Five Friday Songs: 23 June 2017!

The sun is out, the weather is getting better and better, and there’s a New Moon today – so, let’s have some music to get the weekend started off right!

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Full Moon Friday…Memes & Music!

I’m suffering from a touch of full moon fever, as you can tell from these funny memes I found! Happy Friday, everyone – time to turn up the music and get this weekend started off right!

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5 for Friday: Why I Love the Multiverse of The Elder Scrolls Online! (Re-blogged)

It’s a Full Moon Friday, and Morrowind is live on all platforms of The Elder Scrolls Online, so I figured this post of mine was worthy of a re-blog.

Also, here is the official launch trailer which details the actual in-game graphics and action…enjoy!

Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

On Tuesday, 6 June, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) is launching the next chapter in the series, on all platforms that the game is played on: PC/Mac, Xbox, and whichever version of the PlayStation is being used now. That chapter is a resurrected, updated version of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I’ve had early access to this new, online version of Morrowind since 22 May, as I pre-ordered the collector’s edition as soon as I was able to! I’ve been playing TESO itself since it came out three years ago, and figured I’d give the top five reasons why I’m still enjoying it after all this time. I was also inspired to do this post because I happened to see a TV commercial for Morrowind during a Torchwood marathon that I was binge-watching on BBC America over the weekend. With that, here we go!

1. User-friendly: I love…

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5 for Friday: Why I Love the Multiverse of The Elder Scrolls Online!

On Tuesday, 6 June, The Elder Scrolls Online (TESO) is launching the next chapter in the series, on all platforms that the game is played on: PC/Mac, Xbox, and whichever version of the PlayStation is being used now. That chapter is a resurrected, updated version of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. I’ve had early access to this new, online version of Morrowind since 22 May, as I pre-ordered the collector’s edition as soon as I was able to! I’ve been playing TESO itself since it came out three years ago, and figured I’d give the top five reasons why I’m still enjoying it after all this time. I was also inspired to do this post because I happened to see a TV commercial for Morrowind during a Torchwood marathon that I was binge-watching on BBC America over the weekend. With that, here we go!

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 TESO first came out! For example, there are now in-game tutorials 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. Diverse, 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 TESO 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 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 TESO has a varied and rich history, as well as 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 good entertainment! 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. Also, I have to update my guild-recruitment script by Monday, and need to change the in-game guild message of the day. I’m hosting an in-game house-warming party to celebrate the opening of our grand, spacious new guild-hall – and no, the celebration will not be broadcast on my Twitch channel! Private party, by invitation only…

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Midweek Memes & Music: Salty Gamer Edition! (Re-blogged)

Gaming is on the agenda this weekend, so enjoy this re-blog of mine! Broadcasting works perfectly from what I see, and I’m getting decent feedback about it from friends IRL. Time to start test-recording some sessions on my YouTube page, I’d say!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

LOL – I got involved in some salty gamer-talk over the past couple of days, so I figured that today was the perfect time to do a quick post about it! Don’t worry, my short-story excerpts are ready for publishing and will be posted soon. I’m just prepping for my upcoming zerg-ball run for one of the grand, in-game titles! I need a few more achievements under my belt, and rubbing oneself with a bit of salt beforehand helps develop a thick skin. Blogging is the other exercise, obviously! Also, enjoy my musical selections which follow a preview of the upcoming new chapter in the best online game ever. Early access FTW!

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Before the music, the new promotional trailer for The Elder Scrolls Online: Morrowind!

…and now, the tunes for salty gamers – the love / hate is real!

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Tuesday Tidbits: 2017 Gaming Edition (Re-blogged)

New lands, new guilds, and new acquaintances abound in Morrowind…it must be due to the influence of the New Moon!

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Random Ramblings; Myriad Musings

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…

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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!

Friday Fun-Time: 5 Favourite Celebs!

Today’s edition of my “5 Fun Facts / Friday Fun” series of posts puts the spotlight on my five favourite comedians / actors / celebs, people who I will always be sure to watch when they’re being interviewed on the late-night talk-shows that I watch. With that – on with the show!

1. First off, Whoopi Goldberg. She was hilarious when she first started her comedy career back when I was still a wee kiddie, and she’s funny as all get-out when she sits down with Conan O’Brien or Stephen Colbert. She pulls no punches and speaks her mind; similar to yours truly, LOL! No, I don’t watch her on “The View” – not into daytime shows of any sort, when it comes down to it – but, she was excellent in her role as Guinan, the manager of Ten Forward on the starship Enterprise in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

2. Next, there’s Wanda Sykes. What can I add that hasn’t been said already? She does a bit of everything, and does it well. I first saw her on the Keenan Ivory Wayans Show, and liked her recurring role on the Drew Carey Show – she played one of Drew’s love interests. I have her book and enjoy reading it from time to time; she’s awesome and talented, and has a distinctive voice that stood out on the Comedy Central show Crank Yankers…look up that show sometime, if you dare!

3. Ricky Gervais – OMG, he cracks me up whether he’s being interviewed by Conan O’Brien, Stephen Colbert, or Trevor Noah, but his interviews with Conan really stand out! I think he’s the only person I’d follow if I had Instagram – the pictures he takes are too much, and I think the one I picked illustrates it well, ROFLMAO!
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4. Terry Crews – he’s just awesome! I thought he was great in the role of Chris’s dad in the series Everbody Hates Chris, which is based on the life of actor / comedian Chris Rock. He wasn’t bad in The Expendables, and his most recent interview on Conan O’Brien had me rolling!

5. Finally, Jeff Goldblum – he plays many serious roles, but manages to interject his own personality and sense of humor into them, no matter what. I loved him in Jurassic Park, Independence Day, and his brief role as detective Zach Nichols on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and look forward to seeing him as the Grandmaster in Thor: Ragnarok. Whether he’s sharing the stage with Conan O’Brien or Stephen Colbert, he is so off-the-cuff funny he can take you by surprise at the most unexpected times and leave you howling!

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t post at least ONE funny video! This is the infamous “Late Night Wars” from a few years back. I apologize for the poor video quality, but it’s still funny!

Friday Fun: Miscellaneous Memes & Music!

I think that it’s time for a few Friday memes, followed by a bit of music! The sun is out today, so it’s time to ride over to the beach and take a walk on the sand. Later, ‘gators!

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Friday Fun Facts: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Edition!

Well, here it is – the 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place tonight! It will be held at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, for the third time. Presented by Klipsch Audio, the ceremony will be broadcast on cable channel HBO, and will also be aired on SiriusXM. From the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website:

Artists are eligible for inclusion in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 25 years after the release of their first recording. The 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Performer Inductees were chosen by more than 900 voters, as well as the aggregate results of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s online fan vote. The top five artists from the fan vote comprised the Fans’ Ballot that was tallied alongside the other ballots to determine the 2017 Inductees. Four of the winners of the Fans’ Ballot (ELO, Journey, Pearl Jam, and Yes) will be inducted as performers in 2017…Klipsch Audio, a leading global speaker and headphone manufacturer, is a strategic partner and presenting sponsor of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, its Induction Ceremony events and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Main Stage. Klipsch’s renowned products deliver the power, detail and emotion of the live music experience throughout the iconic museum.”

Six bands / artists are in the Performer Category, and one musician / producer won the Award for Musical Excellence. For this “Five on Friday” post, I will list the ones who have made the biggest impression on me in my life with their music. I’ll do it “Top 40” style, listing them from fifth to first – so, here we go!

The band Journey is at number five for me. They were big in the 80s, with many great hits such as “Lights,” “Send Her My Love,” “Oh Sherrie,” and, of course, the well-known smash “Don’t Stop Believin’.” From Wikipedia:

Journey is an American rock band that formed in San Francisco in 1973, composed of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch. The band has gone through several phases; its strongest commercial success occurred between 1978 and 1987. During that period, the band released a series of hit songs, including “Don’t Stop Believin'” (1981), which in 2009 became the top-selling track in iTunes history among songs not released in the 21st century.[2][3] Its parent studio album, Escape, the band’s eighth and most successful, reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and yielded another of their most popular singles, “Open Arms”. Its 1983 follow-up album, Frontiers, was almost as successful in the United States, reaching No. 2 and spawning several successful singles; it broadened the band’s appeal in the United Kingdom, where it reached No. 6 on the UK Albums Chart. Journey enjoyed a successful reunion in the mid-1990s and later regrouped with a series of lead singers.”

The Journey song that I selected for today is “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” – I love the guitar work in it!

Nile Rodgers, fourth on my list, is the genius behind the band Chic, described as a “sonic innovator” on his official website. Rock, funk, disco, and EDM – his notable riffs have been fundamental in all of those musical genres. I think that nearly everyone is familiar with the Chic smash hit “Freak Out / Le Freak,” but the song that I selected by them features Carly Simon on lead vocals. The song, called “Why,” had an instrumental-only version on the B-side of the single. I always enjoyed listening to the song and singing along, then flipping the record over and singing with the B-side – it was excellent practice for choir!

I was elated to see the band known as Yes finally get inducted! Their induction was long-overdue, and I know that I’m not the only one who thinks so. The progressive-rock band from London was originally formed in 1968 by singer Jon Anderson and bassist Chris Squire, and has undergone many formations over the years. Chris passed away on 28 June 2015 – you can find my tribute post to him here. I have enjoyed their music for as long as I can remember, and some of their music videos aired on MTV were ones that I looked forward to! “Owner of a Lonely Heart” was their biggest hit of the 80s, but I’d have to say that a good majority of their musical offerings are well-worth listening to. Transcendental, multi-layered, and semi-operatic are words that I would use to describe this fantastic band. The song that I selected is one of my personal favourites: “Love Will Find a Way.”

Number two on my top five list is the Seattle grunge-rock super-group, Pearl Jam. I first saw them at a downtown Seattle club called The Vogue, and was instantly hooked on their style of music! They, along with groups such as Nirvana and Soundgarden, placed Seattle back on the musical map. The city is now known for more than rain and the Pike Place Market, I’d say! The song that I selected is “Even Flow” – I love the lyrics and the musical arrangement, and Eddie Vedder’s voice is sublime.

Finally – number one on my list of the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees! That honour goes to the supergroup known as the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO). This band formed in Birmingham in 1970. I think that I’ve heard more songs by ELO than almost any other artist or band, and that’s saying a lot! I’ve listened to hours of The Moody Blues, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, and Fleetwood Mac, to name just of few of the many artist that I enjoy. I think that the first song of theirs that I heard was down at a little, local burger joint called The Snack Shack. I was walking past on a fairly nice summer day and heard an awesome beat and crazy sounds drifting out of the open door. I wandered in and looked at the jukebox to see what song was playing; it was “Don’t Bring Me Down.” I had a couple of quarters on me, so I played the other two ELO selections offered on the machine: “Telephone Line” and “Twilight,” respectively, and I was hooked on them from then on. My dad had started working at the local radio station at that time, and he liked playing “Rockaria” and their rendition of “Roll Over Beethoven” quite often! I never saw the movie “Xanadu,” but absolutely loved the ELO-backed soundtrack. The ELO song that I chose is “Evil Woman,” of course – it’s one that I always crank up and rip the knob off when I hear that familiar opening of the stringed orchestra. Such a versatile band, more than deserving of their induction!

Last, but certainly not least, I’m very happy that Tupac Shakur was also finally inducted. Many will disagree with him being honoured in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, but I think that he deserves it as much as Joan Baez – if not more so! From Rolling Stone:

Two decades after his death on September 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur endures as one of hip-hop’s most iconic figures and its most powerful enigma. His life was a tapestry of often contradictory images: the concerned young father cradling his son in the video for “Keep Ya Head Up”; the angry rapper spitting at cameras as they swirled around his 1994 trial for sexual assault; the artist who animatedly, yet eloquently, pushed back at Ed Gordon’s questions during a memorable BET interview; and the man who seemed to predict his own demise when the “I Ain’t Mad at Cha” video, released weeks after his death, depicted him as an angel in heaven. Although he is no longer with us, the myth of 2Pac the thug angel remains. No other artist better illuminates hip-hop’s fault lines between regional pride and mainstream success, and the struggle to transcend and elevate beyond humble origins while honoring the streets that raised you. His wayward, conflicting expressions of pride, militancy and gangster-ism resonates in a world when black men and women celebrate their heritage and collectively organize against a racist America, yet are also cautious to protect themselves from each other.

Fans – particularly East Coast rap listeners who, after all these years, still harbor a grudge against him – will continue to debate whether 2Pac’s albums can measure up to Nas’ Illmatic, the Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die, or Jay Z’s Reasonable Doubt. But no one can deny the way he transformed hip-hop into his singularly muscular, tattooed, bald-headed, bandana-clad image.”

Love him, hate him, or even if you’re completely indifferent – there is no denying Tupac’s influence and sheer genius. I wonder what music he would be putting out if he had lived to see the current social and political quagmire here in the USA? I’m betting that it would pull no punches, and would make more than a few people uncomfortable and angry. That is how it should be, in my not-so-humble opinion!

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