One of my favorite geek shirts; unfortunately, it’s showing its age and is getting a little harder to decipher. Need to see if I can track it down to buy another one. (241/366) #coexist #geek #nerd #fandom #starwars #lordoftherings #lotr #alien #aliens #xfiles #drwho #harrypotter #shazam #startrek

Trolling Middle Earth

First off, the gorgeous new trailer for the first part of The Hobbit has just been released:

Now, a slight digression. Back when the internet was new (and I’m not entirely exaggerating with that), the Jargon File was created as a living encyclopedia of words, phrases, terms, and events common to the geek communities of the day. In that document are the original definitions for the term “troll” as used in the electronic world.

  1. v.,n. [From the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban] To utter a posting on Usenet designed to attract predictable responses or flames; or, the post itself. Derives from the phrase “trolling for newbies” which in turn comes from mainstream “trolling”, a style of fishing in which one trails bait through a likely spot hoping for a bite. The well-constructed troll is a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it. See also YHBT.

  2. n. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand – they simply want to utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they exhibit no redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized as a lower form of life on the net, as in, “Oh, ignore him, he’s just a troll.” Compare kook.

Where today, “troll” is almost universally understood as the second of the above quoted definitions — a person solely out to provoke annoyance — I’ve always preferred the first definition. In that sense, a properly constructed troll is something I’ve always respected.

The comments for yesterday evening’s io9 post about the Hobbit trailer contain a beautiful example of trolling in the old sense (“…a post that induces lots of newbies and flamers to make themselves look even more clueless than they already do, while subtly conveying to the more savvy and experienced that it is in fact a deliberate troll. If you don’t fall for the joke, you get to be in on it.”). This comment gave me a good laugh this morning:

Yawwwn, sequelitis strikes again.

Hey Hollywood, how long’d it take you to come up with yet another unnecessary backstory?! Do we really need to go with Frodo’s dad on his quest to find the ring?

I bet they’ll dumb it down and make it all kiddy too. Hard R or I ain’t watchin!

How much you wanna bet they’ll figure out a way to shoehorn half-a-dozen giant spiders to compete with the one they had in LOTR2.

Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a troll is supposed to be done.

Monty Python’s Lord of the Rings

One of my favorite old pre-web ‘net institutions was the Internet Oracle. You’d send a message off to the Oracle, and the Oracle would answer your question. In return, you’d have to answer a later question someone else had sent to the Oracle, thus becoming the Oracle yourself. Not very surprisingly, in-jokes, puns, and general absurdity are highly prized when crafting Oracle answers.

I’d more or less forgotten about the Oracle until Phil dropped a link to the Internet Oracle website into my inbox today.

Immediately, I went to the most recent “best of the Oracle” digest (I used to have a whole collection of their “best of” digests), and found this gem:

The Internet Oracle has pondered your question deeply. Your question was:

Oh Oracle most amazing wonderful, I grovel before your sheer brilliance
and wit, whose puns not even Noel Coward on his best day could have

What is a good question to ask you?

And in response, thus spake the Oracle:

You know, last time someone asked me this, I suggested asking about
Monty Python’s Lord of the Rings. And I fobbed them off because they
hadn’t asked that. So to make up for it, and because you groveled so
nicely, here it is.

Aragorn: I am the rightful King of Gondor!
Woman: Well, I didn’t vote for you.
A: You don’t vote for kings.
W: How’d you get to be king then?
A: I am the descendant through sixty generations, father to son, of
Elendil of Numenor. Here is Anduril, the Sword that was Broken, and
is now reforged!
Dennis: Inheriting a three-thousand-year-old bit of tin from your
great-grandad is no basis for a system of government.
A: Be quiet!
D: I mean, if I went round saying I was Lord of Moria because I owned a
rusty hatchet, they’d lock me up!
A: Shut up!
D: Ah! See the violence inherent in the system! Help! I’m being
A: Bloody peasant!

How to Recognize Different Ents From Quite A Long Way Away

Number One: The Larch.

Gimli: Is Ori here?
Orc: No.
G: Is Fror?
O: No.
G: Nali?
O: Dead.
G: Loni?
O: Gone.
G: Floi?
O: No.
G: Are there in fact any dwarves left in Moria at all?
O: No. I was deliberately wasting your time.
G: I see. In that case I’m afraid I’m going to have to cut your head
O: Fair enough.

Number One: The Larch.

Aragorn: Now stand aside!
Lurtz: That’s just a scratch.
A: I cut your arm off!
L: No you didn’t!
A: What’s that, then?
L: Just a flesh wound.
A: Fine. [chops Lurtz’s other arm off] Victory is mine!
L: Come on! Have at you!
A: You’ve got no arms, you stupid orc!
L: Yes, I have!
A: Look!
L: I’ve had worse.
A: I don’t have time for this. [cuts Lurtz’s head off]
L: Oh? Call it a draw.

Number One: The Larch.

Gandalf: How long is it since Saruman bought you?
Wormtongue: Gee, I didn’t expect a kind of Orcish Inquisition.
[The doors of the hall burst open, and three Uruk-Hai enter.]
Ugluk: NOBODY expects the Orcish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is
surprise. Surprise and fear, our two main weapons. Our two main
weapons, surprise, fear, and an almost fanatical devotion to Saruman.
THREE main weapons, surprise, fear, nice black uniforms… I’ll come
in again.

Number Four: The Bristlecone Pine.

Bridge keeper: Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me
these questions three, ere the other side he see.
Frodo: Ask me the questions. I am not afraid.
BK: What… is your name?
FB: Frodo Baggins.
BK: What… is your quest?
FB: To destroy the One Ring!
BK: What… is your favourite colour?
FB: Blue!
BK: Right. Off you go.
Sam: That’s easy!
BK: What… is your name?
SG: Samwise Gamgee.
BK: What… is your quest?
SG: To destroy the One Ring.
BK: What… is the capital of Assyria?
SG: [pause] A!
BK: Smart-arse. Go along, then.
Gollum: Ask us!
BK: What… is your name?
G: We’s Smeagol!
BK: What… is your quest?
G: To get the Precious!
BK: What… have I got in my pocket?
G: [pause] We don’t know that! Aiieeee!

You owe the Oracle a picture of Rohan’s army banging coconut halves

Dear Sir,
I wish to complain in the strongest terms about the preceding answer.
It was nothing but a series of rehashed sketches with a few choice
words added. Yours, Arthur Philip Dent (Mrs), deep fine leg, Norfolk.

Dear Sir,
I never wanted to write this oracularity anyway. I wanted to be a

Colonel: Stop that! It’s silly!

iTunesDream Baby (Nocturnal)” by My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult from the album Sexplosion! (1992, 7:05).

Made it!

The Fellowship

Well, we survived!

Man, that’s a lot of movie. When all’s said and done, it was a lot of fun, and all agreed that it was well worth doing, and definitely something that should be done again.

In a year or so.

The Extended Edition of Return of the King is wonderful, though — at least as good as, if not better than, the extended versions of each of the first two films. A few major additions and a number of minor ones that do an incredible job of fleshing out the film.

However, it’s now almost 12:30, and as we’re well worn out from a long day of sitting on our butts, it’s bedtime for us.

Getting ready…

Lord of the Rings collection

So far, unless anyone does a surprise show on my doorstep (well…secured entrance to the apartment building), it looks like it’ll be a fairly small group for the Lord of the Rings fest today: myself, Prairie, and Robert, unless something falls through on his end.

We’ve got the house clean (or at least presentable), and Prairie’s working on putting together a plate of munchies to carry us through the first stretch of the day.

I’ve got one half-written post open, and another couple in my head, so there will be more things appearing to make up for my relative quietude of late, but they’ll likely not show up until tomorrow at the earliest.

Just some general ramblings while we putter around and get ready for the day…

LotR:TYEBEE update

A reminder e-mail with directions and details has been sent out to those of you who expressed interest in attending my little Lord of the Rings: Till Your Eyes Bleed Extended Edition deal on Saturday. Looks like it’ll be a rather small crowd of about five or six people if everyone who was interested can make it.

No matter what, it should be fun. Prairie’s baked lots of cookies for us to munch on — the going theory right now is that if the screaming battle cries of the orcs don’t keep us all awake by the end of the last film, the sugar rush sure will.

See y’all then!

iTunesReverence” by Faithless from the album Reverence (1996, 7:44).