Antarctica – A Bonebreaker? Part 2 — Chronicles from Concordia

Dr. Nadja Albertsen is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. pQCT scanner used to study bones. Credits: ESA/IPEV/PNRA: N. Albertsen The scanner moves slowly up the…

via Antarctica – A Bonebreaker? Part 2 — Chronicles from Concordia

How to catch a horse in Horse Isle 3

Catching horses can be a lot of fun but at the beginning of the game, it can be frustrating too.  There are two ways to do it.  You can use a lasso, obtainable for the low, low cost of 10 Essence, or you can craft Treats and catch them that way.

You’ve seen a wild horse!  It’s beautiful, and you’d love to own it.  What do you do next?

Using a Lasso:

If you are using a Lasso, it helps to start while you are about as close to the wild horse as you can get before it starts running away.  When you are just beginning, it’s often best to try positioning yourself so that the horse’s head is pointed to the left and you are square with it, like this:

Catching a pony

Then, zoom out with your scroll wheel so that you can see what the lasso is doing.  At this distance you should only need two to three swings.  Aim for the head, and release the lasso just before it’s on the mark.  This will get easier and easier with practice.

Using Treats:

If you’re thoroughly frustrated with the lasso, or just want another way to catch wild horses, it’s time to craft Treats.  Most of the gatherables in Horse Isle have different flavor categories.  You can start by picking a bunch of berries, fruit, grasses, grains, etcetera.  Then head to a club house (the tall, round building in every club town) or to your own house if you have one.  Click on the building and “craft treats” comes up as an option.

Club House
A Club House

To craft a treat, you need at least three different flavors.  For instance, if you had lemons, rice grains, and apples, that would be a Sour, Grainy, Fruity treat.  You can have up to five flavors in a treat.  For catching wild horses, it doesn’t matter what the flavor is so just make a bunch of treats with the most readily available ingredients.

Once you have made some treats, go find yourself a wild horse.  Dismount (if you already have a horse) and walk a little bit away so your own pony doesn’t eat the treat.

Go to your inventory and pick a treat.  Hold down the left mouse button to hold it out, and slowly walk toward the wild horse’s head.  In order to walk slowly, hold down the shift key.  If that doesn’t work, then you may need to map that key at the game start screen – ask in Help if you aren’t sure how.

Here are the steps again:

Get near the wild horse and away from any tame ones.

Hold left mouse button, while also holding down shift while walking.

Left shift button and arrow keys work well here.

Walk toward the head of the horse.   The horse will take the treat, or not, and you might catch it.  Sometimes it takes two or three tries to catch a wild, so it’s a good thing treats are cheap!

Other ways of getting horses:

Auction houses are in many clubs, and you can go to Ads chat to see what’s being sold.

Clubs also have player owned stores, and many of them have horses.

You can also breed them – using other people’s breeding bars, or store studding, if need be – but that’s a whole ‘nother article.

Antarctica – A Bonebreaker? Part 1 — Chronicles from Concordia

For a few seconds, he resembles a Hindu god. One leg is slightly bent but firmly planted on the black plate that detects his movements. The other leg is placed over the first, while the arms are crossed over the elbows. It looks complicated but the technique works. He manages to stay up on one…

via Antarctica – A Bonebreaker? Part 1 — Chronicles from Concordia

Partial lunar eclipse seen from Antarctica — Chronicles from Concordia

Partial eclipse seen from Antarctica. Credits: IPEV/PNRA/ESA–N. Albertsen As the world celebrates the first Moon landing 50 years ago this week we were also treated to a partial lunar eclipse visible from most of the globe last night. The Moon is the only place that everybody in the world has seen – it is of…

via Partial lunar eclipse seen from Antarctica — Chronicles from Concordia

The passing of Nezumi

Our longtime site mascot, Nezumi, has passed from the mortal realm.

In other stories about her, I’ve told how she found us as a tiny injured kitten who was driven away by her mother.  I’ve told how she grew into a fine figure of a queen cat, nurtured by the loyal Orion.  I’ve also told of how we lost Orion and how she carried on with us.  She even wrote a few blog entries on this site.  She was a wonderful girl, a staunch family member, often hilarious, and always lovable.  Lately, her health has been failing and we’ve finally lost our final battle.

It started a few months ago when she started becoming even pickier than usual and we thought there was a problem with her mouth.  She started drooling and rubbing her mouth on things, so it made sense.  We also wondered if she had a hairball that wouldn’t come up.

The vet found a mass near her intestines, but since it wasn’t blocking anything we thought she might be okay.  Perhaps the mass would be benign, perhaps we could encourage her to eat, perhaps we could control the swelling with steroids and find out it was just IBD.  We did blood work, got good news on her organ function.

We got a bit of a reprieve – for a time she seemed to be getting better.  Then she took a turn for the worse.  Back to the vet.  The news was bad.  So we changed our strategy and just focused on keeping her comfortable.  A couple weeks passed.  Her normal meow changed to a little squawk, she lost her coordination, but she still loved attention and would ask to be picked up so she could be near us.  I still saw a soul behind her eyes.  Normally so gentle, she covered my arms with inadvertent scratches and I find now that I want to rub ink into them so I can wear them forever.  Her sweet face and personality created instant love from the first moment I saw her as a tiny waiflike kitten.

That was why it was so hard to have to schedule her end – however, we both agreed that she should go when she still had some dignity left, instead of us selfishly trying to eke the last drops of life out until she passed away in pain and terror.  I also scheduled an appointment with a crematorium for shortly after her last vet visit.

I had to take a Benadryl last night so I could sleep, and still sat up petting her.  My tears were a river that has still not run dry.  In the morning I gave her some brushing, which she loves, and offered her broth for breakfast – which she wouldn’t touch.  She kept patting me and looking into my eyes.   When it was time we took her to our vet.  The assistant laid her on a blue and white Southwestern blanket to make her comfortable.  The vet gave her one more exam to make sure nothing had improved, and then we said goodbye.  Shortly after, Nezumi was gone.  I felt a cool wind blow through me, around that time, though for the life of me I can’t remember exactly when.

The people at Tucson Pet Cemetery were very kind.  The office lady was quiet yet compassionate, neither adding nor detracting from our grief.  The office cat, a fat, bob-tailed Cymric cat, offered cuddles, headbonks, and purring.  She went over the options with us, not trying to upsell but just responding to our questions.   We placed Nezumi on a sort of table under a window, in a shaded room with comfortable chairs so we could say our final farewells.

I find that as sad as this all was, I couldn’t ask for a better end myself.  I hope that when the time for my end comes, I can meet it in peace, with my family around me.  We’ll make a place in the yard for her ashes and set up a cat statue in her memory.  I know that she’s beyond all pain now, and I hope she’s met up with Orion so he can show her the ropes of being a spirit being.

For now, we’ll comfort Shinji as he’s an only cat, yet again.  He’s seen a lot of people die and so we want to be gentle with him.


when I feel you’re gone,

my heart pours out misogi

waterfall of tears.




The Haunted Mission

The picture above is not from my camera.   Read on, and you’ll find out why.

But first, a little background.

San Xavier is a very old and famous Spanish Catholic mission, the oldest European structure in America.  Though the original mission was established in 1692, the current church dates back to the 1780s and was built by the local Tohono O’odham tribe.  The Wikipedia article (link) gives a good accounting of its history.

Last year, my mother and I went there to see the place.  She has an interest in architecture and was raised Catholic, so it was a meaningful trip for her.  I was curious if I might sense something but wasn’t expecting anything in particular.

When we got there, I realized that I’d forgotten my camera in the car.  It’s a low-end Nikon, not a camera attached to a phone.  I think she uses a Canon but hers is a bit simpler than mine.  I went back to get it.  Now, my camera was working fine until this point and had fresh batteries, the kind that let you test them.  I decided to take a picture of the cross on top of a low hill near the Mission, the same hill where some of the stone for building was taken from.

As I focused on the hill, the camera retracted the lens and shut off.  I turned it on again and again the same thing happened.  I could never get the camera to focus on the hill or anything else in the area.  The only time the lens retracts like that is when the light is bad, or when the batteries are dying, and neither of those things were the case.  It also didn’t give me its usual low battery warning.  My Mom’s camera didn’t have a problem, though she didn’t try to use it in that parking lot.

I gave up on the camera and went inside.

Inside the mission itself, I found the sanctuary a rather interesting place.  Paintings of saints and such were everywhere and the old wooden seats were intact.  I’m not sure if they were original but they were definitely old!  I felt a heavy feeling as I walked around in there, looking at the art.  After a time I was a bit light headed and also felt somewhat uncomfortable.  I spoke quietly to any spirits who might be hanging around, letting them know I was here with peaceful intent.  Around this time I began to be aware of an emotional weight as well, and I also felt something like a vibration throughout my body.  Tears started to well up also even though I hadn’t been feeling particularly sad.  My mind was a bit foggy as well.  The general impression I get when thinking about those few minutes is dimness, and heaviness.

In case it wasn’t just psychic background count, or stored emotion in this old place, I spoke again to the spirits, letting them know that if they were afraid to move on, they need not be, that they were free.  My mother seemed to feel something as well but it was difficult to put into words.

The moment I left the sanctuary and went out into clear air, the heaviness went away, my head cleared, the vibrations stopped, and the emotional sensations also left me.

I’ve done a bit of research and have found two legends about San Xavier.  One describes an old padre who wanders the church at sunrise and sunset, and the other tells of a nun and five children who died in a fire as the nun was leading them to safety.  One person on a hauntings website tells of a heavy feeling, and another says the place is very haunted but isn’t specific about how.  I don’t think I sensed the padre or the nun and children.  My impression was that either I was sensing the strong emotion of all the people who prayed in that sanctuary, each leaving their own imprint like finger-marks on a long-unwashed doorway, or perhaps it was a collection of spirits who hadn’t moved on.  I personally have a thought that sometimes people might pass from this life but not be able to move on because they fear condemnation or eternal suffering, and so they might get stuck.  So when I feel anything like a spirit who might be stuck like that it’s my practice to tell them that they are cared about and that they are free to go where they will, in case no one told them before.

I still don’t entirely know what I felt, but I did undeniably feel something.  My imagination just isn’t that good!