December, 2005 Tar Valon Times

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Tar Valon Times
14 December 2005
Adriana al'Tere, Editor
al'Cary Mandoragon, Assistant Editor


Letter from the Editor

Thanks to finals and term papers and holiday traveling, this issue is a tad late. Okay, a week and a half late, but who's counting? Besides me. And my boss (Mother, I'm sorry).

What genius put American Thanksgiving 6 weeks before Christmas? Not too bright, if you ask me. I mean, there are months with no holidays, like August. Or s/he could have put it a few weeks earlier in November and given us a little more time to recuperate from the Thanksgiving family get-togethers before facing the family again at Christmas. Of course, if Thanksgiving had been placed earlier, we would not be able to worry about those extra five pounds put on after Thanksgiving and before Christmas.

The first week of December, I had 2 fifteen page papers due, plus a poetry portfolio. Real life trumps Tower business (I'm prepared to be berated for this statement), so any spare time I had during the two weeks after Thanksgiving I used to revise poetry. My apologies.

This issue includes a look at the updated Garrison and MDD website, a book review of Dune, a look (or listen) at the new radio programs offered in IRC, suggestions for Christmas presents for your favorite (or least favorite) WoT character, and movie review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

If you have comments about this issue, please feel free to send an email to news@tarvalon.net with a clearly marked subject line. If you have suggestions for articles or if you want to write an article, also feel free to send an email.

Enjoy.

Adriana al'Tere


New Captain, New Garrison
by al'Cary Mandoragon

The Garrison? What is it good for? Many would say, "absolutely nothing," just to make it sound like that song. However, many would also say that because it has, for many years, been more or less true. To put it bluntly, the Garrison has in the past been a stagnant collection of male JM desperately trying to escape its depths. While the female side of the Tower has flourished and expanded, the Garrison still lurked in more or less the same position it has always been in.

Historically, this has probably been due to the leadership of the Garrison, both in the male SM group as a whole and in the various men chosen to run the place. The Gaidin, aside from occasional forays to bully Recruits and the odd exception, have avoided the place. For the most part, the various companies have stuck to themselves and only sporadically become involved as a group. As for the leadership provided at the highest levels, care has always been taken to choose the most mature, capable, experienced and best qualified male members, with the unfortunate side effect that such men generally are in demand in their real lives and cannot spare the time to do more than the daily minutiae that the job entails. Without the Captain being able to spend enough time being active and involved, the garrison has always lacked direction.

Until now. Captain Jaim (sounds like a superhero, doesn't he?) has never been accused of being inactive. While he lacks the time as a member, or the experience in our admin structure than other candidates, he nevertheless is willing and able to put the time and effort in to make the Garrison a potentially better place. Maybe because he has no life, maybe because he cares enough to give up his precious beauty sleep, the fact remains Jaim is easily the most active Captain the site has ever seen.

Will this be enough to transform the Garrison? Can one man shoulder the entire burden? Probably not, although if Jaim transfers his post count into the Garrison alone, it will look good on paper at least. There are other promising signs however. The most obvious is the orange tinge that seems to be much more permanent on the Garrison forums. Others include finally introducing a system of dormitories, a direct copy from the Hall of Novices but still a good idea that had somehow not occurred to anyone else. The companies are being dragged kicking and screaming back into the Garrison, although it remains to be seen whether they can be forced to hang around. It is even rumoured that MDD might deign to grace the Garrison with their august presence, although this is considered unlikely.

So, now is the time where I make insightful and worthwhile suggestions about what our glorious Captain Jaim should be doing with his time. Other than "get a life," which would probably have a negative impact on the Garrison but I couldn't resist saying it, I can only suggest that he hold a Garrison-wide competition to compose a superhero theme song for his personal use. Involving as many kilt references as possible. It has to be more successful than most of those Team Tasks.


Fear is the Mind Killer
By Cursor Wrathwind

Ok, so you can speak Old Tongue, but can you recite the Litany Against Fear? Can you calculate BG years as well as FY ones? You know the kings of all the Ten Nations, but can you name more than one Padisha Emperor? If not, you should. What Robert Jordan does with fantasy in the Wheel Of Time, Frank Herbert does with sci-fi in his timeless masterpiece Dune.

Forget all about the 1984 movie (please) and the new books every month by Brian Herbert. Forget the Sci-Fi channel mini-series, go to your local bookstore, and pick up a copy of Dune, which runs about $8.00. Those of you who love Jordan are bound to fall for Herbert too, for Dune is the pinnacle of sci-fi excellence.

The epic saga of Dune follows the young Paul Atreides, son of the Duke Leto who has just been granted governorship over the most valuable planet in the Empire-Arrakis. Dune. Desert Planet. The sole source of the invaluable m?lange, the spice of spices, the pillar of the Imperial Economy, Dune is power. He who controls the spice controls the Empire.

However, the old governors are not letting Dune go easily. House Harkonnen, led by the immense Baron and his nephews, are age-old enemies of the Atreides and will not just hand them Dune without troubles. Assassins are sent. Plots are woven. Traitors are revealed and the boy Paul, made the Duke by an act of treachery, finds himself and his witch mother exiled to the endless desert wastes where creatures worse than a thousand Trollocs wait.

Paul finds hope among the Fremen, the blue-eyed natives and masters of the desert. Taking upon himself the name Muad'Dib, Paul becomes one with the Fremen, learning their ways, marrying their women and absorbing their culture. And, as Paul plots to revenge the crimes against his noble family and re-take Dune for the Fremen, it becomes clear that he may just be the Kwisatz Haderach, the chosen one, the messiah that the mysterious Bene Gesserit order has spent centuries trying to breed.

Dune is compellingly written, a narrative with a plot that never fails to hold the reader's interest at its will. With as much glossary and background information as the Wheel of Time, and maps so scientifically accurate they'll make your head hurt, Dune reads more like a fact than fiction. You may find yourself believing in the existence of House Atreides and House Harkonnen, in the power of the spice and knowing how to run the great empire. You may find yourself absorbed in the twists and turns of the novel's killer sands, and find yourself unable to escape their spell.


Calendar
Compiled by Dart Marouvin

WTVN Radio Calendar

Shows airs from #oldewarderandhen on irc.sorcery.net. Times listed are according to US Central Standard Time.

The music program "Indie Stew with Blu" will air from noon to 3 pm Wednesdays and Thursdays in December on WTVN Radio. Songs played on the programs will range from whimsical to relaxed, light hearted to mellow. Music genres will include instrumental, space rock, femme punk, folk, trip hop, acoustics and more.

"A New Show with Sean Dragoran" will air from 5 pm to midnight Mondays in December on WTVN Radio. The shows, usually theme oriented, consist of music and games."

"Easy Nights with Lillian DeMeur" will are from 9 to 11 pm Thursday nights in December on WTVN Radio. This musical show is designed to be relaxing for listeners of all musical tastes. "


Feast of Lights

The Feast of Lights will begin December 26 and will be celebrated in the form of a free week.

The feast is traditionally celebrated on the last day of the old year - the shortest day of the year - and the First Day or Firstday of the new year. The Feast of Lights will conclude on January 1.


Perfect Gifts
by Dart Marouvin

Editor's note: Potential spoilers, read at your own risk.

Ah, the many scents of Christmas. Cookies. Ham. Hot chocolate. Pine needles. Balefired Foresaken.

Okay, so maybe a Christmas party attended by the many colorful characters from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series would turn into an all out brawl. Still, in the spirit of the holiday it seems only fitting to be curious about what would be the perfect present for Rand al'Thor (given that you don't have a kingdom or two to present to him) and to wonder if Loial would be able to manage typewriter with those sausage fingers of his.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's the perfect time to start shopping for Christmas presents. Here's a list to help give you an idea of what kind of presents to buy a few of those oh-so-hard-to-shop for characters from Wheel of Time that we all know, love, cherish and, on occasion, desperately despise.

-Elayne: A jar of pickles and a couple gallons of ice cream.

-Leane: A Monopoly game. She could really use one of those "Get Out of Jail Free" cards right about now. Plus, she's Aes Sedai and a former Blue sister at that. Do you honestly think she's given up manipulation completely?

-Nynaeve: Defribulators would be a perfect gift for everybody's favorite Yellow. Providing she wouldn't accidently kill herself with them.

-Egwene: Buttons or bumper stickers would probably be the most practical gift to buy Egwene. They should, of course, sport catchy campaign slogans such as "Elect Egwene" and "Oust Elaida."

-Perrin: A fairly simple person to shop for, Lord Perrin would doubtlessly appreciate a box of colored contact lenses to help him avoid awkward moments at dinner engagements, battles and those fealty swearing parties he so often seems to end up being the guest of honor at.

-Tuon: A wig.

-Galad: Coal. Just to be ironic.

-Aviendha: Let's not even go there.

-Alviarin: Acne cream and a wart removal kit. Between the two maybe she can get rid of that ugly blemish she's recently developed.

-Gareth Bryne: Pre-marital counseling.

-Siuan: See above.

-Olver: A positive role model.

-Mat: Severance papers.

-Elaida: Happy pills, a padded bedroom and a straightjacket. If you're feeling extra generous, buy her a Red straightjacket instead of White one. If you're feeling extra mean, buy her a Blue one.

-Lan: He could do with happy pills himself, come to think of it.

-Rand: See above. A padded room might be nice for his alter ego, also.

-Verin: Diet pills.

-Most of the Forsaken: Sex change operations. Don't get me wrong, I'm usually not the type to endorse these sorts of things but, well...One word: Halima.

-Cadsuane: A marionette.

-Faile: Very strong perfume. She'd do a whole lot better at manipulating Perrin if he wasn't always smelling her emotion.

-Romanda and Lelaine: A life. I know it's not within the Christmas spirit, but I'm only going to give them one. They have to share. They'd also probably enjoy Monopoly.

-Min: Rose colored glasses.

-Moghedien: Balefire insurance.

-Birgitte: Michael Jackson.


YO, WTVN ROCKS!
by Valadilene Aldieb

Ladies and gentlemen of Tar Valon, I am pleased to announce three new radio shows presented for your listening pleasure! Sunri Gaidin, Soldier Sean, and Novice Blu are here to entertain you! I hope that most of you are already familiar with our broadcasts.but for those of you who are not, you can tune in by logging into IRC's #oldewarderandhen at the appropriate time. Usually in the topic there is an http: address...go to this and open the .pls file and that will bring up the music broadcast. You will need to have some sort of program on your computer for listening to music. Some recommended programs are Winamp, Realplayer, and iTunes. You can download Winamp and many others for free - so get those search engines ready! A schedule for all the shows can be found in the Community Pages on the Calendar, so check it out.

"Awesome in the Evening" - working title (thank the Light!) No time slot has been assigned yet for this 18+ show as Sunri and Gerrok are still figuring out their schedules, but when I asked Sunri to talk a little about the upcoming show I got this as a response: "Sunri 'Mark' Gaidin is just getting started in this up and coming TarValon Radio business. Mark hopes to carve himself out a niche in the biz and monopolize it, as we all know he isn't charismatic enough to compete in a fair competition. You'll always be able to spot him on the fringes of the radio business, trying new things, keeping just one step ahead of the cancellation reaper. Maeric (and possibly some other random Colorado people) will also help out every now and then, but will not be regular co-hosts.

Musically, Gerrok and I will focus on humor. Either songs that are funny themselves or songs that we can make funny based on the context. We're hoping we don't have to let ourselves be too constrained by a genre. We'll also take suggestions from people, but we won't guarantee that we'll play 'em, and will every now and then stray from humor to play something that we feel is exceptional.

The talk portion will consist of us just trying (and hopefully not failing too miserably) to be funny. Mostly ragging on each other and the members of the audience who are tough enough to take being messed with, with the random geeky references thrown in."

"Thematic" - 5 pm - 12 am Mondays (GMT-9) Sean has just started his show, but I'm sure it will be quite a hit! With the music changing weekly depending on the theme the audience will never get bored. His collection ranges from Country to Heavy Metal, and World Music is not unheard of. He's all for taking requests, but if there are none he starts playing songs randomly which can always prove interesting! Sean points out that, "I often ask my listeners to test the limits of my music library, there have only been a few times that I have been unable to meet a request." So folks, if you have the need to be in control it looks like this is the show for you!

"Indie Stew with Blu" - 12 pm - 3 pm Thursdays (GMT-9) The write-up for Blu's show says it all: Subdue your world view with Blu's special brew of indie stew. No requests, but you're encouraged to suggest. For the most part, song material will be light hearted and whimsical with lyrics you'll have to dissect yourself to put meaning to. At other times, tunes will be very relaxed and mellow. Mature subject matters will be in place (rarely), but with flavorful and careful poetic precision, meaning that you most likely will not catch on to its disguise. All audiences welcomed, but an open mind is strongly suggested. Music genres will include but are not limited to: Instrumental, Space Rock, Ambient Chill, Femme Punk, Groove Space, Indie/Folk, Alternative Rock, Jam Band, Progressive, Trip Hop, Industrial, and Acoustic. Blu believes that "taking part in the audience is an important role--it shows support for the community, for the radio DJs that are sparing their time for free in efforts to make TarValon the best damned community on the web, and they (the audience) are the whole reason we do our shows anyway. Without an audience, we've got no purpose, really, so show your TarValon.net pride and drop in when a show's going on, even if it's just for a few minutes, because you count to us and to the TarValon community! If anyone would like me to advertise anything site-related on my show--the art gallery, TarValon.net paraphenalia, or even a thread in the Tavern, feel free to PM me; I'd love to give you props." You better believe I'll be listening Blu!

Please be aware that there is about a 15-45 second delay in the broadcast depending on your location and computer. If anyone has any specific questions or suggestions about the shows or is simply interested and wants to learn more about TarValon Radio, all they need to do is contact one of our radio folk-Blu, Micah Gaidin, Kariada Sedai...the list goes on. Their hope is that they can more readily provide people with easy-to-access information about what's going on and just get the community further involved without having to go to the extremes that RL get-togethers include.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
by Adriana al'Tere

In my last class of the semester, my professor mentioned that before she saw the first Harry Potter movie, she was addicted to the books. The first movie catered to fans; they were too afraid to change anything for fear that the fans would rise in rebellion and stage a coup and destroy all movie theaters.

Indeed, fans were upset with Prisoner of Azkaban because the director chose to change a few things. One of my friends didn't even finish the movie, she disliked it so much. She didn't have high hopes for The Goblet of Fire, but I dragged her along anyway.

It was different from the book. But what movie can ever stay true to every word in the book? Some things were left out and glossed over in the movie, but I think it stayed true to the feeling in the book. Harry and his friends are growing up; Harry had to choose to be brave in the face of danger and to be honorable or to follow Voldemort. This is what the book was about, not the Divination classes or Rita Skeeter or what really happened in the maze.

When you see the movie, expect it to be different. Expect it to challenge your views of the book and for scenes to be added and deleted for the sake of time or drama. But look for the spirit of the book to be the same.