Sunday, March 19, 2017

Idle Thoughts

I'm on spring break, at least from my classes, so I'm spending a lot of time mostly just relaxing. I'm trying to read some so that I can prepare for Turkey, and I'm trying to find books in SPU's library that are relevant to where we'll be going.

I really am working on Arashna. I don't know at all when I'll have it done, but I am working on it.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

A Return to My Travel Blog!

Lovers of my Travel Blog, I have some exciting news!

Remember last July, how I posted that my trip to Turkey to photograph old Roman roads was cancelled? Well, on Tuesday I heard from my professor, letting me know that there is another opportunity to travel to Turkey for the same project this May! I had to ask around to see if I could get off work and school, and if I'd have done enough school work by then, but it looks as though I will be good to go!

So, starting this May, remember to check out my Travel Blog!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Recent Events

Part of my struggles in posting new blog posts is that most of my life these days is taken up by things I really can't blog about. At the one job at an insurance company, where I deal with people's highly personal information, I really can't share what happens each day on the internet. My other job is working at a school, where I'm around kids, who I'm really hesitant to blog about. It just seems like a bad idea or an invitation for trouble to talk about them to the entire world, (to say nothing of the fact that it's a little disrespectful). But I will say this: on multiple occasions, the kids have said things to me that remind me that a life of serving others is the most rewarding life out there. I'm going to miss those kids when I have to do student teaching!

That's about all I have for now... More later!

Monday, February 6, 2017

There Be Snow!

Hey everyone! If you're in western Washington, you probably heard that snow is shutting down most of the Seattle area, which includes my Monday job. So I'm currently home working on the next Darkwoods novel! I've already made lots of progress - three pages longer! (Trust me, that's lots of progress compared to how I've been doing.)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Here's a Singer for Fantasy Fans!

I'm so silly - I've been trying to think of something to post about for quite a while now, but I completely forgot about one very obvious topic!

Do you all remember last year when I posted about one of Celtic Woman's music videos? Well, the guest singer in that video is Oonagh, a German singer. I don't know why, but for some reason I didn't really investigate to see what else she sang. I Googled her, which is how I know she's German, and I vaguely remember finding a video of her singing some heavily electronic song that just wasn't my cup of tea.

Anyway, fast forward to last summer, about mid-July. I was listening to Tir na nOg on YouTube, and YouTube's Autoplay, instead of playing more Celtic Woman, sent me to one of Oonagh's videos called Orome. I think I was writing something at the time, so when I heard the opening sounds, you can imagine my surprise. But I listened to the video, thinking that "Orome" really sounded familiar, but I couldn't place it. So I scrolled through the comments on the video, and I came across one comment (from a woman with my first name, no less) explaining that Orome is one of Middle-Earth's Valar! Replies to that comment added that Oonagh sings a lot of the choruses in Tolkien's Elvish!

To put it mildly, I was thrilled. I went scouring all over the web looking for her music, and I found out that, in addition to singing about Tolkien's stories (mostly from Silmarillion), she also uses mythology, legends, and fairy tails. But from what I can tell, most of her songs are inspired by Tolkien.

She had two albums out over the summer, called "Oonagh" and "Aeria"; then in October, she released a third album called "Märchen Enden Gut", which according to Google Translate means "Fairy Tales End Well". Every album a few songs about Silmarillion characters or places, and each one also has a few songs about other stories. So, if you're into fantasy (which I assume you are because you're reading this blog), you might like Oonagh!

The problem is that her music isn't on iTunes, and it's not available for Amazon Music in America, so you'd have to get one of the CD's from Amazon, Ebay, or some similar site. I recommend getting the extended versions of each CD if you can.

If you're curious, here's her Facebook page. There's a link there to a pretty amazing website that plays excerpts from "Märchen Enden Gut".

Oonagh (Attea Ranta)
Aeria (Sartoranta)
Märchen Enden Gut (Deluxe)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

From Twilight to New Moon

So, while I was revisiting some of my old posts looking for inspiration for a new post, I reread a lot of my old book reviews, including the two Twilight books reviews. (Twilight and Eclipse.) In the Eclipse review, I just briefly said that New Moon was enjoyable except for the parts that had Edward in them.

Unfortunately, I completely forgot what I said about the first Twilight, and when I reread that review, I realized I liked Twilight and New Moon for completely different reasons. Twilight had the characters acting like decent people, I wouldn't call it particularly deep or insightful, but there were a few statements and actions that, I thought, merited a little consideration and reflection, kind of in the same way some of those pretty Facebook memes do (just without having to scroll through all the negative that Facebook offers in order to find that one positive thing). You know - not profound, but not bad. Characters were just trying to act like decent people.

New Moon, I enjoyed for a completely different reason, which I feel a particularly strong need to mention because of Bella's idiocy in trying to put herself in danger. I didn't feel the need to mention that at the time because it has been soundly discussed already, and also because Bella realized she was wrong  - she changed. She has at least one scene, even before Edward comes back, when she realizes she was acting selfishly. (As I mentioned previously, she did not do that in Eclipse.) However - given what I said about the previous book, I should probably make the distinction. What I said about the characters in Twilight does not carry over into New Moon. I like New Moon because of the book's atmosphere. There was an element of mystery around the werewolves that really wasn't around the vampires. Even though Bella had to kind of figure out what they were, there was still this scene where Edward just offers up all this information with very little prodding. The werewolves didn't do that very quickly, and I think it made for a mysterious atmosphere. I already knew a lot about these particular werewolves even before I read the book, so I think the mystery in the atmosphere was due to the writing. It was also nice that this book spends more time discussing nature and the outdoors than its predecessor. I think that may be why I liked it - at least, until Alice showed up.

So, that's my summary. I found Twilight pleasant because of the characters, but that does not hold true for New Moon - I enjoyed that because of the atmosphere. Given how irrationally Bella acted in New Moon, I should have made that clear right at first. But better late than never, right?

Monday, January 2, 2017

I Hope Everyone's Holidays Were Great!!!

This fall, I had a plan to post at least one Christmas carol once a week and do a little background research on the hymn's origins. Then I got hit with the reality of school, work, and holiday preparations - and truthfully, I didn't even do that many holiday preparations. Most of the presents I bought, I bought either online or at the craft shows I went to, and I only managed to make four types of Christmas cookies (although, in my defense, they were pretty labor-intensive cookies). I didn't post anything for Advent, Christmas, or New Years because I was just resting most of the time. I watched a lot of TV and anime, and yes, I did work on the next Darkwoods novel.

In any case, I hope everyone had a relaxing and meaningful Christmas, and that everyone is beginning this new year with hope and a refreshed spirit. God bless you all!