Saturday, October 26, 2013

You know better than I (from "Joseph King of Dreams")

I just thought I'd share this song because it shares a good message for us to keep in mind. Sometimes we think we know what is the right path for us, yet we question why when things don't go the way we planned. To me this is a good reminder that the Lord knows better than we do and He can help us find the way that is truly right for us if we will allow Him to help us.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Standards for film

So I don't keep you waiting for long periods of time I decided to post something else. This was a paper I did for my film class explaining my standards regarding movies. These reflect my personal thoughts and opinions regarding cinema. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I got a really good grade on this paper so I hope you enjoy as well:

One of the things I love to do is to view movies. I enjoy good stories in all formats and I try to find those that match certain criteria I have. One of the biggest decision makers I have is that I will not watch a movie that is rated R. My reason for so doing is that my parents have taught me that R rated movies do not conform to our standards. Reading the reasons why they receive that rating will also usually tell me that I will not enjoy it. If a movie has people hooking up I will try to avoid it because I do not like filling my head with images that I know are against my religious beliefs and I don’t want what I see to form my opinion on how I treat my fellow men. Earlier this summer I went to see The Lone Ranger with my dad and youngest brother. However there was one scene that had a really disturbing moment that could be taken as violent. I have seen some movies with violence in them. However I think that how something is portrayed and why will be a big decision factor in me deciding if I like a movie or not. For example even though the Lord of the Rings films have a lot of violence in them I think they portray war as something very dark and evil and not something to be celebrated. Same with the film Thor where at first he wants to launch a war only to have his opinion change at the end of the film because he learns that war isn’t something to be desired. Something that I like to do more with films is to try and see if they can be used to teach life lessons like honesty, virtue, courage, and faith. I also enjoy seeing movies that are fantasy stories or have dinosaurs in them because those are some of my biggest interests.
            This summer I went with my brothers to see Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. It was based off the second book of a series that I had enjoyed reading. Even though I had been furious with the first film adaptation I opted to go see this movie because it sounded like they were trying to correct some of the errors of the first film. I was furious because of how different The Lightning Thief was from the book. However recently I did a blog post asking if movie adaptations should be the same as the books. That was pretty much the only film my brothers expressed interest in seeing because the other options I was considering were Turbo and The Smurfs 2. I had seen some of the trailers for the film and I was a little nervous about some of the things they showed like the encountering of Kronos and falling into the mouth of Charybdis. However I decided a long time ago that I wouldn’t judge movies without giving them a chance. The only exceptions are R-rated films and some PG-13 movies because I don’t like seeing material I know goes against my religious beliefs.
            Apart from being based off a book I liked I also saw it because it has strong fantasy elements due to the series being inspired by Greek Mythology. For some time now I’ve been interested in the fantasy worlds of strange creatures and mystical forces that seem to define worlds separated from our own, or in the case of this film hidden within our own. Some elements from the book were taken out yet they managed to portray some of the creatures from the book in a very interesting way. The hippocampus was designed to have the head of a horse and the body of a fish and instead of the front legs of a horse it was given fins instead. Although it would’ve been nice if they stayed true to how the book described the creature a movie isn’t supposed to be the book. It’s an adaptation and one should expect differences between the two.
            I did see several moral lessons contained within the film. One of the biggest issues that the main character, Percy Jackson, had to deal with was his confidence. Even though in the last movie he stopped a war between the gods it seems that not everyone has that event memorized. The head of Camp Half-Blood, Dionysus, seems to disregard Percy and views him as only good for cleaning up the training ground. When a hero is being chosen to go on a quest for the Golden Fleece, Percy is overlooked and the camp’s superstar, Clarissa La Rue, is handed the mantle.  Percy throughout the film gets the feeling that his father, Poseidon, doesn’t care because when Percy tries asking him for help his pleas seem to go unanswered while his Cyclops half-brother Tyson gets his request answered. Eventually Percy shows us that we don’t have to just sit around and wait for things to get better. We need to do things to make our situations better.
            There was also another lesson that could be learned on forgiveness. Percy’s love interest, Annabeth Chase, has a hard time connecting with Tyson because he’s a Cyclops. While one could argue that was being racist it was because in Annabeth’s past a friend of hers was killed by a Cyclops. I generally dislike it in stories, whether they be books, films, or TV shows, where the character chooses to hold on to a grudge because to me that sends a message that people should hold on to grudges and not forgive others. However when a person forgives in fiction I feel better because it shows they are willing to let the past go and not hold another person accountable. In the film Tyson seemingly sacrifices himself to save Percy that causes Annabeth to realize that Tyson was not a monster as she perceived him to be. She learns to forgive him.
            For a long time I had the idea that film adaptations should stay one-hundred percent true to the books. When I learned that Disney changed the name of a film from Rapunzel to Tangled I was furious and felt like it was going to be a horrible movie. After a while I realized that I had gone against a saying and judged a book by its cover, or in this case a movie by its title. After that I decided to give Tangled a chance and walked away loving the movie. I did a blog post not too long ago about movie adaptations of books and if they should stay the same. I think that we should keep in mind that there may come a time where a story may have to change and adapt for a new generation. If it doesn’t it may not survive. Besides is there only one right way to tell a story? If you answer yes to that then many films that have been huge successes should be hated because of how different they were from the original stories.
            I generally try to avoid movies based off of Greek mythology because my readings about those old tales are loaded with “hook-ups” as the film adaptation of The Lightning Thief put it. Even though that was part of the mythology I don’t believe that it gives us the right to show or make those kinds of movies. Still because I’ve read the books I know that is not going to be the focus of the films. They don’t go beyond the characters saying that one of their parents is a god or goddess. So far I’ve been right. My only hope is that they’ll continue to hold true to that. I was also surprised at the lessons I saw could be learned from this film. I wasn’t expecting to see so much in the story. I was wondering after I came out of the theater why I wasn’t feeling outrage like I did with the first film. I would say it was because I wasn’t expecting the movie to be a strict adaptation of the book. True I wish some of the things done in the film were closer to the book yet I did not focus on those details. I still found the story to be very enjoyable and having a strong foundation in the plot of the book. I will try to keep an open mind about films and not judge a movie by its title.
            I think maybe one way I can do that is to think about why certain things are done or why they show certain events. For example I mentioned earlier that The Lord of the Rings films show war as a horrible event. I also remembered The Avengers also had that message about war, and I also saw lessons on the dangers of pride and jealousy through the antics of Loki. I think if a film advocates something I know is wrong I won’t enjoy it or watch it. However if it has a representation of what I know is right I may enjoy it. It will vary because I think the movie Avatar shows war as a horrible thing yet I still did not like the movie because I didn’t like how the Na’vi were portrayed. I do not believe that we have the right to show primitive people with really scanty attire. I just do not feel comfortable with that. True the reason could be that they’re down to earth and don’t know any better. However I still feel that it’s not right for anyone to create a race like that. True the mermaids are portrayed in a similar fashion in The Little Mermaid yet I still feel it’s an okay film to see because the original story was a Christian tale. I guess in the end it’s up to me to decide if a film fits my standards or not. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Creation of Dymos

This is a short story I wrote for a class assignment. I view this as the story of how the world of Dymos came to be. Enjoy:

Long ago back to the time when Earth itself was just beginning Ancient Powers noticed that the process of change on the new world had a side effect. Now known as natural disasters, these changes unleashed another energy that moved loose matter to another sphere of existence. Known more commonly as an alternate dimension, the Ancient Powers gathered this loose matter and started forming it into another world.
Despite the means that separated the two worlds the Ancient Powers saw as time went by that as the worlds brushed close to each other in their spheres of existence disasters would occur on the worlds.  This would cause the barriers separating the two worlds to temporarily have holes ripped in them allowing plants and animals to migrate over to the new world. The Ancient Powers named this world Dymos and as they continued to develop this world decreed that this world would exist to preserve the species of Earth from extinction.
Throughout the ages the world of Earth died and was reborn many times. However many species were wiped out as a result. Thankfully the doorways to Dymos had opened many times over the years allowing plants and animals to cross over and escape certain death. As the years went on other items from the skies above Earth smashed into the planet and caused the world to die. Yet this world had something most did not: The need to live.
The events that transpired over the millennia that would’ve resulted in the end of a world was never the end of Earth. Some of the matter that crashed into the planet actually did something more. Another force was brought into existence. It was nowhere near as strong as the Ancient Powers, yet it was still remarkable. It began to cause stranger creatures to come into existence. Mostly they were mixtures of many different species.
As with many things with wonder comes fear. The emergence of magic also brought forth sinister forces. These forces sought to destroy life for good. The creatures of magic had reason and were able to withstand these powers, yet the Ancient Powers knew that the time would come where the forces of darkness would overpower the magic. To aid them the Ancient Powers created a very special gift: The ability to shape one’s destiny and influence the future. The Ancient Powers then gave this gift to an unusual species of animals which were just starting to emerge and find their way in life: the species that would come to be known as the human race.
The magical creatures were aware of this great gift and started teaching the humans about civilization. However it was at this time that one of the dark forces reared its ugly head. It began to encourage all life to take everything beautiful and not share it with others. It sought to bring about the downfall of the world by making everyone take it for themselves. This entity, named Ereged, was confronted by one of the most powerful magical races in existence: The dragons.
Realizing what Ereged was plotting the dragons all over the world joined forces to fight this nemesis. This massive army fought against Ereged in what some say was the first war. Despite their abilities the dragons were no match for this dark force. It was then that the Ancient Powers directly intervened. They imparted bits of their power into several magical items that were sent to aid the dragons. However the dragons never got a chance to use them. These weapons all chose human wielders.
The humans joined the dragons in their struggle against Ereged and together stopped his diabolical plan. However they failed to destroy this evil and pieces of his being were imprisoned within several precious items. Some say it was seven items, others say it was thirteen. A few insist that he only split into two. Regardless of how many pieces it was they were scattered before anyone could get their hands on them. Fearing that Ereged would use these items to return the dragons scoured the planet gathering every valuable item that Ereged could’ve been turned into and hiding the treasure in hoards, guarding them in order to keep someone from unleashing Ereged’s evil upon the world. However the lure of the great wealth corrupted dragons from time to time and they sought out treasure for their greed. The searches of those hoards failed to reveal any piece of Ereged. To this day no one has found anything that could be a piece of the evil, yet some believe that he is still out there waiting for the chance to exact his revenge.

I can't seem to decide which name would be best for the evil force I mentioned. Possibilities besides the one used in the story include Arroged, Ureged, Oregyd, and Aroged. Which do you like? 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Excerpt from Dymos book 2 chapter 1

Wow, it's been a while since I updated this blog. I've got some short stories in the works. However I was asked to share something I got feedback on from a writing club. I'll share this with you and if you could provide any feedback that would be appreciated. Originally this was going to be book 4. However I've been thinking and I've decided that it would probably be best to have the series go forward in chronological order. Some series were able to pull off jumping around the time stream of that world, but I will not try it. Now, see what has been going on since we last left our heroes:

The city of Raun Nijhor was bustling with excitement as everyone waited for the announcement of the wedding day of their beloved princess. It had been a year ago that her husband-to-be Josun had set out to find the sword Vedion to stop the Magic’s Bane, an order of knights from Earth who were dedicated to exterminating anything and everything magical in an attempt to create peace. The knights had been let in by the dark wizard Drakorn, who had wanted them to upset Dymos so much that it would destroy itself while he left to take over Earth. Luckily Josun and his friends arrived in time to stop his diabolical plot and save the world.
            From his quarters in the castle, Josun looked out at the eager city that was preparing to hear the announcement. Although Josun was a peasant and not a prince, he had asked the princess Saurina to marry him. She had accepted, but according to Bylouth tradition marriage between a noble and a peasant had to go through a trial. Josun had to prove that he could handle the affairs of the kingdom and wouldn’t abuse the power of the king when the current ruler passed away. It had been a difficult time for him to learn about the way hierarchy worked, but he managed to pass the test. Now they could announce the day of the marriage.
            “Nervous?” A voice asked behind him. Josun looked to see Saurina standing in the doorway. The princess had a royal green dress on with purple sleeves and a crystal tiara on. Her brownish-blonde hair billowed past her shoulders, giving her amber eyes a beautiful look.
            “Very much.” Josun admitted, “It’s just so tense to announce something to a large multitude of people in one place.”
            Saurina smiled. “My father felt the same way.” She told him, “He just kept taking breathes and made sure he knew what he was going to say to the crowd.”
            “I still think I’d rather be learning to read from Ipurv than speak to a multitude.”
            Saurina laughed. “My father felt the same way, only it was to go and face a rabid dragon instead of learning from a wizard.”
            Josun laughed with her. When they were together, it was hard to not be in a good mood. It was hard to think that a year ago he had been dreading a visit from his aunt and cousins. Now here he was, preparing to announce the day that he would wed Saurina.
            “Sir Josun! Princess Saurina!” A voice cried out from the hallway. Both of them poked their heads out to the door to see a page running up to them. “The king wants the two of you outside in the next few minutes to announce your wedding day!” The page said.
            Looking at each other in surprise at the sudden announcement of hurry, Josun and Saurina rushed past the page and rand down the hallway. Past the murals and portraits of heroes and kings they hurried, eager to not be late for this important announcement. They each ran down two stairs at a time, with Josun nearly tripping over himself. The halls continued to echo their footsteps as they hurried to the door.
            As they approached the immense doors, they saw Saurina’s mother, Queen Arias, waiting for them. She had on her royal purple gown and had her blonde hair braided in her usual fashion. However, today she had on a silver crown that Saurina knew she only wore to special occasions.
            “Where have you two been?” She asked as they approached. “The crowd’s been waiting patiently to hear you announce your big day.”
            “We know. We thought we didn’t need to be here for a little while.” Saurina explained while her mother looked eagerly outside.
            “It’s fine. You’re here and everyone’s there. Just go out there and tell them of the big day!” With that, Queen Arias shoved them outside. Immediately a cheer went up from the crowd as they saw that the people who they’ve been waiting for had finally arrived. The both of them waved nervously as they got to the stand where Saurina’s father, King Ifen, stood waiting for them. The king had on a blue and brown tunic with leather pants and his royal purple cape on. His golden crown sat in his brown hair.
            “Okay you two, you know what to do.” He said as he stepped off and allowed them to step up. Josun immediately became scared when he saw the vastness of the crowd. It was as if every citizen in Bylouth had come for the announcement of the special day. His stomach felt weak and his legs felt as if they would just give way.
            “Come on Josun, tell them.” Saurina whispered in his ear. Hearing her voice gave him confidence and repelled his weakness. Standing up, Josun cleared his throat and spoke loudly.
            “Good day everyone,” He began. “It has been a long year since I asked this beautiful princess to marry me. I have worked hard to prove I am worthy of her and now the time has come for when we can end the waiting of our wedding day announcement.” Clearing his throat one more time, he continued, “We have decided to be wed on the day when spring gives way to summer.”
            At this declaration, a loud cheer went up from the crowd. That day was only a few weeks away and that meant these two wouldn’t have to wait long before their lives were joined. That still gave them plenty of time to prepare for that day.

            When they were back inside, Josun breathed hard in relief that it was over. King Ifen had stepped up and continued to speak to the people of the importance of how summer would allow them to grow their crops before the winter season blew in. Josun knew the lessons well, and was just glad he didn’t have to speak to the crowd again.
            “I know how you feel.” Saurina comforted him, “I was just as nervous being up there in front of all those people.”
            “I can’t imagine anyone being comfortable with giving a speech to a multitude.” Josun said.
            “It would certainly take nerves of steel to do it.”
            “At least everyone knows when we’ll be married.”
            “No, not everyone.” Saurina remembered. “Our closest friends don’t know.”
            Josun nodded, remembering all the friends they made while they were traveling the land. The elf Ehist had returned to her home city of Fiaxiclaun to visit her family while Tnor the dwarf went back home to Mining Falls to continue making things. Belizth, their centauride friend, had gone off to be with her own centaur herd somewhere on Sodow, but they were always moving so Josun had no idea where they were. Their biggest companion, Goalith the dragon, had returned to his territory on the mainland of Bylouth. They had never found out where exactly it was.
            “So that’s when you two plan to finally stop waiting.” A familiar voice said. The two of them turned to see Ofni coming towards them. Ofni was a fire thief they had met in the Myriad Mountains. He couldn’t speak human languages at first, but the Dream Damsel bestowed upon him this ability because he had wanted to be able to understand humans.
            “And how have you been Ofni?” Josun asked their little friend.
            Ofni reached down to preen some of his fiery red and orange down before answering, “Just hunting. Those squirrels are really quick and hard to get. They also cheat, going up trees.”
            “Don’t worry, you’ll get there.” Saurina comforted. She was a husaur and had a special connection to all the animals of the land. Although she liked the squirrels, she preferred to not discourage Ofni from practicing his hunting skills.
            “My pack would not be as understanding as you two are.” Ofni replied. This was a new statement for Josun, for although he had heard that fire thieves hunted in packs, Ofni had never mentioned his pack before. They had tried to ask him about it, but neither of them had been able to get the information from him.
            “Well, we can hope that everyone else hears about it in time to get here to join us.” Saurina said. Josun smiled, knowing that would make Ofni happy.