13 May 2016

New Ink!

It's been seven years since I got my last tattoo, and recently I'd had that itch again. While I always told myself I would only ever get Tolkien-related tattoos, I broke my rule this time and opted to get something from the other great love of my life: Star Trek. I don't post about it much, as I've always associated myself more with Tolkien, but I am a huge fan of Star Trek (TOS and TNG). Spock has always been an extremely significant character in my life, and I wanted some ink to show it.

Yesterday I went to Grim North Tattoo and Piercing in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where apprentice Josh Belanger came up with some really unique designs based on the vague input I'd given him. I chose this particular design because it was simple, unique, and exactly what I had been looking for. I'll post more pictures once it's fully healed, but here are some pictures I took this morning:

Obviously I had to put on the uniform, too!

Now I have the bug again and can't wait to add some more ink – all Tolkien-related from here on out, though! I hope to go back to Josh when I'm ready, because after looking through his art portfolio, I'm convinced he'd be perfect for any of the Mordor-themed ink I'm thinking of getting.

09 May 2016

"Mordor's Army" T-Shirt / Vlogging

I was browsing PopUpTee.com the other day, looking for Lord of the Rings themed shirts to add to one of my boards on Pinterest, when I saw (and ultimately couldn't resist) this one:


They didn't make it in black, so I figured red was the next best colour for this design.

I think sometime in the near future I'll get all of my Lord of the Rings/Hobbit t-shirts out and maybe do a video review, since many people have been asking me about potential videos. I'll probably continue in that vein and post occasional videos of my collection and collecting adventures; if there's anything else you want to see from me, I'm all ears! (Here's my YouTube channel, by the way.)

07 May 2016

25 Bookish Facts About Me

I was tagged by my friend Myla to participate in a "25 Bookish Facts About Me" post. Twenty-five seems like a lot of facts, but I'm going to wing it and write down whatever tidbits I can think of! This is a fun idea and I'm so glad Myla tagged me (although let's be real – I would have done this anyway!) because it's nice to occasionally talk about books other than Tolkien's.


1. I was an avid reader as a child; I read anything and everything I could get my hands on. My parents had a wide variety of books in our house, so I had a great variety to choose from.

2. My favourite authors are Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien (that one's a given), and Michael Crichton.

3. I used to be a huge fan of Stephen King. I really enjoyed books like Cujo and Misery, but after I read Needful Things, I began to lose interest in his writing. 

4.  When I was ten years old, I hand wrote a "sequel" to Eando Binder's short story, I, Robot, told from the perspective of the robot after he found a new family to live with. My dad made multiple photocopies of the story, but somehow a few of the pages were lost and we haven't been able to find them all since. Still, it was one of the happiest times of my life; it was at that point that my father started to really encourage me as a writer. 

5. I always (try to) read the book before the movie adaptation. I love to let my imagination turn words into pictures, rather than read a book with celebrities' faces in my mind the entire time. 

6. When I was younger, I hated fantasy. I tried to read as little of it as possible. I slowly became interested in the genre once I found the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I had pet mice at the time, which was why I found the books rather enticing. 

7. I am definitely a book hoarder. I ran out of room for all of my Tolkien books, let alone for books by other authors; currently I have books piled up on my floor and stacked in the drawers under my bed. The lack of space does not deter me from buying more and more books, though.

8. I enjoy reading so much that I literally took every English course offered in high school and college; when I ran out of actual courses in high school, I re-took a few courses as a teacher's aide. 

9. I had a bad experience in my ninth grade English class; I have a negative association with The Lord of the Flies. I think I would have liked the book if I had read it on my own instead of as required reading.

10. On that note, I disliked required reading. I enjoyed classes or summer reading lists where you were given options. In those cases, if I didn't like a book I picked, it was on me. I hated being forced to read something. There are so many books I probably would have enjoyed a lot more if they hadn't felt forced upon me.

11. I tried really, really, really hard, but could not get into the Game of Thrones series. I tried to stick to my rule and read the books before watching the TV series, but I just couldn't get into George R.R. Martin's writing style. I still haven't started watching the series, though, so there is still time for me to give the books another try.

12. I sometimes have a short attention span when it comes to reading: I will start a book and then shortly after begin reading something else. 

13. My two favourite short stories of all-time are I, Robot by Eando Binder and Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I re-read the latter at least once a year because I find it so powerful and humbling.

14. I tend to buy most of my books at used and online bookstores now. I hate paying full price for books.

15. I don't mind used books. I have no interest in selling any of the books I collect, so notes and scribbles don't bother me. In fact, it makes me both happy and sad seeing notes written inside, like "To ___, from ___". It's cool to see where a book originally came from and to know its history a bit; but at the same time, it's sad to think that someone was parted with a gift from their parents or loved ones.

16. I love the smell of old books.  

17. My favourite genres today are science fiction, fantasy, and horror/true crime.

18. I've never read Twilight, The Hunger Games, Fifty Shades of Grey, etc. 

19. I installed the Kindle app on my tablet, but I cannot stand to read e-books. I need to physically hold a book, turn its pages, fold edges, etc. The only benefit I've found with e-books is the ability to search within the book, but I hardly do that as it is.

20. Two elusive books on my want-to-read list are A Father's Story by Lionel Dahmer and If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer. I can't seem to have much luck finding either of them.

21. I have a hard time reading in bed because I get so relaxed I end up falling asleep shortly after. For me, the easiest position in which to read seems to be at a table. 

22. I still haven't read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I enjoyed all of the other books, so I'm not sure why it's taken me so long. I just never seem to have the time or energy to get started. (As a result, I haven't seen the last two Harry Potter films.) 

23. I prefer paperbacks to hardcover. Hardcovers are intimidating; I always feel as though I have to handle them with the utmost care. While I'm not a spine-bender or book-damager of any sort, I like the flexibility of paperbacks.

24. I try not to judge books by their covers, but I have purchased books based solely on the cover art/design. Sometimes it's my go-to for decision making when there are too many choices or I'm just looking for something new.

25. Someday I'd love to work in or run my own used bookstore. I love the camaraderie between local used bookstores; everyone knows and respects one another. That's the kind of atmosphere I thrive in.


I'm not sure who to tag, so if you're reading this, I tag you! If you don't have a blog or want to share your 25 (or however many) facts here, feel free to do so in the comments section! I'm interested in reading about your reading habits!

30 April 2016

Tolkien Collection Haul – April 2016

This month I went a little overboard with my online purchases; but once I put everything together, it didn't seem as excessive as I thought!


Top shelf:
  • "Hobbit Nightmare" t-shirt
  • The Return of the King
  • Unfinished Tales (Unwin)
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Der Herr Der Ringe film trilogy
  • LEGO LOTR 3DS game
  • Gandalf figure
  • Pippin bobblehead
  • "Starry Middle-earth" t-shirt
  • The Story of Kullervo
Bottom shelf:
  • The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings in traditional Chinese characters
  • The Lord of the Rings from Modern Classics
  • Le Seigneur des Anneaux (1970s)
  • Le Seigneur des Anneaux (2000)
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Rough Guide to The Lord of the Rings
  • The Two Towers (50th anniversary edition)
  • Smith of Wooton Major
  • The Silmarillion (Unwin)
  • The Hobbit (movie tie-in)
  • The Hobbit
  • The Hobbit (Unwin)
  • The Hobbit (movie tie-in)  
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