Ah! More Roads!

Working on Main Street, but this time, on the west side! Also, another book review…well, more like an author review.

 

Wow. Roads. Again.

I know, if I’m not excited about this post, why would you be, right? Well, I am excited, but more because of how this starts to tie everything together and less because it is a road. I mean, it IS the western branch of Main Street, so we’ll just jump in…to a book/author review first!

Jasper Fforde

This man is one part brilliant and 105 parts of the worst torturer known to humanity.  Jasper Fforde is a British author who has four or so series, but there are two particular series that I immensely enjoy.  Well, one and a half; more on that later.

Series Number One: The Nursery Crime series

Do you remember all of your fairy tales and nursery rhymes? Old McDonald? Old Mother Hubbard? Humpty Dumpty? In this series, they’re alive. Set in an alternate-England, Jack Spratt is a police officer who is in charge of investigating and policing all “nursery rhyme” type characters.  Not only does Fforde put some creative spins on old tales, but the sarcasm and snark are real and fantastic. There are currently two books out in this series: The Big Over Easy and The Fourth Bear.

Series Number Two: Shades of Grey

I use the term “series” very loosely. It’s only one book. The sequel was supposed to come out in 2012. Then 2013. Then finally 2015. At this point, I’ve given up multiple times on hoping the sequel would be published.  The first book, The Road to High Saffron, was fantastic. As a dystopian novel, this one sets the mood in a way that doesn’t make the reader insanely depressed like some other dystopian settings tend to do.

I read this book multiple times years ago, but the bitter taste of a cliffhanger consistently left me frustrated and wanting more.  The next book, a prequel actually, is allegedly slated for late 2018…we’ll see. Now excuse me, I’ll be updating all of my calendars in anticipation that this book actually will be released!


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Now onto Main Street!  This side presented a prickly situation (as discussed last time) that involved decreasing altitude.  I managed to find a descending pattern that I  thought looked decent but was left with a floating road.  There was only one thing left to do at this point: terraform the land for the next hour and change.  Eventually, I was left with something that looked realistic!

One cool thing that I’ll be able to do on this stretch will deal with the actual buildings.  These buildings will have multiple entrances at different heights, similar to walk-out basements. Look for more in the future!

The last addition today addressed yet another issue I had to deal with: how do I end this strip of road? On the eastern end, I simply had a massive wall gate there (that looks like garbage and needs a bunch of work), but I couldn’t do that here.  Also because of the layout of the ground and the walls, I wasn’t able to continue this road into the western district.  To be honest, I didn’t want it to either, it wouldn’t have looked correct.

I ended up deciding on stopping the west portion of Main Street at a majestic blue wool frame! Nah, just messing around. That blue wool frame would eventually become a glorious courthouse!  Regal, marble, and majestic, I think this could be a grand looking building.

Oh, and on the down-low, keep this between you and me, I’m planning on putting a jail near the courthouse. The jail would be more of a temporary holding place while people waited for their day in court and less of a long-term facility.  (Don’t worry, my undergrad degree dealt with law and society and such. I’ve studied jails for my degree, and even went on a field trip to one…weird, right?!)

Anyway, I’ve rambled.  The jail just happens to be conveniently located above the sewers. Secret exit, anyone? More on that in the future!

Main Street Madness

More roads! However, today, we work on the main road, ranging from the palace town square to the eastern wall gate. It’s gonna be great!

Oh, and I talk about another book!

I spent a lot of time trying to come up with something catchy about “Main Street.”  I tried songs, lyrics, all a bust.  Best I can come up with is “State Street” from Frank Sinatra’s Chicago. Man, sometimes catch intros can be so hard! I’ll do better next time! To make it up to you all, I’ll review another book, and this one has a twist to it!

Anyway, in case if you didn’t realize, I’m spending today’s post talking about the kingdom’s “Main Street,” that will run from the east gatehouse to the western wall.  I thought about having the third and newest district get in on some of this glory. However, I ultimately decided against it for a multitude of reasons. The most important of reasons though is this: I have NO IDEA how to make the pattern I’m about to show you bend.

So, this is what we started with. We are currently looking towards the north with the palace sitting just over the left hill seen below.  This is one-half of the current project, with the other half continuing on the western edge of the circle.  EK005

My brother and I spent quite a bit of time trying to figure out how to construct this road.  Thankfully, there are no cars in this world, so we are allowed to take certain liberties with the roads that would not function in our world.  We settled on a wavy pattern, and I’ll be honest, when the bro recommended it, I wasn’t convinced at first.  I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but well, I thought that a wavy road would be odd. I think part of my problem was that I was stuck in the 21st century of the United States where roads are super straight. Curse you, mind, for being a silly fool!EK006

The final piece of this build that place me firmly in the “This is awesome!” column was the bushes running along the side of the road.  When originally planning this road, I used green wool to denote the boundaries of the road.  Now green kind of looked like bushes, and when we were working on the waves, we liked how the “bushes” framed the build. After I removed the wool, the build just did not look right, so the brother and I decided to add the bushes back, with some lighting cleverly hidden beneath them.  Now we can create some green space along the clearly defined/bordered road, something that would set this road apart from all of the others.

Just use your imaginations: trees, flowers, awesomeness. Yeah, it’ll be grand.

EK007


The book that I wanted to share today is called Skeleton Creek.  Skeleton Creek takes place in a small town. (This town also coincidentally has a Main Street, but mine will probably look better!) Well, what sets this book apart is how it’s created. Yes, created, and not written.

First off, it’s a young adult book. It’s perfect for anyone ages 11-90 and tells an amazing ghost/spooky story.  Now, here’s the catch about this book: It’s written in the main character’s (Ryan) point of view as he is writing in his journal. The story begins with Ryan recovering from a serious injury.  As the story progresses, readers are introduced to the second main character and Ryan’s best friend, Sarah.

Sarah doesn’t write in a journal, nor does she get to read what is going on in Ryan’s journal.  Sarah is a vlogger, and as Ryan progresses the story in print form, Sarah supplements with her videos. You can’t just read the story or watch the videos independently; they work together to tell and expand on the story.

It’s very well done and is unlike any book that I’ve read previously.  Obviously, it comes very highly recommended and will become a staple in my classroom in future years!

Somedays, You Just Can’t Get Rid of a Bomb…

Things don’t always go the way you want, right? Today is one of those days. So, instead, I share another book with you!

Every self-respecting medieval/fantasy kingdom needs a good haberdashery.  Now, some of you may be asking yourselves, “Dude, what is a haberdashery?” Well, let me Google it for you:

a shop selling men’s clothing and accessories

The more you know, right? I just thought it was a fun word to use, so boom! Now, for the actual construction of this building. I might make another boom with this creation of mine, but this time it will be from the TNT blowing it up into tiny little bits out of frustration.

So, this is one of the four buildings in the old town square.  Think back, the original village was an off-shoot of the library up on the hill.  Researchers needed to research, and soon a town developed around the library.  Remember now? Well, this haberdashery dates back to the original creation of this square. Even scholars needed supplies, clothing, and accessories!

As I tried to develop this building, I wanted to keep it similar to the Grumpy Bear regarding style.  Yeah…nothing good came out it. Just check it out below.

 

Out of everything I tried, NOTHING seemed to work. I tried to change things, change the wood, change the style and nothing worked.  Part of this is because the build itself needs to be simple in nature, and apparently I’m not good at “simple.” Wow, that sounded egotistical.

Anyway, today’s title comes from the 1966 movie Batman: The Movie.  In this “excellent” film, our caped crusader, played by Adam West, finds a bomb in a public place.  He tries multiple times to get rid of it to no avail; every time he turned around, someone, something, or a duck was in his way, leading him to say the infamous line, “Some days, you just can’t get rid of a bomb!”  This is one of those days for me, so I’m just going to let it sit and think about how bad of a build it is.


I promised you a book! I like fantasy books, of course, and today was a refreshing update to the fantasy genre.  The Name of the Wind, written by Patrick Rothfuss, was an absolutely delightful read.  It’s the story of the innkeeper, Kvothe. Let’s just say he has had quite the delightful life.  At no point in this story did I get bogged down with intricate details and tidbits that sometimes happen in fantasy books. Rothfuss keeps the story moving, and this ended up being a book that I couldn’t put down until I had finished it.

Seriously, I couldn’t put it down.  I’ve been reading books off of a list I made, and the sequel was five or six books down on the list.  I very seriously considered just jumping straight into it, but only with the greatest of self-discipline did I resist. I am, however, very excited to get into it though!

I feel like this is a book that anyone can enjoy, not just fantasy nerds (Nerds, unite!).  It’s a great story about a man put into difficult situations walking his path through life…with a little fantasy mixed in here and there.  The best part, in my very humble opinion, is that characters treat Kvothe as this larger than life guy, but he’s super chill.  Rothfuss did a great job in writing him because he feels REAL. He has his good, he has his bad, he has his regrets and pride.  If you’re looking for a new read, check it out!

PS: Patrick Rothfuss also has a KILLER beard, so that extra reason to pick up The Name of the Wind!

Like, woah!

Overview of the city. My mind = boom. Also, I share another book!

I need to be honest with you all;  I doubt myself…like all the time.  Constantly. It’s brutal.  I am my harshest critic, and I don’t let anything slide.  There are still times that I question if this is a good idea or if this is just a huge distractor that I’m doing to avoid writing and *gasp* question whether or not THAT is a huge waste of time. I’m telling you, it’s a never-ending spiral down the rabbit hole that is my mind.

It’s not super healthy.

Anyway, this post is different. This post is talking about the OPPOSITE of what I usually think and do.  But first, a quick blurb about another book I just finished reading.  This time, I read Wizard Defiant, book one of the Intergalactic Wizard Scout Chronicles by Rodney Hartman.  I first heard of this book from Signal Boost, a Geek and Sundry YouTube show in which people recommend things they like.  I decided to check it out, and I have to admit, it wasn’t like anything I had read before.

It starts off purely science-fiction. Futuristic, full body battlesuits that make the wearer like a Power Ranger, jerk trainers abusing their trainees, etc.  Not exactly what I was expecting from a book with the word “Wizard” in it.  As the book progressed, Hartman does an excellent job of merging the science-fiction and the fantasy together into one piece of literature.

The only criticism I will give of this book is also a compliment all on its own.  Hartman, a retired Army veteran, is a no-nonsense kind of writer.  He doesn’t get into a lot of the frilly fluff material, and Rick, the main character, is sometimes a little bland.  However, he had trained in the armed services for a good chunk of his life, and he’s supposed to be a “Yes sir, no questions asked” kind of guy.  So, even though as you’re reading and you’re like, “Dude, this guy is boooooring,” take a step back and think about what a character in his situation is supposed to be.  Hartman makes it work.

Oh, furthermore, combat scenes usually make me want to bash my head against the nearest wall.  They’re either rushed, too convenient, or not thought out well enough, but Hartman does a pretty good job with them. Once again, I would assume that it has to do with his background in the Army.

Anyway, check it out. It’s available on the Kindle for $2.99. If you don’t like it, at least you’re not out a bunch of money, right?


Ok, now on to the main event.  The thing that made me have a little bit of faith in myself for once.  This screenshot….this screenshot did it for me.

WorldWhen I took this screenshot, it was the moment that I realized I had something awesome happening.  Not only am I figuring out the actual layout of physical locations, but I’m also figuring out the story and lore of buildings in the city as well.  Things that I would never have thought about are now fleshed out.

I know I still have an incredibly long way to go, but I’m feeling so inspired to keep working and improving. Now that my brother is also helping me out, I feel even more confident in myself than I have felt in a long time!

The Hermit Strikes!

Some strange things pop up across the Kingdom. Turns out the Hermit is having some fun! Also, I discuss a book that I finished recently.

Some weird stuff has appeared around the kingdom today, folks.  Turns out my hermit of a brother has added his own special “flare” around the kingdom.  His first build? A golden pig.  Why? Who know. But yes, now we have a golden pig in the kingdom.

Steve's PigTo be perfectly honest, this screenshot reminds me of the anime Seven Deadly Sins.  The main character, Meliodas, owns a bar called the Boar Hat. At first, you just think, “ah, cool name!” Turns out that it’s more than just a name because it’s literally the hat on a giant pig named Hawk Mama.  Oh, and Meliodas’s assistant at the Boar Hat? Hawk, a much smaller pig. I know, random, but I’ll take it.


So, the book series that I wanted to share today was Brilliance, book one of the Brilliance Trilogy.  Imagine the X-Men, but without all the crazy super powers.  In this world, people were born “brilliant” or with more advanced cognitive abilities.  It takes place 30 or so years after the initial discovery of the first brilliants.  As someone who has studied sociology in college, I find the way that how society is forced to change incredibly exciting.  Marcus Sakey does a great job with this story, and I would highly recommend it.  For those of you

Marcus Sakey does a great job with this story, and I would highly recommend it.  For those of you who don’t like the science-fiction, mutant, fantasy mumbo-jumbo, don’t count this book out. Sakey does a fantastic job of keeping it grounded in “real.”


Attack of the pigs What can I even say about this? Here I am, having a conversation with my brother about this library and he decides to spawn in pigs.  A lot of pigs.

I wonder what his fascination with pigs is?