by the innkeeper to hunt down Raven and bring him back for starting the brawl, and one of the Seven arrives, destroying the entire city, killing everyone in it as Brand stands by helpless to do anything about it. He joins Raven not for some weak and vague reason I didnt really think out very well in the original, but for the clear promise of vengeance against the one that did it if he comes.

Something to watch here, is that Brand is having two different types of flashes. Hes having flashes of memories from before his memory was erased, and flashes of things that could not possibly have happened before his memory was erased. The original idea for the original trilogy upon which this book is based was that the villain had control of time itself and had trapped it in a loop called the Eternal Chain. Every time the loop repeats the fabric of time runs a bit more ragged, and sooner of later it's going to snap, and everything will simply cease to be. I didn't really bring much of that into Beyond the Lost Horizon, because it was part of the larger story that I was largely trying to save for the second two books so that the first book could stand alone if needed. I think it's a bit better to have him having flashes of previous lives that he's lived in that loop at the very beginning to establish that something strange is definitely going on. Also, a thing to watch out for is characters feeling deja vu. It's because everything they're experiencing has actually happened to them before, countless times. Every tie a character starts talking about how they feel like this has happened before, it's a warning that something very important to them is about to happen.

Anyway, enjoy =)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Do you know the Muffin Man...?

Soooooo, today I woke up craving muffins for some reason, and got out my family's ancient muffin recipe. Yes, that's right, there is such a thing in this world as an ancient muffin recipe. It has been passed down through my family for hundreds of years. Seriously. I'm not making that up. It has been adapted through the ages by this person or that to meet the ingredients, or measures, or oven technology of the times, but it's basically the same recipe that my ancestors were making centuries ago. If you're expecting a sugary treat, look somewhere else. These have much, MUCH less sugar in them than most recipes you can find these days, and I think they're better for it. Back in the day, on the Highlands of Scotland, sugar was not as accessable as it is today, and people weren't hopelessly addicted to it as they are today. So here it is:

Oat Muffins

2 Cups Oats
2 Cups Milk
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cups Cooking Oil
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
Any fruit/berries of your choice.

Preheat oven to 400

Combine Oats and Milk and set aside to soak for 10-15 mins. Most if not all of the milk should be absorbed by the oats
Combine all other dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together thoroughly
Beat the Eggs and add them with the Oil and the Oat/Milk Mixture into the dry ingredients.
Mix thoroughly and add in your fruit. I usually do mixed berries, but apples and cinnamon are good, or mashed bananas basically anything you could ever want or think of works well.

Get a muffin tin/pan/whatever they’re called. You can either grease it thoroughly or use those little paper muffin/cupcake cups. Either way, fill them 3/4 of the way with batter and cook for 20-30 mins or until the tops begin to brown. Stab with a toothpick if it comes out clean they’re done, if bits of batter stick to it, it needs more time.

Makes 2 dozen.

Enjoy =)