Got my motherboard and power supply yesterday. My case still has not shown up, sadly. I contacted the company and they said it should appear soon. They are running behind because of “Holiday overload”.     Tonight, after work, I’m off to Best Buy to get a hard drive and a floppy drive. I probably […]

-SPOILER WARNING- (not that you haven’t had fifty years to read the book). I’ve grown used to the idea that Return of the King will not feature “The Scouring of the Shire” sequence. The filmmakers have said from the outset that the third film of The Lord of the Rings will not end the same as the book, and I’ve had enough time to come to terms with that. I can understand their rationale too, but that doesn’t mean I agree with it. And something I read last night has brought those pesky reservations back to the surface.
    In the latest Official Fan Club Magazine, director Peter Jackson says: “I have always found that [chapter] sort of anti-climactic. When I first read the book, I just suddenly wondered why, after the Ring is finally destroyed, we then have another 70 or 80 pages of a completely different event. It felt wrong when I read it, so we definitely don’t have that in the film.”
    I find it worrisome that the man entrusted with bringing Tolkien’s story to the screen has completely failed to grasp the importance of that section of the book, as well as to completely disregard how meaningful it was to Tolkien himself. The Scouring shows that the evil depicted in the book was pervasive enough to affect innocent country-folk; that none could escape the evils or war, even those at the homefront. It gives our four Hobbits, tested and trained by their efforts in the War of the Ring, a battle they had to marshal themselves. And, finally, it articulates how this great epic quest ultimately ends on Frodo’s own doorstep.
    It should really come as no surprise however that Jackson is giving the Hobbits short shrift. All throughout his movies, the Hobbits have been relegated to the background so that Aragorn’s story — and with it, Arwen’s — could be built up. (Look no further than to his decision to turn a few pages of Appendix A into a major subplot of the second film, while at the same time dropping the above chapter from the third.)
    In the book, Frodo is the main character. In the movie, Frodo is an incredible wimp. Everything heroic he does in the books — attacking the Witch King on Weathertop, standing up to the Black Riders at the Ford of Bruinen, taming Gollum (making him swear by the Precious and not on the Precious) — has been stripped of him. In the first movie he cowers and drops his sword on Weathertop and is later too busy wheezing at the Ford of Bruinen to be of any use. In the second movie he’s either bickering with Sam or even drawing a sword on Sam. And let’s not count the number of times Frodo is ready to wimp out and hand the Ring over to anyone within arm’s reach — culminating so far in the unforgivable scene in Osgiliath at the end of the second movie (and which, logically, should end the entire saga right there, not that the Ringwraiths know exactly where he is and how from Barad-Dûr). After all that, the climactic moment when the Ring finally gets the better of him will hardly be as shocking as in the book. It will merely be more evidence of Frodo being a load.
    The other Hobbits don’t fare much better. In the first movie, Merry and Pippin do not form a conspiracy in which to help Sam and Frodo escape to Bree; they just run into them by accident. (Even the 90-minute animated movie managed to retain that plot point.) I always thought it was quite touching that old Bilbo, in the Council of Elrond, offered to take the Ring to Mordor, since he felt dutybound as Ringfinder. But in the film he isn’t at the Council at all.
    Jackson’s Lord of the Rings is “A Hobbit’s Tale” in name only. The fact Jackson doesn’t think the audience will sit for a protracted ending underestimates us as well as the source material. If there are people out there who can’t handle it — let them walk out of the theater. Or maybe, compromise: fade to black on the big double wedding, roll the credits, and then put The Scouring on at the end. Or at the very least, put it on the Extended Edition DVD in Winter 2004. Yes, the Shire set is no more, but I’m sure we can start a Paypal fund going for the reshoots. We need to do something though, or we might end up with another sequence as dumb as when an unconscious Aragorn floats down a river.

The Ceremony

and best wishes to
Jeremy and Courtney,
who were married on
May 25 2003.

(Frequent visitor(s) may recognize Jeremy as one of the few commentors on the site, as well as the guy who’s constantly demanding food from me in my Shoutbox.)

Ladies and gentlemen,
Mr and Mrs Jeremy Fathers

The World Health Organization says they have traced the SARS virus to civet cats in a south China marketplace. According to AP reports:

Researchers from the University of Hong Kong examined 25 animals representing eight species in a live animal market in southern China and found the virus in all six masked palm civets they sampled, as well as in a badger and a raccoon dog.

The WHO stresses that during food preparation you must make sure to thoroughly cook your cat or badger.

Kitty, Pan-Fried

I took the plunge and ordered my motherboard last night. I’m getting the Gigabyte GA-8KNXP after all. This was the first board I found, during my searches, and none of the other boards really impressed me enough to change my mind. (The other boards have nice overclocking features, but I doubt I’ll ever use those.) […]

After some more research today, I started leaning toward MSI’s red 875P Neo-FIS2R board. It is exhibiting the same erratic behavior with memory, but it appears (from the Anantech forums) that their customer support is a lot more responsive and timely in posting BIOS updates. MSI also had some nice tutorial pages on their website. […]