Nashville: The City

I hate saying anything negative about Nashville as I had a great time while there, but the city itself was not pleasant.

As typical of large cities, there are tons of one-way streets downtown that we weren’t familiar with AND that weren’t marked on maps.

Compounding that confusion, a number of streets were blocked off due to the July 4th event.

EVEN MORE! A lot of streets were blocked off by construction work and what one tour guide called, “Tennessee’s state bird, the crane!” (It’s actually the mockingbird if you were curious).

Crane's so tall I needed to do a collage!
Crane’s so tall I needed to do a collage!

Additionally, parking was… difficult, but at least we expected that. Parking in the Gulch neighborhood on the edge of downtown and walking in over the railroad was the way to go for us.

Second major problem with the city was the smell.

There was a faint garbage stench throughout downtown. Not exactly sure why.

Obviously it got stronger when we got close to dumpsters, but I’ve never experienced a problem like this in any major city. Seems like the dumpsters just don’t trap smells in Tennessee’s humidity.

Final issue with Nashville was the myth of Southern hospitality. I’ve heard of, experienced it, and expected it in Nashville, but it was not so!

Not that anybody was particularly rude, just people were notably less polite than what I’d experienced in Davis, CA.

Maybe it’s because Nashville is a tourist town and the locals hate tourists? Maybe it was due to the extra stress of the downtown construction and July 4th? Maybe something in the local news had everyone on edge?

Whatever it was, the people there just weren’t as nice as I expected them to be.

Like I said, all of these things by no means ruined the vacation. There were just… noticeable.

-GoCorral

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The Animals of Florida

We arrived at our hotel in Florida after midnight, when all the nocturnal animals are out.

Apparently armadillos live in Florida, so we got to see a wild one in the parking lot as we walked from the car to the hotel.

Darkness + No Flash = Potato Quality Photo. Didn't use flash so the little guy wouldn't get scared.
Darkness + No Flash = Potato Quality Photo. Didn’t use flash so the little guy wouldn’t get scared.

The armadillo wasn’t the only little critter we encountered on our Florida trip.

Squirrels and ducks were everywhere around the parks, begging for food and often receiving it.

The squirrel was frightening people by running at them to make them drop their food. Smartest little dude ever.
The squirrel was frightening people by running at them to make them drop their food. Smartest little dude ever.
“I came to kick some ass and eat some bread! And I’m all out of kicks…”

There were a few heron-like birds (later learned they’re called ibis) begging everywhere as well. Begging seems to be the best way for an animal to feed itself in Disney World.

I'm all out of good captions.
I’m all out of good captions.

There were songbirds flying around as well. One in particular would land on our hotel balcony after we were done eating breakfast out there and eat up all our crumbs.

There was another songbird that attacked the window of a restaurant we ate at. According to the waitress, the bird attacks its reflection during mating season to show off for its mate.

Unfortunately, the little songbirds were too fast to take pictures.

I did manage to snap some photos of some quick little lizards that liked to sun themselves on the sidewalks around town.

The lizards camouflaged themselves against the sidewalk and skittered away when we got close to stepping on them.

“I am the cutest lizard of them all.”

There were also fish in the many lakes that dot the Disney World Resort, but too many people were crowded around the fish to get a good shot.

So not only is Disney World full of tourists, its also full of animals for the tourists to take pictures of!

-GoCorral

An Interlude to TAing

I enjoyed TAing a lot last semester, but due to a scheduling hiccup I won’t be able to this semester.

Hopefully I can pick it up again over the summer or next semester. I love teaching people and getting paid to do something you love is always appealing.

Since there won’t be any posts this semester about me TAing I have prepared this glorious selection of photos from the Vertebrate Museum at Sac State.

The Vertebrate Museum has hundreds of taxidermied animals and skeletons in it. The animals are from zoos or people who donated their own collections.

Last semester my class got to go on a “field trip” to the museum to examine different evolutionary traits. I say field trip in quotation marks as the museum was literally across the hall from the normal classroom.

So without further delay, here are some photos!

Chimpanzee Skeleton
A baby chimp skeleton.

 

Snake Skeletons
Snake skeletons. There’s supposed to be tiny toes near the back end of the tail.
Moose Head
Moose Head!
Undergraduates
The students comparing the different birds.
At least I think this one was a goat?
I think this one was a goat? Maybe a pig.
They're in love!
They’re in love!
All the deer!
All the deer!

-GoCorral

 

 

 

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 4

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 3

1979 BE: Tortuga was expanded and became both a land and a sea fortification.

1872 BE: Trebor spoke to Izquitl. She told him the time for war had come! The Avians founded the city of Nanatok on the northwestern edge of the Lower Maw to widen their reach and an Avian army organized in Hrududu to combat the Landwalker threat.

1821 BE: After losing the fortress of Tortuga to an organized Avian assault, three Merfolk armies were conscripted. Two marched on Tortuga and swiftly retook it. The third army defended Drolfo’s Cove from reprisals.

1764 BE: Continuing skirmishes between the Avians and Merfolk taught the Avians a lesson. Their armies developed new tactics and military organization that were the envy of all subsequent races.

1543 BE: The Dwarves built the city of Silver Top and the world’s mountains continued to grow.

1317 BE: The eternal give and take war between the Avians and Merfolk reached a turning point when tragedy struck the Avian people. Their immortal prophet, Trebor, was slain while overseeing the armies’ performance in stormy weather. A bolt of lightning sprung from the clouds and Trebor’s religious talisman attracted the blast. He fell down upon Cui-Xoloc, his body coming to rest in the market square of Zener’hro. The Avians held a grand funeral in their prophet’s honor. They were convinced that the storm was sent by some dark magic of the Merfolk. Their hearts hardened as they prepared for a true war.

1296 BE: After noticing a lack of decisive action for several years on the part of the Avians the Merfolk increased their offensive operations. Landers chopped down a large number of trees in the Eastern Hrududu. The area turned into a marsh due to its still considerable yearly rainfall. Some Merfolk and Landers settled in the marsh.

1165 BE: A vast swath of land in the northeast froze over. This land became known as the New Ice. The Humans living in that region, the Alrador, became adapted to the cold. They made a special blue paint out of the mushrooms that grew in the forest. They painted their bodies with elaborate designs before engaging in battle with other tribes. All Humans continued their violent existence. The volcano served as the focal point of their brutality. Men, women, and children were thrown into its boiling depths and shamans of the Najar Valley drew strength from its sinister glow.

1013 BE: The southern Red Peaks sprung up. The range grew by feeding upon the Human souls thrown into the Najar Volcano.

922 BE: The Cold Woods continued to grow.

765 BE: The Books of Dwarven Legend foretold the ripening of the world within the cycle. Gurutama had ripened and taken shape. Now the books demanded action. Following the sacred instructions contained within, the Dwarves formed a society amongst themselves known as the Kenracktopar, the Harvesters. Each Kenracktopar carries a ring identifying his superior status among Dwarvenkind and, in their opinion, the kind of all mortals.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 5

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 3

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 2

This update is marked by sections I may not consider useful, but may become useful later on.

Is it really necessary that the timeline list when a forest expanded? Maybe not.

But what if we ever run a campaign where it becomes important how old a tree is?

The timeline shows that the oldest trees in a certain section of the world can only have been around for a finite number of years.

This update also shows off another thing that Dawn of Worlds encourages, technological and cultural advancements!

The Dwarves got architecture. The Merfolk got aquatic animal domestication and Avian slaying. The Avians got blood rituals. The Humans got nothing this time, but more will come.

3488 BE: The Merfolk domesticated aquatic animals. The people of the sea became experts at dolphin, shark, and whale riding. The cetaceans were used to pull underwater carts along with trout and bass. Whales were used to haul larger vehicles. Rare visits above water were achieved via riding in tortoise or turtle palanquins.

3322 BE: The fertile ash from the primal volcano promoted the growth of forests in an outward crescent from the igneous mountain.

3167 BE: The Metal Tiers rumbled out of the earth as the world matured and ripened.

3039 BE: A great bird was born among the Avians, the immortal wing-prophet, Trebor Ydorg. He founded the cliff city of Zener’hro on the side of Cui-Xoloc and brought the Avians out of their preliterate society and into the light. Trebor organized his people with rituals. Blood sacrifices were absorbed by the great sacred altar at the top of Cui-Xoloc.

2864 BE: Up from the depths of the Maw rose Selcatnet the Eight Armed. Selcatnet was a gift sent by Drolfo to his industrious children, the Merfolk. Selcatnet became the guardian and protector of Drolfo’s Cove.

2777 BE: The great Dwarven city of Golden Mach was founded in the west. It reigned for centuries as the greatest architectural achievement of the land.

2600 BE: Humanity grew increasingly barbaric as the forest spread around them.

2492 BE: The Avians’ knowledge of blood magic grew with each passing year. Hrududu’s shade expanded west.

2330 BE: The northern forest continued to expand, now touching both the Maw and the Northern Sea.

2294 BE: The industrious Merfolk along with their faithful servant, Selcatnet, began to dig a channel through the Lower Maw, allowing easy access to the Neck.

2276 BE: The Great Canal is completed.

2269 BE: The trading post, Tortuga, is established in the Fluren Bay.

2244 BE: The Avians viewed the Merfolk traders as only a new form of prey for their blood rituals. The Merfolk soon learned not to trust the Avians. Tortuga’s trading post design was abandoned in favor of that of a fortress. The city became a repository for the best Avian-slaying techniques.

2131 BE: The eastern side of the Metal Tiers turned to sand.

2076 BE: The Hrududu Jungle crossed the Groshan Sea and established a new jungle on Hearthland. The new jungle was known as Turashtegal.

2046 BE: Drolfo gave his people a gift. He created a new race of Merfolk that no longer feared the world above without water. These Merfolk were referred to as Landwalkers.

1988 BE: The Landers clear-cut the Fluren Peninsula.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 4

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 2

Previous: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 1

I realized I didn’t like what I’d done in Part 1 much.

One of my goals with the revision was to give the timeline a consistent voice and right now the voice changes too much.

Sometimes there’s flowery prose and other times there’s informational text. Sometimes there’s even dialogue!

I’ve decided to edit it down to just informational text. That way it’ll be easier to find and recognize what we want to know later on when we use the new timeline as an information source.

So here’s the redo of the first section of the Timeline.

4121 BE: The Merfolk came into existence with Drolfo Sitnalta, god of the sea, as their patron deity.

4037 BE: Drolfo told his followers to build a city between the islands of the Maw. The Merfolk named the city Drolfo’s Cove in honor of their god.

3983 BE: On the island, Rontu-Aru, the great Egg Mother, Izquitl, created Cui-Xoloc, the tallest mountain in the world, to rest upon. The sheer faced mountain rose miles high, dividing the southern island-continent in two. An enormous waterfall sprung off the north side of the mountain, joining the river leading to the ocean.

3837 BE: Izquitl called up Hrududu, a vast rainforest covering the eastern half of Rontu-Aru. The Egg Mother started singing the first song of the world. The many birds of Hrududu listened and when she stopped her song the birds had taken on tall forms and gained intelligence not present in their lesser cousins. The Avians took flight.

3734 BE: Into the world came Humankind, timid and savage, knowing not from whence they came but living ever in decadent fear of the great fiery abyssal Najar Volcano, their own window into the beating heart of the world. The only thing greater than the Humans fear of the Volcano was their fear of the outside world. Their fear manipulated the physical world and protecting mountains grew up around the Humans.

3654 BE: After the last cycle of the world ended the Dwarves had buried themselves deep within the earth. Now they crawled up out of the dirt and rocks in the mountains in the west. The Dwarves got out their picks and shovels to create a new home in the new world. They would venture out of the mountains once the world “ripened.” The writing in their Holy Books  preserved between each generation would tell the Dwarves when the world ripened.

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 3

Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 1

One of the problems that comes up in D&D is whether races are capitalized.

English is clear on that topic. African is capitalized because its a continental descriptor, but black is not because physical descriptors are less important.

Hobgoblin is a race in D&D, but is it a “nationality” or a physical descriptor?

The issue becomes more confused when languages are considered.

In D&D a race’s native language is often just referred to by that race’s name. Elves speak Elven. Hobgoblins speak Goblin.

The simplest way out for me was to just capitalize all races all the time, so I will be attempting to do that as I go forward with the work on Gurutama. This includes Human, Dwarf, Elf, and anything else that would not normally be capitalized in English.

4121 BE: The Merfolk came into existence and their god was Drolfo Sitnalta, god of the sea.

4037 BE: Drolfo told his followers to build a city between the islands of the Maw. The Merfolk named the city Drolfo’s Cove in honor of their god.

3983 BE: On the island, Rontu-Aru, the great egg mother, Izquitl, needed a perch, so she created Cui-Xoloc, the tallest mountain in the world, to rest upon. Cui-Xoloc rose sheer faced, miles into the sky, dividing the southern island-continent in two. An enormous waterfall sprung off the north side of the mountain, joining the river leading to the ocean.

3837 BE: Izquitl needed beauty and love and blood, so she called up Hrududu, a vast rainforest covering the eastern half of Rontu-Aru. Izquitl needed more, so she started to sing the first song of the world. The many birds of Hrududu listened and when she stopped her song the birds had taken on tall forms and gained intelligence not present in their lesser cousins. The Avians took flight.

3734 BE: Into the world came Humankind, timid and savage, knowing not from whence they came but living ever in decadent fear of the great fiery abyssal volcano, their own window into the beating heart of the world. The mountains grew up around the Humans for their fear of the outside world was even greater than the terror within the inferno.

3654 BE: The Dwarves knew that the world came and went in cycles just like the seasons. They knew how to survive the cataclysms and be reborn afterwards. They had buried themselves deep, deep within the earth. The Dwarves crawled up out of the dirt and rocks in the mountains in the west. They looked at the new world around them and said, “Oi! Whot’s all this then? The old one was better!”

The Dwarven chieftain calmed his people, “Calm thyselves! Have we not read that it takes time for a new world to ripen? We shalt go back into the ground until this Earth is ready for our holy presence.”

“Aye! The chieftain is wise! Into the ground again!”

The Dwarves got out their picks and shovels to create a new home in the new world. They would venture out of the mountains once the world “ripened.” For what purpose would they venture out? Only the writing in the Books they preserved between each generation could tell.

 

A few minor edits, but not much to do for this first part. I’ve considered taking out the parts about physical features of the world, but there’s nothing major here. Besides, what’s the difference between myth and legend for history this old?

-Mister Ed

Next: Gurutama Timeline Revising Part 2