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!


Return from the North

Donna's daughter Caty came over on Saturday with a strep throat in tow. Donna was feeling a bit off on Sunday and I'm feeling the same today, sick but not sick enough to see the doctor.

In spite of ill health we all went outside at one in the morning early Sunday to see the eclipse:

I'm sure that the 7° weather helped everybody's health.

Meanwhile, I fired up Hellgate London on the laptop. I didn't play very much in Sparta but I did install it on Kosh when I got home. The game was a big disappointment when it came out in 2007 but it's cheap on Steam and if you're not expecting too much it's fun. So between that and Farcry 5 I think my winter gaming needs are satisfied.

So, now I need to consider food. My stomach's a little sour but it will do me good. Then early to bed.

Oh yeah, one more thing, DSL sucks. Just saying.

January 21, 2019


As My Birthday Approaches

You know, it's finally hit me that things are as good as they're going to get for me. And while I tend to obsessively worry about a lot of things I think I'm giving myself leeway to enjoy myself a little. I'm not going to go crazy, but five months ago I bought a dishwasher and a garbage disposal and this month I'm getting a new television. For most people that's modest rate of consumption but for me it's almost profligate.

By the way, I told Greg at Level Up that I was getting a new set. He asked what size set I had now and I told him 36 inches. I could see he had this image of TV night at my house.

So yeah, I'm looking forward to a new set.

January 17, 2019


Just Messing About

I spend a lot of time in Far Cry just goofing off, sniping at trucks owned by the cult as they go by. The cult is nice enough to put their logo on their trucks to make then easily identifiable to the resistance. Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much branding.

At any rate, I haven't posted anything about Far Cry to YouTube. I've remedied that.

Ideally, the next video I post will have a point to it.

January 16, 2019


The Music Box

Today I watched The Music Box a 1932 Laurel and Hardy short. When I was a kid, television stations were required to show a certain amount of programming for children and the local New York stations would pass off Laurel and Hardy shorts as children's programming. So I saw The Music Box many, many times in the early 60s.

You might have seen it, it's the one where Stan and Ollie have to deliver a player piano up a ginormous flight of steps, wreaking havoc on themselves and pretty much everything around them. The destruction builds to an absurd level and if you want to check it out it's available on line.

I don't really laugh at comedies, most of them anyway, and I didn't laugh at The Music Box as a kid. But I watched it tonight for the first time in years and while I didn't laugh I snorted a few times and kind of snickered, that's rare for me. I suspect it has something to do with Far Cry 5 and the parallel between the absurdist violence on the highways...

...and what goes on in The Music Box. In fact, in 1929 the team made a short called Big Business about two Christmas tree salesmen who get into a dispute with a home owner that escalates into the apocalypse. By the way, the enraged homeowner was played by James Finlayson. He was in a lot of Laurel and Hardy movies.

January 16, 2019


Mayhem

Far Cry 5 isn't a great game and sometimes it's not even a good game. Still, I am amused when over the top stuff like this happens. It's like Mad Max crossed with a clown car.

January 15, 2019


This is a Fucking Disgrace

January 15, 2019


Far Cry Update

While I'm having a good time in the game, I can see why it was on sale for $25 when it had been out for less then a year. There were problems with the AI, the story tried to take itself seriously but the writing just wasn't there and the thing locked up and crashed to the desktop too often. For $25 I'm not complaining, but I'd be pissed if I had bought it for $60 last March.

But I have a rocket launcher and that makes up for a lot. I also discovered that I'm on wanted posters which is a nice touch.

January 15, 2019


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Retorts

Politico had an article about those Democrats who are getting peeved at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She gave a rebuttal via Twitter:

January 11, 2019


Random Gaming Notes

If the only online game store you patronize is Steam and you've been eager to get your hands The Division 2 you're out of luck. The Division 2 will only be available via Epic's store and Uplay. About time Steam got some competition.

***

Speaking of Epic, What Remains of Edith Finch is free there for a bit. It's an incredible game and you should check it out.

***

Tomorrow the Demo for Resident Evil 2 unlocks. Here's the catch, it's a 30 minute demo, at the end of 30 minutes the demo ends and you won't be able to replay it. Should you die in the demo, say at the 20 minute mark, you can start again but you'll only have 10 minutes of playtime left.

***

Finally, some information about Dragon Age 4. It's at an early stage but it s being developed.

January 10, 2019


The Second Character

For my second character I designed someone who looks a bit more like me, bit being the operative word here. He's much better armed then the previous character, I made enough money from Arcade mode to purchase a sniper rifle for him. That rifle came in handy during a side mission to kill some bears that were getting into an orchard. Bears were hard to kill for the previous deputy but with the rifle I was able to head shot them without taking any damage. So that's where I'm at right now.

January 10, 2019


Things I Wish I Knew: Far Cry Edition

There are gun shops in Far Cry 5 with weapons that are far too expensive for me to buy. Today I learned that there's an arcade mode in the game where you can play maps designed by other players. And you get money for playing, money that can be used to buy stuff in the main game. I wish I had known that when I quit the game last night in a rage and uninstalled it. I reinstalled it today and now I have over $3,000.

Nice to see that the passion that led me to uninstall Neocron, break the disk and then buy another copy of the game and reinstall it still exists in my decrepit body.

January 9, 2019


Driving in Far Cry

I suck at driving in games, always have going all the way back to Autoduel for the Commodore 64:

But I knew I'd probably have to drive something in Farcry 5 and today was the day.

I rescued a federal agent who was investigating a link between Joseph Seed, the cult leader, and a foreign power. Evidence was on a VHS tape that was going to be delivered to Seed. The sequence began when you found the fed and gave him medical attention. You got in his truck and from there you went to a ranger station. He sent you in to kill everybody, once it was safe you found out a helicopter was coming in to pick up the guy with the tape. So you follow the helicopter in an ATV four wheel thingy, then follow the copter again when it picks the courier up. Once the helicopter lands at a safe house you kill everybody and retrieve the tape.

I crashed the ATV early on but was able to follow the copter by foot to the pick up point. Then I grabbed a truck but I kept crashing it in the woods following the helicopter. I finally gave up the mission, restarted and this time I grabbed the ATV and was able to follow the helicopter. I did drive straight into a lake but it was the only misstep. The second time I found the safe house, killed the cultists and got the tape.

So whatever else happens in this game, I completed one mission that required driving. That makes me happy.

January 8, 2019


Comforter



For Christmas, Marie gave me a Doctor Who comforter that I graciously decided to share with Newton.



It is no longer my comforter, although he's willing to share sometimes.

January 7, 2019


Anthem

IGN posted a 15 minute movie of one of the missions in Anthem, Bioware's upcoming multiplayer squad based game. Obviously I'm not the target audience for this game but I wasn't even able to sit through the whole video. But to be scrupulously fair, I have a hard time getting through Fortnite and Destiny videos too. I'm actually hoping the game does well for EA, if Anthem tanks then Bioware will be stripped for parts and shut down.

January 6, 2019


Everything is too Complicated

That's the title of this article in the Verge:

I wrote this last year, and it still holds true: think of the tech industry as being built on an ever-increasing number of assumptions: that you know what a computer is, that saying “enter your Wi-Fi password” means something to you, that you understand what an app is, that you have the desire to manage your Bluetooth device list, that you’ll figure out what USB-C dongles you need, and on and on.

For me personally some things have gotten easier and other things are much harder. Setting up my Echo was a snap but I haven't the foggiest idea what's going on behind my television set. But I remember something an IGT tech told me over at Showboat. He was talking about his parents and how they were constantly screwing up their computers. He said, "If it was important to them they'd learn it." Twenty years later that still holds true.

January 6, 2019


Boomer

The dog's name is Boomer, I'll get to him in a minute.

For most of Saturday I played Diablo 3. They brought back their recreation of the original game, apparently it's going to be a January tradition. So I went down to Hell and killed Diablo. And to be honest, I wouldn't have brought it up except for what happened at Blizzcon last year. They teased a big Diablo announcement and naturally the fans were expecting Diablo 4. Instead they got Diablo Immortal, a phone game being developed by NetEase for Blizzard.

The fans booed the announcement and the Blizzard guys seemed surprised. Personally I thought that was an example of gamer entitlement myself, however Ben Kuchera over at Polygon wrote:

Blizzard wasn’t ready for the immediate, and overwhelmingly negative, fan reaction to the announcement of Diablo: Immortal. And interviews after the controversial press conference indicate that the company may be confused about why fans are so angry.

“The way I’ve been kind of looking at the mixed comments is what those folks are really saying is they desperately, passionately want the next big thing,” Allen Adham, executive producer and Blizzard co-founder told Polygon in a previous interview. “So I actually think that those two items are being conflated ... It’s pretty clear to us that there is a huge audience around the world that is gonna love this title. So hopefully we’ll get there.”

I disagree with this assessment, and it ignores the expectations that Blizzard itself has spent decades creating in its fans.

Maybe. Anyway the Diablo Immortal thing was sort of on my mind for a bit but was pushed aside by my eye problem and the holidays, so I just thought I'd mention it. Now on to Far Cry 5.

After killing Diablo, I booted up FC5 and decided to go to Rae Rae's Pumpkin Farm. Rae Rae was broadcasting via ham radio that there was trouble at her place and after killing Diablo I felt ready for it. The short version is that Rae Rae was dead, there were cultists at the farm and they were about to take Rae Rae's dog, Boomer, away to wherever for dog fighting. I killed the cultists, rescued Boomer and now he's my friend.

You know, I played Assassin's Creed Odyssey for three months and the combat there was up close and personal. But in Far Cry 5 I'm getting shot at by people under cover and I'm taking more damage then I should. It's been a long time since I've had to get under cover and scope out the situation. It will come back to me and I can tell that Boomer will be a help, at least while he lives. I'm not heartless, I don't plan on sending him to his death but I don't know what Bommer's AI is like. He killed several cultists that came to the farm after I killed the first wave. He also chased a cougar away so maybe he'll be all right.

In Fallout 3 you could get a pet dog named Dogmeat. However Dogmeat wasn't very bright and died quickly. They brought him back in Fallout 4 and flagged him unkillable. He was my companion for the entire game, I only swapped him out for another NPC when I had to. Maybe Boomer will be like that.

Update: Since I last wrote, I liberated a food packing plant, so now I have a base of operations. I think I'm getting the hang of this. And I sent Boomer back to his home temporarily. He would have been slaughtered in the crossfire. I'll pick him up later.

January 6, 2019


Turkey Shoot

I just wanted to see if my aging brain remembered how to do audio commentary with my videos, apparently I do. By the way, the gun I'm carrying is a semiautomatic, yet it took two bursts to kill the turkey. Either I'm an incredibly lousy shot or the turkeys in this game are goddamn bad asses.

Update: I just gave the video a look, I missed the turkey by a mile the first time.

January 5, 2019


File for Later

I have no immediate use for this picture but I'm sure it will come in handy sooner or later.

January 4, 2019