Tagged: star wars

Books, fanfiction, and wet shirts.

Friday, May 21, 2010 -- 1:53 pm
Mood: 10 Wishing it would thunderstorm. We haven't had a good thunderstorm yet this year!

Two more books down, 130 more to go (though that number is constantly growing the more time I spend on Goodreads.)

His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik

Dragons! War! Oceanic battles! Dragons! Napoleon! Did I mention, dragons? It is exactly as it sounds, and if by that you think awesome then you, sir, are correct.

Sleek and proper English navy captain, William Laurence, finds himself wrenched away from the life and career and everything he adores when his crew captures a French ship carrying a rare dragon egg. Sure enough, poor ol' Will inevitably winds up with the obligation and responsibility of said dragon (named Temeraire) and is thrust into Britain's Aerial Corps to meet the fight against Bonaparte's advancing forces in the sky.

The book wastes no time with preambles of any sort. I have to admit that I had my doubts leaping right into the plot in the first chapter, much less the first six pages, and it all felt a little rushed before we had even left the starting line, what with trying to digest the whole alternate reality dragon quirk that doesn't get explained at all before you're thrust into it head first. That aside, it's an interesting concept of taking real historic events and putting a fantasy swing on it, and you get the feel for it pretty quick. I really loved Temeraire himself and the sort of naive but insightful view he has towards everyone and everything. I also really enjoyed the relationship Novik created between the dragons and their handlers; it's very obvious that Will and Temeraire's closeness is built on mutual respect and genuine affection on the half of both parties (which is something I felt lacking from other similar series' like Eragon.) By comparison, the neglect of one of the other dragon characters, Levitas, was heart wrenching. I don't ever cry reading books, but I came fairly close in the case of his small side story. ;_;

Since His Majesty's Dragon is based in a time of soldiers and war, there are a fair amount of battle scenes. I am not an action buff and I'm not particularly interested in the details or dynamics of warfare, so the parts where the story fell short for me were some of the especially longer battle or strategy scenes. I think it's especially difficult to read action sequences since they don't come across on the page as they do watching them on a screen, but fortunately the aerial battles were easier to follow here than a lot of other novel fight scenes I could mention. What I did find pretty nifty, however, were the creative crew systems and gear setups Novik dreamt up for the dragons -- it wasn't as simple as the hero just jumping on the back of his valiant draconian steed and shouting CHARGE! It added a sense of realism -- or at least as much realism as you can create when you're talking about more or less replacing fighter planes with mythical flying beasts.

I'll most likely dip back into the series for more in the future, if anything just for the possible chance for a scene with Napoleon Bonaparte whooping around in the sky ecstatically on the bag a giant flying lizard. :D As a footnote, the author of this series was apparently a fanfiction writer/LiveJournaler who lived in Edmonton for a winter (her biography remarks upon a "truly alarming coat" she now owns from her stint here, LOL.) I'd be interested to learn which fandom(s) she wrote for.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Picoult's newest book is about an eighteen-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome ( which is a high-functioning type of autism for those who are not familiar) and an obsession for forensic analysis, who is arrested for the murder of his social skills tutor.

My only familiarity of Asperger's up to this point had been the character of Jerry Espenson from Boston Legal, which is one of the reasons why this book initially piqued my interest. It's one of those conditions that a lot of people rarely hear about and it's always a bit fascinating getting a bit of a deeper glimpse into the day-to-day rituals, complications, and struggles an individual and family touched by something like Asperger's lives with. According to various reviews I've read, Picoult's portrayal of AS here doesn't always necessarily ring true (though who am I to say); but despite that, I greatly enjoyed House Rules, with the exception of the ending which I thought was way too sudden and failed at really tying things up. I hate the ambiguity, it leaves me sitting there forever just craving for closure! D: That, and I and every other reader figured out the "twist" ending barely before the mystery of the crime had even been established. No surprises in this one.

Picoult's books are always a bit of a hit and miss, which is strange when you consider the plots are always the same: Family becomes entangled in a high stakes legal drama centered around a thought-provoking ethical or moral dilemma! Enlists the help of a charming lawyer who becomes emotionally entangled with his client and/or client's family! Cue some sort of angsty romance or affair thrown in for kicks that the parents use as an excuse for coping with the drama! OMG TWIST ENDING!

Despite the redundancy, I admire the way she's always almost able to make all of her characters endearing and relatable on some level, and I can't help but keep going back for more. There have been ones that I've loved such as Nineteen Minutes and My Sister's Keeper, and ones that fell flat with me like The Tenth Circle. Her upcoming 2011 novel reportedly centers around a lesbian couple and gay rights in regards to starting a family in America, which I hope will be another gooder~

Next up on my list is Homeland, the first book in the popular Dark Elf trilogy, but I got as far as the prologue and then somehow became distracted with reading my favorite General Grievous fanfic again for about the fourth or fifth time. (I keep a copy of the whole massive thing printed out that spans across two Duo-Tang because I enjoy it that much. And also, because I'm a giant nerd.) It's one of those stories that hasn't been updated in years and will probably never be completed, which makes me all sorts of sad because we all know about me and closure. :C <-- Epic sad face. I finally finished watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice mini-series with Jennifer Ehle and the fabulous Colin Firth. It wasn't all the fireworks and earth shattering amazing that I've heard it praised as, but it was enjoyable. Definitely something I liked to sit down to with a plate of tasty chocolate cake while watching and grinning each time they showed a closeup of Mr. Darcy. What a scowly bear. X3 I have to admit I was slightly disappointed with the infamous wet shirt scene. From all of the hype it's garnered over the years, I wound up with this when I was really expecting more of something like this. On the note of wet shirts, I never realized how many wet, white shirts Mr. Firth has actually donned over the years. I think P&P unintentionally type cast him and wet shirts everywhere. There should really be some sort of Oscar award for it all it's own.

P.S. I was dismayed to witness Jane Austen's obviously discriminatory view on red-heads. On behalf of gingers everywhere, I am hurt, Ms. Austen. Hurt and dismayed! :C

Not even Dana White can save you now.

Saturday, May 30, 2009 -- 8:28 pm
Mood: 08 Allergies are owning my ass today.

Oh god I had the worst dream the other night. I was on vacation camping with my parents and our campsite was attacked by a bear. We barely escaped and drove all the way back home, but the bear showed up there too! So we proceed to flee across the country trying to evade it, but every time we think we're finally safe, the freaking bear shows up again! I tell you it was a bear on a fucking mission, bent on our gruesome bloody demise. (Where the hell is heroic, bear-battling Dana White when you need him?) So anyway, then we finally blow the bear up with a rocket launcher which I completely forget now how we managed to acquire -- but then in a completely creepy, nightmarish twist, all the greasy little bear bits start to piece themselves back together and it comes after us again! Ahh! Ahh! Ahh! D: My alarm thankfully went off before I could find out if I died a gruesome death or not.

Ugh. Bad, just bad. I then spent the morning getting ready for work while being paranoid that a grizzly was going to jump me at any moment in the hallway. It's like after I watch Jaws and then for completely irrational reasons am than afraid to have a shower.

Grievous is finished! He now sits in the corner of our main room, looking incredibly badass as he stares out across the span of my living room. Considering how enormous he is and how many pieces it took to put him together, it was surprisingly easier to assemble than I thought he'd be. He's not very sturdy though -- he wibbles a bit there and wobbles a bit there, but he has yet to fall down. *Joy*

Update on exciting house shopping! (Or at least, the prelude to exciting house shopping that inevitably must be done before actual house shopping can occur.) We've gotten in touch with both a realtor and a mortgage broker. We'll be meeting with them both over the course of this upcoming week and have a tentative date next Sunday to begin looking at our first houses! *SQUEE* Very very exciting~

Progress!

Sunday, April 19, 2009 -- 2:52 am
Mood: 07 Enjoying my weekend so far

Surprisingly, complicated 10,000-piece Lego sets are in fact not as complicated as I originally feared~ Status of General Grievous as of this afternoon and again later this evening. Yay! Look, he has giant cyborgy legs! :B

I haven't even needed any help in building him, the instructions are really good (little more than half way through book 1 of 2!) Most of the time and effort actually consists of hunting for the pieces through the dozens of different little bags which are conveniently not sorted AT ALL. =_=;

This morning we went out for our first round of golf this season~ Besides the fact that it was mother effing windy (omg my ears, they burn!), it was really fun and probably gave me some much needed exercise after sitting on my ass all winter. I got 54 on the front nine! Yay for me!

Omgomgomgomg

Thursday, April 16, 2009 -- 9:15 pm
Mood: 06 My nerdiness astounds even me at times

I have two words for you all: LEGO GRIEVOUS.

Thank you, Brock and Nickie! :B How could I have spent so much time scouring the interwebs for everything and anything General Grievous related and never have known about this?! *Twinge of fangirly shame* Look at him! He's AWESOME. XD

I have to admit though... the picture is a bit deceiving. I sort of just glossed over the whole "10,186 pieces" thing in my fangirly glee -- the box is freaking ginormous! 10,186 pieces! He's going to be 18 inches high! It came with TWO INSTRUCTIONS BOOKS. They could not fit all of his assembly instructions into one manual! D: I played with Lego when I was a kid, I built my share of you know... houses. And... walls... Something tells me Grievous is going to be a bit more a challenge. But I'm determined to get him done! *DETERMINED* The online reviews say the figure isn't very sturdy because he's so tall when put together, so I figure I'll put him together and then maybe glue everything except the pivot joints -- I'd love to be able to really move him around and pose him~ So far I've finished... the platform. It's a work in progress.

I'm reading Outlander, the first in a series by Diana Gabaldon. It's a bit of a romancy, historical, time-traveling fruit salad and was recommended to me by a couple different people. Basically the story so far is a married, English post-WWII nurse is suddenly transported back to 1700 Scotland. The first 170ish pages weren't bad at all, they were thought out and well-paced with the whole "hey we just traveled back in time!" thing -- but then in the span of the next mere 20 pages, the heroine suddenly seems to completely forget all about her beloved husband in the present time that she's told us she loves so dearly and is determined to get back to, marries a burly kilt-clad Scotsman she's only known for a month, and proceeds to have piles of guilt-free sex with her new Highlander beau.

*Blink blink* What? What just happened? *Flips back through the book to double check she didn't miss a few cleverly hidden chapters* How can you completely change the emotional mindset of a character in 20 pages? That's like being in a loving marriage and then going out to the store for 20 minutes to pick up milk and shagging the grocery clerk in the frozen food isle instead. I don't know. It's gotten a little dicey at this point, at times I just want to throw my hands up in frustration trying to get a grip on this protagonist's fickle thought process. =_=;

And then… (finally) …there was color.

Sunday, March 29, 2009 -- 6:31 pm
Mood: Happy. Productive. :B

Huzzuh! Take that, Photoshop coloring / Wacom tablet!

Okay, so obviously I didn't get it finished in time for the DeviantArt contest like I said I would back before Christmas. Not surprisingly, I got frustrated with the coloring, put it in a drawer to come back to the next day when I was less bitter, and then promptly forgot about it. =_=; Better late than never, right?

But look! Color! Sure, the shading is probably all wrong, and the background is complete rubbish because I have no idea how to draw anything scenic, and I was too lazy to put in all the battle droids like originally planned; but I'm happy with it anyway. I think I finally found a method of digital coloring that is less pain-in-the-assy than what I started with. Fuck you, burn and dodge tools! Think of all the time and teeth gnashing I could have saved if I hadn't been trying to constantly work around your bitchy PMS.

25 (Other) Things

Monday, February 9, 2009 -- 9:17 pm
Mood: 09 Killing time on the computron

I technically just did a meme like this, so I tried to do 25 new things that weren't included in the last one. :P

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged.

    1. I routinely look like I just crawled out of a barn. Between the bits and pieces of hay from sitting in my pet rabbit's playpen and the tufts of white feathers that escape from my down-filled winter jacket and get caught on my clothes, it raises the theory that I live in a chicken coup.

 

    1. I used to be a tomboy. It's only in the last three or four-ish years that I've ditched the ugly over-sized man shirts to openly embrace my feminine side. Floral! Color! Dresses! Fitted clothes! OMG look I'm actually a girl and I LOVE IT~! :3 I would never ever go back to the way I was, because being girly is too much fun.

 

    1. I really like my job, and that's something that I never would have believed I'd ever say. But I do, I like the job, I adore the people I work with, I get excited over new projects we're working on and where we're going. It's not very often many people are able to wake up everyday and not hate the idea of going to their job, and it concerns and makes me a little sad to not know whether I'll still be able to be there a year from now.

 

    1. I would love to travel more. I especially dream one day of going back to Europe... England, Paris! *hearts* I wouldn't mind visiting Africa and maybe Japan too~

 

    1. My biggest goal in the next five years (and that's a maximum ETA, preference would be one to two years) to own my own bloody house. I hate renting, I hate it! Look at all my beautiful money being sucked away that I'll never see again! D: I want more space, I want a garage, and I want a yard so we can finally get a puppy~

 

    1. I'm probably one of the few people who was born in St. Albert, Alberta, and never ever wants to leave. It is one of the many aspects that is part of what makes up what has been affectionately coined the "Brenna Bubble". I love my little slice of suburbia and if I get my way I will live here forever. By an uncommon contrast, I despise Edmonton. It's too big, it's dirty, it's stressful, and it's scary, as opposed to my comfortably small city that is by comparison clean, easy, and safe, and most importantly, is close to my friends and family. If I ever make a move out of St. Albert, it will be to another suburb in the nearby area, but if it's left up to me, I will die here in one of the very many local retirement homes.

 

    1. My dialogue is littered with made-up words used within our own family, and sometimes I forget that the rest of the world has never heard of them. Terms like "gweeblies", "tuffettops", and "goobersmooch" have a habit of sneaking into my dictionary while out in public and end up earning me lots of funny looks and ridicule.

 

    1. I speak to my bunny as if he were a tiny three-year-old. I never thought I'd be one of those people who engages in in depth conversations with my pet and treats them like their own child, but I can't help it! *Hugs Toby* He's so freaking adorable! X3

 

    1. I wish I had more money to buy ridiculous amounts of clothes and shoes! I can't walk into a mall without seeing a dozen things I want to have, and if I didn't have the reserves of will power as I do, I would be very very poor.

 

    1. I am probably the pickiest eater I have ever and will ever know of. (And I can't even blame mine on allergies or anything.)

 

    1. I'm cold all the time. I hate being freaking cold! *Hugs her portable work heater*

 

    1. I'd really like to get more in shape since my current shape is more like a squiggly no-muscly void of nothing, but I am admittedly notoriously lazy when it comes to physical activity. Gyms are an absolute no-go for me. Selected sports I can sometimes pull off, but it really has to be a very Brenna-friendly sport, and that usually means that it doesn't involve a lot of running or painful physical contact. I keep saying I want to get into a habit of playing DDR again every day, but that probably won't actually happen until we have a house and more space to keep the dancing mat out and available to remind me to use it.

 

    1. On the note of Brenna-friendly sports, I'm extremely glad that Mason introduced me to golf. Yes, it's as boring as dirt to watch on television, but I really do enjoy playing it. It gives me some exercise, I get to go for a nice leisurely walk, and it's very relaxing.

 

    1. I started taking piano lessons this year, something I've always wanted to do and finally did~

 

    1. I don't like small talk. I'm much more of a comfortable silence kind of girl. Please don't talk to me about the weather or other things we know that neither of us are really interested in talking about just to fill an awkward void. Either have an actual conversation with me, or keep to the rule silence is golden.

 

    1. When it comes to television and movies and books, my favorite characters always end up being either:
      1. villains (ex. Spike from Buffy, Grievous from Star Wars),
      2. arrogant assholes (ex. Alan Shore from Boston Legal, Severus Snape from HP), or
      3. a little bit crazy (ex. Dilandau from Escaflowne, The Joker from Batman).

      Or in some cases, all of the above mixed into some crazy Molotov cocktail of creepy. It's especially strange since all these characteristics when displayed in real life piss me off and make me want to punch the owner in the face. Yet in books and shows, I can't get enough of them. They draw me in -- they're just always so much more interesting than the heroes or other protagonists! :B

 

    1. Denny Crane.

 

    1. I'm so happy to be getting back into reading again. I was an obsessive book worm when I was younger, and then for whatever reason I stopped buying books and going to the library for a while when I discovered things like anime and manga and pink Nintendo DS's. Something clicked last year though and I've compiled a giant list of must-read material that I'm working though.

 

    1. I am an Anal Annie when it comes to filling the dishwasher. Everything has a designated place, dishes must be sorted, everything has to fit in order to maximize dishwasher capacity and efficiency! Mason very often simply doesn't load the dishwasher at home because he knows that I'll just walk by, get frustrated, and proceed to take everything out and re-load it my own way. I go over to my parent's house for dinner some times and blanch at the horror that is their dishwasher now that I don't live at home with them. It's a disgrace, and I think they do it purely because they know it annoys me.

 

    1. I like playing board games. One night a week I get together with a bunch of friends and we play a board game or card game of some sort, it's a lot of fun, and I like that I get to see the group of people at least once each week because of it.

 

    1. I am an enormous fangirly geek, and I love it. Being a fangirl is my favorite hobby ever, whether it's watching episodes of a series over and over again, or finding a new piece of amazing fanart, or staying up until the wee hours of the morning researching information and details on specific parts of a story or character that I never knew before.

 

    1. Directly related to / caused by / is the causing factor of #21, I'm a pretty big daydreamer. Not in the teenage girly sense of "and then Johnny Depp comes sweeping in with rippling muscles and carries me off for some full-frontal shagging", but more along the lines of where I write little scenes and bits in my head of various fandoms I'm currently indulging in. It's more or less fanfiction writing, only without the actual typing because that's far too much effort. I like to think up those scenes you'd love to see, or bits of a story and character experiences that were never included but should have been. They play like my own little directed movies in my head, and they can range from little two-minute concoctions to full blown half hour episodes where I end up getting really annoyed if someone interrupts me in the middle of it.

 

    1. I both miss and do not miss my old spiky hair. I miss it because it was very unique, and not a style you saw on every female who walked by; though on the same note, I very much do not miss it because of the same reason. My hair may be more boring now, but it feels more mature and I'm finally no longer recognized every where I go as "That spiky haired girl who worked at Sobeys". =_=; There's a point when creepy old ladies try to run their hands over your hair gushing that you say enough is enough.

 

    1. I live my life by my Google Calendar. *Hearts* I'm not sure I could get along in the world on a day-to-day basis without my online schedule and daytimer.

 

  1. I can't stand rudeness. It is by far my biggest pet peeve and turn off. Egotistical people come in as a close second -- modesty is a virtue, learn to use it, you arrogant asswipes.