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


Power Station

I'm trying to get the last section of a password. The parts of the password are stored in three locked outstations on the island, so to get them I have to sneak into the power station and restore power to the door of the outstation that I need to enter. The video shows me leaving my tunnel and sneaking my way to the control panel of the power station. After that I'm afraid it got rather messy but I succeeded in unlocking the last door so, hopefully, I won't have to repeat this sequence again.

By the way, last night I learned something about Colt, the character you play in Deathloop, that surprised and disturbed me. To be fair, it surprised and disturbed Colt too, he remembers things between loops but there are a lot of things about his past on Blackreef Island that are inaccessible to him. The short version is that I am now motivated to actually motivated to finish the game. Of course Colt was always motivated to finish.

December 3, 2021


Honor Roll of Games 2021

Assassin's Creed Valhalla+
Cyberpunk 2077+
Assassinís Creed Valhalla: Wrath of the Druids+
Outer Worlds: Murder on Eridanos+
Control+
Mass Effect+
Mass Effect 2+
Mass Effect 3+
Assassinís Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris+
Far Cry Primal
Deathloop

I played 11 games this year, 12 if you count World of Warcraft, and finished 9 of them. The jury is still out on Deathloop. I started it in late summer, abandoned it for Far Cry Primal, realized that I truly dislike Far Cry Primal and since nothing else interested me I went back to Deathloop. That sort of thing happens a lot with me, I'll abandon a game and come back to it in a couple of months. Deathloop is still somewhat of a slog for me but I'm doing a bit better the second time around.

The Mass Effect Trilogy is the first time I ever replayed games I already completed. I recommend it you're into solo, science fiction RPGs. Speaking of which, Cyberpunk 2077 looked beautiful, but was ultimately disappointing. CD Projekt Red didn't come close to delivering the living, breathing city they promised. But if you lower your expectations it's fun and the bugs that made it unplayable, for me anyway, back in 2019 have long since been swatted.

Now some statistics, I played Deathloop for 84 hours. My first play though was over 50 hours which means the second is coming close to 40 hours. Most people finish it in about 30 hours but the game doesn't allow you to save your progress, instead it saves the state of the world when you enter your tunnels. Outside the tunnels you're allowed three deaths, after the third death the game loops to morning and you loose any items you picked up. In other words, yeah, I've been playing for 89 hours.

Cyberpunk 2077 weighs in at 115 hours, The Mass Effect Trilogy comes in at 126 hours but the game I really lived in this year was Assassin's Creed Valhalla, I played that for 229 hours. To put that in perspective, Steam tells me I played Skyrim for 203 hours. To be honest, I played Skyrim longer then that because I didn't link the game to Steam right away, but if we're talking verifiable play time then Assassin's Creed Valhalla is the new champ.

So that's my gaming activity for 2021. It's barely possible that I might complete Deathloop by the end of the year but I wouldn't bet on it. Never can tell though.

December 3, 2021


BFF

Newton and Chucky, they got a thing going on.

December 3, 2021


My Week

I dislike getting up early, unfortunately I've had to get up early all week for various reasons.

Sunday: Drove back from Sparta.

Monday: Picked up Newton from boarding and went to the retina doctor.

Tuesday: Plumber looked at dishwasher.

Wednesday: Car inspection.

Thursday: Balcony window replaced.

It may not seem like a busy schedule for you but it is for me. Added to that is my innate pessimism, I assumed every thing was going to be a disaster. But as it turned out, everything went fine, it's 10:45 in the morning and this week Beer Night is coming on Thursday as a reward. Anyway between this week and five days in Sparta for Thanksgiving I've been incommunicado until now. Such is life.

December 2, 2021


A Good Day

Yesterday was a good day, I was able to watch a show on Paramont+ on my television without it locking up. For the record Paramont+ on a technical level, is one of the shittiest services I ever dealt with and this year, if I wanted to watch a show on the app, I had to watch it on my computer. But not yesterday! In this case the show was Star Trek Discovery and while I'm willing to watch it on my monitor, it really needs to be seen on a big television. So that made me happy.

November 19, 2021


Test Results

CVS texted me the results if the Covid test this morning, it was negative and that was nice. Yesterday I also got my booster shot and I sort of feel like I have a low grade fever but without the coughing and sneezing. That's what happened with the second Moderna shot back in April so this time I was ready for it. It's unpleasant but it beats a ventilator.

In other random shit it looks like the new font is Garamond at 105%, so that's settled. And while Deathloop will never be my favorite game, I'm having more fun the second time around. Finally someone on TikTok made a jam session to the sound of Milo the cat drinking milk from a spoon. Every now and then the net is a magic place.

November 16, 2021


Covid Test

Yesterday I got a text from the woman who cleans for me twice a month, she tested positive for Covid. Since she was at my house last week and since I plan to go to Mrs. Silverman's next week I scheduled a test today at the CVS drive through. I was most concerned about one of the other guests coming to Donna's, she'll be bringing her baby along and I don't want to take any chances. CVS assures me that that people get their results in 1 to 2 days, in most cases. We'll see.

That was in the morning, in the afternoon I got my Covid booster shot. The first Moderna shot was quite smooth for me but after the second shot I took to my bed for a day so I'm curious about how my body will react to the booster. So far, things are mellow.

Meanwhile, I'll handle things with the steely calm I'm know for, obsessively going to the test result site every 15 minutes or so.

November 16, 2021


GTA Remastered

Before we begin yeah, I know, Deathloop. But as grindy as it got I never dreaded playing it, that's not the case with Far Cry Primal. I'm not saying FCP is a bad game, just not my thing. And since I get antsy without a solo game and there's nothing else that interests me, Deathloop it is. Meanwhile Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition. A remastering of the first three games and boy is it messed up.

Apparently the developers are going with the biblical flood weather model. The remaster is buggy as hell but at least you can play it on the PS5, Xbox one and Switch. You can't play it at all on the PC because the Rockstar Game Launcher imploded. Kotaku has the full story.

It seems that PC gamers discovered that music files were in the code, even though Rockstar no longer had a license to use them. And there were also comments by the developers left in the game files, not to mention code left over from a minigame in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas called Hot Coffee. It was a sex game and was disabled before the game was released to avoid an adult rating. Looks like CD Projekt Red is off the hookd for Cyberpunk 2077's launch. It was buggy as hell when it was released but at least you could play the damn thing if you wanted too.

November 14, 2021


Fonts

For about 20 years I've been using Verdana as my text font here, but since getting the new monitor it just looked too dark and blocky. So I'll be playing around with fonts for a bit, currently I'm using Tisa and I rather like it. Also, I'm open to suggestions, unless you're suggesting Comic Sans, then you're just being a prick.

November 14, 2021


House of Silk

These days, anyone can write a Sherlock Holmes novel, but Anthony Horowitz's House of Silk was approved by the Conan Doyle estate so it's kind of canon. I just finished it and I'm having fun imagining the reaction if Doyle had managed to get this published in, say, 1902. Meanwhile, it was a fun read.

November 12, 2021


Transmogrification

In World of Warcraft you can use a service called Transmogrification to skin your weapons and armor. They still have the same stats but if you have an outdated weapon that you think looked very cool, you can make your new weapon look like that one. I resisted Transmogrification for years as a point of pride but finally I broke down and skinned my current armor and weapon.

I look like a four year old who has been allowed to choose his own clothes for the first time.

November 11, 2021


Persnickety

Last night I downloaded Lafcadio Hearn's translation of Flaubert's The Temptaion of Saint Anthony. Hearn's is the first English translation and I grabbed it from Gutenberg because the one I have in my library by Kitty Mrosovsky seemed flat. Flaubert is an ornate writer, at least in that book and in SalammbŰ, that didn't come across in Mrosovsky's translation, although to be fair it's been ages since I read it. The short version is that I got Hearn's translation, started reading it, loved it and this morning I took it off my Kindle.

In theory, a book put on Gutenberg is in the public domain in America and has been transcribed from a good copy and proof edited. The copy of The Temptation of Saint Anthony was simply scanned. Book scanning software is imperfect at the best of times and I noticed enough mistakes to delete the translation. Amazon had a revised version of Hearn's translation for $7.99 and I went with that.

It's not that I couldn't follow the Gutenberg, it's just that the botched words (hooks instead of books) pulled me out of the flow. Some people get that flow state by running or exercising, I get it from reading and playing games, so anything that disrupts that gets shitcanned.

By the way, I grabbed the photo of the book I bought from Amazon for the page. The edition I bought for $7.99 via the kindle app on my phone is now listed for $1.99. Fuck us elitist smart phone owning bastards.

November 8, 2021


Far Cry Primal

I havenít really talked about Far Cry Primal, but Iíve been playing it on and off for about a month. Itís set in Europe in 10,000 BCE and you play a guy named Takar who gets separated from his tribe, the Wenja. He finds other Wenja folk who live in fear of another tribe, the Udam. The Udam are violent and cannibalistic, theyíre the bad guys.

I Played Far Cry 5 solo and did well enough but couldnít master flying planes. I played the gameís sequel, Far Cry New Dawn with Rolf and we completed it. And from time to time Iíd install Far Cry Primal and abandon it for something else. But thereís nothing else that interests me at the moment so Far Cry Prima

So here's 30 seconds of me walking to my cave. It's short and not in high def, 4K uploads slowly and I plan to use it sparingly, but I did want to show you guys that after about a decade of avoiding games that require me to build stuff, I'm slowly warming to that game mechanic.

So unless something unusual happens, or I get bored, Far Cry Primal will take me through the rest of the year. Perhaps the next time I try capturing an Udam settlement I'll record it an post it in 4K. Just remember the game is five years old so it's not going to blow you away.

November 2, 2021


Out of Print Books

One of the things I'm really grateful for is the easy availability of out of print books, at least the ones in the public domain. I grew up reading the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series and when that ended in 1974 my taste for out of print, public domain fantastic fiction was unfulfilled for a long time. I picked up the odd volume at long intervals but it wasn't until I discovered ereaders and Project Gutenberg that I was really able to indulge myself. Hell, as I was writing this I stumbled across The Romance of a Mummy by Thťophile Gautier.

Of course they'll always be book collectors who want the physical book but if you just want to read the thing and don't mind ebooks they you're living in a golden age.

By the way publishers in Europe have been told that they'll be no more paper for new books until next year. That doesn't mean bookstores will have on inventory, they just won't have the latest books. It's not that bad over here but paper is getting a bit scarce. So if you've always wanted to read David Copperfield, now would be a good time.

October 26, 2021


Angel Heart

It's been many years since I watched Angel Heart. I saw it tonight and think it still holds up. Say what you want, but Robert De Niro's version of Lucifer is the best one I've seen.

October 25, 2021