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Site crash and attacks

The site went down a while back after running some automated updates; I ended up having to manually remove all my WordPress plugins and add them back one at a time until I found out which one was breaking the page. It turned out to be WordPress’ own JetPack plugin suite, which I’ve now re-installed from scratch, and the site seems to be mostly functional again. There’s some kind of issue with the social buttons possibly not working correctly; hopefully I’ll have time to get that resolved this weekend.

In addition, between this and another older site I manage on the same server, I’ve been getting e-mails about multiple failed administrator login attempts on a fairly regular basis – not a massive bot attack, but once or twice a day. So I’ve gone into both sites and added more internal security features, malware scanners, etc.

Going into the new year, with luck I’ll be able to get past the tech issues and get back to the updates and changes I’ve been wanting to finish for a while now.

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Pardon the Mess

New books are coming soon (yes, I know, I’ve said that before) and in preparation I’m going to be doing some minor restructuring of this site.  Over the next few weeks expect to see shifting menus, new pages in various stages of blankness, and possibly some tinkering with the overall theme of the site.  All of the existing links should continue to work (or to not work, in a few cases…).

 

 

 

 

 

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One Meme to Rule Them All

The whole family is home sick today, and Kate, my youngest, decided on a whim to watch Fellowship of the Ring.  Immediately Aeryn, my oldest, and I launched into a verbal rewrite of Galadriel’s opening monologue, and it became crucially important that we write it down:

 

The world is changed. I see it on Pinterest. I read it on Twitter. It’s trending on Facebook. Much that once was is archived, for none now live with the attention span to remember. It began with the posting of the Great Memes. Three were shared by the Elves, fairest and most selfie-obsessed of all beings. Seven by the Dwarf-Lords, great Instagrammers of meal-pictures and senders of Farmville invites. And nine, nine Memes were posted by the race of Man, who above all else desire likes and shares. For within these memes was bound a brief distraction from their sad and miserable lives.

But they were all of them deceived, for another Meme was made. In the land of Dotcom, in the vast wasteland of Google+, xxDarkL0rdSaur0n69xx Photoshopped in secret a master Meme to control all the others, and into this meme he poured his cute animals, his political satire, and his will to amass enough views to collect advertising revenue on his YouTube account.

One meme to rule them all,
One search to find them,
One click to invite them all,
and with a EULA bind them.

 

 

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Terry Pratchett has died

I’d known for a while that he was fighting early-onset Alzheimer’s, but I didn’t realize it had progressed so far; so I was surprised to learn of the death today of one of my favorite writers.  I’m in the process of spending my evening remembering his words by reading through this huge list of quotes I found on GoodReads.

 

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”
– Terry Pratchett

 

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Site move in progress

I’m in the process of switching to a different hosting company for this site.  If all goes well the move should be transparent – i.e. nobody but me will notice anything different and the site won’t change at all.  There may, however be some disruptions over the next couple of days as the domain name gets re-pointed to the new host.

 

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A nice list of Tolkien quotes

I needed a good dose of Tolkien quotes today.

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisioned by the enemy, don’t we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we’re partisans of liberty, then it’s our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!”

 

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Fighting the Good Fight: High Elf vs. BMW

Of the BMW owners I’ve known over the years, enough of them have lived up to the negative stereotypes that I’ve long suspected those cars just might be machinations of Morgoth.  Now an elf in Oregon has confirmed my suspicions and decided to do something about it!

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Happy One Ring Day!

On this date, March 25th, in year 3019 of the Third Age, the One Ring was destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom.  Why isn’t this a federal holiday that gives me another paid day off?

 

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The Desecration of Smaug?

Before I begin what will seem a litany of complaints about “The Hobbit:  The Desolation of Smaug”, let me say first that I actually enjoyed the movie quite a bit.  In the first film I was a little put off by the goofy looks of some of the dwarves, but I suppose they’ve grown on me, and the cast did a good job of making them into recognizable individuals with their own personalities rather than “Thorin and his merry band of redshirts”.  The action scenes were mostly enjoyable if a little bit over-the-top.  The small comedic touches here and there worked well (unlike, say, Gimli’s LOTR extended edition “consistency of squirrel droppings” remark).

(Danger:  Beyond this point, watch for falling spoilers.)

And most importantly, they Got.  Smaug.  Right.  If you’re gonna do a movie of The Hobbit, you absolutely can’t screw up the dragon.  Smaug is to modern dragon stories what Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin are to rock and roll – like them or not, their influence on their respective genres can’t be denied.  (Smaug is, of course, better than Elvis, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and Led Zeppelin, because he could eat all of them and not even feel a slight buzz from digesting Keith Richards. )

Having established my generally positive overall impression of the film, allow me to now proceed to nit-pick it to death.

I’m something of a Tolkien purist; I was bothered by a lot of the exclusions and changes in the LOTR films, though never enough to keep a puddle of drool from forming on the floor in front of me in the theater on first watching each of them.  I’m not necessarily even talking about the big-ticket items like leaving out Tom Bombadil or skipping the Scouring of the Shire – I missed the little touches, the minor characters who showed up for a paragraph or two in the written work and added to the sense that a much larger, richer world surrounded the events chronicled in the story.

I knew that The Hobbit would be even less true to the text – how could it be turned into 8+ hours of film otherwise? – but I didn’t think I would mind the changes too much.  As I’ve mentioned before, I like The Hobbit, but I’m not nearly as passionate about it as I am about the other Middle-Earth books.  I was even looking forward to seeing how Peter Jackson and crew would flesh out the tenuous connections to the LOTR story – after all, even Tolkien himself did this with some minor edits that were added to later publications of The Hobbit.

So I was a bit surprised at my annoyance at the Stuff That Got Left Out and a bit of the Stuff That Got Added In.  We didn’t get to see Bilbo shout “Attercop!” while lobbing stones at spiders.  The dwarves never left the path through Mirkwood to chase flickering lights and feasting Elves.

Instead, we got a lot of footage of Legolas killing orcs.  We were treated to an inter-species love interest, a splitting of the party that didn’t occur in the book, and just a few too many instances of someone arriving just in the nick of time to save our heroes from certain doom.  We got floating open-ended barrels which, when the open ends went deep underwater, bobbed back up and did not cease to be floating barrels.

The climactic action sequence inside the mountain – not from the book – had its moments, but it was too long and in places played a little like The Keystone Kops and the Temple of Doom.  Memo to prospective dwarven kings who want to emulate the surfing-on-a-river-of-molten-metal scene:  try it, and history will remember you as Thorin Roastedheels.  There was an event which seemed like it needed an entirely absent earlier scene to explain the presence of one of the critical elements of the sequence.  Without that establishment in place, the climax left me wondering “where did that come from?”

And last but not least:  why did Bard have to look so much like Legolas with a pasted-on mustache?  As the credits rolled, I thought of a good way to decribe this similarity.

70s_Porn_Legolas

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