I am VERY glad it is friday. I just am not going to feel ANY of it as I am working from home today, tonight, tomorrow and Sunday. So I really don’t get a weekend. Again.

Mhari and I are well. Mostly. We both are suffering some with our backs bothering us. Mhari for the usual reasons, me due to stress.

I’ve managed to do the usual MMO things this week. With no time for much on the side. And I haven’t had a lot of time on the NDA-covered item, either. Though I have squeezed in a little time on it to escape from work here and there. When I can. Which has not been as often as I would like.

As I am still commuting on BART, I still get my reading in. So I now have THREE books I need to write reviews for. They are The Accidental Deamon Slayer, The Trouble with Aliens and Undone. In short, the first was okay. The 2nd was good. And the 3rd was great. I will provide more info on them when I write the reviews. But with the current work schedule that might be a little time down the road. In the time I wrote this post, I likely could have written the review on the 1st one, but the other 2 would take more time.

Anyways, back to the grindstone. Be well all.

Where’s the Ka-Boom??!

There’s supposed to be an Earth Shattering Ka-Boom!

But honestly, it appears I missed posting on Friday. That’s what I get for working from home that day and getting so distracted with various things. For part of those things see mhari_lindhaven‘s most recent post in her blog. It’s been a minor emotional roller coaster. The human brain is so very, very able to cook up the worst that can happen and terrorize itself with it.

And then after that, work stole away all my personal plans for the weekend. I put in only about 6 hours of work, but it was spaced and timed in a manner that I couldn’t ‘let go’ of work in my head until Sunday afternoon, so as far as ‘mental space’ is concerned, I didn’t really get a ‘break’ from work that really meant anything. And right now work is taking a LOT of braincells to process and deal with. Which means I am mentally tired, and where the brain goes, the body follows. Top that off with my usual blood sugar issues and you have an unhappy and dragging Jethric.

Over on the MMO side, game nights have been game nights. The hero teams managed to pull off another level for everyone, I believe, meaning most of us, if not all, are at least level 43 now. And over on the villain side it looks like 26 or 27 is the place we are at. With 8 people in the team most Wednesdays, the XP just keeps flowing. And playing only one night a week means that we all have a full 7-days of Patrol XP built up, so defeats don’t mean a lot and we’re going at +50% XP most of the time. So we have Patrol XP + the 8-team bonus + lots of mobs to get XP from and you have XP flowing like water.

On non-game nights I’m working on something under an NDA, so I can’t talk about it at present.

I now have TWO books I have finished that I need to write book reviews on… work load willing, I’ll get to those this week. But no promises. Mental health and work come first. Especially in the current financial climate in the country and world.

Tick, Tick, Tick…

Time… It just keeps going. You can’t stop it, really. Only Hiro can do that… or can he? Anyways, here I am writing this a day late. No excuses… I just didn’t even think of my blog yesterday. Not in the least. I had too much going on. And now I am at DunDraCon and kicking back and relaxing.

Mhari and I are doing okay. She’s got health things that has her with more doctor’s appointments than normal, but nothing to be worried about at this point. I’m still worried. I think she is, too, but she’s hiding it very well.

I can’t really tell you a whole lot about the past week. I worked, Mhari did post-FC things. I finished reading The Scourge of God by S.M. Stirling and you can read my review by just looking back in my blog. I’ve got another book review I need to do as I finished another book last night. And now that I have gotten a trip or to through the dealer room at DDC, I’ve got some game books to read. Lots of fodder for my reviews. I’ve been wanting to read another game rules…

City of Heroes: Yup. Been playing. Even got in a fraction of a session last night on the laptop from the hotel room. New laptop seems to work well. Refurb Inspiron 1525 from the Dell outlet. Nice system at a good price. Claims to have ‘scratches or dents’… all I see is a little scuff on the outside lid… cool!

I don’t have a lot to say about the game that hasn’t been said before… other than since we moved the villain night to Wed we have 9-10 players rather than 7-8… hmmmm. Might have to split into a 5 team and 4 team. We’ll see. Or spin it out to a second night once ‘Flying Fox’s Team’ of heroes get to 50… some of Them are level 42 now….one of our villains may swap to playing with us on Friday nights instead as we get close to his level 48 defender that he’d love to get to 50. We’ll see.

Don’t really have any other MMOs to talk about. I’ve heard rumors about the workforce on the Champions MMO being cut back so they can shift over to the Star Trek MMO to get that out the door faster and better due to licensing issues and guarantees and things. We’ll see how much credence we can place into that. It’s just rumor and here-say at this point but I have heard it from two independent sources. (Which I am NOT going to reveal.) Makes me worry about Champions as I had been hearing some really good things about it from the New York ComiCon, then I hear this… things that make you go ‘hmmmm’.

I do know that BOTH of these MMOs interest me. Champions because I have been playing the Pen and Paper game since it was introduced back in July of 1981 at Pacific Origins. And Star Trek because… well… I’m a Trekie. I have been since the 70’s… I just hope Cryptic can pull it off. If they fail with BOTH Champions and Star Trek… I don’t think they will survive the experience.

Of course, the other MMO I am interested in is DC Universe. But I think I may not like that all that much. I just have this feeling that it will be too limited in some manner. But it could be a really killer and challenger. Though external IP licensed MMOs haven’t done all that well, really. Of course, it’s also true that these days we compare everything to the ‘success’ of World of Warcraft. Blizzard has done kick-tail there. No one can question that. But was it due to some highly intelligent wooing of the major guilds from EverQuest? Or just the right thing at the right time in the right place? I think it is some of the above. Now everyone wants that piece of the pie.

Meanwhile, I keep playing City of Heroes. It’s where my friends play, my wife plays… it’s fun. I’ll keep playing. Though I will admit to being in the middle of a ‘it feels the same’. I am hoping that all the player contributed content that will be enabled via the next expansion will help with that. It sure is going to be interesting.

Okay, I’m done with this entry. I am going to go read Mutant City Blues by Robin D Laws from Pelgrane Press and see how it sounds. It’s hook reads: "Ten years ago, 1% of the population gained mutant powers. 1% of the citizens means 1% of the CRIMINALS! You’re the cops who clean up the mess." That was enough for me to buy the last copy from the dealer… the game officially comes out next week. This is a early release copy. I’ve only read just the introduction, but so far this sounds interesting. So I want to get back to it.

Thanks for reading…

Happy Valentine’s Day, Mhari, my love!!!!

Book Review: ‘The Scourge of God’ by S. M. Stirling

The Scourge of God by S. M. Stirling

The Scourge of God is book 2 of ‘The Sunrise Lands’ series (Also known on the author’s website as ‘Emberverse II’) or ‘The Change’ as it’s known in the UK. This is actually the second series set in a version of the current world that changed in on March 17th, 1998 when the world as we knew it, just ceased. Electricity stopped working. Internal Combustion stopped working. Planes fell out of the sky, cars crashed, high gas pressures stopped being possible, and explosives and gunpowder just don’t work right any more. Basically Armageddon came and things were never, ever the same again.

In the first series, consisting of Dies the Fire, The Protector’s War, and A Meeting at Corvallis it told the story of the Change itself and how the people of Willamette Valley of Oregon, and a few other select places make it through into a new world and a new/old take on civilization. Wars included.

This second series starts 22 years after the change. There’s now a new generation that has never known a world other than the Post-Change one. And there are old powers, thought to be myths and legends that seem to be returning to the world. If that is through the belief of the people in the world, or through something ‘other’ is never really clear.

In book 1, The Sunrise Land, we are introduced to the mostly grown up versions of the children of the characters we followed in the first series. And there has been a man, by the name of Ingolf Volgeler, who has traveled from out near the Mississippi, into the ‘Dead Lands’ of the East Coast to the island of Nantucket, where he saw ..something.. and became driven to go west. However he also got captured and abused along the way by the servants of the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) before he escaped. He got to Mackenzie land, driven by dreams and visions that just wouldn’t leave him alone. And there was nearly killed by men/priests/assassins hired/sent by CUT to get him and stop him.

Ingolf’s visions come to the attention of the Mackenzie clan’s leader, Juniper Mackenzie, and her son Rudi. And one thing leads to another and a QUEST is discerned to be the meaning of the visions. And Rudi, Ingolf, Edain Aylward (son of Sam Alyward, a former member of the UK Special Air Service that had been hunting in Oregon when the change happened, and is source of superior archery and bows that the Mackenzies make) – and his half-mastiff dog, Mathilda Arminger (princess and heir to the Portland Protective Association (PPA)), Odard Liu (now Baron of Gervais in the PPA), Alex (a servant of Odard’s), Ritva and Mary Havel (twin daughters of the heads of The Bearkillers and Dunedain Rangers), and Father Ignatius (a sword-brother from Mount Angel) make up the classical Nine for a Quest. (Just ask Astrid, the head of the Dunedain Rangers.. she’s obsessed with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Yes, she’s nuts. But it’s a GOOD sort of nuts that has helped folks survive and even excel.)

The company of the Quest headed off to go to Nantucket in quest of the ‘Sword’ seen by Ingolf. In book one Alex betrays them to the CUT and we are sort of mostly left at that point to wait for this book.

Naturally, the party gained a new member at the end of the 1st book, one Frederick Thurston, the youngest son of the President of the United States of America (Boise). I won’t spoil the end of the 1st book by saying how or what happens, only in that in this book he replaces Alex to make the Party one of Nine members once more. The party is all reunited at the beginning of this book and their journey continues to the East, always chased by the forces of CUT that fanatically want them to fail in this Quest.

I keep trying to figure out how to describe the contents of this book without providing spoilers, as it is only in hardback right now, so many won’t be reading it until it reaches paperback. But lets just say that their journey takes them to a Monastery high in the mountains, down into the plains of the Neo-Sioux and into the Provisional Republic of Iowa. No, they don’t make it to Nantucket in this book. There’s just too many things that have to HAPPEN first. But they DO make it to the Mississippi. But beyond that is left to the next book.

The storytelling in this book is rich, and while it does skip back to Mackenzie lands and the happenings there some, the real focus is on the party of adventurers and their growth, both as persons and as legends-to-be. There are changes to go through, and the evil of CUT is just getting worse. But it becomes clear that there is a heck of a lot going on here than just nine people heading across a very, very, very changed North America. There are powers arising, both political, social and spiritual. There are lessons to be learned, wisdom to be imparted, friends to discover, and enemies to collect. It is in every way a story of adventure, and the sort of things that will shape the future of at least these nine adventurers, and perhaps all of the people that they encounter.

The writing is the sort that makes you to not want to really put it down. You feel like you are there with the characters, riding beside Rudi and living through the happenings with him. I recommend this book, and all of S. M. Stirling’s work. You don’t need to read the first series to enjoy this one, be it really helps to do so. Heck, you can even read most, if not all of the text of the first series on line at the author’s own website that I linked above. If you like well written stories, you’ll enjoy these.

The next book in the series will be The Sword of the Lady expected around September of this year.

Next book on my ‘reading’ queue is The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox. I have NO idea what to expect from this book. I’m just trying a new author with books labeled as ‘Paranormal Romance’. We’ll see what I think.

Groove Armada – Go

An interesting experiment in LEGAL file sharing of music.

Logging in at the URL I provide below and giving a email address (with a full choice NOT to get spam from them, supposedly) and your age (via a birthdate selection) [You MUST be of legal drinking age in your home country, as the sponsor IS a liquor producer – Bacardi], you will get the first track of a new 4-song EP by Groove Armada.

Jethric has shared an exclusive Groove Armada track with 0 people on B-Live Share

Get the track for yourself and start sharing

Then you go tell YOUR friends about it in the same way I have done. When 20 ‘friends’ have downloaded the song, you get access to the 2nd track. At 200, the 3rd, at 2000 the 4th. But the ‘friends’ of your friends, and THEIR friends, also count towards YOUR total.

In otherwords, its a Music pyramid sharing scheme. It will be interesting to see how it works.

I have listened to the track. It is easy listening. Would work good in the background at a bar or lounge. I can see why it appears on a Bacardi site.

BTW, I learned about it from Boing Boing. I would never have discovered it on my own.