Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Jackson's The Desolation of Smaug expands Tolkien's The Hobbit for Film

     The director of The Hobbit film trilogy expands the film version of Middle-Earth for it's second outing. While some have called turning the children's novel into a three part film a stretch, Jackson manages to flush out the Tolkien's world and characters. In the second part of the film trilogy Jackson continues to do without the slow pace some critics complained about in An Unexpected Journey.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Did I just...? A story about getting hit by car.

This is story based on a true one that my friend Chris and I went through a year ago today. Obviously writing a story in hindsight will be slightly exaggerated especially considering the events. However, this story is based upon what I immediately wrote down upon arriving at the hospital which I wanted to do to preserve everything that I had remember about the accident. This is the story from my perspective about how we were hit by a car.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Spoiled by Digital Music While Traveling


     I don't listen to the radio. I haven't for years. I got my driver's license in spring of '03 and my car stereo with a CD player that Christmas. 
     Then in '06 my family surprised me with an iPod nano and I quickly looked for a way to get it working in my car. By the time I bought one of those receivers that plugs into the cigarette lighter I had dropped the iPod nano at school, essentially breaking it.
     Come April '06 I managed to scrap the money together to buy an iPod Video, an iPod would have until it finally crashed and burned in April of 2012.
     In January of 2011 my car was destroyed in a car accident. The car I was given and still drive was not as good as the car I had owned but it had one advantage over my former car. It had a line in. No longer was I bound by shoddy radio signal to pick up my iPod on it nor was I bound by the eighty minute limit of CD's. 
     In April of 2012 that iPod Video finally stopped working. I went on to replace that with an iPod classic and then replaced my Droid X with an iPhone 4S. In hindsight, I should of replaced my iPod Video with a larger iPhone instead of buying a smaller iPhone 4S and an iPod Classic. I honestly did not think I would love my iPhone as much as I do now.
     This brings us to last week when we discovered my car had a leak of brake fluid and I had to use my father's car to get around. He had a audiobook in his stereo in the exact spot he left off so I did not want to remove the CD. Instead I pressed the function button to the radio.
     I want to make this clear. Yes, I've heard the radio in other people's cars but in the time since I owned a car, a car stereo, an iPod, and a smart phone I never turn the radio on.
     I also want to make it clear, I'm not stupid, I know how a radio works. I didn't look at this machine and I think "How do I work this device?" like a luddite. I had in fact, been in the passenger seat for years trying to wrestle control over the radio from my father just as my sister did before me.
     Also, we're talking about analog radio not any kind of satellite radio. So when I turned the radio on, searching the station for something to listen to I was blown away how terrible it was.
     They just play the same songs over and over again, I thought. Why would anyone choose to listen to the radio when they could play music of their own choosing on so many devices.  Don't even get me started about the quality. I was better off turning off the radio and just placing my iPhone in a cupholder playing music.
     I did just that. Which led me to conclusions that I've been spoiled by digital music. Sure, some people have even better car stereo that have USB slot to plug their devices in but there are probably still people driving around listening to analog radio.
      I'm sure too, that there are great radio stations out there in areas with great reception but it's not anywhere I live. Some people wanting to hear the same songs over and over again, browsing the stations for their favorite songs. Sometimes too many choices, which digital music can give you, is overwhelming so why not let someone else be in control?
     Think about it. iTunes, Last.FM, Pandora, Amazon... I'm sure there are others I can't think of right now. For someone like my mother, who has difficulty with technology that can be mindblowing. Turning on the radio? Simple, hasn't changed in years. I, however, like a choice and quality music while I drive. The Radio is not for me.
     Don't even get me started with talk radio. Google "top" or "best" with "podcasts" and tell me to listened to talk radio. I'm covered. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Guilty Pleasure Post - My Love of Coffee Mugs

     I drink a lot of coffee, well there is probably people who drink more coffee than I do and a lot of people who drink less coffee than I do. It's varies from day to day. So what I should say is I drink a lot of things that require mugs i.e. tea, coffee, hot cocoa. Actually I think that's it. The point is I love coffee mugs. I own about nine mugs and here they are.

     If you know anything about what the reaction was to The Lord of the Rings when it came out, you'd know this was a popular phrase often tagged on walls and written on signs in the 1970s. So of course being a huge Tolkien enthusiast I had to get it.
     These are just regular ol' coffee mugs. Nothing special written on them but don't they look nice? They've got kind of a Green Lantern theme to them.

     House Targaryen of A Song of Ice & Fire and Game of Thrones fame, with their sigil and their motto on the side. They would probably drink some kind of wine out of this.

     Shaped like the famous TARDIS of Doctor Who fame with a nice lid to make up the top of the Doctor's time traveling police box. I have to say, it holds a lot but a square shape to drink out of can be kind of awkward. I use this more for tea than coffee.

     A Portal theme cup using Aperture Science's 70's logo. This is the smallest of all my mugs, being diner sized which they use for multiple refills. For some reason this lends to the taste of it. I can't explain it but coffee tastes the best in this mug.

     Coffee of Doom, the fictional coffee shop from Jeph Jacques' Questionable Content. I mostly bought this one because it looked cool but it feel much sturdier than all my other mugs for some unknown explanation. Maybe that red part inside of it as actual ceramic blood to keep the mug everlasting or it could just be made of thicker stuff considering it's from a more small indie kind of business rather than the large manufacturers of the other ones.
     Now here is a mug I don't own, but will.
     Why am I posting about mugs? Is there some kind of point? Well, I'm graduating soon and with graduating hopefully moving towards getting a writing job, getting a manuscript finished to sent out and submitting my writing to as many literary magazines, online news sites and well basically anywhere. There's something very "adult" about what's going on and it made me think of a discussion my friends and I have had on multiple occasions.
     I can't quite remember the context but I remember in what I believe to be 2011, my friend Dan told me that what made him feel like an adult was going to bed early because of responsibilities. I didn't agree because my parents have for the longest time stayed up very late due to my father's evenings work schedule. His parents, which I believe he told me so, probably went to bed very early to get up for work the next day. 
     Now, come early 2012 my friend Chris and I are doing our weekly writing sessions at Starbucks when the discussions of socks come up. This actually might of been late 2011/early 2012 as this revolves around Christmas gifts. He was telling me he loved getting socks as a present because otherwise he'd have to buy his own. In response I said that I always preferred Christmas presents to be things I wanted but wouldn't buy for myself and not things I need. This led to Chris's definition of what it means to be an adult which is having to buy your own socks.
     Eventually, when I started realizing I was collecting a set of coffee mugs for myself I came up with my own little signs that you're an adult. My friend Keri having just received a coffee mug from her job uploaded a picture of on twitter and I said "Being an adult is owning multiple coffee mugs." I remembered the discussion about socks and going to bed early then added it to the list. It could be a on BuzzFeed if the list was a bit longer.
Signs you are an adult
  1. Going to bed early.
  2. Buying your own socks
  3. Owning multiple coffee mugs.
     One day another friend will add to this list of quirky signs you're an adult and then we'll have a real list on our hands. Obviously there's more to being an adult than these things but it makes me laugh that my friends and I have these quirks that makes us feel like "adults."

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Some Resources and Sites for My Writing Friends

     Writing has completely encompassed my life lately. Writing my thesis, writing essay, writing my novel, writing my NaNoWriMo (that's National Novel Writing Month for those not in the know.

     So I thought I'd share the colleciton of links I have gathered about writing. Some of these are just fun little articles, some are actual resources. I'm pretty much emptying out my Writing bookmark folder here, so enjoy.

Poets&Writers - Literary Magazines - This is a huge database of literary magazines you can submit to. Both paid and unpaid sources. I suggest submitting as much as possible, as that's what I will be doing.

Writing Help - Tumblr - This is just some random writer on tumblr offering a bit of help with a collection of resources written on the subject of writing.

The Pompous Ass Words Site - A site dedicated to the most pompous ass words you should avoid in your writing. I love words of all shades but I'd say avoid these words in your writing like the plague. I'm look at you diaspora.

10 Resources to Help You Write a Great Short Story - Pretty straight forward, a list of resources to help you write a short story. Honestly the whole Write It Sideways site is probably chock full of resources you can use but this is the one in particular I had bookmarked.

'Why I Write Strong Female Characters" by Greg Rucka - Those of you might know Greg Rucka, both a novelist and a popular writer of comic books. He's created some great female characters in both and this is worth a read on why you should too.

The Dark Side Of The Publishing Industry: How To Avoid Scams - There are people out there looking to take advantage of good writers who might not quite know the ins and outs of publishing. This article is a great warning to avoid people trying to scam you out of your hardwork.

Preditors & Editors - This site lists the good and bad side of the industry. Those are who are trying to scam writers are obviously "preditors." Please donate to defend this site if you can.

Online Etymology Dictionary - Pretty simple, it's just as it says it is. I use this a lot because I think the origin of words is a good resource to using words.

Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America - Even if you don't write science fiction or fantasy this is a great resource for articles about writing and about people trying to fleece writers.

Association of Authors' Representatives - If you do get an offer from an agent, it might be a good idea to check if you can find them here.

Nerdist Podcast - George RR Martin - This is an interview with George RR Martin on the Nerdist Podcast. He's the author of A Song of Ice and Fire series and gives some solid advice on writing.

Nerdist Podcast - Neil Gaiman - Halfway through this podcast Neil Gaiman gives what I find to be some of the best advice on writing. It's so great someone made a youtube video of the advice, but I suggest listening to the whole thing.

Nerdist Writers Panel - I highly recommend anyone who uses iTunes to subscribe to this podcast but you can listen to it here as well. If you want to break into screenplay writing I highly recommend this podcast. Ben Blacker interviews people who are working in the industry right now on some of your favorite shows. Breaking Bad, Adventure Time, The Colbert Report, Once Upon a Time, Veronica Mars, and others. They'll tell you how they broke into the industry and how they continued to write in the industry.

Neil Gaiman's Commencement Speech - This is just an overall inspiring speech done by Neil Gaiman on how to make art, and why make art.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I love Stand-up Comedy

     Besides writing, reading and storytelling in general one of my passions is stand-up comedy. I don't do it but I listen to it, watch it, read about it and listen to podcasts that talk about it. So I know a lot of stand-up comedians to recommend.
     The only thing is I think of myself as a kind of "laughaholic." I remember in 9th Grade a friend Ken accused another friend Don and I of laughing at everything, that we would probably laugh at the word "shoe." When I repeated this story to my friend Don during lunch period he paused briefly before saying "shoe" in which we laughed hysterically, I mean to the point where we couldn't breathe. So with my recommendations you should look into these comedians first. Don't just go and buy a ticket to their shows and then report back to me that you didn't find them funny. 
     It's easiest to just name my favorites first as they come to the forefront of my brain first. Some of them are well known and others may not be.
     Paul F. Tompkins is my absolute favorite for at least two years now, followed by Pete Holmes. Bits of theres to check out include for Paul "Cake vs. Pie", "Elegant Balloons", "Potato Famine" and "Peanut Brittle." For Pete I'd recommend "Fun Dad", "Magic Sound", "Pierce" and "Good Time McDonald"s." These two I don't think a lot of people have heard of but definitely some people.
     Other favorites include some obvious ones like Louis CK, Mike Birbiglia, Mitch Hedberg, Brian Regan and Bill Burr. I'm actually running out of time before class starts so I am going to have to list them off and maybe edit this later.
     In no particular order... Nick Swardson, Nick Kroll, Dave Attell, Eddie Pepitone, DC Pierson, Kyle Kinane, John Mulaney, Kurt Metzger, Hannibal Buress, Amy Schumer, Greg Proops, John Oliver, Kurt Braunohler, Matt Braunger, Chris Thayer, Jimmy Pardo, The Sklar Brothers, Jonah Ray, Kumail Nanjiani, Eugene Mirman, T.J. Miller, Chris Hardwick, Bo Burnham, Rob Delaney, Marc Maron, Joe Mande, Anthony Jeselnik, Dana Gould, Patton Oswalt, John Hodgman, Myq Kaplan, Aziz Ansari and Daniel Tosh.

Disclaimer: I am recommending their stand-up comedy only. Whether you like their televisions shows or movies is completely different. I have to run to class now.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Story about Three Other Stories

     Sitting outside in my parent's backyard, I've just finished reading for the second time The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss when I realize it was the first book of a trilogy of books I had completely about twenty days ago with The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.
     Along with Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, these three books were all bought at the Smith Haven Mall's Barnes & Noble. Since about 2007 my friend Keri and I have had a tradition where I pick her up from her house, we go to Barnes & Noble hunting down books to purchase, and then grab a bite to eat. All along the way, except for the moments when we're hunting down books, we catch up on what's going on in our lives.
     I can't say we're close friends but I also can't say we're not. We both have our own group of friends, jobs, and schools that keep our lives busy. I've been mulling it over as I drafted this blog entry on a legal pad, and I would compare our friendship to getting to hang out with that cousin at the big family barbeque, that cousin you have the most in common with but don't get to see that often. You're relieved to finally be able to talk to someone on a similar wavelength as you. Plus, with the amount of books she reads and the amount of years she's been writing I have always a new book she can recommend to me. Which is exactly what she did in this story.
     The stories goes, in I believe the summer of 2008 when we went on one of trips to Barnes & Noble I was looking for something new in the genre of Fantasy. This was after I had absorbed The Lord of the Rings into my being, was heavily read in Science Fiction, was too smug with my Literature Major classes to read Harry Potter (I have since read 1-6 and highly enjoyed them) and had yet the foreknowledge to try George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire.
     So simply, I asked her "I'm looking for some fantasy books, more modern authors, something new." We were standing in the fantasy section, and without much thought she pointed out the three books I mentioned earlier, relatively near each other. "Patrick Rothfuss has been getting a lot of buzz, same with that book The Lies of Locke Lamora. Elantris is a good start for Brandon Sanderson."
     With that, I bought all three of those books that day but I had a bad habit of buying more books than I could read. A habit that has only started slowly waning this year. Those three books sat o the shelves as I pushed them aside for other books I had bought before them.
     It wasn't until 2011 that I finally said fuck it and picked up my copy of The Name of the Wind. I can't count on my hands the amount of books that have engrossed me into their world that quickly. The Lord of the Rings is my absolute favorite books but even I struggled with the Tom Bombadil chapters the first time through. This book I couldn't put down and finished it in a couple days.
     It just so happened at the time that a guy named Nick Fletcher at my job happened to be a big fan of the book. I don't know if I'm recalling it correctly but I remember asking him if he had read it and he immediately told me it was one of his favorite books, and that the second book had just come out. After the lengthy conversation we had about the first book, which I do think made us better friends, I took out my phone, opened the Amazon app and order The Wise Man's Fear as fast as I could.
     I didn't read it as soon as it came though. I have this strange habit when reading. Like when you let wine breathe for a bit I need to give a novel, especially one part of a series, time to breathe. I have enormous difficulty reading a book series back to back. I like coming back to it later, when I've read some other books in between. When I do come back to the series it's like a flood of memories comes rushing back like meeting up with an old friend, catching up while you go to Barnes & Noble.
     So in Summer of 2012 after I finished The Wise Man's Fear I picked up another one of those three books I had bought, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. Again, another good book, not a favorite like The Name of the Wind was at that point but I still loved it. I'd later be disappointed by Sanderson's second Mistborn novel, The Well of Ascension, after highly enjoying Mistborn: The Final Empire. I think partially the reason I didn't enjoy it was because I forced myself to read the second one right after finishing the first one in a reading competition with my friend, the big The Name of the Wind fan.
     I wouldn't complete this trilogy of books until July 9th of this year when I finished The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch which almost engrossed me as much as Rothfuss's The Kingkiller Chronicle.
     Lesson learn. Trust the Keri. Read the books she recommends to you right away as some of them might become one of your favorite books. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

My Go-To Book Recomendations

     I haven't posted in awhile, mostly because I was thinking of this exact post. It started off with me writing a legal pad books I would recommend to people, or have recommended, until it was so long I had to break it down into genre. Then breaking it down into genre I gave a detailed paragraph of why I recommended it. 
     All in all, what started off as a fun blog post became more work, and not the fun kind of work writing a novel might be. So here is, straight off the top of the dome as no kids are saying ever, my go-to book recommendations that first come to mind in order of which I say most often. 
     To readers, these may seem obvious but most of the people who ask me for recommendations are non-reader and/or looking to become readers. I tried to limit to one book per author.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey
The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks
Embassytown by China Mieville
Dune by Frank Herbert
Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl

     Since I used to be a huge comic book nerd, I have a choice select comic books/ graphic novels that I recommend as well in same order of how often I recommend them.

Green Lantern: Sinestro Corps War by Geoff Johns
Planetary by Warren Ellis
Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis
Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns
Kingdom Come by Grant Morrison
Sandman by Neil Gaiman
The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O'Malley
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
Watchmen by Alan Moore
Gotham Central by Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker
Planet Hulk by Greg Pak
100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello

Monday, July 1, 2013

The Problem with Storytelling in Ongoing Comic Books

     This thought has been lumbering around in my head since the announcement of the "Before Watchmen" limited series by DC Comics and was reminded of it again at the end of Geoff Johns's run on Green Lantern with issue #20.
     There's a problem with ongoing superhero comics from a storytelling perspective, they never really end. It's different with novels and limited series, those have a beginning and an end, then the story is over. Not with ongoing comics, and I find this problematic. The problem is great stories from great writer's usually sell really well and thus the companies that publish them, usually owning all rights to the characters, want to make more. I am not dismissing the quality of Before Watchmen but The Watchmen didn't need anymore than what it already was. It has a beginning and an end and everything in between is really fantastic.
     Spoiler alert for issue #20 of Green Lantern. At the end of that Geoff John's caps off with a glimpse into the future of all the Earthborn Green Lantern but the problem is there is still going to be an issue #21 and that writer is going to want to put his own spin on the mythos, changing what has been established and essentially either relegate that story to meaninglessness or tarnish it with half concocted plots. I am not insult Robert Venditti who is taking over Green Lantern but making an implication of all future writers of an ongoing series that takeover for another writer.
     Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis is another series that ran for a good 60 issues but it had a proper ending that Warren Ellis wanted to tell and then it ended. The same goes for Neil Gaiman's run on The Sandman for 75 issues. I'm sure with his new Sandman series he has written he has a set limit of issues he needs to tell his story because he knows stories need an end.
     The problem is with writers on runs of company icons like Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Spider-Man and etc. that no matter how good of a run you have on that series, someone else is eventually going to take over and undo basically everything you've done.
     Great characters can be ruining in comic books with oversaturation when they gain popularity. Wolverine had some of best comics in the past but now is in every Marvel book from the Avengers, to the X-Men to his own solo series. For the longest time Green Lantern had only one ongoing, then two, then three, now there are five ongoing comics related to the Green Lantern universe. All because a good writer wrote a good story and that sold a good amount of comics.
     It's never enough with superhero comics to say that's the end and be done with it. It's part of the reason death in comic books has become so meaningless. Killing off a character sells comics, bringing them back from the dead sells comics and new characters are hardly given the chance because we won't let the old character's stories be over with. Sometimes it's okay to say "The end" and move on and as along as comic books keep ongoing the stories of the past will become less and less meaningful.

Friday, June 28, 2013

What We Are Given, What Is Left Behind.

     This has been on my mind for about three or so weeks, about what people give to us. Not physical objects like gifts or presents on our birthday but the taste in things we like.
     I think of it whenever one of these things stir my memory. Like when I am searching the music on my iTunes library I'm reminded of who these bands came from, which person from my past or present told me "Hey, you should listen to this. I think you would like it." There are even some bands that I didn't like when I was knew the person, but who I like now or they double up where one person got me to casually listen to a band but another person got me really into it. 

     For awhile I just thought of this in terms of music but the same can be said for television, movies, and books. One of my favorite movies Hot Fuzz I saw the premiere with someone I dated who I haven't heard from in years and it just so happens that it's one of my closest friend's favorite movie as well. Game of Thrones will forever be linked to this group of friends I have now even though the future of that group watching it together may not be certain.
     With books this concept bears much more weight, being an avid reader. There are books and authors forever linked to people who I've either had long discussions about, read with at the same time, or either recommended or had recommended to me. One friend is linked just to the process of buying the books. I would pick her up from her house, drive to the nearest Barnes & Noble, buy a ridiculous amount of books, then go grab something for dinner. That experience will be linked to certain books every time I look at them.
     There are people in my past who I no longer speak to or think fondly of but will be reminded of them in a positive way by the impressions they had on my taste. I guess this is why I sometimes see on a musician's or author's webpage comment section you'll see comments like "Your creative-thing-you-made got me through a hard time in my life" even when that said creative-thing-they-made is not linked to whatever problem they had whatsoever. It's just a thought.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Living in Books More Than Anywhere Else - Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane.

     On Wednesday, June 19th, 2013 I received my copy of Neil Gaiman's new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane at Symphony Space in New York, right after hearing Erin Morgenstern (author of The Night Circus, which I have never read but may pick up in the future) do a little interview with the author himself, followed by two readings from the novel and a little Q&A.
     I met the author, as in, I approached the author afterward to sign my copy of the new book, sign my copy of American Gods, and thank him for all the writing advice he gives on his blog, to which he responded something very humble along the lines of least I could do, just doing my part to help, I like to help anyway I can. I was honestly so tired and my feet and back were so ache filled that I can't remember exactly what he said.
     Immediately on the train ride home I began reading the novel, and then proceeded to finish it over the next two mornings.
     The Ocean at the End of the Lane is definitely a Neil Gaiman novel, and by that I mean it is a great novel. Every time I read a Neil Gaiman novel I think to myself This is THE Neil Gaiman novel. Really everyone of his novels is THE Neil Gaiman novel and so is this one. If you don't like Neil Gaiman novels I am not sure this one will convince you otherwise. I'll try to avoid spoilers but be warned I want to talk about this book so I may not try very hard.
     When I think of writing about this novel it's not actually about the novel itself, but what it makes me remember about childhood. On stage at Symphony Space Neil Gaiman referred to the "indignities of being a child" and "being able to enjoy the small things" and that is this novel evoke, memories of childhood. I remember telling a teacher I was being picked on in 1st grade to the response of having to "deal with it", when my father used to take me to McDonalds after religion class for the Halloween toys they had in their Happy Meals, of my sister telling me that voting in the Kids Presidential Election by calling into Nickelodeon didn't actually help elect the President of the United States, of how delicious it was when I'd eat two slice of pizza with Garlic Salt on it while my family ate Chinese food because all I would eat as a kid was Pizza and Steak for dinner.
     It shouldn't be a surprise that the book evokes memory, as it is about memory. The unnamed narrator is retelling a story of his childhood, filled with books, making new friends, fears of getting in trouble, delicious food, magic, monsters, and whimsy that only Neil Gaiman wizard-like use of language can summon. This is definitely an adult novel, but not necessarily only for adults. It's themes definitely carries with it something a child would not understand, nor would a teenager maybe fully appreciate it. 
     I shouldn't say that, what I mean is, as a teenager I probably wouldn't appreciate it. You know how it is, petty problems, thinking you're invincible. I don't think teenage me would quite know what to do with this book.
     A fear I had as a kid that Neil Gaiman writes so well is the fear of getting into trouble, of not being believed because you were a kid, of being told you're lying when you're telling the truth. When I was young I was good as much as I possibly could because I always thought I would be yelled at. Something about yelling as a kid filled me with fright and I don't even think I was yelled at that much. What I would see is my sister being yelled, being the rebellious teenager she was, by my mother and thinking there is no way I ever want that to happen to me. I used to defend my sister on car rides with my parents in hope that she would get yelled at less as well, thinking it had to be the worst thing that could happen to you. When teachers yelled at me, I became a mess, thinking oh no, they're going to tell my parents which will lead to more yelling.
     There's nothing more stressful for a kid then when you tell the truth and no one will listen, and the narrator of The Ocean... goes through that as well as I did. I remember my cousin cursing when he was three years old, which at five I was always taught was very bad to do so of course I told my parents. He immediately said that I was in fact the one cursing and that I was just trying to get him in trouble before he could get me in trouble. I could still see the look on my mom and aunt's eyes deciding on who to believe even though I was the one telling the truth. Like me, but not like me, the narrator tries to tell his parents the truth about what is happening around him only to find himself in deeper and more dire trouble as the novel progresses.
     There's quote in the novel about myths, it goes like this...
"I liked myths. They weren't adult stories and they weren't children's stories. They were better than that. They just *were*." 
 and like myths, all the magic in the book doesn't need to be explained, it just is and it works perfectly. You just accept it for what it is, you become convinced that there is indeed an ocean at the end of the lane where the narrator lived growing up. 
     Enjoying the small things in the book isn't just about food, it's about a certain part of your bedroom made just for you, that small crack of light in your open door that let you read past your bedtime, that secret way through your backyard that you think only you are aware of, but also it's about food.
     Now, this is coming from a guy who has no complaints about George R.R. Martin's description of food in his A Song of Ice and Fire series but the food in The Ocean... is quite different from a kids perspective. There's such a joy with every little thing the narrator eats that you sometimes forget as an adult. You're not thinking about calories, fat content, or worry you're eating too much or too little. It's just a matter of being hungry, and then enjoying the food you're given whether it's good or not. 
     This is definitely THE Neil Gaiman book, and so are the rest of them. If you don't like Neil Gaiman books then this isn't the book for you. If you've never read a Neil Gaiman book and can remember what it is like to be a child or want to remember then I highly suggest picking this book up. If you're not interested then...

Monday, June 24, 2013

An Experiment in Willpower - Not Previewing Anything

     On the April 22nd edition of The Indoor Kids podcast with Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon they discuss Bioshock Infinite. One of their guest Film Crit Hulk on the discussion of spoilers planted in my brain this radical idea that he's been doing. The idea is that he doesn't watch or read previews for television, movies, or video games.
     I tried this with Edgar Wright, Nick Frost, and Simon Pegg's new film The World's End trailer only to give in within hours of it being posted online. Similarly when I saw on Reddit that the trailer was going to be posted for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug on the following Tuesday I am pretty sure a noise came out of my mouth that registered a lot of happiness. This was for a trailer, not the movie itself. That's kind of sad, though honestly if it was the movie itself I probably would of made the same squee sound.
      After hearing this random guy talk about avoiding trailers and how it changed his excitement and reevaluated the idea of watching trailers at all.
     It's somehow easier for books because there's no real videos and I am not a fan of reading online. I know there's preview chapters of Neil Gaiman's new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane and that George R.R. Martin has posted preview chapters for The Winds of Winter but they're easier to avoid. Some previews are unavoidable with the websites I visit. Just for an example, there is a new Super Smash Bros. in development for Wii U. I don't own a Wii U yet because there hasn't been any software that's really caught my eye. It'll be impossible for me to visit Tumblr, IGN, or Twitter without hearing of a character included in the game but I can avoid any video previewing what they're like. I'll apply this to other websites as wlel. Some of the subreddits I am subscribe to will have to be unsubscribed to I am sure.
      Unrelated but sort of related is something I realized about this year in movies. This year has been the least amount of times I've been to the movies than any year I can remember. So far this year I've seen the horror movie Mama and Star Trek Into Darkness. I think that's about it. I didn't see Iron Man 3 or The Great Gatsby and I probably won't see Man of Steel
     The only movies I know I will 100% go see is The World's End and The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug. I definitely have interest in Pacific Rim, Elysium, Anchorman 2, Thor: The Dark World, Ender's Game, Oldboy, and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For but I was interested in those other three film I didn't go see and I don't know if I will be compelled to see these in the theater either.

Friday, June 21, 2013

A box without hinges, key, or lid - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Part 2

     If you read my last post about 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey then you know the jist of what this one was about. Also, I suggest reading my posts about adapting books to movies for my views on that sort of thing. Let's get right to it.

Parts of the book I was glad wasn't in the film.

The bits of children's magic - I can honestly say I didn't miss the mentioning of the Old Took's magic studs that never came undone and fastened themselves. Nor did I miss William's mischievous purse that Bilbo tries to steal, alerting the trolls to Bilbo's presence when the hobbit tries to prove himself as a burglar.

The bit with the hoods - In the book, everyone of the dwarves has their own uniquely colored hood that distinguishes them from each other with eventually loaning Bilbo one that is too big for him. Instead of using brightly colored hoods to make them look different the movies give them different personalities, clothing, speech, appearance and ways of fighting. 

Parts of the book I was surprised to find in the film.

Good morning! - The banter between Gandalf and Bilbo in the beginning just screams "I don't advance the plot! Cut me!" so I was highly surprised it wasn't cut.

The Songs - Although changed a little bit, I was highly surprised to find any of Tolkien's songs in the movie at all. Of course Blunt the Knives is on my top 100 songs played on my iTunes now. I'm wondering if there will be any songs in the next two films, who knows?

This turned out a lot shorter than I thought it would, so I'll post it shortly after Part I.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

More like a grocer than a burglar - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Part I

     Last year's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was met with mixed reviews ranging from people who were either expecting the book, or people who were expecting The Lord of the Rings films. I, on the other hand, loved it. I saw it three times in the theater and about eight times repeatedly on blu-ray. The movie is a strange case for movie adaptations because it takes a lot of liberties with the story of the book, but it manages to keep in little aspects of the book that you'd think would be cut day one for a movie script. What else it manages to do is keep to key themes Tolkien often included in his books.
      Let's get the negative out of the way first.

Three changes from the books I disliked.

Grocer vs. Burglar - I want to note the distinction really quickly that I used "dislike" instead of "hate", two very different meanings. In the film when the line "He looks more like a grocer than a burglar" is delivered by Thorin, everyone has a nice laugh and Bilbo looks at Thorin and then to Gandalf in confusion, as he has yet to be informed he's to be hired for burglarious activities. The entire dinner scene after Thorin's arrival has Bilbo basically trying to get out of whatever adventure Gandalf is planning. 
     Switching the line from Gloin after hearing the details of the adventure to when Thorin makes his entrance not only takes away a good line from one of the secondary dwares of the film but makes the line seem more cliche movie-like. By that I mean, "hey Thorin's the main dwarf so he gets the best lines as soon as he makes his entrance." My bigger problem though is Bilbo's reaction, and this might be one of those changes that without the inner monologue the screenwriter's felt it would be hard to convey. In the book, we see Bilbo's inner conflict with the two sides of him, the bookish Baggins side and the adventurous Took side. In the film there's is no conflict at all until the argument between Gandalf and Bilbo in his sitting room where the family line is mentioned. We don't get any visual confirmation of Bilbo's inner conflict until the brief scene of Bilbo awake in his bedroom listening to the dwarves singing Thorin's song. I have no doubt that Martin Freeman would have been able to give a performance to show this inner conflict beforehand as someone else said "Martin Freeman might be the best hobbit who ever hobbited."

Azog's Hand - I honestly don't mind Azog the Defiler not being killed off and his son taking his place. This might confuse moviegoers who didn't see the difference between Saruman's orcs and Sauron's orcs with how they created, given the scene with the Uruk-hai basically being born from mud and slime of the ground, the question of how orcs reproduce would come into question. The scene I bring into question is the flashback to the Battle of Moria, in which Thorin Oakenshield earns his nickname. It's all fine and good until Thorin cuts off Azog's hand. I get what they're trying to do, link the evil of Azog to the evil of Sauron, raising the unexpected villain up to the level of the Dark Lord and foreboding the darkness settling in on Middle-Earth. The problem is, it seems rehashed more than repeating thematic and not only does it not raise up Azog as a villain, but lessens the scene in the Fellowship prologue with Isildur and Sauron, putting Sauron on the same level as an orc.

Bilbo's Sword - This one stems from my study of Corey Olsen, The Tolkien Professor's criticism of The Hobbit but has been so ingrained into my understanding of the book now that I can't shy away from it. In the book, Bilbo's discover the knife he would later call Sting on his own in the Troll's cave along with Gandalf taking Glamdring and Thorin taking Orcrist while in the film Gandalf discovers Sting on his own, handing it to Bilbo with a bit of exposition and how it'll glow blue. Gandalf's explanation takes away from the development of Bilbo later on in what Corey Olsen and I believe is the turning point for Bilbo.
But in slapping all his pockets and feeling all round himself for matches his hand came on the hilt of his little sword - the little dagger that he got from the trolls, and that he had quite forgotten; nor fortunately had the goblins noticed it; as he wore it inside his breeches. Now he drew it out. It shone pale and dim before his eyes. "So it is an elvish blade, too," he thought; "and goblins are not very near, and yet not far enough." But somehow he was comforted. It was rather splendid to be wearing a blade made in Gondolin for the goblin-wars of which so many songs had sung; and also he had noticed that such weapons made a great impression on goblins that came upon them suddenly.
The scene in the film yet again establishes Bilbo as a humble hobbit and not an adventurer or someone who intends to use a sword, setting up the scene in which he shows Gollum mercy, but it takes this turning point away from Bilbo in the film. It's after he realizes his sword is the stuff of legends that he decides there's no going back. It's an important moment for him, on his own, without Gandalf or the dwarves to help him when he encounters Gollum. Sting is just as important to Bilbo's development as is the One Ring and the film sort of fails to establish this.

Additions to the film I enjoyed.

Radagast the Brown - Even though he does a terrible job of drawing off the Wargs and Orcs the addition of Radagast the Brown imbeds An Unexpected Journey with a theme very familiar to Tolkien's work that the Lord of the Rings film trilogy failed to realize at times. The theme of nature and the natural world being affected by the dark power infected Dol Guldur as well as the theme Gandalf mentions to Galadriel later in the film.

Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love.

His addition also brings a lighter tone to the film that I believe is refreshing.

Dol Guldur, The Necromancer, The Witch-king of Angmar and the Morgul Blade -  While everyone was complaining that they turned the Hobbit into three films, I got excited because this meant everything only mentioned in the appendix of The Lord of the Rings would come to fruition in these movies. In the book Gandalf just disappears for a bit, says he took care of the Necromancer and wanders back into story. Now in these films we have Sauron in his Necromancer body bringing back the Nazgul, including the Witch-king of Angmar who I believe was underused in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and Gandalf and the White Council basically on their own side-quest that will have grave repercussions for The Lord of the Rings. I really hope we get to see the Necromancer in the two films, as we know Benedict Cumberbatch did some acting for it.

Everything changed about the dwarves (so far)- Until the very end of the Hobbit, after Smaug has been taken down the dwarves are kind of goofy, falling over each other, getting captured by trolls, orcs, and elves. None of them are very distinctive at all except with a line or two here and there until later on when Thorin becomes infected with dragon-sickness. In the films, they're much more unique with drastically different physical appearances, personalities, speech patterns and motivations though sometimes subtle. In the film you can see Balin and Bofur taking a liking to Bilbo, and how Fili and Kili are young warriors trying to prove themselves to their Uncle Thorin, with a bit of youthful mischief still in them. You can see Ori as the baby of the group, a bit more naive than the rest of them and Balin is the eldest, wise grandpa dwarf, friendly but a bit cynical and cantankerous.
     Then there is Thorin Oakenshield, the tragic king of the likes of Hamlet or Macbeth as compared to Aragorn's King Arthur. Thorin is kingly but filled with anger and mistrust, unable to discern friend from foe, easily holding grudges against those who have wronged him. His progression from dismissing Bilbo to embracing him was great for this story and I am even more excited to see his development in the next two movies.
     Keep reading for Part 2 in which I discuss what I am glad they left out from the books and what I was surprised to find they put in.

Monday, June 3, 2013

We can't stop here, this is spoiler country! - Spoiler Paranoia: When is it warranted, and when isn't it?

Ah, a short reprieve from Thesis to do some writing. I've been working on Thesis since May 10th and the time it takes up has made me antsy to write so badly.
     Since yesterday was a monumental episode for HBO's Game of Thrones I thought it would be the perfect time to discuss spoilers. In case you don't know what spoilers are they're facts about any medium that has a story or plot revealed to you before you can find out for yourself.
     It seems to me lately that spoilers, the term not spoilers themselves, has entered mainstream pop culture over the last couple of years. I think this is akin to the pop culture phenomenon of both Harry Potter and Lost. That's just what is on the forefront of my mind as far as spoilers in mainstream media. I distinctly remember when Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out the controversy of an important plot point, which I will not post here, being scanned onto the internet and displayed. The series was a big enough hit that the controversy had made it into the news. Then there was ABC's Lost which had a strong structure around the mystery of the island. Thinking about it now, I wonder if that coincided with the rise of DVR and Tivo because if you spoiled Lost for anyone before they were able to see it, you were in trouble.
     But why are spoilers such a big deal? The big deal is that you are robbing people of an emotional connection to a story they may only get to experience once. Not everyone has time to rewatch, reread and replay. Not everyone wants to figure out what’s going to happen before it happens. People with intense careers, families and limited money only get to experience a story once and then have to move on. There’s only so much time in a day. So when a plot element is revealed to them before they’re given the chance to experience it for themselves the journey may seem like a waste of time. No one wants their time wasted. Sometimes it’s better to not know. In my life I have never peaked at a Christmas or Birthday present because I wanted to be surprised. I only get to unwrap that specific present on that specific day once. Once you know how a story ends, who dies, who lives, who sleeps together and who gets married you never not know. So to that extent I understand why people would want to shield themselves from spoilers.
     There are some spoilers that are just ingrained into pop culture now and there's no way around them. If you're complaining about someone spoiling something that came out anymore before the turn of the century you are asking for too much. As a kid the only Star Wars film I had ever seen was the first one but I knew that Darth Vader was Luke Skywalker's father. It had been beaten over my head for years but when I finally borrowed a set of the three movies from a friend on VHS when I was twelve and watched Empire Strikes Back I was still blown away by the movie even though I knew what happened.
     That's just me though. I'm a rereader, rewatcher, replayed. The replay value of stories is important to me. I am not a fan of throwaway entertainment and if a spoiler is enough to ruin the story for me I am probably not going to waste my time with it.
     I see both sides of it though. For example, last night t-shirt brand RIPT apparel immediately on their twitter account spoiled last night's episode of Game of Thrones. This is a company that probably sells Game of Thrones t-shirts and should know their market doesn't take too kindly to spoilers like that. If you haven't seen last night's episode do not search out their twitter account. An editor of a website I frequent who called them out on the spoiler proceeded to get into an argument with another twitter user on whether or not it was a big deal because the book has been out for so many number of years and the information is out there no matter what. This is an example of someone being insensitive to another person's experience of a story.
     On the flipside recently Matt Smith announced he'd be leaving Doctor Who during the Christmas special this year. This was literally a press release and people were complaining of spoilers. Similarly a couple months ago when comedian and host of The Talking Dead Chris Hardwick hosted a panel for The Walking Dead an audience member who voluntarily attended the show complained about spoilers in heckling manner when they began talking about episodes from the current season. This is when Spoiler Paranoia crosses the line into ridiculous.
     For me though, spoilers aren't a grey area. When I first read A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Sword of Storms I was glad none of it was spoiled for me because they had an emotional impact on me. On the other hand, remember that spoiler about Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince? I know what it is, and wasn't a reader of those books at the time. I only began reading them last summer and have just gotten up to the sixth book. I know what happens because I've seen the movies with friends and because of that spoiler but it won't ruin those books for me because they're fun.
     I guess my point is that spoilers are on a case by case basis for me but do everyone a favor and don't spoil anything for anyone. I've been guilty of this because I get excited about stories, and I want to talk about them to the point that sometimes I don't think before I speak but don't ruin the experience for other people. At least try not to.

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Disconnect between Thought and Speech.

     Taking a break from thesis research to do a little bit of blogging. Not about pop culture this time but just something that's been on my mind.

     Part of the reason why I love writing so much is the clear connection between my thoughts and my hands that type them. Speaking for me is entirely different. I find myself having a disconnect between my thoughts and my speech quite often. It's like the pathway from the my brain to my mouth is the Oregon trail, and along the way words die off from dysentery. This will leads to situations where I will be unable to communicate what I was just thinking properly with sentences that quite frankly are wrong, faulty, or just jumbled enough to be nonsensical. I have record to memory the faces my friends make when I do talk like this. Sometimes this has left me feeling hesitant to communicate through speech at all.

     Maybe this is left over from the speech impediment I had as a baby? As a baby I had a lot of ear infections and as you know babies learn to speak from hearing other people do it. Since I couldn't hear I didn't learn to speak properly and had to go to special speech classes for preschool as well as speech classes during regular school hours during elementary school.

     I don't feel alone with this idea, though I do think the fact that it has left me feeling hesitant to communicate is a character flaw I need work on, I know other people can get this feeling as well. It's good to take something you find to be a flaw in yourself and inject humor in it. My friend Dan and I have come up with a cut off to these kind of situations where we just can't get the words out. One of us will be talking and the person speaking can already tell so we'll cut off and just simply say "words" as in there are some words that go here but I can't seem to get it out, fill in the blank. I think it came started with talking about that scene in Hamlet where Polonius asks him what he's reading, and Hamlet responds "Words, Words, Words" but I might be mistaken.

I urge anyone who can't get a thought to come out of your mouth correctly to just say "words" and not want to laugh or maybe it's just one of those things that only the friends that came up with it can enjoy. It definitely helps me deal with the idea of struggling with communication. I mean, you can't just write all the time. Words were also meant to be spoken. 


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Movies will never be books, and TV too.


     If you're reading this it is safe to say you are living in the 21st Century. I don't imagine this blog will find its way in any century besides this one. Therefore you most likely have some experience with novels, television shows, and movies.
     Anyone who has ever had a favorite book or merely just a book they were the slightest bit fond of has understanding of the adaptation whether it's for television or the theater.
     Adapting novels to a visual medium isn't anything new and it isn't limited to movies and television but what I am focusing on here is the adaptation in the age of information.
     It seems like people often believe Hollywood has not experienced economic turmoil with the rest of us over the last thirteen years. You read about these ridiculously high numbers going to the cast's salary, the budget, and at the box office and it's more money than most people have ever had in their life. However, like the rest of, film studios have had to adjust to rising cost of, well, everything along with dealing with people's expectations of what a movie should look like. 
     Along with dealing with this they've had their struggle adjusting to the digital age. The way in which we are able to watch film and television has drastically changed in the last thirteen years as evidenced by the Netflix or other service streaming on your television, desktop, laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
     This is no way a defense for the film industry as I'm sure they're lobbying for the next version of CISPA and SOPA, a tactic to control the chaotic frontiers of the internet out of fear of piracy instead of adjusting to change. It does however help explain the rise of the franchise.
     The first year of the 21st Century saw two film franchises begin based on very popular books. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings were both highly ambitious adaptations setting precedents with their production, presentation and box office sales. 
     Alongside this the superhero franchises are just beginning their rise with the likes of X-Men and Spider-Man. The success of these films displayed you could established franchises in genre fiction that wasn't there before, as well as adapting what previous generations of Hollywood filmmakers deemed "unfilmable."
     So we have...
  • Hit series of films based on book and comic books in Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, X-Men, and Spider-Man.
  • New technology in special effects including but not limited to CGI
  • Economic turmoil increasing the cost of production of movies.
  • Ease of access to information through innovation in higher speed internet and the rise of desktop computers, laptops, smartphones, and tablets.
     All of this blended together leads to what we've seen in Hollywood the last thirteen years and beyond. Books, and comic books to an extent, have an established audience and likewise so do sequels. Why take a risk on an original script when adapting a series of books proven to sell on the New York Times Bestseller Lists is a much lower risk?
     So here we are, watching our favorite books become movies step by step. With a few taps of the keyboard and a few clicks we know who bought the films rights, who is writing the script, who is directing, who is cast as the main character, what the costumes will look, what changes the story were made. Change is the keyword here, a common fear amongst everyone, not just exclusive to book adaptations either.
     Here's the thing fellow bibliophiles and regular readers, Movies will never be books and TV too. You all know the inner monologue is the first things to go when it comes to the adaptation but it isn't the last.  With books there is no limit to the imagination but with film and television there is nothing but limits that often are stretched much further than deemed possible by the filmmakers themselves.
     Money, is of course, the number one limit to the adaptation of a book. Everything has a financial limit and this often leads to sacrifices. Sacrifices that have a cost to the storytelling as well. There might be the technology to pull off that epic battle scene in your favorite novel, there might be the perfect actor who fits exactly what the protagonist looks like and sounds like, and there might be the perfect director who loves the script, loves the novel and always imagined bringing it’s world to life. None of these factors are free though, there’s a reason writing novels isn't called the novel business but making films is called the movie business. 
     None of these people are going to be free and sometimes sacrifices are going to have to be made in order to get one of these factors over another. You may have to settle for the second choice actor in the film in order to get the special effects budget you need or on the other hand you get the actor you wanted but that battle scene needs to be scaled down.
     There are so many factors that could go wrong on a movie. In filmmaking you are lucky to get your movie made, for it to be any good, and then for it to be successful which is what an adaptation of a series needs in order to make books two through the final book. 
     These all difficult and daunting tasks that don't necessarily happen for the majority of movies. Scripts get multiple writings and revisions by writers who are usually not the author of the original novel, all of with their own takes, voices, and perspectives that they are trying to convey through someone else’s story. There’s no guarantee that these writers are passionate about the novel they are transferring to film. The same goes for the director, the actors, the producers, and the studio distributing it.
     My advice to readers? Let go. You can't think of film or television version of the novel as the visualization of the novel. Corey Olsen, also known as The Tolkien Professor broke it down fairly for readers when discussing The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on an episode of his podcast, Tolkien Chat 12: Adaptation and the Hobbit Movies when discussing film adaptations that you can apply to TV as well.
I've often said a movie is different from a book. The first thing you have to keep in mind when you are going to see a film adaptation of a book is you're not going to see a book on screen and it's not fair to evaluate the thing you are seeing as if it were simply a transposition of the book on screen. It's not a translation. It's an adaptation. It's a retelling. This is another version of the story. This is not Tolkien. This is Peter Jackson's retelling of Tolkien's story on screen and those are two different thing. You have a different person telling the story and you have a different medium in which the story is being told.
     Believe me, I understand. One of my favorite books is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and the film version failed to capture the satirical intelligence of Douglas Adams writing but these are not sacred text and as long as they keep making money Hollywood will continue adapting books to film. Your favorite book will still be there even if you don't like the retelling of it in the film. The book was better, 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Link to the Past: An 11 year old birthday.

     So I decided to make a separate blog from my Tumblr because Tumblr tends to lend itself to the reblogging of images more so than just pure text. I'll still update it with texts and if I can figure out how to link them together I will but I chose blogger because it's just basic writing without any coding. I had actually checked out first only to be left utterly confused thinking "but when can I just start writing the blog?"

     I'm writing this now on my 28th Birthday. I've spent it so far being pretty boring. Sleeping in, playing hookie from my class, getting a bagel, and watching all the extras for The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Rings.
     I was thinking of birthday's long past and which of them stood out to me. One of them that stood out in my mind when I gave it some thought was thanks to the news from Nintendo that they would be making a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past for their handheld platform; the Nintendo 3DS.

     In 1996 I had never played the Super Nintendo edition of the game. At that point I had played the original and the Adventure of Link very briefly, as I was young and utterly terrible at Video Games at the time. I had just become friends with a fellow named Jeff who I'd remain close friends with for a decade with afterwards. He was shocked to learn that I had never played A Link to the Past when I explained I didn't understand what the big deal was around the hype for Zelda 64 as it was called at the time.

     Our friendship was founded on video games. The memory is hazy as to who first talked to who but it was definitely about Mario Kart and one of us definitely was boasting their skill over the other. So I invited Jeff over, he trounced me in Mario Kart and a friendship began.

     So when I turned eleven, the plan was for Jeff to stay the night intending to watch movies and play video games all night with junk food, soda and pizza. What ended up happening which was a shock to me was that Jeff gave me a copy of the Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. I remember being kind of moved. Back then however much it cost probably around forty dollars was more money than I had ever had at one time so far this guy who I had only been friends with for only about six months to get me a video game I could never afford myself was amazing to me.

     We spent the entire night playing that game from beginning to end. I don't remember going to sleep until the very end. Jeff made me play the first three dungeons all on my own including the Hyrule Castle part in the beginning every once in awhile telling me where I can find an item or a heart piece I would never. Once thought you end up in the Dark World I was god awful at the game. Then I basically watched Jeff play the second half of the game with ease going on the philosophy when he died I would take over and vice versa with me dying more often than he did. 

     By the time we had gotten to the ending and defeated Ganon it was six in the morning. I wanted to start a new file and play it all again myself and Jeff wanted to go to sleep. Realizing how tired I really was I opted for sleep. With that I was hooked on the Legend of Zelda, going back to play the others and easily just as hyped for Zelda 64 as Jeff was. When we played Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask we'd spend long conversations on the phone letting each other know how to beat certain dungeons, where heart pieces were, and what places we needed to go to continue.