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


Sunrise

September 25, 2022


Elrond Peredhel

Spoilers for episode 5 of Rings of Power follow.

At the end of the First Age of Middle Earth the Valar had to decide what to do with the children of Eärendil the Mariner and Elwing. The kids, Elrond and Elros, had human and elvish ancestors. The problem was that elves and humans had very different after lives. The spirits of elves remained in Middle Earth, they were supposed to travel to the Halls of Mandos. There, after a period of reflection, they would be given new bodies. The only downside was that they'd have to remain in Valinor. Humans had a different fate, they'd make a brief pit stop in Mandos then leave creation. Not even the Valar knew what happened to them but since it was called The Gift of Men, we can assume it was nothing bad. Elrond and Elros were referred to as Peredhil, a collective word meaning half elven, and Eru told Manwë to make the call as to which peoples the brothers would be assigned to. Manwë, in turn, left the decision to the kids. Elrond chose to be and elf and Elros chose to be human. You know Elrond's history, Elros became the first king of Numenor and ruled for 410 years.

So then Elrond was referred to as Elrond Peredhel (the singular of Peredhil) and it was never meant as a pejorative. But in episode 5 High King Gil-galad, after unsuccessfully trying to get Elrond to break his oath to Prince Durin, calls him Elrond Peredhel and he's definitely questioning Elrond's loyalty to the home team. Those of us who've read The Silmarillion have no problems with bitchy elves, but if your only experience with elves came from the movies, the political intrigue in Gil-galad's court could come as a surprise. Put it this way, elves could be right bastards when they wanted to be.

September 24, 2022


At Last

I use Microsoft Sticky Notes a lot but I dislike seeing them on my wallpaper. There a necessary evil as far as I'm concerned. Yesterday I started Cyberpunk 2077 and saw my cat on the computer desk, so I took a screenshot and made it wallpaper.

As long as I only have one note it blends in with the wallpaper, that makes me happy.

September 20, 2022


The Frost Brood Proto-Wyrm

World of Warcraft: Dragonflight will be out by the end of the year and as part of the hoopla, people who completed the starter section in Blizzard's update of Wrath of the Lich King would get the frost brood proto-wyrm as a mount. Left to my own devices I wouldn't have had the patience to revisit the opening section of Lich King. I barely had the patience to do it 14 years ago when Lich King was first released. Fortunately Moon was there to guide me through the rough spots and with her help I got the mount. And I'm glad she was there to render aid because the proto-wyrm is a badass mount.

It was a shock to go back to an early version of World of Warcraft, and it was annoying sometimes as well, but with Shadowlands rapidly winding down I suspect we'll be spending more time in the past. and Stubbornik the Dwarven Death Knight might turn out to be too good a character to be abandoned.

September 18, 2022


Wombo Newton

I use an app called Wombo Art, it's a relatively simple AI that attempts to draw something based on a text prompt. You can direct it to use various styles and can also tell it to use a photo as a base. that's how I got the picture I use in Facebook.

Yesterday I decided to mess around with an old picture of Newton. Here's the cropped picture I used as the base.

I ran the picture through Wombo and used the paint filter and here's what it produced.

The cranky old man and his anime cat, that's about right.

September 17, 2022


The Rings of Power II

I'll say this for The Rings of Power, Patrick McKay and John D. Payne did something that Tolkien and Jackson couldn't pull off, they made the Orcs monsters. Tolkien's Orcs come off as upperclassmen in a British boarding school for boys hazing the new students. The Orcs clapped and hooted. "Can't take his medicine," they jeered. "Doesn't know what's good for him. Ai! We shall have some fun later." And then they pantsed Merry and threw him out of the car in front of the girl's boarding school.

But the Orcs in The Rings of Power are genuinely evil and that's a good thing.

September 15, 2022


The Rings of Power

Over at Tor Jeff LaSala has an article about the show from the perspective of a hard core Tolkien nerd:

Do I love The Rings of Power? Go not to me for a final opinion, for I will answer both “definitely” and “not wholly.” We’re three episodes in now, out of eight for the season. Am I enjoying it? Absolutely. For general TV viewers or fans of fantasy, it’s a worthy show on its own merits. For Tolkien book-nerds, who know much more about the Middle-earth lore that the show can’t or won’t include, some contextual adjustment is necessary for proper enjoyment. It’s difficult but not impossible to do.

It sums up my own attitude quite nicely.

September 14, 2022


At the Lighthouse

And that's the city of Gloomwood and that's as close to it as I'm going to get at least at this stage of the game's development. In this iteration of the game you get to travel in three areas, a fish processing plant, mines and the coastal path to the lighthouse. I get the impression that the whole thing is meant as a tutorial to prepare you for Gloomwood itself.

When I played Thief I used quicksave, a lot. I didn't have that option so between dying, spawning at a save point and getting lost on my way back to where I was it took me 12 hours to finish, but finish I did. Now I have to decide what to do next. As they add new content do I want to play it or wait for the full game to drop? But whatever I decide at least I still have my stealth chops reasonably intact.

By the way, in my original screen shot you couldn't seen much of Gloomwwood, I lightened it a bit.

September 11, 2022


The Slaughtered Goat

I'm going to assume that the name of the tavern is a reference to An American Werewolf in London. The devs have said that there's a boss in there but it's much to early to trot him out. At any rate reaching the place is an indication that I'm almost finished with the game. The devs said that most people finished it in two to three hours, I'm entering my twelfth hour. There's no maps and very limited save points so I spent a lot of time getting lost as I tried to backtrack to my last save point. That aside, I have been enjoying myself and I'm looking forward to the complete game. It really does channel the spirit of Thief.

By the way, I know I keep my monitor rather dark but Gloomwood is an especially dark game. It's night, the sky is overcast and until you make it to the town you're only reliable source of lighting is your lantern, and your lantern illuminates a very small circle. Thief by contrast was quite generous with its lighting. Gloomwood's lighting is probably more accurate for a society at a kinda/sorta mid Victorian level of tech but it's also a pain in the ass.

September 11, 2022


Cyberpunk 2077

As a matter of fact I did reinstall Cyberpunk 2077 just so I could get this cat as a pet.

September 10, 2022


A Little Jumpy

I have macular degeneration, my Dad had it too. Right now it's under control and Dr. Conners has cleared me to drive but I am a little jumpy about the whole thing. Today I was reading the Times book section and saw this book cover:

And had a brief but unpleasant freakout.

September 9, 2022


Grimwood

The Edison Standard Phonograph is not just there for atmosphere, it's a save point. So far it's the only save point I've found which means a lot of backtracking when I kill a guard. I's annoying but this is an early access game and when it's released the devs plan to make saving games easier. Save points aside, the game has the same vibe I got from Thief back in the day. You're a thief known as Doctor and you open in a fish processing plant that doubles as a prison, standard stuff for the opening of a game, The Elder Scrolls games used the break out of prison opening more then once if I recall correctly.

They've already made tweaks in the game, tonight I discovered a health syringe on a shelf that wasn't there yesterday. I expect more changes before I finish the one section of the game that's in early access. For right now, I'd say they're on the right track with Grimwood.

Update: Well what do you know, it really is Thief with guns.

Update 2:

It's four in the morning and I finally found another save point. This is a cabin that belongs to one of the guards. There are two windows in the back, you can break one and the guard will look around and then give up. You can then climb in and stab him from behind with your sword. Not the smartest npc I've ever encountered but who am I to quibble at this hour?

September 7, 2022


Peter Straub

It's been reported that Peter Straub died on September 4. His book Ghost Story has my favorite opening ever:

What's the worst thing you've ever done?

I won't tell you that, but I'll tell you the worst thing that ever happened to me...the most dreadful thing...

It doesn't get any better then that. I'm probably going to reread Shadowland after I finish Fairy Tale.

September 6, 2022