The Music Man

This post is a shout-out to everyone to go follow a new blog. My best friend has decided to start his own music-dedicated blog where he will post from his extensive understanding of every music style that he enjoys, from the Beatles to Rock to classic folk, probably. You can probably expect not to find anything about rap or modern pop unless he feels like ranting over degradation. He's a full-time college guy but he'll post as often as possible. He can also be found on youtube where he posts original work under his real name. If you think this sounds interesting, click the link and tell him JT sent you. (just a little spamguard notice.)Oh, and he doesn't seem to have a blogger follow button, just a google+ button. I did not you could do that...Update: The usual blogger follow button had since been added.


I Now Understand...

 This guy, perhaps better known to you all as "Lindsey Stirling's backup chorus" The new brand of awesome I was way behind in discovering properly...:/ I think I even like his own videos better than Stirling's...:D

p.s. Google has gone overboard, and it might convince me in short order to kill my blogs if it keeps up. It's sending a new demand to enter my e-mail and password every five seconds. In the course of this post, I have "signed in" five times and been pestered about it a lot more. Can't even publish this note w/o doing it. In the event that I kill my blogs, and I lose my account completely, I will continue to read your posts and comment. What can I say? It's mental torture to get interrupted pointlessly this many times...


Fandom Roll Call

In the past, I was confused over what constituted a "fandom" one could declare themselves part of. But now I believe I've come to an understanding: If you would spend your allowance to get something connected to whichever pop-culture phenomenon it is you're thinking of, you are in the fandom, all right. And sometimes it's not pop-culture at all. I used to be reluctant to define myself as a fan of anything (i.e. novel series) which was no longer currently active. And then I did a double-take and realized that my favorite fandom has been going strong for fifty years! Hence, my list below.

The Works of Tolkien
Of course this was going to be on top. I say "the works" because although all of Tolkien's most famous writing is connected by way of Middle-Earth, the different styles in which each was written is enough to allow for a person to declare themselves a fan, but not get enjoyment out of everything he wrote. The Ringer fandom is also one of the most intellectual fandoms there is. People write scholarly essays explaining their opinions about all sorts of elements of Middle-Earth.

No, I am not embarrassed to admit that my second biggest fandom is a talking animal series intended for ten-year-olds that comparatively few people have ever heard of. I discovered the series at the age of nine and liked them so much I kept going back until I was sixteen. It is still my ongoing quest to put together a set of the complete novels in hardcover. The stories are full of humor, and unlike many series now, every entry of the 22 is a stand-alone story. As long as the author was alive, he kept churning out these stories, and once hooked, the discovery of the year's new release was the biggest event of my year. (almost). And yes, I did wish there was a movie. In my defense, if anyone cares, I joined the ranks of Ringers at the age of ten.

Although I have expressed dislike toward about half the films, I am still firmly in this fandom because the good ones are so good they convince us to come back next year for the next one. The good ones have all gained places on my mental list of "things I would buy if I had money"

The Chronicles of Narnia
Narnia was always my second or third runner-up when trying to decide what I liked. I read LWW several times in my early years. I don't know if I ever thought the back of my closet would disappear, but I certainly know that I wished something like that would happen. I liked the LWW movie a lot, but at one point we watched it so many times in a relatively short period that i can't seem to bring myself to sit through it again. I was properly excited by the news that #4 is finally in production, but my second favorite has always been #5. This fandom has nearly failed me, as #s 2-3 are bad movies. If all goes well I will be thirty by the time the last one is made. Noooo!

All Things Gaelic
This includes Scotland, Ireland, talking in a Gaelic accent, bagpipes, Celtic fiddling, Irish folk songs, kilts and wondering what haggis really tastes like. Yep, Everything. I'm actually only about 20% Irish, if that much, but that's where I'll always identify with as my heritage.

The Enderverse
I actually never read the complete Ender's Game series. After finishing the first book, I switched over to the Ender's Shadow series and got the two sets mixed up. Nevertheless, I am as excited as anyone that a movie about to be released, because as soon as I had read the original book, and a few times on the way through it,  realized that I badly wanted to see this book on the screen. Now to wait ten more days. I do not own any of these books, but I have recently remembered that I want to.

The Piano Guys/Lindsey Stirling
Ridiculously talented musicians who had their original bases on Youtube, and are now going on world tours and being followed by obsessed fans everywhere. Enough said. :D They even collaborate! (See Mission Impossible theme)

 I think there is no way to explain this one, ja? 


Why Ender's Game Should Have Been a Long Movie

This is a purely speculative post brought on by the discovery that the runtime of the upcoming Ender's Game film will only be two hours. There may or may not be spoilers below, but I don't know for sure because I haven't read anything disclosing the details included and the two trailers have practically no different material between the two of them. Just by remembering how the story goes, I have realized that a list can be made of all the parts that ought to have been included to do the story justice. Several entries on this list are especially important if the future holds an Enderverse franchise, which is not unlikely in the era of tentpole franchises that go on forever. (the series includes four sequels) This is not a purist rant, as the film hasn't released yet. Simply an explanation of what the film ought to include.
I have been careful not to list everything relevant to the whole story to ensure that newcomers still find surprises.
  1. Ender's Siblings: In the beginning, Ender is growing up underneath his two siblings; unstable but strategically brilliant Peter, and sympathetic Valentine. Both registered on Battle School tests as the supergeniuses that were hoped for, but they were both rejected due to character issues making them unfit for Commander School. The real reason they should be included is that a proper Enderverse franchise would have to include Peter's schemes of world domination, which he manipulates Valentine into helping him with, as a full subplot.
  2. The Bullies: This might seem like a strange item to include in a list of must-haves, but actually they ought to be included, as the events involving them are critical parts of Ender's character development. Ender gets jumped by bullies once before he's brought up to Battle School, and once afterwards. Both times he defeats the ringleader in hand-to-hand combat and kills them by accident without realizing it. Both times the Battle School administrators (led by Harrison Ford's Graff) are watching remotely, use the incidents to judge Ender's commanding ability, and never reveal to him that either kid died, although Ender does harbor lingering suspicions which cause him to doubt himself.
  3. The Battle-Room Tournament: Most of the Ender's Game novel is focused on the Battle-Room freeze-ray-laser-tag-in-zero-gravity tournament which the administrators use to assess leadership qualities. To do the story justice, the film ought to include at least four distinct matches; Ender's first, in which he wins the match for his team against orders brought on by size prejudice, his first match as captain of a team, another match day when his team is assigned two matches in a day even though one is the norm, and the final one, in which he is ordered to deal with two teams at once. The rule-bending is ordered by Graff himself just to see how Ender will react.
  4. Ender's Team: By this I mean explain them all individually, not just Petra, because they are collectively the main characters in the sequels. Eventually all of them go home to Earth and most become the political leaders in their home countries. The ones to watch out for are Petra, the Armenian (I think) played by Hailee Steinfeld, Hot Soup, a guy from China who is instantly made Emperor,  Ali, an Arab who is promptly installed as Caliph of Baghdad and rules an area about the size of the entire Middle East, (The political boundaries on the Enderverse Earth are basically divided into three or four geographically distinct empires), and Bean, a Dutch orphan who is such a major player that he gets the next entry on the list for himself.
  5. Bean: First off, Bean got his own novel series, so there's money to be had if the author will let them. By extension, he got his own nemesis and his own perspective on the Enderverse. Some of the best moments in Ender's Game were related from Bean's angle in the concurrent story Ender's Shadow. (In fact, the first reports claimed that the movie would splice the two stories together, but I doubt that is happening because two hours is simply not enough time to fit everything in) Bean is even more brilliant than Ender, but is ruled out of the leadership role due to more aggressive behavior. Bean quickly becomes Ender's prime lieutenant, and when he returns to Earth, is immediately snatched up by Peter to occupy the same position.
  6. The Mind Games:  The mind games are another system Graff uses to measure the kids' apittude, by way of a sort of futuristic video game which drags the player through various bizarre situations they have to think their way out of. Ender and Bean are the only kids in the school smart enough to beat the system and find the end of the game. The mind games are a critical part of the Enderverse franchise simply because in the later stories the author arbitrarily includes details from the mind games as clues to the big puzzle Ender has to work out in real life, so if they were to make all the books into films, the fans would expect them to include the mind games.

Everything I've listed could take as much as a whole hour to deal with collectively on film, and that's on top of other parts I haven't mentioned. Therefore I will go into the new movie with moderate expectations and a hope that there will be an extended edition. I retain a measure of optimism through the rumor that the author himself was involved in the screenplay. Note: While trying to verify my last sentence by way of rottentomatoes.com, I discovered to my relief that the siblings, the bullies, and most of Ender's team have been cast as separate characters. Only Hot Soup the Chinese kid is missing from that list. I think I'm going to like this movie.