Contact and Credits

Hi, all—

I’m taking a break from the Skyrim Diaries, to mention that I’ve posted a Contact page. Honestly, I thought I always had one, but that just shows you what I know. Do send a note if you have an idea, or a quibble, or a simple wish to get in touch.

Also, I think I’ve finally settled into a Skyrim mod list that gives me a varied, clean, and fairly staggering amount of content. I thought I’d post my loadout here. If you want to try it, I think you’ll be pleased. Just run the thing through Loot, follow it’s instructions about the very few patches, and you should be good to go. I’m also supplying this mod list, because it allows me to give credit to the folks who make the content that inspires my narrations. Whatever heights of rhetoric Miramne stands to reach, they are the real authors here.

So. Voila! All mods come from Nexus, in the Skyrim Special Edition section. The only exception is Interesting NPCs, which you can get at 3DNPCS.com. It’s such an amazing mod that it’s really worth the detour.

Disclaimer: I haven’t played through all of these mods, so I have no idea if conflicts lurk in less-obvious corners of the game. All I know is that Loot says the loadout is error-free, and that my game plays without crashing. If you have questions, corrections, or suggestions, please let me know.

MODS:

A Quality World Map—Vivid with Stone Roads  (It’s just a much better map, with lots of view options.)

Alternate Start—Live Another Life  (Start the game with a variety of backgrounds—and bypass Helgen.)

Amazing Follower Tweaks (Have more than one follower. Tell them what to do.)

Andromeda—Unique Standing Stones of Skyrim (Standing Stones grant varied, powerful boons.)

Apocalypse (Spells and more spells, some better balanced than others.)

Armor and Clothing Extension (More for the clotheshorse. This also re-dresses some NPCs.)

Bandolier Bags and Pouches (Craft/find bags that allow you to carry more.)

Beasts of Tamriel (Adds about 100 creatures.)

Better Dogs (They don’t bark. Anymore.)

Beyond Reach (DLC-sized campaign that focuses on High Rock.)

Beyond Skyrim: Bruma (DLC-sized return to Cyrodiil.)

Birds of Skyrim (Tweet.)

Bonemold and Chitin Weapons (Get your Morrowind on.)

Caranthir Tower Reborn (Restore a wizard’s tower, and live in splendor. Must be level 20 to start.)

Cloaks of Skyrim (Disseminates some astonishing number of cloaks throughout the world.)

Crypt of Darkness Dungeon Hall (A dungeon stocked with enemies and resources.)

Cutting Room Floor (This introduces the director’s cut of Skyrim Special Edition. It restores quests, items, and even whole villages.)

Daedric Entity Restoration Project (Adds daedra for you—and your enemies—to summon. Nudity.)

Deadly Spell Impacts (Fire, lighting, and frost spells leave some serious marks on the surroundings.)

Diverse Dragons Collection (More dragons!  Almost 30 unique ones, to be exact.)

Equipable Tomes (Make books that give you a boost to your magic.)

Fun Ro D’oh (A utility that helps with dialogue in mods that aren’t voiced.)

Gildergreen Regrown (See the pretty tree.)

Hallgarth’s Additional (Vanilla) Hair (More hair styles.)

Hammet’s Dungeon Packs (Supplies 31 new dungeons throughout Skyrim, Solstheim and a new land, Vorminheim. That last one sounds wormy.)

Heavy Armory (Get 100 new weapons.)

Helgen Reborn (Follow a detailed questline to restore Helgen.)

Hope’s Abandon (Dungeon. Big and mean. Author suggests level 40+.)

Immersive Armors (Equipment paradise: 55 new armor sets, 396 new shields, and many miscellaneous accouterments.)

Immersive Citizens (Friendly NPCs act much smarter.)

Immersive College of Winterhold (Expands the college and gives you more choices.)

Immersive Sounds Compendium (All the pretty noises!)

Immersive World Encounters (Spreads 70 events throughout the world.)

Imperious (Overhauls the race abilities.)

Interesting NPCs (Adds hundreds and hundreds of interesting people, followers, quests, and super followers.)

Isle of Artaeum (DLC-sized add-on that sends you to Summerset Isle to learn about the Psijic Order.)

Left Hand Rings Modified (Wear rings on your left hand, too.)

Legacy of the Dragonborn (A DLC-sized mod that introduces a museum, starts a new guild, and has you collect amazing things.)

Merged Mihail Undead (Mihail makes some truly fearsome monsters, and this compendium includes all the necro-baddies.)

My Home is Your Home (Allow all your followers to hang out together, in the place where you want them.)

Narrative Loot Complete (Adds cultural treasures to the loot tables—paintings, crockery, books, figurines, etc.)

New Beginnings—Live Another Life Expansion (More background options for Live Another Life.)

OBIS Special Edition (Bandit overhaul. They are varied, organized, and mean.)

Ordinator (Complete perk overhaul. Lots of new options.)

Path of Champion (Seven dungeons connect throughout the world. Level 10 start recommended.)

Populated Cites, Towns, Villages (Adds more people to the places people should be.)

Populated Lands Roads Paths Legendary (Adds more people traveling to the places they should be.)

Practical Female Armors (I’ve written whole articles about how female fantasy armor is silly. This mod is a godsend.)

Qaxe Winterhold Rebuild (Embark on a quest to restore Winterhold.)

QUASIPIC Unified Patch Compendium (Patches a number of mods to create synergy.)

Realistic Conversations (Give NPCs a little more logic and variety, in terms of what they say—and how often.)

Realistic Lighting Overhaul (Shadows, reflections, darkness. Better.)

Rich Skyrim Merchants (More money, honey. Maybe he really did sell his sister.)

Royal Armory (Important NPCs have important-looking equipment.)

Rugnarok (I downloaded it just because I loved the name, but the rug overhauls are fantastic.)

Ruined Temple of Phynaster (Rescue a ruined shrine, and fight bosses.)

Rustic Clothing (Clothing texture overhaul.)

Shields of Skyrim (Lots of new shields.)

Skyrim Better Roads (Retextures the roads.)

Skyrim Immersive Creatures (Adds dozens of new creatures.)

Skyrim Reputation (Adds a morality/reputation component to player actions. People treat you accordingly.)

Skyrim Skill Uncapper (Get all the perks.)

Skyrim Skill Uncapper Ordinator (Get all the Ordinator perks.)

Skyrim Underground (There’s stuff going on down there. Dungeony stuff.)

SkyUI (Overhaul your interface, and never look back.)

Sneak Tools (Fire rope arrows. Slit throats. Knock people unconscious.)

Speech Tree (Introduces a yield system, so you can talk your way out of battle. Place this mod manually, after Ordinator.)

Splendor—Dragon Variants (Get 784 possible dragon skins.)

Static Mesh Improvement (This makes everything look so much better.)

Summermyst—Enchantments of Skyrim (Grants 120 additional enchantments.)

The Elder Scrolls Tomebound (Grants more magical options, such as new spells, staves, and vampire options.)

The Great Forest of Whiterun Hold (Adds an explorable and dangeorous wilderness to Whiterun Hold.)

The Paarthurnax Dilemma (Helps you out of a cold-blooded demand that the Blades make in the main quest.)

The Rabbit Hole (Brave a fifty-level dungeon.)

The Rings of Old (Adds some rings from Elder Scrolls lore.)

The Treacherous Hollows (Mid-sized dungeon recommended for characters level 35 and up.)

The Unfinished Business (Play through eight small dungeons, to follow a story.)

Thunderchild (Find nearly 30 more shouts.)

Unique Uniques (Epic Skyrim equipment looks much better than it did.)

Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch (A must.)

Unread Books Glow (Makes a library easy pickings.)

Vigilant (DLC-sized adventure based on the Viglants of Stendarr.)

Vivid Weathers (Rain, wind, lightning, lighting, and snow.)

Weapons Armor Clothing and Clutter Fixes (Bug fixer.)

WICO-Windsont Immersive Character Overhaul (Everybody looks better. Nudity.)

Wildcat (Combat overhaul. Everything is much harder, but most is also configurable.)

Wintersun (Religion mod. Worship a god, live by their tenets, and get blessings.)

MASH Epilogues Vol. 4

(These are my continuing thoughts of where the MASH characters ended up, after the war.)

CAPT. JOHN “TRAPPER” MCINTYRE

What we know: He settled in the Bay Area, and became the chief of surgery at San Francisco Memorial Hospital. At some point before then, he divorced his wife. He became calmer and less womanizing in his maturity—although he never re-married. Eventually his son, JT, graduated medical school and joined his father’s hospital for his internship.

What I think: Trapper spent a lot of time drinking after he left Korea. The death of Henry Blake hit him especially hard. Trapper became an alcoholic who still functioned at work, but the disease (and his wartime affairs) cost him his marriage. He entered recovery in the 1970s. He never contacted Hawkeye—or really, anybody else from the 4077. During the remains of the war, this reticence stemmed from his remorse about getting away, while the rest of them stayed over there—or worse, died in a chopper crash. After the war, Trapper felt shame for not doing well, even though he’d been one of the first to leave. At the same time, he became aware that part of him didn’t escape the war at all—and that confronting someone like Hawkeye would summon too many ghosts.

A ghost found Trapper at a medical convention in 1961, when a Dr. Hunnicutt recognized Trapper’s name. As they talked, Trapper became enraged by Frank’s promotion; bemused by Margaret’s transformation; amazed at Klinger’s willingness to stay in Korea; and dismayed (and even guilty) about how Hawkeye’s final days in Korea found him in a mental hospital. BJ said that if anyone could ever understand Trapper for his reticence, Hawkeye’s own withdrawal would make him a perfect candidate. Trapper said that maybe he and Hawkeye were too much alike—drinkers, womanizers, ace rebel doctors who did their best work with people when those people were asleep. Trapper wondered if Hawkeye’s difficulties came in part because Trapper wouldn’t stay in touch. BJ shrugged and finished his drink. He said there was still time.

LT. COL. FRANK BURNS

What we know: After suffering a meltdown over Margaret marrying Donald, Frank received a transfer to a VA hospital in Indiana. This was so he could run the hospital. For all we know, the army never saw fit to treat him. They did, however, promote him to Lt. Colonel.

What I think: Upon his return, Louise stayed married to Frank just long enough to get the best alimony she could. Frank did little to contest the arrangements. He served as the head of the VA for five years. (He hired on his former secretary—and erstwhile lover—to serve as his administrative assistant.) He eventually married this secretary—because he needed somebody to take care of him, and because he needed a wife so he could look better as a senate candidate. In the early ‘60s, Frank won election as the arch-conservative Senator Frank (All Communism) Burns. He’d keep that post until his retirement in the mid 1980s.

Soon after his election, Frank prevailed upon Margaret to have a drink with him in DC. (It’s possible that he wanted to show her how he’d finally surpassed Lt. Col. Penobscott.) Margaret was cordial during the meeting, but she brooked no joking at any MASHers’ expense. She especially defended Potter and BJ as the finest soldier and civilian she’d ever met, respectively. She and Frank had little to say after that.

“Margaret,” said Frank, “flare your nostrils for me, just once for old times.”

“Senator,” said Margaret, “as a veteran, I have a hard time making faces at a man with no lips.”

Margaret did ask for Frank’s help when Erin Hunnicutt faced riot charges: “I know we’ve fallen out of touch, Senator, but from your time in Korea and the VA, you must understand how when war asks so much of our youth that they eventually must say no. War is so old, and we keep feeding them the young, until war either makes them old too, or uses them to bolster its own longevity by feasting on the banquet of their unspent youth.” Charles Winchester wrote Margaret that last line in a Christmas letter, and she used it with permission. Frank would later use it, without attribution, at a campaign rally in South Bend. He would, however, pull the strings for Erin Hunnicutt. Frank never divulged why he did such a thing. Maybe he liked the power of removing a stranger from her life’s trajectory. Maybe he enjoyed how BJ might now feel indebted to him. Perhaps he had indeed changed since his work in the VA. Or it’s possible that after all these years, he still couldn’t say no to (almost) any request from Margaret.

Power

I’ve been hesitant to post this, not because of my opinion (As if!) but because I’m not sure it’s pertinent to a wider audience. Then I started to think that a whole mess of us are trying to figure out how to be effective activists, and that maybe any information in one direction or another would be helpful. 

On Saturday, I attended a community-action meeting that was both interesting in how it attracted a diversity of races and laudable in how it sought to strengthen a sense of community among the races. It was somewhat hampered by a presenter who didn’t listen to the conversation among the races, and where this caused the most problem was in relation to the concept of power. The presenter—who was Latino—thought that do-gooder people don’t like power. They don’t mention it, he said, in their churches. This is when some of the African Americans asserted that in their church, they talk a lot about power—the power of God, say, and God’s ability to empower. The presenter blew past that. And he insisted that we don’t like power, because we’re afraid of failure. He also said that the vast majority of us aren’t powerful at all. He then went on to his next bullet point—and I, for one, stopped taking notes. 

At this point, I could hare off on a tangent about bad teaching—but I won’t. (I won’t, I won’t.) Instead, I’d like to return to the conversation the presenter squelched. I can’t speak for other races—and I won’t attempt to. But I would like to suggest that the reason white people like me hesitate to talk about power, is because we have so much of it. This man said that I, as an individual, am not powerful. And he’s right. As a squatty fortysomething from a small city, I’ve got nothing. I spoke my outrage to the governor last month. She lied to my face, and walked away. 

But let’s not kid ourselves. As a white, straight, affluent Protestant I have all the power in the country. Maybe all the power in the world. I am female. So I guess this ties one limb behind my back. But if I may speak for the whiteys who seek to be good citizens, I’ll say that the reason we don’t talk about power in our churches is because we know we use our power to oppress. We do it without trying. Saturday’s meeting took place in an African-American church. All the white people sat in the front, and all the black people sat in the back. All the white people, who wanted to combat racism, sat in the front of a church where they were the guests. We didn’t even think about it.

I suggest that maybe we should. And I mean that we should think in two different directions. The first is the way about which we’re self-conscious—the fact, for example, that we felt empowered to take the prime seating in a neighbor’s house. This is the kind of privilege that embarrasses us—and rightfully so. The other way we should think about power is to recognize that just because we do bad things with power doesn’t mean that power is bad in itself. Our privilege is unfair. We have come to our position by standing on the deaths of millions. But privilege also has vantage. It has resources. It has immunities. Privilege allowed me to walk up to the governor. Privilege lets me go to the front lines of a protest, and not worry so much that I’ll get put in a chokehold (or worse). In Iowa, my race enjoys an incarceration rate that 1/11 of what my black neighbors endure. It’s wrong to ignore that. And it might be doubly wrong if we don’t use that privilege to benefit our neighbors.

My suggestion is that although we should never act as if we deserve our power, we should pick it up. We should present it to our neighbors, in the way of trying (but not ever succeeding) to return something we took from them. And then we should leave it at the cause’s best disposal.

(Originally posted May 12, 2018)

If the Shoe Fits…

Dr. Sam Green is the head of King’s College London’s Russia Institute. On Point interviewed him this morning about Putin, where they discussed, among other things, why he’s so, uh, Putey. Green acknowledge the fact that Putin has been out to revitalize the fallen Soviet Union, but he also said that Putin keeps power by conflict and surprise. He likes to push everybody off-balance, and then keep them there. The problem is that to keep up his act, he has to constantly escalate. In my assessment he’s like a TV drama that’s gone on too long. Pretty soon you have helicopters falling on surgeons–or passenger airliners falling out of the sky. The pattern is as addictive as it is lethal–and it could go on for years. 

At that point, my schedule was such that I couldn’t finish the interview. But I left wondering whether, if I had come in during the middle of what I heard, I’d think we were talking about somebody else.

(Originally posted March 15, 2018)