The Geekery: Report #01

I’ve been struggling these last few months with everything deciding on a balance between keeping a blog that showcases my work and one that appeals to me on a more… nerdy level. It can’t all be book reviews and poetry, vignettes and photography- because that’s not true to who I am. I considered starting a secondary blog for it, but I don’t update this one enough as is, so forget that. Then I asked myself why I was putting these limitations on myself; this is my blog, after all, I can make of it what I want.

You see, here’s the thing, I hate love to write, feel naked without my camera, and obviously I read, but I’m a third generation gamer, whose grandmother got an Atari soon after they were released. She taught me how to hold a joystick, how to play Pong, how to avoid that damn shark in Fishing Derby. My mother gave me the gift of Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt, my father Dragon Warrior and Shadowgate, and both of them played Legend of Zelda. There were copies of Silver Surfer and Thomas Covenant laying around the house, and anime was just starting to be aired on American television…

OK, OK, so what am I trying to get at here? I’m a nerd, all those things that are shoved under the umbrella of geekery I am into. And it’s no fun pretending I’m not. I have role-played a High Elf (A Chaotic Good Warlock Moon Elf whose patron was Lurue, in case you were wondering) in Dungeons and Dragons, I have gone to anime conventions, I have written fan fiction for obscure pairings like Gippal/Baralai (Final Fantasy X2) and Nick/Greg (CSI), I have sorted myself in a Hogwarts House (Ravenclaw) and discovered my Patronus (Newfoundland Dog). I imprinted on Matt Smith as The Doctor, and haven’t been able to love anyone more then him except David Tenant but only when he has Martha. I always have a towel, I watched The Return of the Jedi on VHS until the tape stopped working. I reread the Lord of the Rings every year and have watched the original Peter Jackson trilogy more times then I can count. Every Thursday you’ll find me watching Critical Role (and Tuesday Talks Machina), I am a nerd, and I love it…

Below the cut is talk of Thor: Ragnarok, World of Warcraft, Death Stranding, Jurrasic Park, Oceans 8, and Dark Phoenix. Warnings include: Mild Spoilers, a love of Jeff Goldblum, bitterness over the Horde, and the occasional curse word.

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Book Review: The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

The second entry into Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles finds improved supporting characters and Kvothe still fluctuating between being annoyingly perfect and annoyingly stupid. The narrative is saved by the incredible readability of Rothfuss’s prose, which flies and dances like the bladed leaves of a sword tree.

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We’re taken far beyond the limits of the University, Imre, or Tarbean in Day Two, the history and cultures of the lands and it’s people given more detail, the lines of building mystery pulled ever more taught. A discussion of the novel lies behind the cut, I’ll start with my feelings on the book, then discuss the story itself- so if you don’t want to read spoilers you can be safe for the first half of the review (I’ll note where the spoilers begin).

The Wise Man’s Fear is a story of questions, secrets, and song; the tale is strung with harsh iron, woven with lute strings, lit with moon glow and washed in blood. Here we see a hero move from the travails of youth to the hardships of adulthood and the choices it forces one to make. The tides of myth and poem are the rhythms that pull the narrative forward, and I feel hints of the stories of Tam Lin and Fionn mac Cumhaill running through the veins of this tale, with promises of sacrifice and suffering hidden just below the journey’s  ice…

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Original Poetry: A Tiding of Shadow

A Tiding of Shadow
by Jessica Rasmussen

Mist lingers low amid orchard and vine,
Crow-ghosts cawing from the foxtail pine.
Blood on the brambles like the sweetest of wine,
See the grain fall ‘neath the reaping blades shine.
As August’s last days to darkness will yield,
The sky is smoke-laden as they torch the fields,
It hangs like a veil over village and weald,
And within it’s shadow waits a darkness concealed.

The coven in the corn, they are calling-
The leaves from the bough, they are falling-
In the night it appears, broken and crawling,
Singing songs with a voice so enthralling.
When the forest is laced with shadow and drear,
And pale hands reach from the depths of the mere,
Scarecrow watching can’t guard against fear,
Not when frost lingers and darkness draws near.

A voice from the wheat field is calling to me,
As I search for answers on All Hollow’s Eve.
There are old gods to waken and spells to weave
Graveyards to dance in and devils decieve.
A flame in the window will guide spirits home,
On these cold Autumn nights when the dead set to roam.
So follow the flicker ‘lest you’re lost to the gloam,
To wander the ether in the dead’s catacomb.

For Autumn comes riding, rime-laced and fair
The four winds he’ll race to lay forests bare.
So light me a candle and wait for me there,
A thing of crow ghosts and frost laden hair.

Happy Halloween everyone, hope your October was good to you…

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Comic Review: Monstress Volume 1 & 2 by Marjorie Liu

Have you heard about Montress yet? The gorgeous and dark graphic novel written by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda? Originally published by Image Comics in November of 2015, it is an ongoing saga set in a world ravaged by war and prejudice, with an almost exclusively female cast.

Monstress- darkly wondrous, as swift and violent as the cutting blade, as shadowed and uncertain as a storm at sea. Richly illustrated, intelligently written and a pleasure to read and study, these comics have a lot to offer, and there is much to take away.

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At the start of our narrative we are introduced to Maika as she is sold into slavery. She is full of anger and resentment for a world that has left her with nothing, not even both her hands. But it is not just her story, for as it unfolds we are shown the world from multiple angles, witnessing the intrigue, politics, and festering hate that fuels the warring factions…

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Saying Goodbye: An essay of pain at the loss of a friend

Our options; a series of fluids and foods that would give us a little more time with the friend we had spent nearly all of our marriage with. How much time? A week, maybe less, probably not more. Behind door number two lay the heavy burden, the inevitable, the thing we would just be staving off.

Humane euthenasia.

The doctor left us in that room to speak of it, our Lulu finding some strength in the nervous agitation a veterinarian’s office brings. Her tail, which had become stationary over the long weekend where we waited for the vet’s office to open, now hit an irregular rhythm out on the yellow-tinged linoleum. Occasionally she would give us a long, forlorn meow, so different from the chirps and squeaks she would harass us with while we went about our daily routine.

Beyond the doors I hear laughter and talk, the excited barking of a small dog, the shifting of crates and papers. Time moves agonizingly slow, yet it’s drawing to a close for our little lady, too soon, too soon, it’s always too soon.

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Original Poetry: Black Cat’s Luck

It’s mid-August, summer is fading fast, too soon the world will be cold and dark, the trees will give us a glorious display of fall colors before the world slips back to being barren and grey. But before summer draws to a close animal lovers everywhere should take a moment to appreciate the oft’ maligned and misunderstood black cat.

Autumn is a dangerous time for cats, and black one’s in particular. Many superstitions still effect the adoptability of black cats, something I learned about while volunteering for our local animal shelter. There, black cats would not be permitted out as October drew to a close and Halloween loomed, too often there are reports of murdered felines following the nights festivities. On the home front, we would keep our black cats, Pandora and Fiddlesticks, on “house arrest” till the day and night had ended.

There are many myths surrounding cats, and since they’ve been sharing our homes with us for some 12,000 years, it stands to reason we would take their natural aloofness and general “other-worldness” as a sign of the mystical. Around the world there are tales of felines both mysterious and benign; from the Japanese Maneki-neko, to Egypt’s Bastet, Islam’s Muezza (the cutest story of not wanting to disturb a sleeping cat), or Cat Sìth of Celtic folklore. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that feline persecution and association with the devil began to take it’s toll on the cat population, and black cat’s in particular.

The stigma is fading however, as cat lovers everywhere advocate for the fair treatment of all kittehs and cattos. So, In honor of our sable companions, and in memory of Fiddlesticks the Wonder Boy, I present to you…

 

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After the cut are links to resources surrounding black cats, if there is room in your home for a feline friend, please consider choosing a Raven or Midnight instead of a Snowball or Goldy. Too often black cats are left to languish for months (even years) in no-kill shelters, or euthanized once their term is up in county and city shelters. So, if you’re able, please welcome one into your home, and if one crosses your path, don’t worry, it’s most likely on it’s way to more important things then effecting anyone’s luck.

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