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Messages - ultamentkiller

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Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: Favorite Christian Fantasy Authors
« on: January 17, 2018, 05:08:29 PM »
I'm not sure what really comprises Christian fantasy, though. It is fantasy that promotes compassion and charity? Or is it fantasy concerned with monotheistic faith? I mean... GGKay's work is so brimful of humanity and understanding that I find it feels very "with god" to me, but it's much wider in its scope than Christianity only.

My understanding is that (like Christian music and other media) what would be termed "Christian fantasy" explicitly acknowledges Christian religious beliefs as correct, and those beliefs are usually integral to the fantasy itself. Left Behind, one I mentioned, is explicitly based on the evangelical belief that those who have accepted Jesus (as specifically called out in evangelical teachings) will all be raptured, leaving those who were not among the chosen behind on Earth. Its main characters were not raptured for whatever reason when Jesus returned, and the story progresses as the Earth grows more volatile and the anti-Christ gains strength, leading to the apocalypse.

The series was super popular among evangelicals, specifically, but it's among the only fantasy books I've come across that were specifically marketed as Christian fantasy. I'd be curious what else is out there, though!
Just a scary thought to offer here. I was raised with the belief that the Left Behind books represented what would really happen. Sadly, I believed that until the middle of last year.

The church I grew up in said Harry Potter was evil, some Disney shows with magic were evil, His Dark Materials is evil... It's ridiculous. At least in Harry Potter, there's nothing super non-Christian in there. The entire conflict is loves triumph over hatred. That's exactly what Christianity is supposed to be about, but considering how deeply it's been twisted over the last few centuries...

This may surprise some people here, but I would consider Brent Weeks Christian fantasy. It doesn't fit into the standard definition, but if you read his books watching for the Christian symbolism, there's plenty of it. Night Angel has some, but Light Bringer definitely has a lot more.

I studied Mormonism for fun this year, and if you read Sanderson's books, it's pretty loaded with Mormon theology. I didn't notice when I read them, but thinking back to my research, now I see it all. Mormons aren't regarded as Christians by most people, but they consider themselves to be so there's that. McClellan's books don't have any at all though, which is slightly surprising since he's a former student of Sanderson from BYU.

I went straight into talking about books, thinking people cared about what I read without knowing me very well.
I hope this posts right.
Uh... Oops? I'm not good at this apparently. Sorry. Any ideas on how to fix it?
The Rule of Thoughts by James Dashner.
This book was amazing. Not only do I love the Virtual Reality concept of this series, but it has wonderful confrontations throughout the book, as well as an awesome plot twist as the end. The Mortality Doctrine series has secured Dashner as my second favorite author.
Gunner Scale by James Dashner.
This is a quick 30-page Prequel to the Mortality Doctrine, and I'm surprised that even for a short story, it managed to shock me at the end.
The First 3 Mortal Instruments Books: City of Bones, City of Ashes, and City of Glass.
When I started this series, I thought it was pretty good. I was disappointed that guns hadn't been integrated into this magical world, but it wasn't a huge deal. The second book was full of nice little plot twists. Nothing too surprising, but good enough to make me read the third one. Which was an utter disappointment. It ended in such a clichet way it made me angry. I saw what was going to happen and watched it play out over the last 70 pages. So, after that, I decided to not go forward.
The Shadow Ops Trilogy by Myke Cole.
This series was very interesting to me. With the first book, Control Point, it was obvious to me that this book was what I call a "training" novel, where you along with the character are taught about how magic works, as well as given important information about the world. The sequel, Fortress Frontier, was a bit better, mainly because of a character introduced by the name of Sculptor, that shocked me a couple of times. The final installment, Breach Zone, was pretty interesting as well, but no serious plot twists that caught me off guard. I'm actually surprised it made it to number 6 on the Top Fantasy Books of 2014.
That's all I've got.

So the guys this movie's about are my guys. We all have heroes I suppose. They're mine.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Denciie5oA

We always hear things like "things happen for a reason" and stuff like this, and as crass as I can be, I've come to suspect, if not fully believe, that that might be the case sometimes. If my son had not lost an eye, I'd have been with this particular A-team. I've known the Team Sergeant who took the photo below since the mid-90s. The man in the front has a pained look on his face because he has a broken back, but is riding a horse with a heavy pack.

And things come full circle. Some of these guys are struggling now. It's a helluva thing going from that world to normal life. And I've been helpful in that regard to some of them. So maybe things do happen for a reason.
I will be watching this movie as soon as I can.

I know for me, I thought you were around my age since you're at a university. Nothing to do with your behavior.

I got the final funding for my autism booklet today, from the northland power company. And I only found out a couple of days ago that it's a whole formal affair up on a stage, along with everyone else who got funding for a social-minded project. There was a photographer and hors d'oeuvres and everything. A nice little moment.

Now I'll have to actually get around to getting this thing done.
You can do it!

Jmacksdotter is here for the holiday/January break and brought her sweet kitty, Bagheera. Bags likes to scratch our living room furniture. All thoughts of Bags staying with us this summer while Dotter is in Italy as part of Masters program are no longer good thoughts.

She should have a dog. Then I’d happily watch the critter.

Tell her to get a pet passport and take Baggy with her. American cats in Europe are all the rage.
Why does Europe like American cats?

I discovered David Wong.
David Wong released another John book last year What The Hell Did I Just Read? Have you seen it or read it, yet, @ultamentkiller? If it's as good as This Book Is Full Of Spiders, it may wind up on my best of 2018.
That's on the list of books I haven't read that I want to. It's right there with Age Of Swords, Oathbringer, The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter... Damn I'm so far behind!

This year wasn't great for much of the world, but it's been great for me.

I graduated my 10-month independence training program.
I revived the division for blind students in Georgia.
I got accepted into my first choice of colleges, and finished my first semester with an A in every class.
My relationship with my girlfriend has improved dramatically, going through rough times but coming out stronger. I write this as she sits 15 feet away.
I have restarted my relationship with my father. We will see how this goes.
I discovered Orthodox Christianity after several months of theology research.
I found my favorite mystery show, The Killing.
I discovered David Wong.

I'm sure there's lots of other things, but I have been blessed to go through everything. My anxiety and everything that comes with it has improved my life instrumentally now that I know what it is and am making life changes. I am alive, I am healthy, I don't have financial problems, and I'm able to laugh every day. What more can a person ask for in life?

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: December 26, 2017, 05:40:57 PM »
The way I view free education (to return to a topic a few light years after the discussion) is to view Government spending as an investment in the country. Its like a company deciding how to reinvest the profits or whether to give back to the shareholders. When a Government invests in education, it is investing in training its future employees and its ability to do R&D.

How much can a company cut training and R&D compared to their competitors before it will eventually bite them in the bum?
I would agree with that, but unfortunately that's not what everyone here goes to college for. You see, our education system is hellbent on telling everyone they should go to college, and giving them good enough grades to get in. So then they graduate High School and, having received no vocational training, they go to college and expect it to solve their problems.

Predictably it doesn't. Because they're not meant for college, a couple of things happen.
A. they're not meant for the academic work, fail, and drop-out.
B. they have no idea how to manage time and money, spend too much of it drinking, fail, and drop out.
C. They have absolutely no idea what they want, so they spend 6 years changing majors until they're mature enough to have a plan. This is not necessarily a negative, but paying 10000 dollars a semester is not the way to figure out your life.

At schools with weaker admissions, only 32% of students graduate with a Bachelor's degree within 6 years. The tougher the admissions policy, the higher the graduation rate. The highest is 88%.

So, if the government could select the people likely to succeed in a college environment, it would work well. But from my understanding, that's not what the people advocating for free college want. They want unconditional free college. And even people agreeing on a system for paying for college would be complicated. Do you base it on GPA? Should professors give reviews on their student's performance? Should they be required to take a minimum number of hours? Again, from my understanding, no one even has a clear plan on how to do this and what system would reliably work. If someone could present one, perhaps I could get on board with the system.

Another problem. If colleges know the government is paying for it, their prices will go up. They're start building more elaborate gyms and dorms. They'll make the food more luxurious. Unless the government sets a standard that they're willing to pay colleges and no higher, you have a new problem. In my opinion, lots of these dorms need to be remodeled. I'm guilty of this myself. I love having my own room. But if the government's paying for it, we should suck it up and learn how to get along with a room mate. Cafeterias don't need to be this incredible buffet. Keep it simple, and teach us how to be thankful for the food we're provided, especially since we're not throwing ourselves into personal debt. But that won't happen.

I'm surprised no one's mentioned Age of Swords. I haven't finished it, but considering I've only read two books published this year I have no say.

Most Anticipated for 2018
1. Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence
2. The Sacred Throne by Myke Cole
3. The Emperor Blade by Chris Wooding. Normally it wouldn't sound interesting, but Ketty Jay guy gets a read.
4. Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
5. I can't come up with one so... Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

for this year I still have to read Age of Swords, The Core, Oathbringer, The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter. All of those combined with Red Sister would probably be my top 5, unless I absolutely hate one of them.

1 Star. No! No no no no no! I usually don't make it this far though. I only rate books I finish.

2 stars. Oh my gosh, I kept reading this thing? I thought it was going to get better...

Three Stars. Easy-read, unoriginal concept, a movie would've been better.

4 Stars. Good stuff. Really good stuff. I like this book and hope to reread it one day.

Five stars. Absolutely amazing.

Amazing is so subjective though.

Fantasy Book & Author Discussion / Re: What are you currently reading?
« on: December 19, 2017, 02:23:29 PM »
The Dresden Files does take definitely pick up big time as things go on. I'd agree with UK that, for me at least, Codex Alera doesn't reach the Dresden Files' highs, but I'd also say the quality is more consistent.

And I have no idea what Butcher was trying to do with the Cinder Spires but add me to the list of people saying it didn't work. I know people who've enjoyed it but to me it was a pale imitation of himself.
I'm very similar. I love Dresden, and people had urged me to read the Codex, but I never got around to it. I read Cinder Spires and was extremely disappointed. I only finished the book through sheer bloody mindedness and it made up my mind that when it comes to Butcher I'll stick to Dresden.
I hated Cinder Spires, but loved Codex. I think you'll love it too Elfy. You're one of the few around here whose book tastes I am familiar with. Trust me.

Thanks guys.

Yeah, I feel it takes our personality a while to set, and for us to gain confidence in it. In the meantime we have this terrible tendency to take our cues of what we "should" be doing from pop culture and the general direction society pushes us into.

Also, I feel the work I've been doing for the last year to educate people on autism has done a lot for me.
Makes sense. The best way to find peace within ourselves is doing good works for others.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: December 18, 2017, 07:49:27 PM »
But free college? My Bachelor's degree is potentially worth shit since lots of people have one.
Just bringing the cost down to the value.
This made me laugh really hard. Fair point. But paying for bachelor's degrees could trigger paying for Masters degrees. To be fair though, I'm not sure many would have the willpower to keep going, so that could be worth it.

I just don't want free college. I'm all for college loans, loan-forgiveness for needed jobs, and forgiving loans for demographics with a high unemployment rate. But free college?

Yeah who would want that!
The college costs are paid from taxes. Upon graduation your earning potential is increased by a third and subsequently you pay more tax to educate the next lot through the system. Who loses?

@ultamentkiller as someone who's taught college courses, that system is royally f*ed up too.  Check this out:


And the money doesn't go to profs, 25% of PhDs are on food stamps. Some get paid per course (aka minimum wage) those that have salaries haven't seen salary increases since the 1970s.  The price of education is higher than it's ever been, but it all goes to bloated administrations.

@Rostum Re: socialism--
Spoiler for Hiden:
it's a tricky concept. You're right that it's critics tend to be echoing 1950s propaganda, but it's proponents in the US tend to be equally polarized and there are some things there worth criticizing. I think it worked well in Europe but Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia didn't have the same experience.
Interesting. This has not been my experience in 2017. I agree the system is screwed up, but it's not like they're not telling you. When I applied for loans, I had to read all of these things that took about an hour. They mentioned over and over again how you shouldn't take out more than you need. they mentioned what happens if you default and cosign. And students who take a basic financial course should know that you never pay the minimum amount on any loan.

I think the problem here is that too many students and parents aren't reading all of the terms and conditions. They're tough to get through, but it's worth it. Beyond that, high schools aren't offering enough classes to help students figure it out. I think we should return to the way it was before the 90s so that there's more responsibility in choosing who gets loans so it doesn't help increase the ever-increasing national debt, but right now, Republicans are too concerned with the size of government to think how the bureaucracy is required for an ever-growing country.

As for the ridiculous costs for college, I understand where part of it is coming from. In the 70s and 80s, students put up with being crammed in a room with another person that you can touch both walls by reaching out. Now, almost every college I see in Georgia has elaborate rooms with fancy bathrooms. And of course the food in the cafeteria must be really really good. And what about that fancy gym with the Olympic- sized swimming pool and the diving board? How could we possibly go to school without that. Administrators definitely get paid too much, but part of the problem is with the parents and the students themselves. We love our luxuries to the point we're willing to go into more debt to have them.

General Discussion / Re: Politics and other ailments of the real world
« on: December 18, 2017, 12:49:51 AM »
Oh how us Europeans laugh at American political definitions and the 1950's discredited concepts still hold you in thrall 70 years later. It is like generational brainwashing.

Socialism is such a scary word a country practising it may build roads, hospitals and schools from the public purse for the benefit of the populous. Employ a standing army and police force and work in general towards a better nation for those who live there. The political system in Europe generally being described as Liberal Socialism. In the UK 98 billion (roughly 2/3rds of tax revenue) is spent in the social state. That's education healthcare, pensions, infrastructure etc. We spend a smaller proportion than many European and Scandinavian countries.

When an American mentions socialism they are in general referring to something to the right of centre in European politics and usually in their own self interest that must be done down and done away with. A witch hunt is always an option for the ironic icing on the cake.

So when you scream socialism it's often an attack on ideology that asks awkward questions like if we are 30% of the worlds economy and the richest nation how come so many live in poverty? Or now the richest in the nation have there tax cut how much longer will it take to pay off the 20 trillion national debt? Or can we have a fairer society if we do things differently?

When medical aid is reduced yet again to being for those who can afford it you can always tell yourselves at least there was no socialism involved and you don't want that sort of thing here?

Now American banks believe in socialism, they received massive amounts of government money because they were all too big to fail and having their bailouts and nobody going to prison has pretty much ensured that it will happen again.

Perhaps cui bono is the question. This irrational fear of an ideology keeps you at the mercy of an economic system that at best has no regard for you and at worse puts your needs beneath the drive for profit.

I just don't want free college. I'm all for college loans, loan-forgiveness for needed jobs, and forgiving loans for demographics with a high unemployment rate. But free college? My Bachelor's degree is potentially worth shit since lots of people have one. The masters is the new bachelors as they say. Make it even easier for people to get? Great. And then I'm paying for someone else to go to college and party for a semester for the rest of my life. Not interested. The rest of it I could probably easily be swayed on, since I'm mostly ignorant.

I will say my perspective on health care has changed. I'm all for it, so long as it's done in an efficient way. So far I haven't seen a proposed health care system that would do that. Maybe the one where the states manage it with federal and state-funding, and set minimum requirements for coverage, but I haven't done enough research on the topic.

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