Rod Run to the End of the World

This event is one which we have attended and participated in for the past three years: the Rod Run to the End of the World. It is an enjoyable event for those of us who love the allure, artwork, and sheer poetry of the classic, American-made automobile. This is the 35th time that it has been held, and the town which hosts it has changed very little in those 35 years.

Other than the vehicles, the only other reason to attend is for the opportunity to taste some of the best barbecue this side of the Rockies! Terrell’s Texas BBQ, out of Portland, Oregon, is slow-cooked to bring out the juicy tenderness of ribs and brisket. Award-winning and succulent, even southern-fried rednecks can’t help but glomp down on a spicy ‘Hot Mama’ and smile! Nomnomnomnomnom…

Here are just a few of the pictures I took today. The sun came out after some refreshing rains; we even had a thunderstorm blow through, clearing away the dryness and bringing much-needed fresh air and moisture. Very nice and relaxing.

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Last Week Tonight: Astroturfing

In today’s installment of “Last Week Tonight,” John discusses the shady, deceitful practice known as astroturfing. This occurs when organizations hire fake advocates who then create an elaborate illusion of supportive numbers for their cause or message. This practice is something that a lot of bloggers utilize, from what I’ve observed.

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Half-Assed Laziness

I’ve seen many examples of half-assed laziness during my now-ended search for worthwhile blogs to read and follow. I found a better platform for my more serious concerns and discussions, so this blog of mine is now my party place solely dedicated to music, gaming, and other forms of entertainment.

The blogs I’ve found, unfortunately, have simply been clones of the same blog but given a different name and a slightly different theme and layout. The obvious clue is the followers, who always seem to be the same people, saying the exact same thing in the comment sections on the cloned blogs.

The so-called authors of same are so lazy that they only see fit to re-blog their own content on their other blogs, whilst claiming to be “hubs” for the blogging masses to find each other in.

Talk about half-assed laziness. If you’re going to be that lazy, then at least try to use your whole ass.

I’m sure that it’s big enough, due to sitting online 24 / 7 desperately seeking any sort of attention from anyone and doing anything and everything to get said attention.

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Five On Friday: The ESO Multiverse

I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls Online since it first launched in 2014. With the Midyear Mayhem event in its final few days and the Orsinium anniversary event commencing today, I figured I’d give the top five reasons why I enjoy playing this MMORPG. The 5-year anniversary of the game’s launching is in April of 2019.

1. User-friendly: I love the fact that, like with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, one doesn’t need to have played the entire series to know what is going on or how to play. You can just jump right in and run anywhere you wish. In many ways, starting the game as a newbie is easier now than it was when ESO first came out. For example, there are now in-game tutorials for new characters. The load-screens also show useful tips and hints for where to find crafting materials, or when there initially weren’t. Also, a subscription isn’t required; I personally subscribe due to the benefits and bonus perks of doing so.

2. Diversity, endless variety, and multi-layered gameplay: I love the fact that designing and customizing your avatar is available, as many games have very limited “cookie-cutter” options so your character looks pretty much the same as any other person’s who might be playing that specific character class. I love going into a bank in-game and seeing all of the different appearances and costumes of other players! One can create a short, stout Orc or a thin, lanky Dark Elf. In ESO there are 10 playable races, each with their own unique passive abilities. There are five character classes, each one with a unique set of offensive and defensive fighting skills. The ranges of weapons and armour-sets that can be used are nearly countless. I enjoy playing around with different combinations to see which ones complement each other the best.

3. Puzzles: In your travels you come across many different dungeons, or quests which may have you delving underground to locate specific items. Some of these quests require you to solve a puzzle of some sort in order to advance, and I find those to be loads of fun! They could be picture tiles, riddles, or light-shifting pedestals, just to name a few. Some are easy to solve, while others are real brain-teasers. They definitely provide a perfectly valid excuse for reading the lore-books you run across, which brings me to the next item on my list.

4. History and lore: Just as with the real world, the virtual world of ESO has a varied and rich history, and mythology and lore unique to the specific races. There are countless books which can be found almost everywhere you go, and reading them can teach you newer skills, raise your character level, or mark locations on your map for future exploration. Some give you clues to a quest you might be undertaking, and some are just plain entertaining. The people who created and developed this series get high praise from me and all of the other gamers who enjoy and appreciate the historic depth put into this game.

5. Last, but certainly not least, the graphics and details: I can’t say enough about how awesome the graphics in this game are, and the various little details which make it stand head and shoulders above other games which are more popular with others. For example, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, just as in real life. When the day is clear and the sun is out, the shadows cast are incredibly sharp and match the form of the object casting the shadow. Sound-effects are top-notch as well: when you’re riding your horse, for instance, the hoof-beats make a different sound depending on what terrain you happen to be crossing at the time. Water splashes around your feet if you’re jogging through a swamp, or you can hear the rustling of grass if you’re taking a short-cut across a farmer’s meadow. Birdsong and animal noises are also noticeable when you happen to be in the proper areas; everywhere you go, there is something to see and do!
There are a dozen more reasons I could list and I could go on and on, but that would interfere with important gaming time. I also need to update my guild-recruitment script and update the guild message of the day since I haven’t done so since the beginning of the year.

This weekend I will be hosting an in-game house-warming party to celebrate the latest acquisition of a lovely new abode. Sorry to disappoint you, but the celebration will not be broadcast on my Twitch channel. It’s a private, intimate party for a few select guests, and is by invitation only.

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5 on Friday: Character Class Themes

When I had an in-game guild site up I’d done a little musical tribute to the four character classes in The Elder Scrolls Online: Templars, Nightblades, Sorcerers, and Dragonknights. With the addition of the Warden class, introduced with the Morrowind / Vvardenfell chapter, I decided to update this post for my scheduled “Five on Friday.”

Another new class might be introduced soon, as many have been screaming for it and discussing it in forums. I think a necromancer class is fitting and goes along with the Elder Scrolls storyline and the accompanying lore. Unfortunately, the devs seem more inclined to listen to their favourites and their followers and those people aren’t really playing the game. It has been obvious of late, with all of the glitches and scheduling issues ZoS has been wrestling with since the beginning of the year. “Never mix business with pleasure.” That is a rule which many forget or deliberately break, and it shows.

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First, the Templars: they are the healers, radiating the light of life on their comrades – but don’t mistake them for gentle, pious souls! They will bring down the power of the heavens upon their enemies, crushing them with the gravity of the sun. Another skill they possess is referred to by all in the game as the “Jebus Beam,” and it is potent against many! The Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” was the best tribute I could think of.

Next, the Nightblades: the assassins, cloaked in the shadows. They stealthily creep up on opponents unawares, thrusting knives or swords that weaken the enemy’s stamina and armour. Some sap the very life-force from foes, taking it for themselves or sharing it with group members before sidling off to scout the battlefield by themselves. I felt that the song “Night Prowler” by Ac / Dc was most fitting.

Now, the Sorcerers: the mages are versatile, wielding blades, bows, or staves. Their powers are formidable when they utilize the destructive power of flame, frost, or storm, given the appropriate staff, then summon a familiar from dark depths to fight at their side. Beware of the storm-callers! They dish out quite a bit of damage when equipped with proper mage-robes, too. I figured that “Symphony of Destruction” by Megadeth was the perfect tribute to the versatile might of the sorcerer.

The Wardens: they are the Druidic class and have control over aspects of nature, including animals, plants, and the element of ice. They can summon screeching raptors from the sky or send ravaging beetles tunneling underground to target enemies. Insect swarms can be sent to harry and sting, and a spiritual bear is often seen at the Warden’s side. Plants are used to heal and protect your allies, while ice can be used in all three ways: damage, healing, and protection. My Warden is an ice-mistress, so the song “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner came to mind as a dedication to the wintry druids.

Last, but certainly not least, the Dragonknights: my favourite class in-game! Fearless warriors with the heart of a dragon, they charge first into battle wreathed in flame, using the very stones of the earth to smash foes down – or protect comrades with a shield of spinning rocks. They flex their wings, holding enemies fast with mighty talons, or lashing them into submission with a whip of flame. Dragonknights dominate with whips and chains, so the song “Hands of Death (Burn Baby Burn)” is ideal!

Good News

With all of the shit news of Baby-Hands McDrumpf and his mindless, racist thralls being shitty to everyone else, it was heartening and uplifting to see the report that all of the kids and their football coach have been safely extracted from the cave system that they had been trapped in for 17 days. From BBC News:

Divers in northern Thailand have rescued all 12 boys and their football coach from flooded caves, 17 days after they got trapped underground.

The plight of the group and the massive, dangerous operation to free them has gripped the world’s attention.

The first of the boys were brought out on Sunday but the last of the group were only freed on Tuesday evening.

They got stuck deep inside the caves on 23 June after heavy rains caused flooding and cut off their route out.

Aged between about 11 and 17, the members of the Wild Boars football team had entered the Tham Luang cave system in the province of Chiang Rai during an excursion with their coach.

After they were found by British divers last week, huddled in darkness on a ledge and cut off from the outside world for nine days, the race began to get them out before the weather deteriorated even further.

Finally, a bit of good news. There is still good happening in the world, even if it’s difficult to see.

Gives me a bit of hope.

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Popa Chubby

PAX West 2016

Holy shit on toast, Batman…I survived my first convention! Damn, was it crowded – but it was hellaciously fun. Meeting the Bethesda ESO team was a kick in the pants! I got some free game codes to hand out to my niece and nephews; there were some awesome costumes and displays to take pictures of, and I got a few nice T-shirts. One was free and two were not, but the free stuff wasn’t bad at all!

All four days went by very quickly, which means that I had a great time. Time flies when you’re having fun, after all! The crowds bothered me far less than I thought that they would, and I was happy to see hand sanitizer stations everywhere: outside of the restrooms, near the elevators and escalators, and right outside of the “Arena” – the place in the convention center where consoles and PCs were set up for anyone and everyone to jump on and play whichever game they wanted to.

There were four consoles and four PCs set up in the Bethesda room, all loaded up with the ESO North American (NA) client and the Public Test Server (PTS). The newest update at that time (12), which introduced One Tamriel and the dueling system, was a ton of fun to test out while they streamed LIVE ON TWITCH for all four days! I got completely rekt by one of the gaming designers on the live-stream, and my smiling face can also be seen by those who know and love me. It was all too awesome!

Time for me to test out a few new in-game settings and recording settings! My new webcam also arrived and I plan on hooking it up to see how it performs, but only after I get the pictures downloaded from my phone for future posts. I took quite a few so I hope that they turn out!

It’s Friday and I’m in a fantastic mood, so enjoy this bit of random silliness to get your weekend started off right.

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Too Funny

I was laughing at the ridiculous ‘referrals’ in the WordPress Reader. Whatever algorithm is used, it appears to be broken because the referrals make no sense.

For example: I have no need for pregnancy advice, yet the first three ‘referred’ sites involved pregnancy and childbirth. I can definitely give advice on those subjects since I’ve experienced them personally, but I’m not in need.

Hilarious, ridiculous, and tedious. I found the best way to get rid of that bullshit, though. Time for some site cleanup.

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Back to the Classics

I read many books per year. Reading has always been a relaxing and enjoyable thing for me. I learned to read at a fairly early age and love how it spiked my imagination and creativity ever since.

With the current atmosphere here in the States and around the world, I figured it was time to dust off some of the classics for a refresher. These include Animal Farm, Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, and every novel written by the late, great Octavia Butler.

Reading is fun. It can be very educational as well, depending on what you choose to read. Choose wisely.

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