Sunday, December 22, 2013

O Holy Night

Another quick one today everyone and really, just a question.

In the South, do they only play the first verse of "O Holy Night"?
Oh, holy night

The stars are brightly shining

It is the night of our dear Savior's birth

Long lay the world in sin and error pining

Till He appeared and the soul felt His worth

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn


Fall on your knees

Oh, hear the Angel voices

Oh, night divine, oh, night

When Christ was born

Oh, night divine, oh, night

Oh, night divine

Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother

And in His name all oppression shall cease

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we

Let all within us praise His holy name

Christ is the Lord, let ever, ever praise Thee

Noel, Noel

Oh, night, oh, night divine

Noel, Noel

Oh, night, oh, night divine

Noel, Noel

Oh, night, oh, night divine

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Little Drummer Boy: Now we know why Mary is the Queen of Grace

Just a small one today.

Can you imagine the grace and humility shown by Mary when confronted with the little drummer boy? Some dirty urchin with a drum comes in after she's given birth with Jesus laying in the hay and asks if he can play his drum for the BABY and she simply nods an acquiescence.

Note though, that not even for Mary, Mother of God, does it say that she SMILED and nodded. Just a nod. I guess even for her, that was too far out of reach.

It's even more absurd if you believe she gave birth to Jesus and was then immediately inundated with visitors.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review of Battle Royale — A Battle to the Death Between Children the Way It Should Be: Horrific

Battle Royale is not even in the same league as the Hunger Games. And by that, I mean Battle Royale is a million times better (and probably a million times cheaper and a million times less profitable...and no, none of those things were exaggerations).

Disclaimer: There may be bloody images of children in this blog post.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chibi Vampire: The Manga Formerly Known as Karin

I'm not complaining about the choice to change the name of "Karin" to "Chibi Vampire" for its American release. If it wasn't for that, I probably would have never read the books. I find it hard to pass up a cute vampire story however, so here we are.

Chibi Vampire is a 14-volume manga series written by Yuna Kagesaki and released by TokyoPop (so that means it's out of print now). Luckily, Amazon's to the rescue. Here is the link to all the books in the series through a variety of Amazon sellers:


Sorry about the lack of a picture, it's a search page link so no pictures. Here's one of the first cover:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Why Math Teachers Need Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra

A common complaint heard by anyone that hangs out with future math teachers is, "When are we ever going to use this?"

Only it's not their students that are saying this, it's the teachers themselves complaining about the classes of Real Analysis and Abstract Algebra. 

And yes, I believe the irony is lost on them.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I Hate Tolkien's Lord of the Rings

This fact has been a defining characteristic of my own writing since I first read LotR in middle school.

I mean, he just can't shut up.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Do You Hear What I Hear? ...A snitch

Here's part 2 of my Christmas Carol Rants series of blog posts! This time around, dedicated to "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

You can read part 1 here: "Baby It's Cold Outside".

Disclaimer: This is a rant about a popular Christmas carol. You may not be able to enjoy this Christmas carol again after some of the things you'll read.

Note: I still enjoy most of these Christmas carols even though I find parts of them absurd.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Day of the Doctor Review and Analysis (Spoiler-ful): Including comments on BBCA ruining it

I thoroughly enjoyed The Day of the Doctor, but I have some complaints, mostly about how BBC America really went out of their way to ruin the viewing experience.

Here's the Amazon link:
Hey, you can watch it in 3D if you have a 3D TV

Warning: This post will contain content that can lead to spoilers and outright spoilers of the show, so please do not continue reading if you want to have a spoiler-free experience. Please read my spoiler-free review if you want to get a gauge of the show before you watch.

The Day of the Doctor Review: Almost Perfect (Spoiler-free)

If you were at all reluctant to watch "The Day of the Doctor", let me assure you that your fears are unfounded.

Here's a cool shot of all 12 Doctors

And the Amazon link to the blu-ray:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside (Warning: You can never unread what you've read—don't read if you love this song)

I love Christmas carols, I truly do, but there are so many of them that have these very perverse, or, at the least, very strange concepts.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Best Shortcut First or How the Order of Operations SHOULD Be Taught

I once taught a class that used a book that defined the order of operations as "an agreed upon" order to do math problems!

AGREED UPON!

As though there was some dark cabal of mathematicians meeting secretly across the world to decide how math works.

I cannot begin to describe to you how frustrated this made me.

...oh wait, that was sort of the point of this.

The Trencher Solution

Most people that like messy sandwiches and other food usually handle the leftover mess one of a couple different ways (note: by "mess", I refer here to the delicious innards of your sandwich that are exposed to the world through your voraciousness or I refer to the goopy remains of whatever sauces and condiments made up your meal):
  1. If there are breadsticks or other bread accompaniments, then you mop up the mess with the bread. 
  2. Eating the mess à la carte. 
  3. Throwing the mess away.
Now, clearly #3 is not only a sin, but is also heart-breaking after a good meal. It's akin to throwing away extra body parts after making a new human (...wait, that's not how new humans are made? Sorry, I missed that day in 5th grade when they explained it. I only have sci-fi and horror stories to go off of now).

Similarly, #2 can frequently be a disappointment after the climax of a meal that is more than the sum of its component parts, although rarely the remaining parts are worthwhile.

#1 then is clearly the best solution, and is also wonderful in that it awards additional breads, but it is not always appropriate. I wager that it is most appropriate when you are eating a gravy of some sort (whether that's turkey gravy, spaghetti sauce, or other). What then can we do in situations where only #2 or #3 seem to apply?

I recommend what I call, "The Trencher Solution".

Monday, November 4, 2013

OMA Free Again and first "Kindle Countdown Deal" on Arithmetic & Number Sense!

Every semester I try to make Overcoming Math Anxiety and How to Be Successful in Mathematics: The Language of Mathematics and How to Love Math Again free for a few days so all of my students can download it.

For whatever reason, several students said they did not get a chance to download it (even though it was available for THREE DAYS) and asked if I would make it free again.

That's OK though, because it gives me a chance to try out a Kindle Countdown Deal for Arithmetic & Number Sense: The "Basics" of Mathematics We Are Never Taught.
  • OMA will be offered FREE on Thursday and Friday of this week (Nov 7 - 8)
  • ANS will be offered for $0.99 starting on Wednesday for 36 hours (ostensibly, through noon on Thursday)
  • Then, ANS will be $1.99 for another 36 hours (through the end of the day Friday).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Free Copy of the Internationally Bestselling "Overcoming Math Anxiety and How to Be Successful in Mathematics"

Pretty much what the title says. Free through Friday, 10/25/2013

You can get your copy free through the variety of links available all over my blog and website...OH LOOK, HERE'S ONE:

 

So yeah, if you have an Amazon account (and if you don't have an Amazon account, where have you been for the last decade?), please download this free copy of my bestselling math book. You can find all of my Amazon ebooks here: Zero Angel on Amazon.com.

If you know anyone that struggles in math or has a distaste for math, then please consider recommending my book to those people as well. I write my books both for the student and the teacher in mind, so everyone has something to gain by reading.

Thank you for your support,
~Zero

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children Complete Movie Review—Why didn't they release this first?

A few months back I went ahead and bought the blu-ray version of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children without realizing that it was a director's cut "Complete" edition. Imagine my surprise when I plopped it into the DVD player and scenes I knew and loved were "misremembered" (as I thought at the time).

Then I started freaking out.

Because not only was I misremembering these scenes that I had watched over 50 times before (when I first got FFVII: Advent Children on DVD I had it playing for a month straight), but all of the little annoyances and deliberate confusions in the original Advent Children were COMPLETELY REMOVED.

Here's the Amazon link:

Dresden Files Book Series Comments

The Dresden Files book series by Jim Butcher (available here: Amazon.com) is a pretty fun adventure into urban fantasy. I've gotten the chance to read books 9-14 and have some spoiler-free thoughts and comments. Although I recommend the link above so that you can start reading the series from the beginning, here are the individual links to each book that I read this last week:


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Lightning Reviews: Working through the movie collection Edition

Konnichiwa minna-san!

It’s been an interesting week. Re-twisting my ankle has me couch-ridden and I somehow found the pathos to revisit some of my old favorite DVDs. This is an uncommon occurrence. No matter how much a movie may call to me and how much I enjoy it, the act of actually taking the DVD down from the shelf and putting it into the movie player usually precludes me from actually re-watching them (although for whatever reason, if I see them on TV I will sit through commercials to watch them).

Anyway, today I will throw up lightning reviews of the following movies: “definitely, maybe”, “Blast from the Past”, “Wimbledon”, “The Count of Monte Cristo”, “For Love of the Game” and “Metropolis” (2001). All of these movies “pass” the Zero Approved requirements for watching, which means I think they’re worth watching at least once, but not all are must-haves.

Aside: For the last year or so I’ve been following the convention that commas go inside quotation marks only if it makes sense for them to. I’ve read this is how Brits do it, but even if they don’t, I figure as a professional writer it is my obligation to try to improve the English language. So yeah, screw off if it bothers you.

Here are the Amazon links:



Monday, October 14, 2013

NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo is coming up!

For those of you that don't know, November is National Novel Writing Month. There's a non-profit organization that is there to encourage you to write a 50K+ word novel and will even offer prizes and discounts to winners and participants. You can find more here: NaNoWriMo.org

I'll be participating this year and will be attempting a double NaNo (two 50K+ books). Let me talk some about what I've been working on and what I will be doing for NaNo.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Lightning Reviews

Got a backlog of media I've consumed lately, so let's knock them out quick.

Today we'll cover the movies Oz the Great and Powerful, Oblivion, & Jack Reacher as well as the books Turn Coat and Changes by Jim Butcher (part of the Dresden Files series). Here are the Amazon links:


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I support the ACA

Is that a surprise?

You may remember this, The Cogs of Academia, where I commented on the fact that I went from working over 60 hours a week to just under a 29 hour per week average (for YSU). They even lowered it again so that now I am working ~22 hours per week average (~35.7 hours per week during school).

And you might be saying, what is this guy thinking?

Well, a few things.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sci-fi Movie Review: "Star Trek: Into Darkness"

I'm not a Trekkie. I could never really get into (or stand) the television shows in any of their incarnations.

That said, I have enjoyed a few of the movies based on the TV shows and I wouldn't mind watching the ones I haven't seen. Similarly, if there was a "best of" Star Trek where all of the filler episodes were removed and it was boiled down to the essential bits, then I would probably not mind watching that either.

Anyway, I did enjoy the previous reboot movie (found here). This is the inevitable sequel, and it stands up for itself as well:


On Never Reading Anything by Robin Hobb Again: The Rain Wilds Chronicles

I'm starting off combative because I'm very weary of having my time wasted by piss-poor excuses for books. There's a good chance that someone will eventually convince me to read one of the other offerings by Robin Hobb or her alias, but they will have a much more difficult time to do so after I've read 2 of the 4 Rain Wilds Chronicles books and started the third.

I am astonished that someone can be such a good writer and write such an uninteresting story and have characters with little to no redeeming qualities continuing to be jerks.

I really wanted to enjoy the Rain Wilds Chronicles, and perhaps that is why I am taking it so poorly.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Dragon Haven" by Robin Hobb Book Review

So I was able to finish Dragon Haven last night, but have been running around a little bit more than I expected today. (Unexpected offer of a job interview + no clothes o_o)

Anyway, I'm happy to report that if Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven had been released as one book, then it would have been a good book. A real-book book; not a half-book, a never-should-have-been book, a book with no end, an Act-II-less book, a tease book, a book that had it been released by an indie or self-published writer would have been heralded as why indies and self-publishers should not write and publish.

Anyway, here's the Amazon link:


"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" Movie Review

This 2012 comedy-drama was a bit of a nut to crack. It was a definitely a slow burn with the humor being more a result of absurdism than anything (link note: I linked to the Wiki article because if you're not familiar with absurdism, it's hardcore in this movie and it might be nice to at least be cognizant of it).

For all the absurdity, much of the film rang true in a way that many apocalyptic movies never have. Yes, obviously there would be preppers and riots and whatnot, but the everything as normal save everyone's expiration date in site affecting everyone's actions and emotions, it just felt real.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Review of "Dragon Keeper" by Robin Hobb

So apparently I was a little farther in the book than I thought I was when I posted my initial impressions of Robin Hobb's writing (I am reluctant to say, "Ms. Hobb" since it is a penname and a title with a penname seems odd to me.

I just finished this, well, I guess you can call it a book. Here's the Amazon link:

Initial thoughts on Robin Hobb's Writing

When I was a kid I remember trying to read a novel by Robin Hobb and not being able to get into it at all. I have no memory of what that novel was, but my first impression on my childhood thoughts was that I must have been so full of crap that I couldn't see what the author was offering.

Although, I have been burned before by favorite authors. I honestly believed Sanderson could do no wrong only to not be able to read more than 20 pages of one of his novels before returning it in disgust.

Anyway, I have a few initial thoughts on Robin Hobb's writing style, or what I can glean of her style, as I make my way through Dragon Keeper.

On Why I Haven't Posted a Review of "Un Lun Dun" by China Mieville

Some have inquired why they haven't seen a review of it yet. Does it really take me months to finish a novel? Here's why:

I couldn't finish it.

Not because it was bad writing or bad editing or anything like that. I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters, they annoyed me more than they intrigued me and were not overly sympathetic to me, and also, it was too foreign.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Quick Tip: Wookie Voice

A wookie impression isn't exactly rocket science: make your best approximation of a bear noise, add water (or drink of choice), gurgle while making bear noise, and adjust to preference. Eventually, you'll be able to do it without the water.

Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own or have anything to do with wookies. Just trying to help people have fun.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Quick Update

Getting back into the habit of writing everyday, although I'm not up to full productivity levels (or anywhere close to be honest...I'm at like 5%).

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Music Confession

I realize he's right up there with the rest of the musical pillars or whatever, but I cannot, cannot, cannot STAND Bob Marley.

Monday, September 2, 2013

"Way of the Warrior" sneak preview

Hello to all!

I know it's not the novella that you've been promised, but here is a sneak peak into one of the battle sequences of "Way of the Warrior". This sneak peak was available last month to subscribers of my newsletter. Please e-mail zero@apocalypsedesigns.com if you'd like to join. Thank you!

Note: If you thought "The Throne of Ao" had over-the-top action, wait until you see gods and goddesses of Ao in action.

Hashtag WotA

In the interest of keeping you informed: I have not died.

I realize that the promised updates have not come. For more, let me refer you to this: I'm crap at deadlines. I'm really sorry about that. I'd like to tell you all that the delays are a thing of the past, but all I can say is that I'm working on it.

One thing that is relatively easy for me to do though is talk about WotA; unfortunately, the list of people I have to talk about it is relatively small. Luckily, there is a modern day alternative to talking that does not take up much time: Twitter.

So what I have been doing lately (I've been trying for daily, but even if I miss a day, I usually release 2-5 tweets at a time) is tweeting factoids about WotA. Whether it's a monster, geographic location, character or legend, I tweet. Hashtag WotA.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Casual Acceptance of Bullying is Rather Horrifying

So this is somewhat embarrassing, Google's failed me. I cannot find the radio commercial that prompted this blog post, although I do have a reasonable memory and can recall portions of it. So any quotes here will be paraphrased from memory. Apologies.

Note: If you know what commercial I'm talking about, I'd appreciate if you can direct me to it online or if you remember what company did it so I can include that here.

It's the "smartphones are like tutors" commercial which has some pre-teen sounding girl complaining about a series of historical figures. Things like, "Alex Bell posted again. Just because he invented the telephone doesn't mean he can blow mine up all the time"

Now, that quote is from my memory, but complaining about historical figures isn't the "bullying" that I'm talking about. It comes later.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Really?

My app review of "Juggernaut" is twice as popular as the next most popular post...IT'S NOT EVEN A GOOD GAME!

-_- (double-posted on twitter due to brevity)

Thoughts on the new look?

Although the inner me tends to try to do everything in black at first, I am not completely immune to the demands for an easier-to-read blog style. Thoughts?

I'll be customizing ApocalypseDesigns.com to follow suit with this. Thank you in advance for your comments!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Just got hosed again by one of my day jobs...

...and I really am not sure what to do.

I wish Americans supported the worker instead of the corporation, and I wish I could make a living doing not just what I love to do (teach), but what also requires a strong investment of my own time and money to even be qualified to do (six years of education in a field like mathematics isn't something anybody can do, but you'd think so with how they pay us—hell, six years of education in any field isn't something anybody can do).

Are only rich people and famished people supposed to teach? If so, I'm sick of being the latter, although it's doing wonders for my figure.

Make that two of my day jobs. Curiosity doesn't kill cats, it just makes you confront reality faster. WTF.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" Movie Recommendation

Because I don't want to talk about this movie, because I won't talk about this movie, because I can't talk about this movie: six words.

Gut-wrenching wonder of awesome. Must-have.