Friday Free for All: Game Cleared!

Or: All of the Alpha Nerds have seen Sword Art Online now.


Verdict: (Although it’s a bit late, since it finished airing a while back.) Pretty damn good.

Eagerly awaiting the next season.


EbolaBooze: It’s an interesting thought exercise, how one would fight and survive a death game like that. Given that my playstyle is entirely based around massive DPS, alpha damage and unfortunate amounts of aggression, I probably wouldn’t have lasted terribly long. Then again, I probably would have been skilled lucky psychopathic enough to at least not die like a scrub in the first few levels, so it’s anyone’s game.


marsy: I think I would spend the first few days/hours/weeks of the game in a corner crying. Then I might decide to run a shop or something. That being said, my usual play style is hit things until they die. Maybe I would just be a tank instead. Or I would die early. Probably that.


lorekai: If I were in SAO, I greatly doubt I would survive, as my standard play style seems to be to attempt to sneak before getting bored and charging blindly into battle. For any chance of survivability I would have to either be in a party with many people, or I would have to make sure I was severely over-leveled before attempting anything. I fact I think I would just go for severe over-leveling, severe over-leveling seems like the best plan for surviving, or maybe I’d just stay in the lower floors and cook, that seems like fun. In fact forget leveling, completionist cooking all the way.


Windfyre: If I were in SAO, I wouldn’t be there for long.  As you’ll soon see, my play style is to retard into the middle of a pack and spam area effect.  In SAO, my life span would be somewhere close to a snowflake in Hell.  But say I got some sense early and realised I would die when I am killed.  I would frontline, but I would be the ultimate defense, attempting to duel wield shields, with another mounted on my back.  All points into defense.   Tank for a party/clan.  That would be my idea of helping, to eat as much damage as possible, while other people get on with the winning.  Diablo 3 run-throughs coming!!


Anit the Flea: I vote speed. Then run, for I am ultimate coward. I’d need to collect all the clothes in the game too so I’d need a high paying job (‘cus there is no way I’d be on the front lines) so most likely I would turn to prostitution. Or pimping. I could be a total pimp. I would like a feathered cap.

marsy: Exams are not my friend

It’s that time of year again – exam time! Well, technically it’s exam time in couple of weeks, but that’s beside the point. The point is, that I have managed to find so many important things to do instead of studying. Some of these important tasks include painting my nails, having naps, playing really frustrating mini-games in otherwise fun games (I’m talking about you, Final Fantasy X), watching movies, reading fanfiction, and thinking about my place in the universe.


I will further explain some of these things because that is a great use of my time.

1. Painting my nails. They are pink now. And shiny. I got the nail polish from lorekai for my birthday. She understands my needs.

2. Having naps. Naps are good. I have to extend my naps sometimes because I have cats sleeping on me. Some sacrifices must be made for the greater good. I couldn’t possibly move a cat and do something useful.

3. Mini-games. I love Final Fantasy X, and the rerelease is something I’m enjoying. What I’m not enjoying, however, are the stupid mini-games. Lightning dodging, butterfly catching, chocobo training, and blitzball. I think I hate blitzball the most.

4. Watching movies. Saw the new X-men movie tonight. Enjoyed it. Magneto is a jerk. So rude.

5. Reading fanfiction. What better use of my time could there be? None.

6. Thinking about my place in the universe. Sometimes I just zone out, ok? Geez! Today was not a good day for braining. I cannot brain today, I have the dumb.


Now I must go – my people need me.


wildfillysama: Palpating for Equine Medical Conditions, a.k.a. prodding your horse for fun and profit

You can learn a lot about a horse just by poking at it. You can learn its sense of boundaries and self-respect. You can learn how it feels to be bitten or cow-kicked by that particular horse. You can also, more usefully, identify potential health problems.


Humans have been prodding at horses in the dim hope of finding/curing problems for centuries. It’s not a new fact, but thanks to the internet, it’s getting much easier for people to learn where and how to poke at their horse to identify sore spots and internal issues. Vets, physiotherapists, masseurs, chiropractors, saddle fitters, Bowen therapists etc. are still the best people to ask for help, but these techniques can still be useful in confirming your immediate suspicions that something is wrong and you should pursue medical help for your horse.


When working with a new horse, I will always palpate them in the following ways (usually subtly so that the owner doesn’t panic because I think that something’s wrong with them). Alternatively, I will palpate if the horse been out of sorts recently under saddle – bucking, rushing, shying, or just feeling a bit stiff and uncooperative. These are the three main palpations I will use first (I use several other palpations and assessment techniques, but will discuss those another time for the sake of space).


One – “basic back palpation”


My first stop is always the back. Problems under saddle usually involve the saddle, after all. Starting at the withers and running my hand in the pose shown above all the way down to their hip, I will apply no pressure at all on the first sweep. On the second sweep, I will push a little harder on the whole way down. On the third sweep, apply no pressure. On the fourth sweep, I will use a slightly firmer pressure all the way down, with a sudden push down on any part of the muscle that feels a bit “off” or tight. I will repeat this until I am satisfied that either the horse is completely unfazed by the contact, slightly annoyed by the contact, or very annoyed with the contact.

What I am looking for is any change in the horse’s demeanour. If they suddenly lay back their ears, tighten their lips, swish their tail, dip their back away from the pressure, try to sidle away etc. then I know that there is something about the contact that they don’t like. By alternating strokes of pressure with strokes of no pressure, I make it easier to pinpoint exactly where the discomfort starts (i.e. the horse doesn’t anticipate my pushing on it in a particular spot, so doesn’t have time to clench up the muscles to block me out). I am not able to fix the problem by doing this, but I am able to identify that yes, there is definitely a problem, and I need to call out an expert and let them know what I’ve found.


Two – “hind muscle palpations”

After the back, I will check a few of the major muscle groups across the horse’s body. If a horse tends to carry himself on the forehand (head and neck lowered, weight more on the front end than the back end), then it is possible for his gluteal muscles to be overstretched. Using the same soft-then-firm stroke approach as mentioned above, I will run my hand down the horse’s hip and follow the line of one of the major muscles. This 12-second video shows the location well, and also demonstrate the pinpointing pressure.


Three – “ulcer palpations”

Ulcers are regrettably common amongst horses and can be caused by a variety of different issues, including feeding and work routines. They vary in severity and location, and will often manifest as touchiness and irritability, as well as tension and outright evasion under saddle. Thankfully, there is no end of products available on the market to help treat ulcers, though your first call should always be to a vet in order to get a specific diagnosis. This set of palpation techniques is useful for confirming that ulcers, or ulcer-like symptoms are an issue for the horse, so it’s worth calling the vet out or investing in mallow root, ulcerguard etc.


This particular video on Youtube is excellent in that it shows three different levels of ulcer reactivity, as well as the application of the palpation checks. Definitely worth a watch!




Palpation can be a useful tool, but it does take some practice. Never underestimate the usefulness of calling out an expert to get some help, and don’t let your own palpation techniques replace the assistance of someone trained for the job. These are just useful starter-steps to get to know your horse’s strengths and foibles, and assist in their preservation/improvement. Try not to get bitten or kicked!





DM prep is kind of a fun thing

Or: Alcohol is my current Muse.

“Humans were drinking alcohol five-thousand years ago, and we’re still drinking it now. Alcohol is humanity’s friend. Can I abandon a friend?”

-Yang Wen-Li

Currently statting up an undisclosed number of contracted quasi-spiritual entities for use in a homebrew setting I’ve made. Mechanics and rules can come later, too busy drinking and attempting to fit ridiculous supernatural abilities into a rules framework that grows more nebulous by the second.

I’m hoping for JOLLY COOPERATION, and a story that doesn’t end in betrayals and tears, with my players (the other Angry Alpha Nerds) having their souls eaten by forces unknowable and infinitely more powerful than them.

…..Yeah, I don’t have much hope for a good end. I know these people.


Did I mention that happy endings are a guilty pleasure of mine? In other news, I want to become a healing-type writer. I may enjoy happy endings, but I sure as hell can’t write them.


Stay moderately buzzed, my friends.


Friday Free For All: GOJIRA!!!

Six things we liked about GOJIRA!!!

Lorekai: Ford was a very unlucky chap. It was funny.


Windfyre: My fingers inadvertadely made a metal sign when GOJIRA!!!! was roaring at the sky holding a monster head.  Rock on, GOJIRA!!!!

EbolaBooze: The movie was so good I only exploded in SCIENCE internally 3 times. (Marsy-chan: It was gross…)

Anit the Flea: Ford seems an odd choice of name. He was born in Japan so I kind of felt it was treacherous not to call him Nissan or Subaru or something…

WildFillySama: Is a poopy von face with beer and fart noises. XmenXmenXmen. I like celery and peanuts.