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Everything posted by Teratornis

  1. Well, Frank Herbert's Dune suffers a bit from Chosen One Syndrome, what with Muad'Dib/Paul Atreides being this. . . prophesied savior, but frankly I don't have a big problem with it in that case. Partly because that book was so well written, and is a wonderful read in general, but also because as far as I know that's probably the first recorded case of Chosen One Syndrome. Outside of ancient mythologies, at any rate, and I don't think that really counts. After all, Dune was written/released the same year as the Lord of the Rings books, so as far as I'm concerned Herbert can get away with the whole Chosen One thing. Since then, though, it's definitely gotten out of hand. Looking at my shelves now I actually can't find all that many books with Chosen One Syndrome, which should indicate just how much I dislike it. It can definitely be done well, but it's not really a good plot design to rely on.
  2. Much win. Rear Window is a hilarious and awesome movie. Also, Raymond Burr for the win. I actually met him once, not too long before he died. I actually haven't seen North By Northwest, but I very much need to. Actually, I really need to brush up on my Hitchcock in general. That's some good stuff, there. Also, his little cameos are always fun.
  3. Used to be I wasn't allergic to anything, but I got the sneezes pretty bad last time I was in the Tucson area in the spring, and it definitely wasn't a cold. At this point I have to assume I'm allergic to some as of yet unknown flowering plant in the Sonora Desert. Maybe cholla. I don't know.
  4. My personal favorite movie is Ladyhawke, which almost no one has ever heard of. A tragic oversight, in my opinion. Ladyhawke is a fantasy movie from the 80's, set in medieval France. The protagonist is a thief called Phillipe the Mouse, who escapes from a supposedly inescapable dungeon. Later he encounters a mysterious fellow who brings a hawk with him everywhere he goes. I really can't say a whole lot more about it without totally giving everything away, but it's a very good movie and I strongly recommend watching it. It was Matthew Broderick's fourth or fifth movie ever, I believe. He played the protagonist, Phillipe the Mouse. The mysterious fellow, Etienne Navarre, is played by Rutger Hauer. It's also got Michelle Pfeiffer, John Wood, and Alfred Molina in it. Definitely a fun movie, if very, very 80's.
  5. English is my first language and the only one I'm really fluent in. I used to have a decent knowledge of ASL (American Sign Language), but it's been a long time since I've used it. I can still finger spell, and I know a few other symbols, but nothing particularly useful. I also know a good amount of Latin, though I don't speak it, per se. I can write in Latin well enough, depending on what I'm trying to say, but I would be terrible if I tried to actually speak it. I also know a few odd words and phrases in a few other languages, including Spanish, Japanese, French, German, and Gaelic, but that's only a few words and definitely doesn't count.
  6. I've only read the first of The Olympians series, and I was. . . not particularly impressed, frankly. It might have something to do with the fact that I've been reading more difficult, more substantive books since I was nine, but even so, I don't think it stood up to the hype. The writing style was somewhat rudimentary and simple, in my opinion, and it automatically loses points with me for being in a first person perspective. The story itself was fine, and it was definitely something different, but some parts of it didn't make a lot of sense, and a few parts seemed to serve no real purpose, and were just there because the author thought it was cool. On the other hand, it was vivid and easy enough to understand and follow, so it does earn some points for that. As for the mythological background, I can tell the author did his research. He did not make a number of the glaring errors a lot of other supposed mythology nuts tend to make. On the other hand, that does make the errors he does make even more glaring in comparison. Now, I suppose staying completely true to the attitude of the Greek gods would not have been particularly. . . child friendly, as it were, and to his credit Mr. Riordan did a very good job conveying the. . . adulterous nature of the gods, so to speak, without making the books less child-friendly, but there's just not a lot of the same attitude there, and that bothers me. It seems he sort of tried to keep the proper sort of attitude of some of the gods, and didn't even bother trying with some of the others. Ah well. As a final verdict, a fun book to read, but definitely not remotely the most challenging or interesting. I won't be reading it again.
  7. Teratornis

    Your Theme Song

    I tend to see-saw back and forth between about three songs. Any one of them does a decent job of describing. . . well, the me I know at any given time. - Moby - Jethro Tull - Blues Traveler
  8. I used to love having long fingernails. I didn't even have a good reason, really, but I hated having them short. Then I started taking piano lessons. My teacher was pretty strict about me keeping my nails short, because it's nearly impossible to play the piano with any real speed with long fingernails. So after a while I just got in the habit of keeping my nails short, and after ten years of piano, along with playing frisbee and working with ceramics - both of which cause problems with long nails - I just got used to it, and at this point I don't like having them too long. They really slow down my piano playing, and my typing, for that matter, and they severely interfere with frisbee playing, whenever I do it these days, and rock climbing. That, and getting climbing wall dust under your nails is fairly disgusting, so the shorter they are, the better. I do tend to keep my thumbnails long, though. I find that fairly useful, and considering how differently the thumb is used from the rest of the fingers, I find it doesn't really interfere with anything I do.
  9. I am so stoked for Castle's return. It's such an awesome show. Love the characters, love the actors, love the quirkiness. . . it's just a whole lot of fun. That, and I've thought Nathan Fillion is awesome since the first time I saw Firefly. Actually, I think my favorite moment of Castle was the pseudo Malcolm Reynolds cameo. I couldn't stop laughing. Such a great show.
  10. Teratornis


    Torchwood is. . . okay. I actually really enjoyed most of the first season. It was pretty good, and downright shocking after watching Doctor Who. I like shocking. Shocking is good in a show or movie. But after the first few episodes, it just kinda fell flat for me. I didn't much care for the second season at all, and I didn't even watch the little sub-season that wrapped the whole thing up, and frankly, I don't think I want to. It was enjoyable for a while but now. . . meh.
  11. Teratornis


    What a wild ride that movie was. I say definitely better than Avatar. Now, I loved Avatar. It was grand. But it was an extremely simple movie, when cut down to the bare bones of things. Inception had so much more depth, of both story and characters. That, and it was so surreal and unreal, whereas Avatar was making an effort to be as realistic as they could manage in such a fantastical setting, and I tend to like some surreal in my movies. Depending on the movie, of course. In this case it was absolutely necessary. Despite the relative complexity and depth of everything, I really didn't have any trouble understanding what was going on. It wasn't confusing for me at all, and when all the shiny is stripped away, they really only have just one very simple goal. It's easy to lose sight of that goal, I think, what with all that happens in the movie, but I think it was put together very well. I have a theory, actually. A movie's most important factor is its immersion. If it sucks you in and makes you feel like a part of what's going on, it doesn't matter what all else happens. It's the things that break immersion that make movies more unlikeable. In this case, Inception didn't just pull you in, it kept pulling and pulling and pulling throughout the entire film, as the characters descended level after level into the dream, and anything that might have served to break the immersion was just another part of the dream. I'm not sure that was intentional (though I suspect it was), but either way it was a brilliant strategy.
  12. The Farsala Trilogy - Hilari Bell A Matter of Profit - Hilari Bell Mortal Engines - Phillip Reeve Crown Duel - Sherwood Smith Silverwing Series - Kenneth Oppel Airborn Series - Kenneth Oppel The Lost Years of Merlin Series - T.A. Barron Artemis Fowl - Eoin Colfer Guardians of Ga'Hoole - Kathryn Lasky Dinotopia - Originally by James Gurney, novels by various authors The Firebird Anthologies - Various authors The Circle of Magic Series - Tamora Pierce The Circle Opens Series - Tamora Pierce The Last Unicorn - Peter S. Beagle Temeraire - Naomi Novik Anything by Bruce Coville Inkheart - Cornelia Funke And tentatively, because these are definitely more adult books than young adult books: New Crobuzon Books - China Meiville NightWatch Series - Sergei Lukyanenko
  13. Hmm, music and sounds and the like tend to have textures for me, rather than colors. Sometimes they will be colored textures, but it's definitely more of a feel of the sound sort of thing. I really don't know how else to describe it. Voices in particular do that for me. Each person I hear has a distinct sort of texture to their voice, or bring a distinct image to mind. Sometimes someone's voice will 'feel' like sand, or like tree bark, or a chalk board. The colors I get are mostly whatever you'd associate with any of those things, so yellowish for the sand and brown or gray for the bark and so on. I'm not really sure if that's synesthesia, frankly. I'm not even sure if it's completely unconscious, or if I actually try to imagine these textures when people talk. Either way, keeps me entertained during boring classes and so on.
  14. Oh man, there are so many good ones. . . Marc Cohn Blues Traveler Dave Matthews Band Sister Hazel Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull Pink Floyd Sting Moby Simon and Garfunkel And many, many soundtracks.
  15. I get lost in crowds: if I can, I remain invisible to the hungry mouths. I stay unapproachable. I wear the landscape of the urban chameleon. Scarred by attention. And quietly addicted to innocence. At starry parties where, amongst the rich and the famous IÂ’m stuck for words: or worse, I blether with the best of them. I see their eyes glaze and they look for the drinks tray. Something in the drift of my conversation bothers them. So, who am I? Come on: ask me, I dare you. So, who am I? Come on: question me, if you care to. And why not try to interrogate this apparition? I melt away to get lost in this quaint condition. In scary airports, in concourses over-filled, I am detached in serious observation. As a passenger, I become un-tethered when I get lost in clouds: at home with my own quiet company. Herald Tribune or USA Today. Sauvignon Blanc or oaky Chardonnay. Asleep for the movie. Awake for the dawn dancing on England and hedgerows embossed on a carpet of green. I descend and forgive me I mean to get lost in crowds. -Ian Anderson's Lost in Crowds
  16. NCIS was my first real experience with the crime/drama genre, and I've loved it since I first watched it. It's a fun series, and in general I think the plot lines and character dynamic are all really good. Unfortunately, I also think it's beginning to outstay its welcome. In my opinion, five or six seasons is a good length for a show, and after that they just start to get a bit dry, and sadly I'm starting to see this happen with NCIS. The last season just didn't leave any real impression with me. It wasn't as good as it has been in the past. As for NCIS: LA, I have no illusions about the fact that it's more or less just an attempt to keep the franchise alive, but I still enjoy it. It's not as creative or quirky as the original, but I still think it's fun to watch, and at the moment it's still got a lot of room to grow. I'm interested to see where it'll go from here. I actually don't really watch House. Regularly, at least. I've seen some episodes here and there, and every single one of them has been highly amusing, but House is something I'll watch when I need a laugh and don't have much else to do. Funny, but not particularly substantive, and just not really my sort of thing. Definitely enjoyable, though.
  17. . . . I feel like such a nerd. My favorite shows when I was a kid were probably Wishbone and Bill Nye the Science Guy. Oh, and nature documentaries. They used to show Nova and Nature and various National Geographic docs every week when I was little, and I hated missing those. Actually, come to think of it, I still love those of the above that're still around, and I would still love the others if they hadn't died off long ago.
  18. Well, I'm an adult, but I don't have a career yet. Frankly, I'm more and more convinced I would be perfectly happy to work in a cafe for the rest of my life, assuming I could actually live well off of that. For serious, though, I would love to do something with 2-D animation. I'm not entirely sure what that field looks like at the moment, but I think that would be an awesome career to have. Animation is a lot of fun for me, even if it can get a bit tedious. Just seeing all those frames come together is extremely rewarding.
  19. Ah, Stargate. Wonderful show. At the moment, I've seen the entirety of SG-1 and I'm. . . eh, maybe halfway through Atlantis. I'll finish it someday, I'm sure. SG-U. . . can die in a fire. The first series was just so much fun. They kept it varied. There was always the big main enemy, of course, but there was a ton of variation in the adventures, and it was quirky and funny and had good acting, even if a lot of it was a little corny. But then, it wouldn't be a sci-fi of epic proportions if it weren't a little corny. It was fantastic. Atlantis really lost something in that area, I think. It's still a lot of fun, but the missions and encounters aren't nearly as varied. There's just the one enemy that they're always so focused on. We never see a whole lot other than the Wraith, and I find that kinda sad. And then there's SG-U. It also has that single-mindedness that I find distressing and not nearly as cool, but on top of that the acting's bad and all the characters suck. I can't think of a single character I actually like much in that show, which is sad, because I really like some of the actors. As for favorite characters. . . Jack. Jack is the coolest. I think the show kind of died after he left the team. Even when he was still there, but as a general, it just wasn't the same. I also rather liked Jonas, for his brief protagonist status. He was endearing. And because I have to include slightly more side-ish characters, Dr. Frasier and Martouf were both awesome. Shame they both died. And favorite villain. . . Ba'al was pretty awesome. I did definitely love him. Tanith was also pretty awesome, for his very brief stint as an actual threat, but I don't think it's possible for Peter Wingfield to be anything less than awesome. I have to stop now, because I could go on and on. . . Frankly, though, I think SG-1, amazing as it was, really went down-hill in the last four seasons. It still had some good stuff going for it, I guess, but after the Goa'uld were gone, it just kinda went flat. I actually think it should have ended after the 6th or 7th season, and that's a good couple of years longer than most shows that've stuck around so long should have ended. I'm firmly of the belief that after about five seasons, most shows start to outstay their welcome, so to speak. Stargate had a very good run, though.
  20. Frankly, I don't even remember what it was called. Something about the Spiral Jetty. Only movie I've ever walked out of. It was an art documentary. Showed a series of still shots of different angles of the Spiral Jetty. No music, no sounds aside from what the camera picked up of wind and birds and such. It showed about five or six stills from different times of the year, then it would move on to a different year and do the same. I sat there for about 45 minutes, thinking for sure it would have to change and do something more interesting, but it never did, so I left. It's always a toss-up with art documentaries. . .
  21. Teratornis

    Any Musicians?

    I've played the piano for. . . oh, must've been eleven or twelve years, now. I'm not taking lessons anymore, but I still play whenever I get the opportunity. Usually I just play solo, but I did play with a very very tiny orchestra for a couple of years. I think at its largest there were six people in said orchestra, so I don't know if it really even counts. I've done a couple of unofficial duets with a violinist, mostly just impromptu stuff, but it sounded nice. At this point I just play for funsies. I do a bit of singing, as well, though none of it's really offical. I did choir for a short time in elementary, and since then I found myself unexpectedly in a church choir for the Christmas service, and singing in a small concert. Most of my singing is pretty much like my piano, on my own and just for fun.
  22. Why do you read? Enjoyment, escape, ideas, improving something in yourself, nothing better to do? Mostly for enjoyment, but different kinds of enjoyment. Sometimes I'll pick up a quick, easy book that I've read many times before and know I enjoy and just read through it as a bit of fun, or an escape. Other times i'll go for something a little meatier. I consider it a mental exercise, in that case, as well as just plain fun. It's a good way to see what other people have thought up, and to formulate my own ideas and concepts. Do the non-content things matter to you? Cover, title, blurbs, summary, outside information, formatting, author's outside affiliations/statements? That depends. I know they say don't judge a book by its cover, but frankly, everyone does. If a cover has a photo of a teenage girl with heavy makeup on it, chances are I won't pick it up. I do put a lot of stock into the summaries and quotes on a lot of books, though. I want to know what I'm going to be reading about before I start the book, unless it's come very highly recommended from someone I trust. I don't like jumping in blind, so to speak. I want to know something about the book beforehand, whether it's from an outside source, or from the blurb on the back of the book. As for author's affiliation. . . I couldn't care less, frankly. If they write a good, enjoyable book, it doesn't matter to me what the author's political views or whatever are. Who cares? It's not like I'm going to have to have dinner with them or anything. Do you judge books as a whole, or can one very great aspect outweighs in all the other areas? That also depends. If the book as a whole is good, well written with an interesting plot, but the main character is whiny and annoying and generally intolerable, then chances are I won't enjoy the book nearly as much. Usually I tend to judge the book as a whole. After all, you can't have a real story without all aspects of it. But if one or two bits are especially horrid, that'll make the rest of the story a whole lot less enjoyable. Or vice-versa, in some cases. Do you like/hate certain kinds of characters, personalities, plots, adventures, writing styles, or settings? No, I don't think so, as a general rule. Even though there are a lot of similar plots and characters out there, they do all have their differences. Yeah, some of those stories will be horrible, but there are bound to be a few in any genre or setting or plot stereotype that are interesting. I like to think a good writer can make just about anything good to read. The only flat-out judgement I'll make on an entire writing style is on the present-tense narration style. I absolutely loathe present tense. I do not think it's possible to do it well. Contradicts my last statement a bit, but there it is. Present-tense writing is the exception. It always feels sloppy to me. How quickly within a book do you make a decision? Can you dislike a novel that you have never read, but have seen synopses/reviews of? Depends on the book. Some books start of really good, but decline rapidly. Some start off slow, but get better later on. One of my favorite books, I couldn't get past the first fifty pages the first three times I tried to read it. That doesn't necessarily make slow-starting books good, though. As Yahtzee said at one point, if the first half of something is good, that isn't necessarily enough to make the whole thing good, but if the first half is bad it can definitely ruin the rest of it. As for judging a book without even reading it. . . sure. Take Twilight, for example. I've never read it, and I'm not going to, not necessarily because it's poorly written or has a stupid plot, but because I don't like vampires, I don't like teen stories, and I don't like romance novels, and Twilight conveniently lobs all three together. Of course I'm not going to read it. If someone doesn't like dinosaurs, for instance, they're hardly going to read Raptor Red or Dinotopia. Is there anything in a review/synopsis that automatically makes you want to try/never want to try a novel? If a synopsis starts out with something about a teenage girl who's had a hard life, I'm automatically not so interested. Books like that are a dime a dozen, and frankly, I've had enough. There are good ones out there, for sure. I've read a few. But in general, that's a type of book I'll avoid. In general, I find myself interested in a book if it sounds. . . different. If I haven't seen something quite like it before. If it doesn't look like a rewrite of the dozen other fantasy adventure novels I've read. I'm always on the lookout for something new and interesting. Do you have a favorite fiction genre? If so, why is it your favorite? Do you read widely outside it? Oh, fantasy and sci-fi of all sorts. Those two genres cover so much, though, it's kind of hard to confine it to just that. When I hear fantasy, I automatically think of a Lord of the Rings-esque sort of tale, but there's so much more than that. Shakespeare wrote what might be considered fantasy, in a lot of cases. There are all kinds of fantasy. And then, of course, there's things like the Dragonriders of Pern series, that are definitely sci-fi, rather than fantasy, and yet have a title that suggest something fantastical. Personally, I think the whole genres thing is a twisted mess that we all have to sort through. Do you recommend any book you love to anyone, or do you try to recommend books you think the other person is more suited to? Both. I've read a lot of books, and I try to touch on a lot of different topics. When I'm recommending a book to someone, generally I try to recommend something I enjoyed and something that I think is suited to them. I'm not going to recommend Ender's Game to someone who doesn't care for sci-fi, no matter how much I loved it. Depends on the person and on the book.
  23. Dave Matthews Band Funny the Way It Is gets pretty thoroughly stuck in my head whenever I listen to it. It's been there going on three weeks, this time. . .