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About Grimmlocke

  • Birthday 04/03/1986

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  1. Grimmlocke

    An Ending.

    "The End of the Last Book of the Wheel of Time." Is it sad that reading those words made me want to cry? I would tend not to think so. I cry pretty easily, not something a man tends to be proud of, but I think in this instance it isn't a man that wants to. When I first read The Eye of the World, I wasn't a man. I was in Seventh Grade, Middle School, for those who aren't familiar with the system, and I was astounded. Not because of the book. Believe me, it was a wonderful read, and I loved everything about it, but the book wasn't what had astounded me. It was that the person who had caught me in the Library, handed me the book, and said, "Read this" was one of the people I hadn't thought of as someone who read for pleasure. One of the cool kids in school. You know the type. Bleached spiked up hair, that irritatingly square jaw that girls seem to flock to, whatever the age, athletic ability that nerdy, somewhat narcissistic teenage boys tend to envy, once again because of the girls. Shorts in the winter, sandals with socks on. Typical, self-confident jock. Yet this jackass had the temerity to hand me a book and say, "This book is awesome. My brother told me to read it and it's awesome. You like this fantasy stuff, don't you?" It irked me, to be sure. Yet once the nerd gauntlet had been thrown down, I had to pick it up. No faux-blond jock was going to read a fantasy book I hadn't read and discarded as drivel! So I read it. And I was astounded. Because that faux-blond jock had taste. Because the book was good. It was really good! Up until then I had only torn through the Dragonlance series, devoured anything I could get my hands on by Terry Brooks, and was charging through the Belgariad. I had of course only forayed into Fantasy because I had exhausted my local library's supply of Science Fiction, despite that comfortable contempt the Sci-Fi junkie feels towards the genre, because really anything was better than reading...Nonfiction. So I was shocked to find that this handsome, athletically gifted young man had given me a book to read, and had been right. Shocking because I could out-think him the way he could beat me to a pulp. Yet he had summoned the stuff to read The Eye of the World? It was enough. I loved the series. I took my time with the rest, gobbling them in between homework and practicing my clarinet. Because yes, I was that cool. I waited with eager anticipation for Winter's Heart, and while i waited that first meeting still tramped about in the back of my mind. That this kid who was supposed to be my rival, my archnemesis, also loved this series. I'm a rational being. I don't go in for things that require faith in something that I can't at least interact with on some level. One of those irritating folks that believes that nothing is beyond the scope of human understanding. Yet, if I were a believer, I would have said that that one meeting was preordained. That some unfathomable force had reached down and flicked some sort of cosmic marble and sent it bumping in just such a way as to land this book in my hands, and at the same time teach me something about human nature best explained by an old adage. "Never judge a book by it's cover." So, when I finished reading the last book of the Wheel of Time half an hour ago, I wanted to cry. It wasn't me, though. Not the adult me. Well, adult-ish. It was that goofy thirteen year old who still half-believed in miracles, who had just found out that maybe some of the people you stand against are people you should stand with, that boy who still believed in magic, maybe even dared to hope that some ancient tome of power would land in his hands. That was what ached at the core of my being. Because an ancient tome of power had fallen into his hands. And he didn't even know it until the story ended. I love the Wheel of Time. I grew up with it as it progressed. I hope that someday I'll have kids to give it to. It's part of me now, just the same way as the boy is. So it's okay to cry because it's over. Even if it isn't. After all, it's in the book. "The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages Come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again." The Wheel of Time will come again, in bits and pieces of stories written by other authors, people who as children read the Wheel of Time and made it a part of themselves. Those of us who read them will be tempted to feel outrage that someone dared to use THAT idea. But that idea, or this idea, or really any idea, doesn't belong to just one series. I hope instead we'll read, give a quiet nod, and mumble, "Good to see you again. I missed you."
  2. Baran Dholwin stepped onto the Traveling Grounds, carefully running his hands over his coat to make sure his uniform was on properly. It wouldn't do to have a new recruit get the wrong impression upon arriving. His gnarled hands finally made their way up to his high collar, where they made contact with his pins. The silver sword pin was nothing new. By now it was a familiar presence, it's miniscule weight a comforting reminder that he was no longer a Soldier. The other pin though, still surprised him. The Dragon reared proudly across from the Sword, as though daring the tiny weapon to try and pierce it. Still, the pairing seemed natural, almost inevitable. Baran found, as he waited for his newest student, that it was difficult to keep his hands away from it. What was even more difficult, was controlling his face every time he touched the thing. A foolish grin was not something he would have allowed himself even before he had joined the Black Tower, let along something he would allow on his face now that he had finally been made a full Asha'man. Forcing his hands away from his collar, the young Cairhienin clasped his hands behind his back and spread his feet, looking up at the overcast sky. He wondered idly if it would be snowing by the time the new recruit arrived. He tried to picture himself standing impatiently, his foot tapping irritably while the new arrival stepped through the Gateway, his head protected from falling snow by a shield of Air. An impressive sight, he thought, especially to someone new to the Power. He himself would have been impressed by something like that when he had first arrived at the Farm. Now though, he was not the raw recruit arriving by wagon at the Farm. No, he was the Asha'man now, and it was his duty to make sure the new recruits knew where they were and who was in charge. Well, perhaps it was a little bit of his pleasure as well. That foolish grin threatened to force it's way back onto his face at the memory of the faces of all the Soldiers he had woken that one morning with his early announcements. He shook his head, trying to clear his head and fight down the urge to chuckle at the same time. A look at the other Asha'man standing around, waiting for whatever their orders had them waiting for at the Traveling grounds, helped him calm himself. To a man, they were taller than him. It was no longer infuriating in the way it had been when he had first arrived at the Farm, or maddening as it had been when he had first left his home village. No, now it was more a minor irritation. The knowledge that he could probably hold his own in combat against any of them was definitely a comfort, as was the knowledge that he was their equal in rank as well as skill. Yes, power was an excellent salve for his pride. Not that he would ever admit to feeling pride in his new-found power. That would no doubt make others think him arrogant. He knew that he might one day need these men, and it would not do to have one leave him to die because he was thought so little of. No, better to ingratiate himself to his fellows than to push them away. Soldiers, though. Soldiers he could push about with impunity. Not that he ever punished a new recruit without reason. He just punished them a bit more harshly than might be necessary. He was a weapon, and so were they. Was that not part of forging? Beating the metal into shape? He shook his head again. This was pointless. He was to wait for the new recruit and make sure he was integrated into the Farm by the time he left him. He would obey his orders. He would make a Soldier of this man, whoever he was. With that thought in mind, the new-made Asha'man lowered his head to look at the Traveling platform and spread his legs until they were shoulder width apart, and tightened his hands behind his back, forming the Void to keep himself from shivering against the day's cold.
  3. Nice, although once again, the whole "space magic" thing really seems to me to go against the harder Sci-Fi feel of the whole series. I was impressed that they even tried to explain why there were telekinetics and whatnot. Most people just go with "It's the future. Mind powers. Whatever." Also, this amused me. But yes, I agree. If they force us to buy DLC for better endings, I'll be upset. I'm more hoping that they'll release an update on April 1 that gives us the real endings, proving this whole business an elaborate April Fool's joke. Hell, maybe the whole thing will end up being some kind of dream after Shepard goes down under that Reaper's beam, and he wakes up to find himself in a hospital instead.
  4. The next day, Baran was thankfully free of Soldiers to order about. Most of them had been sent back to the Black Tower to continue their training, now that the need for heavy lifting had passed, at least for the moment. Now, Baran and a handful of other Dedicated were in charge of moving and labeling each Ter'angreal as it was inspected and labelled according to the discoveries of the Asha'man who had examined it. The ends of each table were growing a bit cluttered with inspected objects of the Power, though most sat on top of papers that spoke of yet another failure in identifying the purpose of the object. So Baran worked, carefully moving the papers and their objects into small crates for temporary storage, doing his level best not to mix anything up. It was difficult for him though, as he had only just learned to read since coming to the Black Tower. A miner didn't need to know how to read, after all, just where to put the earth he dug up. Leave it to the foreman to tally and to men smarter than him to label and ship things. No, Baran hadn't needed to read before coming to the Tower, and he was still painfully trying to pick up the skill. He was looking at one of the labels, a small ring with an amber stone set in it in his other hand, trying to sound out the words, when his work was interrupted by an outburst from one of the Asha'man. Baran lifted his head, looking over at the older man, who was rubbing his temples and glaring balefully at a familiar looking disc sitting atop the table. Of course it would be that one. Baran saw the Asha'man preparing flows of Fire, Earth, and Spirit, sending them out to probe at the thing in an attempt to get it to activate. Though something told Baran all those would do is give the man an even greater headache than the one he was experiencing. With that in mind, Baran trotted over to the Asha'man. As he approached the man, he straightened as much as he could and slammed his misshappen fist to his chest. "Asha'man, if I may have a word?" The Asha'man in question looked up at him, irritation plain on his face. Obviously, the man hadn't expected the normally quiet Baran, of all people, to interrupt him in his duties. "I hope you have a very good reason to speak to me, Dedicated. Are there Trollocs in the Stone, perhaps?" The Asha'man rubbed at his temples again, closing his eyes to sigh for a moment before looking back up at Baran expectantly. "Well?" "No, Asha'man, there are no Trollocs. I was only going to inform you that that Ter'angreal might not respond well to your probes. Perhaps Air and-" The rest of Baran's advice was cut off by an eruption from the Asha'man. "You interrupted me to tell me how I should do my task, Dedicated? Perhaps you wish to tell me how I should do the rest of my work as well! I do not often find myself in the position of being ordered about by lower ranking men. What makes you think that I would even entertain listening to anything you have to say at this point? Go back to doing what you've been ordered to do, Dedicated, and leave the job of Asha'man to an Asha'man!" The other Asha'man had taken notice of the disturbance by now, and most were smirking as Baran was shouted down. Some moved around the table to get a better view of what was going on. Baran, for his part, was just relieved that he had self-control enough to not let his own anger show on his face. Instead, he simply nodded and stiffly turned around, intent on his boxes and papers. Let the man have his headaches then, let the fool choke on them! "Dedicated, have you forgotten something? Something that should be said? Perhaps something along the lines of 'Yes, Asha'man'?" Baran stopped at the sound of the other man's voice, doing his best to keep his anger in check. In a last ditch effort of defense, he formed the Void and used it to shield himself from his anger. Inside the Void, he knew what must be done and did it. "My apologies, Asha'man. I will remember in the future." His voice sound cold to him, distant, but inside the Void, it didn't really matter what was said. His anger was outside of him, walled away behind the Void. Still, he could feel it scraping the surface, trying to find a way in as it seethed outside of him. "Yes you will, Dedicated, because you are going to move these Ter'angreal out of this room by yourself when we are done with them, but first you are going to watch me successful activate this one now turn around and watch! You can do the rest of your work later. Possibly during mealtime." The Asha'man seemed to enjoy taking away food as punishment, but Baran had grown used to that. He hadn't lost too much weight, but there times when he felt like he should have. Still, he turned and watched the fool stubbornly batter the thing with Fire and Earth in vain, each time clutching at his head anew. Hours later, Baran finally could take no more. The Asha'man had by this time reduced himself to crouching on the floor, glaring at the Ter'angreal as he continued his attempts to force it to work. The fool refused to even try what Baran had tried to tell him to do, refused to even touch the thing with Spirit, but Baran had a growing feeling that it was either Spirit or Air that would get the thing to work. Suddenly, the Asha'man dropped the Ter'angreal and covered his eyes, letting out a scream of pain and frustration. Baran didn't even realize what he had done until he had Seized Saidin and channeled a Shield around the Asha'man. He thought to himself that perhaps he had spent too much time training new recruits as every Asha'man in the room suddenly looked at him. The first club of Air caught him across the back of his head, knocking him to his knees. In the space of seconds, too more to the same spot found him on the floor, and he quickly fell into merciful unconsciousness as the pummeling continued.
  5. Ah yes, the infernal Galactic Readiness thing. Another irritating idea. Forcing someone to play multiplayer to improve their single-player campaign is irritating to the extreme. Not to mention that we were promised by Bioware that you could still achieve the best endings without touching the multiplayer. To those interested, my fleet was maxed out, but my readiness remained at %50 throughout the course of the game. So in my experience, Shepard died. As to the other endings, though... 1. I'll admit that it is indeed possible for Shepard to live through the Destroy Reapers ending, but you have to sacrifice both EDI and the Geth to achieve victory, so while you may survive, it's not an ending I would prefer. 2. In the Control the Reapers ending, I'd disagree that Shepard is alive at all. In becoming a part of the Catalyst, he sacrifices both his body and humanity. The resulting fusion of the AI and Shepard's consciousness would probably be a new being, neither Shepard nor Catalyst. Whatever it would be, it wouldn't be Shepard. 3. I wouldn't think that the Synthesis ending would mean Shepard was alive either. Sure, maybe his cells were the blueprint for whatever was done, but his consciousness was erased in the process. I'm pretty sure you weren't saying that Shepard didn't die in any of the endings, I just felt it would be appropriate to respond to each ending as you mentioned them. As to the Stargazer thing, he never says whether or not the next story is sequential. Seeing how the game ended, in fact, I think the next one, if they make a next one, might be a prequel, perhaps telling the story of Shepard before he was a Spectre, possibly based on the chosen background. Also, the child says "The Shepard." Which sounds almost like a title, so for all we know, it could be about his descendants, or perhaps someone calling themselves Shepard in the future. Needless to say, I didn't like the endings. And needless to say, I still don't like them.
  6. Mat Cauthon for me as well. His irreverence for all things never fails to make me laugh, and his sweet, sweet foxhead medallion makes sure no bloody Aes Sedai is going to try and "put him in his place"...most of the time.
  7. Let me preface this particular rant with an undying pledge of love for the majority of the Mass Effect Series. When I first started to read the articles about the production of the first game, I was intrigued. When I actually bought and played the first game, I was ecstatic. Finally, a new space RPG that was more "Hard" Science-Fiction than it's fellows! Codex upon codex showered fluff-text down upon me like some magical fountain of fiction, and I greedily downed cup after cup of lore with just enough techo-babble to make the whole scenario at least sound plausible. Unlike many people, I loved the heck out of almost every aspect of that first game, from exploring myriad worlds in the Mako(A sort of cross between a moon rover and an APC), to chilling in an elevator and listening to my squadmates talk amongst themselves. The gameplay was awesome, the writing was great, and the score was so chock-full of synthesizers I thought I was going to have to meet up with Paul Atredies on Dune. Now of course, I'll admit being a fan of good Sci-Fi yarns totally colors my perceptions of the game, but Mass Effect 1 was one of my favorite games of all time. Bioware did an amazing job introducing me to a new universe with exciting characters and a universe so well established I actually thought I was going to have to pull a brick out of my pants. Mass Effect 2 was just as exciting for me. I bought it the day it came out, frothing at the mouth as I fumbled it into the disc tray for my 360, and didn't stop playing until the sun was just breaking over the horizon. Being able to import my character from a previous game isn't exactly a new idea to people who have been playing Bioware games for a while, but the way the choices of your first game impacted the choices of the second was incredible. Adding a "choose your plotline" option for players new to the series was just the icing on the cake. When I played the second game, I was a little disappointed with some of the changes they made. I mean, I'd rather roll around in my little space APC than fire probes that I constantly have to restock from orbit, and I'd rather buy goods from stores than buy plans for goods from stores before finally using the resources I'd gathered from my probing to manufacture said goods. Minor problems really, most of the game was still solid, and minor issues from the first game were improved. The second game introduces you to an almost entirely new cast of characters to crew your ship, The Normandy, and the ability to upgrade said ship before you finally go on your supposed suicide mission at the end of the game. I was a little disappointed that you really don't get to interact with your love interests from the first game but so much, but consoled myself with the idea that the time apart would make the emotional impact of the reunion so much sweeter in the third game. Unless of course, you choose to be unfaithful to your paramour from the first game and romance some of the newer characters. The way choices from previous games played over to the sequels was a hallmark of the series, which was why I was so excited for the final installment, Mass Effect 3. I pre-ordered the game, and practically squealled with delight as I unwrapped it and waited through the installation process on my 360. Right away, I knew my dreams had been answered. Bioware had successfully completed the series. Each mission led me further into a massive quest to unite the Galaxy against the threat of a race of massive synthetic lifeforms created to destroy all advanced civilizations to make way for the younger species, a massive fleet of galactic reset buttons lurking in the dark between galaxies. Plot point after plot point was hit, the writers were obviously in some kind of epic, pseudo-metaphysical gestalt with mother of all muses! All my characters survived the ending of the second game, and I was rewarded with reunions aplenty! My main character was re-united with his love from the first game, then went on to help restore the ability to reproduce to a practically neutered species. I engineered a lasting peace between a race of synthetic lifeforms and the creators who had been chased off-planet after they failed to destroy their unexpectedly sentient creations! Near the end of the game, I was still bouncing in my seat as I roamed the galaxy, collecting lost artifacts and ships to add to the might of my already-growing super-fleet. With all in readiness, I finally initated the sequence of events that would end the game. After an epic space battle cinematic, I managed to reconstitute myself from the pile of nerd on the floor and proceeded to fight my way across London in a desperate bid to save not only the then-occupied Earth, but also the rest of the galaxy. The ground battle was even more epic than the one in space, mostly because I could control my character in the fighting. Enemies fell before the combined might of my squad, my chosen love interest throwing enemies willy-nilly with her telekinetic prowess, even as my other favorite character, essentially your main character's best friend, mowed down mook after mook, occasionally popping up to decimate an enemy's shielding before I reduced the hapless monster to a flaming corpse. Yay for ammo that burns people! And then, things got bad. As my character led the final heroic charge, a stray blast from one of the monstrous robo-squid took out my entire party. My main character stood, horribly wounded and holding only a pistol, to struggle onwards. At that point, I was saddened by the loss of my blue-skinned space-amazon, but still excited that I would be able to take my In-Character revenge on my enemies. After staggering down a hall of corpses, I came upon my nemesis, a man who had brought my character back from death for the express purpose of winning the war and advancing the interests of humanity over those of the other races. Sadly, his zeal got the better of him throughout the series, and he ended up "more machine than man, twisted and evil." In a mighty display of super-heroic dialogue, I managed to convince this villain that his plans were flawed, that he had fallen under the sway of the very monsters he had set out to defeat. The final villain defeated without firing a single shot, I eagerly stepped forward to claim my victory, to see the culmination of every choice I had made in a series of games that I had played since 2007. Would my unfailing heroism be rewarded with a giant awards ceremony? Would my character somehow manage to find his lady love amongst the ruined rubble of the battlefield, miraculously unharmed? Would I see a future where they lived happily ever after, their offspring living for millenia, as the Mother's species was wont to do? Would I die, and in dying be rewarded with a funeral ceremony, being laid to rest next to my character's beloved? What splendors could possibly be in store for my Ultimate Good Guy? Instead, I was given a stereotypical "pick-an-ending". The only twist? I died in all of them. And not only I die, but the choices were delivered by an AI that took the form of a child my character had seen die earlier in the game, and had had nightmares about the rest of the time. And the choices were thus: Destroy the destroyers by snuffing out all synthetic life forms, including the race of machines I had worked so hard to reunite with their creators, as well as the cybernetics that kept my character alive after he had been resurrected. The massive space-transit system that gave the series it's name was destroyed in the process, trapping the myriad species in their respective corners of the galaxy, and dooming many to death as their colonies were cut off from vital supply routes. Aparrently you can survive this ending, though it sucks because half of your crew can't survive without the food grown on their respective planets. Fuse synthetic and organic life-forms into some kind of new fusion species, through the magic of the newly-revealed Starchild AI. You die, but the majority of your crew lives on in some kind of techno-organic Eden, each of them glittering and glowing with the eerie green light of their new fusion species. Oh, and the massive space-transit system that gave the series it's name was destroyed in the process, trapping the myriad species in their respective corners of the galaxy, and dooming many to death as their colonies were cut off from vital supply routes. Fulfill your greatest enemy's desire and take control of the monstrous robo-squids, bending them to your wish to serve Man even as your body is destroyed, your life extinguished. The process is not perfect, however, as the massive space-transit system that gave the series it's name was destroyed in the process, trapping the myriad species in their respective corners of the galaxy, and dooming many to death as their colonies were cut off from vital supply routes. So none of the choices made across the series meant a thing. Loyally buying every game and pausing to consider the ramifications of each action was not rewarded. Instead, I find that I have played a series of games on and off for roughly four to five years for an ending that basically consists of a giant middle finger from a developer that up until now, had never failed to deliver a satisfying ending to an epic RPG. Why spend so much time developing an excellent universe, why even present me with the ability to affect so much of the universe across three games, why allow those choices to carry through, each game, and then discard the entire premise of the series for a lazily-written choose-your-ending that flies in the face of the game's Sci-fi roots? I mean, why bother even writing a story so compelling, so amazingly beautiful that I become emotionally invested in the goings-on of the characters if you're going to destroy everything they've worked for in what amounts to the universe's greatest Pyrric Victory? I don't even know that I want to buy any more Bioware games after this. I mean, I've already bought the Old Republic, so I'll probably give that a try, but I don't know that I'll be able to look at their name on a game and feel compelled to buy it. I certainly know that I can't trust them to deliver a satisfying ending that feels like I've accomplished something. Maybe they wanted to go for a "futility of life" thing, I don't know. Or a Promethean "Man is not ready for such power" moral. Heck, for all I know they want to make people quit playing video games and force them to go out into the real world and get lives, a prospect I do not relish. Although in my opinion, it's another ploy to make people buy the eventual Down Loadable Content, you know, the one that will "fix the endings" and give us what we paid sixty dollars to see the first time. If I end up being right, I weep for the medium. If I'm right, I don't know that I'll be able to afford to keep playing. So yeah, Mass Effect: Great, great series, except for the last fifteen minutes.
  8. Baran stepped out of the cell, shrugging his shoulders self-consciously. He could almost feel the eyes on his back, could almost see the Aes Sedai glaring at him as he straightened his clothing and dusted himself off. Looking around, he was surpised to see shock on some of those ageless faces, and even more surpised to feel the emotion echoed in his own mind. It had been a strange conversation with the Amyrlin, made even stranger by the other Aes Sedai, some of whom had some rank within the Tower, if the way others deferred to them was any indication. "My thanks, Aes Sedai, for your kind hospitality." Baran quipped, making a leg to the collected women in clumsy irritation of the bows he had seen other Asha'man perform in the Black Tower, though they usually did so for the occasional sweetheart or wife. Perhaps the taunt was not the best of ideas, but he couldn't keep himself from it, his injured pride demanded some kind of revenge, however small it may be. He turned and began to walk, forcing his legs to stiffness in an effort not to quicken his pace. They may have been able to Shield and cage him, but he wasn't about to give them the satisfaction of seeing him run! He only got a few steps away before he was nearly waylaid by a Novice and Accepted, the pair of them making sure he made his way to the exit, and no other location within the Tower. He supposed they wanted to make sure he didn't fulfill his promise to that man, or whatever was left of the man after what had happened to him. He soon found himself back out in the yard he had been in before, and looked around for a moment before turning back to his escorts. "My thanks for your assistance. The Light shine on you both." He couldn't help himself. Some old habit, so deeply ingrained in him from his early years back home, forced him to mumble the curtesy to the pair, though their expressions changed the beginnings of irritation into amusement. He turned back and Seized on Saidin, relishing the feel of the One Power as he never had before. After another moment of simply enjoying the feel of being alive, he began to weave a Gateway. Inside, a small platform of bare earth, like the floor of a hovel, hovered in an expanse of black. He blinked for a moment as he felt the Power quaver in his grasp, nearly losing control as the gateway lurched and wavered for a second that seemed to last centuries. Then it was back under his control, and he stepped through hurridly, hoping no one had seen his brush with death aside from his escorts. He allowed the Gateway to close as the platform carried him through space without the sensation of movement, Skimming the Pattern back to the Black Tower. As the Gateway into the Travelling fields opened, he held no illusions that he would be in trouble. He just hoped he didn't end up executed.
  9. Grimmlocke

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    Hey there, hi there, ho there. It's been a while since I posted anything on this blog. Heck it's been a while since I posted anything on DM itself. But JordanCon is getting closer and I've found myself thinking more and more about the ol' Dragonmount. So, lemme catch you up on what I've been doing since I logged on last. (I think sometime in August?) I went abroad for the first time, got some foreign dirt under my nails. Good times. Israel is a fun place, I recommend a trip to those who can. And before you ask me if I had any kind of religious experience, or took the trip for any kind of spiritual reason, the answer is a resounding no. As cool as it would have been to experience some kind of mystical vision, or get bonked on the head with some kind a spiritual apple in a bizarre twist on the Newtonian legend, I remain a card-carrying Atheist. Well. I was card carrying. I might have misplaced it. The reason for my trip was, in fact, to visit another friend of mine, who shall remain nameless unless they decide to name themself. I vacationed two weeks in the Holy Land, though I would have rather spent three, just because I spent a good deal of time in the beginning with a rather upset stomach. The rest of the time, however, was well spent. I went to Metzada, the ruins of an old Roman fort on top of a mountain. It was occupied for a time by Jewish Zealots (Sicarii, I believe) sometime in the first century A.D. (Take that, C.E.!) We took a rather long flight of stairs up to the top of the mountain, which would have been bad enough if I hadn't still been fighting off the remnants of the aforementioned stomach bug. Those few of you who have met me know that I'm a bit on the round side. Still, I guess it was good for me to get some excersize, and the view was worth it. Unfortunately, due to an unfortunate recent beer mishap, I've managed to kill my laptop, which of course is where my pictures were located. Fortunately, I managed to throw the majority of them on my Facebook, which is the only place they exist for the moment. Yes, I know most of you don't know me, but if you want to look at them, just PM me, and I'll send you the pertinant information when I have a chance to get back on and check my box. I ate new and interesting foods, (Never had shwarma before, delicious!) and went to an Old Testament-themed amusement park. I also dipped a toe in the Dead Sea, which was nasty, and enjoyed the clear blue waters of the Red Sea, which was significantly less nasty. We even went to an Aquariam, followed by an underwater observetory. I was worried for a moment when I heard something scraping on metal while we were under the water, and then I looked out of a porthole and saw that it was only a Parrot Fish gnawing on a small outcropping of coral on the side of the structure. Aside from my computer issue, not much has happened to me. I got to 119 pages on my book, but then my computer died, erasing the around forty pages worth of stuff I had yet to back up. I was less than pleased. Hopefully I'll be able to scrape the money together soon to take it to a shop. I'm really hoping it's just the battery. Failing that, I hope it's just the motherboard. I really am hoping my hard drive wasn't affected. So yeah, other than those two major events I haven't really been doing much, just working my crappy convenience store job and staring sullenly at the laptop that fails to even turn on or charge. Oh wait, I also put in for time off to go to JordanCon. So...I should be able to get off my rotund rump and trundle on down there in a roadtrip with a friend I've managed to introduce to the Wheel of Time. I miss spell check. I'm sure there are errors in this post, but I'm not that big manually checking the spelling on most of the things I do. Yeah, I'm that lazy. So yes, I'm still alive, to those of you who were worried. To those of you who weren't, what's wrong with you? I mean, really, I'm obviously the most important person, place, or thing in the universe. Why wouldn't you care about the existence of an overweight twenty-five year old living with his mother and working at a convience store? Don't worry. I probably wouldn't have either.
  10. Baran Dholwin strode down one of the earthen roads that wound through the whole of the Farm, his boots crunching the occasional clump of frozen dirt. His foot slipped on a particularly icy patch, and he stumbled a step, almost falling before he righted himself. After a quick shake of his head and a mumble that improving the conditions of the roads would be a fine task for new recruits and Dedicated, he walked on. The reports weren't going to carry themselves, after all. Not that fetching and carrying such things was work for a Dedicated. Especially one so close to being Asha'man. He could feel it, he had felt himself growing stronger recently, though he still wasn't sure he would be able to defeat a full-fledged Asha'man. More a matter of skill than strength, though. Still grumbling, the Cairhienin continued his fast-paced walk towards the Citadel, so wrapped up in his self-important rambling that he was oblivious to most other people on the road. Inside the Citadel he passed more black-coated men, most with the dragon pin glittering on their collars, which only made him more conscious of his own lonely silver sword. He jammed his gnarled hands into his pockets and increased both the speed of his walk and grumbling, only vaguely aware that he had crumpled up the small packet of reports he had been clutching. He would have missed the odd pair of men waiting outside of Arath Faringal's office if they hadn't been in his path as he raised his head to look at the door. He still almost ignored them until he saw something he had not thought to see here in Andor. Indeed, he had not thought to see one in his life. "An Aiel? Here?" His shocked whisper was the only reaction he was aware of, though he was holding Saidin in an instant, the weaves for a ball of fire readying themselves in the back of his mind. Within the Void, Baran took hold of himself and tried to ignore a lifetime of stories about the Aiel, of playing at the Aiel war. Although in their games, Cairhien always defended itself successfully. He approached the pair, his voice cold through the Void. "I would not suggest bothering the Tsorovan'm'hael without a good reason." Though he was forced to look up at the two men, he did his best to appear to be looming over them, not a trick of the Power, more a trick of attitude. At least, as he understood it.
  11. I was decidedly meh of the entire affair. I didn't enjoy the way they just decided to pick and choose mutants from across canon, or how they decided to make Sebastian Shaw some kind of immortal super-being. All in all, it was irritating. If it didn't have the X-Men license, it would have been a solid movie, though.
  12. As I'm writing this, I'm wrapping up one of my dream vacations, which is to visit a place with ruins that date before the founding of the United States. Having visited the Israel, I am happy to report that I have completed this goal. Although now I have to hop on a plane tomorrow and fly for twelve hours in the economy class. *Sigh* The prices we pay to reach our dreams.
  13. Yeah, I haven't blogged in a while. Sorry to those of you who were hoping for more action from me in this...segment? Area? Whatever you want to call it. But hey, it's that time again! I'm irritated, some might even say angry, time for Grimm to put on his Rant Pants again! Excuse me while I go get changed. *Stomp stomp stomp* Okay, for folks to get a general understanding of the meat of my rant, you need to know a little more, or maybe just a little about me. I work in a convenience store. Not a large one at a crowded intersection, no, I work in a small one across from what most would call low-income housing. No, before you say it, I have no problem with people that don't make a lot of money. I work in a convenience store, remember? No, my problem isn't with the lower class people, my problem is with people of lower class. It's like I was told over and over again while I was growing up, "Trash is trash, no matter what color or how rich someone is." Now, I'm writing this at around two in the morning, so most of my online peeps are going to bed or going to work, which leaves me, an insomniac with little in the way of ambition or work ethic, with little to do but play video games and navel gaze. Sadly, I've beaten most of my games. But back to the topic. Me hating the majority of my customers at work. For a long time (I've been working there for almost four years), I couldn't understand my own vitriol towards my customers. Not that I would dare show it to them; in the interest of keeping my job, I wouldn't dare to offend any of the cretinous, small-minded, hateful little...poop kickers. I stumbled upon a possible answer today while in the midst of a minor, caffeine-fueled panic attack. My people were falling offline like dominoes, and I needed to try to put the frantic, "Holy crap my mind is vibrating out of existence" kind of feeling into words to someone, so I molested the only person I could find online at the time. (No, you pervs, not that kind of molested. Unless that's what does it for you, and then who am I to judge?) I'm not going to say who it was, unless they want to reveal themselves. Some folks like to keep it private when DM people suddenly pounce on them and start spewing their innermost thoughts on them like it's group therapy night at the Exorcist's house. And in the midst of my confused, rambling, scared-slash-irritated-slash-angry-slash-hurt mental vomiting, something interesting and/or useful came out. And here it is! Although I've edited it just a smidge. "Nah, I'm just frustrated that every day I feel a little more of myself die, that every day is just another ponderous grind of monotony, that every day I expose myself to the spite and venom of dozens of minds smaller than mine, and in doing so, feel the scope of my own shrink. Because every day, I look at people, and I KNOW that I'm better than them. And it makes me just as little as they are. And I hate myself, even as I hate them. And so I die a little more." And when I wrote that, I had to sit back and contemplate on what I had just said. Was it true? It may not be what I think, but is that what I feel when I'm at work? Now, hold up, midnight philosophers, before you start muddying the waters with such deeply complex questions as, "What is truth?", perhaps I'd better just get to my point. I don't know if it's true. It's a powerful thought on it's own. Such introspection is something I feel better left to mysticism, down paths it's just not in me to tread. Does this mean I'm afraid to face them? Heck if I know. Do I hate myself? Probably. For all I know, self-loathing is inherent to our species. It would certainly explain a lot. (I'm looking at you, The Spanish Inquisition.) Anyway. Sorry guys, it wasn't really much of a rant, was it? Just sort of me being ramble-y and navel gaze-y. Or maybe it was just another round of "Poor, pitiful me." But hey, people who wanted to see another post, look! Another post!
  14. Baran blinked, surprised to find three Aes Sedai gathered around his cell. Had he been concentrating that hard? He must have, to have missed the three ageless faces staring at him. He thought back, trying to remember what all had been said while he wasn't paying attention. He didn't like missing information when people were talking about him, and because he could channel, he knew that they would have been talking about him. After a few moments of careful thought he decided he hadn't missed much. They hadn't been there that long. He had only been thinking for a moment. He gave his most winning smile and gripped the bars of his cell, still idly working his way into the chinks and creases of the Shield that held him. It was difficult to concentrate and talk, he had not practiced doing more than one thing while weaving enough, most likely, but it seemed he would be forced to do so here. If, no, when he got out of the cell, he decided he would practice that a bit more diligently. Swallowing the anger that threatened to well up at his treatment by these women, he forced himself to be as civil as he had before. He would not stoop to the level of these women. "Greetings, Aes Sedai. How may I help you this fine day? As you see, it doesn't seem I'll be going anywhere for a little while." Baran gestured to the three walls of his cell with one hand, the other gripping the bars as tightly as they could. He would show these women his strength. If he was going to die, he would die facing his executioners, with a smile on his face. He smiled, and tried not to grind his teeth.
  15. Baran frowned. Was the Storm Leader done? Was that all he had been trying to do? Was he supposed to let down the Air Shield now? He hadn't been ordered to, and the other man still held the Power, so he decided to keep his own grip on the True Source and simply open a hole in the Shield for the weapon to pass through. If the Storm Leaders wanted more, they would tell him as much, and he would obey. For now though, he simply allowed himself to enjoy the struggle for life, the feel of being an ice crystal in a flow of magma, the feel of the Taint poisoning his soul, Baran savored it all, and waited.
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