Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MVT and other matters, by the Fool

A couple of days ago I was yet again amazed and impressed by the level of participation in and commitment to LOTRO .... I was going to say LOTRO roleplaying, but it's not that, really. Commitment, rather, to the artistic life of LOTRO.

Firstly, it was the performance by Mer Vanya Tyalieva (I think I got that right!) of the story of the creation, from the Silmarillion. This was a show, about two and a half hours long, that required the preparation of enormous amounts of music, help from around 20 people, hours and hours of rehearsal, and then a committed audience, willing to sit through the entire show.

Just like putting on a show in real life, it required a huge level of dedication from a lot of people. And they did it. They turned up to rehearse. Mostly on time, even. They learned their parts. They practised their emotes. They behaved (even in their private raid chatting behind the scenes) exactly like any other group of musicians and actors dedicated to putting on the best performance they could. The nervous banter you could have heard in any Green Room in the world, the bad jokes, the worries, the fretting.

So why is this impressive? After all, when it comes to raiding, this kind of thing happens every hour of every day in a game like WoW, and probably almost as often in LOTRO.

Well, it's difficult for me to articulate why dedication of many hours to an artistic performance is somehow more impressive than dedication of many hours to raiding. The level of commitment, of organisation, is the same, if not more so. But the artistic performance doesn't advance a character in any way recognised by the game. It doesn't get you any new gear, any new skills, any tangible in-game rewards at all. To many people, there is no reward at all, tangible or otherwise, for participating in an artistic performance.

So why do people do it? I suppose for the love of the music, the love of the lore, the love of the artistic life of LOTRO. There are so many people dedicated to these things that such performances become possible. And, in my opinion, this is a truly impressive statement about the LOTRO community. It is a community where joint artistic endeavour ranks as highly as killing the latest nastiest boss. Not for everybody of course, that is hardly to be expected, but for many, and for enough.

Mind you, I guess I only admire this because I couldn't give a rat's arse for killing a boss in a dungeon, or for having the latest, shiniest, gear. And my children would say that I don't give a rat's arse because I couldn't do it anyway. Too old, too slow, bad reflexes, small brain, they would say. Stick to your geriatric stuff, leave us cool kids alone. Pfft.

I also was sorry to have missed the fireworks display in honour of Bilbo's birthday, put on by the Sons of Numenor. It was, by all accounts, a fantastic display and a great time was had by all.

Secondly, BBB did the filming of large parts of their latest music video, for the song Harperella's Grace, and the Lonely Mountain Band did themselves proud. Between 20 and 30 people turned up to help, to dance, to stand around, to dance again, to stop, to start, to cheer, to jump, to dance, to dance, to dance. And they stayed for hours to get the job done. Nothing in it for them. Their names don't even appear in the video. They helped because they are kin, and that's what kin does. Some of them weren't even kin, but came to help because ... well, that's just who they are.

You just can't beat that kind of community. I don't know how to say thank you adequately.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dancing with the stars

BBB's next music video project is Harperella's Grace, and my Fool needs people to come and dance.

Saturday, 24 Sept, 3 pm.
The Lonely Mountain Band kinhouse neighbourhood. Maybe Falathlorn?
In the band rotunda with all those nice chairs.

Turn up. Get noticed! Become rich and famous. If you're lucky I'll even dance with you, and then you'll be dancing with a star!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The MVT performance: Aegthil the star

I am delighted to announce to all my adoring fans that I have been cast as the major lead romantic role in the upcoming Mer Vanny Tiddlywinks performance of..... er.... some play or other.  Silmalalatothefairies or something, by some guy I've never heard of.  The play is all about a minstrel from Gondor (that's me!) who comes to Bree and plays music and all the women fall in love with him, and a band plays music in his honour.

Fionalulu is playing the part of Apple-Sherie, of course. We get to make eyes at one another across a crowded dance floor, and then I make a speech, and then she makes a speech, and then a bunch of Mer Vanny Tiddlywinks play some music for us, and then I get to do another speech.

There's a bit more music in my honour, and then I have to pretend to be angry (like I could ever be angry with my darling Fionalulu!) and walk away. Something like that. I think the kissing and bedroom scenes must come later in the performance, because there was nothing like that at rehearsal. When I pinched Fionalulu's bottom (for additional authenticity) she didn't seem to appreciate it. Well, not openly anyway. I'm sure she was glowing inside.

I will be wearing a nice white costume (a bit different from my usual black, but that is to maintain the proper emotional distance from the part) and Fionalulu will be wearing the usual sort of leather gear. I think so, anyway, but there were no costumes at the rehearsal.

There are some other people doing stuff, but nothing important.

It's going to be a great show and the Tiddlywinks are lucky to have me in the starring role!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bluebonnett Blues: The video

After more work than my Fool imagined, I bring you

Bluebonnett Blues: the video:

Mostly because this provides a convenient place to keep the address.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Dol Amroth Bounty

The Servant Girls of Dol Amroth have refused to remove the bounty from my person and so I remain holed up in Madame Celestine's. I couldn't even pay off the Town Guard like I usually do. The Dol Amroth Scrubbers have them sewn up tighter than a duck's .....well, never mind about that. I must have really annoyed them. Goodness. Go figure.

However, secure in the knowledge that a greased palm settles everything, B.B.B. has offered a counter-bounty of 500 gold. I am going to smuggle a message out to the Babes of Dol Amroth informing them of this fact. All they have to do is see reason and let me out, so that I can continue to entertain and inform the world, and Beorbrand (as the BBB leader) will pay them the dosh. All in unmarked gold coins, come alone, and don't tell the Bree Town Guard or the deal's off.

I think this is a real bargain. The Dol Amroth Scrubbers make a good solid profit (I only want a 50-50 split, which is pretty generous if you think about it), and the world gets to benefit from my continued presence. Everybody wins.

If you throw in Gwen's address I'll accept a 60-40 split. Or who was the cutie in blue? Does she like theorbo players?

Actually, on second thoughts never mind about the Babe in Blue. After a few days as a boarder at Madame Celestine's I'm not sure I have the energy.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Servant Girls of Dol Amroth

My Fool is off on his travels again so I am forced to remain in durance vile for a few days. But this time I managed to persuade Madame Celestine to take me in as a boarder, and a general man-about-the-house. So to speak. I also persuaded Beorlich to come by with a selection of his wares (after dark). The girls were particularly appreciative.

It sure beats the Dancing Goat and old Butterbuns, let me tell you. Best of all I can avoid Beor the nasty piper man. He doesn't even know where Madame Celestine's is. Neither does the Bree Town Guard, a fact which I mention for no particular reason, let me add, except as a general statement of fact.

My mentioning the Town Guard has absolutely nothing to do with the events of the weekend, in which I was guest of honour at a party hosted by the Servant Girls of..... er.... a bunch of people from ..... er.... somewhere. Amroth? Dol Amroth? Hell, I can't remember. I'm an artist, not an intellectual geek.

Anyway, BBB was hired to play for their kinship birthday party, and boy, did we play. We played until they begged for mercy, and threw us out. The highlight of the evening was, of course, the lovely lady Gwen, all dressed (or, rather, mostly half undressed) in a cute little off-the-shoulder number that exposed her assets to all her kin. I wasn't looking, but I heard tell. She clearly thought I was a handsome devil, no two ways about it. Couldn't keep her eyes off me. I was almost too distracted to pose, preen and play. Almost.

The banter flowed. The wit was supreme. The conversational cut and thrust was enthralling. Sure, maybe a few feelings were hurt here and there, maybe a few bad words escaped in the heat of the moment, but you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. There was really no need to lodge a formal complaint or anything like that. No need at all.

It's all in good fun, and if you can't see the humour in being called a short, fat, hairy, ugly little moron of a dorf, then you really need to get a life. Honestly. Lighten up. Or maybe she was a bobbit. Whatever.

And it's simply not true that I made inappropriate physical advances to the lady Gwen. Simply not true at all. They were entirely appropriate (at the time), even if not entirely successful.

So I really don't see what all this fuss is about. I wonder if I can get the Lady Gwen's address?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It's Party Time. Oh yeah.

Beorbrand and Aegthil and Inzilgagger and Bluebonnett and Irdu and Carica and Ashmara and the Buggerydoos and Loryswine and all the rest of the BBB degenerate musical collective invite you all to join the music video filming on Saturday.

We need everybody. Particularly all short ... er... things. Dwarves, hobbits, whatever. We're not proud. But even humans and elves can come along. We love you all.

This Saturday (10 Sept)
4 pm.
Bird and Baby, Michael Delving.

Wear your fancy duds. Brush your teeth. Get ready to dance. Get ready to cheer. Get ready to drink to excess. Above all, get ready to party!

Fame and fortune awaits.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Aegthil's Skirmish Guides: Trouble in Tookborough

My very first skirmish guide on how to save Bree was a huge success, even to the extent that I had members of my kinship asking me how they also could access its priceless information. I was happy to oblige Harperella, and I am sure that her skirmish experience has dramatically improved since. You're welcome, you're very welcome indeed. I like to be of service.

Now, since bobbit control is a major problem in general (think of Bluebonnett and the Buggerydoos), I thought I would contribute to the debate by a detailed discussion of the skirmish where you have to save the Tooks. Or something like that.

Question: What is this skirmish?

Answer: It's the one where you have to save the bobbits. Apparently the Tooks have been taken over by goblins and it's your job to sort them out. The goblins, that is. I think. Possibly the Tooks.

Question: Which skirmish helper should I use?

Answer: This is easy. Use your herb provider. Skirmishes can be a highly stressful experience, and your herb provider is skilled in a variety of measures that are guaranteed to relieve stress and improve your overall karma and spiritual aura. Their herbs are all medically certified for this use, and are guaranteed to be legal, as long as you don't inhale, which of course you wouldn't do anyway, would you? Any other skirmish services may also relieve stress although they do not always come with a medical certificate.

Question: Why should I care about saving the Tooks anyway?

Answer: This is a very good question, and gets at the heart of what makes a successful skirmish soldier. The fact is that you don't actually care about the Tooks at all. They're bobbits. Your emotions must remain uninvolved as you turn yourself into a ruthless, cold-hearted, efficient killing machine.

Question: How can I tell the difference between the goblins and the bobbits?

Answer: You can't. They all look the same. But it doesn't matter. Just kill any small things you see.

Question: What are all these little holes in the ground with little doors?

Answer: These are bobbit latrines, so don't go in them.

Question: Where do the bobbits live?

Answer: Bobbits live inside their latrines I think, which is the reason they have doors. These are holes in the ground, but much smaller than Moria, which is essentially a big hole in the ground where dwarves live.

Question: If the dwarves can dig a really big hole like Moria, and bobbits are about the same size as dwarfs, why can't bobbits dig big holes too?

Answer: The latest, and most compelling, theory is to do with size of certain regions of bobbit and dwarf brains. The hipplocampular fundamentus is the region of a dwarf brain that controls appetite and promotes the digging reflexes. In bobbits, who naturally have much smaller brains, the hippolcemplar fandamental is a lot smaller, which is why they eat a lot and cannot dig big holes.

Question: Well, yeah, but Moria is HUGE and bobbit holes are TINY.

Answer: Yep.

Question: What do I do with these flagpoles?

Answer: Whatever you do, don't touch the flagpoles. They are surrounded by fancy glittering lights to make them look attractive, but this is nothing but a goblin trap. If you touch those flagpoles you get immediately attacked by reinforcements, including goblin leaders, and other bobbits come out of the latrine doors to attack you as well. It's a very bad scene. Don't touch the flagpoles.

Question: How do I know when I've saved the Tooks?

Answer: Well, you don't really, but then you don't care either. At any rate, eventually you come to a blocked gate, which is blocked because the Tooks don't want you trespassing on their land. When this happens it's safe to talk to your herb provider and go home.

Question: What is the best way for me to show my appreciation for your wonderful skirmish guides?

Answer: Thank you for asking. It depends on your gender and race. If you are a human female, or a fairly broad-minded female elf, then talk to Madame Celestine, who will provide guidance. Otherwise, send cash to

Aegthil of Gondor
2 High Road
Bree Homesteads

Monday, September 5, 2011

Making movies, by the Fool

Playing music: easy. Composing short little songs: easy. Writing abc files: easy. Trying to make a music video: really really really difficult.

I wasn't expecting this, I must say. I thought, oh yeah, think up a few scenes, record them, stick bits together, and voila, a movie.

But for some reason it just doesn't work like this. First, you have to deal with files that are 20 GB long. I mean, that is a long upload time just for starters. How on earth do you exchange files of this size? And then, how on earth do you get the damn band in the middle of the damn screen? Either they are too small, and you can't see anything, or they are too big and look weird. And then you have to use software you've never used before (fraps and iMovie for me) and it doesn't do what you want it to do but you don't know this until you've spent hours trying to get it to do what you want, which of course you never do. And NTSC or PAL, or what frames/second, and what resolution, what screen size, how to cut a bit out, zoom a bit in, change the transition, oh, but what did the other guys send, and will it match, and will it fit, and what length should it be, and how can you ever get a crowd of extras organised, and so you spend days trying to upload and cut and trim and film and zoom and transition and then the finished product looks bloody awful because you made some really basic errors way back when and so you have to start again.


So you go and kick your children instead because that at least is a productive exercise.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Back into Moria

Woops. Well. That was slightly ambitious. So, back into Moria I go. Once those nasty orcs and goblins get to be red, then it's difficult even for a super-minstrel like myself to kill them. Mostly, I have to run away. Which is still very brave and clever and handsome, but slightly less useful, I must admit.

So I shall have to spend a little more time admiring the dwarfish delights of this bloody great hole in the ground.

Farewell sun. Farewell pretentious and irritating elves. Greetings again to short hairy dwarfs with short hairy women. Horrible. With all due respect to Khizli. Horrible.

I wonder. If I just hang out in the Dancing Goat, will I improve? I mean, apart from the obvious general improvement in looks, personality, temperament, and overall appeal, will I actually get better at killing baddies?

An interesting question. I should ask Madame Celestine.

Out of Moria

Having reached the exalted heights of level 55, and equipped a brand new Clapping (sword for killing stuff) and Shire Country Songs Vol II (Songbook for killing stuff), I decided that I had had enough of the dim dark recesses of the dwarfs, and I wanted to see the sun again. So I ran out of Moria.

It was a little tricky at times, but I made it.

Made it out to some cutsey Elven place called.... er...... Lorrysomething. I was so exhausted from the exertion I promptly had a nap and didn't pay too much attention to the name. It'll be some piece of Elvish pretentious nonsense, Silmathengarila this, or Lirrydirryafalalal that.

To be honest, the scenery in Moria was kind of spectacular. In a peculiar way. I mean, who on earth would want to dig a hole like that? Well, short hairy dwarfs, obviously, but... woooo..... weird. So, around every corner you see some new, gorgeous cavern, with decorated pillars as long as Apple-Sherie's legs, and with sparkly lanterns almost as pretty as Wrenaya's eyes, but instead of thinking, how beautiful (as you would do with Apple-Sherie or Wrenaya, although not, I have to say with every one of my female acquaintances; I name no names) you think instead, Bloody Hell, who would do this? Why would they do this? This is amazing... but ... no. No. This is not right. This is not normal. This should not be.

However, it's undeniably beautiful, and enormously impressive.

Not always in good repair, mind you. Towards the end I had to run around some big pit, that had a perfectly nice bridge over it, but with a big hole in the middle. Typical dwarfs can't get anything right. If you're going to build a bridge over a pit, at least finish the damn thing. Don't just leave it there with a bloody great hole in it.

Honestly. Dwarfs are so lazy and stupid it's hard to believe.