Contents

Caty and Cara's Page

Our Computers

Snapshots with Text

Essays for Fun

Ken Burch's Tales

Ken's Neocron Tales

More Neocron Tales

Secret Wars

Tales of the Walker Clan

Our Cast

Why Kevin Doesn't Dance

Writing of Mine That Doesn't Totally Suck

Stuff dl Thinks Is Cool

The Old, Old Grandma Story

The Final Battle

James' Photos

James Meyer's Birds:

Introduction

Photos 1 through 25

Photos 26 through 50

Photos 51 through 75

Photos 76 through 100

Reading

a book cover

Playing



alChandler's Halls



Serving dozens since 1999


Rescuing Baine

I don't mention World of Warcraft very much here but today I killed Warden Arkoban and rescued Baine, the leader of the Taurens. He's the bovine gentleman to my left.

At the beginning of the current expansion an underworld deity called the Jailer kidnapped leaders from the Alliance and the Horde and imprisoned them in The Tower of Torghast. In previous expansions a place like Torghast would be a raid dungeon requiring 40+ people to navigate it. But Torghast was designed for solo play. Unfortunately for me it kept kicking my ass. But last night I went to the auction house in Stormwind and found a level 198 halberd for 29,990 gold pieces. It was an absurdly low price for a weapon like that and between that and Moon's tip to break every vase I find in Torghast (breaking them releases energy that can give you temporary powers) I completed the first section of the tower and rescued Baine.

So right now I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

May, 14 2021


Swordplay

I haven't played Cyberpunk for a couple of days and felt like beating up some low level bad guys with my new kantana. Not only does it do a lot of damage but I have fairly good armor right now so I'm just having a little fun at their expense.

With enemies at my own level I wouldn't have been able to just charge in like that but these folks were no real threat and every now an then you have to indulge yourself.

By the way, I'm not big on implants but I got an ocular implant that automatically identifies threats, that's why the enemies are glowing red, it's convenient for me and reduces the chance that I'll kill a civilian by mistake.

May, 10 2021


Romance

In Witcher 3 you had the option of romancing either Triss Merigold of Maribor or Yennefer of Vengerberg. Since Geralt was having an erotic dream about Yennefer, I went with her and remained faithful to her througout the game. So I wasn't surprised that in Cyberpunk 2077 there are similar characters you can build up a relationship with. I ended up with River Ward, a member of the NCPD. I did have one other sexual encounter with a man back playing Dragon Age 2, but I was playing a male character. My version of V is female so this is a first for me in a role playing game. For what it's worth I'm handling it better then my neural hitchhiker, Johnny.

I suspect that Johnny's disgust is fueled by River's occupation and not his gender, it's 2077 after all.

May, 5 2021


Doctor Hellman

That's Doctor Hellman, the guy I rescued from the Kang Tao. I was asking him for information about the chip in my head that's killing me. After I finished, Takemura took over. As you can see, Johnny was listening in. He wasn't very helpful but at least we're not trying to kill each other so that's a good thing.

May, 3 2021


Mining Chia Cryptocurrency

Today I learned that there's a new cryptocurrency out there called Chia. Unlike other currencies, it uses your storage device to mine and because of the high intensity activity involved in mining your SSD can be damaged in short order. Great, another computer component that will vanish from store shelves.

May, 1 2021


Back in the Saddle Again

After almost two weeks I came back to Cyberpunk 2077. I was after a guy named Hellman who created the chip that's killing me. Aiding me in my attempt was a woman named Panam, fellow nomad. First I helped her with her problem, then we tracked down Hellman in one of those set pieces that RPGs throw at you now and then. It was a wonderful way to get back into the game.

I took off The Outer Worlds from the playing list because I haven't been playing it. The game is great but I can only concentrate on one game at a time. World of Warcraft doesn't count because it's as much of a social thing as it is a game. Moon and alChandler, spending the day in Azeroth, as it were.

Meanwhile, I have Hellman and tomorrow I'll question him.

May, 1 2021


Machinehood

I just started this book and it's giving me John Brunner/William Gibson vibes. Both authors wrote near future novels and did a good job of immersing you in their near future's culture. Machinehood looks like it can pull off the same trick.

Of course the downside of any near future novel or movie is that they become period pieces. We never got Brunner's version of 2001, or Kuberick's for that matter. But you don't care because Stand on Zanzibar and 2001: A Space Odyssey hold up as works of art. It's too early to say if S. B. Divya's book will hold up as well but she's off to a good start.

April, 27 2021


First Flight

April, 20 2021


FTP

FTP stands for file transfer protocol and back in the day that's how people shared files on the net. Last week it turned 50! When I got net access in 93 that's how people distributed files. Twenty eight years later and Chrome has stopped supporting it and Firefox will remove support for FTP with version 90. But dear me, I remember how magical it seemed to be able to download game demos from wuarchive.wustl.edu. Not that I'd ever want to go back to those days. It's just that I'm a bit nostalgic for the things of my youth middle age.

April, 18 2021


Rainy Weather

Blade Runner pretty much made it mandatory that a game in the cyberpunk genre has to have almost continuous rainy weather. But although gangs swagger though Night City almost unchecked and folks have customized implants, the weather is invariably sunny with nary a cloud in the sky.

Today I tried to figure out hacking and did a main plot mission that ended up as a rescue Evelyn, the woman who was responsible for getting the chip that's killing me implanted in my head. I was ready to call it a day when Regina, my contact in the NCPD, asked me to bring down a shooter hopped up on drugs. Since she's the only fixer I have any sort of relationship with I complied and took the poor bastard down. It turned out he was a corporate mercenary who got a little too old and was kicked out by his masters. Between drug abuse and PSTD he snapped. And as I contemplated the poor guy's fall, the weather finally cooperated.

Thought about putting some music from the movie's soundtrack but that would have been a bit much.

April, 17 2021


Nostalgia

Cyberpunk 2077 stores its screenshots in the C:\Users\Kosh\Pictures\Cyberpunk folder. In my younger years I used to explore my computer's folders like they were some kind of arcane text but I haven't done that in years. But since I've been in the pictures folder a lot recently, I started poking around and found this photo of Newton at six months:

I suck at taking pictures but these days my phone's camera compensates for my shaky hands. That still doesn't explain my subject matter. Of course there are lots of pictures of Jack, Cadbury and Newton; but there's also strange stuff like this picture of the pewter mug New Jersey gave me for my 20th anniversary:

I'd love to find out what I was thinking.

April, 17 2021


Trash Heap

Most of the screenshots I've seen taken from Cyberpunk 2077 emphasize the neo noir Gibsonesque aesthetics of the more inhabited parts of Night City. But this is also part of the 80s cyberpunk future. Riding to a deserted part of town and rooting through a trash heap looking for an item that's valuable to someone.

And I suspect my current quest line that has me chasing all over the city is designed to expose me to the various environments in Night City. This particular area reminds me of the northern parts of the New Jersey Turnpike. Just drive up the Parkway until you pass Perth Amboy and take the exit to the Turnpike and you've crossed over to Night City.

April, 15 2021


Armor

The good news is that V finished tonight's session with much better armor. The bad news is that it looks like this:

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of those games where the look of your armor has nothing to do with its effectiveness. Of course I had a character in World of Warcraft Named Satoribob with the same problem. He got armor upgrades that were, shall we say not flattering.

Of course the folks in Night City and Azeroth may have their own sense of style.

Update:

Several hours of play later and V has a more menacing look. She's useless for hacking and stealthing, at least right now but she's pretty good with guns. She just hit level 10 and it's probably time to drift back to the main plot.

April, 15 2021


Book Buying

That's Doctor Talos, a character in The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's from a $195 illustrated edition published by the Folio Society, an edition that I wanted once I saw Sam Weber's version of the good Doctor.

Almost all my books for the last 13 years have been ebooks and the last time I spent a lot of money for a collectible book it was a multivolume edition of Shakespeare published in 1787, an edition that I like having on my shelf but one that I don't actually read. But dammit, I want this two volume edition and I've banked my last two refunds.I'm going to pull the trigger.

April, 14 2021


The Verdict on Cyberpunk 2077

Switching to .mp4 format fixed the seven second black screen problem so streaming will continue at my normal erratic pace. According to Steam I played Cyberpunk 2077 for 10 hours last year before abandoning it as unplayable. Unplayable by my standards, lots of people had fun right out of the box. I've played the version with the 1.2 patch for 12 hours and I've been having a good time. Hell, now that I've got some of the systems down I've been having a great time.

So here's a video of V breaking up a robbery:

I got some money and weapons from the prematurely deceased robbers and I get to ride one of their motorcycles. I won't be able to keep it but I can probably get another one. And when I get the chance I'm buying one of these things. If you're gonna suck at driving, drive something that's fun, that's what I say.

April, 11 2021


Motorcycle!

After I did this video I realized that OBS saved stuff as .mov files by default. YouTube prefers files in .mp4 format. I switched the default save format in OBS to .mp4 and we'll see if they look any better on YouTube.

Meanwhile, I hate driving in games because I'm not very good at it. But I saved a guy from being killed by a gang and discovered two motorcycles left behind. For the first time in awhile I decided to take a risk and rather then fast travel back to my apartment, I took the motorcycle. I don't know if it will show up in my list of vehicles the next time I play but even if it doesn't I'd kind of like to get one of those things. By the way, there's a black screen for five seconds before the video starts. Damned if I know.

***

Good New: Saving movies in .mp4 format eliminates the black screen at the beginning of the video.

Bad News: I lost my stolen motorcycle.

April, 10 2021