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Misc and sundry pictures, videos, and articles found around the web. Whatever takes my fancy at the time and warrants comment.

Smudge Loves Spirit [videos]

Smudge and Spirit Smooch
Smudge & Spirit

Spirit doesn’t like to come inside too often. My polished wood floor is slippery for her old joints, and there’s at least one playful cat who can’t leave her alone to sleep.

Personally, I would prefer it if she was an inside-all-the-time (except while walking and/or pooping) dog, but my landlords aren’t especially keen on animals. (Which is hard for me to understand when children are far more destructive!)

Knowing that I’ll lose her soon, and having permission from my landlords to let her in since the cold weather isn’t helping her poor old bones, I invite her in every time I go past the back door, or when I need to bring in some firewood. Most of the time she looks in, sees EnormousCat (who doesn’t like her at all) and politely declines. Sometimes I’ll shoo EC away and she’ll still politely decline, possibly discouraged the stairs. Still, I persist. I want her inside, by the fire, snoozing happily.

Today, since it was raining hard, she accepted my invitation without encouragement, but was still anxious of the floor and Smudge, who was, as ever, so excited to see her. Spirit was, afterall, the one to bring him into our lives.

She only stayed in for a little while the first time – for the last hour or so she’s been snoozing by the fire. When she left, Smudge sat at the back door, sulking and waiting for her to come back. He doesn’t seem to care how much bigger she is, or that she could snap him in half with a nip, or squash him with a misplaced foot (easily done since she has trouble placing them these days). Spirit, on the other hand, is perpetually anxious about squashing him and wanting him to stay clear, not at all sure how the pack dynamics change inside the house with a kitten in the mix. But she’s so gentle and indulgent, and Smudge is just besotted.

Video evidence of a kitten adoring a dog (with silly youtube music). :D

Escape from Lion’s Arch

Caetwyn prepares to rescue the people of Lion's Arch and slaughter her enemies!

Caetwyn prepares to rescue the people of Lion’s Arch and slaughter her enemies!

The latest chapter in the ongoing ‘living story’ of Guild Wars 2 has the central city (Lion’s Arch) under siege by a typically diabolical foe and their equally diabolical minions. I regret that I’ve been too preoccupied of late to participate in the recent story arc, so I’m not as familiar with the background behind the razing of the city as I’d like to be, but I damn-well made some time to see it happen and do what I can to save Lion’s Arch!

I was afraid that this event would be a repeat of the Karka catastrophe, that was mostly available only to people who were fortunate enough to live in the right time zone. It was a one-time affair that people could only repeat if they could score an invite into a group on an overflow server. The constant creations of overflows helped drag the event out for several hours, enabling people who wouldn’t have made it a chance to play. I, myself, barely made it onto an overflow and was having such a great time bringing down the beast, but just before its demise the game was patched and the event was over.

Suffice to say the Karka catastrophe left a bitter after-taste, so I approached the razing of Lion’s Arch with a mix of trepidation and enthusiasm and heartbreak. But the masterful masterminds behind Guild Wars 2 have done a spectacular job. Taking onboard all the feedback after such a disastrous event, they’ve created something that both contributes to the story in a one-time-only fashion, but are dragging it out through the course of… Actually, I don’t know how long this will last, but it’s already been several days longer than the brief window for the Karka catastrophe.

It happened in a cut-scene (actually this is the event trailer):

Now the city is too hazardous to enter at times, and certainly too hazardous to linger too long. The complement of story content in gameplay windows like this is fantastic for enabling everyone to access and experience the event without having to resort to trickery. Bravo, ArenaNet. Bravo!

It was hard to watch, especially as a cut-scene doesn’t let you react. Being a passive observer through a minute (or less) of watching an invasion of the city was rough, but to then land in the thick of it and see the extent of the destruction… It was about as eye-watering as that first swim to find the ruins of the Old City under the bay.

Lion’s Arch is a character unto itself, having been at the heart of the story since it began (at least as far as game play goes). It’s the central hub where all the races converge and trade (sometimes goods, sometimes insults). It’s brimming with pirates, which gives it a salty edge, and every cave seems to harbour some ‘secret collective’. And yeah, there’s a jerk in a well. It hosts Winters Day and Halloween, and DragonBash, drawing everyone from everywhere to participate.

Lion’s Arch is the backbone of Tyria, and it’s just been broken.

Though Caetwyn is still a young character, not even half way to 80, she’s been digging through rubble and herding refugees out of harms way, all the while lamenting the damage done to her home away from the Shiverpeaks. The air is hot and poisonous, raining sparks and ash and full of great plumes of smoke. Buildings lie in ruins, centres of trade smouldering. The shore is overrun, and the horizon is consumed by a great and dastardly machine.

It’s awesome and awful, and I am full of awe.

gw059

Caetwyn faces the blackened horizon from Lion’s Arch.

Smudge Vs GW2

Smudge doesn’t like to be left out of anything.

I’ve never had a cat who pays this much attention to what’s happening on my screen, yet pays no attention to his reflection in a mirror.

This time my phone was within reach so I could capture his cuteness for posterity!

medium in the message

It can be difficult to get some messages across. Some messages people just don’t want to get, because it’s someone else’s problem; none of their business; too hard to fix/deal with; or what the hell can they do?

Sometimes those people don’t want to upset their privilege in the skewed status quo.

I haven’t checked the legitimacy of this video, but whether it’s real or not, the message is both clear and clever, and presented in the best way (I can think of) for those who need to know about it – the consumer of human trafficking.

Campaign by STOP THE TRAFFIC.