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November 29, 2023

Lament for Boromir

At the beginning of The Two Towers after Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli consign Boromir's body to the Anduin, Legolas and Aragorn sing a lament for him. Sixteen years ago Colin Rudd put it to music and posted it to YouTube. I've heard a lot of Tolkien's poems put to music but this is the only one I felt compelled to share with you guys.

November 17, 2023

Quality Time with the Cat

Earlier in the year I showed Newton a couple of animal video on YouTube, now interacting with Kosh is one of the highlights of his day. I have to be careful, sometimes he'll lunge at the monitor.

November 15, 2023

3 Body Problem

I know the basic plot of 3 Body Problem and let's just say that it's from a subgenre I'm not overly fond of, then I watched the trailer and I'm looking forward to it. For whatever that's worth.

November 14, 2023

Why Tolkien Is More Popular Then Eddison

Here's a little conversation that answers that question

"And yet," said Melates, "for less matter, himself hath ere this headed or hanged, in this time, scores of common men."

"The way of the world," Barganax said, "And some would say the best way too: better a hundred such should die, than one great man's hand to be hampered."

Since I'm not a great man I think I'd avoid a trip to Zimiamvia, even though it's lovely in the spring.

November 13, 2023

Starfield: The Search for Sam Coe

After a two week pause I fired up Starfield today and decided to do a plot quest. This involved meeting a guy called Sam Coe at the Constellation Society and going on a quest with him to find another alien artifact. He joins my crew and tells me we have to go to Akila City. I've been there before so it's a stress free trip. I land but Coe is no longer on my ship. I look all over, hit the internet and eventually decide to talk to the guy who runs the Akila City Spaceport to change ships. Apparently Coe is rather buggy and sometimes changing ships helps bring him back. So after spending 15 minutes trying to find him on the Sam Gamgee I go outside to see the port master and there was Coe.

It would have been nice if one of the crew had said something like, "If you're looking for Sam he already left the ship."

November 13, 2023

Lord Juss and Faramir

Faramir you've probably heard of, the younger son of the Steward of Gondor and leader of the Rangers in Ithilien. Lord Juss was one of the rulers of Demonland (they weren't demons that's just the name of their country). Faramir was Tolkien's creation and Lord Juss was E. R. Eddison's. The two characters had very different ideas about war.

At the end of The Worm Ouroboros Queen Sophonisba, fosterling of the gods, goes to Demonland for Lord Juss' birthday celebration. Juss and the other Lords of Demonland are pretty depressed because now that their enemies, the Witches, have been destroyed there won't be anay more wars for them to fight:

The Queen said, “How old art thou, my Lord Juss, that thou speakest as an old man might speak?”

He answered, “I shall be thirty-three years old to-morrow, and that is young by the reckoning of men. None of us be old, and my brethren and Lord Brandoch Daha younger than I. Yet as old men may we now look forth on our lives, since the goodness thereof is gone by for us.” And he said, “Thou O Queen canst scarcely know our grief; for to thee the blessed Gods gave thy heart’s desire: youth for ever, and peace. Would they might give us our good gift, that should be youth for ever, and war; and unwaning strength and skill in arms. Would they might but give us our great enemies alive and whole again. For better it were we should run hazard again of utter destruction, than thus live out our lives like cattle fattening for the slaughter, or like silly garden plants.”

The Queen’s eyes were large with wonder. “Thou couldst wish it?” she said.

The gods grant Juss' wish and the world is rolled back to the beginning of the book so that the Lords of Demonland can play with the Lords of Witchland for eternity.

Meanwhile in The Lord of the Rings Faramir comes across Frodo and Sam in Ithilien and questions them. Because Sam is a dumb ass he blabs about the Ring. Faramir doesn't want the Ring (later on his father scornfully calls him a wizard's pupil) and does what he can to aid Frodo's quest. He goes on to say:

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”

Eddison and Tolkien knew each other and Tolkien liked The Worm Ouroboros. But Tolkien disliked Eddison's philosophy. For his part Eddison considered Tolkien soft.

I read The Worm Ouroboros as a teenager and even then I remember my what the fuck reaction to the ending. I've reread it many times since then and I've accepted Eddison's universe, Eddison's rules. But I'm with Tolkien when I comes to Eddison's philosophy.

November 12, 2023

It's a Fair Cop

November 8, 2023


Well, that's over with.

You know, I had intended to reread Iliad translated by Emily Wilson after Ramayana but aside from wanting to slack off for a bit there's the severe difference in tone. You're told right off that Rama is the ideal monarch and he spends a lot of his time trying ensure he's doing the right thing.

The Greeks, on the other hand, are swaggering thugs. Their main goal is to achieve long lasting fame, the Greek afterlife being pretty bleak. You'll be spending eternity and a dank, dark cave but dammit people will be talking about your prowess in battle for ages to come. When Odysseus encounters Achilles in the underworld and tries buttering him up by telling him he's a lord of the dead, Achilles shuts that bullshit right down:

No winning words about death to me, shining Odysseus!
By god, I'd rather slave on earth for another man-
some dirt poor tenant farmer who scrapes to keep alive-
then rule down here over all the breathless dead.

Folks in Ramayana get to live for thousands of years and some of them get promoted to godhood after their death. Not bad. So while I'm looking forward to Wilson's translation, I need to chill for a bit. The next book is The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

November 7, 2023

Blue Eye Samurai

Ringo and Mizu

Last night I watched the last four episodes of Blue Eye Samurai an animated show about Mizu, a mixed race Japanese woman tracking down the four white men who might have raped her mother. It's the best thing I've seen since Sandman, here's the trailer:

I recommend it for whatever that's worth. If you decide to watch it be advised that it's very, very violent, slow motion shots of Mizu slicing off arms with arterial spray kind of violent.

Meanwhile, I'm just about finished with Ramayana. That's it for long books in 2023, for the rest of the year I'm going to coast with relatively short books.

November 7, 2023

Today I learned

That you can rename your ship in Starfield.

November 3, 2023

Mr. Mike's Least-Loved Bedtime Tales

Happy Halloween

October 31, 2023

Halloween Wallpaper

I gave Dream the prompt haunted house, after all it's almost Halloween and I wanted appropriate wallpaper for my phone. I like what it gave me but for some reason it decided to add Lucifer's expulsion from Heaven by Doré.

I'm guessing it was the lighting of the clouds it created that caused it to throw in the Morningstar. It's a nice touch.

October 30, 2023