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Beta test!


CD Projekt RED, the Polish company who made the Witcher games, is hoping to break out the in-game card game Gwent into a standalone tournament game. I signed up for the beta, because of course I did. I love beta testing, with a special emphasis on breaking shit.

I’ve broken this one a couple of times, but I don’t see any place to brag about it. Perhaps because this isn’t even the beta — that’s scheduled for late October. This is a pre-beta effort to punish the servers and see what they’ll take. It’s not even keeping score. It’s no fun if they don’t keep score.

I’d say they have a ways to go to compete with Hearthstone — which I have also played since the closed beta. Though, to be honest, I’ve kind of dropped out of Hearthstone at the moment. One too many expansion packs have overwhelmed my limited ability to do sums in my head.

Oh, they said it was okay to post screenshots, but to bear in mind that a lot will change.

Me? Better by the day. Went in to work this morning. Still not fully myself, though.

September 27, 2016 — 8:29 pm
Comments: none

Green Man in SPAAAAACE


From the New Cathedral in Salamanca, Spain. The New Cathedral was built between the 16th and 18th Centuries. The Old Cathedral is late 12th C. So, old.

The astronaut was added, along with some other figures, in a renovation in the 1990s. I was going to slam the artist for the clumsiness of the carving but, after an images search, this appears to be its unfinished state. It gets better. And then, at one point, looks damaged and old. I dunno what that’s about.

I like his “demon eating an icecream cone” better. They call it a faun, but it has prehensile clawed back legs, so nuh-uh.

All of which puts me in mind of Darth Vader at the National Cathedral in Washington.

I am getting steadily better, thanks. Went in to work for a few minutes today and managed not to bump into anyone (but sent out lots of emails from the work account so everyone knew I’d been in.
They don’t call me ‘weasel’ for my excess facial hair).

Looking forward to a weekend of glorious loafing. Hope you are too!

September 23, 2016 — 9:01 pm
Comments: 4

Happy Equinox! It just gets darker and colder from here!


There. I’m out of my nightly lavender-and-eucalyptus soak and feeling somewhat less like The Dearly Departed.

Classic FM played three interesting songs while I was in the bath. In 1875, a St Petersburg music magazine commissioned Tchaikovsky to write twelve little piano pieces, one for each month of the year, then published one each month to their readership.

That’s right. Tchaikovsky was once a magazine giveaway, like spoons or model train bits or Franklin Collectibles.

Nothing new under the sun. Except the part about Tchaikovsky.

September 22, 2016 — 9:43 pm
Comments: 5

Not the most popular guy in the parish, I guess


From the Church of St Nicholas, High Bradfield. This isn’t even damning with faint praise.

Me, not died yet. Feeling better. Not getting up and going to work better. But not throwing up my Nite Nurse bad, either.

September 21, 2016 — 9:31 pm
Comments: 17

Holy cow!


You’ve probably seen this, but I hadn’t (from my bed of pain): they’ve found a skeleton near where they found the Antikythera mechanism. They think they might be able to extract DNA from it.

I’m excited. The Antikythera mechanism is one of my favorite fantastic objects that is indisputably real.

I’m up briefly, waiting for my latest dose of Nyquil to kick in. I was resting pretty comfortably, but my lungs were making the most appalling squeaky noises. And not like squeak-squeak, either. More like several excitable chipmunks having a lively conversation in my body cavity. Eventually, Jack came over and investigated. That’s when I knew I needed drugs.

Things you may (or may not) need to know some day: Nyquil is called Nite Nurse in the UK. Same lethal green goo, though.

September 20, 2016 — 10:07 pm
Comments: 7



I gots de flu! This is an honest-to-god, took-my-last-dose-of-Nyquil-but-brought-it-up-again, holy-shit-my-SKIN-hurts, my-lungs-make-noises-like-crinkly-cellophane son of a bitching flu. I haven’t had one of these in years and years.

I don’t expect to be going on adventures for a while. I’ll keep you posted.

September 19, 2016 — 10:02 pm
Comments: 24

Who burnt the cheese?


This is a fun one. Archaeologists in Denmark dug up a completely intact bronze age pot. It had been flung, whole, into what was a garbage pit in the street. Finding a whole pot was unusual enough, but there was a substance clinging to the bottom they couldn’t quite identify.

After spectrometry, they have decided it’s cheese. Burnt cheese. Somebody accidentally burned a batch of cheese and threw the whole mess away. Probably.

The writer of the article has fun speculating about the possible bronze age family drama that ensued, or perhaps Cheese Burner was trying to hide the act by getting rid of the pot?

Phun phart phact: Britons do not use the expression “cut the cheese.” This matters because my employers like to host little wine and cheese get-togethers and there’s always much discussion of who’s going to cut the cheese and who cut the cheese last time and whether the cheese was cut fine or coarse. I swear I’m going to lose it some day.

Like when my mother in law exclaims, “blow me!”

September 15, 2016 — 10:13 pm
Comments: 10

Shhhhh…here’s a kitten

I ran across this picture today, looking for something else. First pic I ever took of Mad Jack. As he has just passed his third birthday, I figured I’d repost. (Big and in color. You know you want it).

I got jammed up this evening proofing a book for my employer. With the best will in the world, I really don’t think the general public would be interested to know more about the local officer in charge of Land, Allotment Gardens and Shrubberies for 1923.

Historians, eh?

September 14, 2016 — 10:21 pm
Comments: 10

Take care, big guy


Dude in the picture is Geralt of Rivea, a professional monster slayer and the protagonist of the Witcher books and computer games. I have spent a lot of time with this guy.

I know I’ve posted about Witcher 3 Wild Hunt before. It’s the last of the series and it is absolutely huge. Like, physically huge on disk (53 gigs, as opposed to Skyrim’s 14) and huge to play, with literally hundreds of side quests and places to visit. Which you can do in more or less any order you like, which makes it feel more like a place and less like a movie.

There’s even an in-world card game that you play against characters you meet, sometimes for important stakes.

The game has been an enormous hit, equally because it’s beautiful and because it’s well-written. Many of the side-quests are their own complete novellas. It’s won a shit-ton of awards. They announced from the beginning there would be two expansion packs (essentially, groups of new stories around a main story set in this world) and then that would be it.

I have just finished the second expansion.

And that’s it.

I feel surprisingly sad about it, the way I used to feel on the last page of a long book series that I enjoyed (I don’t read fiction any more; I’d almost forgotten that feeling).

Near the very end of the game, Geralt sits around a campfire drinking with one of his buds (he drinks a lot, which is fun) and shooting the shit about the future and he takes a big sip and says, “I think I deserve a rest, don’t you?” And then the sumbitch looks at me. Up there. That screen cap.

It’s supposed to be a bit of light fun, but I admit I kind of. Hm. Now I remember why I don’t read fiction any more.

September 13, 2016 — 7:09 pm
Comments: 10

Pff! Guys, she’s fine. See?


Have you ever laughed so hard, your soul came out your nose?

Yeah, I should have spent more time on the finishing touches. But I’ll be honest, fam, this thing was freaking me out.

September 12, 2016 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 14