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Archive for January 12, 2010

Top Sites Tuesday – Two Thoughts on Tuesday

January 12, 2010 13 comments

Hmmm… Top Sites Tuesday got rid of the different memes each week, and instead we have this generic (if positive) meme. Gotta say that I usually have LOTS of thoughts about everything, but the well dries up pretty quickly when I’m forced to actually ‘think’ – LOL

Thought #1: So who amongst us has contributed to Avatar grossing that billion $$$ and counting? I gotta say that while the 3D effects blew my mind (in a good way), the story itself left me going – that was the best that James Cameron could do??? A story that has been told a million times before?

And I found this on Boing Boing that made me laugh my ass off… Avatar = Pocahontas in Space indeed! (Just click on the thumbnail to expand)

* And speaking of the Avatar movie script, you can actually download a FREE PDF of the original script by James Cameron (if you are so inclined) on the Fox Screenings web page *

Thought #2: People are amazingly talented. What would YOU do if you had to take time off due to an injury? Sandy Sanderson from New Zealand broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident, and spent the time in recuperation making model cars by recycling discarded aluminum cans! Artistic and Green at the same time!

Here’s a Hot Rod made from a Coke can – you can check out the other model cars on jalopnik.


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Adam Lambert : On the Record with FUSE (Video)

January 12, 2010 Leave a comment

So, who missed Adam’s full interview (Adam Lambert: On the Record with FUSE) on Fuse TV? Don’t worry, it’ll get replayed. Just click HERE for more info.

Not that any Adam fan would’ve missed anything from not viewing the interview – nothing new was asked. But hey, it’s always a treat to listen to him being all eloquent and stuff 😉

Update 2 : Fuse.tv has uploaded video clips of Adam’s interview that didn’t make airing. Click here to view them all!

Update : DL Links of the interview (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) care of ontd_ai!

VIDEOS

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Adam Lambert on the record on fuse", posted with vodpod

FUSE EXTRAS

This clip is found only on the fuse website (Adam on burning man) – DL link

*

(Videos from mjsbigblog)

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Book Review – ‘The Dwarves’ by Markus Heitz

January 12, 2010 7 comments

Book Description:

For countless millennia, the dwarves of the Fifthling Kingdom have defended the stone gateway into Girdlegard. Many and varied foes have hurled themselves against the portal and died attempting to breach it. No man or beast has ever succeeded. Until now. . .

Abandoned as a child, Tungdil the blacksmith labors contentedly in the land of Ionandar, the only dwarf in a kingdom of men. Although he does not want for friends, Tungdil is very much aware that he is alone – indeed, he has not so much as set eyes on another dwarf. But all that is about to change.

Sent out into the world to deliver a message and reacquaint himself with his people, the young foundling finds himself thrust into a battle for which he has not been trained. Not only his own safety, but the life of every man, woman and child in Girdlegard depends upon his ability to embrace his heritage. Although he has many unanswered questions, Tungdil is certain of one thing: no matter where he was raised, he is a true dwarf.

And no one has ever questioned the courage of the Dwarves.

I picked up The Dwarves by Markus Heitz on whim – I’m used to fantasy stories that focus on human magicians and elves – so a story where the dwarves are the heroes totally got my attention. The story is set in Girdlegard, an enchanted land ruled by human kings, magicians and elves with the dwarven kingdoms defending the borders against evil. I started reading the first chapter and just couldn’t quite put it down afterwards. As first chapters go, this one was a winner – a really well-written prologue telling the story of how the dwarves of the Fifthling Kingdom in Girdlegard fell victim to the evil of the Perished Land, thus opening up Girdlegard to invasion by evil creatures. That first chapter had heroic dwarf characters and epic battle scenes marked by betrayal and grand tragedy. Sucked me in for sure!

Then the novel goes into the present story proper, and we are introduced to the hero, the scholarly blacksmith dwarf and human foundling Tungdil who ends up on a mission to save not just the dwarves but all the good men and elves of Girdlegard. In the process, he becomes heir-apparent to the dwarven high king’s throne, learns how it is to be a real dwarf, and collects a ragtag team of friends that help him on his journey. Markus Heitz doesn’t really try to break new ground with his fantasy creatures – elves are elves, dwarves are dwarves, orcs are orcs… same as in ‘Lord of the Rings’. He does add new evil creatures like the alfar (twisted elves), and he also give the dwarves a pretty well-structured society and culture (including politics) that hasn’t really been delved into that much. And since Tungdil has grown up only amongst humans & knows as little about dwarves as we do, we discover dwarven-society with him as he goes about his mission.

I have to say though that the author (or the translator?) doesn’t quite measure up to the brilliance of the first chapter; the quality of the writing becoming a bit uneven after that. For some strange reason, Mr Heitz writes majority of the dwarven characters really well, but kinda fails when he has to write humans. Any chapter that concentrated on the humans (kings, magicians) ended up with stilted dialogue and wooden, flat and poorly developed characterization.

Not that that that stopped me from reading since I really found myself drawn into Tungdil’s grand adventures. Tungdil is a really likeable character, and I’ve always had a soft touch for the outsider / nerd turned hero. And the band of characters who end up being on Tungdil’s team are a likeable (if mismatched) bunch too – from a pair of dwarven warrior-twins, an alcoholic dwarven mason, a drama troupe of human (and not quite human) actors & prop master, to a rebel magician & her mysterious demon bodyguard – I found myself just drawn in on all the action as Tungdil traveled across Girdlegard before the final battle with Nod’onn (former good magician who is turned by the Perished Land into evil). Speaking of Nod’onn, I have to say that another disappointment for me was how weak Mr Heitz’ villains were – from the supposedly villain-to-end-all-villains Nod’onn to the smaller villains – such as Bislipur (a dwarf who becomes Tungdil’s adversary). Most of the central heroes in the novel come to life, completely well-drawn flesh-and-blood characters, but all the villains remained cartoonish and removed from the emotion of the story. At the most, what I felt was maybe annoyance – lol. The lack of good fantasy villains really hurts the book (you need to be able to really hate someone! or at the least be able to admire just how evil they are!), but I don’t know if the limitations were because it wasn’t translated adequately well from the original German.

All in all though, I had a rip roaring time going through Tungdil’s journey with him, and if the journey seemed a bit too long and circuitous at times with a bit too many X saves the day coincidences (the book really needed a good editor to trim-off many unneeded scenes), well, gosh-darn-it, I liked Tungdil too much and found the story too entertaining at that point to give up.

The Dwarves by Markus Heitz is available on Amazon as a paperback ($10.87) or Kindle edition ($9.99). A second book in the series The War of the Dwarves is already available for pre-order.

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