Aug 182014
 

I’m trying to avoid reading any spoilers about the whole Wheel of Time series.  My intent is to finish the books before I learn any of the significant details about how it all turns out.  This is mainly because my anger, and reason for stopping when the books were new, is that it appeared Jordan wasn’t going to answer any of the questions he himself had raised.  I now hope that Brandon has, but I want to RAFO, not see too many spoilers.

That means I have to be careful when searching the web to see if any of my new theories, spawned during my re-read, are original.  I risk finding out that they’re true or false but only based on later stuff I’ve not read.

So here’s a couple of random thoughts that may be true or disproved already.

One Man – Three Bodies

Lews Therin was a mighty man, battle leader, strong in the One Power, etc.  However, Rand doesn’t really seem to know much about battle, no reason he should, he’s quite young.  He is however very strong in the One Power.  Mat on the other hand, can’t channel, but has come into the possession of an awful lot of knowledge that makes him a great battle leader.  I’m not totally sure where Perrin fits in yet.  But perhaps this time, the Wheel has spun out three men, all ta’veren, and split the skills between them.  This seems to have confused the response from the evil guys, never knowing if they should be killing all three, or working with all three.  It’s almost as if the Light needed a way to get an edge.

One Woman – Three Bodies

If the theory of Lews Therin is true, I wonder if the Wheel has spat out Ilyena Sunhair as multiple women?  Perhaps Elayne, Min and Aviendha?

Aug 132014
 

I mentioned on twitter that I was re-reading or in some cases, reading for the first time, The Wheel of Time series.  Someone remarked they didn’t know how I had the patience.  Can’t argue with that – some parts of the series are infuriating, as I’ve already expressed.  Well there’s a really simple thing that keeps me reading.  I’ve so far, generally, avoided all spoilers about the books I’ve not read, including the ending.

That means for me, many of the mysteries are still mysteries (especially as Jordan himself failed to resolve many of them before his untimely death).

Chief among those (pun intended) is what’s going on with the Aiel.  I’m in the middle of The Shadow Rising at the moment, and we get what I think is a pretty good summary of what the Aiel are about.  I love the Aiel, and discovering their origin is really interesting.  Of course, I’d already read this bit, but I’m sure there’s more.  There must be more.  I want there to be more.  So I read on, hoping that Jordan or Sanderson give us more information about the Aiel, and what they were up to.

That goes for many other things and people too, Moraine, Mat, Lan, Verin, so much back story and stuff to explain there, that I really hope there are reveals and closures in later parts of the series.

I think, what I will enjoy most, is once I’ve finished the series, finding some comprehensive online resource describing the truth about everything in Randland and burying myself in it.  There’s a rumour Jordan’s widow is planning an official encyclopaedia.  I really hope that happens.

Aug 122014
 

There are spoilers below, covering the first four Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan.

The Wheel of Time books are complex on many levels.  They’re complex in and of themselves in terms of the world and story, and they’re also complex in terms of their broader existence in the world.  They were written and released at a time when the Internet was really taking off, and many, many people talked about the books on early web pages and Usenet.  The connection to the author through those routes was something new for many people, probably including Jordan himself.

There’s been a lot written about the books, both about the issues of feminism they seem to raise (or misogyny and misandry depending on your view), and about Jordan’s ‘errors’ as a writer.  Personally, I think he needed a much stricter editor, and the books from around 4 or 5 onwards would have been a lot better.

You’ll also find people screaming about how the characters are stupid.  Especially in terms of female and male interactions, and in not sharing what they know.  Too often you might feel if they had just shared what they knew then the Shadow would have been defeated more easily.  The whole male/female thing is just infuriating, where all the characters seem to have no clue how the other gender operates.

However, I see those two things as part of the plot, or the world structure. I hope there’s some allegory in there, and some comment on how the world was broken and now the genders don’t trust each other (we’ll see if I’m right when I finally finish the series).

What irritates me far more than those, is when characters that are not stupid act in a stupid way.  I can never work out if Jordan thought his readers were stupid, if he thought his characters were stupid, if he was trying to be subtle and failing, or if he just never noticed what he was writing (and his editor didn’t speak up).

The moments in question pull me right out of the books, and make me want to punch the furniture.  During the particular sequence I’m going to describe in a moment, I killed at least one stuffed pillow on the sofa.

  • Perrin, Morraine, Lan and Loial have been traveling towards Tear, and they travel through Illian.  While there, they learn that one of the Foresaken has risen to be ruler of Illian at some stage, they’re not sure when.
  • Egwene, Nynaeve and Elayne are also traveling towards Tear.  When they get there, they find the Black Ajah already ensconced.
  • In Tear, they hear of a High Lord who has risen through the ranks in weeks, despite no one ever hearing of him.
  • They learn that he is Foresaken.
  • During a discussion on one particular page, Elayne, Egwene, Moraine, Nynaeve discuss why Rand should go to war.  One of them (I can’t recall which) says something about Rand not having a choice, and who knows which other nations Foresaken have decided to take a controlling interest in.  It is obvious from the discussion that all the women realise this is something very real, very likely, and very dangerous.
  • That conversation finishes, and Moraine leaves.  On the very, next, page, there is a discussion about how Elayne’s mother, The Queen of Andor, has a new adviser no one has heard of and the Queen appears to be in love with him.
  • Not one of the girls puts two and two together.  They just totally dismiss it.  Not one of them thinks ‘hang on a stark raving minute, but we were just discussing how the Foresaken might try and control nations, and now, Andor, one of the most powerful, has a new adviser to the Queen that until a few weeks ago no one had heard of‘.

We don’t know when Mat told Elayne and the others of this new adviser.  We have to assume it was not in the presence of Moraine, since Mat avoids her like the plague.  So, we can forgive Moraine for not knowing about it here, but the three girls have absolutely no excuse.

These are the same three girls who have hunted Black Ajah, captured two of them, escaped from the Senchean, seen horrors beyond telling and are not, in any way, stupid.  Why then, does Robert Jordan write them in this way, with moments of complete stupidity.  Is it meant to be that way, or is it accidental?  I don’t know, but it’s seriously irritating, either make them dumb, or make them clever but at least be consistent.

This is only one example – there are plenty more, when some obvious fact or notion is overlooked by everyone involved (and all the characters suffer, not just these three), for reasons that can only be described as stupidity, when at other times the characters demonstrate a perfectly reasonable amount of intelligence.

It’s one of the things that makes the series hard for me – I could cope if Jordan ever explained the stupidity, if he made it obvious it was intentional, or if he just said it was a mistake, but unless something is revealed in the last 5 or so books that I’ve never read, it’ll continue to drive me mad when I do try and read them.

Why Jordan? Why are the characters so inconsistently stupid and blind?

Jul 092014
 

I’ve taken a lot of photographs, before and after I bought my DSLR, and I think this is probably the one that I’m most pleased with, and which seems to get the best response.

What did the Fox say?

As is often the case, right place, right time.  This little cub ran out of the cover, stood still as it saw me long enough for me to lift the camera and get off 10 shots, 1 of which was miraculously in focus.

May 272014
 

I thought I’d come along and write a witty and insightful post about what it’s been like driving for almost a year now.  But when I got here, to this blank white box I find I don’t have much to say, and what I can think of saying isn’t that funny.

My first driving lesson was on the 8th May 2013 (http://perceptionistruth.com/2013/05/fear-of-4-wheels-part-1/) and I passed my test on August 14th 2013 (http://perceptionistruth.com/2013/08/fear-of-4-wheels-part-18-the-end/).  Since passing my test it’s been okay.

I’ve done a lot of driving since then.  I did all the driving over the Christmas period (we travel a long way to see our folks), I’ve driven to work most days, and if myself and Greté are going somewhere, I drive for the most part.  I think she’s probably driven about 10 times since I passed my test if we’re both in the car (obviously, she drives when I’m not in the car).  So in that respect, it’s been very successful, after a long time being the designated and only driver, Greté is getting some time off.

As well as that, I’ve been able to nip out in the car and take photographs, or go shopping, or take stuff to the local recycling centre when in the past it would have meant both of us going, or both of us deciding not to bother, so it’s definitely ‘freeing’ in that sense.

One thing I haven’t done yet is any long trips on my own; no motorway driving on my own either, and the time is fast approaching where that will have to change.  I should imagine it’ll be pretty hairy the first few times, but I’ll get over it.

I don’t feel like life has changed dramatically since I passed my test, but a lot of things are just a bit easier, or a bit more convenient.  I’m just still pleased that I can get Greté where ever she needs to be, whenever she needs to be there.

Everquested

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Mar 282014
 

The first thing that happens, when I start (re-start) playing Everquest, is that I stop writing blog posts (for the most part).  This is probably because most of my blog posts are written while staring at the computer wondering what to do next – and that time is now filled by me staring at Everquest wondering what to do next.

Just, you know, keeping you up-to-date.

Nov 132013
 

I have a number of virtual servers, and they run Logwatch.  They mail the daily Logwatch reports to a local user which forwards them to my gmail account.

Sometimes, Google marks them as spam because sometimes they contain spammy URL’s, source domains, etc.  Recently however, they stopped arriving from one server, and following the rejection note, it appears Google has started blocking spam at source.

host gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[2607:f8b0:400d:c02::1b]    
said: 550-5.7.1 [******] Our system has detected that    
this 550-5.7.1 message is likely unsolicited mail. To reduce the amount of    
spam sent 550-5.7.1 to Gmail, this message has been blocked. Please visit    
550-5.7.1 http://support.google.com/mail/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=188131    
for 550 5.7.1 more information. 7si10895397qeh.110 - gsmtp (in reply to end    
of DATA command)

Google isn’t blocking all the mail from my server, and it sends quite a bit to various destinations, so this is just because of the content of the message (which is a standard Logwatch formatted text e-mail).

I guess it was inevitable, and maybe they’ve been doing it for some time, but now you can never be sure that your mail is arriving at Google, and you’re not longer sure you’re seeing everything even if you check your spam folder.

Sep 302013
 

I’ve had my Canon 600D a few weeks now and you’ll be pleased to hear I’ve been taking plenty of photographs of fowl and animals in general.

I’m trying hard to use the two lenses that came with the camera, before even dreaming about buying more.  I want to understand the limitations of the lenses, before I splash out on new ones or I won’t appreciate them.  I want to know where my skill ends and the technology starts in terms of getting a good photo.  Overall, I am pleased with the results so far, despite some of the situations feeling a bit forced.  As I previously posted, I’d gotten used to taking photo’s as memories, and only just started taking them for the sake of it, so taking a lot of them mostly for the sake of it still feels weird.

Anyhoo here’s a few of my favorite shots from the last month or so (after the cut unless you’re already viewing the post direct).

Continue reading »

Sep 162013
 

It’s a month since I passed my driving test.  Four weeks of legally being allowed to drive anywhere I want on my own.  Overall it’s been very successful, including being able to pick Greté up from the railway station after midnight and a long train ride from London.  It might not seem like much, but to me, it’s priceless knowing I could get there and get her home safely.

In general the actual driving is still hit and miss.  Some trips are great, some aren’t so great.  I drove to Twycross Zoo and back on Saturday and the whole journey was brilliant, confident, smooth and safe.  Some mornings the drive to work feels like I’ve only had 1 lesson and driving is some alien skill I’ll never acquire.

Oddly, I seem to drive better in my walking boots, despite having almost no tactile feedback from the pedals because the boots are massive and rigid, than I do in my regular boots in which I can feel the pedals much more closely.  I was sure it would be the other way around, perhaps it’s related to thinking about it all too much.

Sometimes I think the person behind me must be incredulous at the lack of skill I display, and then I try and remember that I hardly ever analyse the skill of the driver in front of me.  With L plates, you just assume the driver behind is cursing the bloody learner, but without the L plates I’m not sure anyone even notices the mistakes.

Eventually, people assure me, it’ll all just fade into the background and driving will be like everything else, just something you do without thinking about too much.

But those folk don’t realise how much I think about everything I do …