Continuing with my unhealthy fascination with the Lord of the Rings (and Weaving as Elrond,) I’ve got another one for you Tolkeinophiles which, oddly enough, doesn’t have that all that much to do with the movie.

Is Elrond a half-elf, or not? I mean, in “The Hobbit” he’s Elrond Half-Elven which I assume is a pretty good indicator that mom and dad were on opposite sides of the pointy-eared divide. But I can’t recall the issue ever coming up. While I was touched by the obvious affection of Elrond for Bilbo in the last scene of ROTK, which was totally in keeping with “The Hobbit,” it also reminded me vaguely of that question. (Actually, I thought Elrond was fabulous in the movies–only Agent Smith could spit out “Men are weak,” with such wonderful superior-race venom. But if he’s a half-elf, what the hell!?)

Also, did he have the other elven ring? Galadriel’s got one, Gandalf’s got the big one, but who owned the third one?

These are the questions that plague my geeky soul…

So we’re moving.

Again.

Across the country.

Again.

Shortly after moving here, the company James worked for was found floating upside down in the fishbowl, and the job went away, forcing us to subsist on my art income for several months until James picked up some contract work. (There’s nothing quite like having painted frogs the only buffer between you and the street, let me tell you…) But we managed, and he got some contract work, and we have been limping along–can’t get ahead, managing not to get too far behind, plenty of you probably know exactly what that’s like.

And lo! Like a beacon, hope shines on us, as James just got a job (from a company that will remain nameless for a bit longer, although the paperwork has all been signed, which is why I’m finally writing about this) in North Carolina. It is a good job. It pays a fair amount of money, which will presumably increase with time, and the benefits package made me drool all over their nice stationary–finally, full medical/dental/vision! Finally I don’t have to live in fear of getting appendicitis and going bankrupt! Yay!

So this is good. And they’re paying for relocation, including flying us out next month to find an apartment, which is also very good. We do have to leave the desert, which I love passionately, to move to the not-that-deep-South, which is less good–I doubt it’s 75 and bone dry in December there–and we have to move AGAIN, now that I’ve thrown out most of the boxes, finally, so that’s crappy, and I have to get a slew of art done in a real hurry before the move next month, which is hectic, and I am really gonna miss my dad and stepmom, whom we’ve only gotten to know these last six months and who have been fabulous, so that’s a bummer. But overall, it’s a really good thing, and a long-awaited break, and James and I have been wandering around in a sort of bouncy haze and randomly hugging one another going “I can’t believe I/you got the job!” for a coupla days now.

So! Anybody in North Carolina? What does someone who’s never lived in the south need to know about, other than the bit with ice tea tasting like sugar ant vomit, and those grit things? What’s up with hurricanes? (We’re in the Research Triangle area, so they tell me the hillbillies aren’t as thick on the ground there…)

I realize, yet again–man, Loki was a nice cat.

Athena, taken to the vet, hid in the sink; hissed, spat, and writhed during the temperature taking; tried to bite me (realized who I was at the last minute, pulled it); tried to bite the tech; clawed the tech; sulked in the sink; tried to bite the vet, and generally made a nuisance of herself.

Loki, taken to the vet, would yowl plaintively, but would take anything up to and including a catheter without fighting back. I have a feeling I’m not gonna see a cat of that temperment again.

Anyway, Athena’s fine, except for rather overfull anal glands, which were duly expressed (a job made easier by her…um…”self-expression” in outrage all over the vet) and I’ll spare you the details, since they involve words like “chunky” and pose a threat to contented dining. We gotta take her back in a month, but chronic anal gland problems are so insanely rare in cats that the vet’s not real worried–she said it was probably stress or some random thing. So that was good.

The things I do for love…

The Ghost of Van Gogh’s Ear II

An immortal moment in art history has its anniversary today!

Courtesy of rotten.com:

Dec 23 1888–After an argument with fellow painter Paul Gauguin, Vincent van Gogh takes a razor and removes a portion of his left ear. Their quarrel regarded the prostitutes in Arles who seemed to prefer Gauguin over Van Gogh; the painter delivered his ear to one Rachel, who preferred Van Gogh. She fainted.

I had a funny commentary to go along with this, and then I thought “Man, what really is there left to say?”

I swear to god, cats get weird to fill the void.

Following the demise of Loki, Athena has…done…something or other. I know she’s been under stress, losing her buddy, and I’m wondering if it’s triggered something, ‘cos unless I’m nuts, our six-year-old spayed female seems to have gone into heat. She isn’t doing the waving butt thing, thank god, but she is producing some of the most foul-smelling cat-musk-dead-fish vaginal discharge you have ever had the hideous misfortune to smell, very strongly reminiscent of a unspayed female cat who’s lookin’ for love. I am utterly baffled. (Normally, let me add, I do NOT go inspecting my cat’s rear, but after she leapt into my lap, with the misasmic effect of being smacked in the face with a ripe flounder, I made exception.)

I know stress causes yeast infections in human women, and she’s displaying no other signs whatsoever of any discomfort or illness–in fact, without Loki shouldering her aside to eat her food, she’s not even vomiting any more. If she were a dog, I could hazard guesses about anal glands needing expressing, but I don’t know if that applies to cats. She’s not in any distress, she’s perky, cuddly, good appetite, not listless, no tender spots–she’s just sporadically…err… stinking.

I’m consulting my step-mom, the dog groomer, who has Seen It All, and if she doesn’t know, I guess it’s another trip to Ye Olde Vet, to try and explain that the cat has that not-so-fresh feeling.

I have a lot to say, but it’ll take me awhile to figure out how to say it.

Return of the King was an X movie, where X represents whatever superlative you like, only more so.

But I got just one question, for all you die-hard Tolkien fans…

It took the fellowship half a movie to get from Rivendell to Rohan, and they had to go through Moria, and they had Gandalf, who’s practically a god, with them. And then it took a sizeable chunk of the next movie to get to the mountain fortress on this side of the Paths of the Dead.

Elrond, on t’other hand, on one horse, by himself, can get from Rivendell to Rohan with Aragorn’s sword in about five minutes.

“Yeah,” says James, “but he’s an elf.” “So was Legolas! And Gandalf was like a super-elf!” I protested.

This in no way diminished my love of the movie, but I just wanted to point out that Elrond must be one heck of a badass or else knew a really good shortcut.

Speaking of which, while there was a little too much hobbit-hugging at the final scene, when Elrond embraced Bilbo and led him to the ship, I was really touched. It was just…so…perfect. But then again, I loved Elrond. He was fabulous.

Sigh.

I saw The Return of the King.

Then I came home, and whadya know, Two Towers was on cable.

My brain is a morass of elves and Rohirrim and guys from Gondor. And I will probably have something to say tomorrow.

It was good. It was really really good. (James wishes it to be known that Minis Tirith was amazing.) It rocked my world. I laughed. I cried. (I never cry at movies.) I twitched. (I do twitch at movies.) I cannot descend far enough into hyperbole to do this movie justice. It was the standard against which every other fantasy movie made in our life times will have to be measured. They’re all boned, of course, those are Ent-sized shoes to fill, but there it is.

Damn.

Fellowship of the Ring was on cable tonight, so I’m watching it, for the…errr…fifth or sixth time, I imagine, prepatory to seeing ROTK tomorrow.

And damnit, I know he’s a traitor, I know he’s only in the first movie, but damnit, I like Boromir. He was so much more sympathetic in the movies. It’s not even that, like every male in the movie, he is almost obnoxiously handsome, although of course that doesn’t hurt. (Faramir is also cool in the next flick, mind you, and in much the same way.)

Maybe it’s the good-but-driven-to-ruthlessness thing. I think every RPG character I’ve ever played fell into that category, and wound up doing appallingly bad things in pursuit of their generally-fairly-noble goals. So I can relate. Maybe it’s the heroic last stand, with those arrows the size of frickin’ tree trunks sticking out of his chest.

Maybe I’m just a sucker for a guy with a goatee who can use a sword. I dunno. But in a ‘net swarmed with people wanting to bear Legolas’s elf-puppies, I wanted to state for the record that Boromir is cool, damnit.

Went to the zoo today…hadn’t gone for awhile. The cooler temperatures–it’s about 70 out–yes, in mid-December, ha!–brought the animals out during the mid-afternoon, so I got some great Charismatic Mammal shots, and of course, my favorites, the Weird And Awkward Mammal shots. The warthogs were snuffly and warty. The capybara was wet and drippy. The peccaries were…well, rather like the warthogs. The anteater was practically dancing in its pen. The photos of it tongue kissing the other anteater through the wires, alas, aren’t very clear, but it was touching.

I’ll post some of the photos later, but here’s a Charismatic Mammal:
http://www.metalandmagic.com/Images/gfx/urstiger1.jpg

and a coupla Deviantart pics
http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/4302198/
http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/4302152/
http://www.deviantart.com/deviation/4302009/

There was an enormous flock of starlings, going after these weird blue-violet grape-looking clusters hanging off the palm trees. I was at the capybara exhibit, which is a covered walkway extending into the water, surrounded by these fruiting palm trees. And as the capybara sedately munched duckweed, and I tried to get a zoomed shot of his weedy muzzle, there was this sudden cacaphony, and like a scene from the birds, starlings were suddenly descending everywhere, on these trees and the fruit. The sound of starling poo on the roof was like rain. The capybara and I both froze, gazing up like…well, large startled rodents, which reflects better on him than on me…and after a minute or two, while I fumbled to take photos (I despise starlings, but anything’s interesting in a horde) they flew yammering off. I looked at the capybara. He dropped his head and looked at the duckweed. I said “Okay, then,” and moseyed off to photograph tortoises.

All in all, a good day.

I confess, I am sneakingly proud…today’s Digger marks the end of Chapter One! The plot is roughly outlined as far as Chapter Seven, with points after that marked as “Here There Be Something Other Than Dragons” although Chapter Six could easily flower into a coupla more, depending on how I’m feeling at the time. (I do know how it ends, I hasten to add.)

One of these days, I’ll learn to write vignettes as well as epics. Really.