wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 Maybe I can post the last two pages at the same time...  ^_^;


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wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 ...And of course, the cut tag actually worked on my first entry, after I was convinced it hadn't!  Let's see if it will work on page 2:

EDIT:  It did!  The last two pages are much the best-- I'll post them tonight  ^_^  



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wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
So I was sitting here this morning, aching and still exhausted from laying floor tiles yesterday in Mom's bedroom (I get to do more today, yay!)  My graphics software is mostly tied up doing some digital props for my cousin's new movie, and the majority of my analog fanworks are stuck in the back of a bookcase which is currently buried behind another bookcase to make room for me to lay the new floor.  I was about to despair of having anything to cough up for this journal when I saw an old peechee sitting on yet another bookcase in the closet.  I picked it up and found this inside!  :D  

I made this about 20 years ago, when word processing was still a new and wondrous world, so my main focus here really wasn't the content, but the sheer joy of moving whole blocks of text around the page.  It mixes fandoms, and the first two pages aren't that funny, but I kind of find my stride by page 3.   Favorite idea:  Gandalf as a Time Lord, attending kindergarten with Tom Baker  :D  

The cut tags aren't working for me at all this morning, so making more than one post.  Sorry, I'll try to spread them out...

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wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 Well, it's that time of summer when we're all scrambling (no matter how slowly) to prepare for the rest of the year.  I am currently hip-deep in too many projects-- putting new floor tiles in the master bedroom at the farm and setting up to clean and paint (with help from friends) my mother's darling "Crickhollow" cabin-- when I haven't been just laying around under the AC trying to survive the heat and smoke that's been plaguing our neck of the woods for a week now.  So I haven't been spending much time looking through my fanworks for stuff to post.  
That will change as fall progresses, but for now, I'll make do with posting a photo of the Wonderful hobbit set I was recently given by my dear Mother as a special birthday gift!  
 
Being based in the bookverse, and so often oblivious to what's going on in the wider world, I realize I'm just a little late to the party when it comes to reviewing some of these movie-based LOTR toys; but maybe it can still be useful.  
 
"There and Back Again" is carefully crafted to appeal to fans of both the books and the films.  The five hobbit "action figures" are adorable-- first Frodo in a lovely grey brocade with his hair neatly combed back, then Sam in his very best homespun.  Bilbo is nestled in the center of the group with a bright grin on his face, dressed finely but plainly; and lastly, Merry and Pippin, both dressed in their best.  All five hobbits are ready for a night out on the town!  A little journal is included which is designed to look like the Red Book.  
 
The background of the display box is a lovely photographic panorama of the Shire.  And I like the arrangement of the hobbits in their display; particularly I like the idea of Sam being tucked cosily among the Bagginses, where he belongs.  The star on the cover of the Red Book journal is just behind them and over their heads, and I find this a very thoughtful touch.  
 
On the back of the box is a map of the travels of all five hobbits, with a detailed legend.  I actually learned a couple of small things as I examined this  map.  The packaging is very sturdy and makes its own display case.
 
In conclusion, this play set is beautifully thought out and deserves an AAA rating.  It would work very well as a grand prize in fannish contests.  As for what I'll do with mine, well, I'll put it on the shelf and be careful to dust it off once in awhile, and even unopened it will be a source of enjoyment for years to come!  :)  

There and Back Again hobbit figure set
 
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
 As most of us already know, the Professor's written work has so permeated the culture that references to it abound absolutely everywhere.  All a person has to do is to keep their eyes and ears open, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the world of music.  There are literally hundreds of musical recordings out there which are based on Tolkien's works and characters, and quite a few of them are epic and well worth collecting.  Nevertheless, most professionally published fan music only obliquely references its source, so most LOTR-based recordings, with some exceptions, are more circumspect than this ambitious 2004 album.

Perhaps because of the boldness of its title, no performer's names or other identifying features are listed on the CD flyer except for "Jason Bouwman Illustration," which designed the cover art-- there isn't even a publisher's address.   But the performers on this disc are highly inspired professionals, and include an acoustic guitarist, a pianist/synth player, a drummer, vocalists, an impressive choir and at least one very good composer.  
 
The disc, which is not available as a download, is composed of ten tracks.  EDIT:  The disc IS available as a download, here!  Thanks, [personal profile] filkferengi !
 
1.  "Sing Hey"  This beautiful piece reminds me of Rivendell, with a capable singer, and an acoustic guitar performing lovely chords which evoke the "sehnsucht" recently described to some of us by [personal profile] sartorias -- the emotion of deep longing which we feel while witnessing great beauty.  An interesting interlude in the midst of the piece contrasts with the rest, sounding a bit like Gollum creeping past an otherwise lovely scene.
 
2.  "Gandalf"  begins with a choir singing in a style totally befitting this character's power, majesty and dignity-- perhaps illustrating his origin as one of the Maiar.  Then synthesizers, electric guitars and drums enter the picture, and we are given a tense, action-filled overview of the wizard's adventures.  A lingering interlude with a female choir suggests his healing in Lorien, and this is followed by an unusually jazzy moment of gloom-and-doom before he sets out again on his epic journey.
 
3.  "Fog on the Barrow Downs" begins with a tentative, contemporary synth composition which segues into a bit of slightly dated soft rock.  Then comes a pleasant, rollicking medieval interlude, played on period instruments, which reminds me of Bree.  Modern instruments eventually enter to strengthen the backbone of the melody, but before long we've left town and are on the road again, accompanied by the same synthesizers with which we began.  
 
4.  "I Sang of Leaves of Gold" features the same singer and guitarist who we heard on the first track, making it easy to visualize Galadriel wandering among the trees of Lorien.
 
5.  "Ever On and Ever Goes the Road" is a piece my Frodo/Sam "radar" finds extremely interesting.  (I could write an entire essay on "plausible deniability" regarding the treatment of my favorite pairing by fan music-- and maybe someday I will.)   Anyway, this composition sounds like them to me, as they begin their long march down to Mordor and beyond from the heights of the Emyn Muil.  It's quite unusual, consisting of a long, call-and-response "conversation" between two synthetic violins superimposed over a steady synth pedal which unambiguously illustrates weary marching feet.  (Violins are a favorite among fan musicians when they wish to illustrate the sweetness of Sam and Frodo.)  There are a few brief moments of discord, and many lovely displays of harmony; times when their melodies run parallel to one another, and times when they despair; and the piece is long enough to be quite satisfying.  Though (by design) it is not particularly beautiful or flashy, by the music's end I always feel as though I have been honored to have had such an intimate journey with these, the most humble of heroes.  
 
6.  "The Riders of Theoden"  Probably the weakest track on the disc, this composition still begins impressively enough with the choir and the sounds of a horse running in circles.  A grating synth entering the background does not appeal, but this quickly turns into a lively keyboard composition representing great deeds.  Then back to the choir we go for more drama.
 
7.  "Annon Edhellen"  This exquisite composition tends to bring tears to  my eyes, and is rich in the aforementioned "sehnsucht."  It's the one I can't forget, and it is the most beautiful composition on this disc.  I don't know which part of LOTR the composer was thinking of when this was written-- perhaps they were thinking of several scenes at once, or the beauty of the book in general.  But when I listen to this, I see Frodo and Bilbo standing at the prow of their swan ship, laying their eyes on that "far green country" beyond the Sundering Seas for the very first time.  And the final chord does not return to the root, but leaves us hanging, for the road goes ever on...
 
8.  "Party at Bag End"  And do hobbits know how to party!  This piece begins with the eager anticipation of a chatting crowd, quickly adding a touch of sparkly chimes and a magic flute before diving into a robust, rollicking, vaguely medieval-sounding celebration.  But a thread of tension runs through this celebration, as though it is to be taken more seriously than it appears.  At its climax we are having a blast, with a rock-and-roll band showing us this is one heck of a party;  but a brief interlude of plucked strings and flute also illustrates someone tiptoeing out the door...  
 
9.  "One Ring"  The disc's second weakest composition, this piece has a strong melody but IMHO suffers at the beginning from a mishmash of instrumentation, including a synth that almost sounds like a light saber.  Still, much of it stands strongly, so your mileage may vary.  The tune at its height is very dramatic.  
 
10.  "Bilbo's Song"  is haunting and lovely, a beautiful, sad, sehnsucht-filled  melodic collaboration between a very good saxophone player and an equally good pianist.  It's too bad we may never find out who the performers were.  
 
Overall, I would give "Lord of the Rings" a solid A+.  However, be advised that this piece is not as rarified as the lofty works by the Tolkien Ensemble, or "In Elven Lands."  This is lovely and innovative pop music.  I consider it an important part of my collection.  

As far as I can tell, the disc has two editions, with different cover art for each.  It is not overly easy to locate and may require some online searching.  The only way to positively I.D. it is to check the track listings.  I've seen it on several big name websites at wildly varying prices; I got mine from eBay for $1.99.  

EDIT:  Here is a photo of my edition, to aid in identification.  

Album cover
 
 
wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
Now that I am finally gathering my LOTR artwork all in one place here, I've also been posting much of it on AO3.  This has got me thinking of the future.

AO3 hosts text, but not images, and Dreamwidth does not offer enough image hosting space for me to make any real use of it.  So all of this is dependent on my images being hosted by my generous cousin's server.  If that ever goes down, and someday it will, my art goes with it.  

I have backups, of course, on site and elsewhere in the cloud, so I can rebuild my digital galleries, but that's not the problem.  What I need to know from AO3 is if they have a physical archive at one of their participating colleges where I can send a Blu-Ray disc, to ensure my fanart is preserved over time by people who know what fanart is and care about it.  Not because I think it's so brilliant, but just because it's something I've put so much time and love into.  

Unfortunately, when I asked this question of the AO3 staff, they gave me the helpful, but completely misguided answer of instructions on how to embed my images in a web page.  But if I didn't know how to do that already, I wouldn't be posting on AO3, right?  ;)

So the other day I went to the OTW, of which I am a member, and emailed them about it.  No answer so far.

Many of you friendly folk are also posting on AO3, so I thought I would ask you instead.  The OTW does have a physical archive for print zines.  Do any of you know if they have a physical archive for things like digital art?  

EDIT:  I finally got a reply from the OTW.  Here is what they said:

'Thank you for reaching out to the Open Doors Committee with your question. Unfortunately, although we're aware of the need for this type of preservation, we're not equipped at this time to preserve digital fanworks in a physical archive. In the meantime, there is information available in the AO3 Posting and Editing FAQ about approved sites for hosting multimedia files if you'd like to protect your fanart by backing it up in multiple places.'

I'm currently checking out the Internet Archive at archive.org (Home of the Wayback Machine.)  I'm not yet certain what their official policy on fanfic/fanart is, but they are the Internet Archive after all...  



wallace_trust: Me and my plum tree (Default)
Frodo and Sam reunited at last in the Blessed Realm.  :)  

The little empty rowboat symbolizes Sam's life in Middle-Earth, which he has now left.  The glowing orbs represent various Valar, Maiar, and maybe even some Ainur, appearing out of the void to witness this extraordinary event.  

*happiness* 

I'd like to acknowledge here the incredible artistry of Meshbox, who crafted the geometry of the elven sailing ship.  

Frodo and Sam reunited in the Blessed Realm

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