As anyone who has dug into A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones can tell you, that series is addictive. Rather than fill his fantasy world with orcs, wizards, and elves, George R.R. Martin has produced a series in which the fantasy elements are so subdued that in places, I felt like I was reading historical fiction that was set in an alternate universe. And like so many fantasy authors, Martin has fallen so in love with his complex, fully-realized world that the series has practically metastasized into an unwieldy beast that keeps expanding and slowing down the closer it gets to the finish line. He originally planned to write a trilogy, but expanded the number of volumes to seven, a number that he has pledged to be firm about, “until I decide not to be.” I don’t think we’re going to have a repeat of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, the fourteenth and final volume of which was published last week, and which took so long to write that Jordan had to hand the series off to another writer to complete after his death. At the very least, Martin already knows what the next two books will be titled, and is confident that he will finish the sixth before the TV show catches up with him. But I’m getting antsy. Three books would likely not have been enough to contain something this sprawling, but at a certain point, being faithful to one’s vision just becomes foot-dragging. You have my attention, George. Don’t fucking test my patience.
4. Online Shopping
I went to Bed, Bath & Beyond to buy some stuff for my new apartment, and discovered to my dissatisfaction that the store does not carry desk lamps. That seems like a fairly basic need, doesn’t it? They had electric candles, flashlights, reading lights, and about 400 other things that were almost but not quite what I’m looking for. So I ordered the lamp (and one or two other items) off of Amazon, which isn’t the end of the world, but no desk lamps? Really? The nearest IKEA is in Brooklyn, so if I want to buy a bookshelf from them, I’ll probably have to get it delivered, as I have no car and don’t want to try taking something like that on the subway. Again, not the end of the world, just annoying. When I was back in California for the break, I had to go way out of my way to get my hands on a certain volume by the great Neil Gaiman that neither the New York Public Library nor my school library had. How odd. I look forward to the return of independent video stores. (Don’t laugh at me. I’m telling you, they’re due for a comeback.) Netflix isn’t quite the godsend we thought it was, and there is no substitute for good customer service.
Also, I think George R.R. Martin is one of the great authors of our time, fantasy or otherwise. If you’re curious about his earlier work, pick up Fevre Dream, a lovely novel about vampires and riverboats in 19th-century America.
3. Being a Fanboy
This is going to make me sound like a crank, but I’m so tired of hearing all the nerds I know complain about how the latest comic book/fantasy novel adaptation doesn’t quite capture what they imagined when they read the book. Yeah, that’s why it’s a movie, numbnuts. Yes, I had issues with the way Thorin Oakenshield was portrayed. He’s not Aragorn, Mr. Jackson, and The Hobbit requires something of a lighter touch. Far too many geeks just want to see every word of their beloved property transcribed as literally as possible, which is part of the reason that Jackson and Co. have decided to make The Hobbit into a completely unnecessary trilogy. I don’t buy into the notion that if you like something, you should want more and more (and more and more) of it. I prefer moderation. In my opinion, The Hobbit would have been a much better film had Guillermo del Toro stuck around to direct. He would have made it concise, and not loaded it up with so many convoluted action sequences in which the CGI characters survive falls that would kill real peole. Part of what I liked about the LOTR films was that, by action movie standards, they were relatively realistic. Sure, there were one too many instances of Legolas performing superhuman feats and one too many jokes about Gimli’s height, but both characters still got to be a little bit funny and a little bit badass, so when Legolas suggested that Gimli think about dying alongside a friend rather than an elf, I was moved. I spent too much of The Hobbit wondering how anyone could still be standing after doing something like that. The scale of the production dwarfs (get it?) the storytelling, and that’s never a good thing.
It’s hard to make yourself do things while on break, and while I’m getting better at it, I still kinda feel like I’m dragging myself through molasses. Does anyone wanna hang out? I’m only asking because I wish people would make me do things. Really, I’m quite driven, so I’ll seize upon the opportunity to talk about something else that has been bugging me: pornography. Is it just me, or is it getting harder and harder to find quality amateur stuff out there? I actually have paid for porn once or twice, and whaddaya know, that stuff is better than just anything else I can find on the free sites. I’ll stop talking about this now, as I suspect most of you did not wake up this morning wondering about Robot King’s masturbatory habits.
1. Pretty Much Anything Else I Forgot to Mention
I’ll pull a Ninth Amendment on this one, and say that you should not assume that something doesn’t bug me just because I didn’t mention it here. I’m tired of a great many things right now. I’m tired of hearing douchebag gun nuts whine about how insecure they are about their penises, in some cases going so far as to compare themselves to Rosa Parks. (I wish I were making that up.) I’m tired of people talking about the Oscars, as most serious movie buffs stopped giving a shit about those ages ago, and as far as I’m concerned, the lack of a screenplay, director, or picture nomination for The Avengers proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Academy voters are old white men who don’t like to step outside of their comfort zone. I predict Lincoln takes home the lion’s share of the awards, with a third Best Actor win for Day-Lewis and a Best Supporting Actress win for Anne Hathaway. But I really don’t care. I have shit to do, like find a job. And stuff.
By the way, anyone with fifteen minutes to burn should read this interview with John Rhys-Davies. He’s funny, warm, and completely loveable, giving a very insightful reason for declining to appear in the fourth Indiana Jones film. That man never fails to bring out the fanboy love in me.