Thursday, July 31, 2008

Extree! Extree!

Woo! An extra post! Extra 'cause I was going to hold off 'til Friday. Actually this is just a cheap way to justify writing a short one (I've heard that before), but don't tell. A bud of mine directed me to this Strong Bad Email, which I'd shamefully forgotten about. But come on, people (or at least self)! I watched a hundred and eighty some of these things in a relatively short time span! Anyway, this is one of her favorites and with good reason; I think it pretty well sums up the whole shebang in one beautiful package. You should watch all of them, but at least watch that one.

Regarding names: is it funny that for a while the big impediment to starting this blog was deciding on a name? It may not seem that important, but I wanted to find one that would compel people to read it, just because the name was so good. After all, when all those many people are neglecting work to comb the blogosphere for the latest inane thoughts of somebody no one's ever heard of, how else do you make sure they're your inane thoughts? Beats me whether I came up with a winner, but I like it (it's got a good rhythm and has a bit of mystery), and success is so unlikely anyway that it probably doesn't matter, even if your blog is named "Stuff White People Like." Anyway, here are some of the earlier, and ultimately rejected, candidates:

Lights from the Blog - I like puns. If that's not clear yet, it will be soon enough. This one is decent and the whole name offers a sense of the fantastic, which is appropriate. On the other hand, the joke is a tad esoteric (who uses the word "bog" nowadays?) and even if people do make the connection to will-o-the-wisp, I probably don't want to suggest they'll be misled by my writings, to their doom. Bwahaha. And the name's a bit clunky. Good effort, though.

Blogdor - a nod to my homestar,, homeboy, Homestar, although it's really a nod to Strong Bad and his mighty creation that I linked to before (so I won't do it again!). Trogdor gets bonus points because a) the email is funny, b) it comes up again in later contexts and there's even a Burninator game you can play (after watching Strong Bad play it, of course), and c) the Trogdor theme is, awesomely, featured in Guitar Hero II. Still, it remains another esoteric joke, and doesn't really say anything about the blog's contents. The fact that such an obvious joke has almost certainly been claimed by others already is a minor concern.

Stuff Witty People Like - OK, I'm already out of names I actually considered. Truth is, I was so busy dealing with the other major impediment (reluctance to just sit down and write) that I didn't spend a lot of time coming up with solutions to the first. After Lights from the Blog and Blogdor, I'm pretty sure Sage Mathias was the next one, and in a moment inspired by a webcomic I'll write about another time, I simply thought "YES." But I don't want to quit yet so I made up this one. Actually it's not bad. If I do a spin-off or just another blog, maybe I'll use this. Don't take it! The point is that "Stuff White People Like" is a real blog, and a very popular one (or so I understand). Ripping off its sound is the natural reaction. I can think of another variation on this theme, but it's not appropriate for all ages. Never mind.

I resisted getting into the Eragon series (really called the Inheritance trilogy) because of the usual unjustified prejudice. I think in this case I assumed it was just riding the massive Harry Potter wave of children's (sort of) fantasy literature. Then I found a free copy of Eragon and a cheap copy of the sequel, Eldest, and thought, why not? It's got all the requisite fantasy ingredients: a massive world with magic, humans, elves, dwarves, dragons and other mythical beasts, and, of course, an evil tyrant. The title character is a farm boy who one day finds a strange blue stone that ends up hatching into a dragon (whoops). He becomes a member of the ancient (and mostly eradicated) order of Dragon Riders and is the only one who can save the world from the evil king. Formulaic it is, and somewhat predictable (as I read the two books I was reminded of Star Wars pretty frequently, which no doubt is itself derivative). Neither is it as well written or the characters nearly as compelling and believable as the masterful creations of Ms. J.K. Rowling. But author Christopher Paolini, who started writing this series at fifteen and is about my age (yikes), is certainly no poor storyteller, and his creation remains an intriguing adventure of which I am eager to see the resolution. Check it out, if you like this stuff. The final book comes out in September, and I for one...well, can wait, 'cause I have to. But if its release date got moved up a month and a half, I wouldn't mind a bit.

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