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On the Boston Lockdown

Look. We don’t shut down cities for ordinary homocides because those killers target individuals. A spree killer or bomber is targeting a whole population. Especially if they’re going after a high-profile (and high-security) event like one of the world’s biggest marathons. The intent is to kill as many people as possible. Even if the attack doesn’t kill that many people (as I mentioned on Twitter, the Molasses Flood in 1919 killed more than the marathon bombing did), that doesn’t change the intent.

If you let them go, there’s a high probability they’ll do it again. Especially in a terrorist (and let’s be clear — you bomb a marathon to incite terror, whether you have a political motive or not) attack. Because, again, the proximate goal of someone who bombs a marathon is just to kill as many people as they can, and that’s true regardless of whatever their ultimate goal was.

And even with all of that being the case, law enforcement didn’t issue the lockdown notice until after the suspects in the bombing initiated a firefight in a residential neighbourhood. Dangers don’t get more clear and present than that. It would have been irresponsible of the authorities, knowing the suspects were at large, armed, and willing to endanger or kill civilians to protect themselves, to tell the city to just go about its business as normal. If nothing else, it denied the suspects hostages or targets of opportunity.

So, if your first thought in this situation is “ZOMG MARTIAL LAW” or “ONOES THE POOR ECONOMIES”, would you kindly go fuck yourself?

A Captain’s Steed & An Oasis Beneath The Wall

Lord of the Rings Online released their special “Steed of the Captain”, and as my main character plays a Captain I’ve been stockpiling Turbine Points just for this occasion. I have to say, I’m quite pleased with it!

There’s no banner, which I find slightly disappointing, but the flanks have a cool eagle motif and the neck has a red sash… Really, the only way it could have been more perfect for my character (who is based off of this fellow) is if it came dyed blue by default. But if that were the case, mine wouldn’t be so special.

The saddle is slightly awful, though. I replaced it with the Light Saddle of the Wold.

Anyway, all of this is just to say that I decided to take a bunch of screenshots. The first ones are glamour shots from a cool-looking tomb area in the Norcrofts, and the last bunch show off the Steed itself.

Short Story: Tweetroom


AMANDA MARCOTTE walks down a corridor, her Twitter followers in tow.

AMANDA: I think Aaron Sorkin is overrated.


Standard of Victory: Blood Red

In these strange times, one finds hope in the unlikeliest of places. But also sorrow. The restless Dead who stalk our world are frightful creatures, yet even among them there are good spirits. And even among Living Men, there is evil. These desolate Lone-Lands brought me face to face with both.

The tale of this land is the tale of the Lady, Naruhel, called also the Red Maid. This history has long been secret, but I feel compelled to share it with the world, both as a warning and as a sign of hope.


Standard of Victory: Lone and Forsaken

Well, I certainly have heard my fair share of complaints about my previous missive, mostly accusations of self-aggrandisement. I assure you I simply recounted events as they happened, and any reader possessing a modicum of comprehension would have noticed a far more important broad theme underlying my telling of those events. Yes, my sword by chance struck the final blow, but I thought I made it abundantly clear that I never would have been in position to take that blow without the assistance and timely interventions of my companions.

Well, now that I have ruined what I thought a perfectly neat and rather poetic bit of prose by explaining it over much, I suppose I might as well continue my tale.

At this point in my journey, I found myself caught up in the affairs of wizards. Strange folk, they are, but not wholly disagreeable. One of these wizards instructed me to aid one of his companions in the Lone-Lands. Along the way, I found myself caught up in the affairs of Rangers and the denizens of a certain Forsaken Inn on the edge of Bree-land.


Programming Notes

Just some quick notes about stuff I’m doing with the blog.

First, anybody who still bothers to read this has probably noticed that I’ve started writing in character as Cainwen Kaifas, my main character in Lord of the Rings Online. That’s going to continue. I’m a little bored with the whole angry ranting thing and don’t have the patience these days for sitting down and writing thoughtful pieces, but I do enjoy writing fiction. LOTRO, being relatively story-heavy for an MMO, provided me with some solid material, so I’m just going to roll with that for a while and see where it goes. Perhaps getting back into the habit of writing regularly will inspire me to do more wholly original pieces, like picking up with more Tobasco stuff (since the site is named for him, after all), but we’ll see.

Second, I eliminated the old, generic WordPress comment system and replaced it with Disqus. I’ve had user registration off for a while because I was getting roughly 30 spam registrations a day, and that’s after I banned the whole .ru domain from registering. Unfortunately, the Single Sign On features of Disqus that would let people log in with their Twitter and Facebook accounts aren’t free, so I can’t use those, but it does mean that folks can go to Disqus to register (or use existing Disqus accounts), and they can deal with all the registration spam instead. Anyway, upshot, people can make comments again, and I encourage you all to do so!

Third, I’m messing around and looking for a new theme. Please leave suggestions! I’m looking particularly for WordPress themes that support widgets, as I like to use the Recent Tweets one.

Standard of Victory: Fellowship and Triumph in the Barrows

My recent adventures have taken me all across Eregion, from the shores of Evendim to Rivendell itself, and I almost fear I’ll never catch up the present. So, rather than fall further behind, it is time I relate the tale of Sambrog’s downfall.

After our first encounter with the Wight-Lord, Jurgen and I found ourselves in need of some rest and recuperation, so we immediately mounted up on my steed, Salamander, and make our way to the Prancing Pony in Bree-Town. There was some sort of noisy commotion in the night, but not anything to do with us or our mission to defend the Free Peoples, I’m sure.

In the morning, we went down to purchase our breakfast from Barliman, who was grousing about ruined beds or some such thing, when the raised voice of an angry dwarf (is there another kind?) broke through the usual din of pub noise.


Standard of Victory: Further Beginnings

Now that introductions are over, some little more time must be spent catching up to present events. I shall elide over the events at Archet. I was hardly the only one there, and at the time the incessant rumour mill had yet to inflate my reputation beyond its — I insist! — rather modest proportions. However, I will pause there briefly to add that it was in Archet where I first made important connections with parties who would become instrumental in my further achievements.

So, yes, after aiding in the defense of Archet and assisting the constabulary in clearing out some annoying bandit infestations in Chetwood, I made my way to Bree itself, where those connections from Archet (I choose not to reveal their identities, for I’d rather they not be known to the spies of the Dark Lord) sent me on a number of tasks. On the way, Jurgen and I chanced across a meeting between some of Bree-Land’s bandits and a vile agent of Darkness in the flesh. More errands for these secret defenders of the Free Peoples sent me among the Hobbits and into the Old Forest, then to the vile Barrow-Downs.

And here is where I seem to have first come to the attention of the gossips. Yes, the tale of Othrongroth, where Jurgen and I stood our ground against a most deadly servant of Evil, the Wight-Lord Sambrog. Those who keep watch outside the Great Barrow saw me enter, knowing Sambrog himself was inside, lying in wait. They saw me leave again, Jurgen at my side, the two of us whole, and naturally concluded that I had vanquished the Wight-Lord in single combat.

A reasonable deduction under the circumstances, but sadly inaccurate. It’s true that the Wight-Lords plans — whatever they might have been, for I admit that I possess no great understanding of the endless plots, designs, and schemes that these wretched foes constantly inflict on the free peoples — were foiled that day, but the Wight-Lord was not defeated. After a long battle and a valiant last stand by myself and my trusty companion, he nonetheless escaped, to be returned to death another day.

Of course, I was there on the day he did fall, but I was not alone. The true tale of the Great Barrow and the Fall of Sambrog is a long one, and I shall save it for my next missive.

Fare well, and stay free,

Standard of Victory: A Captain’s Journal

Writing for an audience is a strange sensation for such an unremarkable Woman of Dale as I. However, I cannot help but notice that my exploits have attracted some attention in Bree-land and more recently among the Eglan. As much as I would prefer to let my actions stand for themselves, I fear that none in the public eye can escape the grasp of certain panderers of sensation. Thus, lest I trust my family’s good name to the salacious pamphleteers of Arda, I instead choose to put forth these memoirs in a spirit of humility, mindful to relate only events as they happened, without the usual bombastic embellishments that pass for journalism among Men.

Simply to sate curiosity and silence the gossips (a hopeless goal, I am sure), perhaps I shall start with a few brief words on my origins. I was born in Dale, at the foot of the Lonely Mountain, to a family of some small wealth but little other note. My ancestors have always served the Kings of Dale well, but their names are not well-known even among our own people, so I will spend no time on them. Thus, as a girl, I was initiated into the ways of war. Some, at this point, no doubt cry, “Scandal!”, but this is the way of our family, as it always has been, and no more shall be said of it by me.

My instructors deemed me capable, but not remarkable, an assessment I insist remains accurate to this day. If any lesson must be taken from my modest successes, let it be not that I myself am some paragon of virtue and skill but simply that I have achieved that which is possible for all Men or Women born into my privilege and possessing the desire to perform his or her duties well. No doubt there are others, many others, who possessed the latter without the former, and the cause of the Free Peoples is the worse for that fact. It is my dream, for some day when the Evil that darkens this blighted Age is vanquished, to see that such privilege is eliminated and not one person among the whole race of Men will be held back by lack of opportunity from fulfilling their highest potential.

But enough of dreams. Perhaps for this first missive I should finish with an explanation of how I traveled from Dale to Bree and began to attract all this quite undeserved attention. It is a simple story, but one that ought to be told simply to save certain tongues some wagging.

As ever, the people of Dale are friends to the Men of the West, and news of the troubles in Eregion has reached as far as our humble kingdom. Thus, King Brand himself dispatched myself and all the other fighters he could spare to seek out Gondor and learn how we might be of aid. As we crossed Rhovanion toward the south, however, we found everywhere the servants of Evil. The farther we pushed, the harder it became to avoid patrols of orcs and goblins, until finally, after a number of running battles where we won the day but lost many of our band, we were forced to divert west to the relative safety of Bree-land. Of course, the way from Rhovanion to Bree was none to safe, nor, as we were to discover, was Bree itself immune to the encroaching darkness. In the end, only myself and my faithful herald Jurgen made it to the city. All the others either lay dead at the hands of orcs and other Evil, turned back, or stayed to assist the pockets of resistance we encountered along the way.

Thus, our two-person emissary arrived and discovered that Bree-Land required our assistance every bit as much as Gondor, so we determined to set out from here to do what good could be done by two soldiers in a dangerous world. Along the way, we had the great fortune to assist others like us who have pledged themselves to the defense of the Free Peoples of Middle Earth, performing great feats together which none of us alone could achieve. But, all these stories shall be saved for later.

Fare well, and stay free.

User Registration

I’ve had user registration off for a while due to ridiculous volumes of spam. However, I just switched it back on. Depending on how that goes, I’ll either leave it on or turn it back off again.

P.s.: I’ve just installed the “Twitter Connect” plugin, which should allow Twitter users to post comments using OAuth login rather than having to register a new account.

EDIT: I’ve been getting something like 20 new user registrations a day, none of whom are actually posting anything, so registration is off again.

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