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Have you driven the lonely highway that traverses this ridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Here we have the king of the hills — or the view from the king of the hills. A string of small peaks lift motorists to beautiful views along a legendary byway in eastern Maine, but this is arguably the most picturesque prospect of them all. What we’re after is the name of the prominent natural feature that created the humpbacked rise upon which our intrepid photographer was standing this glorious fall afternoon. It’s an alluvial ridge, or esker, created by a retreating glacier that neglected to pick up after itself. As it melted, the ice mountain dropped dirt and silt and gravel, creating a pronounced spine, upwards of seventy-five-feet tall and 2 ½ miles long. When engineers were building the long and lonely highway through the region, a two-lane, ninety-eight-mile road known for its lack of curves, its wild character, and its unusual name, they logically decided to build atop this ridge. Tales persist about nineteenth-century highwaymen who would rob stagecoach drivers here because the pitch was so steep the coaches couldn’t outrun them. Today’s travelers can safely delight in a lovely panorama of the Union River and the bog that surrounds it. Looking in another direction, you’d see Lead Mountain, a 1,400-foot eminence that you probably wouldn’t want to let your kids eat. The town in which this ridge is located is sparsely populated, much like the rest of the communities along this route, save for the two anchors on either end of its run, one of which is among the state’s largest cities. The landscape here has changed very little since the glacier passed by, according to geologist David Kendall in his book Glaciers and Granite. DeLorme calls the crest “a unique natural area” in its Maine Atlas and Gazetteer, which is cartographic code for “really beautiful place worth driving to see.” Turn to page 100 to find out how to get to this stunning spot.

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Ever given this precarious boulder a good shove?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Don’t mess with a glacier. That might be the story that this rock star would tell if it could talk. During the Ice Age, a sluggish sheet of ice and snow dragged the boulder some forty miles from its home before depositing it in a precarious position, balanced on a ledge halfway up a famous hill Down East. (According to local lore, the granite it’s made of is of a type that can only be found in Lucerne, a village south of Bangor, so everyone supposes that’s where it originated.) In the years since the ice melted, the plucky boulder has become a tourist attraction simply by sitting here and defying gravity. From the road below it seems certain to fall, and soon. (It also seems smaller than it is — a geology professor at UMaine has called it “about the size of my two-car garage.”) But it isn’t going anywhere. A bulldozer has tried to unseat it, as has an entire high-school football team, both to no avail. During the forties, after a local tragedy that made national headlines, a group decided it was best to remove the glacial erratic before it fell on someone’s head. Thus the bulldozer. The football team came later, and many others have hiked up the hill to give the rock a heave. Lucky for these self-appointed Sisyphuses the stone has a very pretty view — at least in their defeat they’ve had something to look at. Another green mound, much like the one on which the rock sits, lies nearby and beyond it, mountains and sea stretch in a paisley pattern off into the horizon. Turn to page 99 to learn more about this dramatic perch.

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Can you recognize this mountain resort?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Not many ski areas have views like this. Sel Hannah, the world-famous designer who laid out these runs, even calls this particular skyway “by far the most scenic” of the one thousand trails and three hundred ski areas he’s created. And there’s no better time to see it than when the hillsides are hung with gold and crimson and the many ponds and lakes in this area at the gateway to the North Woods are reflecting oranges and reds. Beautiful as it is, this resort has always had more potential customers than actual ones. But the owners have a controversial plan to change things. They’ve been hoping to get the okay from the Land Use Regulation Commission to put in two hundred condominiums, two new hotels and conference centers, an eighteen-hole golf course, a neighborhood of single-family homes, and even a train station. Ideas for putting stuff atop this mountain have been floating around since the nation’s first fire tower was installed at the 3,196-foot peak in 1905. Have you ever ascended these slopes? If you think you recognize this mountain resort, turn to page 98.

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Have you been soaked by Maine’s Ol’ Faithful?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Granite chasms don’t come much more renowned than this foaming sea pocket. And you’ll look long and hard to find one that speaks with its own basso profundo. Maine’s answer to Ol’ Faithful, it sits at the edge of a Down East island, where it gurgles and belches and occasionally blasts water into the sky. Like its counterpart at Yellowstone, it works on its own schedule and requires patience from its audience. When most people visit they find it quiet, the sea gently rocking in and out of the twisted cavern, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. When the surf and turf decide to put on a show, though, it’s a sight, one of the Pine Tree State’s great natural wonders. The waves leapfrog madly off the rocks, soaring as high as fifty feet in the air. They crash spectacularly with a resounding, earth-rocking thud (Thor would be proud), soaking everything in the vicinity, including anyone who might be standing near these railings. In summer that’s all great fun, and hordes line up to bathe in the spray. Come February it’s another thing altogether. The great irony is that one of the best times to view this particular attraction is on a blustery winter day, and that’s when the viewing platform here is usually empty. If there are flakes aplenty, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, even the odd snowshoer, might have a look at the spectacle. If not, walkers and hardy hikers might wander down. Other than these and a handful of folks who work in the area, the only witnesses to the tempests of winter here are shorebirds. See page 101 to find out how to track it down.

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3. The Global Mediatization of Hinduism through Digital Games: Representation versus Simulation in Hanuman: Boy Warrior Xenia Zeiler

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Xenia Zeiler

RESEARCH ON DIGITAL GAMES AND RELIGION HAS PRIMARILY concentrated on European and U.S. settings. Asian developments, except the Muslim Middle Eastern contexts of Syria and Palestine, have long been nearly completely overlooked.1 This is even truer when it comes to digital games that are related to Hindu and Buddhist traditions, regions, and audiences. Though in the first decade of the twenty-first century, several aspects of Hindu and Buddhist religions and digital media, namely the internet, began to be increasingly researched, so far this research has not extended to digital games.2 This is surprising since surveys, statistics, and projections on the role and importance of digital games in Asia or for audiences with Asian Hindu or Buddhist backgrounds regularly describe an ever larger percentage of users, as well as rapidly growing markets in the near future.

In this chapter I analyze Hindu deities and narratives in Indian-produced digital games and focus on disclosing negotiations of Hindu authority and identity in gaming contexts. I do so by discussing the first entirely India-developed digital game based on Hindu mythology, Hanuman: Boy Warrior (Aurona Technologies Hyderbad for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, 2009), a console game produced for PlayStation 2. This game has caused heated debate on the appropriateness of incorporating Hindu deities in gaming environments. The debate surrounding the game has focused on the concepts of simulation and performance as opposed to the (pure) representation of Hindu deities, such as Hanuman, who is a major character in the Indian epic Ramayana and is mentioned in other important Hindu scriptures.

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