I Play Computer Games.

Computer / video games are fun, entertaining, and harmless in the hands of mature, relatively sane individuals.

Mind games, and those who play them, are useless wastes of time. Don’t be a fuck-head. Don’t play mind games.

😈

ESO Fan Fiction: Capturing the Keep

Tur’a stands in the outer courtyard of Armund’s Keep with the captains and generals of two other guilds, waiting for their various underlings and comrades to group up and gather. They will be venturing south to retake the keep of Azure Path and drive the enemy back to their lands, as the fighting has begun again in earnest – the long lull is over.

She looks around at the two other guild leaders, pleased to have made their acquaintance. Rue Stormrock sits atop his tiger-striped battle-cat, jotting some notes down along the sides of his worn, well-folded map. Gromdahl Stone-fist stands a few paces away, sharpening his massive battle-axe, wearing an intent, grim expression. General Hewlett sits atop a sturdy, well-barded, piebald destrier; Kisa-Tah is near, as always, on her own exotic, saurian mount.

Tur’a looks to her own arms and gear, newly-made and very well-fitted. Her status has grown exponentially in the past fortnight; her name is known across the war-torn landscape and the war-blasted city at its center. Many try to take her down in the heat of battle, for it takes a good number to defeat her, these days. She has quietly carved a few names on the inside cover of her small, leather-bound journal: she seeks them out in the major skirmishes on a regular basis, and they do the same with her. Every warrior needs a worthy foe, and her heart sings – she is elated to be considered worthy! A soft, secretive smile flickers across her features, briefly, then she becomes stern again as the ranks begin to gather and form.

12 others are under her direct command – they will be the scouts in hiding, going ahead of the vanguard with a couple of outriders flanking at a distance from the main group. Rue has 30 strong at his disposal – he commands the sorcerers and the light-wielders, as well as a score of necromancers. They will ride behind, and provide magickal protection for, Gromdahl’s force of 50 knights – the knights are heavily armoured and well-equipped.

The group gathers; soon, the courtyard is filled with various mounts, both common and rare: snarling cats, whickering horses, and grumbling lizards. Tur’a mounts her panther, pulling alongside Rue’s tiger. Gromdahl climbs atop his own steed, a heavily-muscled roan stallion. Armour clanks and rings softly as the force prepares to leave. The outer gates slowly swing open…they’re off.

The horse-mounted move out as one, the cat-mounted leaping forth in a forward wedge. The stealth forces are on foot, gliding along swiftly with a handful of lightly-armoured sorcerers in their midst for tactical support and defense. They head southward rapidly – this siege is intended to be quick, direct, and brutal. Those who fall behind are on their own; those who fall in battle won’t be tended to until success is assured. Failure is not an option.

The keep soon looms near. Those on cats dismount first, letting their beasts prowl to flush out any enemies in stealth. The horse-mounted get as close as they dare before dismounting, for fear of attracting the attention of the patrolling guards. They carefully unpack the needed parts for the siege equipment and place them for the engineers – hauling pieces of a trebuchet or ballista would be nearly impossible for the scouts on foot.

The machines are erected swiftly – the main gate is the easiest to breach, so three ballistae, two trebuchets, and a battering ram are assembled and placed in their usual, strategic positions. The gate-guards rain destruction upon the wielders of the ram – if not for the protective sorcery of the defense squad, the ones manning the siege equipment would perish swiftly. Hot oil rains down from the iron buckets overhead…Tur’a grunts in pain at the burning liquid, but holds fast with the others on the ram. The coolness of healing spells is intermittently felt – all they can do is draw upon their own individual, internal magicks to bolster the healing. Tur’a plants her feet solidly, drawing upon the power of the earth, melding it with her own internal fire. She feels immovable, like volcano that stands at the center of the lands of the Dark Elves. The pain of the oil fades…she watches the wood of the gate splinter and char, the ram doing its slow, steady work; the flames of herself and the other knights radiating forth, weakening the wood and the iron supports.

Finally – a hit from the ram, combined with a well-timed and well-placed ballista bolt, explodes the fortress’s outer gate. Ballistae and trebuchets are quickly stowed as the main force sweeps in, escorting the ram, and swiftly incapacitating and executing the guards patrolling the outer courtyard. Once that threat is nullified, a group of assassins scout and clear out any stragglers that might be hiding on the upper walls, while the main forces re-assemble any working siege machines and begin assaulting the walls of the keep itself.

The sounds of battle ring in her ears…she grins fiercely under her helm. This is what Sister described in her letters, so long ago…this is what Tur’a desired to experience, for herself – and it is glorious. The ram slams into the door…the ballistae bolts crash loudly, splintering and cracking the timbers. Massive ice-balls from the remaining trebuchet hammer relentlessly – they do the most damage, but take quite a while to reload and reset. Tur’a watches the door slowly crumbling…it won’t be much longer.

Finally – the inner gate falls! Shouts of triumph and battle-cries erupt from many throats as they forge into the breach…the siege equipment is left behind, now – there is no need of it for this final surge. The first resistance faced comes from the keep guards and their healers, and they refuse to surrender. Explosions of arcane magicks on that small group ensure instant death. The force presses further in.

The secondary resistance comes from the guards of the interior, the quartermaster and supplier, and the guardians of the transitus beacon – they are few in number and fall quickly, especially without the assistance of their first line of defense.

The force moves up to the second level of the keep, swarming the inner and outer landings, probing every corner for any remaining enemies – the stealth squadron moves swiftly through the outer courtyard to prevent any from escaping, while Tur’a’s small group begins to repair the outer gate – they hope to help trap any enemy stragglers.

Tur’a runs back in to the main keep, looking for the new quartermaster to ‘port through the shrine of transit. Where is he…where is he…there! He appears, looking dazed, and moves to his post, ready to sell siege machines and materials to repair the keep. Tur’a whispers in his ear – gold coins clink as an agreement is reached. There…it’s done. Tur’a beams proudly as she watches the keep denizens don the shining, silken tabard, displaying her guild heraldry.

The keep now belongs to her and her comrades. The celebration is already underway…Tur’a smiles, grabbing a bottle of mead and walking towards Rue and Gromdahl. She toasts them and the alliance of their guilds – it’s already proving to be a profitable partnership on all sides.

Random February Ramblings…February 2014

It’s a nice, relaxing day – I was doing some work around the house and took a break, so I figured I’d jot down some random thoughts and upcoming topics. It is high noon and “beer-thirty,” so wander with me a while, won’t you?

First off, it is February, which has been designated as “African-American History Month” or just “Black History Month.” I am working on a long post about that, which will be published by the end of the month since I’m still doing some research – but it will be worth the wait!

February means that spring is just around the corner…well, actually, that depends on your location! Here in the Pacific Northwestern corner of the USA, it’s been positively balmy and mild. Sure, we’ve had a little bit of blustery weather and a couple of decent snowfalls (snow on the coastal beaches is beautiful, by the way), but nothing compared to the deep freeze back east and in the deep south, or the storms hammering the UK and other parts of Europe! We have some clouds moving in at the moment, due to a system coming in off of the Pacific Ocean, but the sun was shining beautifully this morning and flowers are starting to bloom on some of the bushes. I love it when the wind kicks up and I can hear the ocean roaring when I open the windows or doors! It will be a wet spring and a beautiful summer, from what I can see. If the wind and rain keep kicking up, I have a feeling that March will roar in like a lion!

Injustice, again, in the state of Florida – isn’t it sad to not be surprised by bullshit like that? A panel of stupid people deadlocked on whether or not Michael Dunn of Jacksonville, Florida, acted in self-defense when he murdered 17-year-old Jordan Davis. Remember, Mr. Dunn was the instigator when he walked up to that Dodge Durango in that parking area and demanded that the teenagers inside turn down their music. Mr. Dunn lied when he said that the youths had a gun. He fired 10 rounds in all, 9 directly into the vehicle – the 10th shot was fired AFTER HE STEPPED OUT OF HIS OWN CAR AS THE SUV WAS IN MOTION. There should have been no question that he was guilty on all five counts, but morons in this country believe that when a Black person is murdered, that person must have brought it on themselves – regardless of the situation. Just like Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Rekia Boyd, Oscar Grant III, Renisha McBride, Marshall Coulter…the list goes on. It is virtually impossible for Black people to get true justice in this country. We are constantly and consistently vilified, dehumanized, minimized, and marginalized – it’s disgusting. This idiotic comment from this Al-Jazeera article says it all:

“Clay Hickman
NEW
5 days ago
 
Michael Dunn is another idiot that has abused the right to self-defense. I will use deadly force when my family is threatened but I KNOW what a real threat is. A bunch of wanna be teenage thugs with their ground pounding thug music is NOT a threat. I’m white and listen to rap and hip-hop but I don’t turn it up loud enough to piss off everybody in the area. Teach young black men to respect everybody, white, black, men, women, and themselves.”

…note how the commenter states that only “young black men” need to “respect everybody” but no other group is given the same directive – also, the telling usage of the term ‘thug’ illustrates the hateful stereotypes the ‘concern troll’ has chosen to use to demonstrate how ‘inclusive’ and ‘progressive’ they are…FUCK that racist nonsense!

More needs to be done about addressing that issue, not spouting off ridiculous, phony statistics about crime rates and so-called “Black-on-white crimes.” In fact, there is some new online movement of whites who claim that there is an upsurge in ‘retaliatory crimes’ where Black people are randomly attacking whites anywhere and everywhere. There is some WordPress site called ‘Violence Against Whites – the fallen’, which I have no intention of linking here whatsoever, but it is easy to find! Talk about recycled bullshit – there is plenty there.

No, I see the reality so I see otherwise – I mean, the white guy who got shot in the movie theatre in Florida was murdered by another white guy, who happened to be a retired police captain, over a fucking TEXT MESSAGE and THROWN POPCORN. I’m shaking my fucking head over that one…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. On a side note, I’ve been working on a post about guns and concealed weapons permits, since I recently obtained my CPLs. Stay tuned for that one to be published!

I’ll be glad when Putin’s Bazaar of Bigotry the Olympics is over – the Winter Olympics might as well be called the “All-White Games” or “Nazis on Ice,” no? Oh, sure, there is a smattering of darker-hued individuals this time around, including the ever-present Jamaican bobsled team that inspired the crappy movie “Cool Runnings.” Remember the sister from France who was a dynamite figure skater? Reports on her always had a negative tone to them – she would be described as “arrogant” or “cold” on a regular basis, while her talent was minimized. The women’s U.S. bobsled team has some Black female participants, and one of the male U.S. speed-skaters is Black. Funny how people find a reason to dismiss Black athletes who participate in cold-weather sports! Speaking of the Olympics, everyone knows that these games were bought and paid for by Putin. Russian corruption is notorious, so why are people acting surprised over the shoddy conditions of hotels and other facilities? Newsflash, people: just because a country is all-white, doesn’t mean that it’s superior, progressive, or ‘safe’ – Eastern Europe and a majority of the former S.S.R.s are some of the most backwards, crime-ridden, dangerous places on earth. I mean, all you have to do is take a look at what’s going on in Kiev, Ukraine right now to see what those people are like!

Winged Twilight in Morrowind

Subject switch: My husband and I purchased The Elder Scrolls: Anthology; it contains all of the Elder Scrolls games, including Skyrim, and all expansions of all of them. I love the maps that came with the set! They’re always nicely detailed, making it easy to follow the roads between the towns. I always like taking the scenic route so I can get my skills up by fighting monsters or assisting NPCs, and oftentimes, you can find interesting things along the way. Anyway, trying to play the first two installments was tedious at best – they are Arena and Daggerfall, respectively. After fumbling around with them and getting killed by rats, we have been pleasantly surprised by Morrowind, which is Elder Scrolls III. Even though the graphics are dated (similar to Half-Life), the game has enough challenges and puzzles to keep us as entertained as Skyrim has – it will be interesting to see what Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is like! I’d forgotten how intensively and extensively detailed certain things were, particularly in the spellcasting department – needing to have certain reagents and equipment on your person for alchemical needs, for example. Gamewise, the graphics made a quantum leap between Daggerfall and Morrowind, so seeing the shift between Oblivion and Skyrim will be the final comparison. On a final note, I’m pleased to see that the Redguard character has been dark-skinned from the beginning of the series…it is definitely the first game I’ve played that has the option of being a darker-skinned person, with realistic skin-tones. It would be nice to have more variety of hairstyles, though – especially longer dreadlocks or Afros for the women!

Trophy Room screenshot from Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim – Hearthfire

I’m looking forward to seeing Neil deGrasse Tyson hosting the new Cosmos – I used to watch it back when Carl Sagan hosted it on PBS; I hope that it doesn’t get bastardized by FOX, but I’m certain that Mr. Tyson will do an excellent job…he’s brilliant!

Last but not least, I was saddened to hear of the death of yet another DEVO member, Mr. Bob Casale. He joins fellow bandmate Alan Meyers, who passed away in June of 2013. Rest in peace, good sir…the music you made kept me moderately sane during my ‘teens-ages.’ The link about Mr. Meyers has my five favourite DEVO songs in it, so enjoy them while you research the band and their contributions to the socio-political music scene.

Bob Casale: 14 July 1952 – 17 February 2014

Racism & Sexism In Entertainment: Part I

This is the first in a four-part series I decided to do about racism and sexism in the so-called AmeriKKKan ‘entertainment’ industry. I’d originally planned it as a two-parter, but once I got started, I grabbed the ball and ran with it!

Part I: Computer Games

I have always been a bit of a tomboy and have been so from an early age. This isn’t to say that I didn’t have dolls and other ‘girly’ things; I did, and I adored siting inside and playing with them on rainy days. I also loved playing outdoors, especially when I finally taught myself how to ride a bike! I also loved the toys and gadgets that my two older brothers owned as well; sometimes I felt that they always received better xmas gifts than I, and it was true. Anyway, I loved their science kits and Hot Wheels cars; Lionel train sets and Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game (and the board-game!), and of course: video games and ‘comic books’. The latter are commonly referred as ‘graphic novels’ by aficionados. We received an Atari game console for xmas one year, and our father and mother had to set up a gameplay schedule so we could all get equitable time! When we finally got our first home computer, an Apple II+, my parents were less concerned with fair play, so my option was taking ‘computer science’ in school so that I could use free periods to complete homework assignments, and then play my pirated copies of Zork, Exodus: Ultima III, and Atlantis! I loved those games…sometimes I wish I could find a version of Zork or Atlantis that would work on my modern computer – that would be delightfully nostalgic! I own the complete Ultima collection already. Hey! I just remembered a game called Klan Cook-Out, which was actually pretty fucking hilarious! You are on the left side of the monitor wearing a nifty backpack and holding a nozzle, while people in white sheets advance on you from the right side, carrying burning crosses and nooses. Basically, your objective was to unload the flamethrower on the klansmen, reducing them all into tiny piles of ash!! LOL – oh, wow…I hadn’t thought about THAT one in a long time! On the other hand, there was also the nazi-inspired Castle Wolfenstein…anybody remember that moldy oldie? * SMDH *

That being said, I can also state emphatically that I have been disappointed, many times over, by the amount of racism and sexism prevalent in some of the games and shows that I enjoy. I’ve noticed racist symbols and imagery in a number of computer games I’ve played over the years, and this includes my beloved Ultima and Skyrim games. I don’t think that it’s my imagination, either – there are specific things which are impossible to ignore. For instance, in the older versions of Ultima, the world map which was included with the game had the cities, lakes, rivers, etc. written in some made-up script – at least, I thought so at the time. It turns out that the letters used on the map are the ‘runic alphabet’, which is used almost exclusively by neo-nazis and other white supremacist groups. I believe the alphabet is supposed to be archaic Norse, and of course ALL white people are descended from Scandinavians, and they’re all so fucking pure, blah-de-blah-de-blah…at any rate, when I was doing some research for a report I was writing for a term paper, I happened upon that information and was a bit disconcerted. Below is an example of the alphabet – and I can still read it! I remember the town names on the map…Montor East and Montor West; and of course – Castle Britannia, home of Lord British.


An example of the runic alphabet. Racist white-trash nazi gangs send messages to each other in and out of prison by utilizing this, and similar, codes. There are a number of variations.

The name ‘Britannia’ makes me think of the song in Pink Floyd’s The Wall. It contains these lyrics: “Would you like to see Britannia (us) rule again? My friend? All you need to do is follow the worms! (mad chuckling) Would you like to send our coloured cousins (them) home again? My friend? All you need to do is follow the worms!”

I found the song and have posted it here – enjoy it before YouTube dumps it! Listen carefully to the lyrics, too…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LV0d5GXT0k&feature=related

I remember the names of spells in the spellbooks: Fulgar, Dor Acron, Sur Acron, Dag Acron, Rec Su, Rec Du…yes, I spent hours playing those games…literally. My forms of escape…books, music, games, and cemeteries. Digressing…when I began playing Ultima Online, I noted that there were a decent number of hues to choose for your skin tone and hair color, but disappointed in the limited hairstyles to choose from. I was pleased to be able to find a tone which matched mine IRL; while I can role-play as male, I have no desire to be pale-skinned – my character avatars always match my deep, rich hue as close as possible, as you can see if you check out my Skyrim game-shots on my PhotoBucket account. I plan on uploading a few more pics of the racist imagery I found! For instance, one of the pics shows my character standing in one of the main courtyards of a castle, in front of a large banner. The banner is eerily similar to those which were prevalent at Hitler’s ranting, meth-induced ‘speeches’ at the height of nazi Germany: red banners with a white circle (and at times, a black-and-white cross) surrounding the black swastika. The in-game banner is red, with a white cross bordering a black wolf’s head – it’s supposed to represent the ‘Wolf Queen’ who made the palace her ‘city of the undead’ for a time. Here’s the in-game shot:

An interesting banner...

…and here’s an example of the specific nazi banner:

Another interesting thing that I noticed in-game is when my character engages in a bit of lock-picking. During that activity, there is a close-up shot of a keyhole, beautifully rendered in 3-D – the graphics are phenomenal, I can’t say it enough. To pick it, you need to listen carefully to the clicking of the tumblers as you angle the pick around, so that you can determine which angle the hole needs to be to open it. I noticed that some of the rivets on the keyhole are little tiny “iron crosses” – and no, they are NOT the Maltese variety; they are specifically the nazi version!

Iron cross rivets? Why?

http://s1267.photobucket.com/albums/jj549/Sepultura13/

This game allows marriage between same-gendered, different species: for instance, a male wood elf could marry a male orc, or a female ‘cat-lady’ could marry a female dark elf (Drow, for you D&Ders out there!), but semi-nazi imagery is included as well – again, a prime example of the P.C. police advocating for gay people – talk about a group that has political pull, fuck-all!! It’s an interesting contradiction…

Sometimes it seems to me that racist imagery has become so commonplace that people aren’t even aware of it and, as such, don’t question it. The iron cross that is on every single thing related to ‘chopper’ motorcycles is disgusting. Has any citizen in this country REALLY ever been ostracized for keeping racist paraphernalia? I think not…at least, nobody of the caucasian persuasion is! The FBI and the CIA certainly have a problem with dark-skinned people having peaceful demonstrations, but do nothing to curb the activities of the racist nazi and/or biker gangs which have multiplied exponentially with the election of the first non-white president. It isn’t a coincidence!

Part II will discuss racism and sexism in graphic novels and televised animation.

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