Archive for January 2014

Smaug

So I saw the second Hobbit movie yesterday.  It added or changed quite a lot, and actually ended at a earlier point in the book than I had been expecting.  It’d been a while since I read the book, so I found myself keeping comparing it with the old Rankin-Bass animated adaption.  One thing I think they very definitely got right(which should be no surprise because Del Toro) was Smaug.

The reactions and expressiveness were pretty much perfect.  His movements looked fairly natural throughout the whole set of scenes with him.  When he talked, it looked like legit talking.    There’s more I can I mention, but spoilers(highlight to view):

I didn’t really care for that whole extended fight scene between the dwarves and Smaug.  I did like it looked like an actual dwarven hall instead of the cave of Rankin-Bass, but it felt like they wrote themselves into a corner by trying to emphasize that this was the One Ring.  In the original(and in Rankin-Bass) Smaug knows Bilbo is there somewhere but can’t see him.  He doesn’t make allusions to Bilbo having The Ring, and that was a huge part of why he went to attack Laketown.  He’s never smelled hobbit, and never sees Bilbo, so after the complimenting(and he was definitely just as much of an egomaniac) and the riddles made him think Lakemen.  In this version, that almost seems like an afterthought, after the long tussle through the dwarf halls.  The dwarves are still right there, but he leaves anyways to go after Laketown.

We also missed out on the “My tail: an earthquake!  My breath: death!” line from the riddles/egostroking. :<

If they’d kept it close to the original, I’d have expected the end of the movie to feature Smaug attacking Laketown, getting shot down, and then the cliffhanger would have been the forces on all sides marshalling for the Battle of the Five Armies.  It was originally two movies though, so when they decided to extend it to three they had to do it somewhere, I guess, and it got us more Smaug, so there were upsides.

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One other non-spoiler thing though I did not like was how they emphasized The Ring in a few specific scenes.  In the original, there was only a couple hints at it until the end, but it was very much its own story.  Here, it felt like they felt they had to epic it up and push the connection, though it really didn’t need pushing.

Overall, it was still a pretty good movie though, taken on its own.

And the clock ticks on

So the new year is a time traditionally used to look back at how far we’ve come, and what lies ahead.  I’ve got nothing better to do, this year, so I may as well.

Year in review

For the most part, this year felt like a lot of running in place. Still in the same position at work that I was at last year.  No new relations in my life still.  Still living in the same place.  A whole lot of keepin’ on keepin’ on.

… actually, on second thought, there was a few things that happened.  I basically completely got out from under debt earlier this year, for one.  No loans, credit cards paid off in full every month.  My living costs aren’t high right now so it’s letting me build up a nice emergency cash fund.

Work had gotten rough, then got easier, and gotten rougher again.  I’ve got a promotion coming eventually, but the manpower needs to be in place first, and we lost a lot of people this year, compared to last year.

Work got more interesting/fun also, thanks to the people working there now.  It’s kind of neat to be able to go and get paid for talking WoW and other random geekiness at work(Besides all the work we actually do, of course).  It’s definitely a tighter team than it used to be.

The earlier mentioned financial freedom also let me splurge a little like I haven’t since when I first started college and thought all those ad-viewing programs would actually pay out.  I managed to backfill almost all the G1 and Beast Wars figured I’ve wanted.  G2 didn’t have enough -new- things to count, and I already own everything from Armada onwards that I want.  There’s still a couple Beast Wars figures I might snap up if I can catch a good deal, but I now can do a almost complete show cast display.

I also got new arts thanks to that, for the first time in years! [preening intensifies]

My old NAS’s motherbaord dieing got me to get a new pre-built one – a Synology DS414, and I ahve to say these are pretty slick.  So far it has most everything I want and then some, and it hasn’t been too much of a challenge to work with, apart form figuring how to do rsync with it.  It also finally forced me to sort my digital data hoard better and set up real backups.

It also finally got my tail moving on revamping the website I hadn’t touched since 2006 probably.  Just waiting on a server move, and then this’ll be becoming my domain’s front page.  Well, not this entry, but the blog.  I also moved to a registrar that offered a better price, as the only features it was missing were ones I don’t use.

A lot of smaller events changes I guess, no real huge ones as the debt-free-ness was something I had been working on for years.  A lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing.  I suppose that’s good in a way too, as it means things didn’t get worse either.

Life goes on

So, what am I looking forward to or for, as 2013 becomes 2014?

First on my list is what’s colloquially known as “getting my shit together.”  The digital portion of that’s already about done.  Mostly at this point it’s just waiting on that pending promotion, then it’s down to full force house-hunting for someplace near work.  If all else fails, I’ve found a townhome rental that’s a bit expensive, but still fairly nice.   Once that’s taken care of, the rest should fall into place.

Transformers-wise there’s a new movie coming, but I also don’t care for a lot of the movie asthetic, so that’ll save some money.  On the other hand, we know about a lot of Generations releases coming down the pike thanks to a slip-up by their website team, and I’m eyeing about half the list probably at this point.

I’ve got a few more pieces of art I want to get.  Besides the ones waiting on an artist to open commissions again, I think I’d like to get a new conbadge.  The hard part is finding an artist I like who does them, and can do them for quads(as opposed to just anthro).

I probably won’t be writing as often here as I am currently – plenty of time to sit around with nothing to do will lead to that.  I am planning to make a better effort of sticking with it, as opposed to my old dead attempt whose location I can’t even remember anymore.

In the same vein, I’m considering going back and checking out old haunts, maybe try and get back in touch with people I’ve lost contact with.  It’s not a major goal at the moment, but an idea I’m playing around with.  My WoW time is going to be a lot less now, until the next xpac, and that’s probably 3-4 months away minimum.

I’ve also got a lot of giftcards to use up, as I found some from Christmas 2012 I hasn’t used yet. <..<

Welcome to 2014!~