Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘The Lord of the Rings-Online’ category

John Carter / Edgar Rice Burroughs / William S. Burroughs / Adult Fantasy In The Movies

Today the weather in central Virginia is “BE YOU” tiful!  Perfect.  Low humidity, cool breeze, warm sun.  I could go on but you get the picture.  I walked 8 miles with no discomfort and the birds were talking  the whole way.  The trees are still blossoming and I decided to take it over to the University of Richmond to see what picturesque scenes are on display there.  And what did I find?  Tulips!  Many colored wonderful flowers!  You thought I was going to say something else, right?  Well the girls are still looking good but it must be close to exams or something because they didn’t look particularly happy.  When is spring break?  Maybe it’s already over.  If you want to see some smiles you really need to visit a day or two before the great spring flight.

Today was not that day.  But I was preoccupied in any case with thoughts of John Carter and the music from his movie I just downloaded earlier for the walk.  Dagen Mcdowell on Imus was talking this morning about everybody downloading the music from The Hunger Games and so I went there on Amazon.  But, frankly, it was boring stuff although one person wrote to say she lives in the mountains of North Carolina where the movie was made.  And the music is great!  If you don’t like it don’t listen to it!

Okay.  Fine!  I won’t.  So I went to the music for  John Carter and it is great!  Or at least I want to listen to it even though the movie sucked!  Or maybe it didn’t suck.  Maybe it’s going to be a cult classic like some reviewers suggest.  There’s a long history of people loving John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs who created Tarzan, one of the most epic characters of all time.  Here’s a Youtube creation that clearly was done by someone devoted to the task.

So I was mulling this over on my walk but I was remembering doing some reading in my early days from ( I thought) this author about an apocalyptic vision and some poor dude lying in a drainage ditch with insects using him as their host for future generations of bugs.  I believe he was a gold buyer and hoarded lots of coins or bars as society deteriorated feeling, wrongly as things turned out, that this would see him through the disintegration of life on the planet.  How was it possible that Edgar Rice Burroughs who made Tarzan and was a great businessman felt this conservative fellow deserved such a sad end?

Well he didn’t! As it turns out this was William S. Burroughs who smoked opium and was crazy although an amazing writer who went to Harvard and helped to bring about the Beat Generation with fans like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.   These two guys represented the yin and the yang of adult fantasy writers in the twentieth century apparently.   Edgar wrote books that talked about strange things in the jungle but you were allowed to see them from a distance.  William felt they should be allowed to get under your skin and use you for lunch until, many moons later, you figured out a way to hold your breath until you died.  That would be where the drugs came in I suppose.

So Edgar is the guy  and I wanted to go see John Carter today but Betsy was not so fascinated with the idea and wanted to wait until he arrives On Demand.  Why pay 10 bucks when you can pay 5 and don’t care about the movie?  She has a point.  So I’m writing about it instead and pulling videos of  it from Youtube while try to remember what book I read that contained the sad tale of the gold buyer who was eaten by bugs.  I looked here but good luck trying to find it.  William was not easy to follow in print.  Following his book trail will also lead you into some seriously strange places.  It’s much easier staying with Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars The Old Republic and John Carter.  All have a fantasy element that makes us wonder about life as we approach the end of the Mayan Calendar in December.

I don’t mind thinking about all of those things.  Orcs and aliens are alright to imagine from time to time.  But you have to draw the line somewhere! And when it comes to bugs I prefer eating to being eaten. Which reminds me, isn’t Survivor coming on tonight?


The Blogger Tackles Lumosity/ He Leaves Lord Of The Rings Behind / Good-bye Breezee

You know that you have had enough of an online game when you log on and just sit there. Or you get on your horse and ride around in circles because there’s no place you really want to go. I have watched the online game, Lord of the Rings, evolve in the past 3 years. The trend is towards “free to play” which means, I guess, that you can do a few things for free but you definitely will pay to actually play the game. The tipping point for me came when I needed to use Turbine Points to fix my sword. I didn’t have enough of them and so had to buy them or go without. I was already paying ten dollars per month to play the game and this was supposed to include everyday actions, like revamping your sword, your axe or your spear. Also, if you want a certain horse, you have to buy it in the store. There were convenience-like stores sprouting up on every street corner in Middle Earth. My vision of this mystical land does not include 7-11’s. . . I need tasks that are relatively easy to do with characters I have spent three years making more powerful. I need to be able to do them alone without a bunch of kids (who are no doubt smarter than your blogging buddy). And upon successful completion there needs to be that special horse or something, at least, on the horizon. At this point I see nothing on the horizon. And so, as he rides into the sunset, along comes  Lumosity.

This game actually focuses on the individual and his needs. It is challenging and at the same time helps builds brain functions without a lot of frustration. There is competition of sorts although you are placed in a group with other folks your age. And you can actually drill down into your mental skills bank and determine what areas require more attention. Here are the starting marks I received. I was surprised to see my memory grades are actually better than some of the others. I thought I had a terrible memory! But paying attention seems to be more of a problem. Guess I should stop watching the news and football games while trying to do the training!





When I retired from the working world a few years ago it was tempting to spend hours playing Lord of the Rings, having a few drinks and avoiding exercise whenever possible. Well, that doesn’t work very well does it? Daily life now involves walking six miles or so, avoiding alcohol and tobacco and playing Lumosity.

What could be next? Who knows.  Clearly there is a lot of work left to do here.

Boston University / Remembering People And Places/ Revolution

This evening on Facebook I ran across a link from BU about Martin Luther King, Jr. . A friend of his wrote about their experiences in the early 50’s at Boston University. I had not realized that King first met his future wife, Coretta, in the same dormitory I lived in during the late 60’s,  Myles Standish Hall. The author of this article, John Bustamante, describes the energetic person who was his friend and not yet the legend we remember today.

“It was in the social room of Myles Standish,” he says. “We had an organization for the improvement of black students in the New England area, and there were social activities, a way of looking after each other when things weren’t going right. They would come to BU because we could house them overnight without anybody knowing it.”

It was a great night. “She was a gracious woman,” says Bustamante, “very nice-looking, very friendly, and she and I were talking. I’d met her a few times before, but this was King’s first sight of her. I think it was a situation made in heaven.”

It’s a very interesting article and I hope you will take time the time to read it. Boston, of course, was the center of much activity in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I recently read a book about events leading up to the birth of the personal computer called The Dream Machine JCR Licklider And The Revolution That Made Computing Personal. Bill Gates is hardly mentioned in it at all! Licklider was a psychologist with many other talents and he did not go along with the radical behaviorism of BF Skinner so popular at the time. He was more in tune with men and machines working together. The machine changes the man AND the man changes the machine.

This, of course, was another kind of revolution that did not involve marching in the street and people dying. And here we all are typing away at our computer keyboards. Several times I have tried to imagine the delight Licklider would experience, if he were still alive, playing one of our pc games, Lord of the Rings, for example.

Right up Commonwealth Avenue about three quarters of a mile is BU’s Marsh Chapel where Timothy Leary carried on experiments using divinity students and psychedelic substances. Here is a YouTube video with a few shots of the campus and the recollections of one of the divinity students.


So here we have three men, three vastly different revolutions, and a world now that is so different from the one I remember forty years ago because of them.  We are so much better off in a world where racism no longer is instilled in the very fabric of our country. And then there’s the computer! It has changed our lives to a great degree. Even if you don’t have one in your home it has changed your life. And I don’t think we can speak of a cultural revolution without including the work of Timothy Leary and his friends. Even if you have never taken LSD. It has changed the world around you. All of these things have changed the world around us in amazing ways.

So it was interesting remembering the places where these people lived their daily lives for awhile. Along with the rest of us. We walk in the footprints of giants sometimes, don’t we?

And don’t let me forget one more thing! Aerosmith! When they started out they would set up their stuff in front of the Boston University campus and play. This was way back in the 60’s! I learned this little factoid from reading Joey Kramer’s autobiography, Hit Hard, on my Kindle!

A few years ago my son, Zachary, and I went up to Cape Cod to visit my dad. And we drove up to Boston for a bit of sightseeing. I walked into the Student Union at BU and looked around. They had changed it quite a bit. It used to be more open. And I remembered sitting in there trying to study when someone would stand up and start giving an extemporaneous speech about the unjustness of the Vietnam War. But now, there are just ghosts in the room.

So much has changed. And, if you live long enough, you will probably be amazed, too, by how much this world changes over time. And, on that note, I say we listen to a word or two from Aerosmith.


Aerosmith Dream On




Time Is Not Of The Essence

It’s Monday morning and everyone is heading back to whatever they do following  Thanksgiving weekend activities.   In my case this means rolling out of bed and sitting down to the computer nearly five feet away to write.

Something.  Lately there has been a blank space in my brain where the words are supposed to go.  I always wonder why this happens from time to time.   If there is a long dead poet up there who is attempting to say something then maybe he takes breaks for various reasons.

It could have something to do with the holidays. Read more

The Blogger’s Cold Continues/ LOTRO And Harry Potter Kick In

It’s about two days since the blogger wrote about coming down with a cold. And he’s not doing well. He invested in a Vick’s steamer thing and it’s putting out a very lame amount of steam. The directions say you should add salt if your water in soft. Is our water soft? I don’t know. Let me ask it.

It’s three am and I’m tempted to run downtown and find an a drugstore that’s open all night, buy the biggest bottle of cough syrup on the shelf and drink it there in the aisle. But I don’t like going out in the middle of the night. It feels weird. It’s kind of eerie. I’m sure it’s safe but still. . .what if a spaceship is in the neighborhood?
I wrote about taking a ride in a spaceship in the previous post about being sick. And the only thing anybody questioned was my age!

You’re not 57! Read more

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