from Sol III (aka Earth)

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    • Entry #90, 2015/12/10: I've seen the amazing....

      1 year ago


      ....somebody has put @Ryan in Prison Architect!  I kid you not- see it here!  And I can say I wasn't expecting it.  I was just looking at one of my prison shops to see how it was doing- I randomly selected a prisoner running one of the shop check-stands and I saw the nickname being "The Mad King."  I knew there was only one person in the gaming related world called that that name, and I checked the rest of the prisoner's name- and it was indeed a prisoner with the name Ryan Haywood.

      To whoever put Ryan's in the game, I'll say you had some serious guts to do so.  You're awesome, whoever you are.

    • Entry #89, 2016/11/22: A ring of truth

      1 year ago


      You'd better check out what @gi_goku said in in this journal.

      It especially applies to being nice to the retail workers of the places you shop.

    • Entry #88, 2016/11/18: GGG Livestream!

      1 year ago


      So the 2016 Good Guy Gamers 24 Extralife Livestream is upon us!  Hope everyone who can come to watch us to please do so!  If you're partaking in one of the gaming events during the stream, I'll see you there at some point!

      You can find the group's Twitich profile here!

      Some more info via @McDom can be found here!

      As for me, I'll be joining in the first 7 Days to Die segment and usual Minecraft LP portion (for the group's normal Saturday Minecraft LPs) of the stream.

    • HOWtwoROCK asked OsageOrange a question

      What did I do all of a sudden that made you want to friend request me?

      Answered: Nov 17, 2016

      Nothing really- you post an interesting selection of topics in your journals, and though I haven't really commented much on your posts, its interesting to see what you find and talk about,

    • OsageOrange's Writing Thoughts #30, 2016/11/15: Enviromental Degradation

      1 year ago


      All right, we’re going to be talking in this journal about environmental degradation. Of the many forms and causes of environmental devastation and degradation, there are going to be four particulars discussed: industrial, atomic, magical and volcanic.

      Of course, what would count as environmental degradation? As a general rule, its a scenario where the local environment has become depleted, ruined or otherwise become undesirable for life, or its very difficult to survive there. It can often feature very little life as a result of the degradation. The degradation often comes from human presence, but there are other factors that can cause a local environment to degrade.

      Magical Environmental Degradation

      Now, given that this journal was inspired by a sequence in L.E. Modesitt’s The Shadow Sorceress, we’re going to start off with magical environmental degradation. In order to explain the magical devistation, I must set up the context for the parts I wish discuss. Toward the end of the novel, Alcaren, a native of the country of Ranuak, is leading the novel’s chief protagonist, Secca, along with her company, to the capital of Ranuak, the well fortified city of Encora. Secca is on the road to defeat the Sea-priests, who are seeking to take over Leidwahr, the continent where much of the Spellsong Cycle takes place. Much of the area north of Encora was devastated in ancient times past by the Spell-Fire Wars, a conflict between the Matriarchs of Encora, and the Mynyan lords, a bloc of power holders that occupied the lands between Ranuak and the country of Nordwei. The Mynyans wished to conquer more land for their own power, but after a series of magical confrontations, Ranuak won.

      It is as Secca is traveling with Alcaren that she, her musicians, soldiers and her assistant, Richina, see the devastation of magical warfare from the past. In one valley, there is the description of a swamp-like feature the width and breath across it, called the Great Dismal Swamps, with the ever present mist producing the smell of “not quite like burned meat, not like swamps, not like rotten fruit, but reminding Secca of all three.” There are also small pools with some sickly looking reeds, and some ill looking trees, bare of leaves. This devastation was caused by a combination of magically gathering metal from the ground and by battle sorcery. These caused an large change in the environment to make it unlivable. A time later, the group comes to a location known to those in Ranuak as The Last Encampment, where the First Matriarch turned back the invading Mynyan Lords at the farthest point the invaders reached into Ranuak. There is a larger hill and a smaller hill, both covered by black stone, in something similar to a wide spread lava flow, all black. Alcaren says that as the result of a massive Darksong spell that killed the Mynyans and rebounded on the first Matriarch. For the people in the area, they know that animals who go there do not survive long, suffering lost fur, extreme blood loss, teeth falling out within a short time and then their lives if they stay there, seeming to be the magical equivalent of radiation poisoning.  These are the two big examples of magical degradation in this series.

      Industrial Environmental Degradation

      This particular area is one we face in real life, with many industries using a myriad of materials, liquids and other resources. While I really don’t have a specific example to reference that I’ve personally read, I will reference The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. In that time period, there was not as much regulation towards the industrial economy for environmental protection, and this often led to large amounts of localized and regional degradation. Of course, we still face a lot this in our modern world.

      Volcanic Environmental Degradation

      In this particular area, I’m going to be referencing both fiction and fact. In this area, a volcano’s ability to destroy its surrounding environment is based on the size and type of eruption. As for the fiction, I’m going to be referencing the 2005 Docufiction film, Supervolcano, which follows a hypothetical eruption of the Yellowstone Caldera. In this film, Yellowstrone erupts such a large amount of material that significant portions of the US Rocky Mountains and Great Plains are forced to be abandoned, but also the world is effected in being forced into a volcanic winter, wherein the planet cools significantly and many die as a result. In terms of fact, I’ll reference 1991 eruption of Mt Pinatubo. In terms of the local damage for the people living around the mountain was very damaging. Many areas near the mountain were buried in ash ranging from several to tens of feet. This obviously rendered much of that same land hard to cultivate, and it was made all the more difficult by lahars, or volcanic mud flows, during the monsoon season. This has effected the locals around Mt Pinatubo for many years. Of course, the eruption was powerful enough that it had a temporary cooling effects across the globe, and led, in part, to some major weather systems that effected the US.

      Atomic Environmental Degradation

      This is one of those areas well explored by science fiction. In this area, environmental degradation would a result of exposure to radioactive fallout from atomic weapons. The effects of radiation would cause life to be heavily altered and perish as a result of the radiation, which damages the cells of an organism to where the organism can no longer function. An example of people surviving a nuclear war, though with severe radiation exposure, would Beneath the Planet of the Apes. The humans that have survived nuclear fall-out have an altered appearance. Google it- I’ll let the images speak for themselves. Another example would be Andre Norton’s novel Daybreak 2250 AD (or Star Man’s Son). I haven’t read it in awhile, but Fors, who is a mutant, goes on a quest to find his father on a post-apocalyptic Earth, the planet having gone through a nuclear war. One of the images that have stuck in my head is Fors journeying along an old highway, and he finds the rusting hulks of some old tanks, their main barrels aimed toward the sky. These are just two examples of of several atomic writings/movies I’ve encountered.

      Next month's topic will be about a discussion about book series.

    • Entry #87, 2016/11/09: Just gotta say...

      1 year ago


      I honestly felt that things could've gone better.  I know I can't stop others from saying what they want to, but I hope some good will come to pass as a result.

      My biggest hope for goodness would be the fact that the American electorate realizes how screwed up the system is and decides its time to take action and change the system.  I remember hearing or reading somewhere- don't remember where or when it was, quite honestly- that Founders want the electorate to throw out the constitution every thirty to forty years and come up with a new one.  We can see however how that plan didn't last.

      Of course, I doubt that things will get fixed.

      Hope to see you guys in four years... if not sooner.

    • Entry #86, 2016/11/08: Election Day and Dr. Strange

      1 year ago


      Well, with Election Day finally here in the States, I went and voted- I hope you did too.  I had an errand this morning to run, and figured I would go ahead vote on it while I was out.  I got to my polling place not long before noon and caught the lunch crowd out voting.  It was about and thirty minute wait for me to go vote, but I did it.  Haven't really seen much in terms of results yet, but I know that its tight in many ways.

      In other news, I went and saw Doctor Strange today.  I know I normally go and write a review of movies I see in theaters, but I'm honestly not feeling up to it with this go-round.  I will rate it at 4.5/5 stars, however.  It was interesting to see, of course.

    • Entry #85, 2016/10/31: Halloween- some thoughts on my Steampunk Character

      1 year ago


      With it being Halloween (even though its essentially over), I wanted to discuss a bit of costuming I want to do. I know I've mentioned it to a few people here and there, but I thought I'd put it down in a journal: my desire to craft a steampunk character.  One occasion where I discussed material for my character- a major industrialist- with @LoZelda.  Basically, this industrialist, who would be someone like John Rockefeller or Andrew Carnegie, would be a tough, determined character, wanting to get their way.  This character's emphasis would be in mining (coal or iron ore mining in particular), railroading, lumber, steel production, or steamship/steamboat transport.

      One of the strong images that's been in my mind has been thematic pins (or other attachments) and cufflinks for the jacket.  The idea of lapel pins was really there for me today.  I had in my mind for the mining industrialist the thought of two separate lapel pins for the jacket.  Depending on what happens as I go looking for material, I'd most likely have to get some custom made work for these lapel pins.  One pin would be a crossed pickaxe and shovel, with perhaps a lantern hanging from of the picks of the pickaxe.  The other lapel pin would be a minecart full of ore-bearing rock on a track.  Their might be other lapel pins, but there would also be cuff links that would be mining related, and perhaps a pendent of some kind.  Rings would also be considered as well, with a dark stone, or if solely metal, a special design.

      Other aspects would be considered in the clothing as well- what particular industry I would choose would help factor in the colors I would prefer.  The color palette that I've been thinking of using at the moment are black, grey, brown, white, beige and silver for the primary colors, with the support of red, orange, copper, green and blue for secondary/accenting colors.  The use of these colors would help me find the necessary jewelry and steam-punk equipment.

      Another big factor would be a cane.  I've got some receipt tape spindles that I plan to use to make a light weight cane for normal strolling around cons.  The spindles would be glued to a dowel rod, and then likely covered in leather or other suitable, authentic fabric. I would likely carve some sort of handle- either a ball or more traditional handle, perhaps fancy in some way- for the top of the cane, and put a finish on it and carve some sort of foot.  Then, for cosplay contests, I've got access to some hedgeapple wood, and other woods as well, and from one of these wood samples I would make an elegant cane, finely carves (as I can) even with some metalwork in it, if I feel like it.

      But costuming is only part of the play.  It is going to be heavily influenced by the backstory I want to create for my character.  Basically, I want at least one serious challenged for my character in their youth- growing up poor, with an infrequently appearing father, as Rockefeller experienced, would be an example.  Basically, I need at least one big something, or several smaller somethings that would fit into a big something, that would make my character go for a life well beyond a struggling life; it would also make the character ruthless and determined.  Part of it would also have to be being in the "right place at the right time" situation, that allows the character to make that leap from an insignificant person to a person of power.  The character would also have some rivals, have highs and lows, and be competitive as part of the ruthlessness and determined nature.

      So, what do you think?  Any suggestions or ideas would be welcome.

    • Entry #84, 2016/10/15: Fall 2016 Farm Tour

      1 year ago


      So, yet another farm tour. I’m still going through a number of the images I took, and with some of the posts I’ve seen about images, not sure right now if I’ll be able to post them in this journal, but I’ll attempt it tomorrow after I decided which ones I can hopefully upload. Anyway, onto the tour stops.

      The first stop was one of the typical stops, the goat farm where some cheese (garlic and dill) was gotten- I took a bunch of photos. I also learned a bit more about different breeds of goats.  Owing the fact of a nice breakfast, my mother and I went on our way through one of the local small towns instead of stopping for lunch. We went to the orchard we’ve been going to for the past several fall tours, and picked up some apples they had. We talked with one of the owners there about how much we like coming on these sorts of things, and getting to see different things and learning more about them.

      Then we proceeded onto one of the local wineries, where it was in and out with for us a few bottles- we really didn’t feel the need to hang around, even though its a nice winery. We then proceeded to one of the alpaca ranches in the area, and had a look around. It was nice to see the alpacas hang out in their corral, and several came to be fed. A memorable, but very disgusting, moment was when four of the alpacas decided to defecate all at the same time. Cannot unsee, didn't get it on camera (Thank God), but we did get a few clothing items for gifts.

      We had thought about going to a vegetable farm after the alpacas, but it was out of the way as compared to getting home, though it was in that direction, so we decided to just head on back to town.  We were both tired.  That was that.

    • OsageOrange's Writing Thoughts #29, 2016/10/15: Writers and Influnces.

      1 year ago


      I’ve got several favorite authors and influences/themes that I want to discuss in this entry.


      First up is my favorite author, David Weber. Been reading his works since 2002. Story behind discovering him is that I saw Honor Harrington novel #7, In Enemy Hands, sitting on my dad’s bookshelf and it looked interesting when I picked it up. My dad went, “No, Osage, don’t start with that one- you’ll be very confused.” He then went and picked up the nearby On Basilisk Station copy he had and said, “Read this one first, then the ones leading up to the one you just picked up, and everything will make more sense.” Thus, I was captivated by Weber. These series chronicles the time of Honor Harrington, a navel officer of the Star Kingdom (later, Star Empire) of Manticore.

      The next author is Naomi Novik, author of the recently completed Temeraire series, wherein the Napoleonic Wars ware reimagened in an alternate universe with Earth being inhabited with dragons as well as humans. I found this series after going to a doctor’s appointment and visiting a nearby Barnes and Noble location, and when I saw the first novel, His Majesty’s Dragon, I was curious started reading it- I was taken by the novel and bought it. It features the tales, adventure and travels of Captain William Laurence and dragon Temeraire, as they go through the timeframe of the Napoleonic Wars.

      Another author is JRR Tolkien, and his most famous work, The Lord of the Rings, which needs little repeating here. The movie series inspired me to read the novel, which is quite a good (but long and very thought provoking) read.

      A recent addition to my favorite authors is L.E. Modesitt Jr., with his Spellsong Cycle series (I’m certainly reading the last novel in this series as of this journal). Again, I found out about this series on my dad’s bookshelf, and he said it was also a good series to read. Set in the world of Erde, it features those who are able- sorcerers and sorceresses- who are able to use magic in the form of spellsongs to effect the world around them, sometimes quite dramatically. Its into this world that Anna Marshall is taken, and how she sets in motion events that will change the world.

      A final “duet” of authors are Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton, in a joint venture, The Halfblood Chronicles. In a world where elves that are “evil” dominate one part of the world and have human slaves, some secret half-elven, half-human offspring, known as wizards and led by “elvenbane” Shana and her dragon allies, fight to remove the yoke of the elven overlords over humans.


      So, with these authors in mind, its time to go into a number of the influences and themes from these writers that I would like to use in some way.

      01. The cost of war: This is shown in Modesitt and Weber, there is the cost of war- how many lives are taken or altered, how much is destroyed, etc. Basically, how does war- or even large of amounts of more localized fighting- factor into changing places and people, and the various effects on them. The length of fighting, how much and what types of fighting also has an influence on characters behave and act in the scenarios presented to them.

      02. Fighting for beliefs: Here, Tolkien, Modesitt and Weber are leaders, with some inklings from Norton/Lackey. As a general train of thought with these authors, the protagonists fight for their beliefs, mostly because, while they may not be perfect for everyone, they would benefit the whole society. While some hold themselves to beliefs that might be a bit much, they try to bring about a change to the society, or individuals, that would help improve society.

      03. Military: This applies mostly to Weber and Novik, in as far as they have military-based organizations whom one if not more of the major characters are apart of. They are often realistic, but with some differences, of course. Some parts are more ficitonalized that what they might actually be or are of course. Lackey/Norton show up with battles between the elven and wizard/dragon/free human factions, and Modesitt also shows with the military units needed to help protect the sorceresses, as well as project the power of pre-industrial nation-states.

      04. Different races/species/breeds/ethnicity: Here, Novik, Lackey/Norton, Tolkien and Weber are dominant. The first four have a number different races or species of sentient beings- dragons, elves, dwarves, humans, half-elves, trolls, orcs, ents, etc. They play for good or ill, depending on the story. Novik further describes her dragons by different breeds, some with special abilities. Weber shows different species, ie, treecats and Medusans, are sentient.  He also shows different ethnicity for some characters- Honor Harrington and her mother Allison are described as of Asian decent; Allison's surname, Chou, would indicate Chinese ancestry.

      05. Relationships: Throughout all the authors and their writings, relationships are a key aspect. Many of the relationships are tested in some fashion- many time and time again. Some are strained, even broken. Other relationships don’t seem to work well, or aren’t well thought out or written. Point being, many of the relationships are a prime thread of any writing.

      06. Alternate history/universes: Here, Novik and Lackey/Norton shine. Novik writes as the dragons that exist on Earth are major part’s of a nation’s military forces in many cases, but fulfill other roles as needed. In the Halfblood Chronicles, dragons, humans and elves are, based on references from a few characters, originally from three separate worlds, but ultimately have interactions on the human world.

      07. Travel between universes/dimensions: Here, Modesitt and Lackey/Norton are prominent. In the case of Modesitt, Anna is taken from Ames, Iowa to outside of Loiseau, Defalk by a rote sorceress and musician, the latter desiring vengeance against the lord sorcerer of Loiseau for killing his father. Anna is later able to send messages across dimensions to her daughter Elizabetta. As for the travel between dimensions in the Halfblood Chronicles, both the dragons and elves migrate from their homeworlds to the world that’s inhabited by humans- the former because of the world’s hostile climate, the later because of the warful nature of the elves that made their home planet a barren wasteland. Both do this through separate portals.

      08. Environmental concern: This is primarily a theme of Tolkien and to a lesser extent, Modesitt. For Tolkien, the environment is more than something that is to be used and abused- it is to be respected, revered in a way. Tolkien wanted us to understand that by using the world the way we do, we slowly kill ourselves by our own waste. Similarly, Modesitt shows the effects of extreme battle sorcery. In the parts of the country of Ranuak, there are large areas where the countryside that are completely devastated because of sorcery, ranging from blackened, radioactive-like hills to swamps and pools full of noxious waters, soils and fumes.

      09. One person/group/race/species/modified organism dominating others: Another grouping of Tolkien, Weber, Modesitt and Lackey/Norton. In many of these cases, it about conquest or domination. In the case of Tolkien, its Sauron, with his orcs, trolls, nazgul and other forces that want to dominate the world in darkness. For Weber, its genetically engineered humans based on the planet Mesa who want to overturn existing social structures. In Modesitt’s writing, the Sea-Priests desire to conquer Liedwahr and chain women. For Lackey/Norton, the elves desire to conquer in order to get more human slaves and, more importantly, keep them under control and wipe out the half-blood wizards that have been eluding them.

      10. Price of power/magic: Here, Modesitt and Weber are shown. On Erde, the use of too much spellsinging, especially Darksong (which effects living or once living), can result in being rendered unconscious or even dead. For Weber, he follows the maxim, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Some characters use their power to aid others and get peace, whilst others use their power to sew discord and war.

      11. Responsibility: A big topic for Weber in the Honorverse. In an interview I saw, he summed up his logic of responsibility thus: The good guys take responsibility, the bad guys don’t take responsibility. This makes for a good way to drive characters and the story, for one thing Weber does is that there are irresponsible characters working for the good guys, and responsible characters working for the bad guys.

      Next month’s topic with be about environmental destruction.

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