Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When They Grab You With Those Metal Claws

One more reason I'm kinda thinking I won't live to a ripe old age:

Friday, January 27, 2012

VIDEO SCRAPBOOK: My Top Gay Music Videos (Vol. 1)

Alright, alright, I know a lot of sites have done their version of their picks for favorite gay or gay-by-association themed music videos over the years. This site's one of the best among them. (Though, strangely, at the time of this posting, the site was festooned with banner ads for Mitt Romney. Um, election year or not, Mr. Romney, you may want to choose the sites you advertise on more closely...I don't know how many votes you'll get from a site called "Top Gay Songs".)

But these are my top five (for now) that I can think of, in my humble opinion...

Number 5:



Number 4:



Number 3:



Number 2:



Number 1:



Ta Da! And no Mitt Romney ads here, Baby!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Blame It On The Solar Flare



Lots of very odd things have been happening to me over the past couple of days, so I'm just gonna go ahead and assume it's all because of that solar flare.

In case you hadn't heard, a couple of days ago, a solar storm spewed out a blast of radiation at the Earth worrying people about its potential affect on high-flying aircraft, satellites, radio transmission and the power grid. Some distribution was noted but now the surge has subsided and the world can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

But, inexplicably, I experienced some of the weirdest shit in the past two days...

People have been staring at me for no reason. Really staring.

The price of a pound of Ronzoni pasta shot up to $1.69 at Publix and they seemed to be proud of it. They featured it at an aisle header.

There were about 8 or 9 roaches sitting on the walls of one of the resident's (at work) rooms (not the cleanest of facilities actually). The roaches there are common but the way they just all stood there and didn't move a muscle even when I approached. They were just staring at me. Really staring.

Ric called me up and was an obnoxious asshole, going on and on about his own desperate life and never once acknowledging he might be boring me to death. Oh wait, on second thought, this is normal.

Two Netflix DVDs in a row were gummy/smudged on the shiny side and, sure enough, caused me trouble when trying to play them. Um, actually, this is becoming more common with Netflix lately.

My boss emailed asking me a condescendingly rhetorical question as if I were a 5 year old caught doing "a bad thing". Because of another employee's flub. Ouch, I thought we were allies?

My car CD player unexpectedly just ejected the CD in it when I started the car up this morning.

People are showing me their penises. Accidentally, of course. But they were really big so it was hard to ignore staring at them. Really staring.

2 Ambien + 2 Benedryls + 6 Beers = I'm following the solar flare on its journey through space.

"Yup, I been drinkin' again." Remember that quote from GTA III, well oddly, playing GTA IV this week, I'm able to drive cars fairly well...with a keyboard damn it!

People are still staring at me for no reason. Really staring.

Friday, January 20, 2012

FLASHBACK: October 1983

"Ooh...tarragon!" I blurted, somewhat loudly in comparison to the whispers we'd been speaking in.

"Shhh," Lisa admonished as she nervously glanced towards the backstairs leading from the smartly-appointed kitchen to the kids' room, "What are you doing?"

I was carefully creaking open the glass-fronted cabinet door, behind which stood an impressive array of what looked like high-end spice jars, one labeled TARRAGON.

"I never smelled tarragon before," I mumbled, callously dismissing her concern for my decidedly intrusive behavior. I ignored her and continued to reach for the spice jar.

"Michael...it's late, I'm tired and...you have to go!" she snapped, flipping her long black hair away from her face, exposing a dark and smoky expression of frustration, fatigue and rapidly building anger.

Still buzzed from the beer I'd had at the Harvard frat party we'd attended earlier in the evening, I giggled, totally dismissing her escalating impatience, "Just one sniff..."

"STOP!" Lisa scolded. To me it was as if I were one of the toddlers she was baby-sitting. "You always do this! You just whine and whine! I hate it when you do that!" she continued, now with her hair in her weary, watery eyes. She turned away quickly as she tried to hide her rush of tears.

I knew Lisa loved me but she yearned for me to be what she knew I couldn't. All summer long she'd been in denial. When I told her I was gay she assumed I was confused, experimenting or maybe even playing hard to get. At the party earlier she tried to flirt with other guys but I don't think her heart was truly into it. She was hung up on me.

Now, in the wee hours of the morning, she and I were virtually alone here in the quiet and comfortable home of her employers; a Cambridge psychologist and her artist husband out on an overnight engagement while Lisa watched over their two small children. I think she thought the set up would lend itself well to at least a quick make-out session but perhaps a bit more.

But with me never once acknowledging her flirtations, never once making any romantic moves, never once suggesting even deep conversation and now distractedly playing around with cooking spices, she knew it wasn't going to happen tonight.

And I think she finally came to terms with the facts of our relationship and realized it never would.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Houseboys Of Lake Mary

I've used the term Koyaanisqatsi to describe various crises in my own life ranging from financial dilemmas to psychological malaise. All instances seem to be similarly en-wrapped in a mysterious cloud of bad luck and funky coincidences.

Lately, Ric has been slowly-but-surely building up to his own Koyaanisqatsi time. Though he, and it seems everyone around him, have always had (to my recollection) an unsteady lifestyle, pervaded by mis-steps and foolish alligences, it really now seems to be coming to a head. Since he's always involved with rather dramatic characters, I'll call this new round "The Houseboys of Lake Mary".

Last night, after unsuccessfully trying to goad me into joining him for a liquored-up, bar-hopping night on his home town, Ric called back later, from the hospital. He'd been mugged and the "assaulter(s)" hurt him badly. He was bleeding from his head and his bike was gone.

Ric has had his run in with danger in the past. He had very vocal and even physical altercations with Gary at several bars in the early 2000's. His loud and brash, in-your-face attitude had gotten him into many fights, mostly smack-talk but often grating on the patience of bar personnel and security people, so he'd been banned at over a handful of different places and even arrested a couple times.

We ourselves had even gotten into a pretty heavy fight involving smashed glass and wielding of kitchen knives back in '98 which the cops responded to.

Friends of mine, years ago, warned me when I was just getting to know the Orlando gay crowd, that Ric had a reputation as a trouble maker. One night he reportedly pissed off a burly bear patron of a leather bar enough to have a dart thrown at the back of his neck. The dart stuck in and Ric apparently hadn't even felt it since it stayed there for the rest of the night.

Now with his party boy roommates who are constantly high on pot, pills, coke and who-knows-what-else, he's bound to get into more shit and I think this "mugging" was just the beginning of a new round of drama to come out of the "The Houseboys of Lake Mary".

He's out of the hospital now but sounds all busted up. Oh, and his bike and belongings were never stolen so it's not much of a mugging. Plus, after 15 years, you'd think I could smell a rat in his "stories" and this one's reaking. Don't know what really happened and a part of me says I shouldn't really get involved.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Timeline Of A Simple Staycation

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's my last shift before my vacation so I'm preparing to "push it" and stay awake through Sunday. I drink my 2 liters of Diet Coke and also have extra b-vitamins with coffee when I get home. Ric's over at Jax or Tilited Kilt watching his football game so I delve into Skyrim. After that I watch a little TV including a small bit of football. Ya I Know, huh? Pooping out about 9:00 pm so I take an ambien.

Made Olde El Paso Burrito Kits for lunch and homemade chicken soup for supper.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I wake up too early 5:00, but decide to stay up anyway, I neaten my house and finally do a couple of batches of laundry. The weather is noticeably cooler today so I wear long pant sweats and two t-shirts. I won't put on the heat. Gave a tiny thought to do Disney but didn't feel up for it. Plus forecast says rain possible. Nothing worse than cold rain at the theme parks. Watered plants, took out garbage, did light shopping,

Had leftover burritos and for supper made Kayem natural casing hotdogs in potato rolls. Not anywhere as good as Saugeys in Rhode Island. Drank 12 bottles of PBR.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Woke up reluctantly with a bad PBR-induced hangover. Not wanting to go anywhere today. Luckily I don't have to. Played a little Skyrim but was wanting something more hardcore so loaded up GTA IV, I'm still on the first mission with this shit so I don't have guns yet and some dudes were like beating me to death 'cause I bumped into them on the sidewalk. Fuck this, I tab out to look up cheat codes but then I get distracted by porn. I literally stumble upon these "tumblr" blog filled to the virtual rafters with really hot porn, pics and videos, and amazingly no spam header ads, pop-unders, page deflects...none of that shit man! Spent the next couple of hours checkin' it all out, yeah....

Had the 2 remaining hot dogs and for supper cooked me up some On-Cor Salisbury Steak patties and mixed frozen veggies in Con Queso sauce. Stirred me up some d'at Zatairain's Red Beans and Rice to go with it. It was the bomb, yall!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Very cold today...I actually had to turn on the heat. In the low 40's...brrrr! Stayed in all day. Putted around watching TV movies, tumbling through tumblr, and a little general web browsing. Laid low from Skyrim today. But in the evening, decided to boot up some GTA IV, this game is really hard. I still haven't got a gun and since I was distracted last time, I forgot to get some cheat codes.

Lunch was more of that Salisbury steak dinner and had waffles with sugar-free syrup for dinner.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Much better weather today and I felt alert so I made my way over to Disney. Before I left the 'hood though, I decided to have my lunch at Chan's in the Publix plaza. Still say they're almost as good as the other Chan's in Lake Mary. Still not quite the Metairie place though.

Now my belly was full and I was tempted to abort the planned day and simply shlep back home to nap, but I persevered and though I took a circuitous route due to indecision I finally got to Hollywood Studios around 1:30.

The Indiana Jones show was about to start so I watched that. Nice. Hasn't really changed much over the years. Oh how I remember the time I volunteered to be an "extra" on stage and had to do my best impression of a dude getting shot dead. I wanted it to look good so I did a true dead drop and hit the back of my head hard on the concrete surface of the stage. My turban even fell off.

Now they have what looks like a regular audience member do that stunt but he gets picked throughout the show for more and more central roles and ever so slowly he's performing more and more challenging stunts until it dawns on you that he's actually a plant. Finally, during a scene when the stunts he does could only be performed by a pro, he's "outed" and told to take a bow to the audience. Cute.

Chinese buffet for lunch and chicken with gravy along with the leftover cheesy veggies for supper.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The cold was back today, and the heater was back on. A freakin' mosquito kept buzzing in my ear and I woke at 5:30 to try to kill it. Couln't find it but decided to clean my bathroom as it may the source of mosquito breeding. Ric was off from work and we played Civ for a few hours. I took an hour-long break around 5:00 to get some frozen Publix pizzas and an 18-pack of PBR cans. We kept playing 'till about 10 or so when I passed out.

Lunch was a smorgasbord of leftovers: chicken w/ gravy, mixed with the cheesy rice and supper was some self-rising crust pepperoni pizza from Publix freezer case.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Hangover all day. Not as bad as the past few, though. Took some ibuprophen. Noticed I was out of Lisinopril, tried to re-order online, it didn't let me since there were no refills. Called in to the pharmacy, they said they'd get with my doctor for new script but that wouldn't go in 'till Tuesday due to the holiday so she offered me a small amount to hold me over. I told her I'd be in tomorrow. Cold again today. Watched TV movies and some cooking shows. Played a little Civ with Ric later on but was needing to bite the tail of the dog that bit me so I finished the 6 indians that remained from the 18-pack, popped an ambien and called it a night early.

Grazed all day, ate leftover pizza (don't heat it in the microwave, it sucks that way), made ziti with jar sauce, had way too many helpings.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Went to Walmart to pick up my Lisinopril holdover and also bought some new burner guards for the stove. Not in the mood to do further shopping so just went home. Tried to get back to sleep but the neighbor's dog kept barking and the upstairs neighbor kept walking around, opening her patio door every half hour. Kids were playing loudly in the yard. Man, I'm kinda glad I normally sleep through all this crap. But it's usually on the weekends only. Tumblr, YouTube, News.  Mainly TV though from the Today Show until I could no longer tolerate it, to a gamut of bad movies. Ugh!

Lunch was the other Publix frozen pizza which I munched on throughout the day along with some ziti leftovers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Got up late (around 2:00pm) trying to maneuver my sleep pattern back to accommodate my job which I'd be returning to in a day. Plan was to try and push it through to tomorrow morning, but I had cravings again...UGH! Went out and shopped at Big Lots for bowls (I accidentally broke one of my nice white porcelain Japanese bowls), a new bath mat set and some odd-branded nibble foods. Then jetted across Semoran to the am-pm (I guess this one's still around, I thought they had all converted over to 7-Elevens?) and got a 12 of Busch (PBR is giving me wicked hangovers so I thought I'd fall back on my tried and true "standard"). Grabbed a $2 quick-pick Powerball while I was at it too.

Was going to play Civ with Ric but he wanted to go to a pub near him and wasn't being talked out of it. I played Skyrim for a while but soon after sundown, I don't remember what else. I passed out.

Made frozen General Tso's chicken kit but really accented it with lots of my own ingredients like fresh chicken, more veggies, my own sweet, sour and spicy sauce and another pint of frozen fried rice. Came out really good!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Very hungover and when I counted the remains in the fridge, it looks like I'd only had 7 beers. What? This hungover from just seven beers? Then it dawned on me. I know myself all too well. I looked around for it and in the trash I saw an empty Cheetos bag inside a Publix plastic bag and along with it, a receipt for the Cheetos and a 12-pack of Busch.

Another 12-pack. So I must have finished the first 12, packed up the empty cans and box into a garbage bag, took that out to my trunk, drove to Publix and bought more provisions, including nasty junk food I only eat when I'm drunk. I didn't remember doing this at all.

In frustration I decided to sleep through the day to get ready for the night shift. I popped an ambien, limited affect. At noon I ate some of the left over food from yesterday, and popped another ambien for good measure. Still tossing and turning by 3, I decided to take two Benedryls, another abmbien and the remaining 5 beers in the fridge. That did the trick. Woke up just before the alarm at 9:30 pm. Feeling a bit woozy and off-balance. I wonder why.

These "staycations" are killing me. All I do is eat, drink and lounge around.

Well, like Daffy says: "Eh, it's a livin'"

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

MINECRAFT MANIA: My Stadium

Right after uploading the last post I thought my city could actually use a true stadium for the home team. So, like they say "if you build it, they will come". Go Miners!

Monday, January 02, 2012

MINECRAFT MANIA: The City's First Anniversary

During the New Year's holidays last year (January 2011), I broke ground on only my second world I'd created in Minecraft and began what you see today.

I left "normal" play (meaning mobs) on and got pwned frequently but one of the first early safe houses was built into what was then a naturally occurring mountain. That entire mountain has been shelled out and carved down to what is today the Citadel Complex (see below). It looked much more like a fortress in the old days but when I started to see my proto-city rise and was fed-up with Creepers blowing my hard work up I quietly set the game to "peaceful" and from then on it was just that.

Here's some "aerial" photography of the four cardinal directions of the city. (Of course my avatar Steve is actually poised fearlessly atop a temporary single-block-width tower to maximum height. He should be a bit nervous though 'cause if he falls, even while in "peaceful" he'll be dead.) Feel free to click on pics for larger view:


NORTH: (Actually only since version Beta 1.8, prior to that all the directions were shifted one over to left and this was east back then...no matter, it's all good.)

1. One of the first diagonal roads I built this intending to connect it to a planned sea village but right about where this number is the landscape drops off in steep steps to the coast and I saw it was gonna take much more cobblestone than I planned so I halted progress and never picked it up again.

2. I wanted a domed roof building but I didn't want to overwhelm the scale of the city so this was a bit of a challenge. Doomed buildings can look great in Minecraft if you want to build big. Really big. For a really impressive Buckminster Fuller type dome it'd have to cover my entire city. But I needed it to fit aesthetically with it's surroundings. This is the result. I filled it out with wooden bench seating-in-the-round, a central stage complete with red wool curtains and topped it off with a neat skylight. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Theater! Tickets please...

3. This plaza was open and looked too flat for a long time so I decided to build a tower in its midst. Organically built like everything else in this city, once I finished it, I noticed it looks like a high-rise tenement government housing project. So, this is the "Old Steve's Home".

4. Hard to see in the dark, I know, but here is where there was a small pond on the top of a hill. Well, you know what that means...waterfall! It was the first waterfall I'd ever created in Minecraft. I've neatened it up over the past few months but it still looks neat.

5. I started building a few buildings and a wooden dock here even back in the early months of January/February. I planned to have this be a sleep community by the sea or maybe the heavy industrial area only factory workers and longshoremen would visit. It's still just a couple of factory style buildings and a dock. Not much development for most of the year.

6. Here's the road to it though, one of the first to connect to something outside the core of the city.

7. When I built this, mobs were still "on" so I had to only venture out here during the day and mine the materials from would would eventually become the vast mine complex underneath the City Citadel. It was quite a trek from the doors of the Citadel to the statue across vast fields and sands. Today, you can see, the sprawl of the city is slowly encroaching on it. Fear not though...this monument to the Victims of Mobs, shaped like a zombie, will stand for a thousand years! "We remember!"

8. Though the centrally-located Citadel used to serve as both King Steve's castle AND the seat of the government, I built this House of Congress to change that. It had a nice cupola entrance hall and two houses each with large glowstone and glass chandeliers. The Northside Portico is for those big-wig outdoor cocktail parties everyone wishes they could get invited to.

9. Just a postage stamp nondescript plaza designed for the nearby office workers. I placed a small dedication marker here commemorating the six-month anniversary of the city. It's a nice place to sit and feed the chicken/ducks.

10. One of the first buildings to become totally glassed in. Many buildings still aren't, and many are that way 'cause I want it that way.

11. I loved the look of this building when I got done with it. The central column of sand is illuminated by hidden torches and I think it looks really neat. Another nice effect of building organically...you get little surprises when your done.

12. For the longest time this was a large hill in the midst of my expanding city. Now it's fully converted into the  City Police Station. Are there jail cells inside? What to find out? Well do ya', punk?

13. An early "needle eye" decorative tower (like #19). This one came to be the beacon for the "Arts District".

14. Other than the main Citadel itself, the next fully converted hill into a building. The long stairway running up the backside (north) is one of the oldest structures in the city. This building houses the Central Bank, BTW.

15. Soon after building my first portal to the Nether, I brought my Nether specific blocks here and built what looks like a 1970's style Olympic stadium torch out of glowstone and topped by the Eternal Flame of ignited netherrack.

16. The Stone Runes surrounding this tower looked plain housing only a scattering of flowers so I dug up many of the flowers and built this.

17. The Citadel Complex.

18. I loved this natural plaza and when my city was growing and I thought of paving it all with cobblestone, I thought of the beauty of this patch of grassway and decided to keep the city mainly green. Of course the color changes in version 1.0 made this a polluted-looking green but, meh...whatcha gonna do?

19. The original Needle Eye tower. When it was constructed so many months ago, it was the tallest structure in the city.

20. Another of the many quick and impromptu decorative towers. They can't be entered or ascended but they look pretty.

21. My first little suspension bridge. When I built this, there wasn't much to the east (then south) of it.


EAST:

1. That port area again. Still un-named. How sad.

2. A better shot of the Victims Monument overlooking the sea (not to be confused with #13, The Monument to the Fallen Heroes).

3. Harbor Entrance Park. All the trees here planted from saplings.

4. Almost invisible in the dark, the Island Lighthouse. Probably not too effective if you can't see it in the dark.

5. These are some of the newest buildings. I call this the Warehouse District.

6. Though only a nub here, this is where I'd traditionally build a sand tower to about a 16 block height or so to take my many west-facing nighttime skyline shots.

7. This is a glassed-in observation vantage point right at shore level across the harbor. Great skyline viewing.

8. This nether flame marker indicates a very, very deep shaft directly below it way under the bay. What's there? Obsidian!

9. The Harbor Bridge connecting our city's continent with the continent to the east via a natural narrowing strait. 

10. The harbor. Pretty much as it was on First Spawn Day. I've mined a bit of the sand on its bottom to neaten it up a bit though.

11. A cargo ship. Cute, huh? Frozen forever at dock. Is it loading or unloading those colorful cargo containers? We may never know.

12. The Original Spawn Point. If you remember, I used to have a dark grey cobblestone mess I called the Dockmaster's Tower here. It was hideous so I demolished it and put a simple glassed in booth above the gold block signifying the OSP and built a low-level port service building near it.

13. After securing a hollowed out safe niche in the mountain that would eventually become the Citadel, I built this well-lit arch on a natural hill near the spawn point so I'd always know which way to run like hell if I got killed and re-spawned in those early mob-infested nights.

14. An early extension of the naturally occurring pond near the side of what became the Citadel, this is still a very pretty little canal cutting through the heart of downtown.


SOUTH:

1. Another shot of the Harbor Bridge west end entrance.

2. This is the first "light house", really just a beacon. Built soon after I discovered redstone, it's topped by 4 of the very first redstone torches.

3. I literally stumbled into this natural cave entrance. It remains, through some interconnecting excavation, one of the largest, and deepest cave networks in the area. 

4. The Harbor Torch again.

5. The entrance to The Grande Canal, ie, The Great Failure. I still don't know how to get man-made canals to work. It's totally un-navigable though I filled it with many, many buckets of water. The currents are rougher than the roughest seas. The squid like it though. It's a pain 'case it goes the whole length of the continent, most of it under the city. Pity. Minecraftia tax dollars to waste.

6. I like the look of this simple arched bridge over the canal.

7. The Clocktower.

8. I started this building so many months ago and never got around to finishing it. I guess I'll call it my Majesty Building. LOL!

9. After completing this I thought it looked like a quintessential government office building like Health and Human Services or something. Maybe it's the DMV? I should put a shitload of chests filled with paper symbolizing the endless bureaucratic forms and paperwork.

10. Though the scale of the whole city is small (ie. Steve's head just clears most ceilings) this building is one of a few forced-perspective lies. The floors are only one block high and thus inaccessible. A cheating way to get the building to look taller than it really is.

11. The Superman Building of my city. Styled like the 1930's Daily Planet Building, I wonder if there's a Clark Kent working away in there? My luck he'd turn into an Enderman!

12. Not too sure if I like it much but it was a quick attempt to fashion a CN Tower style "space needle" building. Meh...

13. Kinda small but again I was concerned with overall scale, this is the Train Station. There are tracks that run from here to just before the Great Causeway that leads out to the Portal Complex (all off-picture). I'm way too cheap with my iron to really build an extensive rail network though.

14. This cobblestone "belltower" which sits atop a part of the Citadel complex was the tallest structure for a very long time.

15. The three-story post-modernist penthouse suite of the Citadel Complex. Fully encased in glass, it offers some of the most cozy accommodations and really stunning skyline views. Lisa Douglas would love it, Daaaaahhling!

16. Built from the remains of a very large outcropping of the original mountain which begat the Citadel (wheh!), this grassy viewing platform was where I watched my ever-growing city blossom over the many, many months. It kinda looks low in this shot but it's actually kinda high up.

17. These organically whipped up low-rise building represent the reverent temple complex of the city, and, being quite possibly the first free-standing structures built, they form the symbolic (and almost geographic) center of the metropolis.

18. I first sought to have this be a stadium but it was way too small. Now it's the hospital.

19. Inside this building, which can only be accessed through a subterranean foyer, is a huge depiction of a torch made out of black wool, gold and jack-o-lanterns. It is the headquarters for the Power & Light Company.


WEST:

1. "All Aboard!" The Train Station again.

2. The Zicorp Mining Company Building. The tallest in the city. Just one block shy of max. Well, I guess the sand tower I'm snapping this photo on is now the tallest. (Well, not for long, it was built only for this shoot.)

3. The dual observation platforms at the west entrance to The Grand Canal. You can watch the squid trapped  in the inescapable currents of the canal, opening and closing their gaping toothy mouths, screaming in silence, forever and ever.

4. Worker's Town. Factories, bars and simple houses, this is where the mining folk stay.

5. So sometime about 4 or 5 months into building the city I get ambitious and I want a fancy lava accented art structure here, not far from the then north Citadel entrance. Many deaths later I completed it. It's safe now, all enclosed in thick tempered glass.

6. Soon after the devastating losses while building #5, I converted an awkward looking sand pyramid into this Monument to Glass, in appreciation for it's beauty...and strength. 

7. This grassy ridge is the first vantage point where I stood taking the first photos of my new city skyline. Remember?

8. This causeway bridge goes to the mansion formerly known as the North Citadel, now called simply Frostwinds. Though it's still in the same biome as the city, it sits on an island which faces west towards a vast and mainly unexplored frozen alpine area.

9. A small lighthouse and pier. There are supplies and crafting implements for the brave sailor.

10. The Tree Of Life, a temple devoted to the big green leafy things we all too often under appreciate as we harvest them for wood.

11. Another man-made forest. A pitiful attempt to re-gain what was once here, vast rolling forested lands.

12. Here's the diagonal roadway I talked about in the first pic.

13. This is another of those plazas I worked hard to preserve. There'e a whole slew of underground tunnels converging right about here but from the surface you'd never know it. Just a nice patch of grass and a small bubbling fountain.

14. The first causeway ever built. Back then it connected two hills. Now they're buildings.

15. These two trees, trimmed a bit to allow it to form a canopy to the original entrance to the Citadel, are the only original trees in the city. All others were planted later. Oh yes, my axe, pick and shovel have been busy over the past year. Very busy, indeed.