2011/10/31

Happy Halloween

I love Halloween. It is by far my favorite holiday of the year. I have Halloween and my wife has Christmas :) I take a vacation day every year for this date. Watching a scarey movie can only do so much. A person mind can do so much more. If you want to really experience the thrill of Halloween, then pick up a horror book. If you are not sure where to start. Here are some recommendations:

  • Anything by Stephen King that does not have a car on the cover
  • Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
  •  Darkly Dreaming Dexter by
  • I am Legend by

I hope that everyone has a thrilling and fun filled Halloween:)
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2011/10/29

LOTR Read-A-Long:The Two Towers Part 3

Samwise_the_Brave
Samwise Gamgee: I wonder if we’ll ever be put into songs or tales.
Frodo Baggins: What?
Samwise Gamgee: I wonder if people will ever say, "Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring," and they’ll say, "Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was really courageous, wasn’t he, Dad?" "Yes, my boy, the most famousest of hobbits. And that’s saying a lot."
Frodo Baggins: You left out one of the chief characters: Samwise the Brave. I want to hear more about Sam. Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam.
Samwise Gamgee: Now Mr. Frodo, you shouldn’t make fun. I was being serious.
Happy Saturday, to everyone that have been traveling on this quest to Mount Doom. Reading the Lord of the Rings during this time of the year just feels perfect book to be devoured into. I hope that everyone enjoyed the second book in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy in The Two Towers. This week’s discussion questions were provided by Andrea of The Little Red Reviewer.
At this point of the story, Sam and Frodo were travel through Shelob’s Lair and was betrayed by Gollum(he gave up hobbit to Shelob). Sam was suppose to he he food and Gollum wanted to get his precious. Shelob was to stun Frodo. There was a change in the plans and many of you found out. Sam fended off Shelob and some Orcs found Frodo and brought up to a chamber while he was still unconscious. There is where the book ended with Sam to go on the quest alone.
on twitter? use #LOTRreadalong
Link your post in the comments, or tweet it to me.  Once again, thank you for joining us on our journey to Middle Earth!
What Other Bloggers Thought:
Little Red Reviewer 
Blue Fairy's Bookshelf
Stainless Steel Droppings
Lynn’s Book Blog
All Booked Up
The Written World


Faramir strikes me as a noble, intelligent fellow, especially concerning powers beyond his control.  Had he gone to Elrond's Council instead of Boromir, how might the story have changed?
I think that Faramir and Aragon would have had a leadership struggle while Aragon was “left” to be in control of the Company. I think this because Faramir is use to giving orders and other not questioning his authority most of the time.
I think that Faramir would have been beneficial throughout the journey with his knowledge of the land. With him not having the horn that Boromir had, I am not that sure how the Orc attack would have concluded. The whole party possibly might have been murdered.

What did you think of Shelob and her lair? Would you willingly go in there?  Yes, I know Gollum says "this is the only way", but Frodo could have demanded they explore and attempt to find another way.
I think that I would have been leery of Gollum considering that he has a split personality disorder. As I stated last section, I am a fan of caves. I am not that sure if I would have went in, because Gollum said that it was the ONLY way. Gollum took advantage of the burden of The ring was putting of Frodo physically and mentally.
There is always another way to get to a place. It may take longer, but I would not have bought Gollum’s choice of this is the only way.

When Sam saves Frodo from Shelob, he finds himself in the vision he saw in Galadriel's mirror.  Knowing the future isn't always as helpful as one would think, is it?
Growing up I wanted to have a time machine like on Back To The Future. Now I am not that sure if I really want to know things that I would mess up on in the future. In this case, I do think that seeing the future is helpful for Sam.
Sam does realize that he can come up big when his master NEEDS his the most. He is Mr. Clutch facing the Shelob. I am sure that Andrea enjoyed another sider chapter in this read-a-long.

Having always been a sidekick/helper of sorts, Sam reluctantly realizes he may have to become the Ringbearer. What do you think Sam will do with the Ring of Power? If you were the sidekick of the hero, and suddenly had the opportunity to become the hero, to finish the quest, what would you do with the Ring of Power?
For me, I have identified with Sam during the entire quest. i think that Sam would finish was he and Mr. Frodo set and started that seemed like eons ago. Like he said at the end of the book when he was debating with himself. He would finish the quest if Frodo is not alive. I think that Sam will take a detour and save Frodo from the Orcs, if he can.To Sam he would be lost if Frodo was gone for good.
As for me I would give it a valiant effort to finish the job to destroy the One Ring at Mount Doom. I am not that sure how successful I would be. I would try to save my friend or master as well.

The conversation between the two Orcs at the end was highly amusing for me.  Yes, it serves to educate Sam on Frodo's condition, and Tolkien could have just left it at that, but he didn't. The Orc's commiserating could have been any soldiers in any war.  To me, it felt like Tolkien was humanizing the enemy, instead of the traditional dehumanizing of the enemy that you usually see in war stories. What do you think?
I am with Andrea here and I thought that this part of the story was funny. It was great Sam found out that Frodo was alive after being stunned instead of Frodo being dead. I think that it helps that Tolkien served in World War I. So he has first hand knowledge of how soldiers socialize with one another.
This is what is so great about Tolkien. You are in a serious situation in the Lair and such. Then he throws this part in the book. It would have been interesting to have met him in real life.
The book ends on a cliffhanger. Are you excited to finish up the trilogy and see how it all turns out?
I am itching to start the Return of the King. I am not that sure if I can make it til November 5th to begin read the book. It is going to be interesting to see how the trilogy finishes up after ROTK.I was on the edge of my seat for most of this book. So far, this is my favorite book in the LOTR story.
My heart is still racing with me just finishing the book on Friday night, while I write this post.

Just wanted to put out a snippet out there as well about the a word that occurs all the time. When Tolkien uses peril throughout the book(s). I just think of the 80's cartoon The Smurfs. With the overuse of the word "smurf" and its derivatives in a variety of meanings. Great now I think I might get my Smurfs DVD out..:)

I would like to thank everyone for joining the LOTR Read-A-Long to Middle Earth with Andrea, Carl V and myself.
Do not forget to leave your link to your blog post so that visitors can see what your thoughts were in this section of the Read-a-Long.

2011/10/22

The Two Towers Section 2


Orthanc-lee "'Not this way, master!' he pleaded. 'There is another way. O yes indeed there is. Another way, darker, more difficult to find, more secret. But Smeagol knows it. Let Smeagol show you!'"
Welcome back everyone to the Lord of the Rings Read-A-Long. We(as a group) now continue the reading of the The Two Towers, the second book of the epic classic of Lord of the Rings. Below are the discussion question that your truly decided to ask for the whole group to answer with their thoughts. You can also add other remaining thoughts after the questions as well.
This week it was Carl from Stainless Steel Dropping turn to ask the questions. I thought that he found and though up some great question for the group to answer. It was nice for him to join the Question Crew for The Two Towers and beyond.

What Other Bloggers Thought:
 Little Red Reviewer
Blue Fairy’s Bookshelf
All Booked Up
Stainless Steel Droppings
Lynn’s Book Blog
Book Den 
Passages of the Pen 
Remember to post your discussions no earlier than this Saturday, and if you're on twitter use #LOTRreadalong.  Here are this week's questions:
1.  The Glittering Caves of Aglarond; Fangorn Forest:  Which of the two would you be most excited to visit once the war was over? 
For me this is a tough one. I am a fan of both forest and caves. When I was in grade school, I was privileged enough to be able to visit Monmoth Cave down in Kentucky. We did not get the chance to really get to know the Glittering Caves. There would be a great chance that I would pick the Glittering Caves as my after the war visit…well as long I make to that point at least.

2.  How did you like the reunion of at least part of the fellowship at Isengard?  Did any part of it stand out to you?
I did think that was great for part of the Company the to tell the other what their side of the quest has gone so far. As well as how the did get to Isegard in the first place. It aslo thought that it was kind of neat that the hobbits were in ill prepared conditions for company. It just shows that hobbits are always wanting to entertain thier guests regardless where they may be at the moment.
The part that really stood out to me was what Ents did to Isegard to wipe out Saurmans Army of Orcs and other villians of evil were flooded out by the Treebeard and Company. I can still see Treebeard doing this in the movie adaptation by Peter Jackson.
3.  What are your thoughts about Galdalf's confrontation with Saruman?
This confrontation reminded me so much of Star Wars. Why would it remind me of a space opera. The fact, that first Saurman offered his hand to Gandalf and together they would finish this war together. Then after that Gandalf offered Saurman a way out of his melicious ways by allowing him a way out, but under certain stipulations.
There was plenty of other people imvoled that were nervous throughout this confrontation. They were wondering what was going to really happen in the end. In the end Saurman’s pride and greed for power was just to much to give up.

4.  We learn a great deal about the Palantir in this section.  How do you feel about Saruman given Gandalf's speech about the use of the Palantir?  Would you, like Pippen, be tempted to look in to see what you could see?
I think that I would have been with Pippen and wonder what you can really see in the Palantir. I am not sure i would go to the lenth that Pippen did and take from Gandalf and tick him off in the process.
It sure interesting with the fact that he can see so much throughout Middle Earth. To the viewer, you see multiple events can create a false impression on the viewer.
5.  What are your thoughts about Smeagol/Gollum in this first part of his journey leading Frodo and Sam?  For those of you who've seen the film, are you hearing Andy Serkis in your head when you read Gollum's lines?
The parts where Gollum talks it is like taking with somebody that has a multiple personality disorder. Sometimes he is Smeagol and other times he is Gollum. Whatever his name is I would trust Gollum at all, but he has Frodo and Sam in a pickle. Due to the fact, that the two have no clue where they are going and what terrain is set before them. 
Yes, i hear Andy Serkis voice whenever Gollum speaks in the book. I can hear the voice and I laugh every so often just thinking back to the movie. There was much blood shed in the battles that were fought in the Marshes. It always seems that battle sites always have a story to be told.

6.  Sam and Frodo are not traveling in the most picturesque part of Middle-earth.  Which would you find worse, the seemingly impossible to leave mountains or the Dead Marshes?
I think that the worst part is the Dead Marshes. It just seems that a person or a group can get turned around in the marsh in a hurry. Not to mentions with the faces in the water. It is like going to Gettysburg or even an Indian Burial Ground. 
In this case the Dead Marches are no different, but the Marches seem to be haunted and those who are hypnotised by these lights. Then you can end up as one of the dead as well.
7.  Tolkien introduces us to a lot of places in this section of The Two Towers, many just getting a mention in passing.  What do you think of Tolkien's place names (Minas Morgul, Isengard, the Emyn Muil, and on and on)?  Do any stand out to you?  Are there any that you don't care for?
There are so many places that are mentioned through out the quest in this section of the jounrey. Sure would be interest to actually get know know more about all these wonderful place in Middle Earth. It seems that Tolkien likes to tease the reader in this part of the story.
The one place that stand out to me is Minas Tirith. I am not that sure why of all the places mentioned throughout the quest this is the one that stands out to me as much as it does. I did not get to see Return of the King. There were no places that I did not really care for though. I found out that every place in Middle Earth has a place in its history.
I would like to thank everyone for joining the LOTR Read-A-Long to Middle Earth with Andrea, Carl V and myself.

2011/10/15

The Two Towers Section 1

Curse him, root and branch! Many of those trees were my friends creatures I had known from nut and acorn; many had voices of their own that are lost for ever now. And there are wastes of stump and bramble where once there were singing groves. I have been idle. I have let things slip. It must stop!




Welcome back everyone to the Lord of the Rings Read-A-Long. We(as a group) started reading the first section of The Two Towers. I do think that Tolkien did capture  both humor and being serious in the same event. Below are the discussion question that your truly decided to ask for the whole group to answer with their thoughts. You can also add other remaining thoughts after the questions as well.
Remember to post your discussions no earlier than this Saturday, and if you're on twitter use #LOTRreadalong.  Here are this week's questions:

What is your favorite part of The Two Towers, thus far into the book?

I would like to say the entire section was my favorite part of the book, but I know technically that is not a part par say. If I do have to choose a favorite part it would be the Treebeard chapter. I found it great that Merry and Pippin helped thew cause of more nations to face off against the power of Saruman.
In the chapter, Treebeard convinced his fellow Ents to join the forces of Gandalf in the battle against Saruman, whom have been killing his fellow Ents.

What were your thoughts of Boromir trying to defend Merry and Pippin from Orc archers?

I was with Little Red Reviewer not able to trust Boromir fully especially after his confrontation with Frodo after the FOTR. After reading that he gave his life trying to protect Pippin and Merry with the invading Orcs was something to be said. In my opinion, he did rectify what he tried to do at the end of the FOTR.
I thought that he did a great job trying with all his might to fend off the Orcs as long as he could until help did appear.

What thoughts would have been going through your mind if you were approached by Treebeard?

What would be going through my mind...hmmm. Something like a tree is approaching and asking me what I am doing in his forest. With Treebeard being 14 feet tall and looks like a tree would get me to wonder, “Did I eat some kind of strange and hallucinogenic mushroom. A tree is talking to me now...well it is better than smurfs I guess.
After getting that out of my heard, I tell him that I just escaped from some disorganized Orcs. I am on a quest, but were separated from the company. 

What were your thoughts and reactions of the battle at the Hornburg?

I thought that Jackson did a good job with adaptation of this scene in the movie. I thought it was hiarious that Gimli and Legolas were competing on how many Orcs that they killed throughout this battle.
This section of this book was very compelling how the Riders of Rohan and the reamining Company set out to defend Helm's Deep. With how the company(Gandalf) did save the King of Rohan to continue to being poisoned by Wormtail.

Do you like it that Tolkien has split the Company into three mini-quests? Do you wonder if the company will be together throughout the quest again?

I think that it is great on how Tolkien does have the Company split up into three different quests within the Company. It shows that everyone in the Company does in fact have something to offer and have a variety of skills. We(as readers) did learn so much more about Pippin and Merry with how they escaped from the Orcs and how they handled Treebeard and the Ents. I do think that we will be learning more about Sam before this journey to Middle Earth is finished.
As it stands at this moment, I do not think that Frodo and Sam will join the party at the end of the journey. As much as I want to see it, just do not see it happening.


Other Thoughts:
With the amount of surprises we had in the first section of The Two Towers. It will be interesting to se what will be popping next in the next two section,lus we have an entire to read.
The Company found that Gandalf is alive He is now Galdalf the White is here to help finish the quest to Middle earth.
I also thought that it was something about Eowyn being named to be hier to the throne if something does happen to the King and his son √Čomer.


I would like to thank everyone for joining the LOTR Read-A-Long to Middle Earth with Andrea, Carl V and myself.

2011/10/06

iSad: R.I.P Steve Jobs(1955-2011)

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBaseI still cannot believe that Steve Jobs passed away yesterday. Steve Jobs died at the age of 56.Jobs was the the mastermind behind Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes. There is nobody that has effected the computing world as much as Jobs did throughout his life. Apple was on the brink of folding then Jobs thought to pursue the moblie computing market. Apple still dominate the market.

We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," read a statement by Apple's board of directors. "Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts." 


 Earlier this year Jobs stepped down as Apple's CEO.Jobs knew that he did not have much time left. He will be missed by many followers and yours truly.  I am going to call every February 24th, Steve Jobs Day. 




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2011/10/05

RIP Challege

 

I finally decided to join in the fun over at Stainless Steel Droppings. In his RIP Challenge, but there are different deviations that you can par take in. I am late getting into the Challege by a month. Like the saying goes,"Better Late Than Never."


Peril the Second:
Read two books of any length that you believe fit within the challenge categories.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as:
Mystery.
Suspense.
Thriller.
Dark Fantasy.
Gothic.
Horror.
Supernatural.

The emphasis is never on the word challenge, instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

I read Fellowship of the Ring already withing the Read-a-Long I am co or tri hosting. The second book that I will be reading is: Carrie by Stephen King.