Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski (9/10)

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The second collection of Witcher short stories is actually the first or something like that. You’ll need to Google the series in order to figure out which books to read first. The sections in this collection flow nice in to each other and it really feels more like a connected narrative than The Last Wish ever did. At the heart of all this is the story of Geralt and Ciri’s destiny. And who doesn’t love a good origin story? This is a context that was very much missing from the games.

The Hermit - Wood Engraving

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At first I was going to do something about covid lockdown and isolation but quickly realized that just about every hack artist on Instagram was doing some image with masks and microscopic viruses. Most of it was awful. I stuck with the hermit theme and kept thinking of all these stories of people trying to survive wilderness and being forced to eat tree bark. Many of the early sketches had the guy taking a big bite of the tree, but I went with the stick full of fish instead.

Hermit Heat Transfer

This was the first time using my heat transfer tool to get a laser printed sketch on the block. It work well without needing acetone as some tutorials suggest.

Hermit Carving

Here is the resingrave block about halfway through the engraving process. Working this small is really hard by the way.

Hermit Drying Rack

Finally, here are the finished prints hanging to dry.

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (8/10)

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I’ve played the games, watched the television show, and now I am going to work my way through the books. This first book in the series is a collection of short stories interspersed with interludes that tie the various plots together. I’m not sure if these are required to understand the main series, but it does include the story of Geralt and Yennifer’s first meeting which is probably pretty important. The Netflix series draws a lot from this book. I like to think of it as a bunch of literary side-quests before advancing on to the main quest.

Pages of Fun, Now With WordPress

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It took about two weeks, but I think I have finally finished converting this site to WordPress. The bulk of that process was copying and pasting every post into the new system. I’m sure I probably goofed up a few posts along the way and there are bound to be many broken links. But I think was very thorough, going as far as copying every single comment and tag description.

My reason for moving away from Drupal was my general disappointment with Drupal 8. Nothing ever seemed to work exactly right. I’d make a few changes on the back-end and the site would unbeknownst to me be put in maintenance mode. Several key plugins withered on the vine and stopped working. The built in WYSIWYG editor was absolute garbage. And the worst part of it all was the horrifically user unfriendly update process. There are modules that require Composer to install and update and others that are always in pre-release dev states. No thanks. After a decade of loyal advocacy and usage, it was time to bid Drupal farewell.

I have built a couple WordPress sites for work this year and now feel much more capable in this system. The main disadvantage of WordPress is its lack of a Views plugin. If you want to get creative with outputting data, you need to dive in to .PHP files and WP_Query() loops. There’s a massive user base, so finding help on the Internet is fairly easy and, once you understand the basics, you get an idea of how to accomplish tasks.

As I type this, I am prepping to launch the site. Hopefully all will go well. Having never run a WordPress site with comments enabled I worry that I will find myself buried in comment spam.

The Last Straw

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This was all a big mistake. Upgrading to Drupal 8, that is. Nothing ever works right and Drupal hates casual users. I am now in the process of converting this site to WordPress by migrating every post by hand. There’s about 1700 posts so it’s going to be a while. There’s probably a plugin that can automagically do this, but the biggest con of WordPress is that good plugins aren’t free. Sigh.

The Ghost Galleon (4/10)

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The third film in the Blind Dead series features the return of the terrifying cheap skeleton hand prop. A couple of models are lost at sea and then a crew of unlikable characters set sail to find them. Turns out the models found a fog covered ghost ship that just happens to contain the mummified bodies of the satanic Templars from the first films. The direction and editing are just awful. They don’t know when to cut away from a boring scene or create suspense. The zombies are just out there in plain view from the get go. You might see a few cool looking stills here and there, but, for the most part, this is a dull exercise in amateur film making.

Nick the Sting (6/10)

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A small-time crook is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. He then spends the rest of the movie getting back at the men who done him wrong. No this isn’t quite a revenge film. It’s more like an long episode of Candid Camera in which Nick sets up elaborate pranks to thwart his enemies. The tone is appropriately lighthearted but it doesn’t quite play as a comedy and, despite a couple foot chases, doesn’t quite play as a crime thriller either.

The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization by Arthur Herman (7/10)

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This is yet another summation of Western philosophical thought. In this case it’s presented as a perpetual oscillation between the spiritual ideas of Plato and the rational ideas of Aristotle.

Nightmare Castle (7/10)

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Black and white Gothic horror with Barbara Steele in a dual role as blonde lady and brunette lady. I didn’t mind most of the film, but the story is chock full of holes and forgotten plot points. Steele looks as anorexic as ever. The movie redeems itself in the last ten minutes with some good makeup effects. Apparently, The Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments” is based on this?