Monday, October 28, 2013

Comic Review: The Walking Dead: Days Gone By

Author: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Tony Moore
Published: September 26, 2006

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.

I have this thing I do on Goodreads where I have to look at bad reviews of books. If I'm iffy about a book before I pick it up I'll look at the bad reviews then. If I really liked the book (or didn't like it at all) I'll look at the reviews after to see what other people felt about them and why.

I had bought Days Gone By sometime after the first season of The Walking Dead came on television. I had never been drawn to anything that was zombie related before then, but after the show got a huge follow I was curious about it and watched along. I thought the show was really well done and was curious about the original story. However, since the very beginning of the book and the first episode were mirrors of one another I put it down for the time. I finally came back to it at the beginning to this month thinking enough time had past that I wouldn't be bored with it or find it repetitive. After I finished this volume I consulted Goodreads for a sort of guideline on how I should write this review. I found an odd amount of 'one star' reviews so of course I had to read them, and now I feel like I have to defend this book.I haven't read past the first six issues of this series, and it seems like a lot of the one star reviewers didn't either so I feel like we're on equal ground.
*Reviewer's complaint #1- The plot was too simplistic.
Duh. It's an intro to an ongoing series Kirkman can't throw all the "drama of the show" at you at once. It would be schizophrenic and you feel lost and frustrated. The show had a similar build up in the first few episodes it just threw in more controversial characters at first to draw you in. That's what shows do.
*Reviewer's complaint #2- The art was messy.
I'm a stickler for art especially in a graphic novel and though Tony Moore's style isn't my favorite I think its simple lines and black and white coloring was a good choice. That way it didn't focus on the gore of the actual zombies but on the people around them. I also believe that he purpose left details out of a lot of the faces in the camp because you weren't supposed to be attached to them or even recall their faces much as I'm sure the characters themselves won't remember those faces after a while.
Reviewer's complaint #3- There was no character development.
First, and again this was introducing the main characters in this series. We as readers should probably get to know their thought processes first before they develop so we can see it as it happens.
Second. Did you just forget about Carl? I know he's a child but I would totally consider him as a more developed character by the end of the book. Same goes for Shane. Sure, I will agree that there wasn't much development as far as Rick and Laurie go but again this is part of a series and not a stand alone book so I'm not worried.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poetry for your Sunday vol 6


Dim vales- and shadowy floods-

And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can't discover
For the tears that drip all over!
Huge moons there wax and wane-
Again- again- again-
Every moment of the night-
Forever changing places-
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down- still down- and down,
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain's eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be-
O'er the strange woods- o'er the sea-
Over spirits on the wing-
Over every drowsy thing-
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light-
And then, how deep!- O, deep!
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,
And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like- almost anything-
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before-
Videlicet, a tent-
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again,
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings. 
-Edgar Allen Poe

Monday, October 14, 2013

A little look a Williamsburg

I'd thought I'd share some pictures that I took while I spent a few afternoons in Williamsburg, Virginia.
My brother lives close to there, so when my mom and I went out to visit him we couldn't not visit Williamsburg. 

I'm not sure why this photo turned out this way but it's a picture of one of the gardens and I think it looks like an impressionist painting.

There was a pretty and kind of random bamboo forest in the middle of Williamsburg that I couldn't resist tromping through. It lead to a parking lot though, so that ruined the magic.

Pomegranates grow on trees! Duh, but I've never seen them outside of the grocery store.

These are fountains outside of our hotel in Newport News. It was a gorgeous park area.

We used to go to Williamsburg when I was little and I loved going back and appreciating the history as an adult. We didn't see any of the reenactments this time but hopefully I'll take Ben (whose never been) out there in April for the full experience.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Poetry for your Sunday vol. 5

The Road Not Taken

TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
 Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
 And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
 I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood,
 and I—I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.        20 
-Robert Frost

This is a total cliche I know, but I think it's because I hear this poem so much in the fall that I've been thinking about it so much this past week.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Book Review (of sorts): The Neverending Story

I can't technically consider this a book review since that would imply that I finished the book. This is more of an explanation of why I didn't finish the book.
I loved The Neverending Story as a kid. The movie, I mean. My kid brain didn't wonder where such a freaking cool idea came from I was just happy that there was a furry dog faced dragon involved. 

When I saw the bright cover of The Neverending Story on a shelf at Barnes & Nobel I became that little kid again and HAD TO HAVE IT. Didn't even care that it was $11.99 for a paperback I bought that sucker then and there. Later that day, I settled in to read it. It started as I remembered in the movie except that Bastion wasn't and adorable polite-spoken little boy. He was cowardly, awkward, chubby and his dad didn't really like him. Okay I got that; it honestly made more sense for a boy like this to be drawn to a book and a world like Fantastica. The story ran similar to the movie, but it was a little scarier and more serious which made it better. Atreyu and Artax were admirable and I totally cried when they were in the Swamp of Saddness. Whenever it would switch back to Bastion's perspective I would be mildly annoyed that I had to read about this stupid kid who locked himself in the school attic, but I'm pretty sure I was supposed to feel that way because throughout the story Bastion will grow as a character into someone more admirable and likable like Atreyu.
Well then it gets to the turning point in the story where Bastion can make a choice and save everything and he...goes in to a corner of the attic and hides from it. Then the Childlike Empress does some crazy paradox stuff and forces Bastion to save Fantastica.
Oh, well then okkkaaay. Then two chapters of Bastion running around being a megalomanic.
Then, I put the book up. At that point I realized that this book had been translated from German and since it's a german story Bastion could very well never grow as a character then die some horrible death involving crows eating out his eyes, and the moral of the story would be, don't steal books you little asshole.
I almost never put books up smack dab in the middle of the story. (I made it through The Constant Princess after all.) This time however, I really didn't like Bastion as a character and didn't care what happened to him. 
The writing was well done. It was poetic in the right parts with plenty of symbolism.
Michele Ende did a wonderful job describing scenes that were almost too impossible to imagine. I'm sure that the book has a brilliant second half and ending, not many books make me cry ever.

I just hate Bastion.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's been happening in Hyrule, lately.

In August after my used DS, that I bought as a high school graduation present to myself, kept freezing mid-game Ben and I went into serious talks deliberating selling both of our DS's and getting a brand new 3DS to share. 
The next day we preceded to the mall and the GameStop located there. We found a purple 3DS brand-new and it was a done deal. I couldn't wait to get home and continue playing Bowser's Inside Story on this sleek, new, purple system. Little did we know that the Ace Card that I had stored almost all my DS games on was blocked through the 3DS. Ben quickly turned to the internet and tried every trick they suggested, but much research revealed just how much the Ace cards had hurt Nintendo's revenue for DS systems so they were well armed against it. Stripped of Bowser's Inside Story and with a new and expensive toy literally just sitting on the shelf I went in search of a game that I would be interested in. 
I looked for the Harvest Moon that had come out for it but not with a lot of luck (I was also in Target so I didn't expect much) but I did find Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. 
My brother had played LoZ: OoT when it came out for Nintendo 64 and I spent much of my time watching him. I also tried to play it then, but I really sucked and lost my patience even before I could free the Great Deku Tree of the evil that was possessing it. 
This time I had the internet.
A side-by-side comparsion of the orginal game and the 3DS version.
Ben makes fun of my need for a guide by saying I don't have any intuitive gaming skills, and he's absolutely right. Legend of Zelda games are full of puzzles and that's not a problem for me, it's finding the puzzles that leaves me aimlessly running around Hyrule field with Navi yelling stupid things at me for hours that really trips me up during game play. 
This time, armed with my guide, was different. I was actually able to accomplish tasks and make progress in the game half an hour at a time,
 and since I had a guide I could see how far I had left to go. Pretty soon my evenings were spent with Ben in silence, him playing Skyrim and me on the 3DS our respective games chirping away and occasionally one of us swearing or hooting in triumph. (that was actually all just from me, Ben's very stoic when he's gaming)

Through all of this I understand the act of Gaming a little better. Before, playing a game for several hours a night seemed boring to me, but now I get it. In the game you're accomplishing things and a lot of time those things are hard things to accomplish, so by the time you're done you feel like you've really accomplished a goal you had in real life, so that day was successful- when the truth of it is you just sat in the midst of all the unfolded laundry in your pajamas for six hours.
This is what happened to me, I never beaten a game before ever, so when I saw that it was a possibility it became my new goal in life. For the next few weeks I worked hard on this goal, letting laundry stay unfolded, neglecting this blog and generally not wasting time with silly things like putting on make-up before going to work. 
However, I've decided to take pause at the entrance of the Shadow Temple and recall my life before Zelda had petitioned me to save all of Hyrule. 
I understand why this game is considered one of the best and why the memorabilia and tattoos have last for the past 17 years, its an engaging game that doesn't get too repetitive or expects too much from you the first dungeon in. 
After I beat it though (and I will) I think it'll be time to surrender the 3DS to Ben so he can play Pokemon XY or whatever, and find myself as person again. My foray into the gaming world has been fun, but someone has to fold laundry, and there are always books to be read.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Some reflection.

The cold rolled in with a storm; loud like a library cart across tile. Today the house is frosted on the inside. Everything is cold, hard and creaking. I found my bag-lady uniform of last years's unemployed winter- sweatpants, sports bra, tank top topped off with the thickest sweater ever. 

Today is still, even the cats are moving in slow-motion. The sun is a bright distant coin. The wind is lazy and the birds are cheerful and serene. I wanted to do things with my day that I haven't gotten to but when I opened my eyes at 10:17 this morning I thanked God. I've wandered through the house without a purpose thanking God for most of the day. Thank God for this day of stillness.

The past 3 weeks haven't stopped and my brain has been buzzing in time with it all. I have managed to force sleep on myself at night with the exception of Sunday and Monday. There I laid both nights, my thoughts hopping around sorting through my too-bright memories at all hours of the night. I didn't get upset as I usually would have, but accepted that I would have to manage the next day sleep-deprived. 

At work there has been a change in management which really was a good thing overall. Nonetheless, it was stressful and this past week we've been getting ready for a big deal visit from the regional manager.  Before being part of management meant showing up and that was it. I was good at that and since I have a work ethic I also did my job which was unexpected so I was fantastic at my job, but with this new manager doing my job is expected and I've been finding out that I wasn't trained even remotely right, so I've had to adjust to a lot. Which isn't too hard, but to go from being awesome at my job to not actually knowing how to do my job was jarring and disorienting to say the least.

So today I am treasuring. I don't have to be anywhere, see anyone, clean anything or wear a real bra. I realize that my idea of down time has changed. I used to focus on distractions but now I'm using it more constructively. Sure, I'm not waking up early to totally clean out/ rearrange the bedroom but I'm making plans. Not just things I wish I could do, but things I can do with this house, with massage therapy, with myself.
In the past three weeks I've had to live entirely in the moment, going straight from one thing to the next not being able to reflect or to plan just doing. Today all the activity has subsided and I can look back and look forward and be happy. Today is the first time I've peered through all the busy to look at myself. I am happy, my life isn't perfect, but I can make plans.
Today is a good day.