I’m a NaNoWriMo Winner – 2016!!!

*WHEW*

I did it. I completed the challenge! Even with being behind by about a week, I put my fingers to the keyboard and typed them raw, LOL

My final word-count was 50,020 words – and that’s perfectly fine with me. I’ll see if I can get the damned little widget to work; if not, no biggie! I see that number and am quite satisfied. It’s been a long month in more ways than one, and I’m glad that it’s over!

My poor brain is fried, so I have nothing clever to say – so I’ll just play some music, shut my brain off, and do some gaming for the rest of the day! Check out my Twitch channel if you want to watch me do some AvA action. I’ll get around to reading, writing, and re-blogging later on. Enjoy the mid-week music in the meantime…later, ‘gators!

Soggy Saturday!

It is sprinkling lightly outside right now, but has been raining since late afternoon. There was a brief respite from the precipitation yesterday – the sun was actually out in the morning! Shocking to see at the height of the “rainy season,” but certainly welcome. Temperatures here have only varied by five degrees between the daytime and nighttime hours since the end of October; that finally changes this week when the lows get down to all of 45F, while the highs stay in the mid-50s. Hopefully it will cool down enough to kill the algae that have stalled the crabbing season!

I’m missing out on delicious Dungeness, which I usually consume while watching football games – and having a nice dish of fresh, steamed crab would have made the Huskies win during yesterday’s Apple Cup that much sweeter! The “big Dawgs” destroyed the mangy Cougars 45 – 17, and I was pleased to see it happen. I always support my purple and gold! At least my football teams are doing well; the Huskies won handily, and the Seahawks have made a good, strong showing so far – I’m hoping that they keep up what they’re doing! Some trades made this week by the Mariners have me shaking my head in disbelief yet again, so MLB’s Spring Training will be something that I watch a little closer than usual – I want to see if those trades were well-made, or if the manager is just throwing darts at trade options and hoping for a hat-trick! So many players who have been traded out end up on teams that win the World Series, while the Ms still struggle to grab that golden ring! Now that the Cubs finally ended their drought, will it be 50 years before the Ms do anything worthwhile? Time will tell…

I’m behind on my NaNoWriMo word-count, but not feeling bad over it. Remember when I said that the local utility district did well with clearing out dead trees and branches before the storms hit? Well, that was true – there have been no power outages related to the weather, at least here…but, there was an outage yesterday that was solely caused by some moron in a pickup truck taking out a power-pole. The idiot must have been “pulling an Anthony,” since he missed a turn in the road that is easy to navigate if you’re actually paying attention to said road, and the road wasn’t wet. The accident happened around 2 p.m., but the power was taken off at 5:15 p.m. for the repairs to be made. I’d say that the power was out for a good 12 hours, so that cut into my writing time considerably! Typing by the light of a candle or kerosene-burning hurricane lantern is doable, but the smoke from the candles and lantern build up after a while. So, it was the perfect time to cuddle, snuggle, and spoon, and then catch up on sleep that has been lost since starting this NaNo challenge! My brain on overdrive causes horrible insomnia and makes me grouchy; combine that with being around family after the election and before the holidays, well…suffice to say, it isn’t a recipe for positivity! So, the blogging award that I was going to post will be deferred until I complete the NaNo challenge. I’m still prioritizing, but the likelihood of getting to that 50K word-count in four days is pretty slim. Good thing I didn’t bother buying any of the merchandise declaring myself a “NaNo Winner!” At the very least, I can give myself an “A” for effort and following the “honor system” of the challenge. I read the rules and stuck to them, and didn’t ask a soul for assistance. I think that’s pretty damned good, right there!

Time for some weekend music…enjoy!

Thursday Thoughts: Thunderstorms & “Thanks-for-taking” Day!

Wow – what a busy week it’s been! This is why I try not to schedule too many things, because Murphy’s Law and the many variations thereof invariably interfere. For example – when is the last time that you heard of a child being born on schedule? I mean, a kid born exactly on their due-date, without the birth being induced? I know of none, personally, and I know a lot of women who have kids – hell, I’m one of them! I only have one, though…I quit while I was ahead, LOL!

Anyway, I’m technically a great-aunt, now! One of my husband’s nephews got married a couple of years ago, and he and his wife brought a baby boy into the world a week ago, so we went to welcome the newest member of the family over the weekend and returned on Monday. The good thing about the timing; it made it easier to beg off any invitations to ‘holiday’ dinners, so I won’t be forced to choke down someone else’s dry turkey or disgusting sweet-potato pie! I’m not a fan of either, but that’s another topic, ROFL

The weather has been insane around here all week – high winds, torrential rains, and more thunderstorms! I tend to associate thunderstorms with Midsummer weather, not in late autumn / post-Samhain, literally a month before the winter Solstice / Yuletide. As I type this, the rain has eased up for the first time since Tuesday afternoon, and there a thick blanket of clouds is hiding the sun. The thunderstorm on Tuesday night didn’t wake me up at all, but the one last night was intense! Bright flashes of lightning lip up the room, even with the blinds drawn. I could even see some of the flashes with my eyes closed, and the thunder seemed endless; some peals even rattled the windows…and I loved every minute of it! The storm raged for a little over an hour, I think – heavy rain, lots of hail, and wild winds. Lots of unstable atmospheric conditions this season…and winter is still a month away.

Speaking of unstable things, the racist trolls have decided to come out of the closet since the electoral-college selection of the Drumpf, whether they live in the U.S. or not! I can’t and won’t pretend to be surprised over it – the psychotic and sociopathic cowards now feel empowered to spread their hate anywhere and everywhere they wish, spewing their mental and verbal diarrhea in an almost obsessive fashion. In light of that, I placed some links in this post that might be of assistance to those of us who find ourselves under attack, overtly or covertly, by the nazis that frequent the interwebs. I still think that the best way to deal with them is to take screen-shots of their hate and abuse, and report it whenever and wherever possible. Responding to them directly is an exercise in futility and validates their pathetic existence. I refuse to engage them or feed them, personally; it is a waste of time and energy from what I see. Sometimes I let them hang themselves with their own words – letting them shoot themselves in both feet is a lot of fun, since they can’t seem to help themselves. I don’t ban them, but I don’t bother engaging them in conversations, either.

With that, how about a bit of music? Please, enjoy these selected songs. On a final note, find something to be thankful for EVERY DAY, not just one shameful day of the year! I call this day “thanks-for-taking-day” for a reason, and explained this some time ago. If you know why, great – it shows that you’ve been paying attention. If you don’t, oh well…c’est la vie!

Ah, Sharon…

Sharon Lafaye Jones: 4 May 1956 – 18 November 2016

I had a couple of posts ready to publish, including a blogging award nomination…but then, I saw this headline. So, in lieu of what I was planning on posting, here’s my little tribute to the late, great Sharon Jones, lead singer of the soul and funk band which had her name at the head of its title: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. She battled pancreatic cancer for a number of years, finally succumbing to the disease today at the age of 60. From the New York Times:

Sharon Jones, the soul singer and powerful voice of the band the Dap-Kings, died on Friday of pancreatic cancer that had been in remission but returned last year. She was 60.

Ms. Jones’s death was confirmed by Judy Miller Silverman, her publicist. She said Ms. Jones was surrounded by members of the Dap-Kings and other loved ones when she died.

She continued performing throughout the summer, even while undergoing chemotherapy that she said caused neuropathy in her feet and legs and restricted her movements onstage. But Ms. Jones remained undeterred.

“Getting out on that stage, that’s my therapy,” Ms. Jones said in a New York Times interview published in July. “You have to look at life the way it is. No one knows how long I have. But I have the strength now, and I want to continue.”

The summer tour promoted “I’m Still Here,” a single with the Dap-Kings that detailed Ms. Jones’s birth in a brutally segregated South, a childhood in the burned-out Bronx, and a career hampered by record executives who considered her “too short, too fat, too black and too old.”

Ms. Jones was that rare music star who found fame in middle age, when she was in her 40s.

In addition to working as a correction officer at Rikers Island and an armed guard for Wells Fargo, Ms. Jones, who had grown up singing gospel in church choirs, initially dabbled in professional music as a session singer and the vocalist in a wedding band, Good N Plenty.

After meeting Gabriel Roth, the producer and songwriter also known as Bosco Mann, Ms. Jones made the leap from backup singer to main attraction. Desco Records released her debut 7-inch vinyl single, “Damn It’s Hot,” in 1996. She was 40.

With the encouragement and songwriting of Mr. Roth, who co-founded the Brooklyn soul and funk revival label Daptone Records and serves as the bandleader of the Dap-Kings, Ms. Jones’s full-length debut, “Dap Dippin’ with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings,” came out in 2002. She would go on to release four more studio albums and two compilations on the small label, a point of pride for the fiercely independent Ms. Jones.

“A major label’s going to do what?” she said to Billboard last year. “I sing one or two songs, they give me a few million dollars, which they’re going to want back, and then the next thing you know, the next record don’t sell, and then they’re kicking me to the curb. With us, this is our label, this is our project.”

Sharon Lafaye Jones was born on May 4, 1956, in Augusta, Ga., though her family lived just across the border in North Augusta, S.C. In “Miss Sharon Jones!” the singer recalled that her mother had needed a cesarean section, but because of segregation in the Jim Crow south, she was not allowed in the hospital’s main unit and was instead relegated to a storage room.

After her parents separated, Ms. Jones, the youngest of six children, moved with her mother to New York and was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. “But New York in 1960, no peace to be found,” she sang on “I’m Still Here.” “Segregation, drugs and violence was all around.”

She went on to attend Brooklyn College and acted in “Sister Salvation,” an Off-Broadway play, before turning her focus to music.

With her late start, Ms. Jones recorded and performed at an unrelenting pace, and in the last year and a half of her life she made two albums, opened two national tours for Hall & Oates, was featured in a television commercial for Lincoln (performing the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider”) and starred in “Miss Sharon Jones!,” a documentary about her life.

The film traced her life from the diagnosis of Stage 2 pancreatic cancer in 2013 through her triumphant return to the stage in 2015. Ms. Jones is survived by four siblings, seven nieces and three nephews.

I saw her on The Colbert Report when she was promoting her album titled “I Learned the Hard Way,” and immediately bought it on CD. I absolutely loved her old-school style of recording and the sound evoked on her album, and the energy that she poured into her songs and on-stage performance were infectious. She idolized James Brown, and was called the female version of him due to her “roaring voice, frenetic energy, and gregarious personality.” She used music as a form of therapy for her cancer diagnosis, which was eventually classified as Stage 4 and metastasized to her lungs, liver, and lymph nodes – the pancreas is one of the lymphatic organs, from what I recall of med school and related biology and physiology courses.

Rest easy now, Sharon…you shall be missed. You join the pantheon of the greats – you deserve to be in their company, as you certainly earned it. Jimi, David, Prince, and many others await your presence…and give James a big-ass hug!

I’ll close with the three songs that I enjoyed the most, from the first album of hers that I bought. I’m definitely going to purchase the others before the month is over.

Thursday Thoughts: 17 November 2016

Wow – this month is just over halfway over, already! What with the recent election and doing my best to meet the daily word-count challenge of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been insanely busy – but it is enjoyable, believe it or not! I didn’t assume that the challenge would be easy…after all, if something is easy, then it can’t qualify as a challenge, now, can it? I will say that it is a worthy challenge, so I’ve been adjusting my writing schedule as needed, so as not to be overwhelmed or frustrated. One cannot force inspiration, and if I’m staring at a computer screen blankly, with nothing coming to mind, then trying to push myself isn’t going to work. Those are the times I unplug from the computer completely and do something else! My “unplugging” is why I’ve barely been able to keep up with even 1/10th of the blogs that I follow! Apologies to my friends and acquaintances for my absence…I at least try to “like” posts here and there, even if I can’t comment as much. The month will be over before I know it, though, and things can get back to some semblance or normalcy…whatever that is!
XD

Speaking of gaming, there is a “free play” weekend promotion going on for the game that I’m hopelessly and shamelessly addicted to. It’s so free, you don’t even have to purchase The Elder Scrolls Online game. Simply click on this link for the details – if you have a Steam account, then you’re halfway there! I do notice though, that many gamers (including myself) definitely have a preference of the genres that we play. Me, I like the MUDs and RPGs, whether they’re MMOs or not. I also like the “collect & build” games, including StarCraft, Command & Conquer, and Total Annihilation. The only FPS-types that I liked were Half-Life and Half-Life 2…it doesn’t hurt that I’m actually in one of those games – at least I can admit my favouritisms and why, LOL

In honour of Skyrim’s newest version recently being released, and the free-play weekend going on, I figured that I’d add the links of my three favourite “Clueless Gamer” clips from Conan O’Brien’s site, TeamCoco.com. They are some of the funniest things that I’ve ever seen, so why wait for Friday to watch them? Thursday has been called “Friday Eve” by myself and many others for a few years, so let’s get the weekend started early, and on a fun-filled note! I hope that you enjoyed the hidden links scattered about, and that the five songs at the end of the post get you dancing around. Later, gators!
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Conan O’Brien: Clueless Gamer – “Skyrim” review

Conan O’Brien: Clueless Gamer Big Game Showdown – “Mortal Kombat X”

Conan O’Brien: Clueless Gamer – “Final Fantasy XV” review with Elijah Wood

Post-Debate Midweek Music!!!

This can now be called “Post-Election Mood Music” – I think that it’s fitting!
I also included the most recent episode of “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver…enjoy.
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Eyrie Of An Aries

It’s time for some midweek music…post-debate edition, LOL! Enjoy…

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Named People Magazine’s 2016 “Sexiest Man Alive”

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GOOD BLACK NEWS

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson named People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" (photo via twitter.com) Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson named People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (photo via twitter.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to usatoday.com, actor/producer and former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has just been chosen by People Magazine to be this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive.”

Not since Denzel Washington was chosen in 1996 has a man of African-American descent earned the title.

“I thought, ‘Wow, we’ve pretty much reached the pinnacle,’” Johnson said, reacting to his new moniker. “I’m not quite too sure where we go from here. I’ve done it all, this is it.”

So what does he think makes him so sexy?

“Ah, a sense of humor,” he said in the story. “And I think probably just not trying to be sexy and just being cool and confident in your movies. I think with a lot of my fans, I’ve gotten to a very, very cool…

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R.I.P., Gwen Ifill…

Gwendolyn L. Ifill: 29 September 1955 – 14 November 2016

Ah, me…the last person who inspired me to study journalism passed away today. Gwen Ifill, award-winning newscaster, political reporter, and author, succumbed to complications of uterine cancer at the age of 61. From the New York Times:

Gwen Ifill, a groundbreaking journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most prominently, PBS, died on Monday at a hospice in Washington. She was 61.

The cause was complications of uterine cancer, her brother Roberto said.

In a distinguished career, Ms. Ifill was in the forefront of a journalism vanguard as a black woman in a field dominated by white men.

She achieved her highest visibility most recently, as the moderator and managing editor of the public affairs program “Washington Week” on PBS and the co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of “NewsHour,” competing with the major broadcast and cable networks for the nightly news viewership. They were the first all-female anchor team on network nightly news.

Last spring, she and Ms. Woodruff were the moderators of a Democratic primary debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders, reprising a role that Ms. Ifill had performed solo between sparring vice-presidential candidates in the 2004 and 2008 general election campaigns.”

She was a huge inspiration for me in junior high and high school, especially after I began volunteering at, and then working for, the local radio station in the little community that I lived in at the time. She, along with Walter Cronkite and Paul Harvey, were the people that I looked to for facts, honesty, and humour in the news and daily life. Looking to them, I learned that facts are always important, even if the truth is ugly and difficult to digest. Ms. Ifill, however, filled me with a sense of confidence and pride. Seeing someone that I could relate to gave me hope that I could achieve similar goals. She was someone who taught me steadfast resilience, and gave me the courage in refusing to let others dictate what I could accomplish. She exemplified many qualities that I strive for on a daily basis, including exceeding other peoples’ low expectations. She spoke of this, and other things in this excellent interview in Mother Jones:

For a decade, Gwen Ifill’s been a fixture on PBS’s Washington Week and The NewsHour, the mild-mannered staples of capital-S serious TV news. “You may not see me tweeting soon,” she confesses, but she says she’s happy to see bloggers burst the Beltway bubble. Mother Jones caught up with Ifill during a schedule packed with nightly shows and a national tour for her new book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. Ifill shared her thoughts on moderating Sarah Palin, being spoofed by Queen Latifah, and checking the rabid fervor of Obamamanics: “Calm down, people…Prepare to be disappointed—that’s almost inevitable.”

Mother Jones: In your book you describe politics as like sandpaper, moments of friction that rub up against one another and then we reach a smooth new place. Is that politics in general or specific to racial progress?

Gwen Ifill: I think it speaks to politics in general; the degree to which it’s unique or specific to racial politics is that race is itself the ultimate sandpaper in our culture. So if you take the conflicts we are used to dealing with, race over the years in America, and you combine that with the desire or aspiration to political power or taking power from other people, which is what politics is all about, you end up with a lot more friction than you would normally see with just straight-ahead politics. It’s a very complicated and ever-changing evolution, race and politics in this country, because of the history of the nation as well as the nature of politics.

MJ: What’s it like being in more than 3 million homes each night? Do you take particular care to reach a broad audience?

GI: I think I would do that no matter what I was doing. Even though I am in television now, I spent my career trying to speak to the broadest possible audience whether it’s in print or whether it’s in television. Because I would never work for a niche publication or a niche program on television and because I am a journalist and not an opinion person, my job is to try to see how many different points of view I can represent or how. It’s not even a question of who you don’t offend because you are always going to offend somebody. The question is how can you get people to listen to the information you have to present. You don’t do that by telling them, My way or the highway; this is what I think. And you don’t do it by saying, Let me just talk about this one slice. Barack Obama didn’t get elected president, would never have been elected president, had he decided to run as a black candidate. In order to reach the broadest number of people you have to speak to their interests as broadly as you can.

MJ: And yet cable news at least is full of pundits, and from Rush to Rachel, there’s a definite personality worship going on. Is opinion taking over, and what does that say about the role of the media?

GI: I don’t think it takes over, but it’s different; they do a different job than I do. I don’t think if you ask Rachel Maddow if she’s a journalist she would say she is. Jon Stewart doesn’t say he’s a journalist. Sean Hannity, I don’t know what he’d say, maybe he goes back and forth. But to me it is really incumbent on us to be as clear in our definition as possible of what we mean when we say media. Because media could be anything. I think it’s great to have a vibrant and lively public debate out there about points of view, as long as you’re willing to listen to the other side, too. I don’t see myself as a pundit and I take great pains not to be one because I always want to consider that the other guy might have a point, too. Otherwise, I couldn’t do my job. So I don’t think it’s taking over. I just think we as consumers of information media must be very clear what it is we are consuming. Whether we are choosing to get our information by listening to people fight about it. Or whether we’re choosing to get it by listening to the facts or watching the facts as they’re laid out and then reaching our own conclusions. It’s very different ways of info gathering, but it’s not all journalism.

MJ: Have Americans come to rely more on punditry versus reportage?

GI: I hope not. I don’t think so. I think that, for instance, and this isn’t punditry per se, but people who laugh at Jon Stewart. I have a lot of college students say to me, That’s all I watch. I guess I am supposed to be dismayed by that, but I’m not, because in order to laugh at Jon Stewart you have to understand the underpinnings of the joke. You have to know who Nancy Pelosi is; you have to have your basic information. That’s true for a lot of people who watch shout shows. They are also getting their information from someplace, their basic information. Some of it is flawed, some of it is not. But at least they’re taking it in, which for, you know, pre-cable I went to college at a time when people weren’t even reading the paper. So I want them to be getting some sort of engagement, even though it might not be the kind of engagement I would choose to give.

MJ: Shout shows?

GI: Shout shows. People who sit in different boxes and yell at each other. I call it more heat than light.

MJ: Do people just want to be told how to interpret events as they happen?

GI: Some people just want someone to agree with the conclusions they have already reached. I don’t think people are looking to make up their minds on these shows. I think they’ve already made up their minds. If you’re watching Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow, you have probably already made up your mind what you think, and you want someone to say, Doggone right—that’s what I thought. [Laughs.] You know, we praise people who agree with us. But that means they formed their opinions somewhere else. There’s nothing wrong with having reached your conclusions about your opinions; it’s just not what I do. And I don’t think everyone, I don’t think most people are that hard and fast. Rather, there’s that sponge-like quality. They want to know more.

MJ: The PBS ombudsman said of The NewsHour that he finds it “sometimes too polite, too balanced when issues are not really balanced.” What do you think he means by “too balanced”?

GI: In the media universe we’re in, where there are people screaming on one end, there is no problem at all with having a little bit of extra politeness. At the NewsHour, our goal is not necessarily to be polite but to be respectful, of various points of view. Now, what we struggle with sometimes is the notion of false equivalency, which I guess is what he’s alluding to, the idea that you have engaged an evenhanded debate when there is a clear point of view that is unchallenged. I can’t think of an example, but that is one of those endless inside journalism debates we all have.

But at The NewsHour we really think our role is to vet as many points of view as possible, put as much information on the table as possible, and assume, I think correctly, that the people at home are willing to take that information and make up their own minds. We’re never going to say, This is the truth, or, This is the end, this is the way you should believe. We like to think that maybe, just possibly, conceivably, people are smart enough to make up their minds for themselves. I have time after time after time found that to be true. That people are engaged in, that people want to be engaged in getting the information but they don’t necessarily always want to be told what the conclusion ought to be. And The NewsHour is very—we are very careful with our prize, which is an hour of commercial-free time every night, to go as deeply as we can into subjects, to lay out as many, sometimes five points of view about a single thing and try to just lay it all out there for viewers to make their own conclusions. And our viewers are really smart. They really do figure it out on their own; we don’t have to lecture them.

MJ: Alternately, The NewsHour has been criticized for catering to the right and center more than to the left. What is your response?

GI: The joy of The NewsHour is that we’ve been criticized for catering to everybody. The right is as unhappy with us as the left; the middle is as unhappy with us as either the right or the left. And after a while you don’t spend a whole lot of time pulse checking for who’s been criticizing you today and do the best job you can on a certain day, and one day you will displease one side and another day you’ll displease the other side, and hopefully you’ll displease them all at once on occasion.

MJ: I guess that means you’re doing your job then.

GI: Yeah, that’s my thinking.”

Rest in peace, good lady – you were a huge inspiration and a shining star in my life. You will be sorely missed during the next few years…your intellect, fairness, and sense of justice is needed more than ever, these days.

Monday Scenery…Sepultura’s Screen-shots!

A little re-blog of some of my in-game screen-shots with an excellent song included. Enjoy!

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Sunday Screen-Shots!!!

Just re-blogging some in-game screen-shots today. I’ve met my daily NaNo word-count challenge, so it’s time for some relaxing, evening gaming! Enjoy the live, online broadcast.
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Eyrie Of An Aries


Standing proud

Ah…it’s another nice, serene, relaxing Sunday! I’m doing a little bit of gaming; moderately annoyed and frustrated by the inability to broadcast, or even record, some of the best AvA action during the weekend, but oh well…that’s what happens when utilizing that useless OS known as Windows 10! Whoever thought that Windows 7 needed to be “improved” needs a light tap on the cranium with a 25# sledgehammer, IMHO.

Anyway, enjoy some of these recent screen-shots – I love the way ESO has been evolving in the relatively short time that I’ve played it, and I look forward to the launching of One Tamriel!


Drawn bow


Brandishing a sword


Vigilant on destriers


Kali & Shiva


Waiting at a wayshrine


Avoiding a zerg-swarm


Happy smile


Surly snarl


Pouring a little drinky


*HIC*


Strumming a lute

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