Where You Might Be Swept Off To

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

Beginning a new adventure with your family is one of the greatest things about having one.

As I post about the various books, television, movies and other inputs I enjoy often the moments that bring me the most pleasure are those that involve the ones closest to me. Starting The Fellowship of the Ring with my eldest daughter is one of those moments.

We’ve all read The Hobbit together so continuing the story on with her in a world that I treasure immensly reminds me not only of the power of stories, but of the power of sharing them.

nine walkers

The Company of the Ring

An unexpected bonus has been seeing the world through her eyes, for the first time. So many questions I don’t even think about, and yet they are jumping off the page at her: why should the hobbits trust Strider? is Barliman Butterbur one of the good guys? who are the Black Riders?

And WHERE THE HECK is Gandalf? This one was really eye-opening; I didn’t see before how much you feel Frodo’s anxiety at the unexplained absence of the wizard.

This only made the Bridge of Khazad-dûm that much more heartbreaking. The Fellowship was not alone in shedding tears for their fallen friend that day.

But a new day is coming and we press on. We’ve since finished the book and are currently on our way to confront Saruman in The Two Towers.

More adventure to come!

I believe we began the book on May 19, 2017 and finished on June 8th. I didn’t take very good notes so I’m not sure if those are the right dates (especially the finishing date.) However I know they are close and I know we started The Two Towers the same night we finished part one of The Lord of the Rings.

 

 

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Keeping the bighorn sheep population in check

Originally posted at GameSpot on January 4, 2008

My family and I went over to a friend’s house the other night (January 2nd), and between the good food and excellent conversation we managed to get some gaming in. Some of my thoughts on the night:

Their parents bought them (how cool is that?) Cabela’s Big Game Hunter 2008 for the Wii for Christmas. Their family enjoys hunting, so the game is a natural fit. I’ve never hunted before, but I enjoy the outdoors and I can see the appeal. I played a few rounds, shot a few deer – even a big horn sheep. It was kind of fun; you definitely have to really enjoy it to get into it, but with the natural sounds and the animals bounding playfully in front of me, it was kind of relaxing in a way.

I found myself wondering if the genre could be expanded and, in my opinion, made better. What if you had actual locations you could hunt on – not just a generic representation? I mean, the game had locations such as “New Zealand Fall” or “Montana Winter,” but it’s not like they were very different from each other. When a game accurately represents a real-world location, its stock goes up in my book.

What about on-line or multi-player? Maybe this is already out there, but I would think hunting with your buddies would just seem natural in a game like this. Isn’t that part of the draw of hunting?

How about an “epic hunt?” By epic, I mean having to track an animal across mountains and continents, all kinds of weather, finally culminating in that one shot that brings down your prize and sends your war cry echoing from the mountains…I don’t know if you can actually translate that into an enjoyable experience in a game, but it sounds good in my head.

In retrospect, I’m probably thinking way too much about a hunting game, but I think there are some interesting possibilities out there.

Next game up was Need for Speed Carbon. I wasn’t that impressed, but it was alright as far as racing games go. I never got into the whole “underground” movement in the Need for Speed games; still some of the cars were pretty nice to look at. What didn’t work at all, however, was the Will remote. They had the wheel shell you could place it in to drive, but it still felt awkward. Racing with a free-floating wheel feels less like the real thing then moving the right thumb-stick.

Something else – when we tried to get chased by cops, we couldn’t find them. When we did get some to chase us, they couldn’t keep up. Weird – in previous Need for Speed games they jump down your throat!

To cap off the night, I hooked up the Xbox and we played Halo. Ah, it always brings back a lot of good memories – back when I had ample free time and could just spend hour after hour at someone’s house playing Slayer. I enjoy what I’ll call the “Halo Effect” – this is setting down to play a quick few games and all of the sudden it’s three hours later. The last time for the four of us played it was Blood Gulch all the way, but this time we had a little Derelict and Wizard action. My wife is getting better all the time…

It was a great night.

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