April 5th, 2010

books winnie the pooh eeyore

Paint the walls red

A few more hours in and I think those sausages from earlier are finally having an effect. I'm starting to feel more normal as far as energy goes. I no longer feel the urge to collapse anymore at the least so that's something. As far as everything else goes, it remains pretty gloomy. I've been in a mood slump for a couple weeks now and that shows no signs of abating. I end up spending a good chunk of the day thinking about how to make a guillotine, and that can't be a healthy hobby.

So depression aside, lets see what else I can ramble on about.

Well, a few weeks ago I finally listened to all of Jim Butcher's Codex Alera on audiobook. For those of you who don't recall, I took a few of his books with me on the trip to Maine last year and absolutely loved them. I breezed through the three books I had with me at the time and then spent a ridiculous amount of time visiting every bookstore I could find looking for the next ones. All I can say about that is there must be a lot of illiterate yokels up there because what passed for a bookstore up there was appalling. I finally found a Borders superstore as my last resort after a half dozen failures with smaller indie stores and hit paydirt.

Anyway, the series that had enthralled me was The Dresden Files, a sort of urban fantasy set of novels featuring a wizard in present day Chicago. It was Butcher's first breakthrough hit and came when a writing instructor suggested he take 2 separate genres and mash them together as an exercise. He chose detective noir and fantasy and the rest is history.

While The Dresden Files is what he's known for, Butcher started out wanting to write straight fantasy. He wasn't able to find any takers on his work until his other books hit it big and he established himself. Once that happened, he actually had a bidding war for his second series, a set of fantasy novels called Codex Alera. The novels follow the descendants of the lost roman legion who wandered into a Bermuda Triangle-like effect and got transported to another world. In this new world, all the elements of nature have spiritual manifestations called furies, which can be controlled by the people who now call themselves Alerans. Metal furies can allow you to reshape and sense metal or give you tolerance to pain, water furies allow you to sense emotions or heal wounds, earth furies give great strength, fire furies allow you to control fire, and wind furies allow you to fly or grant speed and quickness.

Because of these 'wormholes', Carna is populated with all sorts of sentient species pulled from different worlds and as you might imagine, they seem to spend most of their time fighting one another. When the story begins, the ruling house of Gaius, the first lord is teetering without an heir and all the various high lords are jockeying for the civil war to come. Cue a simple shepherd boy out in the boonies who seems to be an orphan and without any furies of his own. I'm pretty sure you can already guess some of the plot with just that. No one said fantasy was original.

Overall, the story was great and oddly enough, I wouldn't have pegged it as being Jim Butcher's work. It didn't have the same feel as the dresden files, and I'm not sure if that's just strange or a measure of incredible talent. About the only thing that did bleed through here and there is Butcher's sardonic sense of humor, though in this case the main character isn't the snarky one.

The series ran for 7 books and is now complete which makes me wonder what he'll pick up next. He's obviously prolific as hell if he can churn out 2 novels a year, which means that I doubt he'll simply go back to doing just the dresden files. He says he has a lot of other projects he's interested in and at the rate he's going, he'll never live to write them all. Considering the guy is not even 40 yet, that must mean there are a crapload of ideas to go through. The next dresden files book is due out in a little under two weeks and I can't wait to pick up the audiobook. James Marsters (Spike from Buff) narrates them all and he's absolutely fantastic at it. Along with the new book, two of the previous books will also be released on audiobook at the same time, completing the set to date. I'm really looking forward to running through the whole series from the beginning again.
lotr eye of sauron

Bippity boppity boo

Welp, as unlikely as it sounds, it looks like I'll be going to Disney World next month. The last time I was there I was still a kid and frankly, never expected a return visit. I did manage to go to Disney Land a couple of years in a row back when Gencon SoCal was still running though. A friend had a friend with those super-duper 20k a year membership dealies and managed to not only get us into the park but we also got a chance to dine at club33. From what I'm told, it's the only place in the entire park where you can get an alcoholic beverage and served as the private club Walt would take investors and business associates to while there. It was quite an experience but I figured that would be my last interaction with Disney in my lifetime.

This particular trip came about because Connie and Jeff wanted to take Maddie and Will down there for a vacation. They invited my mom and grandma along and I guess I got added as a tag-a-long. I feel sort of bad about the whole thing since I'm not exactly a cheerful get up and go sort of person even during the best of times and I don't want to end up being a burden on the trip. All in all, I'm not sure it's really worthwhile since I can't get all that much out of it without a large pain and discomfort tax added on. Even during those couple of trips to Disney Land, I didn't exactly do all that much and only spent a few hours in the part total. Sitting is a major problem no matter what and that makes any sort of ride iffy. It's not usually impossible, but it just means there's a toll to be paid in pain and other issues.

That aside, it's also not as if I've gotten a crapload of exercise over the months and years. Hell, I probably get less physical activity than anyone short of a coma patient. I've always been able to buck it up for cons and like in the past, putting months worth of physical exertion into a few days, but who knows how long I'll be able to keep that up. Disney World is an amazingly sprawling place, as you can see from the map, and I'm sure the one constant is that there will be a crapload of walking from one place to another.

So has anyone actually been to Disney World lately? Is there anything that I should make a point of seeing? About the only thing that's on my list is I heard there was a Coke pavilion somewhere in Epcot Center that has various coke flavors from around the world. There's one particularly infamous one called the Beverly from Italy that is described as being absolutely rancid. It might seem odd to travel over 1000 miles just to drink something you know will taste absolutely horrid but my curiosity has been piqued but all the hype around it. There are even quite a few youtube videos, filming people's reactions to tasting it. Here's an example:

So is there anything else I should try to see while I'm down there?