Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

I'm not a patient person. I don't do well with anticipation. I don't believe that waiting to obtain something makes it that much sweeter in the end. Actually, I usually find that the more I look forward to something the more disappointed with it I am. So right now I am desperately hoping that waiting (impatiently) doesn't come back to bite me later. What is it that I'm so anxiously anticipating? What has my heart all a-twitter? A video game. But not just any video game. The next video game from BioWare. For the uninitiated, BioWare is responsible for two of my all time favorite games. The first is the game that got me hooked on video games for all time. I'm referring to Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic. I had played video games when I was younger, of course, but only once in awhile. The only system I had as a kid was the Atari 2600. When I was older I owned a Sega Genesis but not for very long. So when I first saw the trailer for Knights of the Old Republic it was a revelation. I hadn't followed video game news for many years. I honestly didn't even know games had advanced that far. But seeing my favorite franchise in a video game that looked that good, well, I just had to play. So I did. A few times. The next game from them that I absolutely fell in love with was Jade Empire. It too was an RPG game, set in a world loosely based on ancient Japan. These two games remain my favorites to this moment and they gave BioWare an eternal pass as far as I'm concerned. I will try anything they have their names attached to. It's why I tried Mass Effect (which I thought was an alright game, not the masterpiece everyone else seemed to believe it was). All this rambling brings me around at last to my point. BioWare has been developing a game for a few years now that is right up my alley. It is called Dragon Age:Origins and from everything I've seen and read it is going to be abso-fricking-loutely fantastic. It's set in a fantasy world that BioWare has created from the ground up. Fantasy, of course, is my passion. The game looks like it will be similar to the Baldur's Gate and Neverwinter Nights games that BioWare was also responsible for. I've had only a little experience with either game but enough to know they both are great. So, I've been waiting about 2 or 3 years for Dragon Age and the wait is close to over. But not close enough. The release date (as of today) is November 3rd. Nearly 2 and a half months to go and I am desperately hoping the game does not get pushed back. I am seriously jonesing for this game. I cannot wait to immerse myself in another BioWare masterpiece. I can't wait to immerse myself in another world so rich in depth I have to be convinced by medical professionals that it doesn't exist. I can't wait for my wife to complain about how much damn time I'm devoting to a video game (ok, so maybe not that part). I just flat out cannot wait. But I must. Hopefully the wait is worth it. Given BioWare's record, it will be.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Happiness Is...

There may be nothing better in the world right now than watching my one year old daughter do, well, just about anything. She is inquisitive, talkative and has quite a bit of attitude. And while all this is undeniably adorable, it can also get frustrating. If you have children you know what I mean. Right now she is under the desk, trying to climb into my lap and thus knocking around the keyboard. Or she is trying to touch the tower on the computer which will undoubtedly lead to my computer being shut off. Now she's waving to herself with both hands. Children are a wonder to behold. They may tax you at times but I wouldn't trade any of mine for the world.


I would like to take this opportunity to bring notice to a new blog that I have linked here. It is titled "The Art of John Ward". John is a good friend of mine that I met when I lived in Chattanooga. He's a really good artist and has had some of his stuff published (is that the right term in this case?). Anyways, on top of being a good artist John is also a good guy. Which makes me kinda wonder how we became friends. I tend to lack a certain moral certitude which John does not. He knows exactly what he believes and defends those beliefs intelligently and vigorously. John is actually the one who got me back into reading which has always been my great passion but which I neglected for many years. So check out his blog and his art if you would. You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Man Vs. Animal

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I like dogs and most other animals. I don't believe in cruelty to animals. I think pets are great and can be a wonderful addition to a person's life. However, I do not believe that animals are more important than humans. The best animal is less important than the vilest human alive. Humans are gifted above every other creature on earth. I don't know why (this isn't a post about theology). My reason for bringing this all up is Michael Vick. Even if you don't follow football you likely know about Vick. He's the guy who just spent 2 years (give or take) in a federal prison for his part in a dog-fighting ring. Don't get me wrong, I think dog-fighting is a despicable thing. Any sport that pits one living thing against another in a fight to the death is reprehensible. But there are people out there (and I suspect most of them are card carrying PETA members) who act like Vick committed mass genocide. These individuals are in an uproar that Vick is out of jail and free to return the NFL, provided a team signs him. Which looks like it may happen this week. The level of the crime does not match the punishment some people want him to receive. There are those who think he should never be able to play football again. Why? If he had worked at McDonald's before he went to jail would they want him never to flip a burger again? The fact that he has a unique skill should not hinder him from earning a living. I really can't understand the venom that some people feel towards him. There are individuals in the league that have killed people and are still playing (last I checked: Leonard Little of the St. Louis Rams. Look it up). Ray Lewis admitted to being an accomplice to covering up a murder and he's still playing football. Even today it was announced that Donte Stallworth, a receiver for the Cleveland Browns, would be suspended for the season. He killed someone while driving drunk and did a month in prison. Vick did more time than that for betting on some dog fights. Does that seem like an equal punishment? Yet some people are screaming at the top of their lungs that Vick should never play football again. I don't hear these people screaming about the injustice of Stallworth one day playing professionally again. It's sad that people's priorities are so screwed up. Vick did his time. Leave him alone.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Long Time Gone

I warned you from the beginning that my postings would be sporadic. But even I must admit that this borders on the ridiculous. Nothing posted since May? This is no way whatsoever to build a loyal following. I must apologize but I do have my reasons. In the past couple of months I've moved, worked a rotating schedule five days a week, had family obligations, had chores at home and just helped my wife put together a party for our one year old daughter. This is literally the first time I've been on the computer at home for at least a month. The good news though is that my schedule at work has just changed so that I now am off half the month (unless I work any overtime) so that I have a lot more time to do things I enjoy. Theoretically. So, stick with me and I'll try to be a little more consistent. I hope.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Malazan Roots

Those that followed my blog in it's previous incarnation are well aware of my love for Steven Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series. It may in fact be my favorite series of all time. Anyways, imagine my happy surprise that I have discovered where he likely got at least some of his inspiration for said series. The other night I picked up Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook (which is actually an omnibus of the first three books of that series). I began reading it last night and was pleasantly surprised how like Erikson's world it is, or vice-versa to be more accurate. Erikson even provides the blurb on the back cover of this volume. So obviously he had read it and anyone who has read both can immediately detect the similarities between the two. In fact, for anyone who has not yet taken my advice to read Erikson's series, I offer this: if you have read Cook's Black Company books and liked them even a little, then I am convinced you will enjoy the Malazan Book of the Fallen series. I am glad to have discovered the Black Company. Yes, I know the books have been around for quite a long time but when I was younger I was very narrow in which fantasy titles I read. As I got older I went a long time without reading at all. Now, in the last few years, I have been making up for lost time. I read a broad range of fantasy and sci-fi (sometimes history and horror as well). So now I have discovered Cook's Black Company and have another series to complete. As an addendum, I did begin reading his book, Instrumentalities of the Night and did not like it. That is one reason I was not interested in reading his Black Company books but finally was won over by the cover art (beautifully done by Raymond Swanland, an artist I was not familar with previously but would like to see more from now). Those that know me well are aware of how easily I am influenced by a pretty package. But that's an issue for another day.

Was George Lucas Right?

The astronomy picture of the day that I have posted here on the blog is of the moon Mimas (I have no idea as to which planet it belongs). However, it looks remarkably similar to the Death Star. Hmmmm.

Rainy Sunday

Outside is gray and rainy. My oldest son is playing video games, the only thing he seems to like to do. The next two are in my daughter's room, staring at the wall if I know them at all.... The baby is finally asleep (today has been a fussy day for her). My wife is off to buy Manwich for our dinner. And I am finally spending time on the computer, which I hardly ever do so I have to make up for it. I've already downloaded ringtones and checked my e-mail. Now I'm doing this. Why write about all this mundane stuff? Hey, I never promised everything would be interesting. Sorry.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Truth In Advertising

Near my home there is a t-shirt print shop named Faux Pas Prints. I wonder if they even know what that means. Nothing about the name would inspire me to trust them with my t-shirt printing needs. But, on the bright side, maybe they're just real honest about the quality of their work.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Yesterday I finished reading my first Warhammer novel, Horus Rising by Dan Abnett. I must say I was very pleasantly surprised. I have been aware of Warhammer for quite some time but never really knew much about it. I haven't previously played any of the games or read the comics or novels associated with it. But the last few times I was in my local bookstore I found myself repeatedly drawn to the display featuring several of the novels in this particular story arc which, as a whole, is referred to as The Horus Heresy. Since I am an absolute sucker for spiffy packaging I decided to go ahead and pick up the first novel in the series, the aforementioned Horus Rising. I grew up reading various "franchise" novels, by which I mean books set in worlds that were created in another media (i.e. Star Wars, Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek). I've enjoyed most of those novels I've read but never felt like they really ever challenged me to think as I read them. They were certainly enjoyable and not at all badly written but they, for the most part, weren't very deep. Everything was pretty much on the surface. Not so with Horus Rising. The novel touched on a lot of topics I really wasn't expecting from a "franchise" novel. Questions of faith, superstition and blind loyalty were presented in an interesting and thought provoking manner. Abnett's style of writing is immediately engaging and really draws you in. In fact, I would venture to say that if this book were not a Warhammer book, but instead something Abnett himself had created that it would receive much more praise and attention than it has. Not to say it is not popular but I suspect much of that popularity is derived from Warhammer's legion of fans. I am eager to continue the series (each novel by a different author) and see if the themes presented by Abnett carry throughout. I certainly hope so. Abnett has whetted my appetite for Warhammer in general and his writing in specific.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This Too Shall Pass

As I was laying in the bed this morning, reveling in the fact that I had no pressing reason to get out from under the covers (the kids were with the in-laws) my mind began to wander, as it often does. I was off yesterday and again today which, considering I've been working 6 day weeks since October, constitutes a vacation. Then I began thinking about my actual vacation which is coming up in a couple of weeks. Naturally, the thought of 4 days off in a row got me quite giddy. But then I began to think about how fast those 4 days will pass and I became a little melancholy. That's the way it goes with me. I never stay happy for long but, on the bright side, I rarely stay depressed long either. And this got me thinking about a parable I read in a book about Buddhism once. It seems there was a ruler once who commanded his subjects to present him with a gift that would make him happy when he was sad and sad when he was happy. Many of his subjects came and went but none were able to meet the parameters of his edict. Finally came someone who presented him with a plain brass ring. No one in the court thought that this plain item would be what their ruler was hoping for. After a few long moments of contemplating the simple ring the ruler at last smiled and announced that this was what he had been hoping for. When questioned by one of his followers as to why this trinket fulfilled his wishes the ruler simply showed him the ring. Inside the band were inscribed four simple words: this too shall pass. I have thought of these words often in my life and I have found that they can indeed make one happy when they are sad and sad when they are happy. Life has a way of deceiving us daily. At times it seems life is so long and that we may have years or even decades to do the things we want. At other times the realization of how short life really is hits home. As a teenager I often subscribed to the theory of carpe diem (seize the day). It's easy when you're young and have no responsibility to seize the day. It becomes much harder as the years go by and you have a family and a job and other responsibilities. Seizing the day is near impossible when you're more concerned about how your bills are going to get paid or what the future holds for your children. As I've I gotten older I've found that the mantra that "this too shall pass" serves me much better. It helps me to never get too high or too low and to just worry about getting through the day and let tomorrow take care of itself. I realize that is also a biblical principle which to me just shows how similar religions are to one another. But that's a blog for another day...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Beginning

First things first. There is no such thing as a murder of dragons unless, of course, you are referring to the slaying of said creature. The title was inspired by the term murder of crows which, you may or may not know, refers to a group of crows. A gathering of dragons is actually referred to as a flight of dragons. I hope you will agree that murder of dragons sounds much more literary. Anyways, this was about my 14th choice as a title for my new blog. Some of the others I hoped to use were: Off On A Tangent, Indiscriminate Musings, Dreaming Void and (don't ask where this came from) Implausibility of Gnus. Believe it or not though all those titles were already in use. So I came up with Murder of Dragons instead. If you think that title makes little or no sense just wait until you read some of my postings. I fully intend to write on any random subject that may enter my mind at a given moment. For those that know me that can be quite a chilling thought. My mind will wander from subject to unrelated subject with little or no prodding from even myself. Hopefully my musings will inspire you to do a little mental wandering of your own. After all, an active imagination is the sign of a healthy mind. I hope. Either way, welcome and enjoy!