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The Time Trust Website Showcase: December 2002
Snopes.com -- Urban Legends Reference Pages: This is a well-known site I discovered quite a while ago while looking for background information on Disney and Coca-Cola, and I found myself browsing through the many categories. Some very fascinating stuff there, indeed. Virtually every urban legend is catalogued there and exposed as true or false or otherwise discussed as much as possible (one category of particular interest to internet users is the Inboxer Rebellion pages). The site has grown by leaps and bounds since it first came online, and it is updated regularly as new rumours abound. Check it out!
To submit your website to possibly be spotlighted at The Time Trust,
please e-mail the webmaster with the suggestion, using subject line "The Time Trust Website Showcase".
The Time Trust Website Showcase Alumni Sites
2001
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October 2002
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July 2002
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November 2002
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Tuesday, December 31, 2002:

This is the way the year ends...

2k+3 As I begin writing I've got an hour to kill until I leave for my New Year's Eve party tonight, so I figured I'd pen my last weblog entry for the year. I'm still fairly new at this whole blogging thing (and, as I mentioned in my last entry, I had NO idea what a huge phenomenon weblogs were/are until after I'd sorta started my own last month), and I admit I still haven't gotten the hang of it quite yet. I can imagine what a first time visitor might think upon seeing this site: "What is it all about, anyway?"

One of my main complaints about so many sites out there is that they try to be all things to all people, or otherwise just stick the tips of each finger into several different pies. Instead of trying to know a lot about one or two things, they try to know a little bit about a lot of things, with the result being somewhat shallow. Ah, but I'm getting a bit too metaphorical, here. What I mean to say is that I find so many sites out there that simply don't fit into any of the categories in my browser's bookmarks.

Taking a good, long, hard look at my own site, I'm afraid The Time Trust is just as un-categorizable. I've been online for more than two and a half years now, going on three, yet few webmasters out there will link my site to theirs for the simple reason that I don't provide enough content on any one subject to make it worthwhile. My Annotated Captain Carrot and Five Earths Project sites get many, many more hits than The Time Trust does by far because they have focus -- people know exactly what they're going to get.

If I were to make a New Year's Resolution (and I'm not... resolutions are only made to be broken), it would be to begin making The Time Trust what I've always wanted it to be: A repository of wisdom... a place where numerous well-researched and well-written articles on a variety of similar subjects can be found. A site that an internet user can literally browse for hours (or at least skim for 40 minutes or so) and still not have perused everything. An online museum, of sorts, with new exhibitions on a regular basis. That is my dream for The Time Trust.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 8:00 PM | Link | Comment

Monday, December 30, 2002:

What the hell kinda so-called "Blog" is this anyway?!?

For the last time, I'm NOT the Grim Reaper!!! Whew! Sorry, folks, about the lack of updates this week! Although I was online a bit during the holidays, I habitually neglected to write up another weblog entry.

What is a "weblog" -- also known as a "blog" -- anyways? Well, I really had no idea when I began this thing. The only one I'd really been aware of was ol' Wesley Crusher's blog. However, since I started up my own online writing-thing at the beginning of November, I've seen a lot of blogs and a lot of online diaries and noticed a difference between the two. Whereas online diaries are written to describe the author's thoughts, feelings, and daily happenings, blogs are more of an online record of interesting sites the author has visited (of course, the term "blog" has since been used for what really should have been called "online diaries," and as a result the connotations of the word have changed despite the efforts of the old-time bloggers to enforce the proper usage of the word). Unconsciously my so-called "blog" has become a mixture of both.

I've never wanted to write a true online diary -- the thought of revealing my innermost thoughts (or otherwise just bitching about my daily life) isn't something I'm all that keen on doing, though I admire those who can pull this off and keep it interesting. If I do mention anything, it'll be fairly non-personal. After all, I don't use my real name here, do I? However, I'd also feel too constricted simply to list all the interesting URLs I visit daily without more than a sentence's commentary. I know a lot of bloggers do this, but I think I have a bit more to say, y'know?

This being said, I'm not going to be pigeonholed into one particular definition of "weblog" -- rather, I'll just continue my incoherent ramblings the Time Trust way. I hope you'll enjoy the ride!

Father Time Trust 2003 P.S.: Some of the more observant regular visitors to The Time Trust may have noticed some slight changes. The logo at the top left corner of the main page currently has a sort of "New Year's" theme, with a clever play on words. Once I realized that the word "the" can be found in the word "father," the idea of incorporating "Father Time" into the logo was completely irresistable. (Seriously. I turned into Pavlov's Dog for a while, there. )

As well, the DC Comics Calendar page (formerly titled "The 1976 Super DC Calendar") has been updated with a faster-loading font, a look based on the current look of the main page, and -- last but definitely not least -- several new entries have been added. If you have any more birthdates or anniversaries of important dates in DC Universe history, please send them to me (and make sure to mention a verifiable source) so I can put them up.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 10:20 AM | Link | Comment

Wednesday, December 25, 2002:

"Merry Christmas to all... and to all a good-night!"

Have a good one! Nothing really special today for Christmas Day, I'm afraid. Just a short note to mention that I'm already trying to think of a terrific! phenomenal! exciting! groundbreaking! -- et cetera, et cetera -- site for next month's Website Showcase. I could've sworn I came across a few sites that were good candidates, but of course my faulty memory isn't helping me much. As always, I accept suggestions for the Website Showcase, though as always management reserves the right to decide which one is chosen and all that rot. I've also cooked up a few more logos with holiday themes for the next few months (because, quite frankly, I'm getting sick of the Christmas-themed one), beginning with New Year's, something I'll unveil tomorrow or the day afterwards.

It's a rainy Christmas Day here in Vancouver. There was actually some snow yesterday... for about twenty minutes, before it turned back into rain and washed away. Ah well. Vancouver (and parts of southwestern British Columbia) is the only part of Canada where the grass is always green, even in the dead of winter, so I guess I shouldn't complain too much about the rain that keeps it this way. Would've been nice to get some snow, though. Maybe in January.

Meanwhile, my chapters in the INVASION! story are coming along (see yesterday's blog entry) -- I wrote seven chapters yesterday, and I'm currently writing a few more that will be posted shortly.

Posted by Doc Quantum at 3:06 PM | Link | Comment

Tuesday, December 24, 2002:

The Time Trust's Terrific Treatise on Tolkien's The Two Towers

Been a busy few days. My family got together for the annual Christmas dinner a bit early this year for various reasons, and I've been sleeping some REALLY strange hours lately. As I write this, it's between 3 and 4 in the morning... but I'm actually feeling fine right now. I am a "night owl," after all.

For those of you following my Five Earths Project stories, I've written a few chapters in the ongoing INVASION! round-robin at the Earth-1 Yahoo! Group. My goal is to finish this story this week, and I've got it all planned out. All that needs to be done is write it and write it well. My most recent chapters can be found beginning here.

Now, last week I promised that review of The Two Towers. Well, look no further. Here it is:

Gollum or Sméagol? The Two Towers - The Time Trust's Review

First off, I like those initials.

I took some time off work and even missed the first hour of my night class (last one of the year) to see this film. It was a 4:00 PM showing, so I figured I'd be out by about 6:30. What I didn't take into account was that there were of course about 20-25 minutes of previews before it even started. And the film seemed to be about 2 hours and 50 minutes long (IMDB.com says its running time is 179 minutes, or 2 hours and 59 minutes, so I wasn't far off); that's about 9 reels of film! In fact, I had a morbid fascination as I watched for the reel change every 20 minutes. After seeing Fight Club again recently, I've begun noticing those little oval dots that appear at the top right corner of the screen during every film, indicating a reel change is coming (Brad Pitt's character illustrates this in a memorable sequence of that film). Anyways, this is getting a bit off-topic...

My thoughts on the film: I was at a matinee showing at the least-active Silver City in the Lower Mainland (of Greater Vancouver), so my friends and I got some really great seats. The anticipation for the film was running high, though I needed some coffee to keep me up (not too much, though, or I'd be fighting a losing battle with my bladder -- the movie and previews are almost three and a half hours long!) because I'd only had about 5 hours of sleep that night (don't ask ). By the time the movie started, I felt like cheering simply due to the anticipation, but once it actually got going, I concentrated on following the various plotlines.

My first problem with the film: Despite director Peter Jackson's assurances that there would be some sort of recap of The Fellowship of the Ring at the beginning of The Two Towers, there isn't really anything of the sort, except for a new look at Gandalf's battle with the Balrog on the bridge at Khazad-Dûm from the wizard's perspective. Other than this, the story just picks up where the last movie ended. It must be remembered that The Lord of the Rings is not really a Trilogy after all, though, but one long story broken up into three books. Likewise, this film cannot stand alone but only as the second Act in a three-act play. However, I pity anyone who is not intimately familiar with the events of Fellowship while watching this movie; I really can't imagine how one would follow the so-called "sequel" without that knowledge.

The next problem I had with the film was that, in following the important events of the novel so closely, so many things happen in a very short sequence which comes off as "hurried". After about half an hour, though, I began to notice that either I became used to the pacing, or the pacing simply became better.

The most interesting character in the film was Gollum/Sméagol, surprisingly enough. Once I got past his obvious CGI-ness (which was yet superior to any other humanoid CGI character I've seen), Gollum began to grow on me in a way he never really did in the books. In a memorable sequence the conflict between the two sides of Gollum's personality (Samwise Gamgee called them "Slinker" and "Stinker" in the book) is demonstrated as the good and evil sides try to wrest control over him, with the good side winning out most of the time... at least at first. Gollum on-screen is shockingly animalistic. One almost wants to cringe as this human-like being cowers and crawls around on all fours like a lizard, and Sam wonders why Frodo doesn't just put the poor creature out of its misery. The reason, of course, is that Gollum represents what Frodo will become if the One-Ring is not destroyed, and if even Gollum can be redeemed, then there is hope for him as well.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a special effects extravaganza, a technical masterpiece, and there are some very beautiful sequences in this film. The countryside of New Zealand, where the films were shot, lends itself well to the mythology of Middle-Earth, and although it is not hard to spot where the natural landscapes end and the CGI landscapes begin, everything is bathed in an ethereal light which helps the suspension of disbelief. My favourite special effects scene was the flooding of Isengard caused by the uncharacteristically enraged Ents (walking trees).

This film is not for everyone. As I said, I pity those who aren't already familiar with at least Fellowship, if not the novels themselves. Visually, this adaptation does a great deal of justice to the world Tolkien created in his novels, but not enough time is taken to do justice to the story itself, I'm afraid. I constantly had the feeling that I was watching a "Reader's Digest" version of the story or a much lengthier film at double or quadruple speed. There simply isn't enough time in three hours for the kind of character development as seen in the novels (with the notable exception of Gollum). The Lord of the Rings would be much better off storywise as a mini-series rather than a film trilogy. Still, as a Tolkien admirer and LOTR enthusiast, I enjoyed this film immensely, though Fellowship was superior in many respects.

The fantasy genre for the most part is very hit-and-miss, with only a few masters (such as Tolkien and C.S. Lewis) getting it right -- the rest seem to be all style and no substance. Tolkien, however, had a moral underpinning to his stories which had great consequences as each character made his choices, whether they were between good and evil, recklessness and caution, or bravery and cowardice.

Summary: It's well worth seeing, particularly for the spectacular battle scenes, the camaraderie between Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli, and the interaction between Frodo, Samwise and Gollum and the moral questions that arise there, but it lacks heart. It will blow you away as an exhibition of what is possible in cinematography and SFX today, but it fails to do justice to Tolkien's fable-like story. I give it 4 stars out of 5 for that reason.

P.S.: Did another LOTR "Personality Test" -- this one different than the previous. Here were my results:

Faramir

Faramir

If I were a character in The Lord of the Rings, I would be Faramir, Man of Gondor, the humble younger brother of Boromir.

In the movie, I am played by David Wenham.

Who would you be?
Zovakware Lord of the Rings Test with Perseus Web Survey Software

Interestingly enough, when I changed my last answer to see what would happen, the result was Boromir, Faramir's brother. (I've always wondered what happened to Nearamir and Excitamir, the other brothers... okay, stop groaning. )

Posted by Doc Quantum at 3:47 PM | Link | Comment

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