Category Archive – Randomness

There And Back Again: One Playlist To Rule Them All

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Adventure Update: 75% excited beyond all reason and reckoning, 25% anxiety-fueled panic attacks while hiding under desks.

How in the Valar’s name did Bilbo manage it?

That being said, hello all! The final week count-down is on and things are rolling along so quickly that I can barely keep up with it all. What can you do? Time and tide wait for no man or hobbit as they say. Do you know what else they say? Nobody parties as hardy as a hobbit! I think we should test out that theory and see for ourselves whether or not it is actually true.

What do you say? Are you ready for this? Are you ready to go adventuring?!?!

I hope so because I am afraid I’ll totally shake apart right when the plane gets ready to take off. Deep breathing, that’s the key. Just breathe.

Packing is now well underway even though I am still getting the hang of it. It is rather difficult trying to figure out how to position hiking boots in such a way that they don’t intrude on the stash of books at the bottom of the case. Never mind all of the electronic gadgets that need special care and handling. This is why it is important to never travel with anything that is super breakable unless you absolutely have to. If you parkour down a mountain or jump off a cliff and onto an eagle’s back there is a fairly good chance things could and will get broken. Or worse. Always insure your stuff!!!

Bilbo1Anyways, onward to happier things. One thing that I have finally mastered is the art of the Epic Playlist Of Awesome.

Let’s be honest here. Being stuck in transit for hours and days on end is not fun. But with the properly tailored musical accompaniment it can be rather enjoyable to down-right hilarious. So you can probably guess I have uploaded the entire Howard Shore Middle Earth soundtrack collection. I also went with a vast selection of fun Irish tunes, reels, jigs, and airs along with a number of other soundtracks on top of my ever present heavy metal collection that follows me like a second shadow. All in all there’s over 14 hours of music. Now that’s something to get excited over!

Something to keep in mind when going off on adventures is to make sure you have two sets of headphones.  A set of ear-buds for those walking soundtrack montages in public as well as padded noise-cancelling headphones for the plane. Never listen to your music on a high setting or for longer than an hour straight without giving your ears a break, especially when using the ear-buds. If you notice ringing in your ears turn the music off and put everything away. Better to give your hearing a rest and if white noise is a distraction invest in some earplugs that you always keep in a hidden pocket in your backpack. Those things work wonders when trying to fall asleep beside strangers.

I’m still getting my Hobbit know-how up to snuff with these fine ventures. Think you can keep up with me?

Watching: The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of The King

Reading: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey: Chronicles, Art & Design

Listening: Music from The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings

Now if there is one thing that I have learned from my many experiences with all things Middle Earth it is this. There is honestly nothing quite like a good hobbit sip and song down at the Green Dragon Inn. Be comforted in the fact that when I finally enter the Green Dragon for a pint (yes it does exist and I will be documenting the heck out of it for you) I will break out into song. Not just any song mind you. This song in particular. The Cat and the Moon from the Lord of the Rings Broadway musical. I dare you not to start dancing. It’s nigh impossible!


Week of Geek: Can YOU name your top favorite characters EVER?

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Hello Geeklings

Fairly recently, one of my friends tried to get me to answer a hypothetical question about my favorite fandoms.  Why?  Because that’s the kind of thing we do in Geek circles, we ask each other questions to get us thinking about our favorite shows and books and movies and things.  Really, who doesn’t enjoy a good ‘what if’?

But this particular question was clearly meant to destroy me.  She tried to get me to chose one fandom of all time.  It can’t be done!  I CAN’T DO IT!  Why don’t you just ask me to take apart my own heart and decide which part I want to keep more than the others.  No sale!

But, since those type of questions, when they DON’T put me in impossible choice scenarios and rip me apart, are fun, let’s try a few gentler ones.  How about one of my favorite questions; who are my favorite characters?  Who are the people, creatures or anthropomorphic concepts that have stuck with me, that are my go-tos for talking about a favorite fandom.  Who do I root for?  Who do I cry for?  Who do I relate to, or not?  If I had a little club for people who don’t actually exist with very limited membership, who would get in?

So here’s my attempt to keep it to 10.  Just 10 (in no particular order, ’cause I’m not that much of a glutton for punishment).  I like lists, as many geeks do, so let’s make one, and then YOU give it a try.  (Disclaimer; I hereby claim the right to change this list at ANY time…or to add to it.  I’m very indecisive and inclusive)

1. Dream (From Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel series The Sandman)

Dream is a tall, dark and wild haired, pale specter of a being who rules the realm of dreams and has for millenia.  From Volume 1, Preludes and Nocturnes, all the way to Volume 10, The Wake, Dream goes on a journey, one that begins with his imprisonment and then release back into a world he doesn’t recognize and must now adapt to.  It changes him in ways he could never see coming, brings him in contact with mythical characters from all realms, brings up deep family pain and in the end, brings him to a choice.  Dream is old, commanding, ethereal, soft-spoken but at times menacing.  And as otherworldly as he is, his predicaments and his family relationships are instantly recognizable and his journey stays with you long after you read it.

2. Cecil Gershwin Palmer (From the podcast and novel Welcome to Night Vale)

I know I’ve spoken at length about this podcast that pretty much took over last summer and fall for me.  But I cannot overstate how much I adore the town of Night Vale’s lead radio broadcaster.  I can’t include a picture of him, ’cause frankly no official picture of him exists.  Not even a description of him.  His appearance is only one of many mysteries lurking in this friendly desert community.  But despite all the craziness going on around him and within him, Cecil is the relatively sane voice guiding you though this wacky town and delighting you with stories about his boyfriend and his love of adorable animals, even ones that float in fixed places in the men’s room.  I wait with anticipation twice a month for new episodes, because as I like to say “I need my Cecil fix”.

3. Spock (From the TV series Star Trek and the accompanying films, books, etc.)

I’ve mentioned before how I’m a 2nd generation Trekker.  Star Trek is one of those franchises that has been with me since the beginning.  And one of the most iconic elements to come out of that franchise is the character of Spock.  He’s a man of contrasts.  Half human, half Vulcan, who adheres to the Vulcan principles of suppressing emotions despite the fact that is one of the defining characteristics of being human.  Despite of that internal conflict, Spock is a dedicated member of Starfleet and fiercely loyal not only to it’s principles but also to his fellow crew members.  He’s a frosty guy you just want to melt.

4. Dale Cooper (From the TV series Twin Peaks)

Here’s an oldie, but goody.  For a while in the early 90s (back when I was teen) EVERYBODY was wondering who killed Laura Palmer, the homecoming queen found wrapped in plastic on the show Twin Peaks, which was a quirky TV show before that was even a thing.  One of the characters trying to answer that question was FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper.  The first time I ever met him he was hanging upside down in his hotel room talking to ‘Diane’ on his tape recorder, and I was intrigued.  After getting to know his pleasant demeanor, genuine curiosity, love of Tibetan wisdom, dedication to finding the culprit and his love for this strange town, I was in love with him, and still am.  Excuse me while I find coffee and cherry pie.

5. The Doctor (from the TV series Doctor Who)

A time and space traveling alien, the being known only as The Doctor is over a thousand years old and has had a grand total of 13 different faces, thanks to a little trick called regeneration.  Despite his many different personas, and all the personality and wardrobe changes that come with them, there are certain things about him that never change.  His curiosity.  His desire to help.  His quirkiness.  His love of humans (even if they frustrate him no end.)  The Doctor has experienced so much loss, but yet loves hard all the same, especially those he brings with him on his adventures.  Because no matter what the Doctor looks like, his two hearts always beat for adventure.

6. Batman (from DC comics and lots of movies, TV shows and books)

Come on, it’s BATMAN!  What more of an explanation do I need?  None.  Moving on…



7. Mabel Pines (from the TV series Gravity Falls)

Mabel’s a newer addition to my list, but she’s definitely earned her place here.  A 12 year old girl who vacations every summer with her twin brother in Gravity Falls, Oregon, Mabel is a sharp contrast to her brother’s worrisome seriousness.  She’s an eternal optimist with a sunny disposition, a rather skewed view of the world, and a pet pig.  She’s a loyal friend and sister, and always up for something.  She has a huge collection of sweaters and she’s just hilarious.  Mabel’s the quirky friend you wanted when you were 12.

Hannibal looks just too freaking perfect: Hannibal Food Mikkelsen, Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibalmad Mikkelsen, Hannibal Lecter, Hannibal Nbc Suits, Admin Mikkelsen, Hannibal Suits, Hannibal Ist, Photo8. Hannibal Lecter (From the TV series Hannibal)

Honestly, I am not at all familiar with the Anthony Hopkins version of fiction’s most famous cannibal, though many argue it is the best one.  The one I find myself almost rooting for (he is a serial killer, after all) is the version created by Mads Mikkelsen for NBC’s TV series.  Mikkelsen manages to find that balance between refinement and animalistic evil.  From his soft voice, to his poise to his meticulous clothes and appearance, just beneath the surface lurks a hunter, cold, calculating and frighteningly intelligent.  You’re drawn to him the way you’re drawn to all great villains; you want to eat at his table, but you’re afraid of what you’re digging into.

9. Severus Snape (From the book/movie series Harry Potter)

My favorite character from my favorite book series.  Snape is the perfect embodiment of one of my favorite types of character; one that constantly straddles that line between good and evil.  He leaves you guessing right until the bitter end just who he is and what motivates him.  To the casual observer he’s a nasty, strict and clearly evil protagonist to our favorite boy wizard.  But there’s hints and questions along the way, and once you see where’s he’s coming from, you realize…wow!  And in the hands of the late, great Alan Rickman all of that came forth on the big screen.

10. Sherlock Holmes (from too many books, movies and TV shows to count)

You can kinda tell by this point on the list that one of the things that draws me to a character is smarts.  Pretty much everyone in my top 10 is very intelligent in some way.  And Sherlock Holmes has been the face of that type of character for well over a century.  The guy is ridiculously smart.  He can tell you just about everything you need to know about a crime scene after a glance.  His intelligence is to the point that it distances him from other people, as most just cannot keep up with where his brain goes.  But, in every single incarnation, Holmes has his Watson, that one person who manages to keep him at least somewhat grounded to humanity and allows him to show great depths of loyalty and caring, even if you really have to dig to find it.

So there’s my top 10.  What do you guys think?  And, more importantly, who are yours?  The comments section is there and ready for your favorite characters to make an appearance, so fire away!

Stay tuned for more lists to come, and until next time, End of Line.

Something To Think About: Wearable Technology

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Hello Folks!

I was digging around the internet today and I came across this interesting Ted Talk video. Wearable Technology, not just a fashion fad it would seem. The speaker in the video brings up some very interested and thought-provoking ideas about what humanity as a collective whole could go with technology that does more than just eat up our time with bright flashy touchscreens. Take a look.

Interesting no? I wonder, how would something like a ring that monitors your mood help a person not only cope with stress but grow as an individual? I am curious about this. Would it actually work? What would happen to the recorded data? Is wearable technology just a fancy gimmick whose real purpose is to actually plug people into the Matrix? Would companies track our every stat? What if the technology gets smart? Would wearable technology be a hindrance or an aid? Can it really help bring people together on every level? Is it the next big step in human evolution? Is it nothing more than a passing phase? Does this open the door wide for all manner of endless possibilities? Is this worth the hype?

So many questions. Allow me to play the Morpheus for a moment. What if I told you that this is just the tip of the iceberg? How deep do you think the wearable technological rabbit hole can go? What are your thoughts on where personalized technology is headed? Excited? Unsure? Don’t care? Onboard? Afraid? All of the above? Tell me. I’d love to know.

There And Back Again: Middle Earth Awaits…When?!?!

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In less than one month I will be boarded onto a plane and flying halfway across the world. The trip will cross many time zones and I don’t even know how many days I’ll be losing going to Middle Earth so it is a bit of a time slip if you ask me. These things do happen when you venture out of the realm of reality and into the lands of imagination. Fear not though, I’ll make sure we get there. Eventually. And I fully expect to see Gandalf riding a giant eagle when I do.

So then what are we waiting for? Enough with the talking. Let us proceed with the packing!

Let’s see now. So what does a person need to bring with them when they venture forth on a journey such as this? It won’t be a walk in the park and things are bound to get wet at some points seeing that there are a bunch of rivers and an entire ocean to contend with. So proper footwear and waterproof gear are on the list. What about cold weather gear? Gotta dress for fall since it will be fall in New Zealand but is New Zealand fall the same as Canadian fall? Warmer? Colder? Do they even have snow? I…have no idea.

How about provisions? I should bring emergency rations because with the severe dietary restrictions I have it is probably best that I bring along a fair bit of my own fodder. That is going to take up some room in the old baggage department and what’s this? I have to declare food items when going into another country? Certain foods aren’t even allowed? Oh dear.

Packing for this adventure may not be as easy as I first thought.

Nothing to panic over. We can still do this. Just as long as the necessities are included everything should be fine. Really I do not need that hair straighter nor that special collective edition of The Lord Of The Rings. I can fit everything I need into a couple of bags and a luggage and…ah. Every traveller can only bring one luggage and a carry-on of a specific size that does not exceed the weight restriction of the airline or else fines must be paid. Airlines have their own weight restrictions and so does the tour-group I’m meeting up with as it would seem. Huh. It’s a good thing that we are going over this now before packing starts or else there would likely be a total melt-down at the airport upon departure.

Best to avoid all that.

So, less is more. That’s the ticket! How do we figure? Oh, I know. I’ll make a To-Do list! Let me get on that straight away. I will just take a moment to jot some stuff down and put that there…


(Ten minutes later)

Durin’s Beard! My To-Do list now has it’s own To-Do list that needs to be done before I even dare start packing the stuff from the Need-To-Buy list never mind getting to the things on the Must-Be-Done-Before-You-Leave List!!!!!

(breathes into a paper bag)

BilboBreathe. Need to breathe. Think. Okay? Okay. What would Bilbo do?

Gah! That doesn’t help!

I only have three weeks to get all of this done and did you know you need Visas to get into certain countries? Some countries won’t even let you in if your passport expires within a six month time period! So much for the whole “pick up and get on a plane” fantasy. The prep-work for this adventure requires its own training manual and check-list. I need an assistant. I need more time. I need to know how other people manage to do this without having a nervous break-down while folding socks!!!

What I need is an adult. Someone older, wiser, who adults far better than I do. I need the adultiest Adult in all of Middle Earth. I never thought I would ever say this but, I need an Elf. Help me Elrond Half-Elven, Lord of Imladris. You are my only hope! I have never been on a trip of this magnitude! I am not prepared for this!

I…is that for real or is this supposed to be some sort of metaphor for life?

I’m leaning toward the latter. He’s right, you know. Elrond is right. This is an adventure we’re undertaking so how could anyone be prepared for it? It is not something that we have done before. I could spend the next few weeks in a blind panic trying to get every last detail right and where would I be? A great big mess of stress and anxiety before even setting foot on the plane. Yes, there is much that needs to be seen to but in order to accomplish that I am going have to turn to the advice, aid, and experience of those who have done something like this before. Such as family, friends, co-workers, and a really good travel agent. I shall report back on my findings as to what exactly is needed for adventuring off into the unknown.

While I uncover the final details of the art of Adventure Packing here is your To-Do List:

Reading: The unofficial Hobbit Handbook: Everything I Need to Know about Life I Learned from Tolkien

Listening: The Hobbit: an Unexpected Journey

Playing: LEGO. The Hobbit

Journeys have a beginning, middle, and end. Sometimes we just need a little help getting ourselves ready to step out the door. So if you are ever in doubt about your decisions, just ask Elrond. He knows many things.

Random Vids: Cookie Monster and friends…

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You know what I like?  Cookies.  (Though, really, who doesn’t?)

You know who else likes cookies?  Cookie Monster.  You remember him, right?  The adorable blue guy from Sesame Street who loves cookies more than anything in the whole world?

So in honor of it being Saturday and in the spirit of randomness, here’s some vids featuring our favorite cooking-munching monster.  He learns, he tries new things and he, eventually, gets the cookie.