Books, Booze, and…huh, I’ll be damned, Bears – Oh My!

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.

wordsofradiancecover

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!

jamaican-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?

panda
Never doubt me again, humans.

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.

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Nominate any number of people for the award.
  3. 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

 

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Versatile Blogger Award x2 – with Special Guest!

Hello again, cats and kittens!  As I stated the other day, a recent catch-up on my reader found that I had neglected to acknowledge and respond to some additional award nominations.  Now we’ve already covered that this amount of kindness shown toward a festering ball of cynicism and sarcasm like myself is probably a sure sign of mass mental illness on the part of, well…most of you, really.  But there is another point to address as well – as you may well know many of these awards involve the disclosure of a number of facts about the receiving blogger.  As I have been showered with your adoration recently, it has become somewhat difficult to come up with a unique list each time without beginning to repeat myself about…myself.  Thus, when I saw that both Grimmgirldotcom and Boba and Games had each nominated me for my second and third Versatile Blogger Award, respectively (and with many, many thanks to each of you!) it occurred to me “Goddammit, I don’t even know if I know that many things about myself in total, let alone interesting ones!”  And that led to this very special post.

You see, kids, believe it or not – I have a friend.  Not just any friend, mind you – the best friend.  That wasn’t a typo.  She isn’t A best friend, or even just MY best friend – she is THE.  BEST.  FRIEND.  It’s simply an objective fact – after all, if you can stand to call ME your best friend under any circumstances, you must be the best friend in history.  She is the one..the only…the Malevolent Moogle.

mog-final-fantasy-vi

So, I went to MM and I explained my conundrum and I asked if she would mind making a list of seven things about me that she thought people should know and/or laugh at incessantly.  Her initial response was “Fuck you, douchebag!”  but as that is her normal response to pretty much anything I say, I wasn’t concerned.  And as always, MM came through.  Not only did she list seven things, along with eliciting my promise that I would in fact give them all exactly as she had given them to me – with some additional reaction from myself – but she even threw in a bonus eighth thing as well.  Well, that or she can’t fucking count – the jury is still out.  So, without further ado, the Malevolent Moogle’s list of facts about EWE.

1. “Has a charisma score of 4 (low, very low).”  (EWE’s take: MM is a huge D&D fan, and is decidedly upset with me that I have not yet rolled a character for her to torture, maim, and then finally drive to suicide in one of her campaigns.)

2. “Passive trait: semi-clever.”  (EWE’s take: Huh…that’s actually a lot more clever than I had figured she found me.  Go me!)

3. “Non-combat companion pet that best matches EWE’s essence: whelpling.”  (EWE’s take: A tiny, harmless, ineffectual, fragile, barely functional dragon…so you’re saying I’m a dragon?!  Sweet!)

4. “If EWE was a song, he would be ‘tubthumping’ by chumbawumba.  Because no matter how many times he gets knocked down, he will always get up again.  Also, he is old, and annoying as hell.”  (EWE’s take: I HAD THIS FUCKING SONG STUCK IN MY HEAD FOR THE REST OF THE GODDAMN DAY!  GOD-FUCKING-DAMMIT MM!!)

5. “Is the human equivalent of onesie pajamas.  Cute, quirky, comfy, not good for being in public.”  (EWE’s take: Ironically, this is what my ex-fiance also thought about me…minus the cute, quirky, and comfy parts.  Oh, and MM sees not going out in public as a positive thing – or at least, that’s what she told me when I said “Dude.  Harsh.”)

6. “Is the type of person who would always opt to be Luigi, even if given first pick (you fuckin loser).”  (EWE’s take: Why the fuck is everyone always hating on Luigi?  What the fuck did Luigi ever do to you people?)

7. “Is totally Armin!!”

armin-armout

(EWE’s take: Ok, even on my WORST GODDAMN DAY, I do not whine as much as Armin.)

8. “I’m glad we’re friends!”  (EWE’s take:

kitty

Yisssss – me too!)

True story – MM and her husband saved my life.  Not a metaphor, not figuratively – when my entire world fell apart in one horrible moment, MM was the one that reminded me that not everyone saw me as worthless.  I owe her a debt that I can never repay, and all because on the day we met, I said “tl;dr” out loud about something, and then accepted a piece of (really shitty) imported Japanese candy from her.

Now, on to the nominations!

Forged from Reverie

Toreishigames

Daiyamanga

The Otaku Judge

Conquering the Gaming Backlog

And finally, The Rules:

  1. Write a post displaying the award.
  2. Thank the person who nominated you (including a link to their blog).
  3. Share 7 facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other bloggers!

Once again, I am truly humbled and grateful for the support from all of you!  And most of all, the evilest of evil thank yous to the Most Magnificent Malevolent Moogle – you’re the best! – EWE

One Lovely Blog Award

Alright, kiddos…it’s time for a chat.  I was perusing my reader today, when I realized that during a busy October, somehow I had managed to miss a few additional award nominations.  First of all, I apologize for my tardiness, which I shall begin correcting forthwith – I feel, well, as bad as an Evil Wizard can feel.  But more importantly, I feel compelled to reiterate – you know I’m evil, right?  I’m not going to kick a puppy or harm a kitty – even evil has standards – but still, this much love for a soulless shell like me?  I mean, I assume you read the blog – you’ve seen plenty of evidence of this – and yet, you strange, wonderful humans continue to shower me with support.  If I didn’t have the rest of my daily interactions as evidence to the contrary, you people might actually force me to reevaluate my abject loathing of humanity.  That is an incredible accomplishment – I humbly thank you.  Well, “humbly” isn’t really my thing; but still, I thank you.

Speaking of thanks, I would like to extend many to The Shameful Narcissist for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award!  This award sees the recipient share some facts about themselves and nominate some fellow deserving bloggers – or as Shameful puts it, “creates a potentially never ending cycle of sharing and positivity.”  And you nominated me.  Well, I can promise to continue the “never ending cycle” and “sharing” parts of the process – but no promises on the “positivity” friends!

1. Animals like me.  I can’t really explain this.  They just do.  Puppies, kitties, goats…they just seem to have an affinity for me.  Except snakes.  Fucking snakes.

i-hate-snakes

2. I spent three years as a music education major in college.  I learned to play every brass, woodwind, string, and percussion instrument, as well as sing.  Then it turned out I sucked at teaching.

3. I am extremely loyal.  Sometimes to a fault.  I don’t trust easily, but once I have given someone my trust, I will support them in any way I possibly can.  Which can lead to…

4. Per my closest and best friend, I put others before myself far too much, and do not put myself first nearly enough.  According to her, it is “perhaps my only flaw.”  (Editor’s Note: EWE’s best friend is the closest thing to a living saint that exists, and thinks far, FAR better of him than is probably warranted by logic and common sense.)

5. I would love to one day own a bar.  I would call it “Heaven’s Devils” and I would continue to practice law, then go there afterward to drink and ponder with my regulars just what the hell is wrong with me.

6. I am, for the most part, fairly unreadable – I don’t tend to wear my emotions out in the open.  However, if I trust you enough to be open with you, then I am extremely open and blunt with my feelings and opinions.

7. I use humor to mask insecurity.  Actually – I use humor to mask everything.  It’s incredibly effective.

There, see – that wasn’t so bad!  I mean, granted, that’s probably seven more things than you ever cared to know about me, but hey, I tried to resist disclosing anything mind-shatteringly awful.  So now, on to my nominations!

Special Needs Siblings (as a father of two boys, the younger of whom has Aspergers, these warm even my heart)

Mari Lyn Holistic (a lovely blog by a truly lovely soul)

I Played the Game! (fantastic thoughts on a variety of games)

Jeyna Grace (amazing indie author)

The Magic of Books (reading is my oldest and dearest hobby and passion)

Now for the rules:

  1. Write an article accepting the award.
  2. Thank the person you nominated you and put a link to their blog.
  3. Tell the reader seven facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate other blogs for the award.
  5. Let them know that you nominated them.
  6. Post the rules to let your followers know how it works.

Again, many thanks for all of the support! – EWE

The Liebster Award

Whoa, two posts in one day!  I must have a ton of energy – or a lot of smoldering rage issues preventing me from getting anything else accomplished.  Well, I guess we’ll never know!

But at least this brightened my mood – I’ve been nominated for another award!  My first-ever Liebster Award.  You know, when I started blogging not all that long ago, I honestly never considered that anyone would actually want to read it, let alone think it had any particular value.  But I was apparently wrong – many thanks to moresleepneeded for the kind nomination!

As a part of the award, I once again get to answer a series of questions posed by my nominator, and then nominate a group of fellow bloggers to answer some questions of my own.  Without further ado, more information that you probably never wanted to know about your friendly neighborhood Evil Wizard, Esq.

1.Why did you choose the name of your blog?

Well, if you’ve read it, then Evil should probably be self-explanatory.  Wizard is a reference to the fact that I’m fairly analytical – I want to understand anything I don’t, be it people, situations, or problems.  And passing the Ohio bar exam enables me to add the Esq. to the end!

2.If you could go back in time to experience any event, where would you go?

Hmm…tough call.  I mean, I’ve always been fascinated by space exploration, so one obvious choice would be to watch Apollo 11 lunar landing.  But then, the evil nihilistic side of me might say that I could go back to the very first instant that basic building blocks of human life first formed in the primordial soup of the earth…AND STOP THEM.

3.What subjects do you enjoy finding out information about?

Well, the obvious example given my profession would be law – but the truth is EVERYTHING.  There is honestly nothing I don’t like learning more about.  Gaming, sports, politics, science, history…I’ve never encountered a single subject that I don’t find interesting on some level.

4.What is a mystery you would like to know the answer to?

The existence of extraterrestrial life.  It’s fascinated me since I was a youth.

5.What is the funniest way that you have heard anyone mistake the lyrics for a song?

Hmm…I don’t really have a good answer for this one, but I cracked up the other day when my niece told me that her new favorite movie was “The Wizard of the Boz.”

6.What is the weirdest question you have been asked as part of a Liebster Award Nomination?

See Number 7 below.

7.What is the name of a dance song (which sounds like it was from the eighties) which features energetic music and a deep voice singing “Hold me”?

I…I honestly have absolutely no idea.

8.How do you like to write blogs?

As a pure stream of consciousness – I find the most entertaining entries are when I have a lot stirring inside and just let myself rant.  Alcohol tends to help this process.

9.What would you do if I sang out of tune?

I would stand up and walk out on you – and then immolate the establishment in which you were singing.  So don’t.

10.What is a song that reminds you of a specific time or place?

This is tough for me to answer – not because I can’t think of an example, but because there are so many and most are intensely personal.  I will say “Walking in Memphis”, high school, and The X-Files.  The rest is mine alone.

My nominations go to:

The Crew at Games Revisited (sweet, pure classic game goodness in my veins)

The mysterious master of retr0pia (MORE classic goodness)

The Storytelling Cook at Recipe in a Bottle (so many delicious noms)

Magnificent Millie Schmidt at Coffee, Chocolate & Writing – With Cats (how can you not love all of those things?)

Anna at Anonymously Autistic (a wonderful soul who helps me to understand my youngest son’s precious mind)

As for my questions:

  1. If you could have one more visit with someone who is no longer in your life, who would it be?
  2. If you won the lottery tomorrow and were financially set for life, what would you do?
  3. Where is your absolute favorite place on earth?
  4. What is your favorite game, book, film, show, etc.?
  5. If you lost everything you had, who is the first person you would turn to for help?

Short and sweet, kiddos!  Thanks again for making an old, evil hermit feel welcome! – EWE

 

The Versatile Blogger Award

Another award nomination?!  Aww…you kids are too kind!  Seriously…you’re really too kind, you should get that checked or something, it never turns out well.  That said, many thanks to ToreishiNoblesse of toreishigames for the nomination and the kind words.  If you like my ramblings, you will love Tor’s – a kindred blogging soul to my own (if I had a soul) with far less nihilism.  Thank you kindly, my friend!

Rules:
1) Display Award
2) Thank the person who gave this award (and include a link to their blog)
3) Share seven things about yourself
4) Nominate ten bloggers

Wait, seven things about myself?  Shit – this might be more introspection than I’ve done in centuries.  Well, you’ve been warned – you may never be able to unsee/unhear the horrific atrocities that are about to be unleashed…

1) I’m chronically early to everything.  It’s a fucking compulsion – if I’m not running 30 minutes ahead of schedule, I start to lose my shit.  It stems from being a kid and my mom being my only mode of transport.  She is an amazing woman, single mom, ran a day care in our home and somehow raised three children despite being very poor – but the consequence of always being busy meant that we were inevitably late to everything, and I hated that feeling.  By the time I was in high school, I would lie about when I needed to be places on the order of a couple of hours just to make sure I would get there on time.  Once I could drive myself places, I swore I’d always be early before I’d be late.

2) I’m terrible at taking my own advice.  I majored in psychology as an undergrad, and both before and in the years after, I’ve always had a talent for reading people and helping them deal with issues that they face.  That said, I am completely goddamn incapable of taking my own advice, no matter how sound it is when I offer it to others.  I’ll even recognize this fact as I am dispensing said advice to someone, and still will manage to not follow it.

3) I love amusement parks.  Like, Cedar Point is some form of heaven on earth for me.  Roller coasters, haunted houses, fair food – I love every bit of amusement parks and have ever since I was a young evil mageling.

4) I have trust issues.  This is probably fairly obvious to anyone that has followed this blog to this point, but they aren’t exactly what you may think, and they are fairly well-founded.  As a child, I was subjected to severe, prolonged, and horrific abuse – I will spare the details, but I look back now and realize I should by all rights have become a statistic and I don’t know how I didn’t.  Even into adulthood, it seemed that the people that I would come to trust the most and leave myself vulnerable to would use that trust to hurt me.  But my issue isn’t that now I can’t trust – it is that even when I do place my trust in someone now, I do so with the sad, inevitable feeling that it will sooner or later be betrayed.  It is far from pleasant, and I would like nothing more than for it to be proven wrong one day.

5) I’m an insomniac.  I’ve never been particularly good at falling or staying asleep my entire life, but since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia, the pain has made sleep even more difficult, and the collapse of my engagement some time back shredded my mental and emotional world for quite a while.  Fortunately, after spending some time using various aids to help combat this, I’ve recently begun to return to something approaching a healthy sleep cycle – but I still have a long way to go.

6) I am terrible at admitting defeat.  Whether it is in a court case, an MMA fight, a cooking endeavor – you name it, and I have to be good at it.  I recognize that it isn’t realistic or even particularly healthy – but see no. 2 above.

7) I love blogging.  Seems almost silly, right?  But it’s a new thing for me.  I had never considered an undertaking like this before, but then I needed a place to open up when I was at my lowest point, and so now here we are, and I have loved every moment of it.  I have no particular expectations – while I would love for my thoughts to become a massive success that amuse and inform and incense people all over the world, I am also content that I have found any audience at all that finds value in what I have to say, and how I say it.  It is honestly one of the most humbling experiences I’ve ever had.

Now, for ten people far better at this than I am (apologies if you’ve already been tagged before; it just means you’re extra-super-special!):

Mari Lyn at Mari Lyn Holistic (I’ve known this beautiful, artistic, talented, and compassionate woman for many years – she’s absolutely amazing!)

The Rage Mage at The Well-Red Mage (Your review of Jaws for NES made me laugh, cry, and suffer horrific flashbacks all at the same time.)

Lightning Night Nova at Conquering the Gaming Backlog (Her approach to gaming seems so in tune with mine, it’s like she’s a palette-swapped sprite of me!)

Mei-Mei at Jedi by Knight (Who in addition to being an awesome blogger, also lives in NE Ohio – making her geographically superior as well!)

Spoon You Fork Me at The Dining Diaries (I want to eat all the things.  Seriously, all of them.)

Mr. Panda at Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews (In-depth reviews that I can only aspire to emulate.)

Hammy at Hammy Reviews (Fantastic, polished reviews across a wide range of media.)

The Otaku Judge at The Otaku Judge (A rightfully self-described, and quite accomplished, geek critic after my own, uh, what do you humans call it…oh, right, heart!)

Vahrkalla at Vahrkalla’s Video Games (You have to appreciate snark this skillfully woven into intelligent prose!)

The Well-Red Mage at The Well-Red Mage (The first to make me feel welcomed to the blogging community, and also one of the most entertaining writers in said community!)

If you aren’t listed above, it doesn’t mean I hate you – well, I mean, I AM a condensed mass of hatred, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t list you out of hatred.  I actually am rather fond of many, many people and blogs in our little corner of the Interweb – and I humbly thank you all for allowing me to join it. – EWE