I’ve been reading this book on and off for quite a few months now. While I was at my other job I saw this and the other books that make up this trilogy in the local bookstore. This particular volume was listed as “One of the 50 remarkable books from 2005″. Paying full-price for the book from a bookstore kind of threw me a bit but I forked over the money as the story tantalised me. As I mentioned, I read this book on and off for a while, mostly due to me putting the book down after I’d read a chapter and then forgetting all about the book the next day and the next day and so on. Until a month or so later I’d pick it up again and read the next chapter. However, I think from chapter 5 to the end of the book I basically read almost non-stop. Thankful that I have a long journey to and from work, it gives me the opportunity to shut out the other passengers (though I also have my mp3 player playing quietly in my ears) and concentrate on the story. I was pretty much engrossed through to the end of the book which I finished up today. The story focuses on a boy named Takeo. That’s not his original name but he is renamed this fairly early on in the book. He is born and raised amongst a group who are referred to as “The Hidden”, a fairly peaceful group who live up in the mountainous regions. However their peace does not last long and they are invaded by Lord Iida, who is seeking power over a number of regions (as most warmongers did back in those days). Takeo manages to barely escape but just as he comes under attack by a couple of Iida’s men, he is rescued by a passerby on his horse. He soon learns that this person who saved his life is Lord Otori Shigeru. Shigeru is not the leader of his clan, this was taken over by his uncles who are rather nasty and inconsiderate to most people including Shigeru. Lord Otori recognises that there is something else in the boy Takeo that perhaps even Takeo does not realise. Eventually after Takeo arrives at Lord Otori’s home, he begins to notice changes in himself, abilities that he did not know he had or understood why he had them. Kenji Muto then appears and divulges that Takeo is one of “The Tribe”, a group of warriors that his father belonged to, and now Takeo was also a part of. Despite this heritage, Takeo is determined to avenge Shigeru’s brother’s death and the deaths of his own family members under Iida’s reign. The story continues on, swapping between the first-person telling of the story by Takeo, to the third-person telling of the story by Kaede, a young woman who is destined to become Takeo’s lover. Its a riveting story for the most part, the descriptions of the countryside, the noises that Takeo is able to hear with his super-sensitive hearing and the world that they live in are well written. My only gripe with the story is that when it got closer to the end, suddenly about 10 things happened in one chapter and then the book ended. It was kind of like Lian Hearn (the author) suddenly realised the story was getting a bit too long with all the descriptive words and so chose to quickly end it so that the next book could be written. Though on the “Tales of the Otori” website, Lian Hearn mentions that the book was supposed to be just one volume, and realised that when getting towards the end of this first book, that the story itself would still flow on and thus two more volumes were born. The ‘Nightingale Floor’ actually refers to a floor in Iida’s residence that ‘sings’ (I would say its been made to be squeaky) whenever someone walks on it. This was done because Iida feared he would be slaughtered in his sleep so the residence where he sleeps is practically surrounded by this floor. Takeo has to train himself on a floor that Shigeru has made up at his own residence, so that he can walk across it lightly without making it creak or ‘sing’ at all. I’m now about to pick up the second book “Grass For His Pillow” which focuses on Takeo and his life now belonging to the Tribe (which to me seem like they were the early formation of what we now call ‘Ninja’). I’ve yet to buy the third book but will be doing so if I’m reading this second book as quickly as the first. But before I do that, I’m heading off to read more about the Otori and the books on the official website
It was a gorgeous sunny day today, but I was stuck inside all day. I’ve spent the bulk of the day looking at various content management systems and wiki software to see what will suit me for my ReBoot Mayhem webiste (currently under construction). I started out going for MediaWiki, which is what powers Wikipedia, but the installation mentioned that it wouldn’t work on a safe-mode server, and since I’m on a safe-mode server…. well it wouldn’t work. Talk about complicated anyway! The number of files and folders blew me away! So then I went looking for an alternative and came across one called DokuWiki. It doesn’t require a DB as it uses flat files, but again it has difficulty with running on a safe-mode server. It does have a work around, but I kept getting these access errors, despite making all folders that needed to be chmoded to read/write access. So I gave up and deleted it. So now its back to square one. Searching for something that will suit my needs or just giving in and recreating everything from scratch (not what I have the time to do). I’m not really all that keen on content management systems, and while WordPress is really good for blogging, it doesn’t really suit my sites needs. The problem for me is that the site is so big, which is why I wanted to get something that could help organise it a bit better. I think I will have to resign to rebuilding it myself… It just may mean that it will take a lot longer before it goes active again. I did, however, keep the message boards alive so people can still post up stuff about the series and chat to each other. I’ve also got Coppermine ready to install which will help me a great deal with the image side of everything, that will probably cut down about half the site lol. I think what I would like to do is create a site that’s more user-interactive but still with the ability for me to control how that interaction happens. Most CMS programs do that but not other things, so its always hard to decide which is the best to use. Time to watch “Australian Idol”…. Oh and in regards to Tidus… I ordered him from HLJ today ^^
Isn’t he cool?! Yes folks its Tidus from the game “Final Fantasy X”. Not my favourite game out of the series, but Tidus just happens to be one of my favourite characters (next to Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine, Sephiroth, Squall Leonhart to name a few). I was absolutely stoked when I found out that Kotobukiya were releasing a new action figure based on this character. It seems that they were releasing 3 characters from some of the popular series (with the exception of VII as they released 4+). With Final Fantasy VIII they released the action figures of Squall Leonhart, Rinoa Heartilly and Selphie Timet (sp?); Final Fantasy VII figures were Sephiroth, Vincent Valentine, Tifa Lockhart and Cloud Strife (based on the updated ‘look’ given to each character by the Advent Children movie, plus a second Cloud Strife figure that came with his bike, Fenrir); and now Final Fantasy X figures Tidus, Yuna and Auron. My current collection is limited to Cloud Strife, Vincent Valentine and Sephiroth. I had every intentiong of picking up a Squall Leonhart figure, but with this new release I’m aiming to get Tidus first! The decision is the next part – where to buy? I actually first became aware of Tidus’ existence when visiting my usual anime online store, Tamarket, and found him on the action figures page. Tamarket were asking for $55 (AUD) for him. Most likely the shipping and handling costs would end up being anywhere between $10 – $15 which would make the total cost come to anywhere between $65 – $70. Its not bad really, but I figured I could do better. So I went on a search and ended up at two places – HobbyLink Japan and Akadot Retail. HLJ had the figure in stock since June, whereas Akadot has only just got the item in, so now I have the opportunity to compare and decide. I’ve ordered from Akadot before, that’s where I got Cloud Strife from. He was packaged well and it arrived fairly quickly despite me choosing the slower method of shipping that they had. I’ve also ordered a lot from HLJ, including Sephiroth, and they too package their stuff extremely well so I know they come highly recommended. So onto the price war. At HLJ the Tidus figure is 3900Y. If I was to send it via their cheaper shipping rate (880Y) it would come to a total cost of 4680Y. In translation (according to the XE site) the total price in Australian dollars is approximately $54. At Akadot Retail the Tidus figure is $23.99US. Shipping cost is $18.10US which brings the total up to $42.09US. Translate this into Australian dollars and it comes out at approximately $56. Wow, a whole difference of $2!! Since its such a small difference it means I have a choice of either ordering it from one or the other. If I order it from HLJ, I can use their paypal option and it gets paid when I have money in the bank. They usually take around 4 days before the final cost is calculated and they request payment, so ordering now would mean that by payday (which is this Thursday) I should be able to pay for it. If I order from Akadot Retail, however, only accept payment via VISA, which for me is usually a burden. Though this doesn’t really rule out ordering from them. At the moment I’m still deciding because this payday is going to be really tight on the budget. I’ve got a couple of big bills to pay, some payments to make up for, a birthday present to buy, a dinner that I’ll be going to as well as the usual mortgage and loan payments. *sigh* If only there weren’t all these great things to buy, then I wouldn’t have anything to worry about!
With the new “Widgets” that has been an addition to WordPress, I’ve been having fun searching for different widgets that I’d like to add to the site. So far I’ve added just a couple, one that is linked into Performancing Metrics which is kind of a stats type of thing for blogs, and the other widge is one called Now Reading, which lets me show what books/manga I’ve read, am currently reading or are about to read. Pretty nifty so far. There are quite a few interesting widgets out there that I could add, though the one I’m looking for to be turned into a widget is something like a “Now Playing” widget that links to my winamp player. There are a lot of plugins for that but most plugins need to be re-inserted into the theme template should you change your theme, whereas if you use a widgetised version, its automatically inserted into a widget-compatible theme! I’ll keep searching for one anyway… Update: Just signed up to Last.fm and have added a “Scrobbles” widget which shows the last 5 songs I’ve listened to on my Winamp player!