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Brenda Holloway
2,802 followers|4,169,634 views
Web developer, bicyclist, gamer, writer, Supra and Celica owner.
Interested in web development, programming, photography, 80s Toyotas, gaming, blogging, bicycling, puns.
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Other names
Tipa Tanglewood, tipa, tipa16384


Brenda Holloway

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The Crew demo...

I was going to talk about The Crew on +Pete Smith 's thread, but, what the heck.

Based on the G+ buzz around it, I downloaded The Crew last week and played it a bit. My video game-obsessed grandson came by this weekend and he put in his two cents as well.

The actual racing is not that different from the kind of Need For Speed arcade racing you can find in any number of titles, online and off. The plot, such as it is, involves taking on missions to let you join and eventually rise to the top of the 510s, an old Detroit-based street racing club that has been repurposed as a smuggling ring run by a crooked FBI agent and "The Shiv", the guy who gunned your brother down in cold blood and got you sent to the slammer (courtesy of the bad FBI agent).

The Crew's unique wrinkle are the organic public events that crop up when there's a few drivers in the same area, challenging you to make it from point A to point B first, and adding some slaloms maybe to make things interesting.

My grandson was busily causing mayhem in downtown Detroit when a guy in a red car started trolling him. Matt (my grandson) eventually got tired of it and ran him off the road. Soon after, the game put us both in a race out of the city, headed toward Chicago on the interstate.

Afterward, I got a random group request and was placed in a mission race, one I'd already completed. I'd become one of this person's "Crew", and by winning this race for him, I imagine he got the credit for it.

The initial car selection is American muscle, plus one Japanese car -- I believe a Nissan? I ended up heading out with a Mustang, because this game doesn't seem to emphasize drifting quite as much as in the NFS series.

The demo is time-limited. I haven't played the full two hours of it; the public grouping and ad hoc races are nice, but the plot is a little well-worn in this day of seven Fast and Furious movies. The inability to customize your driver or story seems like a missed opportunity in an online game.
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Brenda Holloway

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Nice interview with the developer of Nevergrind, Joe Leonard. 
We speak with Joe Leonard about his Everquest inspired RPG, Nevergrind.
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Oh, yeah. I know all about this.
The terrible truth is, no matter who you are or what sort of systems you engineer, be they web pages or embedded software, you can often tread the water between catastrophic failure or lucky circumstance.
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Twitter: Tipadaknife
Steam: Tipadaknife
PSN: Tipadaknife
3DS: 0018-3445-9542
DCUO: Usually TealLantern, hero, PC
GW2: Tipa.8271

I've already friended all of you that had 3DS friend codes in your profile!
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Gotcha! Thanks!
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I’d like to introduce this week my stab at making foundry searching at least a little useful. I’ve added a sorting filter to my master list of reviewed quests (permanent link at Click through to the spreadsheet. From the “Data” menu, choose “Filter views…”, and from there, “Sort Filter”.

The display will redraw, and you’ll be able to sort by challenge, story, combat, humor and unusual by selecting “Sort Z => A” from the tiny drop down menu at the upper right corner of the “Sort Chlng”, “Sort Story”, “Sort Cmbt”, “Sort Hah” and “Sort Weird” columns. To the right of the sort columns are the columns of raw data taken from the quest’s “Detail” tab. If a value has a dark green background, that means reviewers have given that a higher score than the average of scores of all the details.

Using this to find good quests is simple. Let’s say you wanted to find a challenging quest that also had some story. Sort Z=>A in the “Sort Chlng” column to put challenging quests first, and look down the Story column to find a quest with a dark green background for its story. Boom; kynveel’s“Dragon Prey” comes right up. Want a story quest with almost no combat? Sort A=>Z in the “Sort Cmbt” column. Groshie’s“Dreamfall: A Beginning Career” is at or near the top. (Longshire’s“The Family Farm” doesn’t really have enough reviews for the Details section to have any sort of accuracy. And it does have a fair amount of combat.)

I think this could be a good basis for a revised Foundry catalog search feature.

Fallen Celestial by @whitewolf009

The balance of good and evil is shifting, and it’s up to some hardy adventurers to restore it before it shifts and destroys -- everything. Pretty darn ambitious, but of course, Kasul and I don’t turn away from a challenge.

Two celestial brothers, but one of them came to the prime material plane and became corrupted. The pure brother, who has taken on the form of a spirit wolf, commended us for having the strength of spirit to follow the many clues laid for us and follow them here, to their epic conclusion.

… which would have been nice to play through, actually, but we enter this quest at its end. After avoiding a lot of static mobs, we take on the celestial’s brother, who escapes into another map. A largely empty map, as we found as we crawled through the flame and lava-lit dungeon. At the very end, the dungeon finally spawned, so we retraced our steps to the beginning, killing as we went, and then went back to the end again for the chest. So running back and forth through a dungeon a few times.

I liked the story, but the story was front loaded in a ghost wolf infodump at the beginning. We’d have rathered have played more of that story, and perhaps then the author would not have had to add the unnecessary second map to pad out the running time.

Kasul and I both gave it two stars. The community has rated it at 3.75, which is below average.

Pros: There is a decent story somewhere in there
Cons: Running back and forth through a dungeon, killing static encounters.

CotEU -- Crypt of the Deathly Dread by @mmorpgnw

You’d think zombies wouldn’t be much of a problem for a priest who worships the (ex-) god of death itself, Myrkul. And yet the Necropriest Dethed has hired you to do that small task for him. Perhaps his priestly powers are on the fritz because of the aforementioned death of the god of death, who no longer can grant such powers.

In fact, Dethed looks more than a little like a zombie himself. Dethed explains that he’s actually alive, he pretty much just wants to looks half dead. Well, sure, because, who wouldn’t? Apparently, he is an ally in the fight against Valindra, under the old “enemy of my enemy is a friend” rule.

Well, it turns out that Dethed might not have been 100% completely honest with us… I wouldn’t say we were “Myrkul whipped” or anything, but….

Kasul loved the story, while I really enjoyed our little Myrkul worker, Dethed. However, map glitches, some spelling issues, and fairly dull environments tempered our enthusiasm a little, and we ended up  giving it three stars. Players have rated it at 4.20, which is an average score. This quest ranks pretty closely to @vandignesca’s“Secrets of Manipulation”, so maybe give that a try if you liked this one.

Pros: Good story and characters
Cons: Maps could be better.

Chef’s Challenge by @groshie

If you’re going to offer a child as reward for winning a cooking contest, and you don’t know in advance the gender preferences of your competitor, it’s good to have a child whose gender you never quite pinned down… But, I think the larger issue might be, if you’re giving your child to the winner of a COOKING contest, just what is it you think they are going to do with your generous gift? Something to think about.

In “Chef’s Challenge”, you have traveled to the village of Gourm to show the world just what you can do with a few random ingredients and a scroll of Burning Hands. But, this being Neverwinter, even the simplest activities can turn into something deadly… as does this one. So off you go, to rescue the Mayor’s ambiguous child from wherever it is a particularly lively edible creation has dragged them.

Maps were nicely decorated, the concept was good, the characters hilarious. The author had a bunch of static encounters in some corridors, but the obstacles placed in the hall meant most of the mobs couldn’t figure out how to get to us after we ran by, so not taking points off for that. The mobs are there if you want to do some trash killing, easily left behind if not. Kasul and I both gave it four stars. The community has given it an average of 4.07 stars, which is below average, and I think the community made a mistake here. That said, it’s ranked closely with another underrated quest,@sn0wst0rmz’s“Arselu’Tel’Quess”, though they really couldn’t be more different.

Pros: Funny, unique plot, and great characters
Cons: Maps could have been a little better.

Padova Sanatorium (Part 1) by @Missfit1313

This quest is set, not in Neverwinter, but in the real-world Tranquille-on-the-Lake Padova City Sanatorium in Kamloops, BC. Once a tuberculosis sanatorium, it re-opened as a mental hospital until being permanently shut down. There’s no indication that the patients and staff had all been brutally murdered, but… this quest asks the question, what if they HAD?

Mother Margret, a nurse, has come by to try and figure out the real story behind the murders in Padova. Wary of the dangers, she asks us to collect the inevitable journal entries scattered about. We soon find the patients and staff are anything but dead…

I liked the characters and subtle puns scattered throughout. Kasul really enjoyed the spooky atmosphere. However, the spelling was all over the place, the encounters were pretty generic, and the maps were mundane. We both gave the quest three stars. There is a second part in the “For Review” tab that we have not yet played.

See you next week!

Today’s writing music: Chet Faker, “Digging the Blogosphere”

#Neverwinter   #Foundry  
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In the weekly "What is Brenda listening to RIGHT NOW?" department, A Tribe Called Quest's "Scenario", just because it cracks me up every time when Busta Rhymes goes "RAWR RAWR like a dungeon dragon!" and because we played D&D last night.

Wow, this is really 24 years old? I gotta get some new music someday.
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True dat...
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There we go. This is what G+ is. H/T to +Sunny Bunny :-)
Google+ isn't a Ghost Town, it's the freaking Haunted Mansion!
(And that's a great thing)

Hear me out at least a paragraph before you jump down to flame me. This analogy has a few levels and a story to it, and I'm not really the type to pass up a good story.  Where we begin, however, explains why the press have absolutely no fucking clue.

Google+ isn't a frat house like Facebook or a craft party like Pinterest, it's the distinguished mansion on the hill that no one ever sees anyone coming in or out.  It's big and spooky and when they first sneak up to the house, there's not much there, just some faceless pictures and 'what's hot' posts that may or may not work for them. The press freak out because none of their friends are here and they don't wanna go in the big, empty scary house alone.  So they run away and tell everyone it's empty, or worse, haunted by ghosts. 

Now, when you tire of Facebook and it's sophomoric atmosphere, you wander the neighborhood of social media. Twitter seems cool, but when you tweet, you feel like you're just yelling at a wall half the time, and it's hard to hear over all the other people tweeting and the echoes of hashtags being parroted by bots in a vain, desperate plea for attention. 

The night wears on, and at last you come to the Haunted Mansion that is Google+. The wind that blows over the immaculate yard to you is foreign, yet unknown. Pungent, yet mouth watering, like a new recipe for poppy seed rolls. You spy a light in the window, the figure of a famous character, and you step up to the gate.  _Maybe it is haunted... but it won't hurt to look._ 

The gate opens smoothly, and the pathway is manicured. You pass the gardens on your way in, and marvel at the variety of veggies within. But where are the gardeners?  You can hear music coming from the house now, an old song you haven't heard in years, and don't know why, cause this song rocks.

The front door is huge, with a fantastical 'g' knocker, fire red like some kind of malevolent djinn.  You swallow your urge to run back to Facebook for a whiskey (but you know they'll only have beer), and grasp the knocker.  The metal seems cool to the touch, but it lights up like a flaming brand, and while you panic, you can't let go. The knocker chuckles at your fear and speaks in a booming voice: Welcome, my friend, to Google+!

A terrifying light spreads from the knocker before you into… a list? A massive list with faceless pictures, each bearing the name of a friend or colleague.  You glance over the list uneasily before glancing back to the demonic knocker that has possession of your hand.

“What am I supposed to do?”

The booming voice answers calmly.  It seems happy to have someone to explain things to. Choose who you would like to keep in your circles.  With circles you can keep in touch with many groups of people without being overburdened by content with certain acquaintances. You can keep your pictures of last night from your family and coworkers while still sharing them with your friends. 

You nod in understanding and looks over the list again.  You tap the circle next to a few friends, most of whom are blank pictures, and put them in a circle.  You reach the end of the list and it vanished in a puff of red smoke, sucked back into the knocker.

After a moment of digestion, the door cracks open, and a swarm of ghosts swarm you.  You yelp and try to duck, to hide, but you trapped hand holds you up, vulnerable. You fall back on your knees as the door shuts.  You wait for the inevitable assault, but nothing comes.  Upon opening your eyes, you see each ghost has a list on their chest, and a matching name to go with their outfit.

There are also many topics you can keep up with in Google Plus using circles. You look up at the knocker, getting off your knees as it continues, If any of these circles interest you, feel free to add them.

Glancing over the gang, you quickly shake your head at the basketball-spinning Sports and Microphone-shoving News. The two vanish, making room for the others. A camera-touting Entertainment snaps a selfie with you, and you see the list of studios and tabloids on her list.  You hesitate before tapping the circle icon on her clavicle. She squeals with joy and sweeps back into the mansion.  Food and Drink saunters up and offers you that poppy seed roll you smelled earlier.  You hold back the roll, but tap their circle. They inhale the roll and rush back in, followed soon after by the crash of pots and pans.

You try to weed through the mob, but eventually you just scream, “ENOUGH!” They quickly disperse, and you turn back to the knocker, “Can I please let go now?”

How would you like to be seen? A mirror appears, and staring back at you is that same faceless outline.  You scowl at it and adjust the mirror until your reflection is scowling back.  You smile, best you can while your arm is caught, and beginning to lose sensation at that. Beneath the mirror is a plaque with three blanks: job, school, and city.

You quickly scratch those in. You look up at the top of the mirror for your name, and it’s there, same as ever. You nod and the mirror vanishes. 

Very well… welcome to Google+.

The door opens again and yanks you inside by the knocker.  You stagger inside, catching yourself with both hands on a column inside. You look at your hand, finally free and seemingly unharmed, and you look back at the door. The knocker taps twice, and the door shuts once more.

You think about leaving, but considering how long the knocker held your hand hostage, you don’t wanna think about the knob.  You finally look around the mansion, and gasp.

There’s posts and pictures on every wall. The living room has been taken over by Entertainment, who’s got the latest scoop on Channing Tatum’s new movie.  The kitchen smells amazing and there’s amazing food EVERYWHERE, and recipes with most of it.  You hear music upstairs, but all that food reminds you of the garden outside. You wander out the side door and see the garden there, empty as ever, but there's a green symbol on the gate.  You wander up and look.

Home Gardening Community it reads. You raise a brow and grab the latch, and the garden lights up.  Dozens - no, hundreds of people are in the garden, chatting over their prized tomatoes or commiserating over bug-ridden bell peppers. And before your eyes pops up an icon: ‘click to join community’. You shrug and click ‘okay’, and the gate clicks open.  You stoop before a wonderful patch of strawberries and comment on their loveliness…

“Thanks!  I’ve been tending these about two years now.” You jump at the reply. You see another user stroll up, casual and chomping down on a cucumber. You glance him up and down, and little plaques appear with his name and his info.  _Wow. Australia._

You talk about strawberries and how you’ve never been able to keep them alive longer than two months, and you hear why: you’re not cutting off the dead growth. You wrap up the conversation and steal a strawberry to eat on your way back inside. You ignore the gossip in the living room and head upstairs.

The music is in a community for musicians, so you shut the door and keep going down the hall.  The melody fades out soon after while you peek in various communities before finding it: the Sherlock fandom. Now matter where on the net they gather, Sherlock fans are a slightly insane bunch that’s always welcoming to strangers. You tap the join icon and slip inside, marveling at how many in here are wearing disguises and artwork as their avatar. You see a tumblr screencap and head over to add to the dialog.

It takes a few hours for you to remember that you had other things to do today. You log out and go about your day. But you put that fiery red G on your homescreen, so you can escape inside the mansion with the other ghosts when life and Facebook get boring. Your friends don’t believe you when you say it’s not empty. You tell them that in order to see the people there, you have to engage them, in communities or in the comments on public posts. They say that’s lame and go back to the kegger at Facebook. 

So… that was really long, but I hope it conveyed my thinking.  G+ is the spooky old house no one goes into because it’s haunted, and it is… by us.  The users are ghosts.  You can’t see them or hear them until you connect through engagement. And since most press writing us up just can’t be bothered to engage the ghosts and find out how many of us they are, they write us all off.  And its their loss, because most of the ghosts in here are pretty sweet to hang with.

And of course, there’s room for one more… any volunteers?

#mygoogleplusstory   #googleplus   #ghoststories  
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Christopher Norulak's profile photoBrenda Holloway's profile photoLarry's profile photoDaniel “DazzaJay” Fitzgerald's profile photo
The only other thing that stops people from coming to g+ is themselves.

The amount of people that I've heard saying "its not like facebook I don't know how to use it waaagh" then leaving, is absolutely staggering.
To them I say, "you weren't born knowing how to use facebook, you had to learn it, same applies here" to which I usually receive the three year olds favorite reply "I don't waaaaaaannnnaaaa"
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Have her in circles
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Looks like there's other people out there trying to replicate the EverQuest experience in new ways. Nevergrind is a thinly veiled homage to EverQuest as a 2D browser game. Easy, quick, casual play. None of the xp loss on death or corpse retrievals, though...

Look me up, if you can -- Tipa, halfling rogue. Of course.
Classic Everquest p1999 Indie browser RPG
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Made a character.  Will wait for chat.
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Brenda Holloway

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First day back on the bike. Finally not freezing and not raining -- in the morning, anyway. Sprinkled a little on the way home. Note the crews in the racing shells training on the Connecticut River in the background. Fog everywhere as the snow finally melts.
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I'm not sure where those shells are from... maybe Trinity College, maybe UCONN...
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Combining what you liked best about the ratio of circumference to diameter and "Too Many Cooks".... just.... just keep watching to the end....
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I found this very irrational... The lyrics were rather aperiodic and non-repetitive, but irrational nonetheless
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Not two weeks after I finished Crypt of Befallen v2, AKA Newfallen, the devs have featured it, along with two other quests that Kasul and I have reviewed recently.

So.... PLEASE log into #Neverwinter  and play The Crypt of Befallen! It's fun! You'll love it!
Michael Birke's profile photoTodd Edwards's profile photoBrenda Holloway's profile photoMichael G (mngrif)'s profile photo
All three featured quests dropped from their pre-featured levels; mine dropped less than the others. So, that's something. One of the advantages of having a spreadsheet covering over 160 quests.... I can track these things.
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No, it's CLOPPING with Mister Roper!
It had been two weeks since our last D&D session, which ended with the party backed into the empty kobold barracks after an unfortunate encounter with Langdedrosa Cyanwrath the half-dragon and his minions. The group started out this week by moving back…
It had been two weeks since our last D&D session, which ended with the party backed into the empty kobold barracks after an unfortunate encounter with Langdedrosa Cyanwrath the half-dragon and ...
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Gotta stop auto-tweeting of everything I post here...
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Brenda Holloway's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
Nevergrind - Indie Browser RPG

Classic Everquest p1999 Indie browser RPG


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