Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Wheel keeps on spinnin'

Well, three days ago, I learned of some news that I found interesting. Robert Jordan, author of the Wheel of Time series, died of a rare disease.

I laughed.

If some of you don't know the status of the WoT series, it isn't complete with the 12th book on its way when Jordan croaked. He had notes that he passed on so that the book can be completed, which will end the series entirely.

Anyway, I read the article reporting this news with laughter in my throat. I just thought of all those hardcore WoT fans gobbling up the newest book as it came out, discussing the characters, the land, and the plot twists. I imagined them delving into the hundreds of pages that served as a glossary for each of those novels to explain more in detail the terms that may not have been described in the main text body. I thought of all those countless hours Jordan spent writing this and the fans spent reading it. And for what? Nothing! I think a final book written by a different author just to resolve the story would hardly be the same. Notes-shmotes, that 12th book won't be the same.

So I laughed.

All those poor shmucks who thought this story was SO AMAZING were totally suckered. I was almost sucked into the WoT movement. I read the first book during my Junior year of high school because of recommendations, and I thought it was excellent. It did remind me much of The Fellowship of the Ring, but I found it forgivable. I then bought the second book and started reading it when I realized something: There are SIX more of these novels that are STILL on the same story with another book on it's way. And from what my friends were saying about the story, there was no end in sight! That's when I put the second book down. Screw...that!

I'm no writer, but having eleven books over 15 years doesn't speak well of your series. To me it confesses bad story-telling, bloated plot-lines, and I can only guess unnecessary tangents. How else could you have gone thousands and thousands of pages on the same story? I'm sorry, Jordan, that's just terrible. Have you ever heard of notes or outlines? Perhaps planning out the whole story before actually putting it down in a narrative sense? Sure Tolkien spent decades planning out LOTR, but at least he was able to write it into a "trilogy." Stuff from LOTR could have been edited out because they were unnecessary to the whole story (the Hobbits' return to the Shire in the book was ridiculous), but all that excess adds up to maybe a hundred pages...I bet you could do without whole BOOKS in WoT.

I also became turned off from the series because of the lack of self-confidence in the characters. Of course, the main character was only beginning his discovery of becoming top dawg when I stopped reading, but I...hate...excessively whiny characters. Rand al'Thor had way too much potential to be one of those types, and I didn't want to deal with that for 10+ novels.

I can't get the feeling out of me that the only reason why the 12th book will finally end WoT is because Jordan KNEW he was dying. Otherwise, I bet he would have gone longer on the series. I guess it was the Wheel of Time's way of saying, "End my suffering already!" You could say that the Wheel of Time for Jordan ended before Jordan could end The Wheel of Time. Man, if that's not irony, I don't know what is...

Jordan, it's sad - it really is - that you've passed away. I'm sure you made an impact in people's lives that doesn't involve your books, but I feel no pity for the WoT and its missing proper, Jordan-written ending.

I went on the web to see if others shared my feelings, and though I found more WoT lovers than haters, I did find an anti-Wheel of Time page. It was so funny, that I thought I should link to it. Be warned that it's a site-design disaster, but the content is priceless.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Being goalie.

I played goalie this week for the Saturday hockey session I have with the cousins. Good times. It doesn't help me practice being a better skater or stronger puck handler or even a better defensive/offensive player, but it's fun. At least, I find it fun. I don't know if the other cousins are as eager to step up and be goalie rather than go out and skate, but I don't mind it at all. I'm definitely stronger on the glove side rather than stick side, but I think that's because they don't have a set up for a left-hander, so I play as a right-handed goalie (left-handed glove, right-handed stick). It makes stick-side incredibly slow since my right arm is significantly weaker than my left, and I just instinctively want to use my left hand more resulting in a lot of glove saves and not much stick saves.

The whole game on Saturday, though, was really good. A lot of people turned up this time around to make a four-on-four game with a goalie on each team. The past few weeks we'd have boards set up in front of the goals since we wouldn't have enough players to fill in the goalie position. It's always a lot of fun when you get goalies.

It's a shame that there aren't any adult leagues local to the cousins. It'd be fun to form a team and compete against other people. Oh, well. We've done really well doing pickup games for 10+ years, which is pretty amazing if you think about it.

Let's move to Russia!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Frequent Flickrer

I've been using Flickr more often now, so that's pretty exciting. Anyway, the latest set is from last Saturday during Labor Day weekend. Relatives threw a picnic, and there are fun shots there. Check them out!

Also, don't forget to go to Dave's set from the picnic. There's a lot more on his set, and he got shots from the volleyball session.

I personally like the connection between these two shots.

Phoenix, Afterwords

I finally sold my social life out (or what was left of it) and went out to watch Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by myself. Oh, well. It was still quite enjoyable being in an almost empty theater since it's been out for months now. Anyway, the movie was pretty good. I heard a lot of flaws about it that I came in with low expectations, and that only leaves room for satisfaction and none for disappointment. I can see why people wouldn't enjoy this movie as much. It was all over the place, and there were definite references with no explanations. "Yup, you know this makes sense in the book."

Overall, though, I enjoyed it. Considering the heavy amount of content that was in the book, there's gotta be room for forgiveness. Movie adaptations are very difficult, especially for progressing stories like Harry Potter. However, this movie may have pushed me over the edge to start reading the books because there's just too much that doesn't make sense now without proper explanation. And asking people who've read the books to explain it to me just doesn't cut it for me. But anyway, I enjoyed the last part of the movie with all the cool special effects and seeing some real magic users. Not enough romance and drama, though. More Dawson's Creek-esque stories, please.

Collective Soul's new album Afterwords is also pretty enjoyable. It doesn't compete in energy with their previous Youth, except maybe their first track. It's quite mellow with more soft/pop rock, but like all CS music it grows on you. I already loved it by the second listen, which I can't say with a lot of other artist's new albums (ahem...Coldplay...Switchfoot...). If there is something you can count on, it's Collective Soul progressively making good music with unique sound and compelling lyrics. As Luke said, "There is a lot of variety on the album and it is easy to sense how they sort-of sampled different popular (current) styles of music and incorporated that into this album."

One more thing: Harry Potter is the man!