Monthly Archives: April 2013

Weekly Haiku 9

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Ha, I posted on the right day! Well, to be fair Monday is almost over, but it’s still better than last week, right?

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Long Night

Weary eyelids sag

As the long night marches on;

Soon, I shall retire.

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Fresh Blood

A musket thunders;

The bright stain of fresh spilt blood

Seeps through cotton shirt.

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Pax Romana

Oh how we suffer

For this, their “Pax Romana;”

Rise Up! For freedom!

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Sleep

My mind slips away

As sleep reaches out its hand;

Soon, another day.

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Jasmine

The Scent of jasmine

Perfumes the warm, Summer air;

A smile in my soul.

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Dark Rain

A pall, this torrent;

My headlights all swallowed up

By rain and black night.

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Apologies if Pax Romana doesn’t make any sense. I’m not using the term the way Wikipedia describes it, but rather in reference to the “peace” brought to Britain by the roman empire, which the Britains payed with taxes (to maintain the legions), conscription (to fill the legions and fight in foreign wars), and the forced erasure of their native religion and customs (probably a lot of death was involved in this process). I think mine is an acceptable use of the term, but my knowledge of roman Britain isn’t as deep as it could be.

~NekoShogun

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Maximum Ride: MAX Spork Part 5

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I can barely muster any emotion towards this book anymore, so apologies for the rather monotone spork today.

Chapter 49

Mr. Chu is in a submarine. He kills one of his underlings because Max and Fang escaped. Never mind that he let Max go.

Chapter 50

As Brigid explains how islands work, Max lightly thinks about her claustrophobia. Read: she feels dizzy. The Voice tells her that she’s having a panic attack, and she mumbles that she’s tired and leaves. Everything I know about panic attacks says that Max is not having one, but hey, JPatterson logic.

I stumbled out of the situation room and staggered down the narrow corridor, squeezing past sailors. I felt like I might pass out any second. Every cell in my body wanted to get off this sub. Even knowing that it was the only way to rescue my mom didn’t make it any better. I’ve been locked in cells and dungeons and dog crates and never panicked like this. (pg 204)

There is no tension. No emotion. No showing, only telling. This writing is utterly boring and completely fails to convey any sense of panic. This is bad, bad, BAD writing.

Max makes it to her bunk, and Total comes in with a wet rag that he puts on her face. Remember that Total is a small dog. *Sigh*

Total is sad about Akila, and Max sympathizes with him.

That’s right: JPatterson is drawing parallels between a human girl and a sentient dog with inexplicable pop culture knowledge. I’d be rolling on the floor with laughter if this book weren’t so goddamn boring.

Chapter 51

It took twelve hours to go a distance that we could have flown in about six minutes. (pg 207)

Ooh! Research and math! This is fun!

Okay, so I Googled how fast submarines can go underwater, and got this. On it it says that submarines can go 29 miles per hour. So they traveled 348 miles, right? Only they probably weren’t going full speed, so let’s round that down to 200 miles, or 16 miles per hour. The flock’s fastest horizontal flight speed, according to this book, is about 250 miles per hour. Since 6 is a tenth of 60, that means that the flock can travel 25 miles in 6 minutes.

So either Max is seriously exaggerating, the submarine was going super slow, the path the submarine took was incredibly winding, or JPatterson doesn’t put more than two seconds of thought into anything he spews out onto paper.

I’m putting my money on the last one.

The submarine surfaces to get a marine biologist, Dr. Akana. Then they go back down into the submarine, and I realize that only Max is having panic attacks over her claustrophobia. Apparently Fang and Iggy, despite being the same age as Max, and described as having claustrophobia along with the rest of the flock, are suddenly just dandy.

There are not enough sighs in the world for this book.

Chapter 52

Max goes on a mini-sub. I’m not sure why. She marvels at the underwater life for a bit before there’s a cliffhanger because something mysterious is in the water that makes Dr. Akana gasp! Oh no!

Chapter 53

The mysterious thing is Angel. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any concrete references on whether or not water pressure at 180 feet underwater (which is where they are) is particularly dangerous, but I’m leaning on the side of dangerous, especially since Angel came from inside a submarine rather than slowly descending. Oh, but then the book addresses it:

“Is she not affected by water pressure?” Dr. Akana asked. “We’re sixty meters deep! A scuba diver would have to be very cautious about getting the bends.”

“She’ll get the bends all right,” I muttered. “I’m going to bend her over my knee!” (pg 217)

So. :/

Dr. Akana reveals that this excursion is just to check on things, since they’re approaching the area where all the fish died.

You know, come to think of it, I’m really not sure why a nuclear-capable submarine is being sent to check out some video of dead fish. Even with the mysterious thing coming out of the water, you’d think they’d send a boat first. You know, make sure the video is legitimate before sending your big guns.

But that’s just logic.

A shark sees Angel, and apparently decides to attack her. Never mind that a shark has very little reason to attack a tiny little human swimming around with a bunch of other, more nutritious targets. Angel stops the shark with her mind control.

Chapter 54

Back on the sub, Max is angry at Angel. Angel doesn’t care. Angel is still a horrible human being.

Max decides to have a meeting with the flock in their room.

Nudge had deconstructed her small khaki uniform and was holding a needled and thread as she turned it into something that didn’t offend her fashion sensibilities. (pg 222)

Um. What? Since when does Nudge know the first thing about sewing? And how is she going to somehow change a navy uniform with just a thread and needle?

“Max!” said Nudge happily. “Look! I took off the collar and changed the neckline. Once I move the buttons, it’ll be so much cuter. (pg 222)

What? I know that JPatterson isn’t fond of consistent characters or character development or any of that, but seriously, two thirds of the way through the fifth book in a series is not the time to suddenly add a character skill.

Ugh, that reminds me that we’re two thirds through this book. And nothing has happened.

Max says that she doesn’t think the navy is going to get them anywhere (but doesn’t say why), and suggests that if they haven’t made “real progress” in twelve hours they should ditch the navy. She doesn’t offer up any plan, though.

The flock agree to this without a word by doing the “hands on each other’s hands” thing that used to be a thing and then disappeared.

The flock have never been so willing to go along with Max’s plans. Why are they suddenly so willing? Oh, right, JPatterson wrote this.

Weekly Haiku 8

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Well, I’m a day late and a haiku short, with no excuse but forgetfulness.

I’ll try to come up with something extra to do before next Monday, but in the meantime, I hope these last minute haiku aren’t too dreadful.

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Waiting

I lie on the floor

Waiting for inspiration…

Bah, I need a snack!

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Not Writing

Empty wine bottle

And crumpled sheets of paper;

Signs of frustration.

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Email

Frayed nerves, shaking hands;

The mouse hovers over “send”

Waiting for my click.

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Download Now

“DOWNLOAD!” “DOWNLOAD NOW!”

Scream countless dancing popups.

But which one is true?

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~NekoShogun

Maximum Ride: MAX Spork Part 4

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Chapter 36

The flock complete a stealth test with ease. Just as they do everything: with ease. Everything is a snap. They rarely have to deal with anything difficult, and the moment something difficult comes up it’s diffused with a magic bank account or some other deus ex machina.

Chapter 37

Next is weapons training, where Gazzy displays a great knowledge of guns. Don’t ask me where he learned this, because I don’t know.

Chapter 38

This whole sequence is really infuriating. I’ve managed to get through the books without too much difficulty before, but this just drags on and on with the most idiotic, ridiculous, contrived writing I’ve ever read. I want to just rip out these pages and skip forward. But noooo, I must suffer on because I chose to do this.

Why did I choose to do this???

Anyway, the flock are now in the office of someone I never bothered to mention because she’s irrelevant to the plot, but in any case they’ve passed the test and now are being put on a nuclear submarine.

So. The flock irritate the navy by being terrible people, then get rewarded by being put on a submarine for no. Freaking. Reason.

Chapter 39

The flock go to the beach. Angel wants them to try breathing underwater for some reason, and they seem to be all alone until a woman screams about a kid getting pulled out by a riptide. I guess nobody was watching the flock, since Max never mentioned it, but I think you can see why people would have been watching the flock.

Anyway. Riptide. Max and Fang fly out over the water, grab the boy, and take him back to land. He is fine. This two-page diversion was pointless. This whole book is pointless.

Chapter 40

Okay, so apparently the riptide stuff was so that Brigid would gush over Fang for a moment and make Max jealous. But then Fang asks Max to have dinner with him alone so apparently it was still pointless. Also, they rationalize that leaving the flock alone is okay since the navy is protecting them, never mind that they seem to think very little of the navy. LOGIC.

Chapter 41

Was this a date? Those four words kept swirling through my mind, over and over (pg 164)

Um, Max, why are you thinking in past tense? That’s pretty weird.

Max is ridiculously happy to be with Fang, then they kiss, and then ALL HECK BREAKS LOOSE OH NOOOOO

Chapter 42

Let me guess. More “thingies”?

Oh. No. This chapter is now from the rest of the flock’s perspective.

Guh.

They’re heading to the beach because reasons, with improvised scuba gear because a couple of kids definitely know how to cobble something like that together.

They go in the water and then OH NO SHARKS!!!!

Chapter 43

This is probably worse, writing-wise, than the test stuff, but at least it’s also really hilarious.

Max hears rumbling and sees bright flashes, and then Fang says to duck because they’re bullets being shot by “thingies”.

CALLED IT.

Also, the “thingies” apparently are horrible aims, given that they couldn’t hit Max and Fang in the time it took them to realize bullets were being shot, then duck.

*Sigh*

The “thingies” close in on their targets slowly, in a semi-circle, because that’s definitely the best way to go about things. Then Max and Fang shoot over a cliff and the “thingies” don’t realize that they escaped.

Worst. Assassins. Ever.

Fang and Max take out the “thingies”, you guessed it, with ease, and then fly away. And then there’s something dark speeding towards them, ooh mysterious!

Chapter 44

Back underwater, Angel puts her hand on her hip and says “oh no you don’t” to the sharks. This stops the sharks, which head back, “looking sheepish”.

Meanwhile, Gazzy has been stung by a jellyfish or something, and rockets out of the water only to collide with something.

Chapter 45

The dark streak is Nudge. The thing that Gazzy collided with is Nudge. The flock fly Gazzy back to the naval base. I am immensely bored, and also slightly amused by how ridiculous this all is.

Chapter 46

Gazzy is hurt very bad from a Portuguese man-of-war, and the doctor estimates that he will need to sleep for another day. This is problematic, since the flock have to go on the sub very soon.

Then Max talks to Nudge. According to Nudge, she learned more in a few days than she ever had in weeks of watching TV. I guess that if that’s referring math or something it makes sense, but the flock seem to be perfectly fine in most subjects so I’m generally kind of dubious about that claim.

Then Max estimates that because of the flocks’ supernatural healing, Gazzy will be awake in about four hours. This proves to be true, and he wakes up in time to go on the sub! Yay!

So to recap: Max and Fang get attacked, but get out perfectly fine. Gazzy, Iggy, and Angel go on an underwater excursion, and Gazzy gets injured, but then he’s fine! Nudge leaves the flock, then comes back right away! Easy and BOOORING.

Chapter 47

Sheesh. At this rate, this will definitely be the shortest spork so far. I wish JPatterson would do something interesting.

Max spends this two-page chapter being unhappy to be going down into the sub, because claustrophobia. Who wants to bet that she’s going to be perfectly fine after this?

Chapter 48

Max’s claustrophobia is mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs in this chapter, but it’s a continuation of the same scene so I’m not counting it. In any case, there’s a guy there and he says this:

“We haven’t had any direct word about your mother. However, late last night, the following surveillance film was taken in the same general area as the first one that you saw. It looks strange because it was taken with a night-vision camera.” (pg 194)

That last sentence is weird.

As seen in the video, a bunch of fish are dead!

“Mass suicide?” Total muttered, clearly wishing he was back at the base with Akila. (pg 195)

Oh, yes, clearly. (For the record, that’s sarcasm. Total is using the same snark as he always does, so JPatterson is just telling us things instead of showing. Wonderful writing!)

The image pulled back; the camera was clearly attached to a rising helicopter. (pg 195)

This is just too easy. There’s only a single sentence between this quote and the last one!

Max gets nervous about being in the sub again since the video shows a dark mass emerging from the ocean (and nobody can figure out what it is, apparently), so there’s that. Also, Angel continues to think that the flock have gills.

Anyway, that’s 12 chapters, so I’m ending this spork here.

Weekly Haiku 7

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Sorry this week’s post is a day late; I was away from the internet most of yesterday and ran out of time to post. On the plus side, more haiku!

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Edge of Night

Another day gone.

Soft, the music fades away

As sleep approaches.

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On the Water

Joy on the river;

Virgin banks left to nature

Drift lazily by.

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Night on the Steppe

Night falls on the steppe;

Wide, ancient pastures slumber

Beneath falling stars.

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Smile

Few pleasures greater

Than to smile at others joy;

Laughter banish hate.

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The Beach

A day at the beach;

Hot sun and cool gulf waters

Meld like yin and yang.

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Scent of Summer

Gentle winds blow on;

The scent of charcoal burning

Tinges salt must air.

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Sand Castles

Castles built of sand

fade quickly from the landscape;

All crumbles in time.

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The Days Perfume

Tussled, sun bleached curls;

Oh how the sweet, sunscreen musk

Lingers on your skin.

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I guess it’s somewhat obvious I was at the beach for the day, huh?

~NekoShogun