Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

I finished Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson today.  It’s a good book that just flew by for me this week.  It is a fantasy story from the burgeoning days of fantasy writing (it was published in 1961).  I suppose it could be considered a classic of sorts.

The book tells the story of Holger Carlsen, a man caught between our world and another, fantastical one with faeries, dragons, giants, and trolls.  Many of the fantasy tropes recognized by Dungeons & Dragons players must have some origin in this tale, which is itself based somewhat on the tales of earliest medieval France.

It’s a good yarn, in some ways several short tales, and I was reminded fondly of the stories I told and imagined when I was younger.


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Been a few days again.  I’ve been keeping busy with movies, books, and work last Saturday.

Friday night, Jen and I watched Proof of Life and The Crow.  I had seen both before.  Jen had never seen The Crow.  I like Proof of Life.  It’s a movie that moves along for me even though it’s over two hours long.  Plus it ends with a great firefight.  The Crow has lost some of its luster with age.  Jen was pointing out all sorts of dislikes, things I had glossed over when I was younger.  It’s still a fun watch though.

I worked on Saturday and had a generally laid back weekend otherwise.  We watched The Highlander on Sunday.  Again, one I had seen but Jen had not.  Again, she criticized some things I ignored when I was younger.  This is a movie that could benefit from a solid remake (not another sequel, God no).  Great soundtrack though.  That would be hard to replicate.

Last night was Heartbreak Ridge.  Great movie.  There are too many liberties taken with delinquent Marines (in Force Recon no less) and with incompetent, glory-seeking officers.  But Clint Eastwood is so awesome in this movie it’s worth it.

I’ve moved onto the magic items in my Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide.  This and the spells appendix in the Player’s Handbook will take some time as they’re reference sections.  I may stop with the first level spells so I can start working on getting a game off the ground.  We’ll see.

I’ve also started reading Poul Anderson’s Three Hearts and Three Lions.  I’ve never read any Poul Anderson or even heard of him.  I’m sure this would get me lynched at a gamer convention but better late than never.

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Quick post…I’ve missed a week due to being busy, being lazy, and just not having a lot going on except for this past weekend.  I’ll write about that in another post.

I have been reading a lot of the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide over the past week.  I have only to read the spells in the PHB and combat and magic items in the DMG.  We’ll see, but I think I’m close to sitting down and sketching out a dungeon or something and getting the AD&D 2E party started.  That will go well with the new books I’ve gotten in the past few days:

  • The Complete Guide to Necromancers
  • The Complete Guide to Villains
  • Creative Campaigning
  • Monster Mythology
  • Of Ships and the Sea

I’ve also been reading The Terror.  It’s pretty good so far – a horror story that uses as its setting the true disappearance of the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror on the failed expedition led by Captain Sir John Franklin to navigate the Northwest Passage.  That’s a sufficiently tragic (and creepy) backdrop for a horror story.  I hope I can read it fast enough though.  It’s beefy at over 700 pages and it’s competing for reading time with the PHB and DMG.

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It’s been a few days.  Not much going on.  I’ve been reading my Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition Player’s Handbook and Dungeon Master’s Guide.  I waffle between all of the versions of D&D because they all have something to offer.

Jen and I saw Hellboy II: The Golden Army last night.  It really was a missed opportunity.  Great mythology, great visualization, but just too campy for me to enjoy.  Also caught Dracula 2000.  It wasn’t bad – there was some good mythology in the movie – but it wasn’t that great either.

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The big achievement for today was actually an achievement.  I got The Peterson achievement today ahead of my planned schedule.  Fifty hours of FIFA Soccer 09 – crazy.  It’s the last achievement I can get for the game since the EA servers supporting the game were turned off earlier this year.

My playtime was interrupted when my daughters broke the toilet seat connectors in the upstairs common bathroom wrestling over who was going to get a particular orange towel.  I had to run to Home Depot to get replacement parts and fix the toilet seat.  A small kink in the day.

The rest of the day was just hanging out with the family.  We watched Family Guy’s Blue Harvest and Something, Something Dark Side, parodies of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.  The movies are hilariously inappropriate like all Family Guy episodes.  The blu-ray set has profanity, so be advised.  I read some of my Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd edition Player’s Handbook and hit some roleplaying-focused blogs during the movies.  At 9 PM, we switched over to the Discovery channel to watch Shark Week.

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I finished The City of Towers last night.  I had pretty much wrapped it up and just needed to finish reading through the appendices for good measure.  Gotta be thorough.  Smile  No I can move on to The Terror by Dan Simmons.  It’s a horror/thriller set against the backdrop of a mid 18th-century expedition in search of the Northwest Passage.

I got a lot done this week at work and it’s looking like I’ll get more tasks wrapped up next week.  I’ve had a number of long brewing projects and tasks that have been percolating so it’ll be a lifting of some burden.

Got some more FIFA Soccer 09 in today.  I think I’m on schedule to get The Peterson by August 2nd.  I may even get it this weekend if I knuckle down in the evening or if the weather turns foul.

Also watched a few movies tonight with the family.  We watched Willow with the girls.  They liked it.  I haven’t seen it in years but it’s a great fantasy film that’s tween appropriate.  Jen and I also watched John Carpenter’s The Fog from 1980 (I think a remake has been made recently).  It was OK.  Probably a little more scary 30 years ago.  Not bad.

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Nearly done with The City of Towers.  Really I just have to read the appendix – a guide to Eberron of sorts.  The story was very good and it kept me engaged.  Fantasy fiction can be difficult to read if there are a lot of action scenes but The City of Towers read more like a thriller or mystery.  I’ll be getting the next book from the library once I finish The Terror.

I did my five mile run today.  It’s hilly but I was able to keep a 7:40 mile pace.  Not bad.

I also watched We Were Soldiers with my wife tonight.  We had seen it before many years ago.  It seems a very realistic depiction of the first major battle of the Vietnam War.  But it’s not just about the battle.  It’s about the loyalty that Lt. Colonel Harry Moore commanded of his men and the impact to the families back home that would be the tip of the iceberg.  It’s up there with Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers as far as a quality, impactful war film goes.

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