Thursday, December 27, 2007

I'm Back!

Hey readers!

I had a wonderful Christmas vacation. I've gained weight (just a little) from all the turkey, apple pie, egg nog, cookies, corn, green beans, and....*sigh* everything else. Got alot of editing done on Lunar Dawn, I'm now done with the first 100 or so pages. My goal is to have the book ready by next summer, but who knows? I got a new digital camera, been playing with that alot. This is just a quick post to let you all know that I'll be back to work on this blog soon. I got a surprise for everyone, so keep checking in! I hope you all had a great holiday season, and have a happy new year!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pearl Harbor

Hello everyone,

It's December 7th, the day that continues to live in infamy. Over 60 years ago on this day at 8 AM, over 200 Japanese aircraft descended mercilessly on Pearl Harbor with the intention to completely destroy the American fleet. Over 2,300 sailors and Marines were killed as the island was bombarded by wave after wave of fighter planes. The very next day, Congress declared war on Japan, what would be referred to as "waking the giant".

Today we all ought to take just a few moments to remember that this is the day our nation was smacked in the face, and realized that our existence was at stake. So what did we do? What did millions of young men and boys all over the country do? They dropped what they were doing and went to volunteer. On that day, no draft was necessary because everyone knew what was happening. Nearly four years later, the Empire of Japan was brought to its knees by the Atom Bombs.

I'm not going to waste my time and energy writing about the politics of the times, or the conspiracy theories behind who MAY have known something about whatever. The fact is that we were attacked and we responded in the appropriate manner. Do I have a grudge against the Japanese today? No, that wouldn't be right, because the generation today isn't responsible for what happened so long ago. But be certain that this day transformed us into a mighty power. It was one of those rare times in history when we put aside our differences and banded together like good American citizens should every day, to fight a common enemy. Imagine what would happen if we did that to fight against the terrorists today? Or poverty?

"December 7th, 1941: a date that shall live forever in infamy." It's almost funny when you think about Roosevelt. He scratched out the original sentence, "a date that will live in world history" and replaced it with more passionate words. This is the day we lost our innocence and left home to do our job.

I'm sure hundreds of people are already at the memorial, standing just a few feet over the carcass of the USS Arizona. Moments of silence, prayers, and witness testimonies. May God forever allow their souls to rest in peace. I hope that we never forget this tragedy and blatant travesty.

Power to the pen, with which one may honor and give praise to the millions of dead who gave their LIVES for freedom!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Taking a Break

Hey guys,

I know it's been awhile since I last posted something, but I have a good reason. My first semester in college is drawing to a close, and the final exams are only a week away. After that I've got a nice, long break for Christmas, during which time I hope to edit alot of Lunar Dawn and write some more articles. I haven't forgotten about you so don't worry, I'll be back ASAP!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Crossed and Killed Over

Hey again everyone,

Thanksgiving is over and I'm about a hundred pounds heavier, but it was all in chocolate covered almonds so I ain't complaining. Still working on Lunar Dawn when I can, and I've almost broken the 100 page mark. After two more weeks, finals will be over and I'll get to chill at home on a long Christmas break. Hopefully, my juices will start flowing better and I'll be able to knock a good chunk of it out. My holiday was very nice. I got to see my little bro and FINALLY was able to play Halo 3, Bioshock and Guitar Hero III (which is nowhere NEAR as good as II, except for a very few songs). It was really nice to see all of the family from out of state, and I had duck for the first time in my life, which was just absolutely delicious. But all this cheer was all put on the back burner when I discovered that the Hollywood crap machine was spitting out another shameless slop job of a movie.

Over the break I got around to buying the DVD of Alien. It was a film released in 1979 directed by Ridley Scott (surprisingly, the same man who had me shaking my head with American Ganster). If you love science fiction and horror, then this movie is for you. The basic plot follows the journey of a commercial spaceship, the Nostromo, as it makes its way to Earth with millions of tons of mineral ore. The crew is rerouted to investigate a mysterious transmission of unknown origin and class. Upon doing so, they accidentally allow a hostile life form on board that rapidly grows into a deadly creature. Even though it's rated R, the violence and language are considerably tame compared to today's movies, so I still HIGHLY recommend it.

So why am I writing a bad review on Alien? Well I'm not, I'm writing a review on the bad people who had abused the franchise. After Alien in '79, there was a sequel: Aliens, followed by Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection, but the latter two films were not nearly as well-received as their predecessors. In 1990 the film Predator (starring our favorite Californian: Arnold. It's funny, if you ever see a movie poster for this film, his last name takes up the entire top line) was released in theaters. It only spawned one sequel, but would also fall victim to the same cruel vice against fans I am about to reveal.

Both films were such monumental hits that fans were screaming for more. In 2004, they got more both franchises in the movie Alien vs Predator. Now for those who had seen Freddy vs Jason, they may have been able to predict what was coming (Friday the 13th and A Nightmare on Elm Street were both regarded as excellent horror films by themselves, but the cross-over only gained a 40% approval rating). Concerning AVP, there isn't much to say. Two alien races come to Earth for one thing: carnage. They get plenty of it as humans are whacked off right and left. The concept is OKAY at the most: the Predators like to hunt powerful animals that are challenging to kill, and since the Alien race is nearly invincible, it's assumed they were after the ultimate prey. At the end, the battle between the two is technically inconclusive, but it DOES leave an opening for another film. But with so much negative criticism from fans and a sharp financial decline after only ONE WEEK of showing, would they really want to go on?

Well guess what? On Christmas Day of this year, AVP 2 is scheduled to be released in theaters. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? The first one wasn't that great, why push your luck? Isn't it BAD when you lose money?

This article is meant to chase after crossovers in general. When a big hit like Alien or Predator comes out, I fell that it's better off left alone to bask in its own, glorious aura. Works like that are so great because...well that's it! They stand on their own two feet apart from the mainstream. But put two works like that together and something in the film-making formula just goes all screwy. When they were separate, the creatures had a mysterious appeal to them and that helped make them scary. Revealing all there is to know about them? Eh...maybe in the sequel, MAYBE after lots of searching and following shady clues, but why reduce them to mere grunts in large armies going after each other?

It's just like those crappy, black and white movies where King Kong goes against Godzilla time after time and no one dies. In the original films, the monsters were these great, legendary beasts that no other creature on Earth could match....except ANOTHER legendary beast that no other...see where I'm going with this? It diminishes the glimmer of what the filmmakers wanted to portray as awe-inspiring.

The Marvel comics are just as guilty (might as well include DC, Vertigo, and some others), but there are over 100 characters in each series so that means there are about 10,000 possible comment...

Just because the first installment of the series (maybe the second) is good, the series can still be butchered beyond belief. The original Friday the 13th was a movie that became so popular it knocked The Empire Strikes Back off of its proper place at the #1 slot! There's a difference between senseless slashers and interesting crime films (such as Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs or John Carpenter's Halloween. Try comparing them to crap like Saw or Hostel) so I bet the original 13th wasn't bad. But its mass praise spawned a seemingly never-ending span of sequels that downgraded it from being special and transformed it into the cliche murder/massacre crap we've been getting non-stop ever since. The full story was told in three films. If they did such a good job with just three, why'd they have to go further? What were they thinking (more like, what were they NOT thinking)?!

Now, there is one exception, and it's a video game called Kingdom Hearts. Many famous Disney characters and other game personalities (such as Cloud Strife, Tifa Lockheart, etc.) make an appearance in this massive alchemy. But the catch is that it involves inter-dimensional travel, therefore, isolating the original worlds of each character. It was a good move, because it doesn't distort the back story and makes for an interesting combination of side-quests. The series has gotten lots of praise, but since I don't own a PS 2, I can't say from personal experience.

So what about CRAPPY cross-overs? Well, AVP 2 is the only film on the horizon that's been confirmed, so I've compiled a list to give the Hollywood hacks a few ideas:

Rocky vs Cinderella Man (I honestly don't know who'd win.....)

Harry Potter vs Earthsea

Lord of the Rings vs Eragon (Oh crap, somebody please kill me now...)

Master Cheif vs Samus Aran (The ULTIMATE battle of the sexes...)

Talledega Nights vs Blade of Glory (Yeah, an all-out fag fest....great...)

Star Wars vs Star Trek: The Borg against the Droids (What, no Jedi Knights?)

Resident Evil vs Doom (Demons from Hell against zombies? Hmm...)

Constantine vs The Exorcist

Jonny Cash vs Ray (Heck, why not?)

Lassie vs Old Yeller (Call the Humane Society...)

Home Alone vs Dennis the Menace

Okay, I think I'm getting carried away....just a little. Anyway, my point has been made. Hope you all are enjoying yourselves and survived the after-holiday sales. I was out there for only a little bit, but it was brutal *shiver*

Power to the pen and those who protect their life's work's dignity with it!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Terrors of the Turkey

Hello readers,

Well, it's the week of Thanksgiving. Yes, in only two short days, families all over the county will be sitting down to give God some SERIOUSLY overdue credit. It's that spectacular time of year when folks will try to ramble off everything that's happened to them over the past few months because they live too far away from their relatives and can't visit on a regular basis. As early as 9 AM, the highways will be jam-packed with over sized mini-vans full of crazy people who didn't get out of the house in time to beat rush hour (heck, even rush hour trying to sneak out early and can't even beat ITSELF). For many, this is the LAST thing they want to be apart of. I mean, honestly, could you REALLY look forward to a day when folks you haven't seen in who knows how long, come over and nearly eat all of your food? I've already sent out advanced emails to the family declaring my dorm room OFF LIMITS....unless they're in the mood for a Thanksgiving dinner consisting of saltine crackers, with some peanut butter, orange juice and Fig Newtons. I've only got one can of chunky soup left, and I'm saving it for an emergency.

And speaking of emergencies, that's exactly the kind of situation we're going to have on our hands AFTER the holiday is over! I am, of course, referring to a social crisis that you can only get by living in a capitalist society: shopping sales. Let's be realistic, mothers all over the US are drawing up battle plans for the imminent "D-Day" that's fast approaching. Several key establishments (aka "Target Zones") have already began fortifying themselves to repel the invasion of MPPCFs (money-packed-purse-carrying-females). THESE gals are the Navy Seals of the middle class. They can turn a family of one husband and three kids (maybe a dog) into a kick-butt band of cutthroat coupon commandos! So your son is only five years old? Ha! Ten seconds in parking lot at Wal-Mart and he'll be climbing on people to get that last container of yogurt because your geek cousin Phil "The Pill" Martin is lactose intolerant and can't eat ice cream for dessert.

Wait a sec....I got a great idea! This whole thing could solve the problem in Iraq! All we have to do is turn these 8+ million people loose in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Arabia, and have them use credit cards to buy out all of the terrorists' weapons! Why hasn't the CIA come up with this yet? If you can't beat em, buy em out! Just monpolize the black market and leave them with nothing but crappy rubber band guns, Nerf darts, and cherry bombs. Heh, strap THOSE on and try to blow up someone you rotten jihaders! I know what you're thinking: "They're hiding in caves." And all I can say is that you OBVIOUSLY don't know what a fully-trained MPPCF can do. Armed with a list, extra cell phone minutes, speed dial, and high heel shoes (Yes, high heels. The constant clicking against the tile floor warns civilians to get out of the way and avoid the cross-fire. It's a federal requirement.), they can find ANYTHING! So what if there are no more fat-free Oreos on the shelf? If the sales representative doesn't specifically say, "We do not have that item in stock," they have it, and they're about to lose it for 30% off the retail value.

The most annoying thing about after-holiday sales are those BORING commercials they show on TV. Every store you could possibly find in a phonebook seems to have something going on. Why? They're trying to avoid taking the blunt of the invasion by dumping it all on their competition. I mean, COME ON, you'd have to be one crazy store manager to invite that kind of punishment on your employees. The psychological damage that results is nearly irreversible. Bars owners have learned that even tripling their stock doesn't provide enough alcohol to stabilize each veteran that comes along. Those guys need a lot of juice.

"So, Ed, who were you with?"

"Best Buy, morning shift, 2nd CSP (customer service platoon), video game aisle."

"Woah, dude. Barkeep, set him up another one on me. What happened out there? I heard you boys got hit pretty hard."

"It was Hell man. The shift manager was down only ten minutes after the action started. The Geek Squad had to drag him behind the counter before they could get him to calm down."

"God have mercy!"

"Th...those moms, they were everywhere! Jumping out of the aisles, jumping out of the freking AISLES, man!"

"Poor chap."

"Here's to Benny. Newly released DVD's won't be the same without you."

Unfortunately, medical science has yet to find a way to protect clerks from such effects. Although group prep sessions have been clinically proven to help reduce the severity of the damage, this is a dangerous game, and new methods of cruel and unusual punishment are introduced each year. Thankfully, there's one safeguard that many stores now have in place: time limits. That's right, the sales are only good for about two hours for one day in the entire week.

*breaths* Well, in all seriousness, Thanksgiving IS a great time to celebrate this country we live in and the numberless blessings God Almighty has afforded to us. If you're having trouble thinking of things to be thankful for, just look around. You'll notice that our women don't have to cover their faces and walk twenty feet BEHIND the man they're with. You won't have to pray three times a day towards a city in the east you may have never been to. You don't even have to know which way east IS! But remember, there are those who have to work just because they got the short straw, or maybe they don't have a family to celebrate with period! And let's not forget the brave men and women who have to eat dinner in tents because they're overseas.

So while you're out in all the madness this week, do everyone a favor and be extra nice. Sure, it may be funny as crap to watch some poor ol sap get trampled like a bug in a heard of wildebeest at the mall, but wait till you're at least fifty feet away before laughing at them. I hope you all have a safe, turkey-stuffed Thanksgiving.

Power to the pen and those who set it down to count their blessings!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Surprise! A Crsis Prolonged

Hey readers,

Nothing too special has happened since the last post. I'm still editing Lunar Dawn for its printed version. Each time I get done I have to slowly back away from the computer and wipe the sweat off my brow, proof of how intense the action is in this story. Anyway, while I was surfing the net one day I came upon an interesting discovery. It seems young fantasy author Christopher Paolini has decided to expand his Inheritance series by making it a cycle (4 books) instead of a trilogy as he originally planned.

His argument for this was rather interesting: according to a video announcement, which can still be viewed ( Paolini says that he felt three books were not enough to fit the entire story into, in addition to not being in consistency with certain Personally, I've stumbled upon the exact situation myself in writing. Since the description of his choice is still kind of vague, we can only speculate as to what specifically contributed to the spawning of a fourth book.

What also interests me is how Random House seemed to go along without putting up a fuss. All of the Inheritance books so far have a reference to the trilogy printed somewhere on them, whether it be the front cover or the last page in the back. How are they going to handle the inconsistency? They obviously can't re-print millions of copies of both books just to correct that one mistake, and the idea of a re-call is ludicrous. The only practical solution is to drop the word "trilogy" and just call the series "Inheritance" with nothing else attached.

The bigger question concerns the audience. Will Inheritance fans be patient enough to wait for this forth book? It's been almost 3 years since Eldest was first released in hard cover on August 23, 2005, and people are getting tired of waiting on this still-untitled-book III. If he takes any longer on #4, other aspiring authors (such as yours truly) will have an ample chance of stealing the spotlight, thus increasing the competition.

What's funny is the fact that as I type these words, millions of people across the world are groaning to themselves, "Oh $%!#, now we have to put up with that stupid series even LONGER now?!" Insane asylums are being packed full with poor folks who just can't take it anymore, supermarkets are baring the doors and windows to prevent looting, the Nation Guard is stockpiling weapons, and special teams of riot police are being trained to handle the coming hysteria.

Ok....maybe it isn't THAT bad....yet.

After all this time, Paolini had best be able to pull off a really, REALLY good book if he wants to prove that good things come to those who wait. If not, well, I'll leave that up to your imagination.

Power to the pen and those who wield it!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Salute! Present...Graditude!

Good Monday morning readers,

I should have had this post up yesterday, but this topic ought to be discussed often. Veteran's Day was yesterday, the nation holiday where we set aside time to honor all of those, both living and dead, peace or war, who have served in the United States Armed Forces.

As I typed out an email to my grandfather thanking him for his service in Korea, I asked myself: Are veterans today satisfied with their work? In other words, do they think their sacrifice made this country better? Are they proud of what we have become? This quesion would have to be taken on an individual basis, but I have some thoughts. War has changed in style, tactics, conflicting parties and so on, but the basic principles and lessons the human race has failed to learn are still there. After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the recuiting stations were packed with volunteers. When American troops were committed to fight against the Communists in Vietnam, young boys were drug kicking and screaming to the battlefield. In 1941, the volunteers knew that everything they had grown to love was now thretened by two ominous foriegn powers. In 1969, folks were scratching their heads wondering why WE had to play policeman in a civil war over 1,000 miles away.

A soldier is a very amazing person. He isn't allowed to tell you what he thinks about the president or the goverment, but when you order him to go shoot another human who's been labled as a threat to national security, he simply replies, "Yes sir." Above all people on Earth, they hate war the most. Why? Well, because they fought it! I was reading an essay called "Okinawa: The Bloodiest Battle of All" by William Manchester. William was a Marine who fought and survived the battle. One of the objectives in his essay was to bring to light the true horror of warfare, as he experienced it. He says in one paragraph, "One of the facts withheld from civilians during World War II was that the Kabar fighting knives, with seven inch blades honed to such precision that you could shave with them, were issued to Marines and we were taught how to use them. You never cut downward. You drove the point of your blade into a man's lowe belley and ripped upward. In the process, you became soaked in another man's gore."

Sickening, isn't it? That's the price of defending freedom, and it hasn't changed at any time in history. When you're pitted against another human being who is just as zealous (in mose cases) for his cause as you are, there is only one rule: kill or be killed. Soldiers may not like the Congress that declares war or the President that orders such-and-so operation to quell whatever little brushfire in that small country way over which way, but they're stuck in it with millions of other men and women, all who are ready to die for us AND each other.

Are they proud?

In my studies I've noticed a significant difference between soldiers and civilians. There are two famous examples in our ouwn heritage. General George S. Patton saw fit to rampage into the U.S.S.R and crush their military power to such an extent, they would never be able to oppose us again. He said, "I could go whip em right now and make it look like it's their fault!" Why? Because he was an avid historian who knew their culture well, and he knew they couldn't be trusted. Did we listen? No. We had just beaten Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan after nearly five years of bloodshed. You'd have to crazy to keep going! Public support would have dropped like a rock, the other nations of the world would have seen us as no different than the Germans or Japanese, and more than likley, our tired military wouldn't have been able to get the job done quick enough, opening up the possibility of resorting to using the new Atom Bomb.

As a result of our noble dicison, the Soviets became a royal pain in the world's butt. The countries they liberated during the WW II never got their freedom back. They became part of the Iron Curtain, and what was left of Germany was divided into Communist East and the free West. The Cold War was on, and it wouldn't end until 1989, the same year I was born. General Patton knew what was coming. All we knew about was what had already happend. We wanted a quick end to the conflict without giving much care to the future result. Patton may have been right.

As that crisis was taking root, another grew up like a weed. North Korea had recieved unexcpeted support from hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops that pour across the Yalu River. MacArther demanded permission to fight back, but the Soviets *sigh* were political allies of the Chinese, and by this point, had also developed the Atom Bomb. To fight against China would have meant risking a fight with Russia. Stalin had Europe in the palm of his hand. If he entered the battle, another World War could have erupted. Despite Chinese agression, a truce ended hostilities on July 27, 1953. The border between the two nations became a neutral zone.

Because of our brave choice, North Korea still exists, using every cent of its money to build up the military, and China is getting stronger by the day. They have a domonating presence on the world market and their staggering population is enough to put rabbit breeding to shame. We were forced to back down in a tough spot at a bad time. MacArther could have been right. We may have been right.

Here we are in 2007. We've been fighting in Iraq for over four years. A nation that used to give up everything to protect its flag is now plagued with those who seek a right to burn it. Is this what out soldiers fought and died for? Is this why they answered the call? I have no answers, but let me say this: never should we hate or despise those who are forced to kill for our sake. They have given up everything so we can have it in their place.

To all veterans who may be readign this. Thank you. From the heart of a young man who is ignorant to all aspects of what it is REALLY like, thank you. You are in my prayers and thoughts.

General MacArther said in his final public appearence, "Old soldiers don't die, they just fade away." I wish that weren't so, and I hope your actions will be forever engrained in the memory of this nation.

The pen is mightier than the sword, eh? I say: power to the pen, but may God Almighty, and American the beautiful, bless those who chose the sword!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dull Day

Hello again readers,

Well, it's been a few days since I last posted. I've been real busy getting projects for college done and starting new ones. I am currently reading some fantasy books and I hope to post reviews for them soon.

Anyway, I was at the doctor the other day. While waiting to be called in, I looked up at the TV. There was a message that said, "If you cannot keep your appointment, please notify us 24 hours in advance." Why are they just now telling me this? It was only my second time visiting this office and I had no clue about their policies. By this point I was bored to tears, so I began to wonder off into very strange thoughts. I was soon making a list of all the things that would go wrong. What if I break my leg while climbing the stairs to my appointment? What then? Will I have to go up the stairs anyway to reschedule and THEN get my leg fixed? Or maybe I call, leave a message with the secretary, but then she has a heart attack and I don't hear from the doc till two weeks, giving time for the funeral and everything else.

What if I reschedule and then someone before me cancels? Do I have to go sooner and thus rearrange my daily plans to fit the change? What if there is a major terrorist attack and martial law is declared? Will there be anyone at the office to take my call?

This is stupid I know, but I'm not making it up, the TV actually said that, and it's got me paranoid.

Well, that's all I have the energy to write today. I'll be back with something of literary value next time. Oh, everything went fine by the way.

Power to the pen and those who aren't confused by it!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Don't Count All Your Eggs Before They're Hatched, One of Them Might Be Stolen! ( A review of the Inheritence conflict and my personal feelings)

Good day readers,

No introduction here, the title says it all.

Eragon...oh boy....Eragon....this topic is a powder keg waiting to go off. If you have a lot of friends that are die-hard fantasy lovers, you had best read this article, and others, to know what you're getting yourself into. This novel has caused one of the biggest firestorms among sword and sorcery readers today. For those of you who have read the book, you may like this, and for those who haven't, pay attention.

Eragon is a fantasy novel, the first in a trilogy called Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini. Paolini was home schooled, graduating at age 15. In multiple interviews, he stated that Eragon was not only a way to keep himself entertained while isolated at his Montana home, but also the tale of his boyhood daydreams. Eragon was first published through the Paolini family's private press, and the following year was spent promoting. In a stroke of good fortune, the book was picked up by the young son of Carl Hiaasan, an author employed under Random House. His son liked the book so much Carl brought it to his editor's attention. Shortly afterwards, it was accepted, and Random House got the rights to the entire trilogy. Eragon shot up to the top of the best-seller list like a backwards bolt of lightning, managing to knock Harry Potter of its place at the #1 slot.

Sounds like an amazing story, right? A classic rags-to-riches (for lack of a better term) tale that we all dream of? Well, so far we've only talked about the book, not the story contained within its pages.

The basic plot is this: a 15 year old farm boy named Eragon finds a mysterious egg, a dragon egg that the entire Empire is looking for. The egg hatches and Eragon names the dragon Sapphira. He happens to be living with his uncle, since his parents died long ago. The Empire's men kill the uncle in search of the egg, forcing Eragon to flee his home accompanied by an old hermit/warrior named Brom, who trains Eragon to fight as they run. Now, I'm only skimming the VERY surface of the novel, but does this all sound familiar? Of course it does! Here's the chart that many critics use to label the book:

Eragon=Luke Skywalker

Brom=Obi Wan Kenobi

Arya= Princess Leah (Except Arya is mean)

Sapphira=R2D2/C3PO/plans of Death Star

Garrow=Uncle Owen

Inheritance=Star Wars/Lord of the Rings

This is not MY brilliant idea or revelation. This is what thousands of people have seen for themselves. Personally, I didn't catch any of this crap when I first read the book at age 15. By that point in my life, I was trying to finish my own work and figured that a good way to sharpen the ol' mind was to read popular fantasy, thus getting a feel for the market. I'm not an avid reader, but I got through Eragon pretty quickly. Only after I finished its sequel, Eldest, did I begin to find out what was going on.

The list of things that Inheritence gets blasted for is endless: bad prose, bad character development, plagiarism, lack of consistency, lack of originality, etc. It's true that there are multiple flaws in every writer's work, even legends like C.S. Louis, Stephen King, Robert Jordan, and so on. For every few million who help get a best-seller where it is, there are ALWAYS those who have either never heard of it, or just aren't interested. For Eragon, however, it is a whole new thing. For every few million who buy and like the book, there are several thousand who are doing everything they can to kill it! I haven't seen a crucible this big since those religious people went after Harry Potter! But why try to burn Eragon at the stake? He isn't a witch.....I think.

What do I think? Well I enjoyed the novel. Sure there are plenty of things that I would have changed, like as the frequent use of the word 'aye'. Eragon uses this word almost every single time when he really means 'yes'. Normally I wouldn't be annoyed by this, but he's the ONLY character in the WHOLE book who says it! That's right, not even the dwarves of all people say it, and drawrs are supposed to be like Scotsmen: good ol' boys that drink loads of ale and kick butt for a living (lucky jerks). Wait.....did anyone notice that I called the dwarves 'drawrs'? See, that's what happens when you try to get involved in something like this. The two clashing sides swirl in your head like screeching infants until your brain goes numb and you start to hallucinate! To the normal, logical human being this whole thing is too weird to describe! How could someone hate a book so much?

No one can deny that SOMEBODY liked Eragon, because otherwise, a titan like Random House wouldn't have taken it to begin with. It's obvious that the editors and the readers are thinking on very different levels. It doesn't matter which side of this debate you pick, because everyone knows the similarities between Paolini, Lucas and Tolkien. To the die-hard, cannot stand, absolutely detest, anit-Eragon people, here's my question: Star Wars and LOTR has revolutionize literature/movies in every possible way. Who hasn't been inspired by them? And if Lucas hasn't filed suit, or Tolkien's family pressed charges, then why are you making such a fuss? Paolini's a new writer, why not wait and see how his other books do after Inheritance? He might improve.

Now, for all of those who love the series: if there was someone who made millions of dollars and received praises from crowds of adoring fans because they stole another person's ideas, wouldn't you want to know?
This is one reason I took such pains to eliminate all possible cliches from my work: because no debut author should have to endure the torment that Paolini has taken in such great stride. However, any author who frauds off of great artists ought to be exposed, but doing so is very difficult. Plagiarism is a tricky business, and if you've ever taken an advanced English class where they make you learn MLA (Maniacal Losers Academics as I call it) you know what I mean. There are so many small, tedious rules and guidelines that you have to take the work in question word by word. Surprisingly, there are lots who seem to want the job.

By far, the biggest disappointment for fans and haters of the series alike was the Eragon movie released in December of 2006. It starred Ed Speleers as Eragon, Jeremy Irons as Brom (one of my favorite actors) Robert Carlyle as Durza, and John Malkovich as King Galbatorix. It only garnered a 16% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes, the 10th lowest of the year. I saw the film myself, and I have one word for it....ARRRGGHHH!

HUGE sections of the book had been chopped out, and even the most basic plot elements were screwed around. Eragon was 17 in the film even though the novel describes him as 15 years old, having a birthday somewhere in the middle of the story. Did they even read the book? How could they not get THAT right? It was incredibly fast-paced, events that set up the other two books are just non-existent which eliminates the possibility of a sequel, my favorite roles (Brom and Durza, played by Irons and Carlyle) got the best lines in the film but they both die, and speaking of stars, poor Malkovich! Galbatorix was only mentioned in the book, NEVER seen in any part what so ever, (heck, even Eldest didn't even show him!) but in the movie he has, at the most, TEN minutes of screen time divided up into three short scenes. My dear friend Michale once commented on the role, "He's all like, 'I suffer without my we have to do that again I showed too much emotion'". He's right too, despite his short time in the film, Malkovich could have at least TRIED to be convincing.

Another disappointment for me was the fact that Peter Buchman wrote the screenplay. This guy is best known for Jurassic Park III, a film that I greatly enjoyed. Now, I'm willing to go easy on him....IF this is his first attempt at fantasy. Even BEFORE the film came out, every fan I talked to wanted Peter Jackson to do it. A quesiton I always ask myself about bad book-based movies is this: They know that millions of fans want the movie to be as good or better than the book, why can't they take the extra time to allow the author to get involved? What ever happened to all that talk about someone's vision?
With fans all over the world still waiting for book number three, both sides are probably getting ready for a showdown. Let's try to stay out of the crossfire, but by all means, get some popcorn ready because it's going to be a heck of a show.

Power to the pen and those who wield it without being cast alive into the blazing flames of senseless literary condemnation!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

A Very Good Morning

Hello again readers,

I hope you all had an awesome Halloween and first day of November. I didn't do much, but I have some exciting news that you may be interested in.

For those of you who haven't read my first post, I'm a novelist, or if you want to call me a free-lance writer that's fine too. My primary genres are fantasy and science fiction, even though I'm starting to dabble in the thriller aspect as well. My first book, Lunar Dawn, is currently available for download from an electronic company called Club Lighthouse Publishing (just look at my first post for their website).

But that's all about to change. As of this week, I have started down a path that will lead my book to a printing press. That's right, Lunar Dawn is coming out in paperback! Now many of you may be wondering why this is exciting. Well, I'll tell you why, starting with the story.

Lunar Dawn is the first installment in my series "The Eclipse Chronicles". The book begins in the middle of this destructive war in which the kingdom Juran is the last standing opposition to hordes of Demons that have overrun the planet. These Demons, however, come from outer space, so no one knows a single thing about them. Their technology is far superior and they have the Juran armies outnumbered at least 10 to 1. The only thing keeping the planet from being totally engulfed by darkness is a young Juran soldier named Ephraim Jordan. Ephraim is an alien who was taken in by the Jurans after his world was conquered by the same Demons he now fights against. He carried a sword called the Eclipse Crescent, which is embedded with supernatural magic powers. Ephraim is known as the Holy Knight, and the Demons want him dead more than anyone else. The only problem is that they can't beat him.

The novel follows Ephraim as he volunteers for a mission that basically orders him to end the war be way of slaying Cain, the Demon king. Along the way, Ephraim gets help from a number of people who all want to see the ear of terror end. His long time friend and mentor, the mage Codya Manasseh, accompanies him on the trip as they dive into a twisted web of danger and deceit. That's all I'm going to say about the basic plot, so I hope you're interested enough to read it.

What I WILL say is that it is nothing like any fantasy novel you've ever read. First of all, there are very few cliche elements, such as elves, dwarfs, etc. Even when I DID have them in the story, they've nearly been hunted to extinction by the Demons, thus playing a very insignificant role to begin with. I eventually thought, "Why bother?" So I took them out completely and focused on developing my other races, like Gravers, War Birds, Ra'kiy, and Nymphs just to name a few.

There were a few things I added from the conventional elements to make a kind of blend. For example, Ephraim is an alien from another planet. We know this because the book mentions that he has pointed ears, like an elf, and violate eyes with grey hair. I also introduced some classic horror characters that seem to have been forgotten over the years, especially in modern fantasy, like vampires and warlocks. Basically, I did everything I could to make sure this work was as original as possible.

But don't worry, I kept all the necessities of a good story: romance, suspense, horror, action, humor, more action, more romance, action and just too many things to list on this page!

Anyway, this is just an initial announcement. I will be editing the book to make the parts better and the overall flow more unique. More updates will be posted on here as soon as something develops. I'd be more take orders if you want your name on the list. Email me today!

Power to the pen and those who wield it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Yay! The day is finally here! I hope you all enjoy yourselves tonight. Be safe and have lots of fun! I'll be back tommorow, hopefully with a full article.

Power to the pen and those who can get candy with it!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Story of Spooky Stories

Hello again readers,

Well, tomorrow is the day that millions of children all over the nation are awaiting. It's the one night mom can't say 'no' to your sweet tooth. Yes, tomorrow is Halloween. I was running out of blog ideas until a young lady friend of mine suggested I write a brief history of the festival since many are confused about its origins and purpose. I assume many of you will be passing yourselves off as ghosts and ghouls this coming Wednesday. So I hope you find this interesting.

Where to begin? Well, to avoid plagiarism I'll state that all the information I am about to regurgitate comes from This is a great research website should you ever need one.

Now then, let's go back in time to the mid 5th century. The Celts of Ireland celebrated a festival known as "Samhain", which fell on November 1st. The word literally means "summer's end" and was used as a time to offer sacrifices to the gods as thanks for a prosperous harvest.

Far to the south, in the Roman Empire, citizens held a tribute to the goddess Pomona, the deity of fruit trees and abundance. When the Romans conquered Britain, they incorporated the Celtic traditions into their own. The Romans also instituted the festival Feralia, a day in which everyone offered prayers on behalf of the dead. As the Catholic Church arose, the observance of "All Saints Day" became a common practice. In the 8th century, Pope Gregory the III changed the date from May 13 to November 1st. "All Saints Day" was a time in which all the saints of the Catholic Church were honored. "All Hallows Eve" (Halloween) was a type of set-up night for the festival.

What about all the other things? Jack-o-lanterns for instance? According to legend, they were lamps used by a man named Jack as he wandered for eternity over the face of the earth, denied entrance to both Heaven and Hell. It was introduced to America in the 1840's, but the Irish who did so found it easier to use a pumpkin rather than the traditional turnip.

Bobbing for apples? An ancient version of throwing the bouquet at a wedding. Unmarried people who could bite into an apple on a string or in water were thought of as the next ones to get hitched.

Trick or treating? It resembles the All Souls Day of "going a-souling" in which the poor would beg door to door. They promised to say a prayer for the dead in exchange for charity. It is highly possible, however, that the practice as WE know developed here in America with no such connections.

Ghost stories? A Celtic belief that on Samhain, the boundaries between the world of the living and the realm of the dead were shattered, allowing departed ones to walk amongst us. It's obvious that this belief has survived.

What we can see is a large blend of ancient traditions, religious holidays and a little bit of our own creativity, producing Halloween that we know today. So as you get a piece of candy thrown into your bag, remember that many survived because it. Try putting THAT one past your parents. "Oh yes mommy, I need to go trick-or-treating because it may be the only way to get my next meal." Come to think of it, that's not such a bad idea....but don't forget to offer a prayer!

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this. I'll be back tomorrow with another post. And remember this: if you ever have comments or want me to talk about something that interests you personally, don't hesitate to send me an email! I'd love to hear from you. Most important of all, be safe, have fun, get LOTS of candy and stay away from those crappy horror flicks.

Power to the pen and those who scare the living heck our of people with it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

There will be no post today

I'm terribly sorry readers, but I simply did not have time to write an interesting article today. Please send me an email if you have any good ideas, I'd love to hear from you!

Power to the pen and those who wield it!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tube Tantrum

Hey readers,

I hope you are all having a wonderful Sunday afternoon like I am. My next rant is about a series of issues that plauge over 40 million people every day across the world. So sit back and relax as I point out the annoying quirks in our favorite video sharing community: Youtube.

Now, as most of us know, Youtube allows people to share videos of their favorite things, or post their own creations online for others to critique. It's safe, it's free, and all you have to do is follow a few rules. You have the option of flagging a video you think isn't suitable for the website, and being able to save that one comedy skit you nearly died watching is just awesome. It's a giant alchemy of every kind of video, some types you never knew existed, such as AMV's (Anime Music Videos) and fan dubs.

But that's precisely the problem! There's too dang many! It's all in a big, unorganized heap that we have to sort through. If you grew up without cable or satellite TV like I did, then getting high-speed Internet and logging onto Youtube is the next best thing. You can look up any video you want and watch for free. Sounds great, right? Well let's just hope that what you're looking for is on the most-popular list.

The main issue I have with Youtube is that is uses the same searching techniques as Google: finding individual words in lines of text and ranking them according to the number of hits they get. But why is that an issue? You have to be ultra specific with your terminology as you search. How come? Because there are too dang many articles or websites that make mention of stuff every day! You could be looking for an article that talks about classic movies, but somewhere in there you get a hit for a tutorial on how to use Windows Movie Maker. Why? Because the tag line has the very word "article" in it.

A good example of what I'm talking about is a search I did last night. I'm not a big fan of South Park, but I saw a funny clip from an episode that made fun of World of Warcraft. I laughed so hard I nearly choked! My family is coming to visit me in a few days. With them is my younger brother who likes the series. So I figured, "Why not favorite that clip to show him?" All I had to do was run a quick search and narrow it down to the correct video, right? A task that should have only taken a few minutes nearly drained a hour of my time. Want to know why? Because the clip didn't exist anymore!

That's right. A short video clip I had watched only a week ago had vanished without a trace. I typed in every search phrase I could think of using the words "South Park", "World of Warcraft", "episode" and "funny". The list of hits I browsed through was everything BUT the clip I was looking for. I got hits for music videos, fan made trailers of the episode, but not the episode itself! Heck I even got a hit for Invader Zim. I have three words for this...what the crap?! Even if the guy hated the site, quit and deleted everything on his account, there ought to be at least ONE other user out there who would gladly take his place. But no, I had to go all the way over to Myspace and look it up there. An easy way to fix this problem would be to have a better category system. All it takes is a simple program that requires videos to be labeled properly. And please, for the love of all that's sacred, get rid of the tag lines! Half the irrelevant hits I got were because the dumb users who posted the vids wrote in every possible tag word they could imagine. They REALLY want their videos to get watched! It's like searching for a needle in a haystack except there IS no needle anyway!

Another thing about this site that really sticks in my craw is the big deal they have about copyrighting. I'll use a hypothetical example of myself. If I post a Star Wars video, let's say an actual clip from one of the films, no editing, no dub or anything. Let's pretend that I forgot to post George Lucas as the director and 20th Century Fox as the studio that made it, or let's say I didn't know at all. Chances are that video will be scrapped. Why? I didn't give credit where credit is due. That's understandable in some cases, but why can't you just send me an email politely asking to correct the problem? If you go around deleting every video that violates your guidelines without giving them a chance, not only will they be confused as to what they did wrong, but they'll quit the site for sure.

The online laws of video copyrighting and piracy are as confusing as the website itself. No one gets it right all the time, so cut some slack!

Something else that's really odd are those red bars at the top of the screen telling you a video has been removed for whatever reason. If you click on a video link, you may see something like this:

"This video has been removed for terms of use violations."

Ok, that's fine, a little vague, but I have no complaint. It was probably obscene or something. On other occasions, however, you may see a line like:

"This video has been removed due to claims by Paramount Pictures."

What?! Are you freak'in kidding me? What's a billion-dollar studio like Paramount doing on Youtube anyway? It's no wonder that there are hardly any full-length movies on the site. There are video size limits yeah, but it's because the users are scared out of their wits! The big boys upstairs seem to be real paranoid about the whole piracy thing. I wouldn't want my work being copied illegally, but these guys have taken it to the extreme. It's like the Spanish Inquisition all over again: a complete search of the entire Internet looking for offenders. You'd better have plenty of ways to prove your innocence or you'll be burned at the stake, heretic.

This is just insane. I mean, if you were having a conversation with a friend trying to tell them about a great book you just finished, but had to keep repeating the author's name and publishing company every time it came up, you'd lose your mind! Same thing with Youtube. Do we REALLY have to give credit to something as well known as Star Wars? Half the world already knows who made it, and we're more than happy to educate the next generation. Fan videos seem to be a big target for this crap. But here's a thought: since most fan videos are dedicated to things that are popular, why not have Youtube just do a Google search and learn about it? If it's as popular as Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings, is there a need to say who wrote it? I sure as heck didn't invent either!

Speaking of Google, don't use it to search for videos you can't find on Youtube. Why? Because more than half the search results will be from Youtube anyway! My only advise is to chat with users who might have what you want and ask them to email it to you. Then hop back and forth between Youtube and Myspace. One of them is BOUND to have it.

*Sigh* Well, I'd better calm down before I hurt myself.

Power to the pen and those who wield it without fear of institutionalized repression!
(Original quote by Taylor Harbin)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

In the Gutter

Hello readers,

I overslept a great deal more than I wanted to on this Saturday, but last night I thought of a topic to write about that has gotten me all fired up. So fasten your seat belts, we're headed for the highway of controversy.

Ok, in my quest to find publishers for my material I've noticed that a lot of them have an Erotica section. This whole genre irritates me enough as it is, but the straw that breaks the camel's back here is when companies will say, "We accept erotica but no pornography."

What? Did I just read that?

That's right people: erotica is different from porn, or so THEY say. I'm here to dispel that lucid myth. I'm looking at the dictionary right now as I type this article. You know what it says?

Pornography: "Sexually explicit pictures, writing, or other material whose primary purpose is to cause sexual arousal." (

How could someone miss that? Now granted, I don't read "erotica" or stuff like that, but I've noticed a great deal of modern fantasy, such as the series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R. R. Martin, and the book "Acacia" by David Anothy Durham have some explicit material. I'm willing to give these guys a bit of leniency, since I'm sure sex is not the major theme of the novels, rather just unnecessary side stories. The point is this: how can you possibly make a distinction? Are erotic novels one step below porn because of the lack of pictures? I don't know, the cover art often seems pretty borderline to me.

The funny thing is that you'll never see big companies like Random House or Tor and Forge advertising an erotica section, the companies are always fairly new and low-budget, often electronic firms. They've probably figured out that these kinda of books push the envelope too far to the edge and will only sell to a certain percentage of the population. Smart move. Why would the literary titans want to pump millions of dollars into a genre of books that are, quite frankly, disgusting? Sexual slavery, women using prosthetics so they can play the male role with their lesbian partners, adultery, rape, and incest? Makes me sick each time I think about it! It's just another useless exploitation of the human imagination and gross depiction of the mistreatment of women...and sometimes men.

I remember reading a quote by some guy long ago who was reviewing an erotic novel, arguing this very issue. He said, "Pornography is just body parts moving together, erotica has a plot." There's...I'm sorry, I just can't see how that's true, since both "genres" have a HUGE theme of sex in one way or another. You NEVER see films compared in this way. Even if the rating is just PG-13, they ALWAYS say "Contains sexual content." No sugarcoating, just the bare, naked truth.

While we're on the subject, is there even such a thing as a "pornographic novel" today? (Yes, there were porn novels written in the Victorian age and so on, but that's another story) I thought it'd be fair to examine the differences between the two, but I can't find any website that sells these books. The only hits I can get on Google are articles written by established authors on the topic.

This whole thing is just stupid. I mean, it's like trying to define how someone can be legally drunk. They're still a danger to everyone out there if they get behind the wheel, but hey, at this toxicity, they may just CRIPPLE someone instead of killing them. I'll bet that a lot of companies are trying to do the same thing, the catch is that I've never heard an erotic novel reader give a good explanation as to what THEY think the difference is.

So what's it going to be readers? Are you a pervert or...a pervert? Honestly, why does anyone buy an erotic novel to begin with? As women say, "They only want one thing."

Now I'm hungry. So, till next time my friends.

Power to the pen and those who wield it with dignity!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire Emblem: To the Brink of Madness

Good morning everyone,

Ok, so I was at last night (actually it took me to watching clips of the Angry Video Game Nerd, when I see this picture appear on the side of the screen. It was a promotion for Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Now, I love RPG's such as Final Fantasy, the Lunar series, Baiten Kaitos, and so on. Marth and Roy were the two most awesome characters in Super Smash Bros Melee for the Game Cube, and on the same console, a Fire Emblem installment was released. I have just one question: why call it Radiant Dawn? The last FE title was Path of Radiance, and unless it has significant meaning to the story, I don't see the point. Was that the REAL Japanese title or the American distributors messing up again?

Anyway, I was interested by the screen so I clicked on it. A little bar came down at the top of the browser that said "Pop-up blocked, click here for options." Now any computer geek knows that holding down the Cnrtl button while left-clicking a link can open up whatever website you want in a new window and override many pop-up blockers. A handy trick and easy fix to the problem, right? Wrong. The bar just kept flashing, obviously not allowing me to get a new window for whatever reason. So I right-clicked it, choosing the "Always allow pop-ups for this website" option.

Here's what makes me mad: the blocker actually has to REFRESH the page! That's right! It can't just say, "Ok, he's unlocked the safeguard let's move on," no, it sets out on a personal vendetta, more like, "Oh, you didn't....that's it, it's on now boy! Take THIS!" The thing I hate about side window advertisements is that most of them are scams or all out boring to begin with, and if there is just one that DOES look remotely interesting, you have to put up with this stupid thing getting in your way every time. So after the page gets refreshed, I thought, "Alright, whatever, I'll just click it again." I looked on the page expecting Fire Emblem, but what I got in its place was a Honda label. Now I'll never know what the new game is about and probably go into depression, losing sleep as I try to pick up the pieces of my broken life.

It's not a total loss. The main character is a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros Brawl, released for both the Wii and Game Cube. So after I get home for Christmas, I'm going to the store, then me and Ike are gonna whoop some butt.

Power to the pen and those who wield it!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Igniting a Wild Fire


Welcome to Oblivion Sphere! This is my first post of the blog *sigh* what a feeling! I'll just start with a brief intro. I am a writer, a novelist, a creative engineer who cherishes his craft, constantly refining and improving it. My original dream was to be a comic book artist, manga especially. But at age 11 (or maybe 12?) I was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The pain and limiting effects of this disease (which I still carry six years later) compounded with my own dissatisfaction of my work, eventually led to me retiring the pencils and markers for good. At 15, I decided to try writing as an experiment to see if I could use it to channel all the energy built up inside. I started typing up a story on a computer we had in the basement, but then something happened: I couldn't stop! It exploded into an all-out obsession in just six weeks, when I had finished the first 175 pages. Now I spend a little time almost every day doing what I love, immersed in fantasy, science fiction, drama, romance, action, mystery and thrills.

My first novel, Lunar Dawn, is available for download at I have more books in this series on their way, but after there is also a load of homework calling me. Please return soon to read my next post or to comment on related subject matters! I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Power to the pen and those who wield it!

Taylor Harbin