Always On: Tron Legacy R3CONFIGUR3D

Ever since the movie came out, Tron Legacy R3CONFIGUR3D always makes it on to my shuffle list. This remix of Daft Punk’s latest album has got Moby, the Crystal Method, and Paul Oakenfold playing up mixes with n3wbies Com Truise and Pretty Lights. Its a collection that offers eclectic tangents on the retro-futuristic music of Daft Punk. R3CONFIGUR3D is indeed a musical technocratic gestalt of excellence.

Daft Punk’s Derezzed – Remixed by The Glitch Mob

Daft Punk’s Derezzed – Remixed by The Glitch Mob

The Glitch Mob is a three-piece electronic group from Los Angeles. Thought they started up in 2006, they made a name for themselves playing live gigs performing with laptops and a Lemur (a MIDI haptic audio controller brand, not the Madagascar mammal).

Creative Chants: Hildegard von Bingen

When I need to be centered and creative I listen to the chants composed by Hildegard von Bingen. Also known as Saint Hildegard, and Sibyl of the Rhine, she was a writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, German Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath (a short word for “person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas”). The amazing part is that she lived in 11th Century and a scholarly woman who wrote theological, botanical and medicinal texts, as well as letters, liturgical songs, and poems.

Hildegard von Bingen composed over 70 surviving medieval chants intended to be sung by nun choirs in Catholic Churches. Her music has lasted over 900 years! Though I’m not a religious person I appreciate the quality of talent put into the album, Hildegard von Bingen: Canticles of Ecstasy. When I want to be at peace, and focus on my creative work, this is the music I turn to. Its so simple, direct, beautifully pure, finely tuned, and warmly colored by the voices of talented women.

Pamela Dellal – Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vite

Lyrics of Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vita

Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vita,
movens omnia,
et radix est in omni creatura,
ac omnia de immunditia abluit,
tergens crimina,
ac ungit vulnera,
et sic est fulgens ac laudabilis vita,
suscitans et resuscitans omnia.

Translation of Spiritus Sanctus vivificans vita

Holy Spirit, bestowing life unto life,
moving in All.
You are the root of all creatures,
washing away all impurity,
scouring guilt,
and anointing wounds.
Thus you are luminous and praiseworthy, Life,
awakening, and re-awakening all that is.

Secret Pleasures: Cosmic Night Run

Cosmic Night Run (featuring Maki Nomiya and Crazy Ken Band) is track number 14 from M-Flo’s 2004 studio album, Astromantic. M-Flo is a Japanese hip-hop group which I learned about by playing the video game Dance Dance Revolution.

I have this thing for J-Hip-Hop, which I don’t really talk about with folks because I don’t know anyone else who listens to J-Hip-Hop. Regardless, I like Cosmic Night Run because its got this old world sound that mixes well the modern feeling of rap. Its a delightfully eclectic mombo-ish song that goes beyond today’s monotonous hip-hop loops. Really the whole album, Astromantic, is just a refreshing change from the repetitive (nearly unoriginal) American hip-hop.

M-Flo – Cosmic Night Run (featuring Maki Nomiya and Crazy Ken Band)

Cosmic Night Run Lyrics Translated in English

I get the feeling, oh yeah…something good’s gonna happen today…
Yeah! This ain’t the average date, so get ready!
Looks like we’re mixing business with pleasure
In front of Swiss Bank…say what?…we’re making a few plans
We get busy y’all…once we kiss it’ll all get going
Plan A, B,…C, D, I’ve got a good feeling about this

Shove a ton of stuff in your Boston bag!
Samba, samba! From the car window we can see a diamond shower
We’ve got the glittering constellations all to ourselves
Yay, yay! We did it, baby! For real!

Let’s go…far away! Luxurious jetty tonight!
Right away! Our destination? We won’t think about it…
And then!
Gangsta gangsta ecstasy (prrring!)
Gonna escape this lonely love
A handsome night run!

Great! A shuttle limousine, jacuzzi girls
Chillin’ yet nervous, we open the door to party!
Great! There’s a red carpet up to the entrance
Pop the bottle, celebration
Great! Fashion police check 1!
It’s the middle of winter but there’s some young, lively girls dancing in swimsuits
Great! Whoo! You so crazy!
This is my first time…hey Ken!
Yo, yo, yo, this is the best sound machine in Asia
Crazy Ken’s band represented by the lead singer!
I think I like how that sounds!
The name of this Spancoll sparkling city we’re goin’ through is…

Ginza, Ginza, shopping in a space Ginza
Gold and silver fly about, silver makes an emergency landing at a department store
We’ve got the makeup and the designer clothes and the jewellery all to ourselves
Yay, yay! A feast several days long! For real!

Let’s go…like this! Jetty tonight until dawn!
We ain’t stopping…forever….where to next? We don’t know
Science gangsta fantasy
Gonna escape this lonely love
A cosmic rendezvous

We at large~ no signs of being caught, baby
Baby…Tokyo, New York, Paris, right! Baby!
Ready for some action! A sound that’ll disturb the neighbourhood
Live and direct! Lady miss warp to shop the stores out
An haute couture flow just for you
For real, kiss me, je t’aime*
Up late polishin’ the leather til it shines
Your eyes flash, flash! Tomorrow’s hidden…I like that!
Like this, like that, like this, c’mon

Great! 3, 2, 1, great!
Counting down to the year 2014
Great! Three, two, one, great!
Not long now…everybody say
Great! Feelin’ great!
Something to be jealous of, huh! Life is great! For real!
Great! (Great!)
Great! (Great!)
Great! (Great!)
Greeeeeat!!!

Let’s go…like this! Jetty tonight until dawn!
We ain’t stopping…forever….where to next? We don’t know
Science gangsta fantasy
Gonna escape this lonely love
A cosmic rendezvous

Let’s go…far away! Luxurious jetty tonight!
Right away! Our destination? We won’t think about it…
And then!
Gangsta gangsta ecstasy (prrring!)
Gonna escape this lonely love
A handsome night run!

Keeps Me Going: Help I’m Alive

“Help I’m Alive” is the song that can send tremors through my heart because the lyrics speaks to my fears and hopes of death and life all in one go. When I’m feeling down or depressed and I’m just sick of it all, I play this song. My favorite line is “I tremble, they’re gonna eat me alive. If I stumble they’re gonna eat me alive.” because that’s what it feels like when I’m just miserable; that something is going to consume me into nothingness.

Metric is a Canadian Indie rock and New Wave band. Originally formed in Toronto, the band has also at various times been based in Montreal, London, New York City and Los Angeles. “Help I’m Alive” is from Fantasies, their fourth studio album released in 2009.

Lyrics for Help I’m Alive by Metric

I tremble, they’re gonna eat me alive
If I stumble they’re gonna eat me alive
Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?
Beating like a hammer

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft, tough to be tender
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

If we’re still alive my regrets are few
If my life is mine what shouldn’t I do?
I get wherever I’m going, I get whatever I need
While my blood’s still flowing and my heart still beats
Beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft, tough to be tender
Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

If we’re still alive my regrets are few
If my life is mine what shouldn’t I do?
I get wherever I’m going, I get whatever I need

While my blood’s still flowing and my heart still beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

I tremble, they’re gonna eat me alive
If I stumble they’re gonna eat me alive
Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?
Beating like a hammer, beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

Help, I’m alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer

Make Me Move: Dr. Wanna Do

Caro Emerald, is a Dutch jazz singer, who debuted in 2009 with her single “Back It Up”. Her first album is Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room Floor. Though I love “Back It Up,” the song that gets me dancing is “Dr. Wanna Do.”

I really love the whole album of Deleted Scenes from the Cutting Room. Sounds of ballroom jazz, golden screen tangos, grooving jazz tracks and infectious mambos that swing you right back to the 40’s and 50’s but in the full color of smoking beats and catchy lyrics.

Caro Emerald – Dr. Wanna Do

I just made an appointment
For a special rendez-vous
To see a man of miracles
And all that he can do

I checked in at reception
Put my hat onto my lap
And when he walked in dressed in white
I had a heart attack

My eyes went ooh
My voice just cooed
My mind let loose
I’ll stay forever, it’s up to you

(Dabedebedibedabedudohdoh)

Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do
Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do

I sat down and I waited
‘Til I heard my name get called
It’s like I’m at the races
And I think I won them all

He asked me to step forward
First I caught my breath, and ran
For endless observation
In the hands of Superman

My eyes went ooh
My voice just cooed
My mind let loose
I’ll stay forever, it’s up to you

(Dabedebedibedabedudohdoh)

Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do
Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do

Come over here and give me some medicine
Move a little closer so my head can spin
A little bit of potion makes my fever go
Get it out of me me like a volcano

My eyes went ooh (uhuh uhuh)
My voice just cooed (you know it)
My mind let loose
Mmm, Dr. Love

(Dabedebedibedabedudohdoh)

Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do
Doctor I want you
Mmm, my Doctor Wanna Do
I can’t get over you
Dr. Do anything that ya Wanna Do

Unexpected Joy: Tik Tok

Kesha said the inspiration behind the song came from coming home half-drunk and stumbling after a night out of partying. She would then write down a few words to a song, then the following morning she would wake up with the story waiting to be told. The opening line came from an experience where she woke up surrounded by “beautiful women”, leading to her imagining P. Diddy being in a similar scenario.

I like this song because it always throws me back to my Hawaii vacation in 2009. Sig and I would wake up in the morning (not feeling any kind of hangover nor like Diddy, of course) but to drive to the east side of the island to hit the beaches for the full morning sun. This song was playing nearly once an hour on the radio and would still be playing by the time we got in the car to head out for lunch. Tik Tok would play AGAIN when we headed over to the west side beaches for the afternoon.

You can find this song on Kesha’s 2010 album Animals.

Lyrics for Tik Tok by Kesha

Wake up in the morning, feelin’ like P. Diddy (Hey, what up girl?)
Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city (Let’s go!)
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack
‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back
I’m talking pedicure on our toes, toes
Tryin’ on all our clothes, clothes
Boys blowing up our phones, phones
Drop-topping, playing our favorite CDs
Pulling up to the parties
Trying to get a little bit tipsy

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

Ain’t got a care in world, but got plenty of beer
Ain’t got no money in my pocket, but I’m already here!
And now the dudes are lining up ’cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick ’em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

I’m talking about everybody getting crunk, crunk
Boys trying to touch my junk, junk
Gonna smack him if he getting too drunk, drunk
Now, now, we goin’ til they kick us out, out
Or the police shut us down, down
Police shut us down, down
Po-po shut us…

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

DJ, you build me up
You break me down
My heart, it pounds
Yeah, you got me
With my hands up
You got me now
You got that sound
Yeah, you got me
DJ, you build me up
You break me down
My heart, it pounds
Yeah, you got me
With my hands up
Put your hands up
Put your hands up

Now the party don’t start ’til I walk in

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

Don’t stop, make it pop
DJ, blow my speakers up
Tonight, I’ma fight
‘Til we see the sunlight
Tick, tock, on the clock
But the party don’t stop, no
Oh, woah, oh, oh
Oh, woah, oh, oh

My Karaoke Song: Maps

“Maps” is a single by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs from their debut full-length album, Fever to Tell (2003). The song is about the relationship between Liars frontman Angus Andrew and Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O; the title is actually an acronym of the words “My Angus Please Stay”.

I love the drumming on this song, its got a pace that gets me going. Its also my favorite kareoke song to sing because its within my range (alto) and its simple enough to sing drunk!

Lyrics for Maps by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Pack up
I’m straight
Enough
Oh, say, say, say
Oh, say, say, say
Oh, say, say, say
Oh, say, say, say
Oh, say, say, say

Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Maps
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you

Made off
Don’t stray
My kind’s your kind
I’ll stay the same

Pack up
Don’t stray
Oh, say, say, say
Oh, say, say, say

Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Maps
Wait, they don’t love me like I love you

Wait, they don’t love me like I love you
Maps
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you

Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Maps, wait
They don’t love me like I love you

Wait, they don’t love you like I love you
Maps
Wait, they don’t love you like I love you

Fav Song (Of The Moment): Cup of Brown Joy

Professor Elemental is the steampunk mad professor and chap hop musical artist persona of Paul Alborough. After being approached to do a concept album of hip-hop as it would sound in different time periods, Paul Alborough created the character of Professor Elemental. The album was never made, but the character blossomed after the music video for “Cup of Brown Joy,” hit the internet.

Why is “Cup of Brown Joy” my favorite song of the moment? I love tea. I mean, I do love steampunk too, but I love tea more. The song overall just makes me happy. Apart from being the perfect anthem for afternoon tea enthusiasts, the lyrics are quite delightful yet witty.

Professor Elemental – Cup Of Brown Joy (Tea Bag Remix)

I need a cup of the brown stuff, the shade of an acorn
Made warm by the same source that I take my cakes from
Using a teapot, a mug or fine china
Been hooked up to IVs, need constant supplies

Now, a drip for my urges might verge on perverted
But for earthy brown tea, I’m certain it’s worth it!
We’re Sherpas who work herbs and use a fresh fountain
I’ve discerned brews from Peruvian mountains

I’ve slurped up a cuppa from an elephant’s trunk
With a couple of monks who were utterly stunk
I’ve had bourbons with sultans and creams with queens
And I’ve bathed in Earl Grey–I’m really that keen!

And missionaries dismiss me for my single epiphany
The diff between him and me is a simple sip of British tea!
So when times are hard and life is rough,
You can stick the kettle on and find me a cup

Now, when I say “Earl Grey,” you say “Yes, please!”
Earl Grey! (Yes, please!)
Earl Grey! (Yes, please!)

When I say “Assam,” you say “Lovely!”
Assam! (Lovely!)
Assam! (Lovely!)

When I say “Ooh,” you say “Aah!”
Ooh! (Aah!)
Ooh! (Aah!)
Ooh! (Aah!)

Ooh, yes, I’ll do a number on you.

I’ve been around the world in eighty brews, to see the place it takes me to
To make a brew that tastes like the cream cakes made by angels do
I’m not the same as you, get shaky but aim
To swig amazing fluids but don’t make it the same

Now, using fine leaves picked by pretty maidens,
In a bag knitted by a seamstress who lives in Copenhagen
Brewed up in a pot made of semi-precious metal,
Let the blessed contents settle in my very special kettle!

Now, when I say “Oo,” you say “long!”
Oo! (long!)
Oo! (long!)

When I say “Herbal,” you say “No, thanks!”
Herbal? (No, thanks!)
Herbal? (No, thanks!)

Hm, no. No, I want–I want milk in it. Strong, though–I want to see that spoon stand up!

If you’re tired of tea then you’re tired of life
Hah! I’m madder than a hatter and it fires my mic
Liken to me to Earl Grey, Assam, or Ginger
Lapsang Souchong, raise my pinkie finger!

Keep your sodding coffee in a proper copper coffee pot
And spot me lobbing teapots at your poncy rotten coffee shop
Coffee clots, nodding off–lost the plot, sodding off
Need some caffeine, tannin, and a Battenberg to top it off!

Cut from off a different cloth, a different lot can take their beer
On 80 cups a day, I haven’t slept for 80 years!
You could say I’m mad for tea–or, or just say I’m mad–
Oh, you can’t stay any longer? Oh, actually, I’m, I’m quite glad–

All the more Battenberg for me-
I can barely pour, my hands have gone a bit shaky from caffeine-
I love it though, I’d sell me own grandma for a cup…
Well, I’d sell YOUR grandma for a cup…

DDO Cannith Crafting: A Live BETA

Disclaimer: I'm going to brag a bit. You know, just to get it out of my system. And then I promise to move on to what I'm really trying to say. So if you don't like bragging farts, stop reading here and feel free to skip down to the next section if it pleases you. :)  So I've been playing MMOs for about 12 years now. I do not have enough fingers on my hands to count the number of closed betas I've been in. I consider myself lucky to be invited to test so many MMOs. Today, I don't do much beta testing. I sometimes miss it, at other times I'm glad I have the free time to do other things.

Cannith Crafting: A Live BETA

So when Cannith Crafting was put on the live servers in a BETA format, it was the first time I've heard of a MMO subsystem being tested in such a fashion. It's highly unorthodox to release sub-systems into the live arena, but in the case of the Cannith crafting system I can understand why, what they had to gain (and potentially lose) from doing it. There are also some interesting unexpected results from using this method of "live" beta testing.

The Reason: Not Enough Testers

In huge games like WoW (nearly 12 million Players) or even Aion (3 million players), the response to a beta-testing call-to-arms is astounding. Typically a percent of the player base are also closed beta testers and able to see content months in advance (but only after rigorous NDA agreements are signed). If we assume that only one half of a percent (0.5%) MMORPG's population are close beta testers that would be nearly 60,000 beta players for a game like WoW. (1) Last year, MMOData.net reported a total of around 110,000 active DDO players. If we make an assumption that of that population less than 1% are beta testers; that amounts to around 600 to 800 closed beta players. In my opinion, that's hardly enough hands to test a complicated sub-system such as new crafting system There is a saying in the game business: "No game survives contact with the players, but that's how you find out what kind of game you've got." Today there are Open Beta servers; even WoW had one for Cataclysm. DDO has its own, called Lamannia. Open Beta testing tries to solve the "not enough" people issue. But in most cases, I feel it's just a PR stunt to get players hyped on the new stuff. In the case of DDO and Lamannia its been proven to be more than a PR gimmick, it works and Lamannia testers have really proven their worth and even stopped a bad update from being pushed. Open Beta servers work great in practice with bug fixes, and even with testing new content like quests and adventure areas. But with new sub-systems with their own mechanics that may affect different areas of the game such as the loot system or the in-game economy, I think that it's a different ball game. And here is where releasing a beta sub-system to a live environment comes in. My best educated guess (and opinion) is that Turbine took a pretty huge risk with Cannith Crafting by putting out a Beta out on live. Why? So that they could get more players into it and to see what happens. It's not an every-day-thing to allow EVERYONE a chance to influence a game in such a risky and public manner.

Reward and Risk

Live Beta's can turn out to be a wonderful thing, and I've seen this type of mechanics testing done in not in MMORPGs, but in regular table-top RPGs (namely Pathfinder) where new character classes, spells, and feats are given in an open beta format for players to test. Paizo was able to produce an awesome supplement to their game because they had awesome constructive feedback from their fans. The reward was an award-winning game both beneficial for players and designers. There are also more people buying the game and new players being introduced to Pathfinder. I can also see how Live Betas can burn a game to the ground. DDO players invest a lot of time into a game by questing, killing monsters, exploring, and now crafting. By putting a beta crafting system on a live server, you run the risk of wasting a player's time. If the system changes or is bugged in some fashion that effectively ruins their hard work, then the risk is a player not playing the game anymore. Worse than losing a player from your game, is that you run the risk of losing the player's trust for any game you run. Players expect consistency, so that they can learn, adapt, and master the game. What do you think would happen if a Dungeon Master kept on changing the rules of their D&D campaign game every other encounter? Players would get angry and leave the gaming table, because they can't trust the DM to be fair. Even if the DM said "Wait a minute! That was only a practice run!" Players still would be reluctant to trust the DM, and the chances of them playing in another game with that DM goes down.

Unsettling Effects: Useless Feedback

Back in the day when a closed beta invite meant something, betas also had (and still have) feedback forums. These beta forums were used for remarking on things that weren't necessarily bugs, but on things that might not be as good in practice as they seemed to be in design. At worst, you were working as a real tester by helping to squash bugs without the pay. At best, you'd have an influence on shaping the game itself. I have been observing a frightening trend with open beta testers: we now have a "testing" community that believes there's nothing more to beta-testing than downloading the client and playing for a bit. After playing on the open beta server, they then spend most of their time on the forums or in the global channels complaining about how a game in development still has bugs, and all done without filing a bug report. This kind of attitude sends shivers down my spine. In a live beta, this effect (understandably) seems to be amplified. I see a lot more useless commentary. To be fair, I can't tell how many crafting bugs were reported since it was pushed to live; my only hope that it's more than what we would see in Lamannia or in the DDO's closed beta, Mournlands. Perhaps, there needs to be more advertising on how to find bugs and how to report bugs - it's not like players are given a list of what to test for. Or perhaps there needs to be more incentive than just personal enjoyment of experiencing a live beta? I would love to see an open beta player spotlight given to the person who found the best bug.

Summary

I want to see this kind of testing system work, but I have to admit that I wouldn't want to see certain kinds of changes nor a beta version of a new kind of combat mechanic on live. The Cannith Crafting Beta on live is okay, only because people can opt out of the majority of it by not crafting (with minor intrusions found in the game economy, and the tide of available players). (2) The reasons why a beta of Cannith Crafting was put on the live servers is understandable: the more people you have testing the more bug reports, and feedback on overall game effects you get, and sooner. Turbine played a very interesting game of risk, and it's yet to be seen if the rewards sought will be got: Will turbine get more players? Or even retain the current player base? I think we'll only see after it's been a while from when Cannith Crafting is finished.  And though I don't like the trends of how beta testing and feedback is performed on the community's part, there isn't much that can be done when open betas, preview servers, and "live" betas are becoming common way of testing games. My only hope is that this method of "live" beta testing works in beneficial ways, such as getting new players, or retaining players that would have left without even a hint of crafting.
1 "Subscription and Active Accounts with a Peak between 1m and 12m." MMOData.net. http://www.mmodata.net/ 2 Regardless of it being Live Beta or not, Cannith Crafting has and still will affect non-participants in surprisingly direct ways, such as change in economy and the buying and selling of goods either from Auction House or Brokers. It's been interesting to watch both money supply and the supply of goods go down. And then watching both money supply and supply of available goes go up when crafting was shut down. Cannith Crafting has some indirect ways influencing the player base: tide of available players for questing. The tide is in when there is a pool of players ready and available to join groups for questing. The tide goes out when players are crafting; simply put they cannot quest when they are crafting. In my guild, the flow of when players are available to quest has changed, typically after 10 pm (pacific) there are less players willing to quest because they are crafting.

Stonehenge, Wind Farms, and Art

Maryhill Stonehenge World War I Memorial

The Maryhill Stonehenge is a full-size replica of Stonehenge as it would have been originally built. This monument was dedicated on July 4, 1918 to honor the dead of World War I and is now owned by the Maryhill Museum. After 93 years, the Maryhill Stonehenge is rather neat, but I can’t help but think it would have been awe-inspiring if the stones were made of granite rather than a concrete mix. Regardless, the sentiment of the monument still rings true to the WWI veterans it was dedicated to.

I have to say that the view down toward the river and orchard was marvelous. I decided to break out my GPS and go geocaching among the grand concrete stones. We missed the Summer Solstice by a few days and it would have been fun to see the altar stone aligned with the sunrise.

Wind Farms of Maryhill Museum

The Cannon Power group leased land from Maryhill Museum of Art. From these wind mills, the museum was the in the first in the US to make money through wind farm land leasing. The money was used to maintain the museum itself, and last year they started construction on a new wing. In other cases outside of the Museum’s land, a portion of the money will be used to maintain nature trails and the conservation of raptors, bats, and other animals in the area.

Driving through the country side, these wind farms seem surreal since they are the farthest thing you can see on the horizon (with the exception of Mount Hood). When we got to the Maryhill Museum, we were told of the peacocks roaming the gardens. The wind that day was fierce and, not surprisingly, no exotic birds to be seen.

The Art of Maryhill Museum

Maryhill MuseumThe Museum itself is cute and among the items on display are a painting of a Russian Tsar, artifacts from the Queen of Romania, a wonderful collection of drawings by Auguste Rodin, and one of the best collections of artistic chess pieces in the world.

There is an excellent display of Native American arts and crafts on the bottom floor. They explain that the tribes traveled there to trade for the salmon harvest. Unfortunately, my trip to Alaska a few years back over loaded me on Native American art and it just didn’t catch my interest as much.

Dufur’s Historic Balch Hotel

Balch HotelIts not really a hotel, its more like a bed and breakfast. The “hotel” stems from its historic roots. In 1907, Charles P. Balch, a local rancher, built the hotel. The bricks used to build the hotel were made on his ranch. The 18-inch-thick brick walls keep the building cool during the hot Dufur summers and warm on those cold winter nights. When the hotel first opened, room rates were as low as fifty cents a night and amenities included hot water, electricity, and steam heat: all state-of-the-art for the first part of the twentieth century.

If you’re in the area of Dufur Valley, which is just one hour and forty minutes east of Portland, OR, its a great place to stay. Its probably the best bed and breakfast I’ve stayed at to-date. We traveled south ward from Goldendale and The Dalesto get to Dufur, and saw some of Washington’s and Oregon’s most beautiful scenery. Quite worth the overnight trip.

Overnight Vacation Well its Worth

I really enjoyed our visit to Western Washington and Oregon. The drive along the Columbia River was picturesque and peaceful, especially in the mild summer weather. I highly recommend taking a day or two to explore this quite area.