Hobbits and Wizards and Elves, Oh My! (guest post by my Hobbit)

When my Hobbit asked what I wanted for my birthday (which was Monday) — #itsmybirthdayandillblogifIwantto, I asked him for a guest blog post.  So here it is:

Hobbits and Wizards and Elves, Oh My!

[POSSIBLE SPOILERS!]

Our home is into hobbits and wizards and elves (and almost everything fantastical) so naturally there was much excitement and anticipation over Peter Jackson’s latest Hobbit installment: The Desolation of Smaug.

Noelle said that she rather liked the dwarf/elf romance in Desolation of Smaug, and I admit that even though it is totally outside of Tolkien canon, it makes for some interesting Peter Jackson fanfiction.

The “interracial romance” suits me because at some point in our marriage I decided that Noelle was a Fae Queen and she decided that I was her Hobbit. Don’t ask… But, in case you were wondering, a hobbit/fae romance can work out quite well, thank you very much.

The Queen of the Fae has magical powers that I don’t have. For example, when I spill a bag of ice, she can see into the murky nether regions called “the floor” and find those stray ice cubes that I can’t see. She can also hear speech and music which are quite beyond the range of my hobbit senses, and she can interpret them in the High Tongue of Calinor: American Sign Language.

The Queen particularly enjoys interpeting Christmas music in the High Tongue.

So, in a way, she does have semi-magical powers that I don’t have. But I fancy that I bring the sturdiness, steadfastness, and plain hobbit-sense to our household which would otherwise be lacking. That’s what she tells me, anyway. The Fae Queen often calls me “her rock” just because I am so reliably me.

So let’s hear it for noncanonical dwarf/elf romances, and even crossover hobbit/fae romances. As you might have noticed, we take our fantasy roleplaying seriously here in the Realm of Calinor!

+Sam

Rough Stone Rolling

The prophet Joseph Smith said that he felt worn and shaped like a rough stone rolling, with all the rough edges knocked off of him.  I feel like that a lot – like a rock in a tumbler, with no control over who/what I hit in the process or where I will rebound.  How strange and funny that we feel worn smooth or thin (like butter spread over too much bread), when the world sees us as harder and more solid.  Though we feel worn smooth, we also feel less like the child full of wonder who actually found smooth stones quite remarkable…

Three Cheers for the Kindle Fire HD!

The Kindle Fire Experiment

Last Saturday I was bemoaning the fact that I can’t really listen to radio. I mean, I can listen to it, but I can’t really follow the conversation. My word comprehension with lip reading is perhaps 60% with the CI but it drops to around 40% without lipreading. So when you can only hear 4 out of 10 words, listening to the radio is like an aggravating game of Wheel of Fortune.

Noelle suggested that I try plugging in my CI to her Kindle Fire HD. I sighed mentally (and perhaps audibly) because I had already tried connecting a double-sided headphone jack from the CI to my computer, and the sound quality had been terrible. I assumed it would be more of the same. But, on the other hand, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try connecting the CI to the Kindle, and I reasoned that I might be pleasantly surprised.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. VERY pleasantly surprised.

First, Noelle had me read and listen to an ebook/audiobook combination via something called WhisperSync. This program syncs the exact text to the exact words on an audiobook read by a human. In other words it wasn’t text-to-speech software, but text-to-audiobook sync. She was able to magnify the text on the Kindle Fire HD so that I was reading four lines per page at the “wide” angle (landscape mode), in reverse video (white text on a back background). The cursor jumped from word to word in sync with the accompanying audiobook.

It was fantastic. I then decided to close my eyes to see if I could understand the audio without cheating, and to my surprise I could understand it very clearly. I’d estimate I understood maybe 75-80% of the text just from the audio alone. I hadn’t experienced anything this good with my CI since I had it turned on in 2003.

I had tried connecting my CI to other devices, but apparently none of them were very good audio quality. The Kindle Fire HD, on the other hand, worked extremely well.

I even tried listening to an ambient music station on Pandora. At some point after I got the CI in 2002 I decided that I liked ambient and synthesizer music (Vangelis, Brian Eno, Kitaro, Tangerine Dream, Peter Gabriel, etc.)

That’s probably because the CI already has a certain degree of synthesized sound, so ambient and synthesizer more naturally (or unnaturally) fits with the synthesized sound of the CI. I often joke that I listen to Borg music (a la ST:NG).

I could tell that I needed to get my mappings upgraded to be able to appreciate the music, but I am certain that once I do get a new mapping that the music clarity will improve substantially. It is quite good as it is.

So Saturday’s experiment was a fantastic success. And now I actually want a Kindle Fire. Everybody else in our house loves it, but I didn’t particularly care about it because I didn’t think it would be all that accessible. But it turned out to be a big accessibility WIN.

So it turns out that I can listen to radio after all, if you count Pandora (and I do). And in case you were wondering, the ebook/audiobook I experimented with via WhisperSync is called “Tolkien’s Ordinary Virtues” by Mark Eddy Smith. As you might have guessed, Tolkien has a rather large influence in the Realm of Calinor.

+Sam (aka The Hobbit)

Wizards and Dwarves and Hobbits…OH MY!

Went to see the Hobbit with my hobbit last night.  EXCELLENT MOVIE!  I can’t say enough about it except… WHO KNEW DWARVES COULD BE SO HOT!!!???hobbit_dwarves1

If I didn’t already have a super sexy hobbit, I would totally be swooning over Kili and Fili.  Srsly.

Go see this movie.  It is better than the book- and you know I love the book.  It’s on my top ten list.  Try not to fall in love with a dwarf because we all know it’s all about the hobbit.

And don’t tell my hobbit about this post…

 

Daily Prompt: Circle of Five

Daily Prompt: Circle of Five.

via Daily Prompt: Circle of Five.

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Daily Prompt: Circle of Five
by michelle w. on December 12, 2012

A writer once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” If this is true, which five people would you like to spend your time with?

This is a cool prompt – and after serving almost a full week on a federal jury, I really need the brain candy. So I will accept this challenge!

There was no limiting to persons in this age/time, so I am going to pick the five top people I have always wanted to spend time with, and I’ll tell you why I wanted to spend time with them.

5. Joseph Smith – Not just because he is the founder of my church, the LDS church, but because I have so many questions for him.  I wasn’t always interested in his life because his story is familiar and retold again and again in the church as you study the history of the Gospel and Mormon Doctrine.  But after really reading his history, his writings and many of the things that other people thought of him, I am really interested to know what he thought about it all and I think, from the stories I know, that he would be a really great guy to have around just for stories and general good humor.

4.  Jim Henson – Dying to know what he wanted to do if he had more time on Earth.  Also, a great story teller.  I’m sure he could just sit around and tell stories forever.  I would love to brainstorm up a story with him.  Try to figure out which muppets would fit in with what classic myth- who wouldn’t love that?

3Libby Custer – I’m just fascinated by her story and her efforts to defend her husband’s legacy after his death.  I would really like to do a sit down interview with her and find out everything I could about how she felt about her husband.  Such loyalty has to come from somewhere deep.  I would just love to sit and listen where such convictions were born.  There aren’t many women that dedicate their widowhood to defending their husbands legacy as stridently as she did.  She sounds spunky.  I really want to meet her.

2.  C.S. Lewis – So many questions for “Jack”–the first of which would be why he insisted on being called Jack.  I would love for him to personally teach me how to understand the language of apologetics the way other apologists do.  I really can’t understand them once they all start talking to each other.  It’s like another language.  I’d want to tell him how much my husband loves him and thank him for that.  I’d want to ask him why Tolkien felt the need to complicate things that were really quite simple…

1Karl Urban – Actually, I don’t really want to meet the actor Karl Urban, but I want to meet every single character he has portrayed in the last 20 years and talk to them, especially Eomer, Dr. McCoy, Cupid, Caesar and Reaper, among others.  I don’t really want to meet the Russian in Borne #2, but I would like him to speak to me in a Russian accent.  Did I mention my husband reminds me of a deafblind Karl Urban?  I knew and met Karl when he was just Cupid and I was doing interviews about “Privateers” a pilot by the writer of “Trekkies” that never got picked up.  He would have made a great space pirate, but I guess he went onto better things anyway.  I love Eomer.  I have loved Dr. McCoy since the 80’s when I first saw Trek.  I loved Cupid, hated Caesar, but loved Xena, and I loved Reaper in Doom.  This isn’t really making any sense, is it?  Oh well…