Trying Something New

This blog passed it’s nine year anniversary earlier this month.  Nine years ago, I rekindled my passion for amateur astronomy and photography, but along the way I decided to also review books and movies.  Then I thought returning to college to finish my degree was a good idea and my blog languished, neglected for most of the last couple of years.

My work life has also ramped up during the same time period, leaving me less time to write.  I had to give up something, and I refuse to give up reading, so writing was sacrificed.  But a recent project at work forced me to take a crash course in cloud computing (Microsoft’s Azure) which gave me a taste of the pros and cons of that environment. After discussing my thoughts with my son, who is a developer, I took his advice and created a Digital Ocean account to see if it’s a cost effective alternative to my aging hardware at home.

In less than two days, I stood up my own WordPress Droplet and exported/imported this blog into it’s new home.  To see my first post at the new site, please follow this link.

For now, I’m just dipping my toes in the Digital Ocean, so this current blog will remain active.  I want to see if this approach is cost-effective.  Moving away from this ‘free’ site hosted by WordPress, has pros (no ads!) and cons (actually costs money), so I’m going to take this slow and monitor usage.

I welcome your thoughts and comments, especially if you have already been down this road and have any insights, tips and tricks you’d like to share.

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Master of Horror Lecture Series (October 2019)

Master of Horror lectures throughout the month of October at several Mid-Continent Public Library locations around Kansas City.  The lecturer is Roberta Park, who also happens to be President of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City.

Synopsis:  Horror author H.P. Lovecraft has influenced the genre for decades. Explore H.P. Lovecraft’s life, his influences, the Cthulhu Mythos, and how he developed as a horror author.

 

Schedule:

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This Week in Middle-earth

A year ago today, I attended my first Tolkien Studies conference, hosted by the Tolkien Society of Kansas City at Park University.  I even helped re-enact the scene where Frodo is wounded by the Witch-king (I played the part of Wraith #5 in the video taken by Corey Olsen which is no longer available according to Twitch).

IMG_2364I’m looking forward to my second Moot next weekend in Waterloo, Iowa, also called MiddleMoot (because we alternate years between the two locations – back in KC for 2020).

MiddleMoot 2019

A Reader's Companion to the Lord of the Rings by Hammond & ScullAnd since I start off October by celebrating or at least contemplating being another year older, I decided to start a Twitter post series based on the Hammond & Scull Reader’s Companion to The Lord of the Rings, in which the timeline is very accurately tracked as the story unfolds.  So on the morning of September 30th,  the last day of that month, I finished reading “The Uruk-hai” chapter in The Two Towers and picked up the Reader’s Companion to read their research and notes on the same chapter, but instead I wondered what was happening “on this day” in Middle-earth?  So I returned back to the chapter “A Knife in the Dark” from The Fellowship of the Ring and found the corresponding entry for last Monday:  Continue reading

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Movie Review: Ghost in the Shell (2017) 2.5 stars

Ghost in the Shell

Released: March 31, 2017 (US)

Director: Rupert Sanders

Watched: 10/2/2019 (via Hulu and SyFy)

Rating: 2-2.5 stars

Synopsis (from IMDB): In the near future, Major Mira Killian is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals.

My Thoughts

Five years ago, I watched and reviewed the 1995 animated movie of the same nameContinue reading

Posted in 2 Star, Dystopian, Movies and Television Shows, Ratings, Reviewing, Reviews, Science Fiction | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

5*11

Five 11s

Eleven 5s

A half century and a half decade.

Two score plus a half score plus a quarter score years.

I can’t and never could drive fifty-five.

20190927_062558

I was almost five when Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Disappointed a woman hasn’t walked there yet.

I am starting to experience the opposite of time dilation.

Thanks to everyone who wished me well on my natal day.

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Movie Review: Born of Hope (4 stars)

Born of Hope movie poster

Born of Hope: The Ring of Barahir

Release date: December 1, 2009

Director/Producer: Kate Madison

Official Website: http://www.bornofhope.com/

Watched: late September 2019

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I stumbled across this fan film last week while researching (translation: falling down another Tolkien rabbit hole) the backstory of Gilraen, mother of Aragorn. I am always interested in Tolkien’s female characters because there are so few of them and nearly all of them have surprising agency considering Tolkien’s times. The Tolkien Gateway article for Gilraen includes a link at the very bottom that delves deeper into her tragic tale, gleaned from The Lord of the Rings Appendices and other Legendarium sources: The Tragedy of Gilraen, Aragorn’s Mother

Gilraen probably has the saddest epitaph of any of Tolkien’s characters (except perhaps Turin and his sister):

Onen i-Estel Edain, ú-chebin estel anim.
“I gave hope to the Dúnedain; I kept none for myself.”

Gilraen could not see the light for the growing darkness and despaired, living only half as long as she should have, as one of the few remaining Dúnedain.

Continue reading

Posted in 4 Star, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Movies and Television Shows, Ratings, Reviewing, Reviews | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Inexperienced Chili Taster

And I’m back after a months-long blog writing hiatus.

To get my blood flowing and brain juices churning, I’m posting a ‘joke’ my husband sent me via email way back in November 2007 that I’ve been wanting to share (and put some place where I can find it in the future).

For my ‘Let’s clean out the pantry of nearly expired canned goods’ vegetarian (more or less) chili recipe, see my blog post from December 2010 here.
Warning: Stop reading now if you will be offended by some mild profanity and tasteless (pun intended) male commentary (from Judge #3).

A good day to die . . . For chili.

Inexperienced Chili Taster

Notes from an inexperienced chili taster named Frank, who was visiting Texas from the East Coast:

Recently I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment, and I happened to be standing there at the judge’s table asking directions to the beer wagon when the call came. I was assured by the other judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn’t be all that spicy, and besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting so I accepted.

Continue reading

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