Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You Should Watch This

So I have been adventuring around the world of the Interweb and I have found for you. Obviously I did not do all the work and I link where necessary. Now onto the fun the first thing I will be discussing which is the new HYPE Podcast by Andrew Sims and Ben Schoen. You may know these guys from MuggleCast one of the biggest Harry Potter podcasts in the world. It is a podcast all about pop culture and is definitely worth a listen. I've checked out the first two episodes which leads into the next subject.

There is a lot of... well hype around one Sam Tsui on YouTube

So I chose this as one of the standout performances from this guy. He's already been on Ellen which helped out that kid who did the Paparazzi cover to a record deal so who knows. I for one think he would be awesome in Glee.

And what is this yet another YouTube vid, well yes but it is a good one so give me a little leeway. We all know about lightsaber fights indeed the last one I had cause to watch featured Harry Shum Jr. of Glee fame this video though takes things in a slightly different direction so take a look.

There we go folks that is all for now. Have a good week. I am off to write a story based on a dream.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lucky Me

Wow so this has been an interesting week all in all although it is not hard to be interesting compared to my average weekly schedule. Only two bits of good luck to share but those two outshine anything else that has recently been overly positive that has come my way. First thing's first while walking to the corner store to reup my electricty supply I reached into the pockets of my coat and began sifting through various receipts and other useless pieces of paper checking them as I went so I could just throw them in the bin outside the store. To my surprise in my investigation I pulled out a £10 from the pocket, which may not seem like much but when you had been living the previous 3 or 4 days without even spending a pound a day outside of the already paid bills can mean a lot like a nice ice cold beverage for instance.

The second bit of impressive luck was some unsolicited mail from our government which took the form of a tax rebate. Yes you heard me right the government actually decided to give me back some money never mind the £100+ they have cost me in bank charges due to their mess ups but it is still nice regardless of that stuff. I would be interested to see how far this lucky streak will go but hey other things to consider.

Anyway some updates:

Last few books read -

The Kings of Clonmel by John Flanagan
Four Blind Mice by James Patterson
Halts Peril by John Flanagan

Next book Dead Until Dark by Charmaine Harris

Saturday, January 15, 2011

An Ode to Caprica

So the much anticipated and somewhat controversial prequel to the Battlestar Galactica reboot has come to an end. I understand why a lot of people stayed away first of all it is nothing like BSG itself no epic space battles here and the whole politics thing is on a much smaller scale. I remember when I first heard about I thought I was going to give it a miss and would have if not for the casting of an actor I really liked from Kyle XY I would have.

After the first few episodes I was still ambivalent but the show eventually began to grow on me. Add into that one hell of an online twitter campaign spearheaded by the star Alessandra Torresani who before this I had never heard of. The online community that got behind Caprica was incredible but as so many fandoms know from Jericho to Heroes, fan presence alone can’t save shows when viewing figures tank.

I am definitely sad to see Caprica go even sadder when I finished the last episode of the previously withheld final batch of episodes and saw the 5 minute taste of things to come which gave us a taste of what season two might have been, and from what I saw it might have well been AWESOME.

So goodbye Caprica and I guess hello to Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome I hope it learns from the mistakes made by its predecessor.

Friday, January 14, 2011


So this is more than a bit late so I apologise. In other news my DK who has now become my unofficial main is now at 85. So now the fun and games of gearing up takes place and I am slowly inching my way to the heroic dungeon content but still need like 7 or 8 ilvl points before that becomes a reality and really from all that I have read I think I will be taking my time before embarrassing myself.
In other news I am keeping my bankroll constant while slowly levelling my professions at the moment I am concentrating on Enchanting and Alchemy while also buying up cheap ore to at least start the process in Jewelcrafting.

Not a lot more to say other than that I think I am going to ease down my World of Warcraft playing time and devote myself to my other pursuits like this lovely blog for instance. Good luck to the rest of you adventurers.
UPDATE: 7 or 8 ilvl points is now a measely 2 but I refuse to pay 500g just for an upgrade to get into heroics so I will be spending my time farming rep and getting gold from doing quests at maximum level.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Warcraft Wednesday

Dunno if this will become regular but I thought a quick roundup of what has been happening on my realm on the foolishly addictive MMO World of Warcraft.

[Jeeves my good man!]

So I have a Hunter with Engineering and I decided that I wanted to get Jeeves so I could be that helpful guy that allows everyone to get all repaired after oodles of wipes in the new Cataclysm dungeons and just because I like to collect stuff like this. I knew just from reading up on Jeeves that it is a bit of an involved process to acquire little did I realise how involved it was. I have one word for you and that word is Khorium. Grrr even writing it makes my pulse beat faster and the beginnings of a headache begin to form.

Khorium bars on my server are going for 200g each on the AH and 3 hours of farming in Nagrand netted me no Khorium ore whatsoever and there is none on the AH either. This is the same cockblock that means even as an engineer on about 460 now post all this I still don’t have my Turbo Charged Flying Machine.
Well after a couple of weeks hunting on the AH like a deadly umm shark or something I managed to get my hands on some Khorium Power Cores, they weren’t cheap but they didn’t leave me quite as violated as 200g a bar would have. Tonight I managed to craft Jeeves while buying up cheap ilvl 289 gear and crafting rings and trinkets to get my newly dinged hunter into Cataclysm.

[Auction House or “You gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em]

My AH work is going pretty well I estimate I am probably clearing a 1k a week averaged out. I have been trying to vary things especially since things have gone quiet on my stock of glyphs so I have been trying the following with some success.

-          Enchant mats, the ones I created as I levelled my enchant in Cataclysm
-          > Vanity pets, bought from Dalaran and resold for reasonable profits
-          > Vanity pets, acquired from the tournament
-          > Rings crafted from levelling Jewelcrafting the random hessonite ones
-          > Abyssal bags, got a sweet deal on Frostweave got loads of dust lying around

I am not making a lot of gold but I am using it to break even with all the investment into Alchemy, Jewelcrafting and the various levelling costs associated with having four level 80+ characters.

[PROGRESS – Got to keep swimming, swimming]
So I’m halfway through 83 and I really like the content so far that I have gone through on my Death Knight if I could give anyone about to start the 85 a tip it would be to try the underwater zone first NOT Hyjal that place is god awful and will destroy your will to level. Vashj’ir leaves you with a sense that you have achieved something at stages all through the questing I didn’t like the visions stuff much but that is only a small part of the questline. There is one issue with the underwater zone and that is getting used to finding the caves that serve as quest hubs. One particular cave took me 20 minutes to find the entrance to it, just one reason why you shouldn’t quest when you’re tired.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011



This particular topic has been buzzing around in my head for more than a year now and I thought it was time that I had a try at answering. Now of course I have to quantify that statement certainly not all female leads are unlikeable and I can mention a few that are immensely likeable and positive role models. Zoey Redbird of the House of Night Series and Claire Danvers of Morganville Vampires are two examples of female leads that I totally respect and can’t get enough of. Those seem to be the exceptions to the rule though unfortunately and let me show you some examples of my issues with female leads.

Rose Hathaway of the New York Best Seller list Vampire Academy, now don’t get me wrong the series itself is great and compelling at the moment in fact I’m just finishing off Last Sacrifice and already intrigued as to the next series set in the VA World. We are discussing characters though and not books or series so it is not important whether they are outstanding reads more how you feel about the character themselves.
My problems with Rose are many and varied in terms of the choices she makes throughout the series. In her role as a Guardian she is supposedly the epitome of self sacrifice and restraint, but anyone reading of her adventures knows that is not the case. Certainly Rose is a good person and a hero but she seems to have no understanding of the effect that her actions have on the people around her. The last discussion between her and Adrian in Last Sacrifice highlights this showing that she has been completely lost in her happy ending with Dimitri and has not spared a thought for Sydney, Jill or even really considered how much Adrian loved or indeed needed her.

One aspect I do respect of Rose’s is her courage, the way she without any second thoughts takes Lissa on the run to protect her is laudable and quite a sacrifice. However when they are captured and returned to the school we see her slipping into old habits drinking to excess and getting in trouble almost constantly.
Rose Hathaway is flawed but she is still a hero and by no means the worst example of a female lead in a YA, she doesn’t stand out as an ideal role model to teenage girls though that is from my own perspective as a nearly 30 year old man.

Ever Bloom is the lead character of the New York Best selling series The Immortals. After losing her family in a tragic accident that nearly costs her own life Ever is forced to deal with psychic powers she can’t control and having to leave everything she knew for a new life in California. Ever barely exists at her new school with 2 friends and nights spent talking to the ghost of her sister. 

Things all change when Damon Auguste comes into her life taking her breath away and driving her mad in equal measures does he want to be with her or is he just some kind of playboy, or worse yet is he hiding an even darker secret? I think some would compare The Immortals with The Twilight Series and there is a comparison to be made in that they both have large romance at their heart to a lesser or greater degree.

Ever is a very troubled girl which is to be expected really dealing with the grief of losing her family and struggling to adapt to her new powers. You would think that finding a partner like Damon who explains her situation and loves her absolutely might brighten Ever’s outlook on life you couldn’t be more wrong. Ever seems to have absolutely no self confidence whatsoever despite Damon possibly being the most patient and understanding boyfriend in the world.

As The Immortals Series continues Ever lies to Damon and her friends and consistently does the exact opposite of what he asks her, she ignores his counsel despite the fact that he has over a century of experience with their powers and the problems they can bring. It is interesting that Ever at the same time manages to believe that she is not worthy of the love of another but somehow a better judge of any given situation and the ONLY person capable of getting the job done, her sense of ego must be something to behold. She has hurt Damon so many times it defies all explanation that he hasn’t run away never to return but I guess he really does love her, if only she could get that through her thick skull.

Katniss Everdeen is the main character in the popular trilogy The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins a gritty story set in a fascist North American future. Katniss is a young poacher in the twelfth district of Panem and volunteers to enter the annual Hunger Games in the place of her younger sister. The Hunger Games is a fight to the death featuring two dozen of the children of the districts televised for the whole country to watch.
Katniss is an interesting character with some serious issues. These are certainly not all her fault being the pawn of several factions vying for control of Panem each happy to use and abuse her as they deem necessary. The problem is with some of the decisions or distinct lack of that Katniss makes especially when dealing with Gayle and Peeta. While Katniss certainly has noble intent particularly in the first two books, one thing she doesn’t grasp is the power she has to affect others.

Reading through the Hunger Games you lose count of how many times you seriously question the things Katniss decides to do even allowing for the amount of things she is put through during her adventures. At times it left me angry wanting to scream at a literary character to get a clue and not be so dumb which I know some might argue is a good thing. When I consider it though I think more that perhaps characters who react in ways that are somewhat expected make for more believable reads. And if I ask myself the main question of this post which is do I think Ms. Everdeen is a good role model for young women then I think the answer is a resounding no.

So there are those of you who may feel that this is just the rantings of a good looking man but it is not just me. I got in contact with Lyndsey at Heaven, Hell and Purgatory Book Reviews and she very kindly supplied me with her thoughts on the subject of annoying female leads.

Zoey Redbird - House of Night series
Zoey can be quite a strong female MC at times but then there are others where she is incredibly weak. Over the course of the series so far, with Burned being the only exception, Zoey has had quite a big history with the boys. The thing that annoys me the most about her is that even though she has had all of these boyfriends/ flings, she is still really immature in regards to this. It would be one thing if she went from one boyfriend to the next because they broke up for legitimate reasons but she doesn’t. Zoey goes from boy to boy, regardless of if she has a boyfriend already. On numerous occasions, she has cheated and lied in order to get what she wants and I just don’t think that this sets a very good example for readers of any kind. 

Eve and Jess - Dark Touch Novels
In this first book of this series, Shadows, I nearly had to put the book down because I hated these characters so much. 
Eve and Jess were everything that I hated about female characters. Both were spoiled and full of themselves and knew that having money could get them whatever they wanted. As soon as I realised what kind of girls they were, there was an instant dislike and I’m afraid that I really didn’t warm up to them. They just seemed so shallow for the most part that I couldn’t find much about them that I did like. Eve has her moments of being stronger than I had expected but it doesn’t last very long and only in a couple of different parts. Jess wasn’t so bad though and was a good best friend for Eve but it was a shame that she didn’t have a bigger part in the story. 

Linz x