Recent Events Of August 1st-18th

What a lovely shining light during a dark time. URU, a long-gone live-ish game in the MYST universe, has chatter. A promise of new content. Things are changing. Lights are being flicked on and dusty hallways are being wiped down for the possibility of new exploration. For those of you that know about URU, come and join. For those that have no idea what I’m talking about…that’s okay. It is a passion of mine to have been involved in the MYST universe for 26 years. It is my Star Trek. It started with the discovery of MYST when I was only ten years old. I was hooked. Then came the novels, what a read! I logged in to AOL on my Windows 3.1 computer and found MYSTforumUSA, a chat room dedicated to the love of MYST. Riven and 4 more games came after that over the years. Uru was too far ahead of its time—a completely immersive, live, playing out of character arcs, discoveries, deaths, and gameplay. It was amazing. That spark dissipated for good around 2007 with the lack of paying subscriptions and the laying off of Cyan Inc. employees. After that, the game stayed alive only through the hearts of fans that continued to pop into the deserted virtual landscape of URU. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in there for over a decade. Now, the rooms are filling up again. Characters are coming in and out that play out a realistic dialogue that includes its players and has them help shape the future of the game. This reblog is by someone in the community who takes great care and time to stay on top of the unfolding drama. Even if you don’t play, click on over to Calum’s blog and watch a live story begin to unfold in a tech-ancient but gameplay-futuristic landscape. It is truly something to see.

Traveler's Cavern Log

Shorah,

I never thought this day would come. Greetings, all, I am Calum Traveler, and today I’m writing this post to express to you all something new that’s happening within our homely Cavern of D’ni.

New Ages have been announced to be unveiled on Friday, August 21st, at 1300 KI Time.

The following post is a recap of major announcements earlier in the month as well as today, the day I’m posting this new blog at something of a rather rapid fire pace. Please forgive the dust as I work on trying to make this place look okay.

Earlier this month at the August All Guilds Meeting, Patrick Dulebohn appeared and gave an announcement.You can read the established chat log here. Following this announcement came Mysterium, during which no announcement was made regarding the status of the Cavern.

Earlier today, 8/18/2020, barriers were finally observed as being…

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The Whistling Pandemic

I know the wind is one of the least enjoyed weather rumblings from our vocal planet, but I love the feeling of wind on my face. The wind is the breath of the universe. It’s especially pleasing when it surprises you with a quick change of direction, ever so slightly. You aren’t ready for it, your head wasn’t tilted the right way, and you get a nose full of air that makes you gasp. If fills you up, it tricks you, and for a brief moment, it feels like it has your life in its hands. Something invisible that you can feel. Specifically, I love the sound of wind through pine trees. It’s a constant hum that vibrates at the exact frequency of my genetic happiness. You can hear the world tell you its secrets as long as you are willing to listen.

But in these last months, the whispering nothings of our Mother Earth have taken a turn on my joyful respite with the encroachment of Covid-19. Like everyone else, I sit in a cocoon of unknowing and doomscrolling into the wee hours of the morning, wondering and worrying about the future of our country, of our families, and of our way of life.

When I do manage to make it out of my anxiety burrito, I always try for a satisfying walk. Living in a Los Angeles neighborhood surrounded by colorful flowers and hillsides overgrown with beautiful greenery, I love taking a leisurely walk in the hills to calm my nerves. Like many other places in the country right now, we have a solid 50/50 on who wears a mask and who doesn’t. I am a Type 1 diabetic, and I have been taking this quarantine very seriously. Too seriously, if you were to ask many of the people around me, I think.

I see the virus everywhere. Every article I see tells me that diabetics are dying in droves at all ages. The news is awash with entire families being scraped down to a few young sons and daughters. After the first month of building an end-of-the-world bunker, filling it with 32oz cans of dolmas and beans of every variety, I was starting to come down. The initial fear-based decisions were beginning to give way to rational thoughts on how to continue living at home. I needed out. I needed a walk.

I had my mask, a bottle of sanitizer for every pocket in my jeans, and a bag of gloves (in case for some reason I needed to help someone change a tire or help an elderly lady bring groceries in). The stress of getting my feet to leave the property made me feel tired from the get-go. My shoes were heavy, my face felt exposed, but eventually, I started to enjoy myself. My headphones were booming something as indistinct as a b-rate science fiction television show and I was on my way. I didn’t run into any people on the street for the first half of the walk.

Feeling happy that I had made it to the top of the hill, I looked at my surroundings to make sure no one was around and popped my mask off to enjoy the fresh air. The light breeze had been tugging at the corners of my face covering. That wind! So nice, so calming…until I turned the corner. A young man jogging up the hill came whipping around the bend, sans mask, and huffed and puffed himself right by me. Suddenly, I felt suffocated. All I could see was particles. Little dots of hot breath touching down on my shirt, in my beard hairs, and attacking me in a cloud of wet lung globs.

I kept walking while trying to talk myself down from the panic attack that was quickening my heartbeat and pooling sweat on the inside of my hat. It was too late. After that, I began to see people coming out of their homes and beginning their evening walks. They came at me like unmasked zombies in leggings. I zig-zagged across the street and made wide turns at every corner to avoid the hordes of infected laughing families with children screaming in my general direction. The wind changed. It now carried COVID-19. Somehow my life had turned into “The Happening”. How in the world did the worst movie I had ever seen, about the wind carrying a deadly neurotoxin plants develop themselves to kill off the human race, become a real-life feeling?

The wind was no longer my friend. That exhilarating feeling of having my breath momentarily stolen from me was now a nightmare and a very real threat. Now my life did appear to be in its hands. Even when someone was down the street fifty feet or more, I checked the wind direction by looking at the leaves, deciding when I should cross the street or go the other way to avoid the virus that rides the waves of the earth’s breath. Something I loved so much had taken a quick turn against me. Its whistling was the tune of the reaper, and it was being sung for me.
Fear and anxiety are a bitch.

It took me another few months before I was able to enjoy a neighborhood walk again. But, even as the COVID-19 numbers rise, I find myself more able to live in this new pandemic world that we are currently forced in to. Luckily, its people that we need to avoid and not nature. It doesn’t help living in one of the largest cities in the country, but I can now sit at my window and watch the palm trees sway to the currents of the air. I can make a trip to a less worn patch of the world and stand in the center of hundred-foot high pines and listen to the beautiful flow around my head. Its whistle is once again just the hypnotic lull of the universe. Its tune had changed to whisper warnings of our current situation, but once again has resumed its happy song.

Jojo Rabbit Review

So excited that I was able to see the premiere showing of Jojo Rabbit at TIFF tonight!

This was another of Taika at his best. Taking him back to his bittersweet indie roots, his storytelling and humanity shows through at every moment. A story of a 10 year old nazi youth in full swing of his country’s ideology indoctrination, he starts his journey with his invisible best friend Adolf Hitler (Taika Waititi himself) going off to Hitler Youth camp. His mother is a wild and endearing woman with a playful attitude during this horrible time of war. The movie starts off hilariously, but it takes a little bit of time to allow yourself to feel okay laughing at this side of the german war and this little boy who wants nothing more than to do right by his fuhrer. After a terrible (and hilariously acted) accident, and the discovery that his mother is hiding a young Jewish girl in their attic, his ideals are turned upside down to the thoughts on the war he has grown up with. It’s a simple message delivered in a way that tells you what you already know. Facism is bad. It’s a story that Taika tells us needs to be told over and over again, because people easily turn a blind eye to the horrors of humankind, but heart and love can prevail. Roman Griffin Davis and Thomasin McKenzie are a great pair and carry the film with warmth and wonderful comedic scenes, but it’s Scarlett Johansson who leaves us with the memory of what it means to be on the right side of humanity, and to take life as it comes and teach your children what you can, when you can. Even surrounded by well-known and substantial actors, these two children stand out and bring the movie’s warm embrace. Taika is never afraid to lead with a joke, but he always takes the time to bring his message of humanity home by hanging on the sad moments of life too, not jumping over life’s tragedies to get to the next one-liner. He balances the good with the bad perfectly, leaving you walking away with a warm feeling in your belly.

Hugo Award Finalists 2019!

If you need a new list of books to read this summer, get on these before the awards in August!

Which have you read? Who do you think is going to win for Best Novel?

Best Novel

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

 

Click here to see the rest of the categories and nominees!

Instaration #7

Writing is a release, a meditation. It’s a way to explore yourself and interpret the world around you. Keeping thoughts bundled and hidden only leads to an eventual unhealthy purge of emotions and worries. Writing, journaling, note taking – all these things set your thoughts to page. Purge the thoughts to page to exorcise your demons or give thanks to what you have. Either way, trapping the thoughts to words leaves your mind free to create even more.

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My first instaration since my introductory modern calligraphy class. I haven’t had the time to practice much but this came from a very meditative day!

Queer up the classics

A FUN IDEA: Our favorite classic authors are our favorites for a reason, but because of the times there was a severe lack of gay characters and storylines. Taking your favorite authors from the golden age of sci-fi (from Asimov to Zebrowski), tell us your favorite story and explain in the comments how you’d “queer” it up!

– Idea from Queer Sci Fi!

Christmas Calligraphy Cards

Taking this beautiful Sunday to make some Christmas cards for friends and family for the holidays!

Using a stunning teal India ink and gold accents to bid my cheer.

The envelope was neon pink so I used gold and pink wax seals to finish it off.

This is the first time I’ve tried my hand at calligraphy as gifts and they turned out pretty great!

Check out the video timelapse and follow me on instagram @paulbbuttefield where I’ll add the photos of the cards (once the surprise wont be ruined)!

Tell Me Your Favorites

Beneath Ceaseless Skies – click

Check out one I really enjoy, Beneath Ceaseless Skies. They have so many stories, many of them fantasy and second world based, and have been around for a decade. A large selection of their stories also come as podcasts to listen to!

Do you have any other lists of websites like this one? I’d love to see your favorites!

Instaration #6

Look out the window,
Find a sign, find a face.
The stacks of well-worn sorrow
are paled against snow-dusted glass.

I hold my hand out to you,
Press the glass, feel my warmth.
Your home is much more than a hearth.

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Spent the weekend in chilly St. Paul for Jingle Ball and stayed at the beautiful St. Paul Hotel. It had a very warm and old school feeling against the snow and biting cold of the city.

Just as I was packing for my flight to head home, I pulled open a drawer and saw their beautiful post cards and stationary. Well, I couldn’t help myself. I let my bag fall and pulled the chair out, reaching for my new pen (the one I had stolen from another drawer in that same hotel room earlier) and had to put something down.

This was a nice thing to add to the memory of my trip, so I think I’ll have to do something like this at more of the hotels I visit!