Thursday, December 24, 2009

"To train the mind to its full potential, you got to train your body" - Full Metal Alchemist

Avatar. Was it worth the 10 year wait, the hundreds of millions of dollars it cost to produce, and deserving of all the hype? Probably not. CGI aside, it wasn’t really anything ground breaking. But still, I really liked it.
The story has been done before many a time. People encroaching on others territory, trying to drive them out because they have something of value, and getting their butts handed to them because they’re essential cornering a cultural badger. Pretty much it was Cowboys vs Indians wrapped oh so well in Fernguly trappings. The aliens were so blatantly Native American rip offs, it was laughable.
The acting was decent enough to make you care about the characters over all, but it wasn’t anything to cry over. The pacing was actually pretty good. It didn’t make you feel you weren’t watching a movie that was just shy of 3 hours long.
Graphic wise, it’s going to knock your socks off. The CGI flawesley flowed from one frame to the next, where you couldn’t tell where human and computer interacted effortlessly. In some CGI heavy movies, you get the occasionally scene or 2 where it’s painfully obvious there was someone standing in front of a green screen.
I don’t think this movie is going to change the way you watch movies like the way they were claiming, but it was damn good. I wish I would’ve seen this in 3D, because that’s what this movie was made for. It was good enough I might have to go see it again, just so I can have the 3D experience. I will urge you all to see this in the theatres, because it’s of such a scope that you won’t be able to realize it in a living room. I’m giving it 3.5/5 stars. Now for Sherlock Holmes this next weekend.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Life-transforming ideas have always come to me through books." - Bell Hooks

What good is a great imagination if you cant write it down and share it?  I love reading. Especially books from the Fantasy genre. I’m a sucker for them. It helps me escape to a grand, mythical realm of dreams and possibilities. It’s a universe of books that, admittedly, I need to expand my habit of reading from. But there has been so many great authors that he journey with me through their books. I realize that a lot of ideas in Fantasy writing have been blatantly rehashed and reused with abandon and without apology. Which The Fantasy Novelist Exam kind of puts into a light. Some I like, some I didn’t, and very few had something original and refreshing. And I’ve come to terms with it, and always return to this type of writing because it’s a style I grew up with and have come to love.
I’ve always been tempted to start writing my own work of fiction. A full blown novel? Not quite yet. That’s a little above me at the moment. But to do something of the likes of a short story? It’s been gnawing at my subconscious for a good while now. There’s a few things that have been delaying me. I’m inherently lazy. Why I should I start writing when I could go play a game or watch TV? And another is where do I start? That aspect just seems so daunting it kind of puts me off it all together.
I want to do something original, but what? Do I just want to start off easy and do a piece of Fan Fic? It can get overwhelming. Which reverts me to the first dilemma. The gaming publishing company Paizo did a design your own adventure path a few years back. I didn’t hear about it until it was too late, but I did a portion “Design Your Own Country” on my own. This is what I came up with:

Realm of Blackire

"Beware the Ire of Black"

Alignment: LN

Notable Settlements: Iron Hill (pop. 11,445), Brass Hall (pop. 12,600), The Steel Warren (pop. 13,266), The Market (approx. pop. 1500)
Ruler: The Council

Government: An elected council of 9 Dwarves which is contrived of each City sending one senior delegate from their respective Military, Religious, and Arcane guilds.


The great Cities of Blackire are carved out of the bellies of three extinct volcanoes that, when looked upon, roughly form the shape of a triangle. The great valley that once nestled in the central hub of these great mountains of fire no longer exists as a natural feature of the landscape. Where these volcanoes once joined is now a great strip mine of great proportions. So much Obsidian was found here, it is the single most influencing factor of this area. Through dwarven ingenuity, major buildings are built from it as well as their military weapons and armor. The later are of such great quality and durability that they are only brought to life from their secret rune forges that they only have deep within the cities.
One would think that such a mine would leave a quit significant scar where it was mined, but through the brilliance of dwarves mining and constructing methods, it has been transformed into the regions largest open aired market that is practically a small city itself. As the raw, excess material was being removed from the pit, it was being put to the use of constructing the three great walls that linked the volcanoes and raising the multitude of buildings that are within the market. If you would look from above, it would look like a great, fortified coliseum.
Rising from the bottom from the very bottom of this Dwarven made wonder stands a magnificent tower of which only the hands of the most skilled dwarven architects could erect. The purpose of this tower, which has been named ‘The Black Sentinel’, is not only for Political decisions and for Military applications, it is also the main channel through which the flow of goods, services, and people runs to the three cities below. Three major shafts spread out from below The Black Sentinel to each of the cities: Iron Hill, Brass Hall, and The Steel Warren.

The most common ore found within the area is Obsidian. The creating and forming of this particular substance is the most guarded secret of the Blackire Dwarves. Because of dwarven magic and their natural attunement and connection with the very earth itself, obsidian is brought to life in their buildings and forging. When it is applied to a more militaristic application is when the secrecy deepens. Through the ranks of the Military, Religious, and Arcane guilds flows a secret and ‘unofficial’ guild who’s only purpose is the forging of obsidian weaponry and armor. It is only through the combined efforts of the guilds are the strenuous art of combining obsidian and Rune Forging are possible. For one small mistake will render the brittle ore unusable. The secret of this process makes it possible for the dwarves to make a relatively common brittle material into a substance hard as steel to outfit their armies with.

The Market:
The Market is the hub of the three cities and the only access for foreigners to enter the underground. Considering that The Market is the “front door” to the cities underneath, it has the most variety of races then your standard dwarven establishment. Shops and their owners’ dwellings sit snugly up against the wall of the wide lane that corkscrews and winds its way down the bottom were The Black Sentinel sits. The Black Sentinel is one of the dwarven populaces’ most prized accomplishments; for it is made totally out of Obsidian, which helps to give it its name. The tower has rooms running along the inside of the outer wall with a staircase spiraling upwards connecting them all. The top most room is the largest and most spacious, and it is where The Council Meets. The central most cavity is a concave shaft that houses the giant operating lift system called by the local populace “The Sky Well”. The Sky Well is connected to the giant bridges that stretch from the side of this great tower to different levels of The Market to help the flow of services and goods to the different areas of the old mine.

The Cities:
The cities are, as you would suspect, is comprised mainly of dwarves. They are an open dwarven society compared to others from having a massive market place sitting above their heads. The one and only subject that they are fairly guarded about is the process of their making Obsidian related items. Iron Hill and Brass Hall both make heavy use the natural vents and chambers of their respective volcanoes for city development, but The Steel Warren had to be made by more of a conventional and traditional means of dwarven underground city making. The Cities are named after the most extracted metal from where each stronghold now resides.

Surrounding Area:
The Cities of Blackire sit within a large and rugged mountain range called The Demons Back Range. The main road the runs through Blackire, The Backbreaker, are one of the few major roads that run all the way through the range. As such, it is also a Trade Route of notoriety because of the bandits and wild monsters inhabiting the dangerous countryside. Law and order are still enforced though for the reason that there are frequent and well-armed patrols sent out from Blackire.

Yeah, it’s a rough sketch at best and needs work. But I love Dwarves, so I decided to do something with them. I’ve come with Ideas for a world for it to inhabit that I need to put to paper. Writing is an art that I need to explore more fully. There’s a fair chance that it would be any good, but I know I should do it because it makes me happy.
I did start on a story set in this realm for National Writing Month (which is forthcoming in a sec) entitled Shadows of an Obsidian Flame, but I got distracted and didn’t get very far. I only got like 500 words, if that. I wrote the following:

The main tunnel echoed with noise from the multitude of people coming and going as Thorick Shadowforge made his way up from the dwarven city below. On his way to the entrance of the large tunnel, a view of The Market with its thousands of hectic people opened up before him. As he continued walking, his eyes couldn’t help taking in the large tower that dominated the view of the entire skyline. And that’s to where he was summoned.

“Why can’t we dwarves build smaller things” Thorick grumbled to himself as started his long walk to the top of the big structure. In the middle of the Market, the Black Sentinel stood more than five hundred feet in the air and it shown like a black mirror . Made from pure Obsidian and reinforced with magic from the very earth itself, it was the hub of the three underground cities that surrounded it.

Walking through the one of the two large gates at the base of the Tower, Thorick started the long climb upwards. As he ascended, he couldn’t help to be amazed at the ingenuity of the construction and architecture of The Sentinel. There was a large vertical shaft that ran the length of the building that commerce and supplies were trafficked. A system of pulleys and gears lowered and raised large containers full of goods to different levels in the tower. From there they were transported to that level of the Marketplace over sky bridges.

Thorick couldn’t help getting a little vertigo by climbing the stairs, for they lined the wall of this shaft as they spiraled towards the top. Hundreds of corridors led from the staircase to different parts of the structure. As he got to the top waiting chamber, the dwarf was quit out of breath and was a little glad that the two guards stopped him before entering.

“What is your purpose here? “ asked the senior of the two guards.

“I was called by the council, more importantly I was asked for by Regdor Morlaki to come and meet with him.” Thorick replied breathlessly. The Senior guard nodded to the other, which entered the room. The guard came out a moment later and said, nodding towards a nearby empty room “They are in Counsel right at the moment, and you can wait in there.”

The room provided an excellent view of the Marketplace below. From above, the land looked like an Elder God had taken a giant corkscrew and twisted it into the earth below. The valley in which the marketplace and the Sentinel sat was a byproduct of dwarven mining. It was an old strip-mine. Most visitors that came here could never tell, for peoples shops and houses lined the spiraling, every widening road upwards. Were there was gaps in the terrain, the Dwarven masons had used the mining debris to make fortified walls so it looked like on big bowl.

Like I said, I didn’t get very far. I should just start on it again and just go for it. With enough prompting I just might. But as of the moment, it’s something that is always there that my fickleness can always come back too.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"You have to know where you are to know where you need to go" - Me

Where I’m at, its finally frozen and winter has finally settled in like an old, cold hearted hag. And that makes me sort of sad. I love the cold, but I hate the snow that comes with it. But until it starts to warm up again, I don’t see myself wearing my Kilt.
I did a blog about my Kilt a few months back, and I have come to love the thing. When the weather finally gets warm enough so that I don’t risk anything falling off to frost burn, I’m going to try wearing it every couple weeks. It’s really mighty comfortable. Even with the weird stares I get while wearing it. Sometimes I like the stares, because deep down I know what they're missing.
There’s a sense of wild freedom and abandonment that one can’t achieve with shorts or pants alone. And the range of flexibility and movement is amazing. All you dress wearers know what I’m talking about! All I doubt should try on a dress or skirt to see what I’m talking about. Don’t deny wanting too.
But anyways, I had a good conversation with a good friend the other day. We talked about a few things, and we touched upon me losing weight, and what was kind of the motivation behind it. Ever since I had the “What the Hell am I doing to myself?” moment that started all this, I’ve been rather kind of contemplative. I told said friend I had to know where I was to know where I had to go. And it’s been a good, productive trip since I realized where I was. Since the beginning of July, I’ve lost 80 pounds. It hasn’t been all fun and games. It hast been easy. Trust me, giving up drinking at least a liter of soda and eating a lot wasn’t easy or fun.
It’s come with a life style change that I’m surprised I made. I’ve always had people nag me that I needed to lose weight, and deep down I know they were right, but I never changed. But in July, something just finally snapped. From somewhere, I got the desire to make it happen, because I was sick of what I had become. I’m walking away with a new respect for that particular emotion. Without desire, who would you be? Where would you be without the ever driving emotion?
But without dedication, desire can get you so far. I’ve witnessed that first hand. I haven’t made the best food choices lately, and I think that’s why my weight has stabilized recently. I didn’t go back to the way I was eating before, but still I could do better. Now to recommit and start the right path again. I’ve got about 120 more pounds I want to lose, and they aren’t going to work themselves off. And to all you nay Sayers that think I’m not going to make, you might be right. But I’m going to try my damndest to get there. So cheer me on or get out of the way!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

“Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule." - Gandalf

I bought a new sound system the other day on Black Friday, and to test it out, I watched the second half of LOTR: The Return of the King. And the new system worked great, but that’s not what the aim of this blog is. The end of the movie, when Frodo and Gandalf and company sail into the west, for some reason it gets me every time. Yeah, I’m emotional like that. But it got me wondering. How do friends reach such a bond that when one leaves, that it causes the others such grief?

To me, I think there’s a point to ever friendship were it just sort of caps. I’m not saying that people can’t be good friends, but what makes that good friendship great, where you just connect on a higher level? Is there a refiners fire that you and said friends must go through to get such a great relationship, like The Fellowship did? Cause just over a year, they had plenty of circumstances that made them depend on each other physically and emotionally, which I think brought them closer together and raised the bar of their friendship to that highest level, Or is just years of work and if you connect, you do, and if not, oh well? It’s a concept people should try exploring more often….

Sunday, October 18, 2009

"An errand is getting a tank of gas or picking up a carton of milk or something. It is not getting chased by flying purple pyromaniac gorillas hurling incendiary poo." - Harry Dresden; The Dresden Files

Yeah, this has been a long time coming. But that’s what I get for having a blog; The option to ignore it and attend to it on a whim. So what do you get today? Movie reviews!

First off the ramp is District 9. I got to say, its defiantly in the top 5 movies of the year for me. The main actor, Sharlto Copley, is a relative new comer. And wow, he did damn good job. The CGI was impressive, the story line was rather original in its scope, and the ending, while not depressing, is not what you would expect. I’m going to urge you to go rent it I’m giving it 4/5 stars.

And then we have Zombieland. Simply put, this show was awesome. And I mean Awesome! Usually I’m not a fan of the Horror/Scary/Blood and gore movies that like to come out around this time of year. Cause one, I don’t really get scared by them (there is a few exceptions like the Exorcism of Emily Rose), so what is the point in watching them? And 2, refer back to previous statement. But I liked Zombieland cause it didn’t even pretend to be, or even try, scary.

Zombieland, like most zombie movies out there, follows the similar zombie plot of everyone gets affected, there’s only a few stragglers left in the world and everyone seems to have a shotgun and be wielding a fire axe. And then all funny breaks loose. I really liked the humor in this movie. If you liked the movie Shaun of the Dead, I think you’ll like this one more. I certainly did. You don’t really need to see this in the movie theatre, cause there’s no special affects to really gawk at on a big, huge screen and there’s no big explosions to flatten your senses into submission over 100,000 watt speakers. So if money is an issue with you, at least try to rent it when it finally gets there. I give it 3.5/5 stars. Now to go see the movie “9” before it’s no longer playing in my small and humble valley.

And now my very great opinion is out of the way, if any of want to hear the voice of Smurfs blab on about a certain subject, just let me know. Cause I run out of subjects to blog about on a regular bases.

And remember to Stay Thirsty My Friends...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Heroes are what you make them, and where you find them" - Bhazo

I just got done reading a book suggested to me by a couple of friends that goes by the name "Villains By Necessity" by Eve Forward. They told me its one of thoose books that stick with you and you want to read every year or two. I can see why. Its a great book. An easy read, yet with a fresh idea.
The Good Guys have won, theres little, if any, evil in the world. By unknown forces, a rag tag group of villians that are on their way out, are gathered together to save the world from its glorious self. I like it because it makes you think.
How does one define a Hero? Or a Villian for that matter? And who decides? Theres a little passage that I absolutely loved from the book I'll share:
"There's more to people than some defined Label," said Arcie. "There are more than straight good and evil, aye, even more than law or disorders or fence-sittin'. There's prejudice, whimsey, affection, superstition, habit, upbringing, alliance, pride, society, morals, animosity, prefernce, values, religon, circumstance, humor, perversity, honor, vengance, jealousy, frustration... hundreds o' factors, from the past and in every present moment, as decides what some one person'll do in an individous situation." ..... "Sometimes there's other reasons for helping, other than personal gain of benefiet," added Sam softly. "Friendship, companionship, trust and love are not confined to light alone... they are harder won, fewer seen... but no less real."

So what does shape a person into a person he becomes? Lots of factors. So I say lay aside your prejudice judgment of things different from you, and get to know whom you would judge. You might be more similiar than you would think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"When you 'Hulk Smash' upon a star"?!?!

If you’re a geek/nerd/card carrying member of The Comic Book Addiction Hotline, local 120, as I,m myself, am, then you’ve most likely already heard of this. Walt Disney has bought Marvel Comics. More Info can be found here.

At first, I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing. But if I remember right, there’s a lot of other weird mergers/ownerships out there that seem to work well. So, I’ve upgraded my naturally state of “What the Hell?” to more of a Cautiously Hopefully “What?! Uh, ok…”. Time well only tell if this is going to be a good thing. And Walt Disney? No little Mouse’s in Mark II armor, alright? If there is, a big Fist Shake of Doom will be sent your way…

(and I thought these were pretty funy)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The frame of the cave leads to the frame of man." - Stephen Gardiner

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure in going spelunking with some friends to cave system called Minnetonka. I really had a lot of fun. The temperature inside the cave is about 40 degrees year round, and if I had it my way, that’s the temp I would want around me all the time. It was absolutely wonderful. If I was a billionaire, I would buy that cave and live in it. But I digress.

In my mind, the Cave itself is very photogenic. I got a lot of good pictures during my visit. I wish we weren’t so rushed along (it was a guided tour), or I would’ve taken a few more. Next time I go, I’m definitely taking a camera stand, holding up the group be damned. They have really good mood lighting in there, and you would need it if you want to take full advantage of it and not get blurry pictures.

If find yourself in the Bear Lake area of South Eastern Idaho, and looking for an afternoon adventure, I would send you this way. It`s totally worth it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

"What is the point of having free will if one cannot occasionally spit in the eye of destiny?"

The past year, I’ve come across a new author that I absolutely love. Jim Butcher, author of the series “The Dresden Files” and “The Codex Alera”. Both are rather intriguing in their own respective ways, but I if had to choose which I liked best, it would be The Dresden Files.

The thing that makes the series for me is that the main character, Harry Dresden, is so damn flippant, it’s awesome. I wish I could be as flippant as he. Plus the world that Butcher spins, a Wizard in modern day Chicago, is brilliant and captivating. The characters feel real to me and end up caring what happens to them. And there’s so many great lines from the book, you would be underlining them at least every other page. In fact, that’s where I got my main quote for The C of Fail. I would suggest this series to anyone.

The other series, The Codex Alera, is good, but not as captivating as The Dresden Files. The series seems to start up slow. But by the 4th and 5th book, it really comes into its own. What I like best about the series though is the it’s a fantasy world with an ancient Roman spin and his different take of a “Magic” system is really creative and original.

So, if any of you are in need of a new series to read, at least consider reading The Dresden Files. I don’t think you would be disappointed.

Friday, September 4, 2009

"Is there anything worn under the kilt? No, it's all in perfect working order..." -- Spike Milligan

I recently attended a local Celtic Festival over this past weekend, the first of its kind in my valley. I’ve got to say I was pleasantly pleased. They had a variety of things to browse at, from Caber Tossing, different Scottish Clan booths, and reportedly there was Haggis, which I would've tried if I would've known about it. I would recommend to anyone if they come back next year, for I certainly would be going.

Now, I love all things related to Scotland, for its freakin' awesome. I’ve always entertained the prospect of having a full Kilt set up, but never had the means or opportunity to get one. Now at this certain Festival I attended there was a certain little both selling Kilts. After much deliberation and a certain amount of peer pressure, I broke down and bought one. And I’ve got to say, I have no buyers remorse what so ever.

There's a certain amount of freedom I’ve never known before while wearing the Kilt. It’s cool, flexible, and covers everything that needs covering. No wonder those Scots liked them. The only thing I have to say it’s just pure awesome. Now I’m on my way to building a great Halloween costume, for I have late have been watching a certain cartoon called Samurai Jack.

You’re probably asking what does Samurai Jack have to do with Kilts? Let me explain. There’s a certain character on the show that I absolutely love. And he only goes by The Scotsman. He’s one of my favorite characters on the show, and I will be going as him this year. If you have never seen said cartoon, I would suggest giving it a try. After a few episodes, it can be kind of predictable, but it does have a bit of charm to it. One of the qualities that I like is that it shows without telling. If you ever seen Wall*E, you would know what I’m talking about.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women." - Conan, The Barbarian

“What is good in life?”. Never has a self analyzing question come from an action movie than this. And never a question would have more answers than the individuals that were asked. I think everyone of us should ask ourselves this question continuously through our lives, for not only does it gives us a moment to reflect upon what is good, but to also identify what is not, and then be able to cut the chaff from our lives accordingly.

For me, what has been good in my life you might ask? Foremost, I would have to say friends. In my mind, friends are one of the main driving influences that have shaped Me into the person I am today. Family is another. I feel like that I’ve been lucky with my family life. I would be a totally different person if I was born into a different one.

But alas, to have the personal, simplistic mantra that Conan, the Cimmerian lived by. An inner gecky side of wishes for that simplicity. Or it just could be that I wish I was a muscled bund, sword toting barbarian that has a better honor code and sense of right and wrong than most of the “civilized cultures”. But I digress. To live as Conan did. To have such great mirth. The ability to live as roofless wanderer or as a King of Nations, and yet retain the ability to know ones true self.

So I ask you again. What is good in life? Go. Think. And be better for it.
Stay thirsty my friends.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

"Autobots, transform... And roll out!" - Optimus Prime

Yesterday was a good day. I joined up with my friends early in the afternoon, had dinner at a good new place in town with great root beer, and went to a viewing of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

I think Michael Bay does a good job with it overall, but it has it fair share of problems. We get our fill of monster robots kicking the trash out of each other and lots of explosions. It’s a Bay film, so what else do you want? My favorite new character is Jetfire and the cantankerous old “man” that he portrays. Too bad he was underutilized. But really, the whole thing has pacing issues, Megan Fox only purpose was just to stand there and look hot, to many “what the Hell?” moments, and the gross over use of bumbling side characters with the only drive is to act as plot devices.

Overall, it’s not a bad movie and I still think worth seeing, but it could’ve been better. 3/5 stars

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"Some days you're the statue, and some days you're the pigeon; try to be the rain." - Unknown

It’s been raining in my neck of the woods a fair bit the past month, and I gave come to the realization that I really like the rain. I could and sit and watch it for hours. It’s kind of entrancing the way the continuous way the rain falls, the quite roar of the rain hitting the earth could lull me to sleep, and the smell. Oh the smell of the earth as it rains! I love the earthy fragrance after the rain stops. It really has a cleansing and rejuvenating scent to it.

I think it also brings a child like fun and innocence out of us. To abandon all inhibitions to go and run through the downpour and splash in the puddles. Itself is its own reward, to come and dry off and wrap yourself in warm blankets in front of a fire.

Even if it ends up not raining, I like to lie on back and watch the angry clouds roll past. For how hectic a storm can be, with all its thunder and lightning and buckets of water, I find it relaxing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Classic: a book people praise but don't read." - Mark Twain

Part 3 of 3. Continued. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The Blind Swordsman

Kumano Zato, master of the blind sword,
defender of the eastern and far reaches.
Walker of paths of the sun's night,
treading with calloused feet a path
never seen by blind seeing eyes.

Born to this world like the world was made,
both knowing nothing but darkened skies.
Growing, learning as the earth did, slowly,
not to see with eyes that see nothing, for
the Mind’s eye must unlock the way ahead.

Spawned upon red skies of bloody death
fire and flames came to his village home.
Screams and nightmares of promised doom
renting the air. A Wurm of lore and legend,
driving the people forth to their demise.

Through Crags of Destiny he wandered aimless,
searching for the one horrid beast of fire.
Burning with vengeance, giving heat to a cold soul.
Peaks on high to glen low roamed Kumano,
finding nothing but caves filled with night.
Driven by a lusting hate he pursued him,
fumbling as a new born doe, ever onward.
Only finding whispers upon winds of strife and fear.

To forested dale he came, led by eternal
emptiness inside. Upon a hill he climbed,
to a convergence of earth, water, and sky.
Entwined together, like a lovers embrace.
A nexus, a source of power that was made,
where Genjus lived, untapped and unseen they came,
gathering together, like many rivers of energy.
Gazing out, Kumano found a home.

There he dwelt, learning from Spirits of the Elements,
attuning his senses, learning to see without sight.
Feeling the mountains with a body just as stubborn,
flowing like the Rivers his mind flowed with comprehension,
bending like grass with movements just as graceful,
and searching the sky with a soul just as expansive.
Being taught by the old souls of the world,
knowledge he gained, stored for eternity in bones
that are strong as the hills, on untraveled roads.

Upon such an untrodded path, came he to a great hall.
A place that made his great frame feel small.
Giants of Legend, born from the backs of mountains.
Living there for a time, earning the trust of these people,
by feats of strength and battle of wits, he proved himself.
Being called the Blind Mountain Priest, he learned as them.
Staying as long as his restless feet allowed,
Kumano made to depart. As a gift of parting, in good will,
the Masters of the Mountains gave him a no-dachi.
He took up the sword, called Jiwari, the Earthbreaker.

Departing in peace from a place of greatness,
coming upon new sights, new sounds, new ideas
of people, helping him along his way, never stopping.
Being blind, but no longer in darkness, now seeing
through the parted mists that covers his white sightless eyes

This is his way: to be guided by gaia.
Seeing the world through knowing eyes.
Sage to his own mind, wisdom learned.
Such is the path of the Blind Swordsman.

"Illiterate? Write today for free help." - Anonymous classified ad

Part 2 of 3. Continued. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The story of one Grimlocke Axethrower

Some would say I was born under a bad sign. I would say I was cursed. There were days growing up that it certainly felt like it. From the beginning, I was a frail child. I was smitten with a wasting sickness as young child that racked my body and left horrible scars. There were days that I felt like was being singled out by an evil, unknown presence. Only if knew what I know back then.
My parents did all they could for me during those days, but soon gave up hope. Thinking that my disease didn’t have an end, they abandoned me at an orphanage, hoping that “the evil eye” that was upon me wouldn’t spread to the rest of the family. If they only knew how true that was. After a time, my brother Murts, the second oldest of my family, secretly found were my so called Loving Parents had cloistered me.
Upon finding me, and without the knowledge of my family, Murts helped me finally recover. I grew up loving my brother, and following his lead whenever I could, because no one knew I was still alive outside of the orphanage. But since I was so weak growing up, the martial path Murts had grown to love wasn’t to be mine as well. For I had more of a mind for books, and the arcane arts.
The day that Murts left to go leave his salty trail on the world was a hard day for me. I tried begging him to stay, but new deep down that he wouldn’t be around forever. I remember going back to the orphanage in a blind rage, for I felt I was being abandoned once again by those that should have loved me. I fell asleep crying in one of the many dark corners of run down orphanage.
I only retained vague and clouded parts of my dreams that night. I didn’t want to ever remember that much, for they were filled with red sulfuric mists and the howling of infernal beasts. But there was one thing that was etched upon my young soul: a demonic voice that slithered through the mist and rang with the might of 10,000 brass bells. I felt my mind would shatter before I would awake.
“Grimlocke; young one” it said, its hot breathe breathing down my neck. “I’ve been observing you for awhile now.” The stench of its breathe rolled over me like flies over a battlefield. “So weak you have been, without any relief. Abandoned by family and clan alike.” It continued with a low bestial laugh that echoed into the distance. “Let me guide you now, for you have been discarded by all. Let me lead you, for I have power to give to those who are faithful and true.” My mind was in a haze, and I couldn’t resist the urge to follow.
I saw things that mortals that were not meant to see. An immense citadel that sat within horrible twisted landscapes. Multitudes of cruel and laughing demons that were covered in disease and patches of fur and ruled by a demon of overwhelming stature that my mind couldn’t fathom, from whence the horrible voice emanated.
As I looked upon this hellish scene, the voice came again, saying “Part of this power could be yours, young one. For a price…” it said, as he trailed into another bout of demonic laughter. “Promise me your soul, and it shall be yours.” With my willpower drained from the loss of Murts earlier that day and the visions I had looked upon, I consented.
The rest of the dream faded into horrific nightmares and dreams thankfully unremembered. When I finally woke, the orphanage had burned down around me with the smell of sulfur thick in the air. Scared, I did what any young person would have done. I ran like the very hounds of hell were after me. And not for the last time in my life.
Over the next year, I roamed the country side, learning the limits of my new found powers. My body also underwent a transformation during this time of wandering. No longer was I the frail child I was. My body grew thick with youthful energy and demonic vitality. But alas! During this time, my wanderings became the notice of the settlements that were splattered amongst the countryside I had been roaming in. A cry had gone out to cure the ‘witch’ that had taken up residence amongst the hillside. Once again, I barely escaped with my life.
The following few years of my life I’m not proud of. I stole, cheated, murdered and did other unforgivable acts just to stay alive. After one alcohol soaked night of depravity, I woke curled up next to a shrine to Morradin. As I gazed upon the holy sight, I had a reckoning of my actions. I realized what I had become. The tool of a Devil. I thought just because I had a childhood that made Monsters, didn’t mean I had to become one myself. And also, what would Murts make of me then? I shuddered to think of the answer.
After casting out what I was, I became a warrior of fire. No longer was I powered by the power of a demonic whim, but the power of my own wrath. I hunted down evil where ever I could find it. Secret cults, wrong doers, even a few bars (to my heavy heart) didn’t escape the fury of my fiery touch. All these things I tried to do to make up for what I had done. Until the night I heard the barking laughter of the Hounds from Hell. I once again heard the Voice creep into my dreams, saying with a forbidding voice “The day of your existence is up, young one. Your soul is now rendered mine!”
I responded with my own righteous wrath, knowing my next words could be my last “For too long thou hast stood above all life in thy arrogance! And I spit upon you and your unholy judgment!” In a terrifying voice, the demon responded “In your blind arrogance you have dared to pit your strengths against me you weak mortal? Prepare to pay for your criminal effrontery!” I felt a scratching, demonic hand start to tugging at my soul. I woke with start. If I did not flee, then I surely would have perished.
I was on the run for awhile. Catching a few notes of slumber when I could, always fearing to dream, for it always seemed that hideous laughter was always right around the corner, waiting. In this weary state, I found myself limping my way into Hammerfall. As I entered upon the main path, I passed the most gloomy bear I’d ever seen. I my exhausted state, I didn’t give it much head.
I took refuge in first tavern I stumbled upon. Having little money, I just sat and listened to the tales that were being told as I tried to rest. At first, I could not believe my ears. Murts, dead? Sacrificed to the gnoll demon Yeenoghu?! Then it clicked with the faint chilling laughter I knew all too well. “I am not spurned so easily foolish mortal…” I heard in my thoughts. I felt my blood go Icy cold and my face go pale white. What had I done? Murts, dead by my actions.
Now I have a new mission. I will not rest until I had my brother out of that hell hole and out of the grips of the demon Yeenoghu. As I write this, I’m on my way to find this band that last saw my brother, this “Daring 6”. For its my curse to bare. Murts will never be forgotten.

“I can't write a book commensurate with Shakespeare, but I can write a book by me." - Sir Walter Raleigh

Part 1 of 3. Those of you know me know that I play D&D. One of the things that I’ve been doing lately is tinkering with character backgrounds. I’ve found it to be a good experience in developing the little writing ability I have and helps conveying my sense of imagination. The next few posts are of back stories I have written and one I just barely finished. Hope you like.

The Story of Murts, The Salted One

“Come around people, Come around!” The Old Bard called out while setting close to evening fire. “What shall it be tonight” He asked.
“Let’s hear about Murts Axethrower, the Salty Dwarf!” Someone from the group called. “That again, Young sire?!” replied the storyteller in feigned amazement. For it was a favorite, both in the telling and the listening.
“Yes!” the mass cried out. “Then let us start at the beginning…” The Bard said.
“Murts was like any other of his tough race. Bound for feats of strength and to out weather the very hills themselves. But at a young age, Murts’ feet had a mind of their own. He left Family and Clan like his older brother and set out for a Life of adventure.”
“He was already highly skilled at the use of axe and fist, which helped him greatly in his first trials and feats of strength. With every new challenge, he seemed to grow more careless. For it seemed he moved through his enemies like they were unmoving pillars of salt. Then he came upon a challenge that he no hope of overcoming. His path happen to cross with an green dragon of an unknown name.”
The listening throng gasped in unison, like they always did at this part of the story. The Old One continued with a small smile “Yes! Imagine! Murts, The Salted Ones himself took on a Green and lived to tell the tell! The fight went on longer than any would of dared. But let’s be frank here people. You think you can take on a dragon by yourself and win?!” In which the Storyteller got a splattering of boos.
“See how long you survive against a dragon of any size you dolts!” He shot back, which seemed to silence the hecklers for the time being. The Old Bard nodded, continued after a moment “The Great Dragon left Murts for dead in a secluded Vale, miles away from any city, or a decent road or path. He managed to make his battered body crawl to a cave nearby, in which he passed out from his wounds.”
“After what seemed like an eternity of pain induced sleep, our Hero woke up to something sniffing him. Still hazy from the effects of sleep, Murts thought for a moment it was the Dragon coming to finish him off. He jerked awake (or as best he could in the state he was in) and tried moving away. But then the creature growled, which made Murts stiffen where he was. Murts thought ‘That’s no dragon, but a bear!’”
The Crowd gasped again.
The bard waved them down and saying “Yes, He thought he was trapped too. But after the growling stopped, the bear start licking him” several children started giggling, which got quieted by an up turned eyebrow “and cleaning his wounds. He once again passed out from the pain. Over the next month, this bear helped Murts heal by bringing food and such to the cave. Then He never came again.”
“Murts, by this time, was healed enough to make it to Fallcrest His brother, Murgeddin Axethrower, was a smithy there. He still needed some help. Then 2 Weeks to the day Murts arrived in Fallcrest, a shaggy assortment of people walked into the inn…”

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Snikt!" - Wolverine

I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine over the weekend. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience, but it was nothing really to get all worked up over. The casting was great, the acting was good for what the actors had to work with, and the plot/story was generic, choppy at times, quite predictable, and a missed opportunity. 3 out of 5 stars.

Now for what I’ve been thinking about since I saw Wolverine. Over the last 8ish years, comic book movies have been getting better. Because they’ve had bigger budgets, better actors, more well written scripts, call it what you will. But they have been on a upward curve. And that makes me happy.

Granted, there has been a few pitfalls and bumps along the road upwards, but unfortunately, that’s to be expected. But I’ve been kind of working on a theory lately about the comic movie industry. First off, let’s take the few Comic Trilogies that we have at the moment, Spiderman and X-men. Both in their own right I’ve enjoyed and really liked, but to me, there seems to be a pattern forming.

The first movie in each series have been solid and decent origin stories, which is fine and to be expected. Considering the success of said first movie, the second gets a bigger budget, better actors, and BAM! You get a really great second movie. Then this is where they end up going wrong somehow. Both series have had their 3rd movies crash really hard. For me, Im going to chalk it up to a few certain things. I can be totally off base here, but this is my blog, so there.

I’m going to call my theory “The too much stuff” theory. One, too many villains for the hero to fight. They try to squeeze them in, which in turn hurts the development of said villains, which also makes them uninteresting and lifeless. And in the end makes them have less screen time, which in turn makes it seem like the villain is really under powered and weak when our hero takes them out in 2 mins on screen (Venom anyone?). The opposite of this is true to. To many Heroes (Xmen 3???). Again with this, you can’t dedicate the necessary screen time to flesh out the character, and if you do, the rest of the movie suffers.

And 2, to high expectations for the 3rd film to be awesome. Why not, since the first two were awesome? But it happens. With each success comes higher expatiations that the next one will be better. Because of this, I’m kind of getting this apprehensive feeling for Batman 3 if they decide to do it. But hopefully it can break the cycle.

Comment and tell me what you think and have a lively discussion. I also have a developing theory about why spinoffs are mediocre at best But it will come later when I have time to think on it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.” - Victor Hugo

I am a fan of music. A lot. Especially of Movie Soundtracks that are instrumental based. I find that this type of music evokes more of a emotional response than a song with lyrics would. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of lyrical music as well. So, I don’t want to come across as putting it down. But most of the time, my soul sings to the sound of the song than the words that expresses there in.

For example, let’s take the Braveheart Soundtrack. When I close my eyes while listening to it, I can feel myself running through the green mountains of Scotland or preparing to fight the British at Falkirk. Or when listening to the Gladiator Soundtrack, through my mind’s eye I can feel and see the epicness that is the Grand Coliseum.

But that’s not it. Have you ever listened to either listened to Unforgiven or Nothing Else Matters by Metallica just for chords and rifts? Next time you hear a song that has a good rhythm that you like, just pause and listen. Try and listen to the instrumental and not the lyrics. Close your eye and let it wash over you. Hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do.

But whatever happens, let the music move you.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Your future depends on many things, but mostly on you." - Frank Tyger

People have asked me over the past few months pertaining to “What are you going to be when you grow up?” And I’ve never really had a good answer. I still don’t. You see, I’m one of those people that has many likes, but no great passion for any one thing.

I know I should get some sort of schooling in something. But it’s hard for me to devote myself to one thing if I’m going to be hating it in X amount of years. I know you’re probably saying that’s too rigid of thinking because people have many job changes in their lives. But I’m not like that. When there’s a decision this big on the table, I want to have the confidence to stick to that decision.

What I think my problem is my passion for anything. I don’t have the burning hunger to go after… what? You say I should just go and take generals and see if anything perks my interest? I’ve tried that. Nothing. And I just don’t want to pick something out of the blue that I might like, because it feels like I’m just flushing money down the tube.

I need to kindle my passion. For anything. Even if it was for knowing the right mixture for fertilizer. For I’m only existing, not living. I think Jack London said it best:

"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn outin a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time"

But my future is in my hands. And I’ll be damned if I can’t find some passion in this life. I want to live!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

"It was too good to last, he thought. Might as well have been a dream, he thought" - Ernest Hemingway

“I sat on top of the ridge looking out towards the pristine valley. With Her. It was one of those nights: the full moon seemed to fill half the sky. The beams seemed to turn the clear night into an ethereal day. We both sat there in cold, crisp air gazing into the valley below us in content as the winter wind mournfully blew through the trees and around us. We both knew each other well, and were simply happy to be with the other, even in silence. And I never knew Her name…”

Because I freaking woke up. What the Hell?!

Though I woke up, I’ve always have fondness for dreams. For I think they hold a power all their own. But it has irked me to no end that I don’t and/or remember my dreams. I wish that I can dream more often and remember. Statistically I would say that 95% of the time, I don’t dream. 4% of the time, I knew I dreamed the night before, but the knowledge of what I dreamed dissipates like fog before the rays of the early morning sun.

That rare 1% is just simply amazing. They are so vivid they stay with me forever. The dreamed I just shared with you happened to me about 7 years ago when I was serving my mission in Alaska. It really put me in a good mood all day. But that’s how rare I get those types of dreams. Once a decade. So hopefully I’m due for one here soon. For what is a man that doesn’t dream?

Monday, April 6, 2009

“What is a man if his chief good and marked of his time be but to sleep and feed?” - Hamlet

This quote from Hamlet made me pause and think. I definitely don’t want me life to end up being summed up as “sleep and feed”. My Friends (you know who you are) lately have been trying to get /motivate me to get more exercise. From playing Frisbee (which left me feeling like I need a wheel chair the next day) to even making me having a go at Dance Dance Revolution (Dancing Bear?? enough said). When all is said and done, they made me move, they made me sweat, and we all had a good time. And now my life has a goal for the rest of the year. Simply put: Smurfs for Thor Halloween 2009.

Yeah, it sounds like a Political slogan, whatever. But it’s a goal, and it’s a good thing. Until Halloween, there’s going to be a lot of complaining, bitching, and me not answering my phone because I don’t want to go on a walk. But I have friends. Good friends. The type that give me a big bag of candy and then tell me not to eat all of it and share it with people friends. And friends that are persistent enough to help me even if it is for a silly (kind of) reason.

I’m stubborn. I’m lazy. I don’t like asking for help (I am Man, hear me Roar). So, I have some simple requests. If you see me drinking soda, take it away and/or make me feel guilty about it. If you hear me suggest eating something that Thor wouldn’t eat, let me know. And ask me to do something that requires the use of moving two legs. Because I’m sick and tired of heading towards the fail that is Rufus. But I need everyones help. And its definitely worth the effort.