5 Friday Faves: “Author! Author!” Edition

LOL – see what I did, there? I used a movie title just to draw attention to this post, which is really about my five favourite writers of fiction! I read quite a bit, and have a long list of writers whom I admire and always look forward to their latest writings. They’re also great in that their older works are worth re-reading from time to time; like a nice, classic outfit, they never really go out of style.

I had to think long and hard about these writers, but was finally able to come up with why these specific five are awesome! I’m not doing a numbered list this time; instead, I have listed them in order by their last names. I’m listing past and present writers, as two people on this list are deceased. With that disclaimer, here we go!

Octavia Butler (22 June 1947 – 24 February 2006): Octavia Butler is still one of my favourite authors, even years after her untimely death. She was a science fiction writer, earning multiple Hugo and Nebula awards for her many excellent books. She was also the first science fiction writer to earn the MacArthur Fellowship, which is nicknamed the “Genius Grant.” I have all of her books, and I think it is time to pull them off of the shelf and give them a re-read! I usually go five years between re-readings, so that the stories are somewhat fresh. One can never have too many books, I think.

Harlan Coben: I happened upon this author when I was browsing the shelves of a bookstore that sold or traded used books. I was looking for some Jonathan Kellerman and Patricia Cornwell books, and since books were listed by genre and alphabetical order (by last name, of course), I saw Coben’s name just ahead of Cornwell’s. The title of one book caught my eye, so I took it along with the other selections that I’d already made – very glad that I did! I love a good mystery / psych-thriller, and his writings are perfect. He sprinkles funny lines in his tales, similar to Stephen King, and does quite well at throwing in unexpected twists that might keep most people guessing until the last page. I don’t think that I have all of his books yet, but I’m certainly working on it!

David Gemmel (1 August 1948 – 28 July 2006): David Gemmell was a phenomenal writer, and I enjoyed his books immensely. His untimely death in 2006 almost spelled the death of a series he was in the middle of working on; fortunately, his wife was able to do it justice and complete the works under a joint authorship. She did quite well, I have to say! I have all of David’s books, and again, must pull them off the shelves and give them another go – starting with Legend, of course.

Stephen King: Stephen King is the author whom I’ve been reading for most of my life. I think that the first short-story of his that I read was the one about the little toy soldiers that come to life and kill the head of a company. I was eight when I read it, then was re-introduced to his writings in 6th grade. He slowly overtook Piers Anthony and V.C. Andrews during my junior high years, and then firmly established himself as my favourite author for close to seven years. It was around that time that I was introduced to this next author’s writings by a close friend.

Dan Simmons: I had finished reading Octavia Butler’s Kindred and was talking with a friend about good sci-fi novels. He had just finished reading Hyperion and was starting on The Fall of Hyperion, so he lent me the first book – I was hooked from the first page! When I went to the local bookstore to look up what else he had written, I was pleased to see that he wrote horror and mystery novels as well. In fact, he has won multiple awards, including the Hugo, the Bram Stoker, and the Locus, to name a few. I have most of his books, if not all of them…and, I have a tattoo of the Shrike. It’s just fitting, for me!

Fun Friday Facts: My 5 Favourite…

This “5 on Friday” post is about my five favourite British comedies, inspired in part by the “Whovian” post I did a few weeks ago. They are listed in reverse, from fifth to first…so, let’s get to it!

5. Red Dwarf. This sci-fi-based comedy was accidentally introduced to me by my two older brothers during a Friday Dungeons & Dragons game-night. We had the TV on when there was a break in the action and were dealing with the minutiae of experience points, levels, and divvying up of treasures. One outburst of “Oi, you smeg-head, get me a smeggin’ curry!” from the television speakers made me whip my head around to see what the hell was going on, and I was promptly hooked! That show was hilarious, and I wish it would get the re-airings that it deserves. It just might, now that I think of it!

4. One Foot in the Grave. This sitcom was about an elderly gent who was forced into retirement. Curmudgeonly Victor Meldrew drives his wife, Margaret, to distraction as he wanders about the house and tries to stay busy while she goes to work and keeps up the bills. He’s a decent enough sort, but never seems to get on well with others – try as he might! An Aussie friend of mine introduced me to this show about 15 years ago and I’m quite glad that he did. I have the whole series on DVD so I can watch it at my leisure, and enjoy it just as much now as I did when I first watched it. It’s funny, poignant, and deliciously dry – in short, it’sgreat!

3. Absolutely Fabulous (AbFab). Most people here in the States only know of the show because of the movie which came out last year, but I first saw AbFab on Comedy Central just before Y2K. Blame my Aussie buddy for turning me on to this hilarious sitcom about two boozing, drugging, party-hearty broads who hate the idea of getting old! Patsy and Edina act as if they’re high-schoolers getting up to all sorts of antics, driving Edina’s straight-laced daughter, Saffron, mad with their shenanigans. That series will be the next one purchased on DVD, as soon as I’m able!

2. Blackadder. I had been a fan of Mr. Bean, but knew nothing of the conniving and cunning Edmund Blackadder until a co-worker at one of the radio stations I worked at introduced me to that series. He lent me the first two seasons to take home and watch – they were still on VHS at the time – and I howled with laughter! That show was only aired on PBS during their annual fund-raisers, so didn’t get to watch it as much as I wanted to back then, so I bought the entire series on DVD to view whenever I wish!

Finally, the number one spot on my list goes to The League of Gentlemen. This show shouldn’t be confused with the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, as they are completely different animals! It aired on Comedy Central not long after AbFab was taken off; again, my Aussie buddy encouraged me to give it a chance, and I’m glad that he did! The little town of Royston Vasey has a unique population, to say the least. The only answer to the question “Are you local?” is “Yes!” This show was warped,dark, demented, and insanely hilarious – emphasis on “insanely,” LMAO! Of course, I simply had to get the series on DVD, and I even recorded one of my favourite lines from it on my phone so that people hear it if they call me and get my voice mail. One of my sisters had called the other day, and all I could hear was hysterical laughter on the voice message! She wasn’t expecting to hear what she heard, and it definitely took her off guard. My sense of humour isn’t compatible with most others, for sure!

This post wouldn’t be complete without at least one clip from each of these shows. A bit of laughter is perfect for this fun Friday, and the best way to start the weekend off with a smile. Enjoy!

Monday Musings: Review of an Interview

I re-read this, and decided to repost it for my “Mid-week Musings!”

I still maintain that the best way to ensure a good blogger-to-blogger interview, is to ACTUALLY READ THE BLOG of the person that you plan on interviewing. It’s obvious, yes?

Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

Ah, interviews! Pretty much anyone of job-seeking age has gone through an interview of some sort, whether it’s a job interview, a pre-application review for a school or college, interviewing for a club membership, or interviewing with a military recruiter after taking the ASVAB. Those are mainly formal and/or professional interviews, which always have a certain format and tone, and certain expectations are of higher demand from the interviewer and the interviewee. The resume is what the interviewer uses to glean information about the applicant, while also having a formulaic list of pre-written questions. The interviewee has the added expectation of researching the company or organization he or she is applying to, and is questioned on the applicant’s knowledge of same. This is usually to determine if the applicant is truly interested in being an employee or member.

Another type of interview is the casual, informal one generally seen on…

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Tuesday Tidbits: 2017 Gaming Edition

All right, it’s that time of year again! With the anniversary of the release date of The Elder Scrolls Online looming (4 April), I figured that a gaming post was long overdue. I’m only really playing this game at the moment, so these are the only gaming updates that I do. Sorry, nothing about Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, Fallout 4 or Overwatch, here!

ESO Live did their first broadcast of 2017 on Friday, 27 January, and today they had a special broadcast for an announcement that has been at work behind the scenes – it was hinted at during PAX West 2016, but I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with the announcement!

First off, ESO will finally introduce in-game player housing, adding another layer to an already multi-layered, in-depth, and immersive game. I did some noodling on the Public Test Server (PTS) and like what I see so far! It will be very nice to have a private, secure area for guild-meetings, duels, crafting, or role-playing story arcs. The various homes available are nicely varied, with some located inside city walls, and others are out in the wilds, offering beautiful scenery to inspire you whilst decorating.

Friday’s broadcast showed off some of the buildings and decorations some people did; I have to say that I was impressed with the creativity and dedication on display! There were some great designs and layouts – click here if you’d like to take a look at the broadcast. I’ve met and spoken with four of the six people that you see; they were pretty cool and easy to talk to when we saw them at the gaming convention.
Last but not least, today’s announcement was about the very first expansion being added to ESO – not just a DLC, but a full expansion pack which introduces a much-loved land to the online multi-verse!

*insert annoying fangirl scream*

Here’s a little background: Skyrim, the game that I started playing The Elder Scrolls with, is officially titled The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I have played TES III: Morrowind and TES IV: Oblivion as well, and enjoy Morrowind almost as much as I do Skyrim. Well, in June of this year, Morrowind will be joining the world of ESO, adding an entirely new land to explore – but, a land that will be quite familiar to those of us who have played this series for a while!

A brand-new character class is being added with this expansion, along with new armour and weapons styles, mounts, pets, and emotes. Also, for the first time, the ability to own a pet that will actually fight at your side, not just run around in circles! The vanity pets are a lot of fun, but they don’t do anything that assists your character. Conjured familiars are only around if you conjure them, and are limited to three types – and, only sorcerers have the conjuring ability.

The trailer for the expansion isn’t as good as previous ones, IMHO, but it is still decent. I’d venture to say that the in-game graphics are better than the ones in this trailer! I’d say judge for yourself, but I have yet to find any other ESO gamers in the blog-o-sphere, LOL

Anyway, the release date of the expansion is 6 June, mere months after the addition of player housing – that happens this coming Monday, the day after Super Bowl Sunday. I have to say that I’m happy for the extra things to explore and enjoy over the next few years! Gaming is one of my hobbies, and it keeps me occupied and entertained. Travelling anywhere outside of the U.S. might have to be put on the back burner for a while – hell, even travelling INSIDE the U.S. could be treacherous! I figure that I’ll explore the new lands that my game has to offer, and “travel” from the comfort of my home.

Monday Musings: Review of an Interview

Ah, interviews! Pretty much anyone of job-seeking age has gone through an interview of some sort, whether it’s a job interview, a pre-application review for a school or college, interviewing for a club membership, or interviewing with a military recruiter after taking the ASVAB. Those are mainly formal and/or professional interviews, which always have a certain format and tone, and certain expectations are of higher demand from the interviewer and the interviewee. The resume is what the interviewer uses to glean information about the applicant, while also having a formulaic list of pre-written questions. The interviewee has the added expectation of researching the company or organization he or she is applying to, and is questioned on the applicant’s knowledge of same. This is usually to determine if the applicant is truly interested in being an employee or member.

Another type of interview is the casual, informal one generally seen on TV programs or the internet, or heard on radio stations. These include news interviews, “round-table” discussions, or late-night talk-show interviews. The format and tone of these are a bit different from the formal or professional ones, as the tone is set by the interviewer. The interviewer can do as little or as much research on the interviewee as they feel like doing, which can lend to a lop-sided, selective, and biased atmosphere. The interviewee has little to no control over the ebb and flow of the interview, as the questioner either responds with good follow-up questions, or takes cues on his or her whim.

This seemed to be the case with a recent blogger-to-blogger interview that was done between the Well-Red Mage and myself, published on his blog on 16 January. Some background: last November, on his blog, he said that he wanted to do informal interviews on other bloggers with the same interests as he has: namely, video games of all types, and animated TV shows and movies, including Japanese anime. I indicated that participating sounded like fun since I had read a few of the interviews that he’d conducted, but I was participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge so wouldn’t be available until December. The December holidays would also add to any delay on his end, since he’s a married father of two with another on the way. I indicated via email that doing the interview after the 1st of the year would be just fine. I thought that would offer plenty of time for him to check out my blog and read a few of the posts that I’d done about gaming, my computer issues and music. I felt that any discussions about anime TV shows or movies would be brought up during the interview, since I have written on that subject in the past, and have commented on other anime-related blogs. Needless to say, I was mildly disappointed! I guess that I set my expectations too high, especially after reading the other well done interviews of other bloggers. They got the grade-A treatment; I seemed to only warrant a C-minus effort, at best.

For example, the length of time it took to even get the interview started. We exchanged a couple of emails to figure out the best medium for the interview, and finally decided on Skype IM. No need for a camera, which was ideal for me. Skype can also be used on a cell-phone, so I wouldn’t need to be tied to my computer. I thought that IM would be quick and easy, but it was tedious because of the interviewer choosing to ask only one question per day. The interview took from 6 – 14 January. Eight fucking days to do something that could have taken an hour at the most. Time difference wasn’t an issue, as a person who lives in Alaska or Hawai’i is an hour or so behind me, not two or three hours ahead, as are most of my fellow online gamers.

On top of that, on the second day, I was doing some gaming and had Skype running in the background. The little indicator showed that Mr. Mage was ‘online / available.’ He asked one question, then nothing more during a four-hour period. I was doing some AvA in my MMO, but could easily have taken a break to complete the Q & A session. I sent two messages after my initial answer, in the first hour, in an attempt to give a cue that I was prepared. Not one reply came back the entire time I was on, and no other question was asked until I logged back on the next morning. Talk about disrespectful! Still, that was my first clue that the interview wasn’t going to be pleasant, and adjusted accordingly.

Next, the questions were just not at all what I expected, and some were essentially repeated, using different words. The tone of the questions was one of disinterest, as they were tossed out in a cavalier way – and, in a couple of instances, he answered the very question he asked by adding a statement after a question. Definitely not the attitude of a person who is interested in similar hobbies, nor one who took the time to read my blog and see what other subjects are mentioned there. Compared to the good interviews that he did here and here, the one that I participated in was less than satisfactory, from my perspective.

It seems to me, that, for whatever reason, this individual really didn’t want to interview me, but made a half-hearted effort to do so only because he said he would and wanted to get the obligation over with. Since the questions asked were apathetic, I pretty much ended up giving apathetic answers. I would rather have had no interview than the seemingly disinterested one that I was subjected to. Sure, I could have just said, “you know, I think that you aren’t really feeling this interview, so you’re off the hook.” But, I think that adults should be able to be honest and say something like, “You know, I said that I would do this, but I don’t think that I can. I’m just not into your blog; you don’t talk about gaming or movies as much as I do, so we have nothing in common. No hard feelings, okay?” That would have been honest and perfectly acceptable. As it is, I just think that the whole thing was pretty lame. At any rate, I copied the entire conversation to a Word document, only editing the names to reflect our respective blogs. That will help me answer any questions that anyone who read the interview, and this review of same, might ask. Who knows? One of my followers or readers might have an interesting perspective of their own to share! That would be pretty cool.

*** UPDATED 24 January 2017 ***

Well, the interviewer was displeased with my review and deleted the interview from his site – the link goes to “page not found!” The unedited version, which is time-and-date-stamped, is now in the comment section of this post, as well as in the ‘Open Thread & Comment Policy’ page of my blog. This way, you can see what I was talking about when it comes to the length of time between questions, and why I felt that my time was being wasted.

Saturday Screen-Shots: In-Game Fashions

I took a few screen-shots of some of the various costumes that have been added to my favourite MMO, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO). These costumes are a bit of fun, and have the added bonus of your ability to ‘dye’ them any colour you wish, as long as it is a hue which has been ‘unlocked’ by specific achievements that you accomplish in-game. The more you earn, the more colours that you have to play with! The outfits are perfect for guild events and other role-playing activities, and sometimes it’s just fun to head to the battlefield in your finest gear, or look appropriately noble when you challenge some low-born, scurvy dog to a duel, LOL

The costumes, initially, were only available when you hit certain levels. Others are articles of clothing which you find in containers throughout the lands that you explore. With the addition of the Thieves’ Guild, finding these clothes is a bit more challenging than it used to be – guards don’t take kindly to people rummaging through the desk drawers in the bank! The newly added Crown Store offers many more options than there used to be, with some being limited-time offers! There is also an option to preview anything that you might want to buy, so you aren’t stuck with a costume that doesn’t look the way that you hoped it would. Mounts and pets operate in the same fashion – they are for personal customization, as well as a little harmless vanity.

Not that this post is an official review, but the costume option is one of the many reasons why I love this game. The variety and diversity are pretty much unmatched, compared to other games that I have played in the past. Only Ultima Online (UO) was or is comparable, but the graphics of TESO are phenomenal, making it much more visually appealing than UO – although, to be fair, UO was an excellent MMO when it first came out, and I played it for over 10 years.

With that, on with the show! I used my own descriptions for the outfits below, and have dyed them with some of my favourite hues. Coordination is crucial, after all…

Silken gown with beads and bone

Formal aristocratic gown

Noblewoman’s high-collared ball gown

Noblewoman’s long-sleeved formal gown

Gauzy tavern entertainer’s outfit

Casual riding outfit

Close-up of bone necklace and beading detail

One of many of the hundreds of books found throughout the land – know your lore!

Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

I’ve seen this movie multiple times in the past, and will purchase it soon to watch in the near future. If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it. It’s a necessary, timely reminder.
Definitely not for the faint of heart and / or the weak of mind.


“September 21, 1945… that was the night I died.”

If someone were to ask you for an example of the power of animation, what would you say to them? I would say “Grave of the Fireflies“.

Anime may be a category of animation which is plagued by bizarre ridiculousness all its own but Grave of the Fireflies is a testament to the impact an animated film can have. It is the most powerful of all films in the Ghibli canon. It’s realism and tragedy are so potent that I would have to agree with the late critic Roger Ebert who said:

Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation. Since the earliest days, most animated films have been “cartoons” for children and families. Recent animated features such as The Lion King, Princess Mononoke and The Iron…

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Loneliness – Guest Post…

I usually don’t promote the books of others, as requests for assistance with mine have gone unanswered – but, this one is worthy!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog


We fear loneliness, so we’re often frightened of being alone and place little value on solitude these days. Many people seem to feel singleness is a parlous state to be criticised or regretted, though so many people live alone these days. We live in a world that is becoming more and more intrusive and the intrusion more acceptable. The ease with which we can connect with family and friends tends to increase our dependency on others. Everywhere we look, people are hugging their phones to their ears or texting a message to someone, clinging to their instrument, as though it will allow them to actually touch the correspondent.

LonelyBut are we depriving our children of the opportunity to be independent and enjoy their own company? Previous generations of children were usually expected to play with the other children on the street or amuse themselves with their siblings or on their…

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Friday Funtime: Geeking Out! * UPDATED *

All righty, here it is – the review of my shiny new computer, after having it for nearly a week…it rocks! It kicks complete ass! It’s a fantastic dynamo of a machine, and I’m more than pleased with its performance – you could say that I’m elated, LOL!

First off: the look of the ‘tower’ that contains the componets. It is shorter and wider than standard towers, which adds more room for air circulation – needed when you’re running an AMD A87-600 Kaveri Quad-Core Radeon R7 GPU! Those things run HOT. The intake fan on the front of the tower is much larger, and the vents on the top and rear help keep the system much cooler for a longer period of time. Clear panels on both sides let me look in and drool over all of the components, especially since there’s still room to expand the memory from the current 16GB, and the 1TB hard drive will handle ALL of my games, videos, photographs, and anything else!

My take on the look, all-around? It makes me think of a Dodge Charger or Challenger, as it is black with a red racing-stripe. It looks as if it’s saying: “Let’s go kick some ass in PvP!” Think of the nose of a Peterbilt or Kenworth semi-truck, and that is probably a more accurate description – but I like it! I need a little Mack bulldog or some Dodge Ram horns to stick on the top, LOL!

Secondly: the performance. Speed? Hell, yes. It powers up quickly and is whisper-quiet – with 7200 rpms, you can’t go wrong! It’s powered by a Smart Series 600W 80 Plus Bronze – nice to see the lights not flickering when I power it on, LOL!

No more crashes when I log on to my blog, or view other blog sites. No more crashes when I’m trying to save an image to PhotoBucket, or uploading a gaming video to YouTube. My Plays.TV live-stream just MIGHT work, this time! I’ll test that out on and off this weekend; I just have to dig out the notes I’d taken during my previous tests to remind myself of how to get the online broadcast running.

Finally: the monitor. 27-inch, curved Samsung…I can’t get over the clarity of everything that I view! Blogging is much more pleasant; I don’t feel as if I have to squint to see the screen. There is no glare from the window next to me, even though the sun is shining brightly. Gaming-wise, I can’t say enough – I’d bore everyone to tears with how much easier it is to see enemy players or hostile monsters, and the in-game graphics look 25x better than they used to! I will post some screen-shots soon; also, I can’t wait to see if the recording quality of my gaming videos are better from here on out – I won’t have to limit myself to recording them at medium quality, which was only 750p. I’ll be able to do the full, high-quality / high-def 1080p, I’d wager! Stay tuned…

*** UPDATE: Saturday, 13 August 2016 ***

With the automatic Windows 10 upgrade, I have been learning quite a bit. Namely, my Logitech (C) C310 vidcam no longer works! It is NOT supported by Windows 10. I never dealt with Windows 8 or 8.1; I suppose that it’s compatible with those platforms, but not Win10. No worries; I’m not going to be taking my picture anytime soon, nor do I have that many friends on Skype that I chat with – so getting a new vidcam isn’t an immediate necessity. I do know which one I’ll get when I do buy one, though…I do a lot of research on things before I buy them, and have narrowed my choice down to two – so you’ll all hear about it at some point, LOL!

AAaaaaannnnnnd…one final, teeny-tiny little thing – guess who is going to PAX West 2016 in Seattle WA (Sept. 2 – 5)?
I’m a bit excited, a bit apprehensive, scared shitless and elated, all at once – go figure!


Game Review: The Elder Scrolls Online

Ah – here it is; my first gaming review in some time, and my first review of an online game, ever! As mentioned before, I used to play Ultima Online, which was the online version of a game that I played for years, beginning in the 5th grade. I think playing Ultima is the main reason I never noticed the Elder Scrolls series – the other reason was because I was going through a divorce and had relocated, so I was without a computer for about two years – and this was when the Elder Scrolls was first released. Back to UO: I didn’t willingly cancel my account; it was cancelled for me by the oh-so-helpful fuckwads at Electronic Arts (EA Games), who were unable to help me make one tiny change to my account – so 13 years of enjoyment went down the drain. When that happened, I swore that I would never get sucked into another online game. EVER. NEVER AGAIN!!! Well, you know the old saying, “Never say never?” Um…yeah, about that…have I mentioned that I have a semi-addictive personality? I keep it under control for the most part, but I got sucked into the MMORPG world once more. The culprit this time? The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO), brought to you by Bethesda and Zenimax. It brings the genius of the entire Elder Scrolls series to life; if you’re a fan of that specific game, then you’ll know what I’m talking about!

First off, the graphics are fantastic. I love running my character through the countryside and battling, but I also enjoy the scenery when strolling through the towns, villages, and cities. The armor worn by the avatars of others is wonderful to see, and I have fun mixing and matching armor pieces to let my style and fashion sense shine. My husband and I always play together, and our play style is quite complementary to the other in almost every way – I say ‘almost’ because I played games on a strictly solo basis; now, with a partner, I have to allow for certain aspects. For instance, there are prime times for gathering crafting resources, and prime times for adventuring. He wants to gather resources CONSTANTLY, whether it’s a good time or not, and that tendency interferes with my single-minded, straightforward quest-completion. Otherwise, our character class and skills nearly always contain something that benefits everyone in any battle we enter, because that’s just the way we are!

Speaking of other players, I’ve busted a gut laughing at some of the names that others have chosen for their characters. Some are clever and some are stupid – and unfortunately, yes, some are outright racist, even though the Elder Scrolls series has long been a game that features non-white human characters. The game also allows for same-sex partnerships, and makes mention of same-sex unions as far back as Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, but the intolerance of others is widespread and unavoidable. Anyway, I love the nods to books; it’s nice to see other avid readers running around advertising their favourite writings. I’ve seen ‘The Metal Rat,’ ‘Polgara the Sorceress,’ ‘Rikki Tikki Tavi,’and ‘Skillgannon the Legend.’ Obviously there will be Star Wars and LOTR geeks, evidenced by names like ‘Sith Lord,’ ‘Smeagol,’ and ‘Gandalf Stormcrow.’ I’ve seen the names Awesome-O, William Murderface, Toki Wartooth, Lemongrab, and a Khajiit named ‘In Boots’ (good pun, I thought). Other names I’ve seen are Evel Kneivel, Ugg Me Ork, Bigfoot it is, and Neil DeGrasse Tyson. The pot-smoking contingent is well-represented, with names such as Herbhauler, Wakenbake, Smokes-Herb, FourTwenty, and Heals-with-Weeds. The silly and stupid, but freaking hilarious names that I’ve seen, include Squats-on-face, Hugh Jayness, Slaps-with-Tail, Pleasurus, Farts-in-Lair, Squats-in-Reeds, Fart-Splitter, Osama Bin Inyomomma, Huge Caulk, Are You Kidding Me, Swims-in-Muff, Thunderkunt, Schwettyballz, and Bulgeinmapants. I think I got some screenshots of other names that just begged to be preserved for posterity, so I’ll post ‘em if I find ‘em!

Back to the review: gameplay is very intuitive and fluid, and the tips and hints that pop-up at crucial times are invaluable. From my experience, the learning curve of your skills depends on what type of character you play. I usually like playing a fighter or tank-mage that goes toe-to-toe with bad-ass beasties, so it’s a challenge for me to be a complete mage that only uses a staff and wears light robes…but it’s doable, and I enjoy dabbling with different spell attacks. I love to bring down the thunder on an enemy, slap them away with a flaming staff, or bring down a blazing nova to crush and burn them to Oblivion!

The dialogue with the NPCs is entertaining, as are the random statements and conversations you hear from same as you wander around. For instance, part of one little side quest requires you to take a bottle of special brew to a drunk in a specific inn. The gentleman is so happy with what you give him that he “feels like singing.” The song he sings is hilarious and causes him to get punched out by the innkeeper, because he sings in a high, screechy falsetto – too funny! The details given to the maps and books in-game are fantastic – the designers outdid themselves in that regard, and I enjoy how finding books is an important part of gaining experience levels in a particular skill line…I love finding the tomes and reading them! Kudos to the brains behind this epic game – TESO is a masterpiece.

Of course, there are downsides to any MMORPG, and TESO isn’t immune to those. For instance, the insidious ‘bot’ – an account created for the sole purpose of spamming others with offers for crafting materials that can be found with a lot of time and patience. Some people want to be the first to find certain items, and they are easy prey for the ‘bot’ that offers those items – online via Craigslist or PayPal, for example, and for a cash amount. People were prone to do that in Ultima as well: I recall seeing many adverts in chat-rooms and forums offering 100,000 Ultima gold for $25 (USD); not sure what the comparable amount would be for other countries, but I’m sure those similar offers were out there.

Other annoyances caused by ‘bots’ is the way they and their ‘clones’ will take over a dungeon and repeatedly kill a boss, stacking the bodies so that reaping a reward is virtually impossible for the honest gamer. The reporting system has improved somewhat since the launching of TESO, so bots are fewer and farther between…they still slip through, though!

I would ask if any of my readers are into games, but only a couple of you have stated that you are. Of the two, games such as GTA or Call of Duty are listed as tops but those types of games aren’t my thing. I like the swords-and-sorcery, Dungeons & Dragons-type RPGs first and foremost and always have! I will be adding some select shots from TESO to my PhotoBucket account soon…no definite ETA on that. In the meantime, here are some links to the trailers for the game – check them out and see what you think! If any of you ARE currently playing, what character(s) do you have, and what levels are they at? Are you a PvP master in Cyrodiil or Craglorn, or, better yet – have you attained the Emperor’s throne? Let me know – I’d love to hear about it!

Elder Scrolls Online – Cinematic Trailer

Elder Scrolls Online – “Live Another Life” E3 2014 Trailer

One side note before closing: very belated congratulations to Ms. Lupita Nyong’o for being the first REAL Black woman to grace the cover of People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful People.” It’s about fucking time us dark-skinned sisters get noticed in a positive light! I was happy to hear her send a message to all of the chocolate-skinned little girls out there to hold their heads high – white women or pale-skinned mulattoes aren’t the sole epitomes of beauty, regardless of the skin-bleaching, face-butchering freaks out there who believe otherwise! She’s beautiful, intelligent, talented, and gracious…a far cry from the usual gang of idiot celebutards that are worshipped by the mindless masses. I hope that she doesn’t get sidelined like every other dark-hued actress has been, and is able to get roles that don’t limit her or her acting abilities. Hey – maybe she will be an ass-kicking character in a movie based on a computer game! That would be a refreshing change from the Lara Crofts and other ridiculous white female characters that are prevalent. One can dream, eh?

Well, shut my fat ol’ mouth and call me corn pone…Lupita has been cast in the newest ‘Star Wars’ film! Well done, young sista…well done.


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