December 28, 2011

Evil Overlord



The Top 100 Things I'd Do If I Ever Became An Evil Overlord
(copyrighted excerpts, from the List.)


- My Legions of Terror will have helmets with clear plexiglass visors, not face-concealing ones.

- My ventilation ducts will be too small to crawl through.

- My noble half-brother whose throne I usurped will be killed, not kept anonymously imprisoned in a forgotten cell of my dungeon.

- Shooting is not too good for my enemies.

- The artifact which is the source of my power will not be kept on the Mountain of Despair beyond the River of Fire guarded by the Dragons of Eternity. It will be in my safe-deposit box. The same applies to the object which is my one weakness.

- When I've captured my adversary and he says, "Look, before you kill me, will you at least tell me what this is all about?" I'll say, "No." and shoot him. No, on second thought I'll shoot him then say "No."

- After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.

- I will not include a self-destruct mechanism unless absolutely necessary. If it is necessary, it will not be a large red button labelled "Danger: Do Not Push". The big red button marked "Do Not Push" will instead trigger a spray of bullets on anyone stupid enough to disregard it. Similarly, the ON/OFF switch will not clearly be labelled as such.

- I will never employ any device with a digital countdown. If I find that such a device is absolutely unavoidable, I will set it to activate when the counter reaches 117 and the hero is just putting his plan into operation.

- Despite its proven stress-relieving effect, I will not indulge in maniacal laughter. When so occupied, it's too easy to miss unexpected developments that a more attentive individual could adjust to accordingly.

- I will maintain a realistic assessment of my strengths and weaknesses. Even though this takes some of the fun out of the job, at least I will never utter the line "No, this cannot be! I AM INVINCIBLE!!!" (After that, death is usually instantaneous.)

- I will dress in bright and cheery colors, and so throw my enemies into confusion.

- I will not fly into a rage and kill a messenger who brings me bad news just to illustrate how evil I really am. Good messengers are hard to come by.

- If I learn that a callow youth has begun a quest to destroy me, I will slay him while he is still a callow youth instead of waiting for him to mature.

- If it becomes necessary to escape, I will never stop to pose dramatically and toss off a one-liner.

- My five-year-old child advisor will also be asked to decipher any code I am thinking of using. If he breaks the code in under 30 seconds, it will not be used. Note: this also applies to passwords.

- If I must have computer systems with publically available terminals, the maps they display of my complex will have a room clearly marked as the Main Control Room. That room will be the Execution Chamber. The actual main control room will be marked as Sewage Overflow Containment.

- If I decide to test a lieutenant's loyalty and see if he/she should be made a trusted lieutenant, I will have a crack squad of marksmen standing by in case the answer is no.

- If I am fighting with the hero atop a moving platform, have disarmed him, and am about to finish him off and he glances behind me and drops flat, I too will drop flat instead of quizzically turning around to find out what he saw.

- I will not use any plan in which the final step is horribly complicated, e.g. "Align the 12 Stones of Power on the sacred altar then activate the medallion at the moment of total eclipse." Instead it will be more along the lines of "Push the button."

- I will not ignore the messenger that stumbles in exhausted and obviously agitated until my personal grooming or current entertainment is finished. It might actually be important.

~ ~ ~

Complete list is here. There's a coupla' iffy things in it, content-wise, but predominately clean and hilarious and oh-so-true.


chortling maliciously,
-whisper

December 20, 2011

O Holy Night - the awesome version


This is, personally, the most hilarious thing I have ever heard. ^_^

Please listen to it all the way through. If you can't make it to the end, I understand. It's OK. Those brave souls who forge onward to the epic climax are generally scarred for life, and some have even had to go through traumatic therapy. But I advise hearing it through to the bitter end. It builds gloriously.

murry christmus,

-whisper

December 15, 2011

rice and water.



Two neat websites where you can simultaneously teach yourself and help the less fortunate in this world.


Freerice
http://www.freerice.com/


On Freerice, you can answer quick questions about all manner of topics, including Spanish, math, geography French, art, English vocabulary, chemical symbols, and others. For every question you answer correctly, Freerice will donate (through the World Food Programme) ten grains of rice to help end hunger. You can read up on the very interesting process of how it works through the FAQ.




Freepoverty
http://www.freepoverty.com/


This website tests your knowledge of geography. It ranks your knowledge by how closely you can pinpoint a given location on the world map. If you can nail it exactly, Freepoverty gives ten cups of clean water, the amount decreasing by how far from the correct location you were.

- - - - -

The two sites have helped me with my Spanish and geography, and I'd like to think that I've helped someone else out there. You ought to try them out. ^_^

riceness,
-whisper

December 11, 2011

these are my politics.


"That is the problem with government these days. They want to do things all the time; they are always very busy thinking of what things they can do next. That is not what people want. People want to be left alone to look after their cattle."

- Alexander McCall Smith/ Mma Ramotswe



"Just as it is easy to think the State has a lot of different objects – military, political, economic, and what not. But in a way things are much simpler than that. The State exists simply to promote and to protect the ordinary happiness of human beings in this life. A husband and wife chatting over a fire, a couple of friends having a game of darts in a pub, a man reading a book in his own room or digging in his own garden – that is what the State is there for. And unless they are helping to increase and prolong and protect such moments, all the laws, parliaments, armies, courts, police, economics, etc., are simply a waste of time."

- C. S. Lewis


These are my politics,

-whisper


~~~

post scriptum: a note of forewarning: I do not intend for this blog to continue for much longer, and I shall probably bring it to a close at the year's end (because I like doing things in such orderly fashion.) I have only a few more things to say to the world, then I'll bring things to a stop. :) I have greatly, greatly appreciated every view and comment and post-reading. thank you for them all. (:

so, you can expect a couple more posts, and then my farewell notice. just sayin'.

December 7, 2011

Starfish

Starfish
-story from an unknown origin-


One day an old man was walking along the beach. It was low tide, and the sand was littered with thousands of stranded starfish that the water had carried in and then left behind. The man began walking very carefully so as not to step on any of the beautiful creatures. Many of them seemed to still be alive, and he considered picking some up and putting them back in the water, where they could resume their lives. The man knew the starfish would soon die if left on the dry sand, but he reasoned that he could not possibly help them all, so he did nothing and continued walking.


Soon afterward, the man came upon a small child on the beach who was tossing one starfish after another back into the sea. The old man stopped and asked the lad, "What are you doing?"


"I'm saving the starfish," the child replied.


"But why waste your time? There are so many. You can't save them all, so what does it matter?" asked the man.


The child picked up another starfish. He glanced at it for a moment, then threw it back into the water. "It matters to this one."

November 29, 2011

Monsters.







teddy bears for the win,
-whisper

Audiobooks 111


got a lot of audiobooks catch up on. we'll make this fast. ^_^





For the Win
Cory Doctorow

This book was unusual. Lots of third-degree language, and for that I don't recommend it. But an interesting premise - that much is worth looking up.

And an epic cover.







Lord of the Flies
William Golding

My favorite book. Ever. The jury is in; the die are cast. I have concluded.

I read it via audiobook for the second time, and my love for it expounded.

It's rather dark, and sort of morbid, and sort of sad. It explores the question of what would happen if a group of boys were stranded alone on an island. The war between order and chaos is epic and terrible.

Recommended, personally. ^_^






Peter Pan in Scarlet
Geraldine McCaughrean

Kind of a weird book. o_O For instance, through magic, a grown man turns into a little girl for a while. >_> Odd. Peter Pan himself is rather obnoxious and not so heroic as in the Ridley Pearson series. XD heh. So, I didn't like this so much. But there's a pretty nice, nostalgic quote, if you care to read it:



Next day, Mrs. Wendy's cold kept her from going out, but the Old Boys found themselves in Kensington Gardens with butterfly nets, wandering up and down. Looking for fairies.

There was a stiff breeze blowing. Something white and fluffy brushed Mr. Nibs's face and he gave a shriek. "There's one! It kissed me!" And all the gentlemen went pounding after it. The wind was rising. Other scraps of whiteness scudded past, until the air seemed to be full of flying snowflakes all twirling and dancing, feathery light. The Old Boys trampled the grass flat with running to and fro, swiping at fairies, accidentally swatting each other, whooping and shrieking, "Got one!"

"So have -- OW!"

"Here's one, look!"

But when they peered into their butterfly nets, all they found were the fluffy seed-heads off summer's first dandelions. There was not a single fairy in among the dande-down.

All day they searched. As the sun went down and starlings gathered over the glimmering city, the Old Boys hid themselves among the bushes of Kensington Gardens. Early stars ventured into the sky, their reflections spangling the Serpentine. And suddenly the air was a-flicker with wings!

Jubilant, the ambushers leapt out of hiding and ran to and fro, nets flailing.

"Got one!"

"By Jove!"

"Don't hurt them!"

"Ouch! Watch what you are doing, sir!"

"I say! This is ripping fun!"

But when they turned the nets inside out, what did they find? Midges and moths and mayflies.

"I have one in here! Definitely! Incontrovertibly!" cried Mr. John, cramming his bowler hat back onto his head to trap the captive inside. The others gathered round, jostling to see. The hat came off again, with a sigh of suction; Mr. John reached in with finger and thumb, plucked something out of the satin lining, and held it up to show them -- the iridescent purple, the shiny, flexing, turquoise body...

Only a dragonfly.

Mr. John opened his fingertips, and eight pairs of disappointed eyes followed the lovely creature as it staggered and waltzed back towards the water.

"I don't believe there is a single fairy..." began Dr. Curly, but the others felled him to the ground and clapped their hands over his mouth.

"Don't say it! Don't ever say that!" cried Mr. Nibs, horrified. "Don't you remember? Every time someone says they don't believe in fairies, a fairy somewhere dies!"

"I didn't say I didn't believe in them!" said the doctor, tugging the rumples out of his suit. "I was only going to say, I don't believe there is one single fairy here. Tonight. In this park. I have mud on my trousers, insect bites on my ankles, and I have not eaten supper yet. Can we give up now?"

The other Old Boys looked around them at the twilit park, the distant, glimmering streetlamps. They looked at the soles of their shoes, in case they had trodden on any fairies by mistake. They looked into the water of the Serpentine, in case any of the stars reflected there were really fairies, swimming. No fairies, no fairy dust. Perhaps, after all, they would not be going back to Neverland.

- Peter Pan in Scarlet


All in all, don't really recommend it, I suppose. But I love that quote. ^_^




I Am Morgan le Fay
Nancy Springer

A forgettable story. Turns into a romance. Magic and whatnot; kind of boring, I think. A testimony to its forgetable-ness: I don't remember anything more. Not recommended. I doubt it's worth your time.







The Outsiders
S. E. Hinton

Sad, but good. I enjoyed this book a lot. And one character, Soda, has an awesome name and is a great character. The book provides a good and clean perspective behind the street life of decades ago. Get your boys together; get ready for a rumble. Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold. ^_^

Recommended.








Lady Macbeth
Susan Fraser King

I was all excited about this one (I like Macbeth, and this tale is the backstory of his wife) but hardly got through the first fifteen minutes. Madness and immorality. Not recommended, indeed.








The Beloved Dearly
Doug Cooney

Cute story about a group of entrepenuaral kids who start their own business: pet funerals. Recommended.








Sapphique
Catherine Fisher

Awesome book. One or two second-degree swear words, but no immorality. Steampunk. It's the second book in a series, but I didn't know it, and I liked reading this one first. I liked being dropped into the middle of the story, and figuring out who was who and what was going on. Epic adventure, and I liked it better than book 1. Only qualm were the swear words and that I didn't entirely like the ending. >_>

Recommended.








Incarceron
Catherine Fisher

^See Sappique. Good but not quite as much, I thought. This was a bit more cliche and had a bit more objectionable content. Still a good steampunk tale.











Cave of the Dark Wind
Dave Barry

Very cliche, very wholesome Peter Pan adventure. A short sort of cheering read but quite predictable.








My Brother Sam Is Dead
James Lincoln Collier

A sad book. Let's just say things weren't looking good for poor Sam. ^_^ I think this book is a classic; it was sort-of forgettable, and, as aforementioned, sad. Raised an interesting ethical dilemma or two. Not particularly recommended.








Sherlock Holmes
Arthur Conan Doyle

I read a few of the famous Sherlock Holmes short stories. They were good! Quite clean, a bit dark, fairly epic, and entertaining. Good solid mysteries; recommended.








The Kingdom Keepers
Ridley Pearson

The first one was good; it has an interesting premise: five kids are teleported each night to Disneyland after dark, when the machines are starting to come alive. I liked the first one all right, but then it became a series and became, methought, cliche and unrealistic, and I lost interest. *shrug* First one mildly recommended.






The Iliad/The Odyssey
Homer

I liked these. Quite gruesome, though. >_> The author has no hesitancy in describing exactly how a warrior was impaled and how he falls to the ground, gasping and bleeding out and dying. Ahem. A half-dozen times.

I spent most of the books trying to figure out who was the son of whom and fighting for which army (probably would have understood it better if I'd read them in book form). There's some immorality referenced, and most characters are supreme idiots, but it was good to get this taste of very-old literature; of the true, original epic warfare. Rather interesting, too, and rarely boring. Recommended for older readers.

- - -

in order of favorite-ness:

1. Lord of the Flies
2. Sapphique
3. The Outsiders
4. Incarceron
5. The Iliad/Odyssey
6. Sherlock Holmes
7. The Dearly Beloved
8. The Kingdom Keepers
9. For the Win
10. Peter Pan In Scarlet
11. My Brother Sam is Dead
12. Cave of the Dark Wind
13. I Am Morgan le Fay
14. Lady Macbeth



^ read any of these? Thoughts, opinions, arguments?

thanks for reading,
happy eucalyptus day,
-whisper

November 17, 2011

the many perils of being a bookworm





Courtesy of Noelle

2 Superb Blogs for Writers

These are the two best blogs-of-writing-tips that I've found yet. I hope they're as helpful to you as they have been to me. ^_^

- - - - - - - - -

http://www.superheronation.com/
This site is for writers of superhero stories/comicbooks/adventure/fantasy/scifi/etc. There are a few words of second-degree naughty language, but if you get past that, you'll find plenty of splendid tips. Though you could spend hours browsing, here's a few articles I found particularly useful, to get you started:












http://wordplay-kmweiland.blogspot.com/
The squeaky-clean blog of author K. M. Weiland (by the by, her Medieval novel Behold the Dawn is a splendid, albeit mature, epic tale). Years of posts on writing, with tips both practical (5 Ways to Pace Your Story) and general.

November 9, 2011

"In our tree-house in the fall..."





In our tree-house in the fall
The Adventure Club gathers all

With our popguns and weapons of power,
We meet in the closet, our castle tower

Now stealthily to the crawlspace we run,
Into the spaceship goes every man and gun.

And now as darkness settles over Indian lands,
We run with the buffalo, in whooping bands.

And underneath our parents' bed we fend
Off dragons and goblins, to the bitter end.






copyright whisper, 2011. Mine.

November 4, 2011

Three Little Pigs in Old English



Be charmed... be charmed. *chuckles* Ah, me. The beauties of Olde English. I wish we still talked like this.

Lo,
-whisper

October 24, 2011

Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation



"That’s right. It’s an Amish novel; it’s a vampire novel; it’s an end-times novel. It’s the best of all worlds."

I'm ROTALing over here. This is quite possibly among the top three funniest things I've ever read.

"Twenty-three year old Cassidy lives a simple life in the Amish countryside of Lancaster County. Simple, that is, until Slade Byler moves into the old Lapp farm. Cassidy finds herself irresistibly drawn to the handsome Slade; but she fears to share the secret that she alone knows. For Cassidy is an immortal, a princess in the long line of ancient Amish vampires. Will Slade’s love grow cold when he learns this great secret? Can she give to him a heart that does not beat?"

Click below. Read the rest. Laugh. Hard.

Cassidy: Amish Vampiress of the Tribulation


Rolling On Thin Air Laughing,
-whisper


p.s. of course, no offense and/or insult intended to anyone Amish. ^_^ I (and the article) are poking fun at Christians and their literature in general.

October 16, 2011

COURAGEOUS - some thoughts


I saw the movie Courageous a week ago.

I liked it. I liked it a lot.

The Christian world has given it a very mixed-up reception. I've heard men chortling over its un-realistic-ness, and critical articles dryly mocking it. I've also heard many people say they loved it, and a couple call it possibly their favorite movie of all time.

So. As with all Christian movies produced from the dawn of time to the bitter end, Courageous was received on all extremes of the spectrum. While mulling this over, I realized a remarkable epiphany: no Christian movie will ever, EVER be a total "win" to the Christian community. It will ALWAYS be accused of erring on one side or another; either of being "watered-down" or being "unrealistic and preachy." I've heard people accuse Courageous of both. o_O You really can't win 'em all.

My opinion of the movie? I liked it a lot.

The pacing was a bit slow at times, but when there was action, it was ACTION. O_O At least to this little homeschooled, sheltered teen. XD To me the car-chases and break-ins and shoot-outs were pretty awesome.

The plot felt rather unsatisfying on the whole - when the credits started rolling, I was left with a sense of "wait- what?" as though we still had half the movie left to go (though it was already about 2 hours long. O_O). Maybe that was because there were five main characters, all with subplots and families that couldn't all be fully extrapolated.

The movie was emotional. I thought that was well-executed. I cried once or twice. Or thrice. And movies don't generally make me cry. (exceptions: Up, Lord of the Rings, Prince Caspian, Alice In Wonderland.)

So. I cried, I laughed, I was surprised, I was on the edge of my seat, I whispered fervently "Nonononodon't-open-that-DOOR/go-that-way/split-up/etc. you ninny!", and I was practically squeaking during the climax.

The movie challenged me. It impacted me definitely for the best. It has not completely revolutionized my life - I will never expect that of any particular moment or book or movie (edit: aside from my moment of salvation, of course). But it did certainly change my thinking, and has, in turn, influenced my actions. It's perceptively shifted my worldview a bit; it gave emotional depth and memorable dimension to the principle of not wasting one's life.

"Let me do all the good I can, for all the people I can, as often as I can, for I shall not pass this way again." - John Wesley



Yes, the movie felt to me, at times, mildly corny. It was not wholly and completely satisfying, to myself or to the Christian community at large. But all things considered, I'd say they did a very fine job.

If you haven't seen it yet, I advise that you do. ^_^ If you have seen it, what did you think of it?

All things considered,
-whisper

October 14, 2011

8 Everythings

Greetings and salutations!

I have been largely absent from the online world. I have many excuses, none of which you'd like to hear, and all of which matter to me but not to you. So. Here comes a highly condensed account of some Lately-Things, concerning, respectively, a blog, a job, Eagles Wings, Apprentice, mornings, story titles, Jabberwocky, and an anonymous quote. Good stuff.

- - -

1. My sister has a blog. I've already mentioned the blog of Hark, but now my other sister, The Golux (alias Fountain, alias the wearer of the Indescribable Hat) has one of her own, as well! Entitled "The Simple Tales of Fountain", you can find it by clicking the screenshot below.



2. My Dad got a job. Huzzah! As you can read in this post, my Dad recently left his job as a pastor for complicated reasons. But a few weeks ago, he got a new, different sort of job, which, except for the fact that it pays less, is better in every way: Dad gets to work predominately from home, it's a Christian-run company and, ironically, there are a lot of other ex-pastors there. o_O Conspiracy. Anyhow, thank you so much for any and all prayers you submitted to the King concerning this matter - He heard and met them wondrously. :)


3. In a few days.... I'm going to meet Eagles Wings. O_O Elves, you know who this is. You know of Eagles Wings, the mighty, the brave, the cheerful. I and Rowan are going to meet her together for an afternoon. XD Huzzah! I'd offer to show pictures, but I don't want to compromise any of our secret identities. ^_^


4. My pet story, (working title) Apprentice, (you can find some info on it here) has gone through much, much, much rewriting. Between drafts one and three, I doubled the characters and quadrupled the word count. ^_^ I have no idea how much longer it will take me to complete the story. But at least I'm starting to think about beta readers. o_O Anyhow, Apprentice keeps me happy and gobbles up my time. I'm going to try to compose a nice "back-cover blurb" description thingy so I can explain what in the seven stars is it about, both to the mighty readers of this humble blog and to anyone (friend, foe, or family member) who inquires.


5. This is how I feel.

Every morning.

Just thought I'd share.










6. Concerning story titles. I leave you three to consider.

A. The Can Go Bang.
B. Revenge of the Plot Bunnies
C. The Legend of Aunt Sylvia

^ I want to write those stories one day, and many more.

If you think you've missed something, don't worry, you haven't. :| For some reason I felt I ought to disclose these deep and bizzarre inclinations to you. Thank you for bearing with me in my hour of great need; I hope we understand each other.


7. According to legend (aka, in this instance, Leighton) there might be a Jabberwocky video game coming out at some point. o_O The truth of this matter is unverified, but there's still a cool trailer to be watched. ---> http://vz3.blur.com/work/detail/jabberwocky#movies/1

note the vorpral sword. ^_^


8. I'll leave you with a thought-provoking thought; an anonymous quote of great and profound meaning:

"Time flies like the wind.
Fruit flies like bananas."

- - -

Miscellaneous,
-whisper

September 24, 2011

Punctuation

The grammarian within me rejoices, for today is National Punctuation Day! *cheers* A toast to wholesome grammar! *raises glass of apple cider*

On this informal holiday's official website, http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/, this day is hailed as "A celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotation marks, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons, and the ever-mysterious ellipsis."

Our generation's standards of grammar have fallen to abysmal depths. In honor of the English Language and how it has served millions of people for centuries, take the time today to punctuate properly.

Typewriter picture found on http://thegalleyslave.wordpress.com/

September 20, 2011

The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive


Peter's Laws


The Creed of the Sociopathic Obsessive Compulsive



1. If anything can go wrong, Fix it!

2. When given a choice -- Take both!

3. Multiple projects lead to multiple successes.

4. Start at the top and work your way up.

5. Do it by the book...but be the author!

6. When forced to compromise, ask for more.

7. If you can't beat them, join them, and then beat them.

8. If it's worth doing, it's got to be done right now.

9. If you can't win, change the rules.

10. If you can't change the rules, ignore them.

11. Perfection is not optional.

12.. When faced without a challenge, make one.

13. "No" simply means begin again at the next highest level.

14. Don't walk when you can run.

15. Bureaucracy is a challenge to the be conquered with a righteous attitude, an intolerance for stupidity, and bulldozer when necessary.

16. When in doubt: THINK!

17. Patience is a virtue but persistence to the point of success is a blessing.

18. The squeaky wheel gets replaced.

19. The faster you move, the slower time passes, the longer you live.


(notice: I did not write this; I found it on a poster somewhere. I mildly edited the list in order to remove a word of profanity)


sociopathic in the dark,
-whisper

September 11, 2011

"Now the towers are gone."

Of course, you all know that something unspeakably terrible happened on this day at this minute ten years ago.

9/11.
the world trade center.
a day of madness.


But in 1974, in that same place, something beautiful happened.

French tightrope walker Philippe Petit strung a cable between the two half-constructed towers and made a glorious walk between them. For forty-five minutes, he ran, danced, jumped, laid down, and gave knee salutes on a wire one thousand, three hundred, fifty feet above the ground.

I read a book on it - a children's book called The Man Who Walked Between the Towers.



It is my favorite children's book.

It tells a beautiful story. The pictures, and the very concept of being so entirely in the air, so isolated with the light rain and the wind and the sky and the city so infinitely far below... it's beautiful. It electrifies my mind in Owl-City-ish ways. It's just glorious.

To my dismay, as I researched this possible-new-hero, Philippe, I found that he was, of course, not perfect. He had (has; for he lives still) issues with immorality and narcissism (and obeying authority >_>). Nonetheless, his walk between the two unformed towers was courageous, and it is to me very beautiful.

Philippe was arrested for his stunt. Secluded from the astonished press, while cuffed to a chair in a police station, Philippe kept himself occupied by picking his handcuffs with a paper clip and balancing an officer's hat on his nose. Such classic mischief. :) He was later given the grave sentence of performing for children in a park.

Although the actual walk between the towers was not captured clearly on video, several pictures were taken. Good ones are in the news report below, as well as footage of his post-arrest stunt with the hat.


See the report to the confused and smiling world.


Philippe was not perfect, and his stunt was not exactly wise. But his walk between the fated towers made beautiful a place that, decades later, would be a scene of terror and chaos.

Go check out the book from your library - The Man Who Walked Between the Towers - and spend a few moments reflecting on the quiet awe of standing on an inch of steel, in the air atop the world, entirely alone and untouchable.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -



"Now the towers are gone."



"But in memory, as if imprinted on the sky, the towers are still there. And part of that memory is the joyful morning, August 7, 1974, when Philippe Petit walked between them in the air."

September 9, 2011

Strangenesses

This is a time of strange situations. Matters of Strange Nature have infested my life like so many wombats, and I am forced to confront (sword in hand) things which do not happen everyday, nor even every year, but only-occasionally-once in a lifetime.

In swift succession over this past week, the following odd, sad-making events have occurred:

note - this is not my church. >_>
It's just a very cool-looking one found on Google.

1. We have left our church.

2. My Dad left his job.


These events go hand in hand. You see, my Dad is (ahem, was) a pastor. We went to that church for many years, and it's the only one I truly remember. Dad was a pastor there, but after some sad, sad, sticky situations and 2+ years of trying to fix the problems and bring in help and preserve the church and maintain his sanity (all at once! My Dad's a great multi-tasker ^_^), he and one other pastor (and several other families in the congregation) left, creating a small church schism. So now Dad and the other pastor - our families are good friends - have no jobs. They are unemployed. O_O

Planned/desired dinners and talks and friendships - hundreds have been snapped off. Sad, sad. Yet I confess that I am in part enjoying these Strange Things; I am enjoying the newness of it all. After all, this situation is the closest thing to an adventure this spy is going to get for a long time. My morbid side has come alive in spewing writings about this. ^_^ Of course, there is still the sad nostalgia and mixed-up-ness of the whole matter that makes one cry atimes. And with this situation came the awfulness of broken trust. I learned sad things about people I'd respected and admired and loved as brothers and sisters in Christ - people that I wanted to go on seeing as role models. There is something unreconstructably sad in realizing your heroes are fallibly far from perfect.

Yet there is one hero who, for me, has come to light in this whole mess: my Dad. Throughout the church-/job-leaving situation, my Dad has been, in so many ways, a hero. He has been inestimably gracious, humble, and brave, and my respect for him has grown so much. Love you, Daddy. (:

And then there is a third matter: as many of you already know, our very good friend, Jake, is leaving, going far-off. He and his family are moving to Liberia, Africa, and communication will be diminished significantly. Although I am quite happy for this splendid opportunity that the Sadaar Clan now has to participate in mission work in far-off lands, this is still unquestionably sad-making. As all who know him will agree, Jake is a marvelous elf, an epic writer, a heroic fighter, a wellspring of randomness, a summoner of turkeys, and a loyal friend. His Pen of Doom is respected and revered among all elf-kind. And his Battle Fought at Midday - a four part chronicle in which he quite literally duels with Procrastination -is a masterpiece in entertaining allegory ("Inspiration hit me over the head with my shampoo.") (read part 1 here)

Many goodbyes are happening; many things are being changed, and books are closed and burned. *snif* Two quotes (both from the illustrious 100 Cupboards series) seemed to suit various aspects of this week well:
- - - - - - - - ~ - - -

He sat up. "Your peaches," he said. "And your applesauce. How many pies do you think I've eaten in my life?" He looked down at her. "Not enough." He smiled. "If we get out of this, there needs to be more pie. That's all the complaining I've got."
- The Chestnut King

"Sometimes standing against evil is more important than defeating it. The greatest heroes stand because it is right to do so, not because they believe they will walk away with their lives. Such selfless courage is a victory in itself."
-Dandelion Fire
- - - - -

(a third quote that is not 100-Cupboards-ish but that I love anyway and pertains to farewells and thus ought to be said)


"For Christians, 'goodbye' always means 'see you later.'"
- Anonymous

- - - - - - - - ~ - - -

These times are still strange. o_O If you have any inspiring quotes and/or advice about sadness, farewells, friendships, and/or Aztecs, I'd love to hear them.

*sighs* What with the sadnesses of the aforementioned three things and the compounding frustrations of overloads of schoolwork, papers, deadlines, and information, this situation becomes evermore unpleasant. Sometimes I just want to vanish into a French monastery and become a nun, or maybe a part-time Russian Communist spy. Or perhaps move into the forest and become a librarian/warrior/hermit. If I disappear one of these days, know that Whisper the spy has donned the black robes and obliterated herself from the face of the earth and all its social quandaries.

Or gone LARPing. More on that later.

Standing at the top of, and blinking owlishly down at, the very-long spiky black glass staircase leading into the Depths of Despair,

-whisper

August 24, 2011

100 For Justice




*waves* Greetings, all! I have a Something to tell you about.

My friend, Noelle, proprietor of the blog Seeing Beauty, has launched a project she calls


Noelle is undertaking the daunting task of running 100 miles this September and October; hoping that others will join her in this act of support for a worthy organization: International Justice Mission.


Perhaps you've heard of IJM. It is an organization working in several counties (including India, Cambodia, and the Philippines) collaborating with the local police forces to enforce justice. They expose hidden evils, rescue the abused, and uphold the rights of the voiceless. IJM's work is multi-fold:

- They perform undercover operations, investigating cases of injustice
- They actively free the enslaved and trafficked and arrest their oppressors
- They take the persecutors to court and legally prosecute them.
- They train and equip local police forces to be more effective.
- They provide aftercare, job training, and counseling for the former victims

The International Justice Mission battles to protect those who have been unjustly arrested, defends those whose property has been illegally seized, rescues the trafficked, and frees the slaves.


http://www.ijm.org/ < please click, if you are interested.

Also, I recommend a video telling the story of a former slave. She is Suhanna, captured and enslaved twice before being rescued by IJM. Here is the video, but I advice caution: it contains sad realities of trafficking that are not for youngsters' eyes and ears, if y'know what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nytkBRQ0qZI&feature=youtube_gdata

Noelle has a passion to combat this. As she runs 100 for justice, giving up her time and strength, please consider if you can give up a few dollars.


for justice,
-whisper

August 15, 2011

Risk


"I try all things; I achieve what I can." - Moby Dick

That simple line inspires and thrills me. Behind it lurks a daring and a desire to accomplish more, harder, and riskier things. I wish there were more worthwhile risks in my life - that I had great opportunities to take steps against the social norm and to stand strong as a Christian.

Problem is, I don't know of many such opportunities. >_> Do you have any spare Worthy Risks sitting about? Because I could use one. Or two.

I've been trying to live life to the fullest and to try new things. But I have no high goals to achieve! Sure, I've been composing a bucket list, including (but by no means limited to):

- visit the loch ness
- go skydiving
- learn morse code
- adopt a girl from china
- attend an owl city concert
- publish a book

It looks all well and grand on paper. But what am I to do with my life, right here, right now? Days ride by on schoolwork and meals and empty words. We live, we eat, we dance, we go to libraries, we make pumpkin pie, we post clever FB statuses, we dive, we read classics. To what purpose? To what point?

We play life so safe and scheduled. Where are our challenges? Where are our quests and feats of valor? Where are our mistakes and our epic fails? Where are our triumphs and stories? Where have all the adventures gone?


“Let me do all the good I can, for all the people I can, as often as I can, for I shall not pass this way again.” - John Wesley

“It's probably true that a person who makes it through life without making any enemies never stood up for anything important.”
- Start Here

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do.” - Mark Twain


I want a risk.

August 9, 2011

The Dragon's Tooth -or- N. D. Wilson Writes Again -or- Welcome to Ashtown

I couldn't decide on a fitting title for this post. I answered the dilemma of choice in my typical fashion - choosing 'em all.

But enough of that. Have you heard of the 100 Cupboards Trilogy?

They are worthy of all ranting. I should have done this long ago! I should have hollered their praises and pounded my fist upon their blessed pages and shouted down your ear about them! (metaphorically speaking, of course; as I am far too polite an individual to really shout in your ear. Unless its about something important. Like Twix candy bars. Or this series.)

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/__7s9GUTM-oY/TEIlfig7e5I/AAAAAAAARrI/GnNP1UrW64A/s1600/100+cupboards+trilogy.JPG


These books are... Epic. Stunning. Amazing.

Fantastic
in every sense of the word.

The 100 Cupboards trilogy is one of my favorite favoritefuls series (you know it's good if it includes a book called Dandelion Fire); third only to the Wingfeather Saga and the Chronicles of Narnia. And, happily, they're rather clean; there were a few minor weirdnesses and perhaps two or three swear words throughout the trilogy, but aside from that I they were clean, like so many bars of soap. Personally, methought that the series' goods far outweighed the bads.

They tell the story of a kid named Henry who wakes up one night because plaster has fallen on his head. He looks up and sees two door knobs poking out of his bedroom wall. After chipping away all the plaster, he finds behind his wall 99 cupboards of varying shape, size, and color. Inside one door he can smell wood and rain and when he sticks his hand through he feels moss and worms. Through the glass door of another, he can see a yellow post office (and starts receiving some very odd letters). And then there's the cold, sucking black door that hides nightmarish creatures. And the ship... and the haunted ballroom... *shivers with delight* Fantastic books about Henry's exploration of the cupboard worlds and his war against the evils of Endor.

The books have an amazing premise, and they succeed where so many promising books fail: they actually execute the idea well. A revolutionary concept, I know. >_> The author, N. D. Wilson, is brilliant - he is a master of description and character and worldbuilding.

As if all this isn't incentive enough to read it, rumor has it that the movie is coming out sometime this year. And don't you just love that wise feeling you experience when a new movie is coming out and all your friends are talking about it and trying to describe it to you but you can cut them off smugly and say, "Oh, I already know what it's about. I read the book." *smirk* Heehee. I savor the satisfaction of knowing everything about a movie before everyone else does. Ah, the bookish joys of being the one to explain the Eragon and the I Am Number Four and The Series of Unfortunate Events trailers to one's bewildered and excited acquaintances! (Come to think of it, I never saw any of those movies. o.o I heard they were all lame. And for the record, so far as my humble opinion goes, I Am Number Four is a profoundly dumb book.)

SO. With that established. Hop on your bike right now and pedal like mad to the library and snatch 100 Cupboards off the shelf (it is adviseable to bowl over any kids in your way in the process, but you didn't hear it from me). Stuff it furtively in your book bag and flee for your life with it! (checking it out is optional.)

No! Wait! Stop! Halt! Desist! Hold everything! Before you do that, we must come back to the original point of this point:

The Dragon Tooth.

N. D. Wilson writes again.

Welcome to Ashtown.

As you may have guessed and/or heard by now, Wilson is starting a new series, the first book of which is coming out August 23rd - in 14.0002 days. The series is called The Ashtown Burials, and book one is The Dragon Tooth.

Best of all, there is a trailer - a book trailer - a professional trailer - an epic trailer - a trailer that makes me shiver with delight every time I watch it.

Watch. You must.

http://vimeo.com/27156974 <- I can't get the video window to show up here, so just follow the link. And if this link is acting weird, as it did for me...

http://www.hornspoon.com/2011/08/dragons-tooth-book-trailer.html
<- ... then try this one, linking to the blog of my noble friend Cson. The video is in his post.


Welcome to Ashtown,
-whisper

July 31, 2011

Audiobooks 2

Heyyy! *jaunty wave* This spy has been scarce in the online world these past few days, due to a very intense and time-consuming project, namely the making of a short film that involves lots and lots of editing (ie, more than 10 hours. >_> Not to mention filming). Fun. But busymaking. Because it was for a film contest. And it had been going on for two months. But I only came up with an idea three days ago. And we had three days to do it. And I was working up 'till the last few hours of it. XD And we turned it in with an hour and twenty minutes to spare. :D That's what I call living summer on the edge.

Anyhow, on to business. I present to you an audiobook post!

For those among you who do not know, I have developed a habit of listening to audiobooks whilst executing my job: shelving books at my local library. Multitasking, you see. I am an avid multitasker.

In a previous post, I reviewed the audiotales I had recently heard. I do the same again. And once more, I have not one, not three, but

5

audiobooks to report.

Without further ado,

- - -


Animal Farm
George Orwell

I liked this book. I liked it much. It was a short and swiftly-paced story of a group of farm animals who overthrow their human masters and establish a government of their own.

The story is a simplified allegory of the Russian Revolution (and it can be applied to virutally any of the world's tyrannies), and so if you're a history nerd like me, you'll especially enjoy it. Even if you're not, it's still a good story. The animal farm is erected on the cheerful motto "All animals are equal," but subtly - oh, so subtly to the unsuspecting horses and chicken and sheep! - the pigs come to unjust power.

Read in dismay as the animals' slogan, "All animals are equal" is, over time, mysteriously replaced with the enigmatic and grim philosophy: "All animals are equal, only some animals are more equal than others."

Clean, short, excellent. High recommend.



Peter and the Starcatchers
Dave Barry

Peter and the Starcatchers is actually Book 1 of a four-book series chronicling the story before the story - explaining how Peter Pan came to be on the island of Neverland, how he could fly, how he lost his shadow, how Tinkerbell came into being, and other wonders. I liked this > the first one, best; afterwards they started to feel a bit more cliche and same-ish. Happily, the entire series was quite clean and appropriate for all ages. The author was very creative in inventing the backstory to the original Peter Pan story. Read this if you want an exciting, innocent story reveling in the classic villainousness of Captain Hook and the daring childishness of Peter Pan.

Cliche, lighthearted, classic. Mildly recommended.



1984
George Orwell

"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen."

Thus goes the misleading first line of the odd book 1984. I say that the line is misleading because it indicates an Alice-In-Wonderland-esqe, whimsical kind of story.

It is not so.

Much graver than Animal Farm (by the same author), it also presents, similarly, a political analogy. 1984 was written in 1948, and Orwell was predicting the future. He portrayed a bleak Communist world, all gray and brainwashed, peppered with security cameras everywhere that see all; inescapable propaganda; enthusiastic efforts to simplify and de-emotionalize language; thoughtcrime; doublethink; and Five-Minute Hates. While well written, I don't recommend it - for one matter, there's the protagonist's graphic adulterous affair. >_>

It's an eerie story that ends nontraditionally. It's a story of brainwashing, liberty, invasions, betrayal, and mistrust. It presented interesting philosophical questions. If I may trouble you with a thought-provoking quote, exemplifying the brain-washing philosophy of that era:

"Anything could be true. The so-called laws of Nature were nonsense. The law of gravity was nonsense. 'If I wished,' O'Brien had said, 'I could float off this floor like a soap bubble.' Winston worked it out. 'If he thinks he floats off the floor, and if I simultaneously think I see him do it, then the thing happens.' Suddenly, like a lump of submerged wreckage breaking the surface of water, the thought burst into his mind: 'It doesn't really happen. We imagine it. It is hallucination.' He pushed the thought under instantly. The fallacy was obvious. It presupposed that somewhere or other, outside oneself, there was a 'real' world where 'real' things happened. But how could there be such a world? What knowledge have we of anything, save through our own minds? All happenings are in the mind. Whatever happens in all minds, truly happens.
"

Grim, political, dystopian. Not recommended because of immorality.



The Good Thief

Hannah Tinti

This is a Dickenesque tale of an orphaned kid, but there's a significant difference between this orphan and most - he's missing a hand, and has no idea why. Fairly intriguing premise, so I tried it.

Rather a waste of my time, I think. The long plot rambled as the kid followed in the footsteps of theives and drunkards and impersonaters and grave robbers and hoodlums, eventually coming to a weird climax involving a murderous corrupt wealthy factory owner. >_> Didn't see that coming. Combined with some unpleasant weirdnesses, it was not worth the read.

Wandering, depressing, bland. I don't recommend it.



Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
James Patterson

Enter Max, leader of her 'family' of six. They are brothers and sisters not by blood, but by friendship and common plight: all are escapees from a pack of vicious scientists who want them back. Because these kids are not ordinary. They're 98% human and 2% bird - and they have wings.

Rather cool premise, no? And it did prove to be respectably cool. An amusing 1rst person narration from the view of the sarcastic Max kept even the slow points entertaining. Often the narration sits on the knife edge between being hilarious and being cliche-corny. XD Pretty long tale, a bit rambling-feeling atimes. As I recall, it was clean... I cannot remember if there were swear words or not. If there were, they were few and mild.

This is book one of a series. I haven't read the following ones; while the first was enjoyable, I don't yet feel terribly inclined to read the others.

Exciting, action-ous, cool. Recommended, I suppose.

- - -

In order from most favorite to least, I hereby order this batch of books:

1. Animal Farm
2. Peter and the Starcatchers
3. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
4. 1984
5. The Good Thief


Have you read any of these books? And if so, do you concur or disagree with my review of them?

Hoping for a book-chat,
And to all a good night,
-whisper
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