NOT New Year’s Resolutions

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.  Mostly because I don’t believe in them; they’re too much like a yearly deathbed conversion that never takes for most.  But I’m also selfish enough that MY new year starts on my birthday, and that is the day I choose to reflect, assess and make decisions about future changes.

However I recognize that New Year’s Day is a useful milestone, so here are a few things I’ll be trying out in the New Year:

1)  The Fifty Book Challenge – With my trusty Kobo in hand, I’m going to make a run at this.  I suspect I’ll clear this hurdle with room to spare; even discounting game books I read a lot.  No, seriously, more than that.  If you want we can start a pool as to when in the year I actually hit fifty books.  I’ll start a separate page on here to list the books I read.  Note that only books I have never read before will count toward this list, not re-reads.  Those will be on my own time…

2)  The Stollery Hair Massacure – I took last year off from this, but it is time to get back in the pink!  So I will be dying my hair on New Year’s Day and taking donations right up to the Shave Day, February 15.  I’ll provide I have provided a link in the sidebar if you want to donate, and in the meantime here’s what the Hair Massacure is all about.

3)  Posting Gaming Material – This year I’m looking seriously at getting back to writing game material.  So to start, and to shake the rust out, I’m going to post some freebie stuff here on the site.  Nothing too big, mostly just encounters I’ve made or little bits and pieces of campaign schmutz I’ve put together over the years.  If you like them, please download and give feedback.  If you don’t like them, please give feedback.

I think that is enough to get going on.  There are few other projects that I put in motion back at my Bday, and they’ll keep chugging along as well.  Expect posts about these, and more, once I reach significant milestones.

I hope your New Year is an amazing one, filled with wonder and joy.  Thanks for reading, eh?

Returning to the Shire

I’ve read The Lord of the Rings annually for the past 27 years, and usually The Hobbit along with it.  I’m one of those guys who liked The Silmarillion, though I agree it is a dry read for the most part.  I’ve read Tolkien’s essays on the books, I’ve read other people’s essays on the books, heck, I’ve read Tolkien’s letters, most of which had little to do with anything he wrote.  This is all to say I’m a pretty dedicated Tolkien bibliophile.

That said, I loved Peter Jackson’s movies.  Were there things I wish he’d kept in? Of course.  I won’t bore you with the list, but there were definitely parts I wished had stayed from earlier in the book, especially in light of the drawn-out ending to the third movie.  But unlike many of my fellow bibliophiles, I understand a faithful adaptation would have been much too long and, well, boring.  Some things needed to be cut, some things needed to be shown and not talked about, and bits had to be added because folks want to see some awesome in their fantasy action movie.

I’m seeing the first Hobbit film in about ten days.  I’m taking someone to it on a date, and I want to see it for the first time with her.  So I am subjecting myself to a very specific flavour of internet black-out; basically, any review that contains spoilers will be ignored between now and then.  Not that I’m not familiar with the story, but I’d rather see it fresh, without anyone’s voice in my head while I’m watching.

In some of the non-spoiler reviews I’ve read, though, I hear some criticism of additions Peter Jackson made to the story.  Many folks assume The Hobbit was written to tie in with The Lord of the Rings.  Actually, edits to The Hobbit to bind the two stories more closely came later, and only a few similar characters offered a connection.  In reviews I’ve read it seems that Mr. Jackson has woven elements from The Silmarillion into the film, in order to tie the story closely with LotR.  Most of those reviews have expressed varying levels of disapproval, with a few coming out cautiously in favour.

Obviously I don’t want to sound off too strongly before I’ve seen the film.  But I will make two points.  First, based on LotR I think Peter Jackson has earned a fair amount of latitude from fans.  I could understand some of these issues being raised if this was his first kick at the material, but I’m fairly certain he has shown he has the chops to present Middle Earth by now.  Second, I’m actually glad to hear that some Silmarillion is making it into the movies. I was a bit leery when I heard The Hobbit was being stretched to three films.  I trusted Mr. Jackson to make the call, but given the relative lengths of the books I did worry that a Hobbit trilogy would be, as Bilbo says, “Sort of stretched, like… butter scraped over too much bread.”  So I’m glad to hear additional material was added, and I look forward to seeing how the back-story was woven into the main.

Of course I reserve the right to take all that back once I see the film.  As I also reserve the right to crow about how right I was.  I guess what I’m saying is, I’ll write a review once I’ve seen it, so that is one future post in the bag.

What about you?  Have you seen The Hobbit yet?  What did you (spoiler-free) think?  Feel free to leave comments about the film and/or books in the comments below.  Always happy to talk Tolkien.

Down from the Door Where it Began

As Edmonton makes its yearly transformation into Hoth, sadly without Tauntauns (seriously bio-engineers, what are you even doing with your time?) I find myself drawn back to the keyboard, and this blog.  I know I gave a little tease back in August with my Gencon reports, and I’m sorry if you all felt that was a sign of glorious purpose.  It was not.

Simply put, I wasn’t ready.  The things that had driven me away from blogging had to run their course, and I needed to work on a few things personally before I felt I could get back to this.  I kept telling myself I’d start again when I was done that work.  Recently I’ve come to realize the work is and should be ongoing and never ending.  And so I’m starting this again, for better or worse, and I aim to keep going.

Was that cryptic and pseudo-wise sounding enough for you?  Too bad, moving on!

*     *     *

Like a batter warming up, I’m just going to hit a few easy ones to start.  So here are a few things that have caught my eye of late…

– Apparently shaming “fake” geek girls has become a thing again.  Some comic artist got his panties publicly in a knot over this tired straw-woman argument, and the Webs World Wide, they erupted.  I’m not going to lay out the latest details; if you want them the internet is there to help.  But I will say this: what is the downside?  Let us assume all the douche-canoe exclusionist idiots are right, and there are females among us just pretending to be nerds.  How does that affect my geekiness?  Or the geekiness of anyone around me?  Answer: it doesn’t.  Nerdiness is a renewable, not finite, resource.  My geek levels do not depend on the geekiness of those around me, and a person pretending to be a nerd takes nothing from me.  So lets put aside this tiresome faux-rage and stop acting like the idiots that picked on us when geekiness was not as cool as it is now.

– Hi, my name is Brent and I’m a Tumblr addict (Hi, Brent!).  I started an account mostly just to follow people I found interesting, and to explore a possible alternative to Facebook.  Now I can’t get through a day without scrolling through my ever-growing list of ‘shipping news, memes, picture posts and animated gifs.  Because of Tumblr, I now understand the concept of “joyful misery”.  If you want to join me in my addiction or simply increase your own, I’m Dork Musings.  We can get through this together…

– Some quicky show reviews/views:  Arrow: Love the story and writing, most of the acting and the fact that John Barrowman in on it.  Beauty and the Beast: I…I just don’t know yet.  I want to like it because I loved the original series growing up.  But the writing is uneven, and the heavy hand of plot blunders in at the weirdest moments.  Doctor Who: So stoked for the Christmas Special, I have Dickensian goose bumps!  Once Upon a Time:  This is a really solid, fun, dark little show, and if you don’t get at least some enjoyment from it you are just wrong.  Castle:  Remember on Moonlighting when things started the downhill slide after they got together?  That is not happening on Castle, and I’m loving it!

That’s it for now.  My new job is pretty much going to have me working 12-14 hour days until December 21st, so posts until then will be sporadic.  My goal, depending on my level of tired, is to get at least three a week up here.  Might be three days in a row, might be M-W-F, who knows.  Right, probably The Shadow, but good luck getting that slippery bastard to tell you anything.

Catch you next time, gentles.