2014 Christmas letter

I suppose it is traditional to write a Christmas letter and enclose it with my Christmas cards.  I have failed to do that for the last several years. It feels presumptuous to me, I guess. I don’t really know. Maybe in the age of Facebook, I don’t feel like the Christmas update is as necessary.

There is some value in introspection though, so I’ll give it a shot.

Dear Friends and Family-

Well, can you believe it? We managed that annual trip around the sun once again.  I hope this season finds you all in good health and high spirits.  Just remember, winter is coming. 😉

This year has been a good one for me, I think.  A lot of things have come to completion, which is nice, and I have probably grown a lot too. Continue reading

Reviews – pt 1

As part of my goal to Create More, I decided that I should review the media that I consume, as a way of reacting to it and as a way to be more conscious about what I am consuming.  Expect to see a few of these here and there.  I dream of maybe making video reviews at some point, but I’m not quite there technically yet.

Son of a Witch – Gregory Maguire

I saw this on the Audiobook shelves at the Library, and I’ve kind of been wanting to read it for a while.  I’m an unrepentant Oz fan, so I picked it up.  It’s the sequel to Wicked, which I read years ago, and of which, I will admit, I didn’t fully remember the plot.  It follows the story of Liir, Elphaba’s possible son as he tries to figure out his place in the world.  It was a fresh, if slightly dystopic, revisit of the familiar Oz.  Liir struggles with feelings of insignificance, and is constantly telling people he isn’t important while taking charge of situations and pushing for results.  Who hasn’t been there, but seriously, Liir was a bit whiny. (Not as whiny as the Cowerdly Lion, but I haven’t finished that book yet.)

I listened to a recording that Maguire had done himself.  When I first realized that, I cringed internally.  Authors usually aren’t as good of voice artists as voice artists are, but I was surprised.  With the exception of a few really annoying Animals, he was actually a great voice for the books. (And I imagine that the Animals would have been annoying anyhow.)

I’d give it 3 stars of 5.


The Gathering Storm – Wheel of Time Book 12 – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

I’ve been saving the last two Wheel of Time books until the final one came out this year.  It is such an immersive universe that I wanted to wait so that I could jump in once instead of three times.   Just trying to keep characters and plots straight was difficult enough.  I resorted to wikipedia for plot summaries of the previous books and I constantly had to google characters and plot points to bring myself back up to speed.  But hey, that’s what tablet computers are for, right?

I think Sanderson stepped into Jordan’s story admirably well. I could occasionally see his dorkiness shine through the text, but it wasn’t distracting, and I felt he was true to the story telling styles required for the Wheel of Time.   The characters rang true to how I remembered them (It’s been years since I picked up the series, so I can’t speak to if there are glaring differences between the authors.)

As to the story itself, the main themes seemed to be the consequences of alienation and of reconciliation.  We creep ever closer to the Last Battle.

I’m going with 4 of 5 stars.

Fringe – Season 1

Fringe is one of those shows that was advertised alongside Lost, and so you’d think I would have picked it up ages ago.  I didn’t. The pilot involved a very grotesque terrorist attack, which was heavily advertised at the time.  I didn’t get the point of the show from the advertisements, and so I didn’t watch it. Kind of like I did with Pushing Daisies.

Fortunately, some of the tastemakers that I follow on Tumblr posted just enough amusing Fringe GIFs at approximately the same time Amazon made it available for streaming that I was intrigued enough to give it a shot.  I’m glad I did.

It took me several episodes to get into the show, but I was eventually hooked.  The main characters all have a fantastic chemistry that pulled me into their world.  The Peter / Walter relationship intrigues me enough to make up for the silly pseudo-science.  I am also a amused by the Ford product placements.  When the show finally started hinting at its main mystery, very late in the season, I knew I was in for watching the whole show.  I won’t ruin the secret, but trust me when I say that getting past the pilot is totally worth it down the rest of the series.

4 of 5 stars.