Tag Archives: Littl

Dude Review: The Lost Hero

by Richard

The ancient gods of Western civilization have withdrawn from the world following the epic events detailed in the Camp Half-Blood books, starring Percy Jackson (son of Poseidon), by author Rick Riordan.

Of course, just because the gods say they’ve withdrawn from their interactions with mortals, well, that doesn’t make it true. Knowing those gods as we do, through myth, legend and a great series of books, we can be pretty sure there’s still some godly meddling going on.

And there is.

In The Lost Hero, the first book of a new series called The Heroes of Olympus, we’re introduced to a whole bunch of new main characters, most notably Jason, a half-blood demi-god with little to no memory of his past, a strange tattoo on his arm, and a metaphorical target plastered on his back.

For now, let’s all get down on our knees and thank those self-same gods that Rick Riordan is back with another book set in the same universe as the magnificently wonderful Percy Jackson and the Olympians books. This truly is a cause for celebration. To me, the Percy Jackson books are what Harry Potter would have liked to have been if he had any ambition at all. They’re full of fantastically complex characters, fast plotting, tight action scenes and genuine emotional heft. These are books that all young dudes would love to read or have read to them.

Both my oldest (Sarcasmo) and youngest (Hyper Lad) young dudes loved these books. Zippy the Monkey Boy, who’s of the opinion that a book without pictures is a waste of paper, preferred to read the graphic novel version and leave it at that. His loss.

Anyway. Back to the book.

Riordan takes a bit of a chance with this book, consigning as he does, Percy Jackson to, if not limbo, then at least the literary equivalent thereof. That is, Percy Jackson does NOT star in these books. He’s talked about and missed, but he’s not actually on stage. The main player here is Jason, who’s memory begins on the back of a school bus on his way to a class trip with two people who may or may not be his girlfriend and best friend.

The action here is fast and furious, starting early and pausing only to let the reader catch his breath before barreling headlong into another adventure.

Jason, you see, isn’t like the other children of the gods who inhabit Camp Half Blood. In fact, his appearance at the summer camp for the children of the gods causes quite a bit of consternation among the staff there, and not a little bit of fear. But what is it about Jason’s very existence and attendance at the camp that’s causing this level of panic?

That, dudes, is the question. And it’s got a great answer. (Of course I had it figured out, but, then again, this is written with the younger dudes in mind. The fact that I and most other older dudes can enjoy it is just a happy bit of synchronicity.)

The Lost Hero is a fantastic read. If you’ve got a young dude or dudette who is even the tiniest bit interested in Greek and Roman mythology, likes fantastic adventure and well-developed characters, then you must get this book. Without question, this rates five (5) dudes out of five.

Buy it. Read it. Enjoy it. Then suffer along with me until the next book in the series comes out.

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Maturation Transmigration

by Richard

I’ve got a theory here, based on some recent observation. I’m beginning to think that there’s only a finite amount of maturity in each family, maybe even the world, which would go a long way toward explaining some recent-ish behavior here on the Jones Compound.

You know the old theory about how this sort of thing works. As a little dude grows up in to a young dude and thence into dudehood itself, he andor she gradually matures, taking on adult responsibilities and eventually quits doing stuff like, oh, just to pluck an example out of the air, deliberately annoying someone just because you know it’ll make him andor her mad. It’s called growing up and, no matter how much we might dislike the idea, it’s something we all do. Eventually. I hope.

Over the last year or two, I’ve been seeing a lot of that maturity out of one of my young dudes, who shall remain nicknameless. It’s actually quite amazing how much he’s matured this last little bit. I was looking forward to having two mature young dudes in the house and seeing them exert a beneficial effect on the youngest little dude. It was going to be great.

Here’s the deal, though.

As the one young dude has grown and matured, the other young dude (obviously not Hyper Lad) seems to have regressed. It’s almost as is one of the dudes has been siphoning off maturity from his brother.

Hyper Lad, who’s all of 11, and the regressing young dude keep getting into almost knock-down, drag-out fights over, literally, nothing. I don’t know about you dudes, but it’s a bit disheartening when I’ve got to appeal to an 11-year-old to be the mature one in a fight with a brother who can already drive.

I’m not sure what else we can do other than pointing out the inconsistency and hoping the older young dude’s still-growing frontal cortex will eventually kick in and start regulating his behavior. Or maybe he just needs some more space. Like, for instance, going away to college. I know living four states away from my sister did wonders for our relationship.

Of course, if my theory is right and there’s only a set amount of maturity for each family, that could also explain my obsession with Cartoon Network and be the reason my favorite sentence these days seems to be “So’s your face.” Or maybe that’s just me.

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More Than A Rooster

by Richard

So, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I roll up into the bustling metropolis of Conway, SC, and the first thing that comes to my mind is to roll down the windows and listen for the sound of dueling banjos. ‘Cause, dude, if I hear the first string pluck, I was so far gone out of there they wouldn’t even know we’d been there.

Fortunately for us, the hard-pounding, deep, throbbing (you know, I might have been away from home and the loving comfort of the arms of She Who Must Be Hugged for a bit too long) bass line coming from the car’s speakers drowned out any unelectric stringed instruments.

The hotel I’d picked on the internet was located off the side of the, and I used this word advisedly, highway all by itself. I mean, it was the Bates Motel done in post-modern Soviet bloc architecture. Still, the room was air conditioned and relatively clean. Good news.

Now here’s where I talk about how dumb I can be. I’d looked up Coastal Carolina University and knew it was relatively near the beach and located in Conway. What I didn’t do was to look about 15 miles east. Turns out, the university is right next to Myrtle Beach. Motto: Just like Daytona, only smaller and with fewer redeeming values. Still, Zippy the Monkey Boy and I did have a good time wandering around and seeing what was what. But more on that later. It’s long past time to talk about the tour.

To start with, the campus is small. Beautiful, but small. Which was not a bad thing. With only 8,000 or so students, it was a good size. Zippy was immediately taken with the scenery, the buildings and the fact that the university actually owned it’s very own barrier island set aside purely for marine science research for the students. Now that got him excited.

I was excited as well, but mostly because I’d just hit the part in the CCU brochure that talked about how much it cost to send an out-of-state little dude there for school. It’s, well, it’s a bit of a shock. Still, I did like that they showed some extensive work on possible scholarships offered there. These merit scholarships are given automatically to kids who are accepted and meet certain marks on the SAT, GPA and other abbreviations and suchlike. Something to shoot for.

What impressed me most, however, was the size of the dorm rooms. Those things had 10-foot ceilings and three beds inside each two-person room. I know. I was depressed at first, as well. I figured they were going to be stuffing three dudes in a two-dude room. Turns out, they offer the extra bed as a (and, no, I’m not making this up) guest bed. Just in case. The students can send them back and get an extra desk if they want.

Our tour guide this time out was fantastic. She was erudite, engaging and did a great job of communicating the enthusiasm she felt for the school.

All in all, it was a great visit and leaves Coastal Carolina University high up on Zippy the Monkey Boy’s list of schools he’d like to attend. We also learned something new. Coastal Carolina University’s mascot is the Chanticleer. The thing looked like a rooster, but Chanticleer? Never heard of it. So we looked it up. Turns out Chanticleer was a rooster, known from certain fables, mostly those surrounding Reynard the Fox (a Germanic and French folkloric trickster).

And now you know. And knowing is half the battle.

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