Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Saturday Surprises

I fully intended to write a blog post this past Saturday, but that never happened.

The day started out normal enough. 

Even though rain was predicted to blow in around 11 am, Mom and Grandma still headed to Michigan's Adventure, an amusement park that opens at 11 am. As they were on their first ride, a small wooden rollercoaster, it had started to rain right on schedule. By the time they got off and were walking away, lightning had been spotted, the heavens opened up, and the rides had to be temporarily shut down. Mom and Grandma donned super stylish Maid-of-the-Mist rain ponchos and slogged back to the van to wait out the rain. It rained. And rained. And rained. Mom was impressed but not particularly alarmed. Hours passed. Mom finished the book she was reading and started a new one. Grandma worked on Sudoku. They reentered the park and had a picnic lunch under a pavilion, and it rained cats and dogs some more. Finally, it cleared up, and they happily enjoyed some rides without the usual huge lines.

While Mom and Grandma were enjoying their leisurely day at the amusement park, things got really interesting back home. Those storms were a lot nastier for us! They knocked out power to tons of homes and businesses, including our house. Then as if that wasn't bad enough, the tornado sirens went off. We sat uneasily... okay, maybe we need a stronger adjective than that... in a very dark basement for quite some time. After what felt like forever, the storms finally passed and the sirens stopped blaring. The power didn't come back on until Sunday afternoon, so our lanterns and flashlights got quite the workout. We eventually heard on the news that the storms spawned not one, not two, but six tornados in the West Michigan area! 


Granted, these tornados were on the weak side: three EF0's and three EF1's, but still, they caused lots of damage. It's so sad to see all the formerly big, healthy trees that have been toppled or damaged, but we are so glad that no humans were hurt! Luckily, there wasn't much storm damage in our neighborhood. Our house and the yard's oaks, sassafrases, and spruces made it through just fine. 

Well, enough about that for now. In HI2 news, there are two new horses hanging out with Pepsi's herd. 

The first is this beautiful golden draftie:
Bethany noticed her in the auction house and just couldn't let the foreign bidder have her. Nobody else was interested - we won her for a measly $9000. The poor thing went almost two years without a name, and then the person who finally named her decided not to keep her. If we can't find her a home I hope Lily caves and lets us keep her. <3

New horse #2 is this handsome boy with a really cool zig-zag stripe:

One of our buddies created him with a super horse token but was disappointed at how his stats turned out (he's +74). When she asked us if we wanted him, well, we just couldn't say no. I think we all have a soft spot for AQH's, especially ones as handsome as this one. <3

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Flute Strikes Again

When I played HI2 on Tuesday night this week, I had the Olympics on as well. Poor Shady, my mount, had to endure frequent periods of just standing around doing nothing while the gymnastics and swimming events were happening. Eventually, Shady and I visited Birch Isle to flute a wild horse. To my surprise, somebody was already on Birch Isle when we arrived. The isle had looked deserted when I checked the map seconds before. (I'm guessing the player was in the lighthouse at the time I was checking, because she popped in and out of it at least once when I was watching her red dot.) I considered not even bothering with Birch and bailing to another isle, but the map told me that players were already on all the other Meadow sub isles, so I stayed. While I waited to see if the other player would move on to another isle, I rode around just to make sure she hadn't missed any wild horses.

Well, either she wasn't looking for wilds or didn't have any available horse slots, because I found two on the isle, and they weren't exactly hiding. Wild #1 was the first Marwari wild I have ever seen, and it's HI2's newest breed! I don't think Pepsi's ever come across a newly-introduced breed so quickly in the wild!





As far as Marwaris go, he's quite a nice looking one. His handsome markings and steely coat make him stand out. (Side note: we aren't drooling over the Marwari artwork the way we were the Plateau Persian's, though. Something just looks off about the legs to us, and the coloring is more blocky than many of the newer breeds. Still, they have pleasant faces and those cute curved ears.) It's probably good his stats were so decidedly poor to remove any temptation of keeping him.

The next wild's avatar was a pretty close match to Shady's! She was a Friesian though, not a Mustang. Since I'm not wild about the Friesian artwork, I was thinking what I've thought before when capturing wild Friesians: It would just figure if you had amazing stats. XD





Well, even though she's 5/6, she's not exactly blowing us away with her +29 stat total. I've never really understood what "Garbo-esque" means, and catching her finally prompted me to look it up. My brain assumed it had something to do with overeating, but it turns out I was way off. According to Google, "garboesque" is actually referencing being like the Swedish silent film star Greta Garbo, who was apparently quiet, mysterious, private, and serene. Wow, so deep, HI2! ;^)

By the time I'd caught the wild horses, the other player had departed. I decided it was safe to use the flute, and it brought me this guy:





Mahogany bay. 6/6. Again. Even more evidence for our theory that our flute is made of mahogany wood! I guess the flute attracts great mahogany stallions as well as mares now. =)



Since we caught him during the Olympics, I find it highly appropriate that his avatar has golden hooves. So far we haven't come up with a fitting name for him. Rio is the obvious choice, but one of our HI2 buddies already has a Rio, which takes it out of the running. Maybe something patriotic, like Spangle, Anthem, or Banner? Hmm, this will require more brainstorming.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Breyer Zodiac Horses

We spotted this cool collection of classic-sized Breyer horses on Breyer's website the other day. There are a dozen of them, each representing a different sign of the zodiac. 
First row: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, and Cancer
Second row: Leo, Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio
Third row: Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces
To be clear, my sisters and I don't really buy into the notion that the alignment of the stars and planets at one's birth have bearing over one's personality, future, etc. It's an interesting idea, though, and it is cool how sometimes a person really does have some characteristics of their assigned sign.

Let's see how my sisters' and my horses fared at matching our personalities, shall we?

First up: Felicity. Her birthday is April 21.



Well, the strong, reliable, and determined fits. Not so much the patience or the longing for a "beautiful" home. (Felicity is the least patient of the four of us and is definitely more about function than beauty.) xD I think since she was born on the cusp of Taurus (barely in the date range), she also shares some characteristic with the sign before hers, Aries.


There, now that sounds more like Felicity. =)

Next up chronologically in the year is Julie. Her birthday is June 30.

The name of this sign is unfortunate, but the horse himself sure is handsome. The personality description is actually pretty accurate. Not so much the moodiness or the "unpredictable nature," but the rest is very Julie. :)

And now for Bethany, whose birthday is coming up in just two days, August 8.



Hmm, well, she is quite warm, friendly, and confident. She is great fun to be around as well, and she's definitely braver than I am. Still, this description is a bit strong for Bethany - she is not nearly so bold, flashy, and extreme, and she's rarely the cause of friction. That's more a job for Felicity and me. XD

Finally, rather anticlimactically, is me, Lily. My birthday is October 15.
Oh, drat. Will I ever live it down that my horse is a posh, pampered show horse? I suppose it is true that I am very neat and pay more attention to how I look than my sisters do, but really now? Looking beyond that glaring sentence (if you can look beyond that sentence), that first sentence describes me fairly well. As for those last two lines of the first paragraph, while I am usually fairly calm and level-headed, I'm not nearly as easy going as Bethany or Julie. 

So there you have it. The signs sort-of work for us, and we all lucked out with good-looking horses. Got to say, though, it's a shame none of us have Virgo, Scorpio, or Aquarius! I think they are my favorites appearance-wise. Still, it is fun how together we have a representative of each of the 4 zodiac sign types: earth, water, fire, and air. I wonder if Mom planned that? Ha, I wouldn't put it past her. XD 

If you're curious to read more about any of the other horses of the zodiac, you can find them all by following this link to the page about them on Breyer's website:
Breyer Zodiac Horses


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Hera

The requirement to meet Hera, one of the Esrohs on HI2, is to answer all the riddle post questions on the game. When we first started playing HI2, we were all over answering the three questions at any riddle post we came across. This was great - our total of answered riddle post questions climbed quickly. The problem: we failed to keep track of which riddle posts we had already hit. Even without keeping track, we eventually answered 192/195 riddle post questions. That left just one riddle post out there that we had somehow missed. But which one?

This question haunted us for years. Any time we happened upon a riddle post in our travels, we'd click it just to be sure it wasn't the one we'd missed. Recently, we finally got serious about the matter and started systematically visiting all the islands in each island complex with riddle posts to cross them off the list one by one. First we went through all the Plains isles. No luck. Second we went through the snowy isles. Again, no luck. Next up, the desert isles. The last desert isle we investigated, or rather Lily and Odette investigated, was Dry Isle itself.

Aha! Found it at long last!

When I heard Lily's victory cry from across the room, my first thoughts were that she'd just won the lottery or caught a high-stat sooty palomino Hanoverian or something. XD I'm so glad Lily decided to try the desert isles early on in the search, but don't ask me how we overlooked Dry Isle all this time!

All 195 riddles answered, we eagerly headed out to Flurry Isle to meet Hera. Julie and Sardonyx had
the honor of starting off the quest.



When Pepsi asked to learn from her wisdom, she replied:

So, Pepsi and Sardonyx turned around and headed straight back to the desert to complete the first labor. Having met Dionysus a long time ago, Pepsi had no trouble getting down the sinkhole on Golden Isle to deliver him his letter from Hera.

They then returned to Hera to tackle her second labor.

 The question:

We took one look at this and immediately opened up a new tab to Esroh Legends for some assistance. The help site came through as usual. The answer, if you care, is A=9 B=8.



We all took turns at the reins to collect the necessary ingredients for the cornucopias from the foreign isles. That adventure kayak sure comes in handy!

Thanks to Esroh Legends, we also knew we'd need to craft 2 Esroh materials for labor #4. As long as we were collecting ingredients, we figured we'd prepare for that too. So, we travelled to the Marshy Isles to collect one rare ingredient, some unfortunate unusual bugs from pitcher plants. (Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire!) After that came a journey to the Leaf Isles to collect another rare ingredient, colorful dust.

Once we finally had the cornucopias and Esroh materials crafted, we returned yet again to Hera.



From there we made the journey out to Shipwreck Isle and found LordDoubloon, who will row players out to Center Isle for a hefty fee of 20 doubloons.



For the first time, Pepsi visited Center Isle!  I was controlling Pepsi at the time and chose to go to the north east entrance first.


Center Isle is not as impressive as you might expect. Just three complicated but not very large tunnel systems and a leafy terrain center. To get to the center, we had to find and pull the lever in each of the three tunnel systems.

For whatever reason, Usko and I had a horrible time finding the lever in the first tunnel system. Then later when we tried looking again, we found it easily. Go figure.


Lever 1
After that we had to spend 20 more doubloons each for LordDoubloon to take us to the other two tunnel systems. Julie and Yellowstone found the levers in these without much difficulty. Show offs. XD


Lever 2
Lever 3
Finally, we arrived in the leafy terrain center!

Pepsi couldn't yet meet Zeus, obviously, as he requires all the other Esroh quests to be finished first, but she did get to meet his guardian and see his sinkhole.



Pepsi told the squirrel that we had been sent by Hera to pick up her gift. We passed her the Esroh material so that Zeus could make the finishing touches on it, and then...

So it was a crown! Too bad we didn't get a look at it. Pepsi made the trip back to Hera, who was thrilled with her gift.



The reward for all this was a competition boost in endurance. Since we don't compete much, this isn't a very big deal for us. Still, it doesn't hurt, and we're one Esroh closer to meeting Zeus!

Flurry helped us celebrate afterwards by providing Pepsi with a meteorite. We also fluted a pretty gray Norwegian Coldblooded Trotter there. :) 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mares and More Mares

HI2 has been a pretty quiet for us lately. Mostly because for a while there were unsubscribed and therefore couldn't do much but walk around on foot - so embarrassing for Pepsi, lol. Happily, we are subscribed again for another year. Thanks, Mom!

Let me introduce you to two noteworthy wild mares we captured shortly before Mom went on her trip.

The first is this beauty:



I especially love that avatar! She will be going to live with our buddy Gem... if Gem and Pepsi ever overlap online, that is. It's proving to be a challenge, lol.

The second mare worthy of mention is this sabino Freddy:
What a cutie! Her personality and stats are very good too! She's also 5/6 and +56, which makes us smile. We didn't think we'd ever find one of those again, hence we kept the first 5/6 +56 horse we caught, Sardonyx.

You're such a good boy, Sard. <3
*Sighs* I guess one 5/6 +56 horse is enough. She's really tempting, though, especially since we don't have any Frederiksborgs yet. 

To end on something happier, our 3 new mares have names at last! Meet...
Quassia
Quassia (aka bitter-root or bitter-wood) bark is used in medicine
We thought the red flowers on this shrub made it an excellent name for a reddish mare like this Suffolk!

Ravenna
Ravenna is, among other things, the name of a town in Michigan that we liked the sound of. It might suit a solid black horse slightly better, but we figured that this Newfie has plenty of raven black on her to make it appropriate.

Nyssa
Nyssa sylvatica is the scientific name for the Black Gum or Tupelo tree. The tree occurs in a large range in the U.S., including wetland areas of Florida. 

Ooh, the leaves get bright red-orange in autumn!
We decided just Nyssa would do. We think it sounds pretty yet a little dark, perfect for a horse found on the marshy isles!