Thursday, May 24, 2012

Trivium @ the Georgia Theater.

Last night was a something of an odd experience for me. It was the first concert I've been to in about 4 years or so, but it was also the first Metal show in the newly rebuilt Georgia Theater, which burned down rather spectacularly several years ago.

The show featured three groups which I really didn't have much experience with. A local band from Athens: Savagist, a group from Atlanta: Dead to the World, and then the headliners, Trivium.  All three groups put on spectacular shows, and I look forward to seeing more from all of them.

Savagist ~

Dead to the world ~

Trivium also did a very good cover of Mettalica's Creeping Death during their encore.

Next show I'll be going to see Clutch.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What speed do you read?

I scored 669 words a minute, or 168% above the national average. Though typically I don't like to read that quickly, unless it's for school work.

Accelerated Readership

I'm sure most of my readers already check out Black Gate, but if you haven't, please check out this review. 

Yeah, well, I hear you saying, what's so special about this review? Why should I take the time out of my busy day to read a review of some zombie book written by someone I've never heard of before?

You see, dear reader, this review was lovingly crafted by someone I went to school with. By some one who has worked extremely hard to get to this point. By someone one who was present almost at the very beginning of my ceaseless Fantasy reading binge. By some one who was my closest competition in our school's Accelerated Reader program, ergo encouraging me to read, both more quickly and in greater quantity, if I wanted to stay ahead of her. By some one who is in my Dungeons & Dragons campaign. By someone who, though DUNE is the only book we both think is great, is my friend regardless.

So, if you haven't already, please check it out, and be sure to keep an eye out for more from her in the future.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My sort of Avengers Review.

 Spoiler Alert! Don't click this link if you haven't seen Serenity, Avengers, or the first season of Game of Thrones..

Tor asks what about Death in Fantasy makes fans Rage? 

This is perhaps an even better question than the recent one in Salon Magazine inquiring about the lack of heroic characters on Television.

Alas I'm not a very good person to discuss this particular topic. I'm among the group who dislikes both Whedon and Martin for the exact reasons stated in the article. I feel they kill characters off for no reason except to shock their audiences. The same way William S. Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon randomly add Non-sequitur buggery into their books..

This brings us to George R.R. Martin. I enjoyed A Game of Thrones until nearly the end. That ending however so soured me to George R.R. Martin, I've never bothered to read any of his other works. I expected, upon going into the series, that Eddard would be the main character throughout the entire character. The same way Rand Al' Thor was in the Wheel of Time. Instead, I found myself at the end of the first volume with no main character, and as a result no reason to continue reading the series. Unfortunately for me, I'd listened to some one who liked the series and bought all 4 volumes sight unseen based on their recommendation. Volumes 2-4 have yet to have their spines cracked. I'm not going to say that Martin has no right to kill off his characters, technically I got exactly what I paid for, but I certainly have a right to be perturbed by it.  I bought a book and was entertained throughout 90% of the book, but the ending basically nullified my enjoyment of the whole. It made me angry that I had now "Wasted" time which I had previously enjoyed.

I think, in my opinion, that is the reason why this causes so much trouble among fans. The "Main character" or "Primary POV" becomes an almost surrogate. Eddard then, is the reader, thus it is the reader who is beheaded. I know I've heard from other people that other characters are the "Real" main character. Everyone from Daenarys to Jon to Arya to whomever you please. Heck, when I first read the book I assumed Bran would be the main character, I was actually highly unhappy when he was injured, and only once I realized "Oh this is a plot device for his father's story" did I continue to read. Killing off fan favorite characters is something which the other man referenced, Joss Whedon, is well known for.

I feel I need to be honest here. Basically, well.. I've never liked Joss Whedon.. So I don't honestly care when he kills off his own characters. He can kill off as many Buffy characters or Firefly characters as he likes. I never got into Buffy, Angel, Serinity, Dollshouse or any of his other series. I don't care about Cabin the woods or his run on Spider-man. I simply dislike the guy, his writing style, his penchant for including random show tunes, and most importantly I dislike the feel of his work. I liked Avengers in spite of Joss Whedon, not because of him. (I feel exactly the same way about everything Tim Burton has done since Batman).

 I enjoyed the Avengers, mostly, all except for the one scene referenced in that article. I felt it was pointless. I felt the movie was called the Avengers, and that it was inevitable that the Avengers would assemble, regardless of any one specific event. None of those characters was going to let Loki and the Skitari conquer the world. Simply put, it was stupid. They killed off a fan favorite character for effectively no reason except to make people angry, either the Fans or the Characters.. regardless of what little logic this contains. This isn't the same thing at all as killing of Tara, a character that Joss Whedon Created. Coulson was a character created for Jon Favreau's Ironman and I for one am very disappointed in Marvel for allowing the character to be killed off in this way. It's something I feel wouldn't have happened if Favereau had been tapped to direct the Avengers (which, again, in my opinion would have been only fair and fitting since without his stunningly good Ironman, we wouldn't have gotten to where we are now).On the flip side to this problem is, by Kevin Feige's admission and Joss Whedon's own assertion, Whedon wasn't responsible for this. It was a choice made at Marvel, written into the original script even. Would it have still happened if the guy who created the character had directed the movie? I don't know, and it is unlikely we will ever know. All I do know is, I'm sorry that we won't get to see the human honey badger on screen anymore.

This brings up a problem though. With a specific scene which I dislike so much, and a director I dislike so much.. How come I enjoyed the movie so much?  So far this year, I've seen two films, both from Disney, both capable of transporting me to nearly euphoric plateaus of fun. The first, John Carter, had me quite nearly cheering at the screen. It was such a good movie, and in my opinion faithful adaption of the spirit of the source material, that I couldn't wait to see it again and nearly bought another ticket that same night. Avengers I've seen twice already inside of it's first week!. The only other movie I've ever done that for was "Fellowship of the Ring".

Granted, like John Carter, there are parts of the Avengers which I simply don't like. The bit which launched this article being the main one, but also because I just felt the movie didn't really fit that well with all of the preceeding ones. Maybe it's because I was disappointed they didn't give more information on what happened between the endings of the other various films and this one. How long had Captain American been working for shield? How long had Dr. Selvig been working for shield? How did Bruce Banner get from his cabin in British Columbia to India. Why did they reference so many things from the deleted scenes of the other movies? What the heck happened to War Machine to make it so he didn't show up? Were him and General Ross dealing with other threats?  I realize most of these things are not questions the casual viewer would even consider, but to me, they are important.

It was still a good movie, and I look forward to being able to sit down and watch all 6 of the films in some sort of order.

Right now I'm leaning towards the following.

Iron Man
Iron Man 2
Captain America
"A Funny thing happened on the way to Thor's Hammer"
Incredible Hulk
"The Consultant"

Incredible Hulk and Thor seem to both have taken place about the same time..  "The Consultant" which takes place during Thor, explains why it was Tony Stark and not Nick Fury or Agent Coulson who goes to talk to General "Thunderbolt" Ross also.

Monday, May 7, 2012


So thanks to a last minute intervention by the Dean of Mathematics at my school, I was allowed to take a different profficiency test, instead of the Computer - COMPASS, I was given the Pen & Paper CPE. I scored an 86% on the CPE test.

I get to keep my C in Math, and I get to go on and take college Math, and continue to go to school!

Thanks everyone for the emotional and moral support.

I am so relieved now, It was such a horrid feeling thinking that my entire college career was shot down before I even finished being a freshman.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

No longer a student.

I should now have plenty of time to continue posting completely inane and pointless blog posts which basically no one reads. I formerly was a student, but due to my complete and innate lack of ability with everything related to Mathematics I am now a student no longer. Apparently, regardless of it's value to your field, you simply cannot be considered a 'Well rounded' student unless you have passed a college level algebra class.

The trick to this is of course, schools in the US, apparently universally, issue "Placement tests" to see if you are "Capable" of doing college level mathematics. These tests basically will put anyone who isn't extremely talented in math into a either one or a series of remedial classes. This is what happened to me. It's the reason I put off going to college for so long in the first place.

I passed both remedial math classes with a 'C' but the school system isn't satisfied with that. No. they want you to also pass an "Exit exam" to prove that you have actually learned the material.

I haven't. See, it's entirely possible to pass the class and fail every single test, due to the grading rubrics used. Homework = X%, Quizzes = X%, Tests = X%, Final = X%. If you do fantastically well on your homework, but don't manage more than C-'s for your tests, quizzes and final you can still pass the class.. even if that means you really only know about 68% of the material from the class. The Exit Exam is designed to catch people like me, who the school basically considers to be cheating scum, and toss us right back into the 'Learning support' classes. You see, in the state of Georgia, if you don't pass the remedial class(s) in 3 attempts you get kicked out of school for a year. An entire year! Further, you aren't allowed to take more than 20 hours of "College level" classes while you are still in one of these vaunted remedial classes.

In my opinion, this is basically all a big scam designed to bilk the federal financial aid system. What could be better? have a virtual open door to anyone, of any educational background, and then turf them out when they fail to live up to outrageous standards relating to material that the bulk of the earths population has no use for. You would think they would treat reading and writing with great importance, since you can't even function in a MATH class without being able to read and write. But no. They really don't care if you can read or write at a college level so long as you can find factor a polynomial. Even if this has no bearing on your Major, the school systems in the US don't care.

And it really is across the entire US, regardless of state or institution. They have no choice mainly, if they want to remain an accredited institution, but to force their students to take these classes.

But now that I've failed the 'Exit exam', I am left with two choices, either voluntarily withdraw from school, or retake the class (out of my own pocket) and risk getting kicked out by the school system when I fail the test again. It's exceedingly frustrating as I am a 4.0gpa student who is on the Dean's list, yet I am not being allowed to take any more college level classes due to being deficient in something which is completely irrelevant to my field. This counts for nothing of course, why would it? when the entire school system is fixated on their ever increasing math and science goals. It's all anyone in the admissions office ever talks about. They are, basically, trying to turn our fine educational system into a replica of east Asia's. Learn math and science by rote memorization and to hell with the humanities. Who needs culture, right? Glory to the state!

It's no wonder the US educational system is in such Shit condition. It's no wonder our math and science scores are so low. They try to force people who have no apptitude for them to do them which then drags down the over all averages.The Asian countries figured out the trick on how to game the averages. Simply encourage the kids with no aptitude at math to quit school, thus causing a steady uptick in the Math Scores with ever withdrawal. That seems to be the prevailing attitude here now also, who cares if you can write a 20 page research paper, so long as you can crunch numbers. Fuck the Morals, does it make any money?

Needless to say, at this point I'm a bit upset about the whole thing. I can't help but feel I've now wasted a year of my life pursuing something which is, due to bureaucratic jerkoffery, effectively barred to me, forever. I can't even go through a For-Profit online school to take my required math class since most schools won't accept credit from them.

If you haven't guessed, I'm seriously pissed off about this.