I realized the moment I fell into the fissure that the Book would not be destroyed as I had planned. It continued falling into that starry expanse, of which I had only a fleeting glimpse. I have tried to speculate where it might have landed, but I must admit that such conjecture is futile. Still, questions about whose hands might one day hold my Myst book are unsettling to me. I know my apprehensions might never be allayed, and so I close, realizing that perhaps the ending has not yet been written. -- Atrus

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving

This post had begun as something completely different, but now I am hijacking it to celebrate Thanksgiving and discuss one of the things I am thankful for.

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving when American families and friends come together to feast! and also to remember everything we are thankful for: having roofs over our heads, having a hot meal, having our families around us.  Basically we humble ourselves, regardless of how wrong the fairy tale story is of the Pilgrims and Native Americans.  History and politics aside, Thanksgiving is, today, about family gathering together, and inviting friends to celebrate with you if they are unable to visit or don't have their own families.  It's a singularly North American tradition and one I wouldn't trade for the world.  All sorts of things go on.  Eating, of course, is the main event, and this happens in the afternoon.  Why?  Because you need loads of time to digest before going anywhere or doing anything other than lying around in a soporific state with your pants unbuttoned until you have room for at least 3 different pies, and yes, you eat a slice from each one in succession, completely guilt free.  The day starts with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which ends with an appearance by Santa Claus (which marks the beginning of the holiday season), and then it's cooking and preparing for the rest of the morning with particular attention paid to the turkey.  I haven't hard-core celebrated Thanksgiving in years, but I remember the hunts through the grocery store for that amazing 18 lb. turkey!  So bing! the turkey is done at 2-3 pm, the table is set, grace is said (if you adhere to any particular religion), and devouring commences.  The general foods tend to be mashed potatoes and gravy, biscuits, cranberry sauce, some form of vegetable, traditionally I guess that would be corn (we always ate peas), stuffing, and yams/sweet potatoes.  Drinking is by the gallon.  And finally, after an hour or more, you fall out of your chairs in a stupor and crawl in front of the TV to watch the football game.  After football is PIE: traditionally pumpkin, pecan, and apple.  My mom always made cherry pie as well, and currently I am chugging along making my key lime pie for tomorrow's feast.  A friend of mine invited me over to gorge with her mom and roommate.  YAY!  Sometimes people take the time at the end to set up their Christmas trees, because Thanksgiving, as I stated above, marks the beginning of the holiday season, i.e., Christmas.

What follows this day is a nightmare that I never have nor ever will participate in: the infamous Black Friday.  All the humility of the day before is purged from the system and people, en masse, set siege to stores and plunder all the sale items.  This day is for Christmas shopping, while expensive items are cheap.  So that is Thanksgiving, from my perspective.

I am thankful for a great many things, but since this is my Myst blog, my intention is to express my thanks to Cyan for adding such great things to my life, for creating worlds into which I can escape and allow my imagination to run free.  I have spent a lot of years enjoying their work and it has even led me to engaging with other fans either in Uru or on the various forums that have come and gone since I debuted in the internet world.  While I have no prominent role in the community, I still am so happy to be involved in my marginal way.  I never knew how much I would invest in the Mystverse, and now that Obduction is coming, in the Cyanverse.  So I have decided to post here some images and things that show all the weird stuff I have been inspired to do of late.

I have a pretty sweet collection of stuff.  Alas, I brought only a teeny-tiny fraction of it with me to New York when I moved here.  The rest is sitting in boxes in my mom's house in Illinois.  But I hope to be reunited with it soon.  So here are the various ways in which I have Myst here with me in New York City.

Let me begin with the map of D'ni!  I despise white walls, so I try to cover them up as much as possible.  Unfortunately, in my first NYC apartment, we were not allowed to paint, so I covered the walls with everything and anything else.  My bedroom was a cool 49 sq. ft., so I had a loft bed with a desk underneath. It was terribly cramped and I don't ever want to live like that again.  But anyway, front and center is my D'ni map!  And you can see how messy my desk is.  Desks tend to get messy anyway from time to time, but it just couldn't be helped in that small space.  Despite my unhappiness there, I was able to enjoy my Myst surroundings such as they were.

My desk in my first NYC apartment
My map traveled with me, of course, to the Bronx where I now live.  It's waiting for a new desk over which to be hung.  I have printouts of maps and charts from Uru that I want to frame and hang up as well.  In my new place, I am painting and I don't care what anyone says!  There are too many white walls!  I feel like I am going insane!

Some of my art, plus D'ni map, waiting to be hung on the wall.  Oh, and one of Bagheera's toys.
The other physical pieces of my collection that I managed to bring with me are below.  The story behind bringing so few items is a. because my bedroom was so tiny and not much would fit, and b. I moved my carefully selected property in only a van.  My friends and I tetris-ed my stuff into the van, I sat in the rear passenger seat, unable to move, with my cat in his carrier on my lap, while my two friends had the freedom of movement in the front seats.  We drove from Chicagoland to NYC with a stop at Gettysburg along the way because I love the Civil War.  All I managed to fit was this stuff (minus the Myst IV game, which I bought not too long ago):

The tiny amount of Myst stuff I brought with me when I moved to NYC
Where the tangible items fall short, I have made up for on my computer!!!!  I have four screenshots of how Myst is everywhere on my PC.

Start menu!
Desktop!
Backgrounds!
Soundtracks!
As you can see, games, particularly Myst, are the majority of items I allow on my desktop.  I like it to be clean and orderly.  RealMyst Masterpiece is going to mess up my solid column of Myst games, but because it is a Cyan product, it can do whatever it wants!

Ever since convincing local_character to play MOULa with me, I have been fiddling about with game recording software.  I had recorded a test video a while ago and was disappointed to see the watermark taking up a large portion of the video.  I realized that it goes away when you buy it and activate with the key haha!  Yay!  So I took the time to make a silly, and probably boring, video of a re-enactment of when I discovered for the first time that the Cleft was littered with Riven remains.  THAT WAS SO COOL!!  Realizing that that was where the Myst book had landed, and that it was also the place where I would land after falling into the star fissure following the successful completion of Riven (I had always wondered how Atrus could leave the Stranger so high and dry!), really made things come full circle.  It was a subtle yet powerful addition to the game.  Here is my video haha!  I spell the word homage incorrectly in it.


Lastly, I have been aching for a Riven shirt like the ones we can wear in Uru.  There was a similar Riven shirt on ebay for a while, but then they all disappeared and I was so upset.  But then I just made my own!  It's not very well-crafted, but it's fine with me hahahaha!!!!!  But seriously, Cyan, can you please find a way to make some official Myst gear?  Or maybe make Steam do it!  Do they do that sort of thing?

I love Riven!!!
Thanks Cyan!  I'll be thinking of you all while I devour turkey tomorrow!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Congratulations Cyan!! Obduct Me!

The Kickstarter has ended and Cyan has met and exceeded their funding goal!  They achieved this earlier in the week, actually, but we all know that I am not avidly posting every day.  I can't describe how excited I am!  And that old feeling of waiting in glorious anticipation has returned.  Somehow, this fills me with enthusiasm for life in general.  I think it's psychologically healthy!

Congrats, Cyan!  Excited for Obduction!
I was playing around with stuff, being completely silly.  Such as the above, being very excited for Cyan's success, wearing my Whoba shirt to convey the Cyan spirit.  What is the story behind that, by the way?  I'm completely clueless about these things.  Anyhow, I also amused myself by putting this together:

Imager advertisement for Obduction
So so so silly.  Other people have been coming up with great stuff, such as carving Myst and Obduction pumpkins.  That sentence is grammatically incorrect, but I am too lazy to hit backspace and rewrite it, so instead I am writing a sentence about it because that makes total sense.

In another fit of artistic energy and while waiting for Cyan's second hangout to start, I drew this:



And finally, I have a special message for the folks at Cyan who have really made a deep impression on my life.  Your work has enraptured me for almost as long as Myst has been around.  It's been great to see you all "in person" (via videos, that is!) and I am so grateful for how much you include us in your work.  While I doubt this will actually come to your attention, here's a little something for you below.  It's from an ancient Egyptian story and I felt that it suits you:

sw3ḥ mnw.k m mrwt.k
Make your monuments endure through love of you.

I love you guys!  Thanks for everything you have done for us.  And congratulations on your success -- you deserve it!!

First Foray into Kadish Tolesa

Wow, so yesterday totally did not turn into a day of posting.  In the middle of writing this one, my internet cut out for the rest of the day (which we know is akin to the universe imploding)!  But today, it was fine and dandy.  Today, however, is very nearly tomorrow.

Back again with local_character.  It's certainly been awhile, but finally we both had some spare time to visit a new Age, well new for him anyway.  Last time he had cheated through finished Eders Gira/Kemo and then introduced himself to Teledahn.  However, somehow I found myself visiting him in Kadish.  He seemed to like it from what I could tell, but it's hard not to.  All that purple and trees and falling leaves.  He did ask me if there was anyone else in the Age. I told him of course not, why do you ask.  He responded that it was because it is lonely there.  I told him, yeah, welcome to Myst.  A theme of this journey was local_character discovering all the commands to make his avatar do things.  Also he experimented with his KI by taking pictures and ki-mailing them to me:

Local_character's picture of me in Kadish Tolesa.
And of course, once you discover something new, you feel the need to keep doing it over and over!

Local_character's picture of me looking at the picture he just sent before this one.
It reminded me somewhat of this:


Which of course is awesome!  That's one of the most hilarious movies in the history of film, by the way.  I recommend!  French flick called Les Visiteurs.

Anyhow, it was a fruitful venture, as he passed the first puzzle, which was excellent.  I told him that when I played for the first time, that was the only puzzle in this Age that I was able to solve by myself.  That's when you know it's an easy one!

He found the first two cloths really quickly, but he never made mention of the Bahro stone.  He ran between the first and second machines that open the door to the beyond, fiddling about with them and then seeing if anything moved.  He wanted me to mess around with the machines to see if anything moved, but I had not read his message correctly and didn't realize he wanted me to do that until after he didn't need me anymore!  

Local_character figuring out the first puzzle in Kadish Tolesa.
When he was at the place where the first telescope is, running around all over the place, he fell into the abyss hahaha!  I told him yes, you have to be careful here!  He will learn soon to step carefully in this Age.  Agility is useful, indeed even required, here.  It took him a little while before he decided to venture to Kadish's gallery, but after he went (he forgot to take me with him) and wandered around for a bit, he noticed the stained glass clues.

Local_character finds the Kadish Gallery book.
At first, he took a KI picture of the clue and when he came back to use it to guide him through the puzzle he asked me "Hey can you zoom in on the pictures?"  Ah no, you must draw it!  This game requires external tools!  Back he went to draw the proper settings and after some trials and errors:

/cheer
Victoire!  It's a really good thing he is somebody whose curiosity provokes him to push buttons without knowing what they do (in real life, I mean) because it really helps him to succeed quite quickly.  It's been really neat to watch the progress of a newbie.

By the way, as a favor to me, local_character backed Obduction!  He also thinks the game looks pretty cool and he was particularly impressed to see that the engine they're using is Unreal 4.  He said he hopes that by the time the game is released he will have a better computer.  Let's give him a round of applause: /clap

Within seconds he found the third cloth and I waited patiently while he slowly began to discover he was locked in the spiral staircase/lightup floor puzzle room.

Exasperated
After pressing the blue buttons in a number of random sequences, local_character asked me how he could solve it without any clues, and I asked him where he had found clues the last time.  I knew when he realized he should go back to the gallery that it would be quits for the day -- which it was.  He was intrigued, however, because he asked when we could play next, but alas, I won't be free for a while.  Nevertheless, it was incredible progress!  I have a feeling it won't continue to go as quickly...

Ah and it is now tomorrow.  Which is actually today.  I'm all sorts of paradoxical this night!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Ancient Moiety Dagger?

FYI, this will be a day of posting!  This is the first of an estimated three I will be throwing up here today.  For a couple of months I have been wanting to post this and only now have I gotten around to it.

I was paging through a museum catalog on ancient Sudanese treasures when I found this:




Left: Moiety dagger from Riven.  Right: an ancient Nubian dagger, from ca. 1750 BC, Kerma, Sudan.  It was found in a child's (about 2 years old) grave and it is made of copper alloy, ivory, and wood.  Its dimensions are 160 mm blade and 32 mm (diameter) pommel.  Pretty cool, huh?  I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but if you are interested in exploring more of the ancient Sudan and its treasures, please refer to:

Anderson, Julie R. and Derek A. Welsby. Sudan Ancient Treasures: an Exhibition of Recent Discoveries from the Sudan National Museum.  London: British Museum Press, 2004.