Someone compared the end of 2016, or maybe just the whole year, to the Battle at Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings. This is one of my favorite parts of the film series. It is one of my favorite battle scenes in any film I have seen. Besides being a great action sequence, it is a pivotal moment in the story. During this battle it seems totally hopeless for the people of Rohan. They are outnumbered and outgunned, as it were. The elves come to help, but they still have all the odds stacked against them. There is a moment where you can see that even Theoden has lost all hope, when he orders them to fall back to the Hornburg. He has given up.
Halloween is just around the corner, and maybe you are looking for something fun or a little bit spooky to watch to pass the time on this crisp fall evenings. This is a list of some of my favorite movies to watch this time of year. The first thing you should know about me is that I am absolutely a wimp when it comes to Halloween movies. I don’t like scary and I don’t like bloody or gory. So maybe that makes this a pretty weak list, but it’s what I enjoy.
Recently, Tim Champlin tweeted me and asked if I could do a list of my ten favorite movies. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I jumped at the opportunity to do it. Before I get into this list, I want to set a few ground rules. First, these are my favorite movies. I don’t know how to quantify “favorite,” but I do know that it is not the same as a list of the ten best movies. Some of these movies may not be great, but they are movies I could sit and watch again and again, for the most part. Also, you can’t argue someone’s favorite movies. You just can’t. Another rule I set for myself was limiting myself to one movie per series. Otherwise, this list would be nothing but Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. That would be boring. So, in no particular order, here is my list.
While my wife and I were waiting in the delivery room for our sixth child (yes, sixth) to be born, I was looking for some kind of distraction to pass the time until the little guy arrived. We had brought along our laptops and iPads just for this sort of situation. It seemed like this delivery was taking longer than we thought it would, and I was beginning to get anxious, so I turned to Netflix. I had finished most of the shows I had been watching, so I was looking for something new and good to watch. That’s when I turned to Stranger Things. I had heard people talk about it or read about it online, so I thought I would give it a try. After about five minutes I was hooked.
Voltron was one of my favorite shows as a kid. There was just something about it that caught my attention and drew me in. I enjoyed most of the same things that most kids my age enjoyed, like He-Man or Ninja Turtles or ThunderCats, but somehow Voltron always felt like my special show. That sounds weird, so let me try to explain what I mean. Did you ever have something that you enjoyed as a family or with your siblings, that you just really loved, but it felt like no one else in the world knew anything about it? You find out years later that a lot of people actually loved it as well, but you just never knew those people existed. That was Voltron for me. I had friends and cousins who loved He-Man, Transformers, G.I. Joe, ThunderCats, and Ninja Turtles, but I never really knew anyone else who liked Voltron. Part of this may have been because I was between two and three years old when it came out, so I didn’t really spend a lot of time hanging out with fellow geeks and talking about which Lion was our favorite.
My wife challenged me recently to come up with a list of my ten favorite books. This was a pretty big challenge. I don’t know that I could say that his list would be my definitive list, since I am continuing to read new books all the time, and meeting new favorites all the time. In other words, I feel like this might be my ten favorite books right now, but that could change in a month. As I put together my list, I thought about series, like Harry Potter or Wheel of Time. If I included all the books from those series, it would be impossible to keep it down to just ten. I decided I could only count one from any given series. I even tried to keep it to just one from each author (I also cheated on both of these rules). I also excluded any religious texts. Yes, I love the Book of Mormon, but I thought of this as more secular titles. So, all of that considered, here is my current, as of today, list of ten favorite books.
Some of you may not know this, but I enjoy writing. Not just on this blog or other blogs (totally available for guest posts for those that are interested), but I enjoy writing stories. Last November I did NaNoWriMo, and I made it to the 50,000 word count, enough to be a “winner.” Since then I have reworked that story a little bit, to the point that it is completely different. I thought it would be fun to publish a prologue to the story here. I have never shared my writing publicly like this,and honestly, I am terrified. That being said, I would love your feedback. I want to get better, and want to know if this story sounds at all interesting. Please let me know. The working title for the story is “Leaving Pendar,” but it might change somewhere along the way. In any case, here is the prologue. Please enjoy, and let me know what you think.
Dystopian future books seem to be all the rage lately in YA fiction. Whether it’s Hunger Games or Maze Runner or the Divergent series, it seems like these books are a dime a dozen. When I first heard about Red Rising by Pierce Brown, I wasn’t all that interested. It seemed like it was probably going to be the same old story, and I fell like I am much more of an optimist, so I don’t always like these bleak future type books. I get their appeal. I understand why people like them, they just aren’t typically my cup of tea. Plus, I am still getting over the third book in the Hunger Games series. I still feel ripped off. As I read more about Red Rising, though, I found myself becoming more and more interested. I found myself wanting to read it. Let me tell you why.
Like a lot of Americans, I sat down this last Sunday and watched the Super Bowl. Like a lot of Americans, I enjoyed a lot of the trailers we saw during the commercial breaks for the game. There was a trailer for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, featuring some great looks at Bee-Bop and Rocksteady and the Krang. There was a great Jason Bourne trailer, featuring Matt Damon’s return to the series. There was a Deadpool trailer featuring more reasons why I will not be seeing the film. And, of course, there was a Civil War trailer with more hero vs. hero goodness. There was even a Jungle Book trailer that looked pretty decent. All of these were prominent, geek related titles that are coming out later this year. All of them made some part of the geek population somewhat excited.
I am one that normally does not like the villains. I am not usually one that can cheer for the villains or see one of them as the main protagonist of the story. For that reason alone, I was unsure about wanting to read Star Wars: Lords of the Sith by Paul S. Kemp. I didn’t want to spend my time trying to get into a story where Darth Vader was the main protagonist. It just didn’t interest me. The more I thought about it, though, the more I was intrigued and found myself curious to learn more about Darth Vader.