Monday, July 29, 2013

The one you've all been waiting for

Here it is, folks. The end of my top TV theme countdown.

For the past Mondays, I've been sharing my top favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 1, my favourite, and it's the theme song from:

Game of Thrones

The fact that I am currently enjoying the novel held no sway on my choice; I made my top 10 list before I started reading Game of Thrones. I've never seen the show either, so I really love this song purely for its instrumental goodness. I love the rich sound of the cello.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 15-28

This is the second post for the A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club, where Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between, and I are reading Game of Thrones in ten weeks, and asking each other questions as we go.

Jamie: Littlefinger and Varys banter really well with one another; I love their back and forth as they try to outdo one another. Who do you prefer and why?
We don't know much about Varys yet, but from what we do know I prefer Littlefinger. Even though Littlefinger is creepy, I kind of like him. He is witty and clever, and has made his own path for himself. I like that he helped out the Starks, though I wonder how strong his allegiance is. I guess we'll find out!

Heather: Arya and Sansa are clearly very different personalities with very different views on the world, despite coming from the same origins. Which do you identify with the most? Do you think the chasm building between them is becoming too great to be bridged, despite their father’s efforts to keep them closer?
I don't identify with Sansa very well. She is a princess, in more ways than one. I absolutely love Arya; she is one of my favourites. I like that she is brave and smart, and loves adventure. I think the two can bridge the chasm that's come between, though. They are different, but I think they will come to see that they need each other.

Allison: Ned Stark seems to be a pretty honourable guy so far–he obviously cares about his family and duty is important to him. I liked the part where he gives Arya back Needle and arranges for her to have lessons. However, I can’t bring myself to like him, because I have this foreboding feeling that he is going to do something terrible and make me hate him. What do you think of Ned so far?
I sort of answered my own question in my question! I like him so far, but I am hesitant to become attached because I feel like winter is coming with him yet. I do love the idea of him being played by Sean Bean in the movie, and look forward to seeing that!

Ria: What do you think of the situation involving how Jon turned enemies into allies on the Wall? Effective strategy, or overused Saturday-morning-cartoon plot device?
Some might get tired of the turning-enemies-to-allies plot device, but I love it. Jon has constantly been thinking about his self and his own problems so far (and who can blame him), but now he's learning to think about others too. I think he's got the heart to be a big encouragement and inspiration to these other boys, and the ability to make some life-changing friendships.

Final Thoughts:
I am enjoying the multiple points of view in Game of Thrones. And despite my efforts to not get attached, I already have found favourites in Arya, Jon, and Tyrion.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #2: WAREHOUSE 13

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 2, which is the theme song from:

Warehouse 13

Short. Catchy. Orchestral. Everything a theme song should be. The composer, Edward Rogers, was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Original Main Title Theme Music for this one!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Legend of Korra - Book 2: Spirits

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite shows of all time, so it was with trepidation that I watched season 1 of the second series, The Legend of Korra. Though of course it wasn't as good as Avatar, I really enjoyed it, and I appreciate that they did not try to do the same things as they did with Avatar. They did not try to duplicate the journeying adventure that Aang and his pals had, but gave Korra her own set of problems.

The trailer for the second season of The Legend of Korra, Book 2: Spirits, just came out. Check it out! Book 2 (not to be confused with an actual book--this means season 2) will be coming this September.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Antichamber gives Portal a run for its money

Platform: PC
Released: January 31, 2013
Genre: Puzzle-platform

I've been playing Antichamber lately, which is one of those puzzle solving games that make you feel super smart at times and want to kick in the screen at others. It pretty much makes every other puzzle solving game feel like child's play.

It is very weird. Things are not what they seem. Sometimes backwards is forwards, sometimes down is up.

If you like Portal, you will likely enjoy Antichamber. I don't love it as much as Portal because the sarcastic GLaDOS is not present, but I am having a lot of fun with it.

This game is puzzle solving at its finest. Check it out. It's even on sale on Steam right now!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #3: FUTURAMA

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 3, which is the theme song from:


Ha! One of my choices that ISN'T eerie for once! It's just plain fun.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Game of Thrones Roundup - Chapters 1-14

Welcome to the Game of Thrones read-a-thon, otherwise known as the A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club, where Jamie from Mithril Wisdom, Ria from Bibliotropic, Heather from Reading, Writing, and Everything In Between, and I are reading Game of Thrones in ten weeks.

First thoughts:
Can this George R.R. Martin guy write, or what? He had me at the first page, which is something I haven't experienced lately in the newer books I've been reading.

A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club Questions:

Jamie: In the few chapters that we've seen already, Tyrion is amazing. His snark and wit mark him out as one of my favourites. Do you think his role is more the comic relief or a juxtaposition for the cruelty of his sibling Lannisters (opposites in appearance as well as personality)?
I think Tyrion's role is definitely much more than the comic relief. He has already said a lot of thought-provoking things, even in just these first chapters. He is an odd combination of wise, sarcastic, witty, and dark, and I look forward to reading more about him.

Allison: What do you think the names chosen for the direwolves say about the children's personalities? (Bonus question: what would you name your direwolf?)
I found the naming of the wolves really interesting in these chapters, because they seemed to describe the children's characters. Jon Snow names his wolf Ghost, which seems appropriate for a bastard child whose step-mother wishes he was invisible. Rickon names his Shaggydog, which seems appropriate for a little boy that we don't know much about yet. Arya calls hers Nymeria after a warrior queen, which says a lot about her aspirations (confirmed when Jon gives her a sword later).

Sansa names hers Lady, which fits perfectly with the princess-y character she seems to be so far. Robb's wolf is Grey Wind, which seems fitting for a fighter and an older boy. Bran's wolf is unnamed yet, which is interesting because he is so young and most little boys would slap a name (like Shaggydog) on immediately, but he took time to think it through.

I would probably name my direwolf something shadowy, like Spectre, or something Old English, like Bardou.

Heather: Have you seen the television series before reading the books? If yes, has it influenced how you read them?
I haven't, but I'm inspired to after I read this first book. I'm curious to see the differences, and how the actors portray these characters.

Ria: "[...] a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge." What do you think about the veracity of Tyrion's line there, especially in a world that seems to prize physical strength more highly than intelligence.
I think many characters have undervalued the importance of intelligence, and they will probably end up paying the price for it. Tyrion may be saying that because it's all he's got to hope for, but I think there's truth in it, and we will see some pretty awesome things from him to prove it yet.

Final Thoughts:
I know that lots of characters die in this series. I won't get attached to anyone. I won't.

Darn it, Jon Snow's already my favourite.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Writing Pet Peeves

We've all got those things that bug us when we do them and when we see others doing them. Here are five of the nitpicky things that bother me!
  • double spacing at the beginning of sentences
This convention was used with the typewriter to make it easier to tell when one sentence ended and another began. With word processors that eliminate this issue, it is unnecessary anymore! It is habit for a lot of people still, though, and can be hard to kick.
  • misspelling names
This bothers me more in the business world than anywhere else. If I sent you an email with my name clearly printed at the bottom, can't you take a second to read it and check that you are spelling it correctly when you reply? I get a lot of "Alisons" and "Alysons" and even one "Dear sir" (yes, that was an actual person, not a bot.)
  • modifying absolutes
 Something can't be "very unique." It's either unique or it isn't.
  • saying "I" is always right
Sometimes "me" IS correct! "Mark and I went to the store" is right, but so is "Do you want to go to the store with Mark and me?"
  • which or that
This didn't used to bother me until I learned the difference and now I notice if it is wrong all the time! "Which" should be used for nonrestrictive (nonessential) clauses. For example: "The door, which had scratch marks, was red" as opposed to "The door that had scratch marks was red."

And there you have it. What are your writing pet peeves?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Top 10 TV Themes - #4: FRINGE

For the next few Mondays, I'll be sharing my top ten favourite genre TV themes. These are those themes that I don't skip through when I'm re-watching a TV show, because they're so good or catchy. Today, we're at number 4, which is the theme song from:


It is eerie and orchestral (I AM sensing a theme to my favourite themes here) and another perfect fit for a fascinating show.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Why I don't want to play Skyrim

You know when you go to the grocery store to pick up laundry soap, and there's an entire aisle full of it? You just want to quick grab something, but you have to take the time to choose between Tide or Cheer or Gain or Purex, unscented or scented, liquid or powder, fabric softening, refreshing, or bleach.

What the heck, grocery store! Just give me one choice (even two, three or four) so I can move on!

And then, of course, once you're done there, you move on to something else, be it dryer sheets, a can of beans or pizza, and the entire process begins again.

This is how I feel about Skyrim.

There are just too many choices. You can do pretty much whatever you want. I know you Skyrim lovers are yelling at me because that's what is so wonderful about Skyrim, and am I crazy.

I never said I wasn't crazy.

But my favourite games are linear for a reason. If you look at my top 10 favourite video games, you will notice they are mostly all linear, and the ones that aren't are a different type of game like strategy or tower defense. I like Portal. I like Mass Effect. I like Zelda and Final Fantasy. I like being told where to go and what to do and having a good story to go with it. I don't really enjoy wandering around with no main purpose.

How about you? Do you like nonlinear games, linear games, or both? Feel free to tell me why I'm crazy in the comments and why I absolutely have to play Skyrim :)

And please enjoy this episode of Conan O'Brien trying to play Skyrim because it's pretty hilarious.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

This Twitter thing

I don't know if a piano clobbered me on my way to work the other day and I've forgotten about it or what, but for some reason I decided to give Twitter a go.

My friends tell me it's awesome. I'm not sure why.

But how much time can it eat out of my life, really, if I'm limited to 140 characters per post? ha. I bet I will eat those words.

But it might be fun, which is why I'm giving it a try.

Are you on Twitter? What do you use it for? Why do you think writers should be on Twitter, or why do you think I have made a horrible mistake? Feel free to share your Twitterly wisdom in the comments!

And if you want to follow me on my spiffy new page, my username is  @geekbanter (Kudos to Tyrean Martinson and Tara Tyler for already following me on my inactive page. Impressive, most impressive that you found it.)

This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Check the link for some of the other blogs participating in this event! 

You may have noticed there's been some construction going on here. There is now a handy menu up top, some shiny new buttons on the sidebar, and as if you couldn't stalk me in enough ways already, you can now see not only what I'm reading, but the video game I'm playing and the TV show I'm watching. Did I miss anything?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Want to read A Game of Thrones?

Have you, like me, been wondering what all the hype is about with this series, but have been holding off because the books just look so long? Or perhaps you love the show and want to see how it came into being? Or maybe you just want a new epic fantasy series to dig into?

Well then, join me and my fellow adventurer Jamie Gibbs from Mithril Wisdom in the beginnings of A Song of Ice and Fire Book Club.

Starting today, July 1, we are going to read through A Game of Thrones in ten weeks (this figures to about 10 pages a day—a leisurely pace, I think). And we will be doing some conjunctive roundup posts every other Saturday as we read.

If you want to read along with us, please do! If you just want to keep up with our possibly wild, possibly meandering, possibly entertaining thoughts on Martin's masterpiece, stay tuned for the Saturday posts (and Twitter conversations using the hashtag #asoiafbookclub)!

Jamie is actually planning to read the first four novels—A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast of Crows—in the upcoming months before season 4 of the TV show airs next March (read his post here).

I have only promised to read the first one, and will only continue on the adventure with him if I really like it (I know, I'm a fickle fellow adventurer, aren't I, Jamie?).

A Game of Thrones, here we come. I'm ready to be wowed.

(Haven't heard of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series? Check it out on Goodreads.)

(Like the cool House sigil above? I made it on Jamie's got one too. We're geeks like that.)