Sunday, July 15, 2012

More MERPcon Video

As long as I'm posting links to footage of me talking, I might as well include this video, also from MERPcon IV (Spokane, 2008), in which Michael Martinez and I do a Question & Answer session that runs 1hr 14 minute & 58 seconds. While I have a clear memory of my 'Brief, Sad History' piece -- having written it, practiced delivering it, and then later posted the text online -- I had only vaguer memories of the Q&A, since it was unscripted and I didn't have any record of its contents.

Until now. And, even though there are some technical glitches with the audio track, I found it interesting to watch an event I took part in but which I didn't remember in any detail. The theme of the conference was Tolkien's dwarves: hence a number of naur-centric questions. Among the topics Michael and I tackled were Egyptian and Hebrew analogues to Tolkien's dwarves, the sudden (circa 1930) shift of dwarves from an evil to a (mostly) good people in the legendarium, my naming Feanor as the most evil of all Tolkien's elves, any sources of mithril outside Moria, the Hobbit/Silmarillion connection, Thor analogues in the mythology, Orcs (and the names "orc" vs. "goblin"), King Bladorthin, the location and population of Dorwinion, the 1960 Hobbit, and our (then-)current projects. I'm glad to say I'd pretty much give the same answers again, though given the chance I'd look up various points rather than have to remember them on the fly. And I found the precision of Michael's knowledge on a wide array of points impressive, as well as enjoyed his ideas (the Egyptian/dwarves connection was interesting and new to me).

It's true the wayward audio track does make for some difficulties: the sound cuts out altogether perhaps a dozen times, but rarely for more than a minute at a time, and many for about fifteen seconds (especially the latter ones); the main exception I noted occurs at 13.45 and lasts until 19.30, or for almost six minutes. These skips cause the sound track to get ahead of the video track but don't affect the comprehensibility of the thing much. If you find the skips bothering you, I advise opening a second window with something browsable but not of absorbing interest which you can click on when the sound cuts out on the Q&A, then go back to the MerpCon video when the sound comes back. That's what I did anyway, and found it worked pretty well (a strategy I borrowed from my wife, who plays solitaire or Carcassone while listening to NPR on her Ipad).

Here's the link to the video of the Q&A:

--John R.

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