Not-So-Random Thoughts for February 25th, 2007

If you happened to miss the bulletin posting earlier today, went DownTown to meet me only to find I wasn’t there, I owe an apology: I cancelled tonight’s event. From the way I feel now, I’m glad I did.

I’ll post more info on when workouts will start later this week. Now, onto my usual stuff…

Snow Storm (again?): If my apartment had not been cold last night – the result of the landlord turning down the heat before the snow storm Friday night and some crackheads leaving the fire escape door open – I might have stayed in and did something else. That was the main reason for going out into the blizzard last night. It was the need of the phone card and reading materials that lead me out to the State Street Corridor.

First stop was Borders, where I went searching for 2 Star Wars Books and a Vampire Hunter D novel that was supposed to have come out already. Unfortunately, one of those Star Wars Novels – Allegiance by Timothy Zahn – was no longer on sale, and I didn’t feel like going over-budget. As for the latest Legacy of the Force book, that doesn’t come out until Tuesday, so there was no way to buy that. With none of the magazines I buy – except NewType and Play, which I put on indefinite hold while I sort my life out – updated, no clearance items I was interested in, and everything else I wanted too high, I split after almost hour.

Next stop: Best Buy. By that point conditions that were already bad where the bus dropped me out before were considerably worse: It felt like someone was constantly kicking hot sand in your face endlessly. Get in, grabbed the card, and wandered the computer section. Has anyone noticed Best Buy is advertising Apple in our area, yet the only displays they have for them were the iPod stuff? There was nothing in the computer section. That wasn’t the only disappointment, though: the display they had for Windows Vista – which was using either a Gateway or a Hewlett-Packard, don’t remember off the top of my head – was a huge disappointment, as all the graphics on the machine were jumpy and ugly. Wouldn’t you want to display it with a machine that was capable of displaying smooth-as-a-baby’s-bottom graphics, no herk-and-jerk? No wonder no one is buying the thing from Best Buy.

After that, onto IHOP (again due to the weather – it was either that, Quiznos or Hooters) where I had steak and shrimp. (Had my usual sides: soup – in this case minestrone, Broccoli, and baked potato.) While I was there I overheard that they might shut the doors later in the evening – a bad sign already, given the weather conditions.

Left there after 9, after the taxi was once again late. Didn’t think this would be a problem, though I would soon find out how big it would be: on a sign posted out front in the doorway to the theaters: “Due to the bad weather, our last show is at 9:20.” Needless to say, the show I went to see was already in progress when I arrived. (For more on that, see “Ghost Rider” later.)

Thankfully Denny’s was open, though the friend I got a ride from ended up being called and told not to come in. (I was only told she wasn’t there – never got specifics, though given the situation I could have guessed.) Stayed there until after 5, walked to Wal-Mart. At this time, the weather finally stopped blowing snow – if it was there, it was light and not noticeable – but the roads showed just how bad we were hit: I felt like I was trying to ice-skate trying to cross he parking lot.

So what took me so long at Wal-Mart that I couldn’t call a cab to get home? A necessity for the workouts: Swim Goggles. Finding the hair-cutting stuff was difficult, with half of the items moved around so that you had to find a Rep to get a price, but everything else was comparatively easy except for that. When I did find them, I only found two types: Women’s and youths. I went with the women’s since it had nose plugs – hopefully they fit my now-bald dome.

After hanging the final two hours at McD’s, I finally caught the bus home. So what did last night produce? Me finishing another book, a journal entry to be seen by my doctor and later this week by you, and sore feet and lower legs due to amount of trekking I did and exhaustion built up this week. I hit the bed at noon, after getting home, posting the cancellation, and calling a few people. More importantly, getting my head to be as close to smooth as a bowling ball covered in sand paper.

Ghost Rider: I wish I could have made the trailers beforehand, but due to the weather, I was late. fortunately for me, I missed maybe the opening credits at most.

Ghost rider is a comic-book-based Motorcycle Western with religious undertones in it. Johnny Blaze, played by Nicolas cage, signs a deal with the Devil, aka Mephistopheles – played by Peter Fonda, to save his dad from cancer – which his dad fully recovers from, but dies the same day in a motorcycle stunt gone horribly wrong.

It is this deal that Mephistopheles calls upon later when his son, Blackheart, calls on three fallen angels representing Water (Wallow), Air (Abigor), and Earth (Gressil) to help take over Earth and Hell. Johnny Blaze becomes the ghost rider, a flaming skeleton in a harley getup, with spiked leather coat, a wicked flaming whip-chain, and a bad-ass flaming motorcycles that crushes the roads, melts glass, climbs skyscrapers, and comes on command. Mix in an old flame he ran away from after his dad’s accident, a mysterious grave digger with a deal of his own, and – in what I think has to be the coolest effect to be used to display theme – A flaming skull cowboy riding side-by-side with the Ghost Rider. It helps that Flaming Cowboy – the Caretaker – was played by none other than Sam Elliot, famous for a lot of Motorcycle and Western films. It also helps that Eva Mendes does a great job as Roxanne Simpson, news reporter and Blaze’s old flame. for those who are fans of the “Blade” Series of films, Donal Logue, who was Quinn in the first film, as well as the lead in “The Knights of Prosperity” and “Grounded for Life,” provides a lot of early comic relief as Mack, blaze’s go-to guy.

I wish I could recommend this to everyone, but I don’t think that many people are going to get past all of the themes and how they mix together. Most people I know who have seen biker films can only recommend or say they like “Easy Rider” – a Peter Fonda film. While there are western themes, Biker themes and religious themes through the film, The only one type of film it can be closely associated to is the comic-based film. It does an okay job of mixing these together, but I have to wonder of others couldn’t have done better.

Still, I did like the film, so you may want to give it a shot.

Darth Bane-Path of Destruction: I finished two books this weekend. The first, a Star Wars novel that takes place 3,000 years before the first film, during the time of the Knights of the Old Republic games, centers its story on Darth Bane, one of my new favorite characters.

Bane, who like Anakin, grew up outside of the Republic as Dez, is forced to flee his life as a miner who had a lot of debt, after a night in which he is attacked first by another miner who was drunk and pissed that he didn’t take the night off to celebrate his abusive dad’s death, and second by an admiral of the Republic who lost a lot of money to him after luck awarded him a rare treat in the game of Sabacc, a game with ties to poker and blackjack. the former gets away with his life after his thumb is bitten off; the latter was not so lucky, as the blade he drew ended up back in him in another place.

On the run, he joins the Sith Army, where he becomes a good soldier. It was sheer luck with a mission that should have killed everyone but instead ended with the only deaths being that of the republics that his skills and unusual talents are noticed – he is brought to Korriban, where we see how an early Sith lord might have been trained.

It is this training – in which he discovers that the masters are not only holding the students back, they aren’t really masters of anything other than being full of shit – that he learns the true nature of the dark side of the force, and truly becomes the first Darth in ages to emerge.

There’s no need to say that I liked this book; what needs to be said is how good the book really is. In my opinion, it stands next to The New Jedi Order, all of the Thrawn and X-Wing books, and Shadows of the Empire as a must-read to Star Wars fans. For non-Star Wars fans, I can easily recommend it to those who like to read about dark, twisted, evil characters such as Hannibal Lecter, as it really shows how Bane was sort of thrust down the path he goes, and how he eventually accepts and makes his fate. You leave the book satisfied that the Jedi and the Sith who died got what they deserved in the end.

The person who wrote it, Drew Karpyshyn, only had two other novels listed before this one. Hope the guys in charge of publishing Star Wars books do a smart move and allow him a second novel.

First Meetings in the Ender Universe: the other book I read, by Orson Scott Card, as the last one I could find having to do with the Ender Saga. It’s a collection of 3 short stories and the original Enders Game that appeared in Analog Magazine in 1977. If you’re an Ender fan, this is a must get.

The first story, The Polish Boy, deals with a 6-year-old kid in a family where he’s the seventh kid of 9 and where there’s a law mandating a 2-child limit. We see how a kid can beat the system and make good for his family. In Teacher’s Pest, we see a grown-up john Paul in college where he meets a teacher who would eventually become his wife and the mother of Ender. The last story, Investment Counselor, deals with a twenty-year-old Andrew Wiggins who meets Jane for the first time and finally decides, after 3,000 years, to become a Speaker for the Dead.

The nice bonus at the end is a sort-of “Teacher’s guide” for the reader to actually think about the four stories written. All 3 stories explain some of the little things we don’t know about in the universe, while We can see how Ender’s Game evolved from a short story about a kid who saves humanity to the novel it later becomes. My favorite of the 4: Teacher’s Pest, which to me was a really cool way to meet a person to love.

Work: I think I covered everything there earlier in the week.

Weight-Loss: Down to 409 as of Wednesday. Boo ya!

Gonna grab a quick nap before work – More Later!

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