Chapter 4
Altarian Saga , Maiden of Springhaven , Stories / 19th February 2017

Date: Divine-day, 11.2.840 The chirping of small birds and the hum of the morning from Nature’s lungs awoke Altaria as usual. She then went about her usual routine of the morning; feeding the animals, cleaning the barn, harvesting crops, and making up breakfast. As it was the divine-day of the week she would not need to go to the Havengarde city market to sell the farm’s produce. However, on the divine-day of the week she did have to go to Havengarde with her father for religious services. Altaria would not be trading their produce in the market square because trading was forbidden on the divine-day of every week without explicit permission from the High Priest. This permission was seldom granted to any but the most essential services. Although, even those very few with permission to trade had to abide by a very strict set of rules and limitations on how they could carry out business on the divine-day. Purely by convention, it was also common in Springhaven for markets and businesses to be closed the day before the divine-day, named the rest-day.   Frederic was finishing his breakfast. Altaria had eaten her breakfast earlier in the morning to save time…

Film Review: Ninja Scroll
Reviews / 13th February 2017

I am not a huge follower of Japanese cinema and in particular I am not a huge follower of Manga. However, whenever I have watched examples of Manga film, I have very much enjoyed it. I watched Ninja Scroll for the first time a few nights ago and was blown away by it – the film had striking visuals, engaging characters, an intriguing story and the right balance of thought and action. Why I chose to watch it? I had heard great things about this film in the past and decided to give it a try as I am trying to broaden my horizons with the films I enjoy. Plot The plot was centered around the central protagonist, Jubei, and his journey with a female lead and damsel-in-distress-turned-heroine of the story, Kagero. A group known as the Devils of Kimon are the antagonists of this story and in video-game-like fashion become progressively more challenging for the heroes of the story to overcome. Although Ninja Scroll is strictly a fantasy story, it is set in Feudal Japan and the story is largely political – the Devils of Kimon are attempting to overthrow the government and are planning to purchase weapons from Spain in…

WordPress Tutorial: Create a custom taxonomy
Tutorials / 12th February 2017

Custom taxonomies can be used in WordPress to organise posts and custom post types similarly to how posts are organised into categories. In fact categories are a type of taxonomy to organise posts. An example of a custom taxonomy may be a ‘genre’ taxonomy to organise review posts, or a ‘location’ taxonomy to organise listings by area. Similarly to creating a custom post type (previous post here), with a few lines of PHP code it is very easy to create a simple custom taxonomy without the use of a plugin as I will show you in this tutorial. Open your theme’s Functions.php file Along the side of the WordPress dashboard options, hover to ‘Appearance’ then click on ‘Editor’. Once in the Theme Editor, find Theme Functions (functions.php) file in the list on the right of your screen and click on it to open it. Create a new function for your custom post type Enter the following sample of code into your functions.php file, changing the name of the function (create_custom_taxonomy) to any other name if you wish. But do not yet update the file. function create_new_taxonomy() { } Register the post type Enter the following code sample (underlined) between the { }…

Chapter 3
Altarian Saga , Maiden of Springhaven , Stories / 12th February 2017

Date: Rest-day, 10.2.840   Altaria had awoken to the sound of a flock of small birds chirping in the garden. She was laying on her side and facing towards an open casement window within its white wooden frame on her modest bedroom’s grey garden-side wall. With her right hand, Altaria visored her blue eyes from the gaze of the rising summer sun and combed back her golden-blonde hair behind her ears.   She caught a glimpse of the marble sundial in the garden through her bedroom window and saw that it was early in the morning. Although she was so used to the early hours that she could tell that it was very early in the morning without any need for the sundial. But for her it was not early, nor late. It was the right time for her to wake up and start another long day. Just like every other day. She was a young lady with heavy responsibility for her tender age of eighteen years. This responsibility was met by an industrious and preoccupied nature since the death of her mother, and her father’s crippling injury when she was a young child. This weight on her shoulders grew…

WordPress Tutorial: Create a custom post type
Tutorials / 5th February 2017

Custom post types can be used in your WordPress setup to create customised content similar to regular posts but with some differences. With a few lines of PHP code it is very easy to create a custom post type without the use of a plugin as I will show you in this tutorial. Open your theme’s Functions.php file Along the side of the WordPress dashboard options, hover to ‘Appearance’ then click on ‘Editor’. Once in the Theme Editor, find Theme Functions (functions.php) file in the list on the right of your screen and click on it to open it. Create a new function for your custom post type Enter the following sample of code into your functions.php file, changing the name of the function (my_custom_posttype) to any other name if you wish. But do not yet update the file. function my_custom_posttype() { } Register the post type Enter the following code sample (underlined) between the { } brackets: function my_custom_posttype() { register_post_type( ‘event’, array( ‘labels’ => array( ‘name’ => __( ‘Events’ ), ‘singular_name’ => __( ‘Event’ ) ), ‘has_archive’ => true, ‘supports’ => array(‘title’, ‘editor’, ‘thumbnail’, ‘wpb_post_views_count’), ‘taxonomies’ => array( ‘category’ ), ) ); } As an example, here I am…

Chapter 2: Letter from Hadrian Herder
Altarian Saga , Maiden of Springhaven , Stories / 5th February 2017

Date: End-day, 89.4.839 To my dear father and sister, As I write this letter myself and almost one-thousand other men are onboard a huge transport ship in a navy of a size outstretching the worth of our quest. We are sailing southward for Dragon Isle, that is supposedly captured by the “ghastly, barbaric, and unenlightened” Malachonians of Sardonia. Personally, though I would not speak of it to our captain or my fellow soldiers and especially not to the priest accompanying us, I do not know of the reason or worth of this quest to capture Dragon Isle. The diminutive island seems to have no profit in it but the name. No life is to be found on the island. Not even the creatures after which it is named now dwell there and its land mass is not even large enough to hold all of us on both sides who are fighting for it. As each day passes and we find ourselves farther away from home, with more deaths, disease, and bloodshed, I begin to question what I, Althalos, Justinian, and so many of the dead and still surviving young men were told back home in Springhaven. We were told by…

Book Review: Star Wars – Catalyst (A Rogue One Novel)
Reviews / 4th February 2017

An excellent prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which bridges the gap between the Clone Wars era and Galactic Civil War era in a convincing and satisfying way. Why I chose to read it? I chose to read this novel hoping that it would add some new insights into any future experience of rewatching Rogue One while also proving to be a very interesting story in its own right. Plot The plot for Rogue One was excellent and aside from shedding new light on the wider Star Wars canon immediately before and during the Galactic Civil War era, it also was an engaging, immersive and enjoyable story in its own right. I think this was evident in the writing style which while not explaining the Star Wars universe for us, presented it in a way which could be engaging for readers who may not be passionate fans of the franchise while not explaining it all thoroughly. Most of the key points in the back story were implied, rather than explicitly stated which I believe worked best. Characters I loved how this novel showed us a backstory on the relationship between Krennic and Galen, and how Galen’s work had…

Chapter 1: Prologue
Altarian Saga , Maiden of Springhaven , Stories / 29th January 2017

Date (Earth Calendar): 20 December c. 750AD In the mead hall of Thorshold in Jutland, the Jarl held a festival of storytelling through music, drama and spoken word to celebrate the Jule. The hall was brimming with the joyous chatter of the citizens of Thorshold that took place between the tales, plays and songs being told, played and sung in the centre of the hall as the other villagers would watch and listen to their tales of any themes imaginable. Randolfr, a rotund and red-faced, heavily-bearded man, choked down gallons of ale throughout the evening. When he told his tale of lecherous frivolity, often interrupted by his slinging of mouthfuls of ale from the drinking horn down his gullet, the audience in the hall was in a frenzy of cringe-soaked laughter. As Randolfr finished, he flung the drinking horn without an aim across the hall. ‘And that was the tale of the blacksmith’s wife and the fisherman’s apprentice.’ ‘Thank you, Randolfr, son of Lambert,’ Jarl Girbert said with awkwardness to the drunken rambler. ‘And I have another too,’ Randolfr replied, interrupting the Jarl. ‘The whore of Jutland.’ The citizens in the mead hall were hurled into a joint bout of…

Is being a geek an expensive lifestyle?
Articles / 15th January 2017

As the relative cost of living has relatively increased over the years (in the UK at least – though I assume this is true in most other parts of the world too), it would seem that we all are finding life to be much more expensive – with more of our income being dispensed on essential costs, and less (for some people near nothing) being left for spending on pleasure and enjoyment. For those of us who subscribe to any “geek” lifestyle, is this more of a factor? What I mean to ask is – if you are a “geek”, is that a more expensive lifestyle choice than others? Of course that’s assuming that we can call it a lifestyle or provide a concrete definition for the term ‘geek’ – which is debatable. For the purpose of this blog entry, I will define it as a follower of science fiction and fantasy, comic books, gaming, manga or collectibles associated with these things (but of course somebody could be a ‘geek’ of most things). This topic could be discussed almost endlessly so I will keep it to a minimum but understand there is lots more I could say. Gaming The cost of systems and…

Fan Theory: Was Han Solo Force Sensitive?
Articles , Fan Theories / 3rd September 2016

Background: This theory stipulates that Han Solo’s incredible skills and luck can be attributed to a very mystical reason. Was Han Solo an unknowing force sensitive? Very likely and there are several reasons why this is likely the case. Certain attributes that apply to Han Solo are usually only applicable to force sensitives in the Star Wars universe. Piloting ability and reflexes: In the Star Wars universe there are four characters known to have exceptional piloting abilities – Anakin Skywalker, Luke Skywalker, Poe Dameron and Han Solo. There is also a separate theory about Poe Dameron being force sensitive which I may discuss in a later post. Of these characters, two as we know are force sensitive. Qui Gon said of Anakin in The Phantom Menace that if he raced pods he must have “jedi reflexes”. Could this also apply to exceptional pilots like Poe and Han, having jedi reflexes to be able to be exceptional pilots. It is certainly true in Luke’s case that force sensitivity affects his ability to pilot ships to an exceptional level of skill. Piloting ability is highly linked to and implied to be a result of these characters’ exceptionally great reflexes and fast reactions to events. This is in…