Generous Genies: On Helly Morrigan @dyingischeaper

As a great genie, out of the lamp, I would give my three wishes, upon reflection, to Hayley Morgan. She is the Hayley Morgan who is a skygazer and writer, the author of the mostly-completed novel-to-be concept “Heathens,” if I understand correctly, and also she is featured in The Telegraph and The London Paper. So, for the WordPress Daily Prompt for Christmas Day, I am writing today that I would give her my three wishes, because I trust her enough to speak her wishes wisely, and that it would be a bit of magic thrown with cheer and good will.

I suspect Hayley Morgan’s wishes would go something like this. “I wish for,” would say Hayley, “more than pennies for a social media development.”

“It is granted,” I would reply before I granted her wish, “you shall gain recogniztion for a social media development. What is your second wish?”.

“I wish,” murmers Hayley, “for a social media development something more 2016 than Twitter. Is there anything you can do?”

“I think so,” I would say reassuringly, preparing to grant the wish. “It shall be granted. What, dear Hayley, is your third wish?”

“Give me a fox, genie,” Hayley would pronounce sweetly. “My third wish is for a fox.”

In greater seriousness, I hope the development of Hayley’s novel is going well and that she is doing well as a blogger and with her other expertise, as a social media development expert. You can find her:

July 15, 2015
Photographer: Rodion Kutsaev

Now It is Another Winter


A memory from my teenage years is of my neighbour Rob telling me about his interest in baseball cards. “They are irresistable,” he told me, speaking of the collectible baseball cards. “I have something else to tell you, too,” Rob said.

Rob knew I enjoyed the print materials for the popular game Dungeons & Dragons. It is a game for people interested in medieval fantasy, as in, for the sake of playing the game, to be part of a medieval society. Rob had something on the subject to tell me. He was getting interested in a game which is based on the idea of medieval magic in a contest of skill. The game is Magic: The Gathering.

Rob told me that day about the tournament-style card game, which is intended for two players, both with a deck of collector cards. The idea is that both players begin the game with twenty “life points,” which are like points in euchre or runs in the sport of baseball. Unlike those pastimes, which begin with zero points, the game of Magic typically begins with twenty points for each player, with the aim of reducing each other’s points to zero. The player to do this would win the game.

What was new about this game, though, Rob told me, is that the cards were not regular decks of hearts and diamonds, but instead specific cards designed for the game which bore the art of magic spells, and the description of the magic spells’ powers to do battle. It is a game of creatures and sorcery. Creatures, cards of the game with many specific designations, can be “summoned,” which in practical terms meant the cards could represent magic creatures. Sorcery cards can be played to produce effects that alter the play of the game.

The game of Magic represents a “gathering,” because the players often make decisions to play creature cards, which are, as I mentioned previously, cards that show pictures of magical creatures, and which can be sent on the “attack” to reduce the life points of the rival player. This is how the card game is a “gathering.” All manners of creatures can be introduced in the course of the game which is a highlight of the fun.

I think of this when I reflect on Friday’s WordPress photo challenge. I spent some of my time playing the game of Magic when I was in school. As my friends, including Rob, were interesting in the highly popular game, it was not just a gathering of cards but also a gathering of friends, a lot of fun. Friday’s poetry challenge is to present the theme of “gathering.” I am reminded that some of my time in school was spent enjoying the game of Magic.


These days I’m not so much interested in medieval fantasy, but I know another kind of “gathering,” which can add cheer and which is also discussed this time of year, as Christmas arrives. It is the gathering of the faithful, to which, if you count yourself among the religious, you can relate. These days I participate in managing a small cemetery, which is tucked away behind a dilapidated old church where generations of churchgoers once assembled.

Religion was a staple of medieval times, and it is also a powerful influence on society. For my photos for Friday’s WordPress challenge, along with the spirit of yesterday’s new challenge, to introduce the idea of “now,” I am presenting simple photos of our church grounds. Christmas is a wonderful time, and there will be gatherings to remember what happened in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. It is a season of joy, and I am pleasantly surprised to see that the WordPress photo challenge is the subject of “gathering,” both because it reminds me of the game of Magic: The Gathering, and also that it is a clear indication to discuss faith and holiness. I feel that I am expressing the spirit of both Fridays’s “Gathering” challenge, and yesterday’s special “Now” challenge. If you like my entry in the WordPress challenge, feel free to click “like” on this post, and even to go ahead and follow my blog. Blogging is a pleasure of mine.

Swirling Outlaw

January 19, 2015
Photographer: Jay Mantri

Free, thanks to his new-found “friends,” he was aware. Also that the fate of Beta Gruisian Detention Gate could certainly hang in the balance, light years away, Christopher knew that there wasn’t much time before he would be visiting. What was contenting, spiriting even, ironically a problem that, in the split second Christopher contemplated it, this time, it was this crew that was putting him right in the middle of it.

Steve and Bridges seemed all right. It didn’t matter much if they were, as Christopher was aware could be the case, bearing the shipment Christopher thought they had in stow, all the way to Beta Gruisian. It made sense. Why would Steve have readily set the coordinates?

Plus, there was the matter of the banking droid. B2W3 was the least friendly finance model Christopher had ever met. It was as if B2’s output was programmed specifically to infuriate. Every word out of B2W3’s speaker module grated on Steve’s nerves, it was clear. It wasn’t exactly a stellar leap of logic that the ship in warp drive under the friendly command of Steve and Bridges wouldn’t be dallying at the detention gate. Christopher would be given his leave, whatever B2W3 was transporting would be hocked there, and the duo would be on their way, back in warp hyperspace…. Once aboard, however, Christopher smelled a rat.

Photographer: Peter Belch

It was ironic that the stasis pod Trollalay had woke Christopher out of penitentiary hibernation on what was the last day of the year of what the pod’s annals reported was 78429, the seven hundred and eighty-fifth century in the Norman French calendar. Even on planets as remote as Mayall’s Object, time was often charted in the family styling of a century of a hundred years. It was true that stasis meant that there could be odd results of races coexisting at seemingly random points in time. On the other hand, Christopher knew that he was probably okay, as long as he took control of the situation before Christopher’s ship was out of warp drive. The sentinel droid that had intercepted Christopher’s distress signal, a sentinel droid, 4E9F-2506, had coldly while proficiently notified its crew and Steve and Bridges had brought him on board.

Even in the seven hundred and eighty-fifth century, warp hyperspace travel took time, and Christopher was relaxing below deck in a dark recreation chamber, his blood red eyes peering at the starlight through which the ship was at light speed cruising. Steve and Bridges were up top, keeping an eye on the travel dimensions of the ship. Suddenly Christopher’s recreation chamber acknowledged that another guest of the ship wanted in, and he commanded the chamber to grant access to the newcomer.

It was Sherry, light from passing stars illuminating her pale olive skin, her hair gray for her twenty-seven years of age. “Christopher,” she intoned sweetly, eyeing him with her ink black eyes. “Even if B2W3 rubs you the wrong way. it’s just his programming. He’s programmed to evaluate goods. You’re from Beta Gruisian. That’s why it’s selected as a destination. Now, here, you’re among friends. Hogmanay, Trollolay, give us of your white bread and none of your gray.”

December 16, 2015
Photographer: Annie Spratt

“I don’t trust that B2!” exclaimed Christopher. “To tell you the truth, I don’t trust Steve and Bridges much, either. They say they will provide assistance, and maybe home’s where I belong. All told, for now I don’t much trust them.”

“Christopher,” Sherry opined, “let me tell you something. You’re a valued heavy weaponry repair specialist. They have weapons, the kind you repair, on Beta Gruisian. The big picture, I’m telling you, isn’t just being home to repair heavy weapons. The detention gate won’t be the same as it was.”

“Of course not,” interjected Christopher.

“More than ever,” Sherry insisted. “The Detention Gate as a trade center will be as much as a holdover world for prisoners as ever. Bridges on deck has been clear that everything needed, temporarily, should be ready to grab on Beta Gruisian. We’ll be there in time for the celebration of New Year. Don’t fear us, or anyone down there. The tidings of greatness in the air will both cover our vessel’s tracks and that will permit us to procure absolutely everything necessary. The timing’s spot on, that you’ve been located in your stasis pod and brought you on board. Of course, anything possible to make this easier will be carried out to the utmost of our ability. It’s a time of solidarity, and particularly in your galaxy, when our ship reaches Beta Gruisian.”

“It was never that way when they assigned my penitentiary sentence in hibernation in the Trollalay pod.”

“Yes, Christopher. Listen to me. There’s been renewed peace in that quadrant. Sure, there will be a ready market for B3 to arrange a drop-off. At the same time, you will be welcomed with open arms. And us, too,” she added, indicating with a smile on her face that she trusted Christopher. “It isn’t the same as the past, even as recent as when you were sent away in your hibernation state. You’re a free man, Christopher. There’s nowhere ahead of you but up.”

“I guess I can drink to that,” replied Christopher, smiling. He could tell he would begin to forgive the crew. Beta Gruisian Detention Gate waited.

Deriving Inspiration from Marvel Avengers: 14 Common Misconceptions You Can Correct

Unusual sky

Marvel Avengers Alliance Redux-Alpha 3 preview!

I’ve decided to return to my explanation of the Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.

Dimensions: 4880 x 3107
Suzy Hazelwood

1. The Laying of Plans, Calculations and Estimations

In Marvel Avengers Alliance, you have to “earn” gold, and this is achieved by spending money (such as $5 on ten “gold”). Gold can be exchanged for command points. A combination of silver, which is available for free in the game, and command points together, train your superheroes at the ready–so that they go up a level.

2. Waging War – The Challenge

The game Avengers Alliance consists of a number of challenges between its “bosses,” who are wicked opponents to the Avengers, and yourself and your heroes. Come each time you defeat a “mini-boss” or a “boss” you have won a game mission, and the next mission awaits. That’s the gist of the game, which is good fun.

3. Attack by Stratagem or Planning Offensives

In the game, you have a ready store of gear, supplies and more so that with “research”, carried out inside the game, your superheroes at the ready can advance to more dangerous fights than they have previously taken on. You can also recruit heroes and send them into battle (when they are not “busy” getting you silver) at the outset of each fight, so that you have enough superheroes at the ready.

4. Tactical Dispositions or Positioning

Tactical determinations aren’t a major concern in Marvel Avengers Alliance, but there are opponents against whom you must battle, that protect their own by getting in the way of your attacks.

5. Energy & Direction

There is an energy component to Marvel Avengers Alliance which restricts you by the number of fights you can lose, at which point you need to wait until your energy comes back. Or, if you have energy in reserve to use, which is an extra in the game, you can bring your energy back instantly.

6. Weak Points and Strong / Illusion versus Reality

The game is entirely about illusion, and the superheroes at the ready are the Avengers, who you know from comics, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous!

7. Maneuvering and Dealing with Direct Conflict

Typically, the fights of the game are three against three, or occasionally fewer. The maneuvering in battle consists of directing your team’s attacks so that the enemies are reduced to zero and fade away.

8. Variation in Tactics aka The Innumerable Changes

Your team has their equipment and superpowers so you can choose your tactics while in the heat of battle. That’s a major part of the game, and if that kind of diversion interests you, Avengers is good fun.

9. The Army on the March / Moving the Force

To collect silver, which goes with training and research, you can send heroes to various parts of the world as it is understood in the game, where your heroes spend time “policing,” which plays into the game to help with your advancement.

10. Terrain or Situational Positioning

The game doesn’t include a terrain component, which is good because the app would be all the more challenging. Each fight resembles good or evil at the centre of the fight.

11. The Nine Situations / Terrains

Author Elish Bul-Godley discusses Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu in: Why Wall Street Loves “The Art of War” – A 13 Point Plan To Mastering Business Strategy, and if you have a thirst for combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement.  Bul-Godley quotes Sun Tzu saying: “Strike at its head, and you will be attacked by its tail; strike at its tail, and you will be attacked by its head; strike at its middle, and you will be attacked by head and tail both.”  Indeed, often your fights will be against a trio of evildoers, and you have to decide how best to attack your enemies.

12. The Attack by Fire

Fire-dealing weaponry is part of the game, and an arsenal is available both to you (who is the “Agent” in the game), and to the superheroes who have fire attacks at their disposal.

13. The Use of Spies / Intelligence

Fortunately, Intelligence, by which you gain information, factors into the game as much as the story does, keeping the fights coming, as a mission is always ready for your heroes.

14. There is no #14

Sun Tzu must have won the war at 13, for The Art of War stops there.

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Sky opening on the horizon

If you have an interest in a game like Marvel Avengers Alliance, feel free to blog about it and I shall enjoy reading you!