• Skyrim – Companions

    After leaving the Jarl’s palace I descended the steps to a large plaza dominated by a dead tree. Nearby, a half-crazed man stood on a bench while shouting praises to Talos. The locals seemed to be ignoring him so I did as well and climbed the stairs towards the Companions longhouse, which I soon learned was named Jorrvaskr. Inside there were a number of fighters, some of whom remembered me from our brief encounter outside of town. They directed me downstairs to talk to their “leader”, Kodlak. I found Kodlak in conversation with Vilkas, a senior member of the group. Vilkas seemed to be reluctant to even consider me for their group but Kodlak was strangely eager to welcome me. He told Vilkas to take me out and test my skill. Vilkas did not seem happy with this task but agreed and led me to a courtyard behind Jorrvaskr. There, we sparred briefly before grudgingly admitting that I did know how to handle a sword. He then gave me his own sword and asked me to take it to Eorland Greymane, their blacksmith for him. I found Eorland at a nearby forge. Eorland berated me slightly and told me that I wasn’t an errand boy for the Companions, then immediately asked me to take a shield to Aela the Huntress for him, the same woman I had met earlier. I agreed to do this as well. Aela turned out to be in the basement of Jorrvaskr. When I arrived, she

    [Read More...]
  • Return of Random Things on Twitter

    Yes, it’s another installment of Things Found in the Twitter Public Timeline Are supermarket/organic market premade salads generally good sources of food poisoning? ((No, I’m sure there are much better sources out there.)) if I remember my experience correctly it will be down, but back up again before they make any announcement that it’s down. ‘-) ((TwitPic, right?) That kid named Anthony…his twitter always says he’s doing nothing. What a boring kid. Good thing I don’t know him. 🙂 ((I’m not a boring kid, but I play one on Twitter for the entertainment of others.)) Ever see something on Facebook that makes you wanna go “God fucking dammit!”. Yeah… sometimes I wish that site didn’t exist. ((But if it didn’t, there would be all these boring kids on Twitter)) Awesome! I’ll put it on my list of things to do…I mean buy. No, wait, things to do works too, I think. ((Do or do not, there is no buy)) Watchmen… idk wtf a “Watchment” is. O_o ((Congratulations, you are the only person on the planet who has somehow not seen the media blitz yet.)) Was she wearing a TWLOHA shirt? And really jumpy and excited and crazy? ((No, that was me.)) Listening to Bananarama…my ears are bleeding. Someone stop the madness. Not to offend the five of you that like Bananarama. ((Geez… I’ll change ringtones then…)) You were awesome last night! 😀 ((Why thank you!)) I wish I’d buckled down in school to get my Ph.D. in belly button lint. My parents would be soooo proud. ((I got my

    [Read More...]
  • Skyrim – The Dragonborn Comes

    I had recovered the stolen dragon claw artifact for the store owner in Riverwood, had cleared out the bandit from the mine south of town and and even gotten into a fight with a couple of necromancers who were experimenting outside of town. But now it appeared that I had exhausted the possibilities of this corner of Skyrim and it seemed as if the time had come to head for the big city. I set out northward from Riverwood towards the hold capital of Whiterun. As I passed through the farmland surrounding the hold city I saw several warriors fighting a giant. I loosed an arrow at it and the giant fell almost immediately after. I approached the warriors and one of them, a woman who introduced herself as Aela the Huntress, thanked me for my help. I tried to downplay my involvement but she insisted that it was rare for them to discover someone who’s skills were worthy of notice. Aela told me that she and the others were Companions, a mercenary warriors guild located in Whiterun, and suggested that I apply for membership in their ranks the next time I was there. Having made no real contacts since arriving in Skyrim I told them that I would do so and followed them towards the main gates of the city. As we approached the guards passed my new companions through the gate but stopped me. He did not recognize me as a citizen and with the civil war underway

    [Read More...]
  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 3

    Chapter 4 – The Division David did not relax until they had cleared the outskirts of Madrid and were driving through rural countryside. He was deliberately avoiding the major highway and using the SUV’s navigation system to find a more indirect route. No one had spoken. Dr. Alvarez was apparently still trying to absorb what had happened back at the Museum. Brad was the one who seemed to be worse off. This was his first active mission and David had forgotten that he had never been on a mission that turned hot and didn’t have the military background he and Alicia had. Adrenaline had carried him along until he got back to the SUV, but he had been silent ever since. He no longer looked as if he was going to be sick but David noticed in the mirror that he still had his eyes closed and his jaw clenched tight. “First time seeing death up close and personal like that.” he thought. Alvarez was the one who finally broke the silence. “OK.” she said quietly in an even voice. “Are you going to tell me what is going on here or not. There’s no way all of you are with the NSF. NSA, maybe. But I think I deserve to know what is going on.” “We’re sorry about your friend.” Alicia said. “That wasn’t what I asked. And I somehow doubt you are.” David shook his head. “Whether you want to believe us or not, we actually are sorry.

    [Read More...]
  • Skyrim – First Thoughts

    Skyrim, the latest game in the Elder Scrolls series, came out last Friday and I’ve spent most of the last few days playing it (to the detriment of my NaNoWriMo output). I feel like I’ve barely put a dent in the game world but already I can tell this game is going to solidly in my top games of all time and may even knock Morrowind off the top of the pile. In best Elder Scrolls tradition, you start Skyrim as a prisoner. It is 200 years after the Oblivion crisis (the plot of the previous game) and the Cryrodillic Empire is falling apart. The northern province of Skyrim has entered open rebellion against the Empire and the Imperial Legion has just captured the leader of the rebellion, one Ulfric Stormcloak. Unfortunately you were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were captured by the Legion. One Legionnaire realizes your innocence and protests but his commander orders that you be sent to the headsman along with the rest of the prisoners. Fortunately (for you anyway), just as you find yourself on the chopping block a dragon appears and attacks the town. You and the other prisoners escape as chaos breaks out. As you make your way through the burning village you can join up with either a fellow prisoner (one of the rebels known as the Stormcloaks) or the one Imperial Legionnaire who defended you. (Quick, who wants to tag along with the people who just tried to

    [Read More...]
  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 2

    Chapter 2 – Geneva David spent most of the trip reviewing the files on Folts’ team that had been sent. There was nothing unusual about any of them. Folts himself had a fairly extensive file; he was an outspoken critic of the US military, or anyone’s military actually, and had multiple run-ins with anyone that didn’t support his particular view of scientific research. He didn’t seem to be overly supportive of social or environmental issues either. Apparently his entire world view involved his branch of scientific research. Alicia and Brandon had been going through Folts research. The reports he had filed with the NSF seemed to support what Brandon had known about him; he had been working on his nano black hole theory. His grant filings had stated that he expected his research to have applications in energy production but Brad’s own analysis of what he had published showed no hints of research in that area. “I think he’s trying to make a black hole, no matter how small, just to say he was able to do it.” Brad finally concluded. Peter had been working at one of the computer stations toward the back of the plane and eventually came back forward, handing each of them a folder of travel papers. David glanced at his to see an NSF id card, passport and handful of credit cards. Brad had pulled out his passport. “I have one of these already.” he said. Alicia looked up. “I thought you said you had

    [Read More...]
  • Random Thoughts at the Red Light

    It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s dark. It’s too early to be up. Why is this guy stopping so far back from the light? OK, now he’s got his right turn signal on. Why is he in the left lane if he wants to turn right? I could go around him, but there’s a median here. Is someone letting him over? Wait… is that person eating cereal? How do you eat cereal while driving a car? Do they leave it in their lap when they aren’t at the light? Wouldn’t that spill milk everywhere when they turn? Maybe it’s oatmeal, not cereal. Still makes no sense. Light changed. No, they’re holding the bowl and steering with their spoon hand. Glad I’m not going that way. What is Mr. Right Turn doing? OK, there he goes. Yeah, across three lanes of traffic and into a parking lot. What is he up to? At least I can pull forward now. Too bad the turn light is already gone. Guess I’ll wait here some more. It’s cold. It’s wet. It’s dark. It’s too early to be up.

    [Read More...]
  • NaNoWriMo 2011 – Week 1

    Prelude: Amazon Rain Forest – Brazil The moon broke out from behind the clouds, illuminating the junglescape with silvery light that reflected in dazzling highlights from the small stream. The light barely illuminated the ground below the jungle canopy but did reveal the buildings squatting in the middle of the large, cleared field as well as several men wandering slowly up and down the rows of crops growing there. In the darkness beneath the canopy, a shadow moved beneath a tangle of leaves and vines. David Stone lifted a pair of night-vision binoculars to his eyes, carefully angling them to avoid reflecting the moonlight toward the fields ahead, and scanned the area. He lowered them again, touched the earpiece he was wearing and whispered quietly. “I count six. You?” There was a slight pause then the earpiece crackled. “Yes, six on patrol. But I think there is another on the roof of the lab building.” David lifted the binoculars again and looked, then cursed quietly to himself. Gabriel was right; another man stood on what looked to be a platform built against the slope of the roof. He noted that this guard was also using a pair of binoculars to periodically scan the area. “I see him.” he whispered to Gabriel through the earpiece. “He’s running surveillance too. That’s going to make it more difficult.” “Agreed.” came the response. “Should we pull back? Wait for your government or mine to send more people.” David shook his head then remembered that

    [Read More...]
  • On the Level

    So Skyrim, the fifth game in the Elder Scrolls series, is coming out next week. I’m looking forward to it, mainly because Morrowind, the third game in the series, is one of my favorite games of all time, as are Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, both also done by Bethesda. You may notice that I didn’t mention Oblivion, the fourth Elder Scrolls game. That’s because I think Oblivion made a mistake, one that wasn’t in the Fallout and thus I am hoping that won’t show up in Skyrim. That mistake was having the world level along with the player. Everyone wants to feel as if they get better and more powerful as they go through a game. Whether this is an improvement in our skills as a player as we learn the game or the improvements in our character’s skills and equipment, we like our character at the end of the game to be better than they were at the beginning. This is especially true in fantasy games. This goes all the way back to Dungeons and Dragons, the first of the modern role-playing games. We want to see our weak, nearly helpless first-level characters developing into nearly-unstoppable demigods at level 20. This is something expected in fantasy. No one blinks when Aragorn single-handedly slays his way through an orcish army in The Lord of the Rings and it is just expected that Luke, Leia and Han can blast their way through dozens of Stormtroopers in Star Wars, but

    [Read More...]