Guestblogging is turned off, and I’ll be shutting down comments in a few minutes, and redirecting this URL to the new blog shortly thereafter.
Thanks for the memories, everybody.
Oh, and don’t be deceived by the title of this post. Much like The Return of the King, this blog will have more than one ending. :) One final “signing off” post will follow…
P.S. Since I’ll be signing off as the “Irish Trojan,” I should probably link one last time to the post that started it all, in regard to that name.
It was very fun, if somewhat exhausting. (The hike to the campsite at the end of the trail was relentlessly uphill; the walk back was, naturally, downhill, and therefore mercifully less tiring.) We carried Loyette in her Kangaroo Korner slings, Becky using the fleece one and me using the mesh one, as we always do. We passed her back and forth throughout the roughly six-hour hike, and whoever wasn’t wearing the baby would wear the backpack. So that worked out pretty well.
Loyette was amazingly tolerant of the long day. She got cranky exactly three times — twice just before taking a long nap in her sling (i.e., she was tired), and once just before lunch (i.e., she was hungry). She’s a great baby that way. :) Throughout the vast majority of the hike, she was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and seemed very interested in all the new sights, sounds and smells. Of course, that meant not just the natural wonders of the forest, but also the more mundane “wonders” like the feel of cold condensation on the outside of our water bottle, and the way a plastic bag full of peanuts (a handy trail snack) changes shape when you grab the outside of the bag. To a baby, everything new is exciting and wondrous.
Anyway, the trail we hiked is renowned for its beautiful wildflowers in early spring. Since it’s late May, there aren’t as many wildflowers now, but there are some, and they’re pretty. Here are a few that I photographed:
Oh, and the trail also has a somewhat scary bridge, quite reminiscent of the Bridge of Khazad-DÃƒÂ»m (although with a railing, admittedly):
It’s hard to tell from the photos, but there’s really quite a steep drop-off; the water is maybe 15 feet below you in the middle. And given the narrowness of the bridge, it’s legitimately somewhat nerve-wracking to walk across.
I really wanted to find a large stick, hold it up, and proclaim, “You cannot pass! I am the servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the Flame of Anor. Dark fire will not avail you, Flame of UdÃƒÂ»n! Go back to the shadow! You shall not pass!!!”
But alas, there was another pair of hikers sitting on a rock nearby, well within earshot, so I had to contain my weirdness. :)
I did, however, do what my dad and I call the Indiana Jones pose — notwithstanding the fact that, to my knowledge, Indiana Jones never did any such pose.
Anyway, I’ll upload some more pictures of the hike to Flickr shortly, and link to them here when they’re online.
P.S. I think this photo is cool:
UPDATE: As promised, here’s the Flickr gallery. It’s two pages long. Enjoy!
With producer Peter Jackson and director Guillermo Del Toro set to host a live chat Saturday about their impending film adaptation of The Hobbit, movie site The Deadbolt has posted an excellent article about the "Seven Things We Want From The Hobbit." They’re spot-on. There’s a lot of detail to each one, but the site’s seven basic demands are:
1. It has to be funny.
2. It needs to work as a stand-alone film.
3. The whole movie can’t be about the Battle of the Five Armies.
4. Smaug needs to be a classic movie villain first, dragon second.
5. Don’t cut out all of the songs.
6. Explain the ring.
7. Don’t be afraid to make Gandalf a bit of a bastard.
In the item about Smaug, I particularly like this bit:
Renaissance festivals and lackluster CGI have defanged the dragon for modern
film audiences, so how can Del Toro hope to make Smaug as cool as he needs to
be? Our advice - concentrate on the drama and dialogue of the Smaug scenes first
and worry about his design later. Smaug, first and foremost, needs to be a
classic villain - we’re talking Hannibal Lecter, Darth Vader, Hans Gruber, etc.
- and we need to be much more afraid of his words and demeanor than his spiky
claws or teeth. In fact, Del Toro should use the scene in No Country for Old
Men between Anton Chigurh and the gas station owner as the model for the
tone and level of raised stakes in the Bilbo/Smaug scenes. Chigurh was so scary
it didn’t even matter that he had the haircut that he did, so if Smaug’s
character is handled correctly, it shouldn’t matter that movie audiences aren’t
afraid of dragons anymore.
Yesterday was the second stage of the Washington caucus process (which is the most convoluted of all the Democratic caucus processes), and Politico’s Ben Smith reports that Hillary Clinton sent Sean Astin — a.k.a. Rudy, a.k.a. Sam Gamgee — out to be her “surrogate” in one of the state’s legislative districts. Heh.
Astin’s presence made a fair amount of sense when the Clintons were visiting South Bend, where everybody loves Rudy. But Washington-state blogger Eli Sanders is skeptical of Astin’s relevance to this particular event in his state: “the type of people who show up for legislative district caucuses on a Saturday don’t really need a celebrity (or semi-celebrity) to motivate them to take political action.”
Personally, I think Saruman, Grima Wormtongue, or perhaps best of all, Gollum, would be a better spokesman for the Clinton campaign. :) “The presidency, it’s ours, it is! Our precious! They stole it from us, the nasssty Obamasses, and we wants it back!”
Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.
(Perhaps not unrelatedly, in a story I neglected to mention earlier this month, the Tolkien Trust has sued New Line over Lord of the Rings profits, threatening to scuttle The Hobbit.)
It’s Badger Tuesday… or, as I prefer to call it, Cheesehead Tuesday!
The polls will close in Wisconsin at 9:00 PM EST —
which, coincidentally, is when the Hawaii caucuses will begin. Hawaii caucuses begin at midnight EST and end at 12:30 AM. Oh, and let’s not forget Washington state’s utterly meaningless $10 million beauty contest… actually, on second thought, yeah, let’s forget it. :)
Anyway, in honor of Cheesehead Tuesday, I give you… nearly naked hotties for Ron Paul! (SFW.)
On a more serious note, Fly On The Wall offers an excellent critique and analysis of the the various arguments about legitimacy vis a vis delegates, superdelegates, the popular vote, etc.
HILLARY: "Do you know how the Superdelegates first came into being? They were Pledged Delegates once, taken by the dark powers. Tortured and mutilatedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦"
[The Superdelegate growls.]
HILLARY: "…a ruined and terrible form of life. And now… perfected. My fighting Automatic Delegates."
HILLARY: "Whom do you serve?"
Yes, I suck at Photoshop. :)
Anyway… the other big story of the day is the Obama "plagiarism" scandal, which may — may — be hurting Obama in the polls. More importantly, will it hurt him at the polls, in Wisconsin tonight? We shall see.
Personally, I can’t believe the media isn’t making the obvious connection between this latest example of Obama plagiarism, and the far more blatant example that’s been hiding in plain sight:
Can we co-opt a cartoon show’s slogan as a presidential campaign rallying cry? Yes we can! :)
Mike Huckabee was right: There is a God!
Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema have reached agreement to make J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” a planned prequel to the blockbuster trilogy “The Lord of the Rings.”
Jackson, who directed “Rings,” will serve as executive producer for “The Hobbit.” A director for the prequel films has yet to be named.
Relations between Jackson and New Line had soured after “Rings,” despite a collective worldwide box office gross of nearly $3 billion Ã¢â‚¬â€ an enormous success. The two sides nevertheless were able to reconcile, with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM) splitting “The Hobbit” 50/50, spokesmen for both studios said Tuesday.
“I’m very pleased that we’ve been able to put our differences behind us, so that we may begin a new chapter with our old friends at New Line,” Jackson said in a statement. “We are delighted to continue our journey through Middle Earth.”
Two “Hobbit” films are scheduled to be shot simultaneously, similar to how the three “Lord of the Rings” films were made. Production is set to begin in 2009 with a released planned for 2010, with the sequel scheduled for a 2011 release.
WOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!
(Hat tip: yea.)
P.S. If I recall correctly from previous rumors, the first prequel will chronicle the events of “The Hobbit” (including, I imagine, considerably more detail about the White Council driving Sauron out of Dol Guldur than is featured in the book), while the second movie will deal with what occurred in the 60 years between “The Hobbit” and “The Fellowship of the Ring.”
A lot of important stuff happens in that 60-year period, but to be honest, I’m not sure how you make a coherent movie out of it. However, with Peter Jackson involved (albeit not in the director’s chair), I have faith that it won’t suck. Anyway, after the jump, I’ve copy-and-pasted Wikipedia’s list of the events that occurred in that time period.
Becky and I just got back from watching The Golden Compass. Oddly enough, given the genre, Becky liked it and I didn’t. Having not read the book, I felt a bit confused and was never really able to get into the movie. When the climactic battle began to unfold, I found myself thinking, “Is this it? Really? Who are these people again, and what exactly are they fighting over?”
Don’t get me wrong — the movie explained many of the individual plot details well, but I felt they never adequately explained why it all matters, in the big picture. They sort of missed the forest for the trees. There was no equivalent of the scene early in The Fellowship of the Ring where Gandalf sits down with Frodo and explains that “Sauron needs only this Ring to cover all the land in a second darkness,” leaving no doubt in the viewer’s mind what the events of the next ten-plus hours will really be all about.
(Some vague spoilers after the jump.)
Becky and I recently unpacked several of our boxes of books from South Bend — yeah, the unpacking process has taken a while :) — and filled up our bookshelf. I’m particularly proud of the “nerd shelf”:
Speaking of which, I recently re-read Half-Blood Prince, which I hadn’t read since the day it came out. I had forgotten a lot of its plot, so several things from Deathly Hallows suddenly make a lot more sense now. :) But I’m more perplexed than ever about one thing. So I have a question — but it’s after the jump, because it reveals a major Deathly Hallows spoiler. (I hear there are still at least 3 or 4 people out there who haven’t read it yet.) So… Warning: spoilers after the jump, and in comments.
A classified intelligence report, leaked to the AP, says that Sauron has regained much of his former strength. He cannot yet take physical form, but his spirit has lost none of its potency.
Er, wait, wrong link, sorry. The report actually says that Al Qaeda has rebuilt its strength to pre-9/11 levels.
However, the Bush Administration denies yesterday’s ABC report that an “urgent meeting” has been called in response to new intelligence indicating that “a small al Qaeda cell is on its way to the United States, or may already be here.” That followed on the heels of a previous ABC report that Al Qaeda is planning a “spectacular” attack in the U.S. this summer. But White House spokesman Tony Fratto says, “There continues to be no credible, specific intelligence to suggest that there is an imminent threat to the homeland. … There is no emergency meeting.”
A lovesick albatross has spent the last 40 years unsuccessfully looking for romance in Scotland, 8,000 miles away from his natural breeding grounds.
The lonely bird, dubbed Albert, is thought to have first arrived in Scotland after being blown off course in the South Atlantic in 1967.
For the past four decades he has been engaged in a futile attempt to woo gannets on several remote islands.
But experts said Albert had no prospect of finding a mate so far from home.
You know, Albert the Albatross isn’t the first creature to spend many lonely years in Scotland, unable to find a mate from within his own species. He just needs to discover the solution that other lovesick Scotsmen stumbled upon long ago. :)
(Hat tip: my dad.)
I just turned in my Electoral College Paper, much-hyped and oft-quoted here on the blog, to Professor Mayer. It came to 78 pages, 21,563 words — 26,533 including footnotes. (All this for 2 credits!) The title:
COUNT EVERY VOTE — ALL 538 OF THEM
A Pragmatic Defense of the Electoral College
Several people have asked already if they’ll be able to read my paper once it’s finished. Well, first of all, although it’s “done” for law-school purposes, it still needs a bit more work before I would consider publishing it. (It’s amazing how naggingly incomplete a 78-page paper can feel when you’re this immersed in the material.) And I do intend to try and get it published — er, that is to say, published somewhere more prestigious than BrendanLoy.com, heh. But I’m not sure what publication(s) I’ll be targeting, and thus I’m (obviously) not sure what their policies are on uploading papers to SSRN during the submission/pre-publication phase. (Once it’s on SSRN, I’d be able to link to it from the blog.) From what I hear, a lot of places are fine with “pre-publishing” on SSRN, but some might not be, and I don’t want to risk having my paper rejected on that basis. So, in other words, I’m not sure. But one way or another, you’ll get to read it eventually (either on SSRN soon, or in a prestigious publication of some kind a little later, or on SSRN much later, once I’ve gotten rejected by enough prestigious publications that I give up and just upload the damn thing :). Stay tuned, as they say.
And now, having spent practically the entire semester earning 2 credits (well, 3, including my other directed-reading paper), I get to learn everything from all the rest of my courses — 13 credits’ worth — in the next 10 days. Woohoo! :)
But first, I’m going home and setting up my newly arrived, still-boxed TiVo (my graduation present to myself). Constitutional Criminal Procedure (the subject of my first in-class exam, on Saturday) can wait; there’s a Sabres game to watch. And rewind. And watch. And pause. And watch. LET’S GO,
P.S. About the paper… once I make the changes I have in mind, but before submitting it for publication, I might need a few “beta-testers,” so to speak, to read the paper over and make suggestions/comments/criticisms/corrections. So if you’d be interested in doing that, e-mail me at bloy[at]nd.edu. (I’ll probably only pick a handful of people, though, so no promises.)
The Children of Hurin, a posthumous J.R.R. Tolkien novel “edited” by his son Christopher, goes on sale today. I’m anxious to read it, but I think I’ll wait until after graduation and probably after the bar exam (unlike Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which I’ll be reading the day it comes out, bar-exam prep be damned). It’ll be a post-exam treat. Well, maybe not such a treat, depending on whom you believe. But I’m sure I’ll enjoy it. I mean, I liked The Silmarillion! ;)
In other Tolkien-related news, Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Spider-Man director Sam Raimi “is seriously interested in directing The Hobbit,” depending on how the whole Peter Jackson vs. New Line battle plays out. That could seriously disrupt plans for Spider-Man 4, with Kirsten Dunst saying she wouldn’t want to make a Spidey movie with anyone other than Raimi.
Speaking of Spidey, I haven’t previously linked to the extremely spoileriffic final Spider-Man 3 trailer, but there you go. (Hat tip: Andrew Hiller.) As noted in my sidebar at left, the movie debuts in 17 days, on May 4 — the first of a trio of highly anticipated “three-quels” debuting next month (Shrek the Third on May 18, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End on May 25). I can’t wait!
J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Children of HÃƒÂºrin, a fleshed-out narrative version of a tale outlined briefly in The Silmarillion, has been completed by Tolkien’s son Christopher, and will be published April 17.