In need of some good feelings, I finished up the ascension run of a Valkyrie who had been vanquishing things without difficulty for some time.  I'm certain that I've ascended a Valkyrie before, but not within the memory of's version 3.6.x records.  Dwarven Valkyries are a good "easy" choice, and this one's natural 20 Constitution was nice.  One complication arose:  I never found an unguarded altar (7% chance?) so I never found occasion to pray to Tyr.  I did consult with Loki occasionally, at his temple in Minetown.

I and the guardian Angel of Tyr and Olaf and Olga and Ollie the Olog-hai and Frosty the Ice Troll and an unnamed fire ant went to our reward with 11672727 points, and 112111 pieces of gold, after 142972 moves.  I was level 30 with a maximum of 1845 hit points (!)

As an aside, does anyone have unusual favorite inventory slot letters?  Some of mine make sense, like "L" for a ring of levitation and "S" for a ring of slow digestion.  My pick-axe is "w" so I end up alternating "wield primary weapon a" with "apply w".  Then there are the odd ones, like "G" for my primary bag of goodies and "J" for a unicorn horn, which may date from the very first time I randomly got used to a particular letter and just decided to stick with it.


My issue with this site One Post Wonder is that whenever I get the email saying "Your friends have been busy on One Post Wonder!" I stop whatever else I'm doing and go read the posting. 

Which is both awesome and terrible and I love that. 

I should post more but I probably won't. I'm pretending it's a Heisenblogging issue: where I can do all the things or write about all the things, but not both.

LOL! I finally got back to debugging a partial rewrite of the code, so thanks for the encouragement.
Heh. Heisenblogging.

One of the themes in my life of late is to try to get as many folks as I can to see the illustration stuff I'm doing. In an era of "you don't see everything from everyone you follow" social media, this is... more challenging than seems reasonable.

I understand that mailing lists are the way to go for that, but the problem with mailing lists are two fold: 1. You have to get people onto them, which many folks are loathe to do. 2. Once they're on your list, many folks ignore / delete the emails because they're 'extra'.

Which isn't to say I'm not going that route. On the contrary. I probably will. I've started to before, but never really finished (see all my previous commentary on ADHD).

Even if / when I DO manage to create a reasonable email list, that still doesn't get around issue 1. The vast majority of the internet using world won't be on it. And is accessible to pretty much everyone who has access to the web.

Shut up, man. Get to the point.

Okay, okay. Sorry. Verbose Guy here.

I thought I would start doing a monthly summary post on dragonbones about the sketch work that I did the month prior.

It's a good art-news system, it gives folks a taste of what's in the Patreon page if they might be interested, and it keeps dragonbones fresh(ish).

So here's the first one: The Sketchy Stuff from December 2022.

(Dwarf at the top of the page is just something I was noodling on... yesterday? This is at about the 1/2 hour stage.)


Unexpectedly, my New Year's tradition became wearing my grandmother's wedding tiara. 

Some years, my sister would steal it away, but most years, I wore it.

My grandmother was born in 1918 and I'm not sure exactly when my grandparents got married, but she was 25 when my dad was born, so 1938? 1940?

It's gotten too fragile too wear. It still has all its sequins but it wilts and one of the spires is now cracked beneath the surface. Perhaps I'll try to repair it this summer.

Happy new year.

12/31 '22 1 Comment
Seems like a really cool way to keep the past with you as you head into the future. Also, love that photo. It seems like a great time capsule.

In vaguely alphabetical order:

Baby Velvet, Please Don't Be in Love With Someone Else — Hannah Crofts from All Our Exes Live in Texas has her solo debut.  Lovely, sightly neurotic pop.

Andrew Bird, Inside Problems — What more can i say?  Bird always brings the goods.

Dead Engine, Brake — (EP) Another small set of power trio rock.

Guilhem Desq & Sébastien Gisbert, Storm — Desq's manic electric hurdy gurdy is joined by Gisbert's thrumming percussion.

50 Foot Wave, Black Pearl — (EP) There was always a clear stylistic break between her two bands as well as her solo work, but the latest Throwing Muses, 50 Foot Wave, and Kristin Hersh releases sound very similar.  Sludgey, abrasive, sometimes it feel like i'm still listening out of inertia.

Florence + the Machine, Dance Fever — A fuller and broader work than her previous album.  Her voice is still a marvel to behold.

Grieflines, Fathoms — (EP) Electronica side project for I Like Trains guitarist Guy Bannister.

Imogen Heap & Dan O'Neill, Chordata Bytes I — Heap has taken a library of oceanic sounds from marine biologist O'Neill and turned it into electronic music.

Jean-Michel Jarre, Oxymore — Jarre had been collaborating with Pierre Henry, musique concrète pioneer, but he died in 2017.  That work is now finished.  It's a... grimier work, but still very Jarre.

Zola Jesus, Arkhon — Spooky, haunting vocals are her bread and butter.

Rokia Koné & Jacknife Lee, Bamanan — Malian pop, a Bandcamp suggestion that hit me right away.

Midnight Oil, Resist — My album of the year, everything the Oils are known for, a massive comeback album.

Sea Power, Everything Was Forever — Their soundtrack to Disco Elysium (an amazing video game that is accessible to any level of gaming skill) piqued my interest.  A few of the DE tracks resurface here with lyrics.

Tears for Fears, The Tipping Point —Another comeback album, this one where an old rift between the band members was repaired.  It's a lovely work.

12/30 '22 5 Comments
Yay! I always enjoy your year end music reviews.

I love love love that Midnight Oil album. I heard the first single when it first came out and I couldn't get over how freaking great they sound.

The older I get, the more annoyed I get when people seem surprised that someone over 50 can do something cool, relevant, urgent, or with spryness... and I realize that's probably how I sounded when I was telling folks how much I love the record. Bah.

I also love that Tears for Fears album and was happy they recorded it.

I didn't know Jean Michel Jarre had new (ish) music out, but I will check it out!

And I need to get more into Florence and the Machine. For no reason whatever, I just haven't sat down and given her a careful listen yet, but I know I'm gonna love it. Maybe I'll do that this weekend. What's your favorite album?

Hmm... probably Ceremonials.

Jarre has been on a tear over the last 5 years or so.
rone 12/31 '22
I had no idea Kristin Hersh was writing new music. Listening now!
Chris Herdt 12/31 '22
She's never stopped! When did you last listen?
rone 1/1
Her live shows are consistently outstanding.

Yes, we get it. You made an ebook. 

Sorry - I know you've probably seen me posting about it elsewhere. Thing is, you can have it for free, if you like, and I want as many people to have access to it as possible.

Didn't get anything for your neice for the holidays? Bingo. Grandson's into fantasy / D&D? Sold. They can print the pages out and color them as many times as they like.

I won't tell if you're there coloring alongside them. ;)

Anyway, if you haven't picked up a copy yet, it's available on my site / Gumroad here: 

If you do download / gift / check it out, I would love to hear what you liked or disliked about it! (I'm planning to do more like this in the future, so all feedback helps.)

12/19 '22

What's the opposite of a Wizard?  A Barbarian!  Two promising barbarians were killed by things they shouldn't have angered, but eventually one became buff enough that he could SURVIVE angering things he shouldn't have.  Once he got that far without happening to genocide anything, he took that on as a voluntary challenge and succeeded!  There were many times when he regretted choosing that option, though.  Another challenge he completed was not changing form, which is not much of a problem if it
doesn't happen accidentally.  Time to rest...

Goodbye Ferret the Demigod...

You went to your reward with 3496590 points,
Frost Brand (worth 3000 zorkmids and 7500 points)
The Book of the Dead (worth 10000 zorkmids and 25000 points)
The Candelabrum of Invocation (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
Grimtooth (worth 300 zorkmids and 750 points)
Magicbane (worth 3500 zorkmids and 8750 points)
Cleaver (worth 1500 zorkmids and 3750 points)
The Bell of Opening (worth 5000 zorkmids and 12500 points)
The Heart of Ahriman (worth 2500 zorkmids and 6250 points)
      14 dilithium crystals (worth 63000 zorkmids),
      10 amethyst stones (worth 6000 zorkmids),
       8 emeralds (worth 20000 zorkmids),
       7 rubies (worth 24500 zorkmids),
       7 opals (worth 5600 zorkmids),
       5 turquoise stones (worth 10000 zorkmids),
       5 obsidian stones (worth 1000 zorkmids),
       4 diamonds (worth 16000 zorkmids),
       4 citrine stones (worth 6000 zorkmids),
       3 jet stones (worth 2550 zorkmids),
       3 chrysoberyl stones (worth 2100 zorkmids),
       3 garnet stones (worth 2100 zorkmids),
       2 jacinth stones (worth 6500 zorkmids),
       2 black opals (worth 5000 zorkmids),
       2 jasper stones (worth 1000 zorkmids),
       1 topaz stone (worth 900 zorkmids),
       1 agate stone (worth 200 zorkmids),
       1 jade stone (worth 300 zorkmids),
       1 amulet of reflection (worth 150 zorkmids),
       1 amulet of magical breathing (worth 150 zorkmids),
and 10002 pieces of gold, after 57152 moves.
You were level 25 with a maximum of 449 hit points when you ascended.

12/9 '22 6 Comments
Who were Ferret’s next of kin?
Sadly predeceased by his cat Mewlix, he left his remaining possessions in the Mazes of Menace. Adventurers are welcome to go looking for them.
Brian Rapp 12/10 '22
No wife or kids or sibs to mourn him?
Well, his eldest brother accidentally Cleavered Yeenoghu (don't ask), and the brother after that was tragically killed by the Minetown Constabulary over a probable misunderstanding about property damage or something (don't ask). But other than that, feel free to ask. His distant relations are all very proud of him.
Brian Rapp 12/10 '22
They should be proud of him!

Sorry for the late notice, but if any of y'all are around York, PA (or willing to go there) tonight at about 7pm, my buddy Brad and I will be demoing Maze of Minos at Brad's FLGS - The Gamehaven Cafe and Bakery.

We're going to demo the game and I'm going to record the process so I can  practice and take a copy with me on the road and do demos in the various game shops I come across while traveling.

12/8 '22 3 Comments
Sadly unavailable tonight. All I can find out is that “Ionquest Games is a Pennsylvania Domestic Fictitious Names”. Everything else is still secret, I guess.
Brian Rapp 12/8 '22
Thomas Boutell 12/8 '22
Eeeeeeeeeee! This is soooo exciting!!! Gonna need an update :)
Shannie 12/8 '22

To my astonishment, I've actually finished my first pass of converting the entire back end code base of one post wonder to modern async/await syntax. What does this mean for you? Absolutely nothing, except that it will be easier to maintain in the future, and I will hopefully be better able to get others to consider assisting in that task.

I'm making other changes as I go along that aim toward maintainability, and just making it hard to write bugs in the first place.

I reached a point where all I'm doing is testing and debugging, testing and debugging, until it actually works again, and I can think about pushing it as the new current release.

After that, it will be time to think about refactoring the front end code. Refactoring is a fancy word for rewriting, or at least restructuring. All I have to do is choose a front end framework so the code will be more maintainable for other contributors, easier for everyone to understand. All I have to do is choose a framework. Like, insert a list of at least 1000 possible choices. Of course, there are just a few well-known ones. If I go with React, people will know that word 10 years from now when they try to contribute to my code. This does not necessarily mean that what is called React in 10 years will look anything like it, but they'll know the word.

Seriously, I can see that I write software with very long release cycles. This makes me an excellent candidate to maintain the software stack for the interstellar multigenerational probe. Just slow me down and run me as a low priority process.

11/30 '22 4 Comments
Slow me down to Priority Bitty and I'll dream away just like Walter Mitty. Oh, won't you please make me code.
Brian Rapp 11/30 '22
It’s sort of like cleaning the refrigerator, isn’t it? You do a ton of work in the name of household sanitation and sanity, then shut the door and walk away, and the house doesn’t look any cleaner. But…
The Martin Fowler and Kent Beck "Refactoring" text is one of the reference books I keep within arm's reach.
Chris Herdt 11/30 '22
That's a job in technology - often the result of kicking ass is a smoothly-running site/app/system ... meaning that if you're really good, no one notices. If you're not really good, your site/app/system crashes and EVERYONE notices.

Since some of us have been talking about Ye Olde Birdsite, I thought I would make sure y'all saw that there's been a breach, so you might want to reset your passwords and / or add two step authentication if you hadn't already.

You may feel 'done' with the site, but just remember that things can be done in your name if someone gets ahold of your account.

(Okay, I'll stop telling you all things you already know. I just worry about my peeps.)

For reference: (the teaser text is a little misleading - this is a recent breach)

11/27 '22 5 Comments
The breach consists of a database correlating Twitter handles, email addresses and phone numbers. This sucks, but as breaches go it could be a lot worse. It predates the recent change of ownership from "normal capitalists" to "one totally batshit lone wolf capitalist plus some banks desperately selling off their stake at 60 cents on the dollar."
Thomas Boutell 11/27 '22
Ahhh. So no PW leakage? I should have read further.

Of course, my habit of (securely) resetting my password at the drop of a hat is one I don't mind having.

Also, my longer / more complicated passwords policy as described by my buddy Tom a while back...
Never hurts to change your password periodically.
Poor Elon. Discovering that he's not really King of The World must be so painful.