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In a hole in the ground there lived...


Donít Follow the Pixels

Posted by Tolkien , in Life, Bionicle, Art, BZPower Mar 17 2014 · 197 views

If you’re someone who remembers BZPower back before the archive deletion and downtimes (I confess, I’m getting murky) and roughly prior to '08-'09, you might know me as a different person. I mostly lurked 'round this little forum called Artwork II, which was the place where all the shops and "sprite kits" were safely hidden from the world. Back then, most of my contribution to BZP came in the form of pixel art. Yeah, it was a different time.
Well, I haven’t done any pixel art for quite a while—nothing worth posting, at least. Even so, I get the hankering every now and then. And in fact, for a long time I’ve been wanting to start something long-term: a project to fiddle with in my spare time. Pixel art is quite cathartic, I find, and it’s actually a great stress-reliever. Go figure.
Unfortunately I haven’t really had that much spare time lately. That is, until last week. It was spring break...for students, at least. =P Even so, in between the grading, I did find a few moments to get creative:
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The project is a roughly to-scale isometric map of the island of Mata Nui; 1 pixel = ~.25 kio (these images are at about x3 magnification). I find landscapes to be very enjoyable to do, and isometric pixeling suits that pretty well. The images above should be kinda familiar: the Mangai Volcano and the southern tip of the island coast. This is only a few hours’ work, so it’s absurdly rough, but you should get the general idea.
So yeah, the plan is to keep messing around with it, and maybe post some updates as things progress. I confess, even now I’m still pretty much an amateur at this, but I hope I can do it justice. =P


That was special

Posted by Tolkien , in Life, LEGO Feb 24 2014 · 127 views

I just got back from seeing The Lego Movie and...Oh childhood, I've missed you. sniff


Dear all

Posted by Tolkien , in Matoran Language, Life, Blog-related, BZPower Nov 25 2013 · 301 views

You people have brought many a smile to my face the past few days. After the time invested in the Matoran Dictionary project over the last several years, the sudden boost in exposure and overall positive response—both on BZP (thx news!) and off—means a lot. I’m glad to see so many people delving into it and having fun. In the end, that was the impetus for this project: my own personal enjoyment and enjoyment for other members of the Bionicle fandom. It’s all very satisfying. Heartfelt thanks.


It is finished

Posted by Tolkien , in BZPower, linguistics, Long Entries, Life, Matoran Language, Language and Etymology Jul 27 2013 · 287 views

Changes are coming for me. They are almost upon me...What are these changes? They are real life changes. Mostly the fact that, as of next week, I'll be starting training for a new teaching job at my university. Also, as of the end of August, I'll be starting the first semester of my Ph.D. These are big changes. I'm excited.
Unfortunately, these changes also mean that I will no longer have this thing so ironically termed "free time". I generally think "I'm leaving BZP" announcements are silly, so let me be clear that I'm not leaving BZP, silly. I expect I'll be around till the bitter end, be it by fire, or water, or gigantic aquatic moons to the cranium, or the slow dwindling of age. I'll be around, but for the foreseeable future, I'll be entering a deeper level of lurk than usual (if that's possible?), so that's one thing that will change.

But enough of that. You might notice the title of this entry. It has nothing at all to do with my online activity. Actually, it refers to the status of what is perhaps the biggest project I've ever undertaken on BZP: A Matoran Dictionary. It's finished. Or, at least, it's as finished as it'll ever be, which is pretty darned close to finished, if I do say so.
What does that mean? It means that, as of now, the Matoran Dictionary contains an entry and an etymology (sometimes multiple etymologies) for every Bionicle name/term that can reliably be considered Matoran in origin. By my estimate, that's close to 85-90% of all Bionicle names/terms in existence. This includes every official "canon" name/term (Tahu, Kopaka, etc...all the way down to the awfulness of Vultraz), as well as technically non-canon names from various media (including the numerous Matoran names scattered throughout MNOG and MNOGII).
The total number of entries, you ask? By my count, about 832. Of those 832 entries, roughly 48% are full Bionicle names/terms (e.g., tahu, kopaka, etc.) while another 45% are authentic subcomponents of those names/terms (e.g., ta "elemental fire", huw "activity"; ko "elemental ice", paka "strength", etc.). The remaining ~7% are "new" terms that I have fabricated out of those subcomponents (e.g., gamadu "jungle tree", from ga "elemental water" and madu "tree"). In total,the dictionary has expanded to three volumes, which I will be posting in succession relatively soon. Yay.
This has been a massive undertaking, and I've probably spent more brainpower on it than is healthy over the past seven or eight years, but even so, it's nice to be able to sit back and say "There. It's done. Whew." For those of you who have been interested, thank you for your interest. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.



Always Remember

Posted by Tolkien , in Life Sep 11 2012 · 114 views

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It's New

Posted by Tolkien , in Writing??, Life, BZPower, Bionicle Jun 02 2012 · 215 views
once whole, short story
Hi. Remember that story I mentioned in the last entry?

There it is. Title: "Once Whole."

Any and all comments/critiques are welcome.

Regarding the Flash Fiction Marathon (which is still ongoing, btw--enter here or vote here), I'm excited to see such a large influx of entries for this contest. Over 20 in just the first round! Go BZP library-folks.

Also, 'tis (edit: 'twas) my birthday. Thanks for the well-wishings people.



What's This?

Posted by Tolkien , in linguistics, Life, BZPower May 20 2012 · 243 views
return, life recap
Hi. It's been while since I've been 'around'. Too long, I say (although I'd bet money you didn't even notice). Well now, I'm around again, whatever that means.

The reasons for why I was 'gone' include (first and foremost) an interstate move; before that, a major increase in college work (finishing a thesis is harrrd; also, presenting papers at an international linguistics conference is both fun and terrifying), ultimately leading up to (dun dun dun!) graduating with my Master of Arts in Linguistics. You may now address me as Master.


Now, on to the PhD!

But wait, no. I forgot--I'm taking a break from school for a year. Wow, this is different. Free time...at least until I find another decent job. Whew...

Yeah, so that's what's going on with me. I's back.



Vitamin String Quartet

Posted by Tolkien , in Music, Life Jan 08 2012 · 89 views
Mmm...wow. They've put out some really great stuff. I don't usually listen to much..uh..."current" or "popular" music. (See? I don't even pay attention to the genres >< ). But I've gotta say, being able to listen to just the music, reproduced in a psuedo-classical manner...I am definitely enjoying this. Check it out.




Posted by Tolkien , in Life Dec 29 2011 · 60 views
I haven't mentioned much related to school or anything for a while. Hm, I guess it's about due.

There's always a point in the data gathering stage of a project where you feel like you're slogging through a swamp of figures and numbers and words. And it all seems so meaningless.

That's about where I'm at with my Thesis. It's a corpus analysis of Old English syntax, meaning that I have a corpus (basically a massive computerized collection of texts) which I must search and parse out using an incredibly (and I say again--incredibly) clunky querying interface, looking for specific syntactic structures to support one theoretical model or another. Do you feel my pain yet?

And this is just for the base figures, for crying out loud (not that I have...)! Haven't even gotten to the interesting stuff. That'll come once the groundwork's done, and I can actually start looking for what I want to look at.

But until then, that's the status of my Christmas break. No, not really. I'm making it look worse than it is. But I'll stop now regardless. I need to get away from this computer-thing on my desk for a while...It's starting to look at me funny.




Posted by Tolkien , in Movies, Life Dec 20 2011 · 88 views
the hobbit, the dark knight rises and 1 more...
First The Dark Knight Rises, now The Hobbit...How on earth am I supposed to focus with these kinds of grand, awesome, tremendously epic distractions all over the place?

How, I ask you?


Chapter I

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"Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a blog-hole, and that means comfort."


A Short Bio of the...Author?


The author of this blog currently resides in the rather dry, bare, sandy climate of the southwest United States. He is a graduate student and teaching associate at his university, currently working toward a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics.

His primary interests include such -ologies as mythology, philology, etymology, syntax, and phonology, along with a healthy passion for historical linguistics binding all these bewildering fields together. Some less academic hobbies include reading classical literature and mythology, high and epic fantasy, science fiction, and the occasional Tolkien biography, as well as attempting (and mostly failing) to write fiction modeled after these genres.

In addition to these things, he also harbors the deep-set enjoyment of the Bionicle sets and storyline essential to any hapless LEGO geek who has made the decision to become a member of the BZPower community. Without it, he obviously wouldn't be here writing this, and you wouldn't be reading it. This fact is, in part, what inspired his lasting interest in the art of pixeling, a skill that he apparently isn't all that bad at, although you might never know it, seeing as his severe lack of motivation and excess of procrastination usually prevents him from producing anything much at all.


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= Some Writings =


Unknowledge [Review] - (Epic) Finalist in Epics Contest #7: Murder Mysteries. Unknowledge centers around the mysterious death of Toa Moihu and ensuing investigation by Toa Ros, interwoven with the quest to uncover the reality behind the dark nature of the Dedh-See Scroll. Ultimately, the truth that Ros discovers and is forced to confront may be darker than anyone could have imagined.

Judgement [Review] - (Epic) Judgement opens with a death sentence pronounced upon Toa Jor, watch-Toa of Metru Nui. It then follows the events leading up to this shocking scene, with the arrival of Toa Jovan, bearing grave news concerning the fate of the universe itself, as well as a plan to stop it.

Windows Through the Void [Review] - (Epic) Windows is a serial inspired by the old online serials of Bioniclestory.com. Serial 1 follows Takanuva, Toa of Light, as he journeys across the void to a world of dark trees and night, only to find that he must accomplish another task before his original quest can be completed.

The Time - (SS) A semi-mythic account of the origin of Avan, the first Matoran, in the Time Before Time--the Time of the Great Beings.

Despair - (SS) 1st Place winner of the 2010 Library Summer Olympics (SS category). "Despair" is a prequel to the epic Unknowledge, beginning with the arrival of a mysterious Toa in the city of Moa, deep within the Waste. His motives are unknown, as the nature of the dark Kanohi he wears. But the subsequent arrival of Toa Ros soon sets things in motion, leading up to an epic confrontation between hope and despair.

Dust - (SS) The Dark Hunter Devastator returns to Karzahni, his native land. He must find the Matoran called the Builder and retrieve a stolen tablet, but along the way his encounters with the crazed, broken Matoran and the dreaded Karzahni himself provide him with a sliver of new perspective in this land of dust and living death.

A Storm is Coming - (SS) Entrant in the (now stalled) Lesovikk's Hiatus contest. It tells the tale of Toa Lesovikk's three-day battle with a Rock Lion in a strange land where it never rains and the encounter he has there with the castaway Toa Jovan. Can Lesovikk find the strength to finish his task, or will the memories of his past defeat him? A storm is about to break.

Remember [Archive] - (SS) The Mountains of the Matoran are a strange place, but even stranger are the discoveries to be made within them. Two Agori venture deep into the heart of the mountains, and soon their plight becomes a struggle for survival as they try to escape the strange corridors of this dark place. But at the end of their journey lies a revelation more shocking than they could ever have imagined.

The Coming of the Toa - (SS) 3rd place Judges' Choice winner of Short Stories Contest #8. A glimpse into an alternate history of Bionicle, where something has gone terribly wrong. Kua seeks to discover what it is that the Matoran have lost, the darkness in their past. But can even he resist the power of the darkness that lies beneath?

The End - (SS) Nga-Ro has waited for so long in the darkness and cold of the ruined city. He has forgotten much. But now...even he must find the strength to resist the darkness of death and remember his duty. For the end has come...

The Sight - (SS) 1st place winner in the 2012 Flash Fiction Marathon (Visions Category).

The Power - (SS) 1st place winner of the 2012 Library Summer Olympics: Artistic Gymnastics Reimagine (Bionicle category).

Once Whole - (SS)

Hue #1471 - (SS)
Looming - (SS)

Static [Review] - (Co-authored Epic, OTC) Gold medalist in the 2012 Library Summer Olympics: Epics Unlimited Prompt Relay. Co-authored with Grant-Sud Rises, Velox, and Legolover-361.

Ever Up - (SS, OTC)

Long Day - (SS, OTC)
Beyond the Ridge of Tears - (SS, OTC)
The Trumpet Sounds - (SS, Blog)


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