A Crosshatching How We Explore the Cyberspace

Findingenvirons is a name I devised to capture an interest in a kind of abstract engineering, to be an engineer without the baggage of the hard work and expertise that goes with being a true engineer.  It’s a name I use for Twitter and for WordPress.


Today’s WordPress Daily Prompt is the word explore and by labeling my blog and Twitter account findingenvirons to indicate engineer is to indicate explorer.  In the days before Windows 10’s Microsoft Edge browser, you could take to the Internet as it’s most commonly understood with Microsoft Internet Explorer, and my compound word findingenvirons is kind of a hangover from those days, pointing to a territory of the imaginary kind.


You know what Pathfinder is, the tabletop RPG that brings players together to collectively invent fantasy adventures designed by rolling dice?  That’s kind of how I intend findingenvirons to be, too, an interest in how it is to show an interest in gaming, however, as things were when tabletop Dungeons & Dragons ruled the RPG market.


My game plan is to draw inspiration from the WordPress Daily Prompts, so that I am in check with other WordPress bloggers who want to be thinking of the same concept, and to put a finger on a fledgling interest in the weekly WordPress Photo Challenges, when they inspire me personally, so that my blog becomes like a WordPress pamphlet, not unlike the blogs of others but also with a unique fingerprint that it is made by my hand.


I’m in operations at a little not-for-profit and anyone doing that kind of thing or in business for themselves ought best to have a blog.  Mine’s an amateur operation, but I feel it’s working and I’m not sure I need to grow it in the present.


Maybe in the future, but for now, I want to let it spread its little roots at its own pace.  I see the urgency in others, but I don’t feel it for myself.


Twitter › @findingenvirons


The Fighting Irish


· Today’s my birthday, and I wanted to do something on the blog to have a touch of festivity, so when I got home after a bit I looked at this week’s Photo Challenge.  Krista Stevens is the author of this week’s challenge–hi, krista!–and she put on the cover page of the challenge a question there and then about what hobby the visitor would rather be doing.

My computer to me is like a Battletech, out of the game of Battletech that I played some as a teenager pitting one Battletech against another.  However, I’m not interested in turning my particle projection cannon on you, only giving you words afield.

· I eventually settled on a photo of my statuette of st. Patrick, standing in front of a shelf of tumbled books.  Would that I could drive snakes!  Rather than be prepared to meet the weekly photo challenge on WordPress, I could be curing sorrows.

St. Patrick

· I am looking forward to facebook today, to see if any of my friends on facebook write me birthday wishes.  There could be a few posts of that kind.

· I am also excited about a rumored change starting the twenty-third of March, where Twitter is beginning the order that only one out of every three days can be utilized by automated tweets.  It means that being the unofficial social media manager of our nonprofit is getting easier–I won’t have to say so much!

Despite that sentiment, I do enjoy writing a brief exposition and publishing it along with a photo for the blog.  Why else would I have such a tool?  Some bloggers are very good and even though I am dedicated to helping operate a non-profit there is sometimes a component of mentorship (on the Internet, it is always a good practice to help make comfortable a newbie).

Autumn Leaves, Favourite Memories, and Water Balloons

I have a nephew who this fall is beginning his university education at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  I took classes at Queen’s University in 1996 and 1997.  We were reflecting this afternoon on Mack’s decision to move to Kingston for the university, me along with my parents, and with my brother’s wife, my nephew’s mother.


These days I have an occasional interest in photography and I take photos at the cemetery where I help tend the grounds.  You can find the website for our cemetery here.  It can be a quiet spectacle.  If I stand in the right spot, I can see the lay of the land, the stones jutting out of the ground beneath the colorful treetops.  When the Fall is here, though, we won’t have much time, because as the temperature drops we spend less and less time taking care of the outdoors, and we move inside the church on the property.


Louth United Church (disbanded 2006)
October 9, 2013

When I was a Queen’s University Freshman in the Fall of 1996, the students were told to represent their divisions, whether it was Arts & Science, where I was allotted, or Commerce, or Fine Arts, and so on.  One September day during Frosh Week the students were given balloons.  The balloons got to be filled with water, and soon we were in a game of water balloons, instructed to take on our rivals with a sneak attack, and threw water balloon after water balloon onto the other team.


While it wasn’t businesslike, it didn’t strike me as strange after the days of parading and getting to know the campus of the school.  What was a bit nonsensical, and I know I’m honestly a bit nonsensical myself, is that after the water balloon launch, my team were sat down in a lecture hall and admonished for doing such a lowly thing!  A girl, more experienced, took the podium and told us how far we’d sunk for interfering with the flow of the Frosh Week.  Novice though I was, I was astonished at the lesson we were being given.


My pride was injured.  I felt the sting of rebuke as I sat and heard the bad of what we had done.  As we took off after the lecture, most of us probably indifferent to the foolishness that had come down on us, I personally was a little more stiff with anger, and also on a path to greater rebelliousness.  It didn’t seem like irony to me that we had played this prank, and been caught.  It had been part of the fun, and it was wrongful.


I don’t reflect on this much, although I think now it was a lesson in doing the right thing and in showing respect.  Perhaps it wasn’t; I should have asked if the girl who handed down to us the words of shame was taking advantage of an opportunity, and what was behind her stern talk.  Nowadays, I snap photos and write and blog and participate in social media.  I’ve mostly forgotten about what happened with me and the other Arts & Science Frosh and the water balloons.


Maple Lawn Cemetery
October 9, 2013

The leaves at the cemetery change color, of course, and it is a passing joy to capture the image.  Even without a photographic record, it is a calming presence at the cemetery as the green disappears.  The days cool off slowly, and we take our time keeping the grounds in order.  Fall is a lovely season and a favorite time of year for me.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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.

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

I’ve decided to return to my explanation of Facebook’s Marvel Comics game Marvel Avengers Alliance, through the verbal “lens” of the renowned treatise on military strategy, The Art of War.4F8K4ADXK8

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, television, and film. The Avengers have many illusory powers which they wield. Likewise, the villains are monstrous! Avengers is good fun.

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

Elish 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. 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 role-playing combat, perhaps Sun Tzu’s strategy will appeal to your better judgement.SJTLDOTS36

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

Cheating To Pilot Victoriously a Game

I played at Wings. When I was an adolescent, I had a game in which you were permitted to fly in World War I. Much of the game was dogfights between you and the enemy. The box for the game came with factual information about the First World War, and there was a narrative within the game that took you through to victory in 1918. I liked the game. I just didn’t like being nailed by enemy fire.

Extreme ability was required to play the game.

The dogfights were mad. You flew with a view from over the shoulder of the pilot in the cockpit of your aircraft. Soon, you would know that when the pilot turned his head, enemy aircraft were near and it was time to go in that direction. If bullets were hitting your plane, you knew you were in trouble and it was time for diving away and getting as far from the fire as you could. I played at Wings. If you could get an enemy in front of you, firing a volley ahead of him often meant he would fly right into it, and your trouble would be solved.

The “cinematic” graphic interludes meant that a good deal of time was required if your character went to the grave.

Unfortunately, as the literature in the game explained, pilots tragically lost their lives during the First World War. The game’s realism meant that you were likely to get cut to pieces no matter how you played. I played at Wings. It was highly discouraging. The game was fascinating, but as soon as your pilot met his end, you were required to begin the war over again. It was not something that you would wish, particularly with my Amiga 500 model of computer, with its very slow loading time.

There was a workaround that meant evading death, and becoming one of the best pilots of the war… but it was cheating.

I found out by intuition that if I were losing, I could hit the hard reset command for the computer, and the game would be swept away as the computer rebooted. The upshot? The destruction of the pilot wouldn’t be saved to diskette and I could give that mission another try. I played at Wings. It was cheating, all right. The game was designed so that with successive missions your pilot became better at combat and the hardest missions could be won with an extraordinary pilot in your hands.tribal wings shield

War shouldn’t be treated lightly, and if the game was any reflection of a teenage pilot at the outset of World War I, I would have died. I am sorry, of course, not that I would have been shot down, but that I insisted in my foolishness to make a game so insensitive. Have you ever had to cheat at something innocent? Feel free to let me know in the comments.