Update

I’ve kind of abandoned this blog, but I spent some time today removing some of the posts that were based on YouTube videos that have since been taken down or made private by the uploaders. All of the videos left should work, for now.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by. I may revisit the blog in the future but for now I will just leave up the current content for anyone interested. I should just remove all the posts except for big-breasted Wacken woman and naked Sandow – those posts have received far, far more hits than anything else here. My own favorite posts are Wacken Zones and Barbu making a paper toy, but that’s just me.

Cheers!

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Hypernuit Live by Bertrand Belin

A hauntingly beautiful song, Hypernuit, by Bertrand Belin.

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TeleVideo PC from 1983

The TS 803 personal computer from TeleVideo. No fan for no noise, a ‘big’ 14″ monitor, a whopping 1 MB of storage space, at only $2,495 – and while not the first, it was the best! This advert comes from a June, 1983, edition of Esquire magazine. The ad states that the TS 803 is $1000 less than a comparably equipped Apple, but I think that it’s safe to say now that Apple didn’t have anything to worry about.

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Friday’s Goddess iii

Two versions of this classic song referencing the goddess of love-making. The original by Shocking Blue:

And from about 15 years later, Bananarama’s more disco-like rendition:

I think that the general consensus is that the original is better by far, but I like them both, and Bananarama’s video is certainly more lively to look at. Their songs were just meant to be fun poppy stuff –their voices sound nice together and they did a few good hits. I always thought that Siobhan Fahey (the short-haired blond) was cute, she kind of looked like a young Jessica Lange. She married Dave Stewart from Eurythmics.

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Satyrday v

Drawing of two satyrs by English satirist and actor, Ben Jonson.

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Friday’s Goddess i

Freja by John Bauer

Friday (from Old English Frigesdaeg) is the day of Frige, aka Freya/Freja/Freyja (Norse), Aphrodite (Greek), Venus (Roman). Usually called the goddess of Love, but according to old astrological sources, with lustful overtones.

This excellent portrayal of Freja by John Bauer captures the nobility and sensuousness (and inaccessibility?)  of this love goddess.

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Satyrday iii

Satyr and Bacchante, from a ceiling fresco in the royal palace in Caserta, Italy. I can’t find the name of the artist of this painting.

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Satyrday ii

Silenoi and Maenads

Detail of two satyrs with Maenads from a Greek vase.

These types of satyrs, with horse ears and tails but otherwise humanoid features, carry the name of Silenoi (sons of Silenos). The horned, goat-legged satyrs carry the name of Panetes (sons of Pan). Satyrs and Maenads acted as the devotees of the god Dionysos (Roman Bacchus).

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Satyr Saturday 1

Omnia vincit Amor by Agostino Carracci, 1599.

Omnia vincit Amor (‘Love conquers all’), an engraving (1599) by Agostino Carracci.

Going to try to start some themed posts for certain days of the week – one of my favorite mythical creatures being satyrs, I’ll try to post something satyr-related each Saturday. More literally, it should be Saturn-related, but that’s less fun.

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Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning – Further Observations

I’ll just start out by writing, again, that this is an awesome game. I’ve played now for about 50 hours and I’m nowhere near done. But I have experienced a few hiccups in game-play.

I’d advise anyone who plays this to create save points manually at least once or twice an hour, and preferably any time when undertaking a quest or before a big battle. I really only played Demons’ and Dark Souls last year, both of which have a “you mess up and you’ve messed up for the whole game, no second chances” mechanic of constant auto-saving, so it took me a while to realize how important manual saves can be in Reckoning. It is also a good idea when you are on a quest with NPC’s that you stick close to him/her/them. I had one unfortunate and costly failed quest on the first day of game-play related to not staying with the NPC and not saving, so yes, these things are important.

I’ve read about many people’s frustration with one of the quests, Her Righteous Fury. The one with throwing bodies off the bridge in order to poison the water. I didn’t get the same bug that many people have gotten, but it did still seem to be a bugged fight. The enemies seemed to come all up at the same time without any breaks. I never threw any bodies over, and at one point I was pretty sure that the NPC had died. I was so massed by enemies that I couldn’t make out my own character. This game isn’t exactly a button-masher (not too far off, though) but all I could do was blindly hit buttons and hope that something was working. I thought, I’ll never make it through this, and I don’t have enough health potions, but then every time I looked at the health meter, it didn’t go down. I was being attacked right and left by a huge group of enemies and the health meter stayed full without me doing anything. I’m not that good a player. That was a bug. But then suddenly it was all over, the NPC seemed to have resurrected and the quest was done.

I think that my main complaint about Reckoning is the inventory system. This game is chock-full of items to pick up at every turn, but the amount that you can carry or store is severely limited. I’ve had to make hard choices to sell or, often, just drop in order to pick up something important. I would almost rather that there were fewer items along the way but unlimited, or at least greatly increased, storage capacity.

I don’t find the game very hard in general, but I’m only playing on Normal difficulty and there have been a few fights that I couldn’t handle well. Those triple tornadoes from sorcerers especially do me in; the only way that I know to avoid damage from them is to zip through them before they hit (I’m playing as a pure mage), but I usually don’t react quickly enough to do that. Those multiple sorcery enemies out in the desert were a pain.

Sometimes the camera angles are really bad, and once in a while during the dialogues the view is lower than it should be (you see the characters’ faces only from the nose down, or during a battle you’re seeing the legs and feet but not the whole bodies). I had one dialogue in which the screen was blank. This kind of thing has happened a few times, but didn’t cause any problems for me.

During today’s play, one of the enemies just disappeared, but his health bar was still there. I couldn’t complete the side quest until he was dead, so I finally just pummeled the air beneath the health meter and it killed it.

But you know, this is a huge game, and the number of problems are very small in comparison. I’ve been amazed at the size and scale of it. I’ve been playing video games since 1980 and my favorites up to this point have always been Super Mario 3 and Zombies Ate My Neighbors on SNES. But I’m thinking that Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning may be becoming my new all-time favorite.

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