Monday, December 29, 2014

Lo! A Blog Hop


So I have been tagged in a blog hop by CL Schneider, over at her blog. Here is how it works, as she explained it:
This blog hop is designed to show our readers a more personal side to ourselves. We've been challenged by another author/ blogger (somewhat like the 'ice bucket' challenge) to list seven interesting facts to help cast light onto that tough writer’s/blogger's persona we all like to project. But we want to show that behind every story is a story, our story, my story, and like everyone else I have dreams, hobbies, problems and goals. This blog hop is a way to share some of them with you, my readers.

The rules are that I share 7 Lovely Facts about myself, and links to at least 15 blogs that I enjoy reading. If I’ve nominated your blog (see names below) please don’t feel any obligation to join in but, if you do, please link back to the blog of the person who nominated you...share facts about yourself and nominate 15 blogs (or as many as you can).
Now, without further ado, seven fun facts about me (in no particular order).

1. I visited the Waterloo battlefield for my twelfth birthday.

Being a military brat, I grew up surrounded by a lot of military history books. So one day, when I was about ten or so, I started to read some of them. One of the first ones I read was The Limits of Glory by James McDonough. It was a book about the Battle of Waterloo done in the style of Michael Shaara's famous The Killer Angels. After reading it, I became an instant Napoleonic, and a lover of military history. Not too long after, my father was stationed in Germany, which meant I had access to a lot of foreign countries all along the border. One of them was Belgium, which was of course home to the Waterloo battlefield. So, for my twelfth birthday, my mom took myself and my sisters to Belgium, where we toured the battlefield, watched some light shows demonstrating the phases of the battle, and toured some of the nearby museums. It was definitely one of the best birthday experiences I've ever had. Some kids say they went to Chuck E. Cheese; how many could say they stood on the spot where Emperor Napoleon was decisively defeated and Europe was saved?

2. I am a huge Akira Kurosawa fan.

When I was thirteen, my dad showed me the movie Seven Samurai. I loved the movie, and it's one of the few films over three hours that I've watched many times over (the only other one probably being Gettysburg). I loved the movie so much, in fact, that I went out and looked for other films Kurosawa had done. I encountered Rashomon and Kagemusha, and after that I was hooked. This spring boarded me into other things: it was Kurosawa and his films which got me into studying Japanese history (especially the Sengoku Jidai), Japanese culture, and the Japanese language.

To this day, I have an extensive DVD collection of virtually all his films, as well as a few VHS tapes of those films not yet available on DVD. Kurosawa had a major impact on me in terms of visualization and how to make respectful filmmaking. I think it is also fascinating that he is one of the few filmmakers where you can see the growth of his persona from his earlier films (which were all about young earth shakers looking proudly to the future) and his later films (which were all about older characters looking mournfully back on "the good ol' days"). His films could be artistic without being indulgent, and could be emotional while being subtle. They have just as much an impact on me today as they did the first time I got into them.

3. I was present for the San Francisco earthquake of 1989.

The 1989 earthquake, made famous for taking place during the World Series, happened while my family was living there at the time. I've seen video of the earthquake on YouTube, and one thing I definitely do not remember is the earthquake building up so slowly. The way I remember it was I was in the living room with my mom, watching her play the original Zelda on NES (yes, my mom was a gamer, believe it or not - I think she beat most of our games). Suddenly, the house began to shake, and the TV went out. My mom and I rushed to the hallway, where we met my sisters, and we all huddled together while it went on. The funny thing was, in the midst of the house rocking back and forth and all this chaos, the only thing I remember thinking at the time was, "Oh no, the glasses in the kitchen are breaking!"

Thankfully, no one in my family was hurt, nor were any of our neighbors, and though we camped out that night, by the next morning it was clear that the house was safe, and we went back in without any problems.

4. I nearly died at birth.

When I was being born, the umbilical chord was wrapped around my head and arm. When they began to try to pull me out, the chord would wrap tighter, and cut off my breathing - as a result, my heartbeat would begin to slow down. The funny thing about all this was that no one noticed anything was wrong until a nurse happened to study the machine monitoring my heartbeat, and informed the doctor about it. In the end, my mom had to have a c-section.

5. For a brief period of my life, I was deathly afraid of the toilet.

When I was four-years old, I had a series of dreams in which the toilet, chanting "PEANUT BUTTER! PEANUT BUTTER!" came out of the bathroom and ate me. This was compounded with an incident where, hearing my own breath echoing off the bathroom walls, I mistook it for the toilet breathing. This convinced me, in my youthful imagination, that the toilet was not only alive, but out to get me!

Now some might ask here, "Did you stop using the toilet and go back to diapers?" No, not at all. If I had to do my business, I still went to the little boy's room. However, the minute I flushed, I would run like a bat out of hell out of the bathroom. Over time, I just grew out of this fear, and the toilet and I have had an understanding ever since. Also, don't ask me why the toilet was chanting peanut butter in my dream. To this day I have no idea. It is a hint at just how non sequitor my subconscious can be at times.

6. I have an unhealthy fascination with My Immortal.

For those who don't know, My Immortal is a Harry Potter fanfic written by a girl named Tara Gillespie, and is considered the worst fanfic ever written. No, really, it's that bad. It's basically about a Mary Sue character who is a goth vampire attending Hogwarts. While there, she engages in a relationship with Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter, then goes back in time to seduce Voldemort and hence keep him from becoming evil (I'm not making this up!). Everything about this fanfic is bad. Aside from the main character, who is obviously an author self-insert, virtually every aspect of the Harry Potter world is canon wrecked: Snape and Lupin are buddies; Draco Malfoy owns a flying car his father Lucian gave him; McGonagall is a villain; Umbridge and Fudge admit early on that Voldemort has returned and actively seek to stop him; the list goes on and on and on. Oh yeah, and Hedwig is transformed into a human who becomes Voldemort's bisexual lover. Did I happen to mention this fanfic has a lot of canon wrecking?

On top of this, the grammar problems make for some of the most humorous mistakes ever seen in literature. Tara warns readers that, due to the scariness of a certain chapter, viewer "excretion is advised." Snape's name is misspelled every possible way, including "Snake" and "Snoop". Lupin is described as "masticating" to a sexy video. I could literally write a book on all the grammar and spelling errors found within the forty-four chapters.

There is still debate to this day on whether Tara was writing seriously, or whether this was meant to be a trollfic. Either way, there is some level of brilliance seen in My Immortal, whether one wishes to attribute it to admiring a trollfic author's handiwork or reveling in schadenfreude. Yet despite myself, I cannot help but going back to it over and over again. The bad grammar, canon wreckage, and completely incompetent descriptions of sex ("he put his boy's thingy in mine" - let that sink in for a moment) make me literally L-O-L every single time.

If you want to know more about this fanfic, there's the My Immortal Wikia. I would also highly suggest the dramatic reading by LRMReading, who are three Scottish guys that read bad fanfiction - their reactions alone are worth the listen!

7. I currently have a side project to translate the Gospel of John into dovahzul.

Dovahzul is the dragon language found in the game Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It entered my mind a while ago to attempt to translate the Gospel of John into Dovahzul (since they already have a Klingon project in the works for the whole Bible). It's an on again, off again project that I mostly do when I get bored and then remember that I started it

A friend also encouraged me to translate it into Dunmeri, but...first thing's first.

Blog Listing

As other people have said in regards to blog hops, I really don't follow too many blogs out there. So I'll just make a list of those that I'm familiar with in the indie writing world, with links to their blogs or websites:

CL Schneider
Adam Dreece
Jennie Davenport
Briana Morgan
SA Hunt
Willow Raven

My tagging will be done on Twitter.

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