Greets and salutes, mortals! How are we this evening? Me, you ask? Oh, I’m experiencing…some rather bothersome discomfort (Editor’s Note: MIND BOGGLING PAIN) brought on primarily by the seasonal weather. Rather than vent my irritation by converting my lovely apartment complex into a necromancy factory – good idea, that – I have instead settled on catching up with all of you. Aren’t you lucky?! The correct answer to that is yes. Unless you like being set on fire. Then feel free to answer no.
Now, as the title above would suggest, the first item on the agenda tonight is my latest literary lark. Actually, lark might not be the best word, considering this is a 1500 page mammoth, but I like my alliteration, so fuck it – lark it is. Anyway, if you recall WAY back when, I gave my impressions of Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, the first book in Sanderson’s epic fantasy series, The Stormlight Archives. I’ll let you read my original impressions on that first book for yourself – but in short, I found it a very promising start to a series, particularly if you are a fan of Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. After finishing The Way of Kings, I eagerly started the second book of the series, Words of Radiance.
I am very pleased to say that if you were a fan of the first book, you will definitely find more to love in the second. My primary complaint about TWoK was that it could be somewhat confusing in the way it blasted the reader with new information, concepts, and terminology – sometimes it required quite a bit of work on the part of the reader to piece these together into a coherent tapestry. But by the time you’ve begun to read WoR, you have finished TWoK and are familiar with this world and its systems. Consequently, as a reader you can focus on what Sanderson has shown himself to be a burgeoning master of – world and character building.
All of the major characters left standing at the end of TWoK return for WoR, and some new ones are introduced as well. The most developed characters, and likely by intention, are Kaladin and Shallan – but none of the characters lack for significant development here. One of the elements that I love the most about this series so far is that these men and women are flawed – not in cliche, obvious ways, but in real, believable ways. As with many epic, sweeping narratives, at this stage it is difficult to identify any card-carrying villains – while some characters actions or plots may seem more sinister, or less honorable, than others, it is made clear that each one is acting for what he or she truly believes is the greater good. And the world itself is a character – Sanderson’s vivid descriptions and the way in which its harsh and violent nature impacts the characters and action add tremendously to the story.
Speaking of action, I am a big fan of the way Sanderson scripts his action sequences. In particular, the climactic battle in the closing chapters is an absolute gem – I couldn’t stop reading until I’d finished it. Quite frankly, that sentiment applies to the entirety of this novel – once I started it, it consumed all of my spare moments until I had finished it. My biggest gripe is that based upon Sanderson’s website, the rough draft of Book Three is still only 95% complete – meaning it will still be quire some time before we have it in our hands. Goddammit, Sanderson – how dare your massive creative endeavor take more time than I want to wait!
But what do you need when you are engrossed in a great book? Why…a great drink, of course! And nothing says fun like EWE’s Rum Punch!
This fun concoction that is relatively simple to make. At it’s base, you’ll need Disaronno, Malibu / Captain Morgan Coconut Rum, cranberry juice, and orange juice. Take a tall tumbler glass, fill with ice, then combine one part Disaronno, two parts rum, and fill the glass with equal parts cranberry and orange juice. Garnish with a lime, cherry, or both, and enjoy.
But why let the fun stop there? There are any number of varieties of flavored rum out there from both Captain Morgan and Malibu – pineapple, mango, passion fruit, etc. You can also substitute other fruit juices, such as pineapple, cherry, etc. So long as you base it with Disaronno and finish with orange juice, you’re going to be in good shape. Well, until you have had four or five because they’re so damn good and you don’t notice the alcohol. Then you might not be in good shape. But fuck it – you won’t care!
And that brings us to bears. Now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself, “how can even EWE possibly shoehorn bears into this in any kind of coherent way?
I was humbled and honored to be nominated for a PANDA Award by the lovely and talented LightningEllen at Conquering the Gaming Backlog. Her blog is a true gem – while the title may give away that she is chronicling her epic journey through the ever-expanding backlog that we gamers inevitably accrue (I feel you, kid. The struggle is real. The struggle is real real), giving us her thoughts, impressions, reviews and insights along the way, that isn’t the end of the story. From touching tributes on Remembrance Day, sharing slices of her life (I’m currently scheduling an Amiibo intervention for you), giving glimpses of upcoming games and demos – it is an absolute treat every time I catch up on your posts. All of you, minions, go forth and follow her, read her words, and be better for it. Or I will find you. And then no one will find you. EVER. AGAIN.
As LightningEllen said in her post, this award is particularly special because it was founded by Mr. Panda, a mainstay here in the blogging universe who has always been quick with a kind word, comment, or critique in my short time here as a malevolent omnicidal demon blogger. What makes this award different? Well, I will quote LightningEllen, quoting The Shameful Narcissist, quoting Mr. Panda, because I can: “This award is much different from the other chain awards floating around out there. PANDA stands for ‘Play A New Day Award’. I’ll quote the Shameful Narcissist’s quote of Mr. Panda’s explanation: ‘I want to encourage others to play for another day. No matter what is going on, whether in the world, your country, your home, or even in your mind, I want you to play for a new day. We’re all in this together, and we can make it together.’”
The rules for the PANDA are quite simple.
- Thank the person who nominated you.
- Nominate any number of people for the award.
- Encourage them in any way, whether through thanking or complimenting them.
In considering my nominations, I must first note that LightningEllen managed to nominate a number of the same folks that I would have as well – and her words for them would be echoed by me. But in addition to those fine folks:
Anna at Anonymously Autistic – Autism is something near and dear to my heart, as my youngest son is autistic. No matter how much I may try to learn about and understand what that means, all the science in the world is not as insightful as a look through the eyes of someone that sees the world in much the same way that he does. For that, I can never thank you enough. What you do is an amazing gift for so many people, autistic or not.
Donna at Dine And Rhyme – While it is no secret to anyone that reads my blog regularly that I LOVE FOOD, far fewer people know that I also have loved and admired poetry for most of my life. My senior thesis in high school English was an original book of (horrendously awful) poetry. Not only do I admire the work itself, but I have the utmost respect for people that put their thoughts and feelings into prose and then open themselves by putting those poems for the world to see. Thank you for your blog.
Toreishi at Toreishi Games – told you before about the fantastic reviews over at Toreishi’s blog, but I think I’ve come to look forward even more so to any post titled “This is not a post and the cake is a lie.” Because I know hilarity is about to ensue.
Beauty Beyond Bones – I don’t know if I even have sufficient words to express my respect for you. I know something of dark places, and crawling out of them, and while we may not always agree on ideologies, you chronicle your struggles and triumphs with grace and eloquence, and in doing so, you are a source of inspiration for innumerable people that may be in a similar place. You should be very proud – not just for your own journey, but for offering your experience to others as well.
And with that, my little ones, we come to the end of tonight’s journey. As always, I am grateful and humbled that you joined me. Whatever the cause of my sleepless nights – be it pain, confusion, loneliness, or what have you, I take solace in knowing that you are there. If you ever need someone who has wronged you punished…or their family…or friends…or neighbors…you get the point – I’m your Evil Wizard. – EWE