News

News: I moved the keyboard to my room and now I feel strongly inclined to tell the world that I adore Phantom of the Opera. Everything is perfectly normal and no, I don't have access to any secret underground labyrinth...yet.

--12 August 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

December 30, 2010

When You're Out Drawin' Guns

...you've gotta have some of that Awesome Music to back you up ;)



I was rummaging through our old house "archives" of cd's and tapes (my dad was a junkie for those kinds of things and he picked up a ton of ... awesome music) when I found several CD's of interest. First, there was an ancient Enya CD (what??? My dad listened to Enya??? No wonder he told me her music was good XD). Then, there was this -- 22 Famous Western Film Tracks (that's the title folks). I'm listening to it for the first time (skimming through it of course) and here are my thoughts --

  • High Noon: Love the sound of this song. So, pretty and waltzy (almost).
  • Wand'rin Star: Umm, ok, I didn't like this one so much. It sounds like it's out of Aladdin or something.
  • Once Upon a Time in the West: Starts off like a lullaby and then kinda...reminds me of Enya's stuff. I wouldn't classify it as western. 
  • Rio Bravo: Hmm, more my kind of stuff. I actually thought there was a real dog growling when I realized it was the music. It's got that trumpety brassy sound and the drum beat is nice and distinct. Made me think of five evil guys facing off somewhere in a closed up town. The trumpet was nice...yeah. And when the beat picked up...uhh, it kinda reminded me of some sort of Mexican Sombrero Hat Dance or whatever :P 
  • The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: *shakes head* okay, this started out like some kind of techy dance music...the guys voices? Remember Robin Hood in Shrek 1? Remember that song the guys did? Think of that and think of techy dance music and western and electric guitar. Does it fit? err not really. But it was a fun listen :) 
  • Hang'm High: Best song EVER!! First time I've listened to it. It seriously reminded me of a hanging (not that I've ever seen one) but the drums and the violins were AWESOME! Hehe, there was a part where it sounded like pogo-sticks in the background, but other than that, it was a catchy tune. 
  • A Fistful of Dollars: Imagine, some sleazy thief crawling through back alleys, stalking two good cowboys on their dutiful cow ponies. Then imagine an army stalking those two guys. And the two guys just walk off into the sunset. That's kinda the mood of this song. 
  • A Gun for Ringo: Again, sounds more like a waltz. It was a'right. 
  • The Magnificent Seven: I swear, I've been seriously spoiled by Eric Kunzel's orchestra composition of this song. It sounds nothing like it "should". Really it's more metallic and "modernized" than what it should be. 
  • How The West Was Won: Ok, by now I'm beginning to wonder whether this Hollywood Studio Orchestra is more modern rather than classical. Seriously, this song sounds awful :S I was hoping for better. Mexican Hat Dance again. :( 
  • The Man With the Harmonica: Ok song, I didn't like the vocals for it but it was alright.
  • My Name is Nobody: Very electronica sounding. That weird sound at the beginning of the song (whatever it is) sounds just...wrong XD :P It sounds like someone is blowing bubbles in milk. The flute was beautiful! And those fun slides they did were kinda cute :P
  • A Fistful of Dynamite: I enjoyed the drum beat, but the piano (or electric piano, whatever that odd thing was) just didn't fit. I kinda liked the weird sound effects, they fit with this tone. I especially loved the last quarter or so of the song where they introduce the violin. It was epic.
  • Johnny Guitar: This started out sounding more or less like some kind of Native American music, rather than Western. Then they introduced the electric guitar *sticks out tongue* icky. And later they had some kind of Mexican guitar...I couldn't quite tell what it was. Maybe a mandolin.
  • Pancho Villa: They had some sci/fi sounding stuff in this one, but aside from that it was ok. There was a catchy beat -- methinks it would make great dancing music ;) Definitely reminded me of a Mexican get-together party :) fun stuff.
  • A Few Dollars More: I loved the beginning of this song. It's just so...catchy. That whistle thing (piccolo maybe?) sounded grand. This was a pretty good song. Weird vocals, but other than that, it was pretty good.
  • Ballad of the Alamo: Imagine standing on the top of a hill with the wind blowing all around you, rustling the grass -- then imagine your friend comes up beside you (you're both on horseback) and you race down the side towards a smoking village. The tune was more major than minor, but it was fitting.
  • The Comancheros: This was hilarious, if a song can be called hilarious. Imagine three dopey looking guys with scraggly straw hats and drooping gun holders, swaggering their way toward town. They're walking all bow-legged, hauling their horses behind them with their reigns in hands. Their spurs click the dust, causing small puffs to come up in the air. The rest of the song is a free-for-all. (I liked this one)
  • Bye Bye Colonel: As the title suggests, the song is in a minor key and has a very sad sound to it, probably suggesting someone's death (*ahem* someone being a colonel? Maybe). I can almost taste the acrid film of the smoke in my mouth -- just think of a burning Mexican city (yeah, this CD reminds me of the Mexican side of the west for some odd reason) with injured cowboys rummaging around and tending to the dead or wounded. You're in the middle of it all and before you lies your best friend...the colonel. A bullet through his chest; he just finished stuttering out his last words, now he's gone.
  • The Return of the Seven: *sigh* This wasn't what I expected it -- Eric Kunzel's doing again ;) I figured that they just don't hold the notes long enough and they don't have the great background music. The timing is a bit weird, but it's another variation of how I've heard it.
  • Good Luck Jack: Kind of reminded me of Bye Bye Colonel, but with a bit of a lighter mood. Let's say, a funeral procession. It has that churchy feel to it.
  • La Libertad: As the title suggests, it's a cheesy kind of liberty/freedom sort of song. I felt like I was staring at cowboys as they dashed towards Chucky Cheese's entrance door. :S

All in all, this CD was a disappointment to me. I was hoping for some better songs--more western like rather than electronica/dancy feeling.


Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.2; Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

Now this was a stunning find. I LOVE it. Ok, so I'm going to listen to it and then type out what I kind of imagine as I listen. It should be interesting.

A beautiful woman enters, with a flowing grey gown. She stands beside the edge of a crystal clear lake, staring solemnly into the water as it twists and twirls before her eyes. The image of her loved one appears to her, kind of like a ghost. Yet she cannot reach him, for he is but a reflection in the water. A tear drops from her eye and settles into the water, catching itself on the reflection of her lover's face. She kneels before the water, bending close so as to get a closer look, but ...
Her lover drifts off and floats away. The woman has a terribly sad look on her face as she watches the reflection shimmer itself away. Drying her tears, the woman swallows hard and gets up, dusting off her elegant dress.

Guards dressed in black armor watch as their mistress walks along the side of the indoor cavern/lake. She paces back and forth, her royal poise is accentuated as she steps, barefooted, from rock to rock, recalling to mind the memories of her lover and her as they had once strode around this lake in the past.


Okay. that took us to the 3 minute 43 second mark. It goes on for another 7.5 minutes :P I'll spare you the angst. That piece, in case you were wondering, was called Moderato, from the CD mentioned above.


Wagner: Die Walk├╝re - Ride Of The Valkyries

This song was epic. Absolutely EPIC! The title, Ride of the Valkyries really does kind of explain everything. The sliding violin strokes, the deep brass notes, the trills in the background -- they all lead to a sensation of tension and fleeing/majesty. I really love this song. It's got some bright parts, but for the majority, the dark undertones take control of the direction of the piece. It definitely reminds me of valkyries (check that link in case you don't know the term). Okay, okay, I'll tell you. In Greek mythology (which none of us here believe in, I hope :P ) the valkyries were maidens of Odin who, essentially, chose who would be destroyed in battle. Lovely job description eh? Thus you can see why this song, Ride of the Valkyries, has such dark undertones. :P And the sweeping violin strokes really do help get that tone.

The Best of Bandura -- played by Victor Mishalow -- Echo of the Steppes

This song is played with the Ukranian bandura, a multi-stringed instrument. Check it out (seriously crazy for someone to play it...lots of practice lol!)


 So, here's something I saw on the CD package (what I could read lol...the English description of course, my Ukranian isn't very polished...especially since it's not a required language in Canada; I've studied more French, Italian, and German than Ukranian, but since it's part of my heritage, I've tried to learn some...the reading is hard though, because of the different letters).

The bandura is a multi-stringed Ukrainian folk instrument with a history dating back to the seventh century. It was extremely popular among the Ukrainian Cossacks, and was adopted by the "Kobzari", wandering blind minstrels who traversed the country side singing epic ballads about heroic exploits of the Cossacks. Although the Kobzari have disappeared, the legacy of their art has survived, and is currently undergoing a Renaissance. The modern concert bandura has 65 strings and is chromatically tuned through 5 octaves. The strings are plucked with fingertips, resulting in a sound similar to that of a harp and harpsichord combined.

So there is some history for you. I hope you've enjoyed this rather intriguing musical review session :)

Signed with a glissando,

Squeaks.

December 25, 2010

MERRY CHRISTMAS!


MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Remember, today is not about--
presents or food.
It's about Christ.


Help keep "Christ" in Christmas! But above all -
Remember the real reason for this holiday.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!


Squeaks.

December 14, 2010

All Hands On Deck!!!

Frigate
I've always had a thing for ships, but not the newfangled steel monsters. I love the old wooden frigates and galleons, the ones with the rope rigging and clothe sails. My dream would be to live life as a sailor, splashing my way across the sea at the sharp bow of a man-of-war/frigate. Unfortunately, I don't know much about ships. I've always had a love for them, but I have a hard time telling starboard from port (larboard).

I've had this new idea spinning in my mind, story-wise. It would take place somewhere around 17th century England. I want it to be a sea-going novel. Something with ships and fights on the high-seas. A battle for water and treasure. Something with pirates and naval armies. Something...with ships.

Spanish Galleon
Now, knowing my lack of knowledge of ships and my desire to write about them, I would like to ask you for a bit of help (thus the title All Hands On Deck!!!). If you're a ship lover or know of any sites that really dissect the anatomy of a ship (mainly including frigates and galleons) I would really really really appreciate if you shared with me :) Anything that has to do with the anatomy of a ship, even if it seems babyish or simplistic, please drop me a link in a comment. I'm sure I'll be able to grab something of use from no matter what you offer :)


Signed on the poop deck

Squeaks.

“Areopagitica” by John Milton

John Milton was a highly esteemed poet/writer from the 1600s. He wrote the epic poem Paradise Lost (some of you may be familiar with it; a fair amount of our “concepts” about Hell and the Fall come from this poem). More likely than not, you’ve never heard of his beautiful piece “Areopagitica”. It is, as my text book (The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 8th edition, Volume A) says, a “passionate, trenchant defense of intellectual liberty”. It is a point of influence when it comes to our laws on freedom of speech, press, and thought.

Milton originally wrote “Areopagitica” to defend intellectual liberty. You see, at the time, the Catholic Church and the government had come down hard on publishing of all sorts of materials. If your book was not licensed, it could not be published. The problem was that those in charge of providing licenses were of the Roman Catholic Church and did not agree with secular books, therefore they would not give licenses to books they found inappropriate or contrary to the Word of God (or at least how they interpreted the Word).

As I read through the pages of “Areopagitica” I found myself really loving Milton’s way of expressing himself. Just listen to these quotes:

For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are…

And yet on the other hand unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book; who kills a man kills a reasonable creature, God’s image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye. Many a man lives a burden to the earth; but a good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.

Truth indeed came once into the world with her Divine Master, and was a perfect shape most glorious to look on: but when he ascended, and his apostles after him were laid asleep, then straight arose a wicked race of deceivers, who, as that story goes of the Egyptian Typhon with his conspirators, how they dealt with the good Osiris, took the virgin Truth, hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds. From that time ever since, the sad friends of Truth, such as durst appear, imitating the careful search that Isis made for the mangled body of Osiris, went up and down gathering up limb by limb, still as they could find them.

{take a moment and re-read those quotes; I know you want to see what comes next, but there is some real treasure buried in the context of these phrases – if you haven’t crunched through them slowly, you won’t understand them}

Aren’t those quotes absolutely genius? I should very much have liked to know Milton. Just look at those first two quotes! Books hold the life of the master spirit who wrote them. That sounds so poetic (of course, Milton was a poet). Now see here, Milton was not talking about your average fairytale or fantasy novel (at the time such books were scarce); he was fighting for the release of free publication for books of reason and intellect.

Just reading through “Areopagitica” made my heart thrum and my fingers itch. I wanted to pick up the nearest reason-based book and devour it. I wanted to write my own book of reason. It was then that I realized, sadly, I personally do not have in my possession many books of reason (my dad does though). I also realized that my own beliefs are text-based. I read what others have come to conclude, thumb through the proofs given, and accept them as my own. Is there something wrong with that picture? I think there is; I want to write of my own beliefs and develop my own proofs, drawing from history and fact, yet I cannot think of anything worthwhile to say.

If a book is the progeny of the master spirit, the child of the author who bled into the pages their opinions and beliefs, then my books are phantoms and my tales are ghosts. They are not life-like and full-bodied as Milton’s works. They are not living and breathing, rather they are dead. They never really were birthed; they’re just clay models – I try to convince myself that they are real, living breathing organisms, but I fool myself by saying so.

What do I do? Must I quit my hobby of writing fantasy to follow my yearning for deep thinking and theology? Must I put down my feathered pen and pick up the pencil of an apprentice thinker? I don’t like to think that what I’ve given to this world is worth nothing; how pitiful. Yet it is so true. Has my writing made me think? Has it challenged me to step within a hair’s breadth of insanity? Have I grown at all during this journey of mine? Perhaps a centimeter, but certainly not more than that.

Again, I repeat, what do I do? Has my career as a writer really gone to waste? Think with me, for this is serious stuff, has your writing advanced society? Has it brought light upon issues that are considered untouchable? Have you challenged yourself and your reader? If so, in what ways? If not, why?
I know why I haven’t challenged myself. I see writing as a past-time. A hobby I can turn to when I’m an emotional wreck or simply in need of ranting my feelings. My books? They’re just big globs of characters trying to unstick themselves from situations that, really, are pointless.

Now this is not to say that one cannot (or should not) write fantasy. I think society has become more imaginative because of such genres (at least the authors have). What I am saying is that our writing is so lax. Let me explain.

I’m not just a fantasy lover; I’ve also delved into several other genres as well, including: mystery, historical fiction, historical, biographies, and Christian romance. I’ve noticed, particularly in the Christian romance genre, that the point of the book is utterly pointless. I don’t learn anything from those books; they’re nice to read (especially since the Christian romance is so cute) but they have no point. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that they make society duller instead of sharper. What we need in our world is reading material that will force us to think. Even historical fiction and history can dull a person. Do they force you to think about life and what you believe? No; they' recount facts and half-facts from the past.

People today live by hand-me-down religion. They believe what their parents believe, or what their friends believe. I imagine many people have not taken the time to really think about what they believe. Perhaps it just “makes sense” and they accept that. Let me ask you a question: have you really taken the time to wonder about what you believe in? Have you taken the time to research and ponder the reason things work? And I don’t mean just giving a couple hours or a day, but really study and push your brain to the limit.

I’ve looked through my old journals and such, including the spiral notebooks I used in grade 5 and I’ve found something quite intriguing. When I was 9 and under (in age) I had a great knack for researching my beliefs and studying things. I look at those old notebooks and shake my head in wonder. Upon those tattered pages lie recipes for how to work with people, how to get along well in the world, and why people do certain things. I was a thinker. Now, I’m a copy-cat. I take the beliefs of others and apply them to my life. How sad.

As a nine-year-old, I was thinking upon things such as: why do Christians act the way they do? How do I love my parents efficiently? What can I do to keep from getting in trouble? How does body language affect conversation? What is sin? How does sin work? What is guilt? Why is the tongue considered a device of destruction? How does one make the best of their day?

Honestly, I believe I was far wiser when I was nine than now. Sure, I might know about the suprachiasmatic nuclei and the cycle of life for ferns; I may have dissected rats and hearts; I may have been exposed to dead things and experienced the pain of loosing family members. What does that amount to, though? Simply experience. I have learned something, but how does it apply to life? Do I understand life any better now than when I was 12? In some ways, yes, but when I think of the big picture, the answer is no. I don’t know much more than when I was 12. I might be a bit wiser and understand things and how they work better, but I’m no closer to answering my big “questions” than when I was a child. Tell me if you think that is pitiful or not.

So, now that I’ve covered this grand topic, how do I fix myself? How do I become a thinker once again? Perhaps the first, most important step, is to realize the error. That is something I have done in writing this. The next step is to set goals. This I have done (and will discuss in one moment). The final step, is to think. To uncover, discover, and become a philosopher of my time. To step out of my fantasy world and start musing upon the things God has given us. He did not create us to simply sit and learn what others have discovered, He wants us to dig up the cans of worms, open them, and start asking question. Start honing ourselves in what we believe.

My goals, therefore, include: dusting off my old theology books and scanning the pages, writing down the simplest questions that come to mind and trying to find legitimate answers for them, picking up the history books and learning of the past. I also intend to read more of Milton’s works – if even one is so grand as “Areopagitica”, I shall be quite pleased.

Now one question remains. What will you do?


Squeaks.

December 12, 2010

TRRFLG Winner

I've tallied up all your points for The Really Really Fun/Lame Game! Here are some points to put out first, before I go through the list:

  1. A lot of you misread the instructions :S And only put down the author name! So I'm afraid you'll only get...*sigh* 2 points for those entries. 
  2. Only 1 person discovered the hidden message with just the hints on the screen!! I'm very proud to give -- *ahem* but we'll get to that in a moment. Now...for the Answers and the Points!

Points

  • Elizabeth Liberty: 4 points!
  • Caroline: 4 points!
  • Manny: 4 points!
  • SOTK: 6 points!
  • Jake: 6 points!
  • Director: 8 points!
  • Icewolf: 10 points!
  • Jessica: 10 points!
  • Noah: 20 points!!!

Answers

  • Picture 2: Bleah Briann's blog "~With Love And Kisses~"
  • Picture 3: Icewolf's blog "Define Normal (for my lack of one)"
  • Picture 4: SOTK's blog "The Christian Writer's Haven"
  • Picture 5: Jake's blog "Pen in my Hand"
  • Hidden Statement's: They're all written in white ink, so you have to highlight the page with your cursor and find them XD I'm trixy eh? Okay, so...
    • 5 pointer: Highlight the text after the description for Picture 5, you'll see in small print, it says: Hehehe, this is the HIDDEN STATEMENT!!! And you probably don't even know that it's here unless you're a genius! Now look for more of these messages for extra points!!
    •  1 pointer: The first one is located at the top of the blog. Go to the rules for TRRFLG and head down to point number 5. At the end of the sentence, highlight the space after and you'll see: Mwhaahahah -- can you find it??
    • 1 pointer (x2): The next two 1-pointers are at the bottom of the post. The first one is before my signature "Signed with a loose tooth" (in the white space between the paragraphs) It says: Hehehe, how's this for a trial? You're getting close my pumpkin!
      The second 1-pointer is just after the signature "Signed with a loose tooth" in that white space. It says: What? A LOOSE TOOTH???

So how did you do? Did you get stumped with those hidden messages? It was a lot of fun watching you guys :P Only Noah got everything correct (and by everything, I mean, Everything!)


Congrats NOAH! You can take this really cheesy TRRFLG Winner button and put it on your blog or wherever you wish to put it! Next month, we'll find another winner...and there will be NEW challenges! Now here's the button for Noah!!








So *dusts hands off* that's that. Thanks for participating folks! Next time, you're the one who's name will be on some random button...this one has spilled milk and American colours (minus the blue)...the next one may have a rabbit, or a broken egg -- whatever is random goes! So, cheerio for now!! (and don't steal the button unless you're Noah...but in that case it wouldn't be called stealing...lol)




Signed with Captain Hook's sword (yup, I was watching Hook), 


Squeaks.

December 8, 2010

The Really Really Fun/Lame Game

We're going to play a game *gasp*

*pauses*

What? Squeaks? We're here to read...not play.

I know that, folks, but this isn't just any game. It's the Really Really Fun/Lame Game. How does it work? Here...lemme show you:

How to Play The Really Really Fun/Lame Game

  1. First, you will look at the picture I provide
  2. Second, you will guess:
    1. The name of the Blog (2 points for totally correct guess -- 1 point for partially correct guess)
    2. The name of the person who wrote the blog (2 points for totally correct guess -- 1 point for partially correct guess)
  3. The person who gets the most points wins The Really Really Fun/Lame Game Button! (soon to come)
  4. If you own the blog, I'm afraid you will only get points for guessing the name of the blog. That's all :P 
  5. See the very bottom of this post for information on how to get 5 instant points towards winning The Really Really Fun/Lame Game button! Mwhaahahah -- can you find it??

Ready to play? Here we goooo.....



Picture 1: Home Sweet Home {this one doesn't count}

My Dashboard Home :) Now...on to the REAL quest :P

Picture 2: What's Pink and Pink and Pink all over? Guessalations!

What's the name of this most amazing blog & whoooooo make's it what it is today? (who's the author? lol)


Picture 3: You're a Poet who Don't Know it! That has nothing to do with this, of course...

Blog name? Author Name? Can you guess any other...missing names?


Picture 4: Mwhahahaha!!! Desolation! Fire breathing mongrels! *deep grim laugh*

Blog name? Author name? Any other names?


Picture 5: Poky! Tis a blog of great wonder! And great...strangeness. Hehehe, this is the HIDDEN STATEMENT!!! And you probably don't even know that it's here unless you're a genius! Now look for more of these messages for extra points!!
Author Name? Blog Name? Who ran away with the evil R's? (guess what the r's are too, but you don't get points for that)



Happy Hunting! Oh right...and I forgot to mention, if any of you find the HIDDEN STATEMENT (somewhere in this post...you'll know when you find it!) *grins like a hippo* then you'll get 5 extra points! The hint? You'll find the answer in the last place you look. {Edit} And I've thrown in 1 extra point for the three statements that you'll be directed to find AFTER you find the 5 pointer one :P Directions included in that statement :P

{EDIT!} Okay, so my mom said I didn't give enough of a hint (I showed her the 5 pointer :P) so here's the better hint...to find the 5 pointer, you have to do something you normally wouldn't think of doing. Even that's saying too much. Okay? And even if you don't find it, I'll release the answer later on so you won't boggle your mind out :P Oh right, and the 5 pointer CLEARLY SAYS that you've won...seriously, when you find it, you'll know it.
Hehehe, how's this for a trial? You're getting close my pumpkin!
Signed with a loose tooth,
What? A LOOSE TOOTH????
Squeaks.

{p.s. I don't really have a loose tooth lol...just a lazy eye (see Fivel Goes West, the movie}

December 6, 2010

Editing -- What It's Like for a First Timer

Editing. The very word sends shivers up my spine and causes my flesh to crawl with unseen phantom-bugs. Editing. Why on earth did they have to give such a wonderful task a terrible, no, a horrid name? It beats me.

{not my image}

I'm editing right now, even though I wish not to be. You see, I've edited before, but I've never edited a book. I've re-written essays and short stories, even a couple poems, but never a fully finished (and beautifully completed) book. So what have I done? What's gotten into my strange mind?

The Adventures of Ramsy Motch has taken a crazy -- a terrifying -- change. What? How? What did you do, Squeaks?? Hold on, let me tell you. TARM is no longer going to be a measly 50,000 words long. It's not going to be filled with boring characters that act as puppets to convey a tale of nobility, courage, and honour. It is NOT going to be a child's book. No longer. That form of TARM died officially, yesterday morning. How did it happen? Let me tell you.

I woke up yesterday (duh!) and came upstairs. Dad had already fed the animals, so the only thing for me to do was sit and stare at mom as she drank her coffee. We'd be off to Church in two hours, so I had time to stare and do nothing. Then came the inevitable:

"So Squeaks, what's going on with TARM?"
I stare at mom some more and then think about my beautiful book. I let my mind reach out to the character's I've come to love and adore. What is going on with TARM? Then, the purpose of my book hits me like a smack in the face (yeah, I guess it kinda hurt).

"I've decided," I say as I finally begin to piece together the puzzle, "that TARM#1 is not fully finished."
"What do you mean?" asks mom as she sips more of her heavenly coffee. I stare openly at the steaming cup, wishing I'd be given permission to have some of that angelic brew. Why parents decide certain things is totally over my head. *huffs*

"Squeaks?"
"Oh well," I say as I pull my focus away from the cup, "TARM is not finished. It's not going to be a 50,000 word book. It's going to be a 150,000 word book. Maybe even more than that."
Mom gives a small gasp (barely audible), "Why? I thought it was a kids book?"
"No, I'm making it a teen book. I want to develop the characters more. I want to spend more time getting to know them. 50,000 words for one book isn't enough. So I'm going to combine the first three books I'd planned and lop them into one."
Mom looks at me strangely.


So that's how it happened. Now, as I edit TARM#1 (which is really going to read TARM Part 1...there'll be 3 parts to the book) I think of the long road ahead of me. 150,000 words. I've already written some 70,000. Not even half-way. That's kind of depressing for me to think, but it's true. Now this might not make any sense to you since you don't know much about TARM, but I assure you, I'll let you know more.

{not my image}


At the current moment, I've printed out the copy of TARM P-1 (it's 108 Microsoft Word pages, but I print on both sides of the paper so it's only like 54). I hole-punched it and stuck it in a green soft-cover binder. I made a lame cover page and now, the first 1.5 chapters have been thoroughly doused with purple ink. My editing pen, so I call it.

I spent 10 minutes on Saturday expanding first bit of the opening scene. (huh?) Yes...originally the part I was working on was some 70 words...it's like 200 now.

So what are some of the issues that I've noticed so far with my writing?
  1. The sentence structure needs quite a bit of work. I've noticed that I'm telling instead of showing and that I'm sometimes telling things that are totally unnecessary to the plot line. 
  2. Conversation doesn't flow too smoothly. I've had to re-write the first scene 3 times so far (and I doubt it will be the end of it) because of sentence and conversation smoothness. 
  3. I realized that the main race on my planet (Yiddel -- the people are called Yiddelites) can fly (of course I knew this before) but I only mention it in the beginning of my book. The rest of it alludes to their skin pouches with wings (don't look at me like that...I'll tell you more later) but nowhere do I show any Yiddelites flying except in chapter 1. That needs to be fixed.

There are also many more issues, but we'll speak of those when the time is right. Now...a sentence for you from Chapter 1 (hehe I'm evil to give you such small excerpts...lol):

The boy in front of him seemed as though he'd been made of rock. He sneered down at Ramsy and moved forward. Ramsy backed up and felt the heel of his sneaker hit his locker door.

TTFN -- ta ta for now!

Signed with a trounce,

Squeaks.

December 4, 2010

Do You Really Read My Posts?

Check out the bottom of my posts, and from now on, you'll see a little checky thingy that says:

I have read this post

It's my way of keeping count on how many of you actually read my stuff. It's kind of something that lets me know "Hey, I'm reading and I'm interested." So please, after you read each post, click the I have read this post button!

Please & Thank-you!!

Signed with Sugar,

Squeaks.

A Few Excerpts

I haven't done much writing lately, but I figured you folks deserve a few excerpts from whatever I can scrounge up. Sooo...I've put together a few snippets taken from various places within The Adventures of Ramsy Motch: Book 1.

{Note -- these excerpts are not edited :P I haven't had the time (until now) to edit so be prepared for some awful writing}

Chapter 1 Excerpt

"I'll sit by Ramsy here, I think." she laughed and flopped down beside her twin. Her hand snaked out but Ramsy caught it.
"Don't even think of messing my hair with those filthy hands! I don't exactly want to go to school with bleached mane, Elly."
Elly's blue eyes glistened as she laughed loudly. She swung her long blonde braid over her shoulder and huffed.
"You're impossible, Ramsy Motch. Absolutely impossible."
"Good." he said, "At least I keep the girls away."
"Not for long." grinned Abrie.
"No Abrie, I don't want to hear your romance stories again." said Ramsy with a wave of his hand.
"What!" cried the older girl in mock hurt, "You have so much to learn about the world, my dear."
"As do you." snorted Elly.
"And you." sneered Abrie.
"Alright, enough." said Ramsy, "Last thing we need is a cat fight in the middle of the lab."
Both girls broke down into laughter and soon, Ramsy joined them. After several minutes they quieted down, Ramsy rubbed his stomach, wishing the ache of multiple bruises would disappear.

Chapter 8 Excerpt

When they had finally left the bustling city of Odraine, the sun was halfway to its final destination. It hung like a burning globe in the center of the sky and forced Ramsy to remove his outer jacket. His jeans were heavy and his t-shirt was thoroughly soaked with sweat. Elly, too, was suffering from the heat. She complained that her track pants were itchy and her cotton shirt was sticky. Aarty simply looked at them and hummed.
The road was a dirt one and stretched far into the horizon. With each footstep, a plume of brown dirt puffed into the air and coated the children in a grimy layer dust.
"Is there anywhere we can wash ourselves?" asked Elly, after emptying her shoes, which had filled with dirt.
"Well, you can take a dip in Lake Ohp, I dare say. It'll be very chilly though." Aarty gave her a sip from a water pouch and then pushed the children along.
"I've never quested before." said Ramsy.
"How old are you, son?" asked Aarty.
"Twelve years, but I'll be thirteen in three months, as will Elly. We're twins."
"Only twelve years! And twins! Why, my mother would beat the socks off my feet if she found out that I was encouraging a young 'un like you to go questing." he laughed nervously, "Thankfully she's no longer around to do so."
"How old are you, Mr. Aarty?" asked Elly.
"Oh, I'm three hundred and twenty two. Gettin' up there in years, but I'm still young enough to do questing."
Elly and Ramsy stared at Aarty with shock. Three hundred and twenty two? Why, he was ancient!
"Eh, what's that look for?" asked Aarty, when he saw their faces.

 Chapter 16 Excerpt


At that moment, when Aarty's back was turned, Ramsy spotted Flower. She swirled and dipped by the water, oblivious to any danger.
"Flower!" he called and began to walk towards her. His mind was entranced by the grumbling sound coming from out in the ocean.
Oh Ramsy! There you are, come play with the fish!
Ramsy threw off his pack and ran down the slick slope.
"No Ramsy!" cried Elly. Aarty turned sharply around. When he saw where Ramsy was and who was leading him to the edge of the water, he nearly went ballistic with rage.
"FOOL!" he shouted, a vein stuck out on his forhead, "STOP RIGHT THIS INSTANT!" he screamed.
Yet Ramsy didn't hear him. A thrushing sound reached his ears, followed by a melancholy tune that floated through the air.
"What is it, Flower?" he asked as he waded into the water, completely oblivious to the stink.
Tis the sound of the Gloxton. You might wish to leave now.
"No, if you're staying, I'll stay."
Ramsy's eyes glazed over as he looked at Flower.
The water is warm, is it not?
Ramsy waded further in. Something deep inside his head rang a warning bell, telling him to go back, to turn around, but the bell was so soft and grew softer as he looked at Flower longer.
"Ramsy!" came Elly's cry. She splashed into the water and grabbed him around the waist, dragging him back to shore.

Chapter 23 Excerpt

Ramsy felt his eyes water. They'd written to him! Then, he felt sorrow fall upon his heart. They didn't know about Elly. Flower nudged his face; he turned to her and smiled.
"They're listening, Flower. They're here! They've returned, I'm not alone anymore."
You never were alone, Ramsy. He was always with you.
Ramsy opened his mouth and then shut it. She was right. The Maker was always with him; had he been so blind to not see that?
He knew his parents were waiting to hear about his journey; they were probably wondering about Elly, yet Ramsy knew he had more pressing business. He got down on his knees, wincing at the pain from where the arrow had entered his calf, now no longer embedded in his leg.
"Jesus," Ramsy felt his throat clench, "I'm sorry for being such a rotten person on this quest. I've lost so much and been so foolish, but I've learned so much. Thank you for always being with me, even though I didn't know it. You really are a great God. Thank you for the gift of the Great Oneness, I never did thank you before, so I thank you now. Thank you for giving Abrie back to me and for restoring communication with my parents. Just let us get out of this whole thing safe and sound so we can return to being a normal family once again."


That's all!! I hope you guys enjoy reading from my book :)  Tis an unfinished masterpiece :P


{Note: all characters and ideas in these excerpts are mine so please don't steal them -- if you do, I shall have to send my Baelinur to hunt you down -- 'nuff said}


Signed with a spiky thorn,

Squeaks.

December 2, 2010

"Angel Fall" by Coleman Luck

Angel Fall by Coleman Luck is probably one of the scariest and most thought provoking book I've read since C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. Luck wrote the scenes exceptionally well. He captured the mindsets of the three main characters (16 year old Alex, 13 year old Amanda, and 9 year old Tori). Each child speaks in a manner that is perfectly becoming of their age category. How Luck managed to get the dialogue so wonderfully right is beyond me.

You can read the first 5 chapters of Angel Fall by clicking that link. Below, you'll find the back-cover synopsis of the book as well as a review.



Synopsis
The wind we know is only a shadow of something far greater. Lightning is falling in sheets. A wind is blowing that is larger than this world. In the middle of the strangest storm in history, an airliner crashes into the ocean and only three young people survive---a brother and his two sisters. But they are not together and the ocean is not on earth. Alex, Amanda and Tori Lancaster have entered Boreth, a world of ancient devastation and deep evil ruled by the Worwil---seven creatures of immense power who existed before any world began. Through this world they must travel, into terror and temptation, every choice taking them closer to endless night. Scarred with the fires of hell and Heaven, their pasts are torn from their souls. But shadowing each of them is a mysterious Being covered in scars who has faced ten-thousand battles. A being filled with the longing of ages. A longing to heal the broken-hearted. With dark, glistening strands from Lewis, Lovecraft, and Tolkien, the cloth of Angel Fall has been woven. But the journey it weaves is not just for Alex, Amanda, and Tori ... it is for all those who cannot find their way home.

 Review
by Jennifer O. O'Connell

 Coleman Luck advances the tradition of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Madeleine L'Engle in writing a fantasy novel that speaks to modern-day reality and values. Angel Fall takes the reader on a journey with its three main characters, Alex, Amanda, and Tori Lancaster.

Sixteen-year-old Alex covers his deep pain of rejection and loneliness under a veil of cynicism and seemed world-weary wisdom.

Thirteen-year-old Amanda cowers from the world, buried under the weight of her own fears, and the fears others have placed upon her.

Nine-year-old Tori adopts the role of the perfect child in order to not stir up more pain in her imperfect world.

On a flight to Europe to live with their estranged father, the children's plane is caught up in an unearthly wind and crashes into the Atlantic Ocean. From there, they enter another-worldly realm of ancient cities, mysterious creatures called Worwil, and a distinct mission--to carry an innocent baby back to the Great Mountain. On their journey they encounter catastrophe and depravity from without and within, and are caught in a calamitous battle to save Alex's soul, and the life of the baby.

Each child's inner thoughts, fears, and pain is laid bare, and they are faced with choices that teach them the nature of a world that sacrifices its children on the altar of convenience, and discover the result of these sacrifices: twisted truth, and destruction of life and innocence. In their desire to release their pain and find peace and freedom, each character must make the choice of life or death for themselves, and the other inhabitants of the world.

Luck's ear for the language and attitude of this generation is quite exceptional, and he alternates from the voice and thought patterns of teen, to tween to child with great precision. Many modern writers make children and teens sound older and wiser than they really are, creating unrealistic and unrelatable characters. From page one, Alex, Amanda, and Tori are believable and touchable, and the reader is fully engaged in their subsequent pain and struggles .

Luck uses visual and illustrative language, painting an illuminative portrait of the Earthly world, the Internal world, and the Otherworld. Sandalban, Bellwind, Lammortan, Melania, Rindzac, and Mirick--the Worwil that interact with the youngsters on their journey, are equally distinctive, engaging, frightening and awe-inspiring in their presence and essence.

Luck also weaves the tension of escalating darkness, starting out in typical teen-story fashion of young people left to themselves and poised for light-hearted trouble. Then the shadows deepen and the darkness intensifies with each character's struggle with their decisions and deceptions. The author makes no bones that evil exists and gains power through our apathy, arrogance, and appetites. Yet, even with the darkness of the situation, he manages to insert humor in playful, cynical, and sometimes snarky ways.

Luck's use of cliffhangers is craftily done, and you are carried along with the force of each child's situation. He conjures a braided parity between illusion and reality: starting out subtlely, then cycling more rapidly with each chapter, until you, the reader, are unaware of which is which. The book reflects an evil that is insidious, comforting and even innocent in appearance, but which ultimately leads to great pain and dire consequences.

Because of Luck's stark portrayal of darkness and violent situations, I would not recommend this book for children younger than eleven. But for tweens, teens and adults, the book offers a riveting tale that upholds life and redemption, with an emphasis on the high cost of both. Angel Fall is an essential addition to any reading list.


Angel Fall was a most interesting read. If you are curious and wish to buy the book, I would suggest (if you would have children under the age of 13 reading it) that you carefully read through the following notes that I've made about some questionable content in the book. 

***WARNING! SPOILER ALERT!***

Before buying any book that is considered "adult fiction" I think it's important for the parents (or older children) of the house to look into the material and determine whether it is alright for the rest of the family (particularly young eyes) to read. While Angel Fall is a great book, there is such content in it that I would never let anyone under 13 read. While I will not go into details (since kids under 13 might be reading this *shame shame*) I will briefly jot out what I think is not so great about Angel Fall.

First, there's lots of blood and gore as well as scary scenes like "hauntings", ghosts, spiders that look evil but are really good, phantoms that belong to rotten corpses, mold covered temples dedicated to the Evil One, and worship of demons. While this is balanced out by the good, I still think it's a bit vivid for younger children and if you only read the book to read and not to learn, then I wouldn't suggest Angel Fall because you'd only pick up on the "dark stuff". Reading to learn, however, is another realm altogether -- in this case, you'll pick up a lot of the good tones from the book as well as the allegorical ties to the realities of heaven and hell.

The major thing I disliked about the book was reference to sexual scenes. While Luck doesn't go into detail, he does give enough information for the reader to understand what goes on -- I skipped some parts here :P Another thing I disliked was the fascination that Alex (the oldest mc) had for evil. While the repulsive environment of the situation was enough to keep the reader from falling for what Alex fell for, there were several scenes in which evil was portrayed as good. In one scene, Amanda nearly ruined their whole mission by giving in to evil (which looked so much like good I was fooled...I never even saw it coming).

The good parts of Angel Fall, for me, outweighed the bad parts. The graphic description of evil and the gore that comes along with it was brilliantly done and really depicted what Hell would look like. Luck used the senses so well that...I'm afraid to say, he bested every other book I've ever read. You were able to smell the stench of the rotting food and blood, you could feel the mold on the walls and the slime under the characters feet, you could see the dilapidated environment, and you could taste the stagnant air.

The same went for the images of good. You could smell the honey and sweetness, you could taste the crisp air and the cool streams, you could feel the soft smooth tapestries and solid woods, you could see the glory emanating from the Throne. Really, the glory of the good was far greater than the filth of the evil.

***END OF SPOILERS***

Angel Fall was an excellent read for me. I greatly enjoyed it and I'm sure, if you're older and want a better perspective of evil and good (the reality behind the facade of evil), then I'm certain you'll love it too. My biggest suggestion -- don't read it at night!

What did I learn from this book? First, the reality of evil as it truly is (and how easily it can deceive people) was very well shown. It made me think back to the many times when I thought a little sin wouldn't hurt much -- it seems so delectable at first but only later do you realize that the sweet smell wasn't honey...it was rotting corpses *gag*.

I also learned that evil really can deceive. Satan is called the Great Deceiver, right? Reading through how many times the characters were deceived along their journey makes me shiver and wonder how many times I've fallen for the same trap.

Finally, the book explained wonderfully how, at the last moment -- when all hope seems lost, help comes from the Lord.

Those are my opinions on Angel Fall by Coleman Luck. If you've ever read the book before, I'd love to hear what you think of it! Send in your opinions in a comment, or email me at hiddendoorways[at]gmail[dot]com

Signed with Silly Putty,

Squeaks.

December 1, 2010

OOMIS!!!!

Yes, it's my latest word (oomis). It's defined, by me, as an exclamation of sudden surprise, delight, and randomness. Oomis. Happy Oomis Day.

JUMP ABOUT IN EXCITEMENT...FOR SQUEAKS HAS RETURNED!!!!! HIP HIP HORRAAAAAY!!

So, now that I've exclaimed, with significant gusto, my return to blogging (and whadd'ya know! I'm writing this five days before I actually "come back" into the sphere of significance...goes to show my desperation to write something useful) I wish to state some things. 

First, I wish to thank -- God. Because -- it snowed!! The ground is covered in soft white fluffy bits of frozen water. YUM! It looks like an iced world out there, layered in whipping cream. *shivers with delight* Wonderful. 

Second, I wish to thank -- MOM! Because -- she opened her first public blog!! Thanks for opening a blog mom :) I love you!! Read her blog HERE <-- Click click!!

Thirdly, I wish to thank -- SOTK. Because -- he's my bodyguard (and bodyguards always should be thanked with highest respects).

FOURTHLY, I wish to thank -- my patient readers. Because -- you've waited a month! for me to return and...return I have. Merci! I thank you for your patience :)

So on to the excitable stuff. What's new? Perhaps you're flipping over backwards because HD AND The Minstrel have new skins (I am!!). I warned you...new things come December! It's a time of fun stuff.

Now, if you don't forget easily, you'll have remembered that I promised you a big surprise. But before we get to that big surprise (which happens to have nothing to do with you -- in case you were wondering) I have something to say:

Ding dong, hop along
Swish your tail and clap your clong.
Cling-clang, wing a nang, 
Hoop-a-hoola o'er the bang. 


Jump up! Squeamish cup
Quilting with a bitter frup!
Lie down, don the crown, 
Heave, high low, the droomish bown.


Two verses from my most excellent random poem. *scratches head* Unfortunately I cannot remember the title...it had the words Pipely Bong in it but that's all I can remember. Remind me to give you guys the whole thing later. ;) you deserve a grand dose of randomness.

On the 24th I wrote my longest poem ever. Exactly 13 hand-written pages. What was it about? I'll give you a synopsis. I might post it later:

The poem was about a person in hell (how lovely eh?) being tortured (inspired by Angel Fall), then being whisked off to a fake universe where they believed the lie of the fakeness. Then, Jesus saved them and all became good. Beautiful. End of story. Moving on.

What else is new? Hmm, aside from the snow, our two pastors moved out with the warm weather. *ahem* That is, they left. Bye! Gone. *bleh* I do suppose I shall miss them, but I am excited to find out who will be pastoring our lovely church later on :)

Books! Books are also new. I have acquired many more books. *grin* You know what that means -- and endless supply of reviews shall be streaming into HD over the next bit. Wonderful.

  • Dragons of the Valley -- by Donita K. Paul
  • Masters & Slayers -- by Bryan Davis (<3 this book!)
  • Sword in the Stars -- by Wayne Thomas Batson (grrr...still haven't read it - Hurry up SOTK!!)
  • Angel Fall -- by Coleman Luck (chilling describes it wonderfully)
 That's about all for books at the moment. And while we're on this topic...I shall introduce my SURPRISE!! Yes, we've all been waiting for this, eh? Here goes.

.
.
.

SQUEAKS HAS OFFICIALLY BECOME -- A REAL WRITER!

Huh? What's that supposed to mean? 

I'm a NaNoWriMo winner! Yehaw chummios!


It means...I have finished my VERY FIRST BOOK EVER!!! *squeals with joy* (that's not exactly an attractive term lol)
Yes, I've written my first book and am a NaNoWriMo winner. It was previously called: In the House of Ramsy Motch: The Widdoclan & Abrie's Foolishness
I changed that title though, so it now reads:  
The Adventures of Ramsy Motch: 
The Widdoclan & Abrie's Foolishness

Wonderful!! So it's in editing stage at the moment. (sorry, I think Children of the Song has been abandoned until a later time). Now, I wish to thank some most amazing people for encouraging me in my writing: 


  • First and foremost -- God!! Without His encouragement and words of wisdom through the Bible, the comfort He instilled in my soul and the awesome ideas that He popped into my brain, I'm a'feared that I'd never have finished. 
  • MOM! Yes, mom you're the best. You were encouraging and patient. I can't wait to give you a copy of TARM for Christmas :) You're the best mom in the whole world (Note: I've got an extremely biased opinion here, so it won't do you any good to argue with me) :P
  • SOTK -- despite your nagging and annoyance, you really are a good brother and I thank you for your kind words, for reading my small excerpts and telling me how excellent a writer I am even though I know it's not true at times :P
  • Jake! You're very encouraging and you always have a good word to say. I'm greatly honoured to have you as a NaNo buddy and Blogger neighbour (kinda lol). I'm also very happy to know that YOU'VE FINISHED 4 BOOKS!!! And that NaNo just resulted in the 4th! You're the most awesome teenage writer I've ever known ;)
  • Millard! You're a grand writer and the fact that you finished 2 books (with NaNo) this month *gasps* you're amazing. Without your encouragement I'd be wallowing in the pit of despair with my book stuck at 15,000 words. God bless you! (all of you, of course)
  • Shilah; although I've never really talked with you and I only leave a comment on a blue moon, your blog has been a great place of inspiration for me. I love reading about your characters; they're so full of life and depth. Thanks for blogging!!
  • All of my other NaNo buddies and blogger pals!!! I know there are so many to name so I sha'n't try to do so :P

Also, I have a new WiP (the excerpt is already released). It's called Legend of the Shwiyaer. This piece is more of a strict epic fantasy than TARM (yes...that's the new name lolz! It's not ITHORM anymore).


So Squeaks is accomplished :) Oh and I forgot to mention that I wrote TARM#1 in only 11 days. Heh. Amazing? Perhaps -- but I burnt out my brains so I was unable to finish the second book (called Wizard Grox and the Pigeons of Snid) {I only got to the 20,000 word mark and then....my brain died}

Yes, TARM was written with the aid of NaNo frenzy. Insane. Yet I feel bad for burning out my brains because now I have little desire to write. It's been nearly half a month since I stopped writing... :S I hope my brains come back!

Wow...so good to be back :) So good to feel the keyboard pound under my fingers as I stream my useless, random thoughts onto a blank page (which happens to be not so blank anymore).

OPERATION: COMBAT is officially over (it ended on the 23rd). That was fun, although very time-consuming. I fear I wore away at the nerves of my readers since I was terribly TERRIBLY late with some of my devotionals.

Music! Music is good to talk about too! I have been doing lots of music lately (both playing and listening). My family got a *new* Manafest CD, so I was pretty stoked about that.

In piano I'm learning Nocturne by Chopin and Intermezzo by Brahms. Terribly wonderfully exciting. Nocturne is so much fun to play (maybe I'll record it and put it up for you) but unfortunately my playing does not satisfy my teacher. He's all about the emotion and motion in a piece. And when I play Chopin, I play horrid. My fingers just don't move like they should.

Intermezzo -- one word describes my time with that piece so far: torture. I swear, the octaves and sevenths you have to play are going to cause my fingers to break in half one day. *hums tune* Sounds easy to play, *looks at sheet music* looks hard, but it's neither of these. Intermezzo is torture. Pure and simply put. I told my teacher (on the 29th) that Brahm's music made my fingers hurt. He laughed and said, "You just quoted a famous pianist word-for-word." (but I cannot remember that pianist's name at the moment...phooey)

I'm also playing some Christmas-y music, which is fun. I've got several pieces to learn, all of them are notched up to a jazzy level. Fun, but the chords can get a little icky at times.

And singing *sigh* I haven't been doing too much of that lately. I sing for church and that's about it. Perhaps now that our youth pastor is going I'll get to lead worship with the youth group. The bummer? I can't play guitar...so either I've got to do something with the piano  or keyboard, or I gotta wave my hands in the air. I'm getting used to it XD I did sing for a Christmas-y kinda potluck thingy for our Church. I did a piece called "Maria Weigenlied" (sp?)...while I didn't look at the audience, mom says that some of the older folks got tears in their eyes (not many people sing German in our church these days). The applause was astounding, but my greatest hope is that somehow God was able to use me to touch the people :)

Winter-wonder-land, here I come :) That's about all for now folks. I can't think of much more to say, except: HI! I'm back :)


Signed with an assortment of Christmas-y smells (good ones, like shortbread cookies and cinnamon) and the fried tongue of a lizard,

Squeaks.
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