Tuesday, July 31, 2012

RTMT: Slaughterhouse 5.0

This is a long-out-of-Azeroth post, relatively, another Random Tuesday Morning Thought that is going to be all over the map. Hey, I warned you in the title: "Random."

It's totally fine, though, because I have a lot to do this morning, but first --writing.

I am going to concede that it is time for me to start reading patch notes. Like a sweet summer romance that is coming to an end, all that I am left with are a few hickies and a sunburn from Deathwing, and it's time to look forward. But this begs the question: How much should I adjust the view distance details, and how prepared can I be? (Side note: wouldn't that be great if we could do that in real life? Adjust the graphics to see more details in our futures either more clearly, or more obscured, depending on how much we wanted to know?)

Erinys at Harpy's Nest is weighing out her thoughts, here: Choices. It's about looking at characters we love to play, and how much they will be gutted or gussied depending on your point-of-view. I like Erinys' use of the word 'choice,' because even though Blizzard may seem to take many choices away, we are still in some control, right? Aren't we? A little bit? 

The thing I am feeling is no where near the funny post Bear brought to my attention at The Daily Blink: Forum Raiders in Real Life. I do not have a sense of this extreme satiric entitlement, but...
I do feel, sometimes, sometimes, that because I know some (game) designers forget to ask, "How can we make it fun?" and focus on "What can we make the player do?" I feel a bit taken for granted. Subscription fees add up to a whole lotta lattes for this girl, but I still love playing. I just don't know who is going to get the 'love' first --most likely The Most Beautiful Shaman in the World, and then I don't know who--probably the girl who has the prettiest spells. Matticus has been writing alluring posts about priest changes, and if he can make a stumpy Dwarf look sexy while healing, imagine what Zep can do....no offense, sir, that was my attempt at a (back-handed) compliment...

I know you have all read this, but I perused WoW Insider's post from the 20th:

This is a taste of the information one of my guildmates has been saying in Mumble-chat. He firmly fits the Mentor role in our guild. Guarf used to do that for me, but Guarf--where are you, Guarf? I know, I know- thanks for checking in, by the way.

But of all of those guild archetypes, I don't know where I fit in. I'm not the "mom," I could not care less, really, if you have a boo-boo, and unless you are directly connected to me I'm not going to do much about it (not the nurse type); I'm not the "optimist" (Ihateanimals is clearly that) but I get close, and I'm not the "Connected Guy," although I have also come close --which leads me to:

Guild Recruitment (dundundun!)


Yesterday Mr. Guildmaster NicePants asked me to help with guild recruiting, which of course, I am happy to oblige. I tried to get us a warrior tank for our Team II, which is a great group of folks, but that --well, let me just say his loyalty to Kaylyne is a sign of a true gentleman and great guy. I am proud to know players like Kaylyne, who know good folks like this warrior. So, his loyalties and commitment had to stay where it was. 

Our recruiting advertisement reads something pretty normal, like "Lost Soldiers of Darkness, seeking DK/Warrior Tank for Team Two, Raids Mon/Wed 7:30PM Server Time," etc. I wish I could spice it up:

--if you join our Team II, you will get to play with really nice and funny people, those who will move into MoP with a minimum amount of nerd rage and no drama, and who value punctuality* but are still cool...

--if you join our Team II, you may have found all that you have been seeking...

--if you join our Team II, Matty will run your alts through dungeons...(maybe)

*Punctuality: Last night was our normal raiding time, but folks seemed to have forgotten. It was fine, because I talked some of the guildmates who were there into running the Cata Dungeon Hero ones. Almost had Vigorous Vancleef except for the tragic demise of our priest, but I didn't die in the maze, so it can be accomplished. We also did a Zul bear run, and again, rolling an awesome "5" well, yeah, you see what happened there. No bear for Matty. 

What I predict will happen is when MoP comes out, many players will be either scrambling for a spot on a raid team, or reconnecting with their current guilds. We really are seeking what I hope is not an impossible role -- someone who knows the game, wants to have a set time to raid, and is willing to listen and learn, and contribute. And who knows how to take a punch.

Maybe a bad-ass like this guy.

Theme Song: Whole Lotta Love/Led Zeppelin (I like this one)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Survivor mage...

But when you look this good, who cares about your DPS numbers?
My buddy Ran frequently teases me when I am playing my mage, Ceniza, stating, "Oh, I thought you were healing," because my fireballs and combustibles just cannot compete with his legendary daggers, or his warlock prowess for that matter. This got me to thinking, however, about switching from character to character, and the abilities we do have to keep our tails alive. Obviously, when we are playing a healing character, we have various abilities to keep others alive and ourselves, to greater to lesser degrees. Maybe I'm not doing it right, but I have yet to find that "Oh, Sh*t!" button while healing on Matty, but she is not without a few salutiferous solutions up her sleeves.

I am too sleepy and lazy to come up with a comprehensive list this morning, but these thoughts were rattling around my noggin: Just how does one survive when the odds are proccing against you?

Preventative Cures:

  • Draenei:  Draenei have the Gift of the Na'aru. This little spell with the big cooldown
  • Herbalism: picking flowers has its benefits--this has saved my mage many times, even though the act of picking the daisies bores the snot out of her.
  • Mages: Ice block, and Dwarfs have the racial Stoneform
  • Death Knights: All kinds of goodies to keep them from going all morgue-box
  • Rogues: recuperate, naturally
  • Paladins have all kinds of means of keeping healthy, the big doses are of course, Lay On Hands and the Guardian of Kings, who shouts the interjections when he's out such as "Hey!" I keep expecting him to follow that with "Get off my lawn!" but he never does, as disappointing as that is. Maybe that'll be in tomorrow's patch.
  • Forsaken: Oh, this is distasteful, but they have cannibalism. Well, waste not, want not, is the Dark Lady's motto. Got a couple hundred dead bodies lying around? Dig 'em up and use them for your dark purposes! Hooray!
  • Warlocks rock the gym, using all kinds of spells to not only heal themselves, but others in case of emergency. If there's a lock in the room, I always feel better, and stock up on Lockrocks, put it on my action bar for quick access, and have been known to crack a soulstone or two. See? They're not so evil.

As far as warriors, other Horde races, etc., I do not have any authority to write further. I would love to know your favorite prescription for staying healthy and whole, and able to live to fight another day.

Oh, and this might be the cure for LFR loot-aches:

Theme song: Spoonful of Sugar by the ultimate mage, Mary P.

And Bear posted this link, because laughter is the best medicine:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Thassarian's Lament

I looked at my friends and family list this morning, sensing it changed in the night. I'm not sure how to explain it, because I hardly ever even glance at it, but this morning, I knew it had shifted. Sure enough, my premonition was correct, for another friend had left Azeroth, with no forwarding address.

There are a hundred reasons why we spend time in Azeroth, and probably thousands more of why we should not. I read the guild chat of folks expecting babies, recently having had babies, vacationing, all peppered with loot and gear links and achievement announcements. They are all giving each other parenting advice, raid tips, updates on what they're eating, drinking, nerd-raging, laughing, and generally enjoying each other's company. They are fine folks, and I am having a grand time with the raiding team and my guild-master. He's a great guy, and the two married guild officers seem like nice folks, too. But I look over at my boxes and closets full of other hobbies, abandoned and dusty, half-accomplished and given a cursory glance, and wonder to myself what the hell am I doing here, and why am I deaf to new siren songs?

But that bad dream I had this morning, I just can't quite shake it yet. And the loss of another friend seems to mirror my own self-doubts and...what is it? What is it?! I am not bored with Azeroth. I am certainly not lonely. Perhaps it is nostalgia. Nostalgia in general is a thorny emotion, with a soft underbelly. I can only muse to myself while in Duskwood on how it used to scare me, or marvel at the natural beauty of Howling Fjord, listening to the lonesome fiddle chorus wrap and squeeze around my heart, or look at the supernatural troll fires eternally lighting trolls' shrines, all the while thinking "I wish I could go back..." But I can't. It's a one-way treadle.

Many players have grand to-do lists, which I may just copy and paste for myself:


The issue with to-do lists is they become their own quest chain--I need to regain my own sense of the boon I am seeking, and rediscover...something.

Thassarian: You seem so--displaced, and rudderless, sir. You call with convinction that "We will RAVAGE this LAND!" in your death-rattle croak, yet, I sense you do not believe it. You seem defeated already sir, and tired. Arthas took everything from you, and you still feel a sense of duty and honor.

A suggestion, good sir knight: Perhaps you can regain your sense of purpose and go protect those who deserve your service. To all good knights and fair ladies, think about your actions. I urge you to read Precious and Soft's farewell to Azeroth post, and recognize two key things that I have always held as critical: story and humanity. A reminder: there are humans behind those characters, with health, financial, romantic, and other concerns and goals.

As I sat here writing this, I had Western Plaguelands awaiting me in the background. I can hear the whippoorwills and grass rustling in the breeze, and the pine needles playing their delicate wind-chime song. I smell the musk of the bears, and the scent of lake water and wood smoke. The honorable clomps of horse's hooves are the sound of security and watchfulness. There is a sour smell, too, almost imperceptible, from the scourged, diseased lands to the east. But when the breeze is blowing from the west, it cleanses the land and renews hope, although no one knows why. They just sense it.

To my dear friend, I know you are fighting the good fight out there with intelligence and humor. I wish you well, and godspeed, sir, godspeed. May the light embrace you.

Postscript: To my other friends: Don't get any smart ideas and take off.

Game flossing.

These are still very dark times in Strathholme...

I told myself, and said it out loud, I would not play today, that I would try to live my life like I lived it before stepping toe and hoof into Azeroth. I am not sure that is something I can do. But it was strange, for the first time in weeks, I slept in. I had crazy-bucket dreams, filled with guilt, weirdness, and bad dancing. Don't ask. In the waking world, I have a mundane list of real things to achieve. And like the title of this post, which uses the word flossing, flossing is both necessary to long-term dental health and hygiene, but sometimes we're just too tired to remember to do it. Okay, maybe that's just me. None of you ever let plague or tartar build up, and every dental check-up is met with smiles and sighs from your dentist who knows he will not be getting much gold out of you.

Here are two things that may sucker me in, though, if I can just set a timer, get a few things done beforehand, and see what I can chip away at:

The Diplomat Title and the Argent Crusader.

Not paying any damn attention to anything, I didn't realize the last bit of Argent Dawn would be so quest-heavy. I made long-lasting friendships with the Sporeggar with flowers and fertilizer.

Here is what it is going to take to gain the glory with the Argent Dawn: http://www.wowhead.com/faction=529/argent-dawn

The Timbermaw is the other faction. Once I have these two, I have the last two exalted reputations for thirty, and two new titles.

This is how it's been lately, trying to kill five birds with one stone. And I keep missing them all, and going very hungry. Take yesterday for example. Lupe had decided she wants to change her protection paladin look from red to purple. She spent way too much on purple pants and blouse, and discovered the perfect sparkly shoulders from Serpentine to go with them. Okay - no more third person. I talked a guildmate from my raid team into going and another guildmate who is on Team 1. I can't quite put my finger on it, so I'll chalk it up to my current state of oversensitivity, but I got the feeling, perhaps from reading in between the lines of guild-chat too much, Team 1 guildy did not really want to be there. He needed to finish it, but...well. Let's just say he wanted to go play with the big kids more. My team 2 guildy and I were game, and I hope we try it another time. That last boss is tricky when you have full bags (a big fat DOH to me) and can't get the cores just at the critical moment. I know my shaman could have finished it, but whatever. The shoulders did not drop from the giant boss, but some pretty green plate ones did on a previous one, so perhaps Lupe will go green. Paladins are not known for their naturalism, but when life gives you green plate, make recycling cans I guess. That flipping place...man oh man, when you die, it is a damn long ghost-walk of shame all the way back.

But this is where I want to say a hearty flip-off to Blizzard: Bear told me they were taking away "have group."

This makes me crazy coo-coo. Not only should they not take it away, they should give it to EVERYONE. Everyone should have the chance to play with anyone, anytime, anywhere, cross-realm, cross-town, or across the street if they choose. Blizzard, please, for God's sake, stop it with the social engineering experiments! You fixed something that needed fixing, don't break it again!!!
Potion of Illusion didn't work so hard this time...

I am starting to feel my blood pressure rise because of this possibility, so I think I'll go whack on some bones for a bit.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Story Time: The Tale of Mrs. Whitworth

This is for Navi, Bear, Erinys, and two Cats

Mrs. Eunice Katherine Charlotte Whitworth, née McCafferty, had been a widow for quite some time. The costume of black shoes, of the finest leather; hat, hand-crafted by a genius milliner in the east; and handbag, a knock-off of a famous designer’s, but no one was the wiser; and dress, a closetful of the same style of black dress, linen in summer, and wool for winter, and gabardine for the spring and fall. She walked as if she was rehearsing for a play where she was the star but there was no script. Her appearance, however, was seldom remarked upon by those she strode past, in fact, most didn’t notice her at all, save for a sense of unease, and the feeling that they had been snubbed somehow. An otherwise cheerful day could be suddenly, inexplicably stained with doubt, as if all was not going to go according to plan. She had this effect on people and animals alike. Widowhood did not upset her. It suited her. She always favored wearing black, and this gave her the image of the long-suffering woman, and served her fashion sense, and caused no suspicions. Mrs. Whitworth always strove to seek three purposes to everything: one for the others, and two for herself. 
There was one gentleman in town that was not fooled by her false grief. He had been a rival for Mr. Whitworth’s affections for her hand; gods rest his soul, and had lost the war of love. He owned the sundry and exotic shop, on the rounded corner of town, where the mortar did not quite seam the bricks. His trade fluctuated with the economy, and was too dependent upon the whims of the powerful and elite. Mr. Guillaume Gallimaufry Gollüp, III, named for the others before him, but he had placed the “III” after his name to give the impression his lineage was well-established, that there had been men who had won the hearts of women in marriage, and had procreated, replicated more of the same. It was difficult to conjure the image of a man and a woman producing this creature: he stood at 4’11” tall, and had no sharp corners. He resembled a dollop of heavy whipped cream on a vanilla pudding, slightly buttery-yellow in color, and easily scooped. No, perhaps more of a meringue whipped and then baked to make stiff and easily cracked. His baldhead was dry like a baked pastry, due to his skin condition, and his glasses always needed cleaning. This disgusted Mrs. Whitworth, who liked things tidy. Her weekly visits to his shop were a necessity though for her own doings. He sold the one thing that could not be purchased anywhere else; otherwise, she would have never seen reason to be in his odd company.
She handed him her customary disposable handkerchief to clean his lenses as she greeted him. He snuffled in excitement like milk going through the back-end of a straw.
“Is my order ready, Galli?” She hated calling him by his nickname. Only formal names should be used when addressing the opposite sex. Oh, he made her so cross! He would not budge on a few issues, and held her purchases hostage unless she called him “Galli,” and paid in cash. There was one other condition, but she managed to stave this demand with hemmed promises.
He wanted to court her. 
Every time she walked in his shop, he did whatever he could to stall her. It was a dance they each knew the steps to, the music never missed a beat. She had been the oddest girl in town. She kept her own council, and he and Mr. Whitworth never noticed her until one afternoon, at a community festival and picnic, when all the other yellow-daisy green-stemmed hair-ribboned girls in town looked like a field of daisies ready to be picked: all the other boys drew their attention, and none of those adolescent petals rained on him, or Mr. Whitworth. Eunice stood stiff as a stalk amongst the more beautiful girls. But the two pale young men did not want to be left out, and that left Eunice. The rivalry began.
They each plied her with flowers. Allergic. They confused her with requests for walks. Can’t you see I am busy? They each asked their dour mothers for advice on how to talk to a girl in desperation. This befuddled their mothers and left them ashamed. Their fathers were no help either, each giving the worst possible advice on how to woo any female, especially one as crêpe-de-chine brittle as Eunice. They were each other’s best friend, and in normal circumstances would have sought out the other for guidance, but since it was a fight to not be the last man standing without a girl, then, well, no comfort or quarter was available. They could play hours of Dragons and Damsels with healthy competition, but that was just a game. In this game, it wasn’t for pretend honor. Manhood was at stake.
The battle turned one summer day. A summer afternoon that met the incongruent Eunice with no apologies for being so beautiful and sunny. It irritated her. Mr. Whitworth noticed her reading, in her usual solitude. He stole into the library, and chose a slim volume of depressing poetry, and casually, carefully, started reading, or pretending to read it, under a tree, placing himself in a strategic vantage point so she could see him if she looked up, but not so obvious it would seem he was there to spy on her.
There had been other unsuccessful routs of Eunice’s affections. Both boys had taken turns trying to serenade her outside her window: Galli was served a cold bucket of water by her father, and Mr. Whitworth was introduced to the local authorities that evening and told to “Go home, son.” They had each tried to start conversations on various occasions, never striking the right tone, and the looks she gave them sent their courage and voices choking back in their throats.
But she noticed Mr. Whitworth reading a book. He was not interested in her; he was interested in that book. She felt uncomfortable, and competitive, but would not acknowledge it. It came from her inner, primitive self, the deep, buried, but the self that wants to get the attention, the attention crackling from invisible pheromones and essences of birds and bees and musk. He was not paying attention to her, and she was sending out signals.
This would not do.
Carefully standing up, with that sensation of floating outside of her own body, having no will or strength to stop her physical actions, she dusted the dried grass off of her skirts (black) and tried to appear casual and she walked near Mr. Whitworth’s spot. In his peripheral vision, he noticed her movement, and like hooked bait, had the patience and resignation to just sit there and wait. He feared any quick movements, or for that matter any movement at all, would spook her. His plan succeeded. She spoke to him:
“Oh, I see your reading the works of Arthur Stubbknockie. I have always enjoyed his earlier writing, during his ‘themes of feasting’ phase.”
She had not strung that many words together in a row, out loud, to any soul since she told her mother never to serve her pea and lentil soup again. She did not know that in order to engage someone in conversation, one must leave the observations open-ended with vague questions: no statements, no yes’s or no’s. Her stumpy observance left him with nothing to say, especially since he didn’t even realize he was reading Stubbknockie, post or pre feast phase. Just sitting there with the book was as far of a plan as he had conceived, and he stumbled for the next move.
Now—if he had known that his success in achieving the hand of the future Mrs. Whitworth might have inadvertently meant his own lack of a future, well, perhaps that is a tale for another time.
But succeed he did. He said, “Oh yes, I find his prose so thought provoking.”
He had heard that once in a show, between the two protagonists.
These were the magic words. They were not about her, and since she sensed, incorrectly of course, that his attentions were waning, and her own young adult need to mate was still intact, she decided he was the one.
Falling in strong admiration and staying in strong admiration are vastly disconnected, however, for many young couples, especially ones who come together out of anything other than true love. Mr. and Mrs. Whitworth were joined in holy wedlock out of curiosity and competitiveness. She conceded to wear white on her wedding day, an ill omen. Galli was the best man, leering at one pale bridesmaid, Mrs. Whitworth’s cousin Beatrice, but even she wouldn’t dance with him.
Since Mr. Whitworth’s passing, Mrs. Whitworth stayed very busy in her little cottage. He had left her plenty of money, more gold than he even knew he had, but she did. She knew every account, every bank teller, and every hidden jar and sock-drawer investment.
With her time, she had taken up folksy sorcery, an idea she gathered from one of her ventures to the library. She practiced small trials of animalism and shape shifting, read from the Book of Shadows and the Tomes of Tongues Volumes I-IV, (Volume V had graffiti and ripped pages, sadly, so she didn’t get to read it in its entirety). She practiced howling at full moons, but only if her closest neighbor was away. She found the canine spells dissatisfying and dirty, but the feline and weasel spells delightful. She devoted her amateurish hours to becoming some kind of slick creature, however, the most she managed was to sprout a few whiskers, and a very rough tongue. The edges of her ears got a little fuzzy, and the beginnings of a tail began to form, but would disappear in about as much time as a pimple. She smelled musky sometimes, which irritated her—too much weasel in the brew.
Frustrated, and realizing she needed to do further research, she took a train to a larger town, hoping its library would have the resources on furthering her self-education on magic. From the station to the library were only a few blocks, so she decided to save some coin and walk. She could have easily paid for a taxi, but this would involve speaking to the hackney driver, and telling him where she wanted to go, and opening her purse, paying him, and giving him a tip. This was too much to fathom. As she strode, purposefully, unaware of how much she stood out in her all-black attire in the cheerful big city, trying to seem inconspicuous, she felt a million judging eyes looking at her. She ducked into an alley, just to breath and regain composure, when a raspy voice whispered to her, “You will not find what you’re seeking where you are going.”
It really is a shame when one considers that although self-education has its benefits, the cost is that you can’t learn everything by yourself. If she had taken the time to join a supportive coven, or at least read more of the social, community news of sorcery, she would have known that strange voices from strange fellows appear all the time to those who are seeking something. Inexperienced witches put out a vibration to the unseen solicitors of dark arts. He knew she was coming, knew she wouldn’t take a cab, knew she wouldn’t know to just walk away now, and report him for harassment.
But, curiosity overwhelms us all, and Mrs. Whitworth was no exception. She stiffened, and responded, “Oh, and how do you know what I am seeking?” He provided as many details of her mission to allow her to be completely flummoxed, and give him credibility. Ultimately, he sold her a book, a very rare book, one that he had several hundred copies of, waiting for distribution for the multitudes of Mrs. Whitworths. It was the undisputed source of shape shifting spells, the Mutator Formarum Quam Ad, the fundamental “how to” guide for those who wish to become something other than human, and back again.
Feeling like the cat who ate the canary, she smugly went home, so excited over her find she even took a taxi back to the train station, and forgot to tip the driver. He cursed her cheapness, muttering under his breath about country bumpkin tourists. Once home, she settled in with a big cup of lemongrass tea, and begin to pour over its spell recipes. There were all the basics: wolf, dog, cat, mouse, sparrow, amphibians and reptiles, and the more exotic species: snow leopard, marmoset, and sea turtles. The truly advanced species, the kingdom, phylum, and family of dragons, basilisks, and bunyips, were far too complicated for her to consider. Even Mrs. Whitworth recognized her limits, and these spells seemed far too unstable. She might turn into a cacus and hunted by mobs with pitch-forks and tar.
She decided to start simply: cat. Yes, a cat would be perfect. The recipe called for a few ingredients: salvia roots, the dirt from a rabbits’ warren, odd, but yes, she had that, and the last ingredient: seven-day old curdled frogsmilk (it took thirty-one frogs and two toads to harvest enough milk for the recipe. Don’t ask about the methods).
It wasn’t likely that she could borrow a cup of the last item from the next-door neighbor, for two reasons: one, it would be damn unlikely, and two, weeks ago, when the neighbor came around to borrow a cup of sugar for some orange cream cookies, she refused, so it was not likely the neighbor would be in a reciprocal mood. Perhaps someone in town carried this item. She put on her hat, her gloves, grabbed her handbag, and off to town she went. Sure enough, by odd coincidence, Galli stocked it.
She had not spoken to Galli since the day of her wedding. She knew he had started a business, a little shop that carried all manner of things, and had never married. She feared he would still be carrying a torch for her; she was that sure of herself, but in this she was not wrong. The first time she stepped into the shop seeking the frogsmilk, his face lit up, he straightened his stumpy posture, and greeted her like a lost love (which, we should supposed, she was).
“Mr. Gollüp, it is good to see you again. I am aware you have an item I need.”
“Eunice! Please! I insist! Call me Galli! Yes! Yes! What do you need?”
“Mr. Gollüp, please refer to me by my married name, sir, and in the future do not be so presumptuous. I need seven-day old curdled frogsmilk, a supply of thirty-one centiliters, please.”
His smile faded.
She was there, and he wasn’t going to let her go. He would have to think quickly.
“Fine, Mrs. Whitworth, but you’ll always be that crinkly Eunice to me!” She popped at attention, like suddenly shocked by static. She glared. Wrong tactic. Change of direction. “I mean, you’ll always be that beautiful, mysterious young lady both Mr. Whitworth and I adored!”
“Do you have the milk or not, Mr. Gollüp?”
“Well, yes, indeed I do. Get a shipment in every week from the south. Rare stuff, and very pricey, sorry to say, sorry to say. But I tell ya what, for you, a deal, on one condition. Call me Galli, and go out for dinner with me.”
The frogsmilk cost, retail, 4,590G per centiliter. A discount…for a name? And a date? Her insides clutched around her imaginary coin purse, and she vomited in her mouth, like a solid burp, its acidic disgust burning her throat on the way back down. She found Galli repulsive.
When she could speak again, wishing for a breath mint, she said, “All right, Galli, but please, I’m still in mourning, so I would ask for your patience on your invitation, as for now I must decline. I would be poor company.”
They settled on a 20% price reduction, she paid for her wares, and went straight home to concoct the cat potion. It was an abysmal failure. The only thing it succeeded in doing was causing her to look like a misshapen drowning victim with black fur. She must have scalded the milk and should have chopped the salvia, not minced it. Realizing her error, she was forced to return to Galli’s shop.
This continued for seven months. Her allergic reaction to the salvia was hideous. A mother rabbit bit her finger when she was digging for warren dirt. The frogsmilk sometimes curdled to frogsbutter, frogsyogurt, or the worst: frogscheese and whey. Galli’s advances grew more aggressive and tiresome, the little toad. But she was getting closer to her goal: each progression of the recipe transformed her more cat-like. She successfully wholly transformed one evening, and it lasted a full night. This apotheosis was breathtaking, and boosted her confidence. The spell read, if done properly, should last as long as the witch or warlock desired, and to keep the antidote handy to transform back at will, the antidote simply being a thimbleful of the frogsmilk. Easy. She always kept a tiny bit put aside for this reason. She did like to plan ahead.
On the seventh month, a month in late winter, she was starting to be concerned about funds. Though to the rest of the world, she still had plenty of gold and then some, she was feeling pinched. She informed Galli that she needed the frogsmilk at an even greater discount; and if he obliged, she would join him for dinner. She stocked up on the milk, and made note of which his suppliers were. She had no intention of continuing to see him if she could help it, and asked if he would come to her home for the evening for a send-off meal. He greedily accepted her invitation.
He arrived at her door five minutes early. His eagerness distressed her, feeling his pallid aura pushing against the doorframe, an invisible force of sweat and rubbery blank stares. When she greeted him, in one hand he held a flask of frogsmilk tied with a gold and black ribbon, and in the other a pomegranate, a most messy and inconvenient of rare fruits. She plunked the pomegranate down in a bowl of onions, and took the frogsmilk and placed it carefully on the table.
The soup course came first. Mrs. Whitworth hated to cook, so she used canned and pre-packaged entrees and appetizers. The soup, cream of mushroom, was lukewarm, and the bottoms of the ready-to-bake rolls were burnt. The ice water has particles floating in it. Galli smiled and slurped his soup, stating it was the finest he had ever had, and how clever, to serve cream of mushroom soup chilled! Must be a new gourmet trend! Mrs. Whitworth then served the casserole, made with fish and more cream-based soup. She thoroughly enjoyed this, even though there were still tiny bones and unidentifiable bits and pieces of brown things. For dessert, she served apple tarts made with some mealy, syrupy apples cooked in sugar and cinnamon. There was too much sugar, not enough cinnamon, and the tart pooled on the little plates like a deflated beige balloon.
The conversation was as bland as the food. She had nothing to say to him, but it was just as well. He talked so much that food barely got down his gullet. During one of his lengthy descriptions on how much rent he paid per square foot and the taxes and the city and the horrible customers ("present company excluded, of course!") he dribbled some casserole out of his mouth back onto his plate. Mrs. Whitworth looked away but wretched and choked a bit. He didn't notice. HIs own voice dominated the room. A plan kept Mrs. Whitworth from screaming out loud: as she sat listening, her eyes hurting, her stomach roiling, she began to think herself the most clever widow in the province, for she had brewed more than fish casserole.
In his aperitif, was a secret that she hoped his annihilated palette would not detect: Bofu Potion. The spells calls for: one mushroom cap of pond scum, three parts princess tears, a dash of lichen, tied together in an unbleached linen shirt with a broken mandolin string.
He drank the concoction, and began to feel queasy. Surely it was the fish casserole. Mrs. Whitworth took his momentary silence to tell him she was thoroughly enjoying the frogsmilk, and wanted to share with him what she had been doing with it. She drank the prescribed amount, and began the transformation into a sleek, black cat, black as midnight under a toadstool's blankets, black as the water in a sea serpant's belly. But as she retained her human self, she wanted Galli to know that his fate had changed, and they would no longer be seeing each other, not as he wished. His skin turned sleek and dryly slippery, pustules and warts popped and bubbled, his rubbery lips widened even further, and he felt as if he were to heave an enormous belch when he let out the loudest, cracking croak. (The neighbors thought their floorboards shifted, looked up quizzically, and then returned to their newspapers, books, and orange cream cookies).
He was a toad, a squat, repelent bag of warts and future feaster of flies.
Mrs. Whitworth started to laugh at her skill, her trick, and her good-riddance forever of Galli. She could turn back to her human self at will, the antidote was just there—and then, with a leap on his newly strong legs that could propel his grotesque stump of a carriage, he sprang forward, knocking spoons end-over-end, like an slipshod circus trick, into her thimbleful of antidote. At that moment, she was completely a cat, with her human thoughts, and the means to get back was gone forever. She howled. Her howl was so fierce, so agonizing, that Galli the Toad bounded out of the room, out the kitchen window, and in his hasty departure from his human life, crossing over the sash and pane to his amphibian one, he knocked over the bottle of frogsmilk, shattering it. The fragile crystal fragments caused every drop to be dangerous and deadly. Mrs. Whitworth growled, and sobbed in her catty-voice. The neighbors dismissed the ruckus as racoons in garbage bins. They kept theirs safely secured, so not their problem.

The rain was devious. It found its way under the easement where Mrs. Whitworth sought shelter. It soaked through her scruffy pelt. It soaked through her paws, making her feel as if she were drowning. This was not how it was supposed to be. She gave one last weak ‘meow,’ and barely heard the approaching footsteps. “Oh, you poor little thing…come home with me, it’ll be all right,” Mrs. Whitworth heard this gentle voice as pale golden arms scooped her up and wrapped her in a warm, dry cloak. She didn’t fight, or claw, but felt relieved. A tiny bit of gratitude in order to regain her dignity was a fair price to pay.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


To clean up any recent negativity I may spilled, here are two tidings of happiness:

Last night, after a successful clear of Dragonsoul, with heroic Morchak, and pretty new gloves, it was time to help guildmates cut gems and embellish the goodies. I told a fellow teammate, a mage, with his new gear, he would thoroughly be kicking my tail. He said...

...sit down...

..."I don't see it that way - we are on the same team and helping each other..."

(smelling salts, please)

Oh, someone who GETS IT! That it's not about competition, or rubbing another player's nose in it, but understanding synergy!

Okay, I know you're sitting down, so here is Part II:

While leveling the intrepid Hildebruju, the Relunctant Warlock, she ran some dungeons. She apologized to the group at the beginning saying she recently changed specs, and knowing her damage in groups is shoddy (get her out on the open field with her voidwalker, and look out!).

The tank responded immediately, and said no problem, not to worry, and:

What is this? No nerd rage? No anger? Little Hildy has enough things to worry about--her stumpy legs plod along next to lithe Night Elves and athletic Draenei, her pug nose is not as charming when compared to the sugary-snacks of gnomes, and heaven knows her sexiness is slim when sidling next to a human girl.

So--players. Here's a thought. Just a notion. How about if we try these types of approaches? A little patience goes a long way. I ran four dungeons with the healer from that group, and hunter, and never once did they rage at me. I love that Hildy's biggest problem now is to get Jarel Moor to notice her. She can't see over the counter. He mistook her for a child and asked to see her ID, which thoroughly embarrassed her, so she ran downstairs and waited till she stopped blushing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Educating Miss Momo

Momokawa hiding in a tree

Yesterday, a minor calamity. My coffee maker, well, it kept leaking and damaging the counter, so much so I found a puddle of coffee in a mixing bowl in the cupboard. So, into the garbage, and going to wait till payday to get a new one. And the a/c broke. It keeps freezing up, and it finally turned warm. These are silly, menial bugaboos, but suffice it to say I'm not feeling super sharp right now. My similes are sloppy and my metaphors mopey.

Thank heavens other writers are writing great just-in-time articles:

Navi provides another amazing comprehensive guide to her tree spec and choices. See people, this is what I'm talking about! Now I am going to take a look at Momo's and shake up her tree a bit:


Also, Tzufit has a wonderful reflection on our sense of competition and raiding progression:


Finally, JD writes an editorial on why we should have account-wide ignore:

His idea has been expressed recently even in my guild chat. I was musing to myself that if that happens, at some point none of us will be talking to anyone in game, kind of like how no one likes to go out anymore--we all just nest at home. And in our nests, if we find friendships in the social interactive world, and get to pretend we're flying and killing dragons, what a bonus!

This brings up a bigger issue, and I was trying to find the research to back up this theory, but in any social context, things start off great, and then disintegrate. My druid Momokawa has been the recipient of asshattery, and I am hesitant to even log into her character for the concern that again, she will not win the healing mace to make her more efficient, or any of the tokens she needs to help her help others. But that's what I get for having so many alts and enjoying the game on many levels--shame on me! If I had just focused on one or two, they'd be flying around on their blue dragons with talking staffs and there'd be cookies and ice cream for everyone! (This brings up my annoyance - I just wish we could trade good weapons across our alts. Know it will never happen, but sure would be cool.)

Some links to articles on social interactions and computers:


A link to what motivates us: (love, baby, it's always love)

And finally, a book review link from a Forbes writer, Why Doesn't Society Just Fall Apart?

I have no doubt that the wizards at Blizzard take long, hard looks at these kinds of studies.
Even Yoda evolves...

However good the intentions are of MMOs and their desires for us all to get along, work out our own issues, and report for spam, my continued response is we are not sea-monkeys. We did not spawn out of salt and water. Well, we did, but okay, I'm hoping we've evolved a tiny bit since primordial soup and crackers days. Soup to nuts is more like it.

We all want to belong.
In the efforts to belong, sometimes humans are cruel thinking that is what will gain them social status.
We all need play.
In our efforts to find respite and relaxation, sometimes we choose activities that are competitive and goal-oriented.
Sometimes people are jerks because they are.
Studying their motivations for psychotic behavior is a full-time job, and we as a society often fail tragically.

Case in point: Yesterday I was went to LFR with my dear friend. There was this shaman healer, and something...wasn't right. A druid grabbed the healing off-hand, and you would have thought he punched the shaman's mother. The shaman would NOT SHUT UP, even after the druid whose main space was resto, offered to another healer besides the two who were griefing him relentlessly, and I mean relentlessly. I even opened my mouth. The shaman kept yelling NINJA NO HEALS I WILL NOT HEAL IF DON'T GET THINGY NINJA NINJA....and guess what? I voted to kick after we wiped twice on Blackhorn or Blackthorn or whatever, and he was not healing anyone. It took another wipe before people clicked to kick. Unbelievable. It was quasi-hostage mode. I know certain personalities I like to call "hostage takers," who play the social game stakes way too high. These are some scary, crazy dudes. Maybe he read The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson. Or maybe he didn't.

The fact is behind the screens are many mentally imbalanced folks. We are not doing a good job as a civilization in taking care of them. Now, I am about to veer off into territory I don't want to, so I'll stop now.

So when life takes your coffee pot, make tea. It's more civilized anyway.

Postscript: Just saw this image on Facebook

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cirque du So?

A new title of achievement...now for some real-world ones..

I just started reading The Night Circus, which Tome recommended to me. It is, so far, a perfect book for me. I have a big, fat stack of books, both of the professional, informational variety and the entertaining sort. After reading the first four of the Game of Thrones epics back-to-back, (which I do not recommended) it's time I turned my thoughts in a different direction for a bit...

...and I am going to say something very upside-down and inside out--there is a scene at the beginning in Circus with a ring. There are all kinds of rings in stories, for rings are symbols. Symbols are generally universal, need no Tower of Babel directions or Rosetta Stones. A circle is eternal. It reminded me of the ring rite-of-passage in that little fan-fict story I wrote not too long ago. As I was reading it, I thought, oh wow, if anyone ever read that and the Circus book, they may have thought I borrowed too heavily. But I didn't. And, there has been many times I have thought that my style is very similar to Tome's, and that folks probably think I'm riding on her blogroll coattails. Wait, let me clarify: I am not suggesting I am as good as a writer as Erin Morganstern, not even close. That's like me saying, "Hey, I'm made some grilled salmon once, call me Bobby Flay!" Nope. But I feel--weird. I do feel upside-down and inside-out right now. And being a woman of action, dammit, I want to do something about it, because this is not a comfortable feeling. 

I guess I'm just feeling a bit of a factory-model, and not the showroom these days. 

In college, I noticed many a young art student haunting museums, trying to replicate the masters' styles. There is something to be said for this kind of training. It always used to irritate and fascinate me when I found out that Albrecht Dürer and most artists had a stable of apprentices who executed their visions. 
Now that's a boss...

But maybe that's it -- what I'm feeling-- that I'm trying to stay imaginative and fresh, but while I was chasing dragons, the toady bureaucrats were filling in the blank spaces with shades of dull. The other day someone I adore used the term "control trap." I will tell you my interpretation: when someone you have some kind of relationship with, be it romantic, work, etc., puts forth something that is a "sketch," a "work in progress" -- and makes it clear it may change. Okay. You move forward. You got this. Flexible. Sure. And then a few months down the road, when you've executed the master's vision as close to his specifications as possible--BAM--"That is not meeting expectations. What are you doing?! (I hear Hagara's voice in my mind right now). Didn't you follow the (fill in the blank of the name of whatever manifesto provided)? Hear that? That is the sounds of steel-jaws around your ankle. Good luck gnawing your way out of this one.

However, I am not sure what I do want to do. Sit on the warm sidewalk in Dalaran after eating Magic Eaters and turning into a tiny basilisk sounds good:

Mrs. Whitworth isn't sure if Zep is dangerous or a snack...or both

Here is some good news in Azeroth: My guild's Team 2 did MoD. I know it's old news for many players, such old news that for weeks the WoW Insiders, and tweets, and blogs and such are suffocating on their own ennui. Many have played the beta of MoP so much I fear for them when it is finally released--the cake is baking, and they already dipped their fingers in the frosting.

To pick up on the Matty's Urban Achievers post, the thing is --it doesn't really matter. I enjoy those who are still hanging around Azeroth, keeping the gutters clean, picking up the trash, and making sure the Ironforge tram is running on time. I like derping around for a bit because cross-dressing rogue told me how to get a Flamefly pet. I like doing LFR with my bestest buddy and seeing him make gnomes cry with his magical locket. I like blowing up magma traps by Firelands and floating down to safety. Those seem to be the only traps I can spot.

But back to the eternal memes: I know I sound dumb--there are thousands of uses of the word "ring" in thousands of stories. It's not just the ring, it's just this sense of not being unique, or one-of-a-kind lately. And since this blog is for me to figure that out, I think I just did. It is being put in control traps by unimaginative, stubborn people.  Yuck. A pox on all of them!

To, to some fresh air (it's been so wooly stuffy cloudy yucky for weeks here), to some new thoughts, and some new grooves in my brain. Can't catch me, punks, I'm not taking that trap bait.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Drabble: The Bodyguard

Hildy giggled at her pumpkin head...

The large, shadow-infused Omkrit was the huffing color of a deep summer midnight. His protectiveness contradicted his protests. Of the troika of demons at her amateurish disposal, he was her favorite.  He was enslaved by all manner of sorcerers, but Hildy was unique. When the others died, he slipped away until summoned forth anew. She giggled as braids twirled, or spells twisted, “Oh dearie me, Ommie, oh! No! Look! Another one got away! She would yell whenever a beastie got the upper-hand of her mucky spells. Hildy needed him, and woe to those who would hurt her. She was safe.

Matty's Urban Achievers...

...and proud we are of all of them!

Truth be told, I cannot think of a title for this post. That one seems to snarky, but others seem too self-important.

Let me share an observation, a meme, a collective consciousness of Azeroth:

Players want to...play.

I am starting to keep score of how many times a players wants to go on a mog run, or get together a group for Ice Crown, or fill in the blanks for rep. Many just say they're "waiting for expansion," but I think there is something more to it than that. But for some reason, and I'm not sure why, (perhaps it's a culture of the game I am not familiar with), many players seem almost embarrassed that they want to go back and finish some achievements.

What is up with that?

Let me give you a few examples of how I know players just want to play, no apologies:

I am gratefully part of a cross-realm ICC Sunday night run. I mean...like really grateful. I started this last May with another guild, and they either dropped it, dropped me, or got swept up in their Firelands achievements. The new shiny came out, and that was that.

Turns out, when one of my guild officers saw that I was there, was saddened, because she's been saving her lock-out for a very long time to complete it. Lady: read to the end, please.

Here is where I stand now:
Those last three are going to be tricky...we barely got Sindragosa, and the Vile plague-stuff is yucky.

Got this cool new hat: part Bullwinkle, part Blair Witch Project
There are still a few things to attack....

And, while I was on, and came out of my Lich mode, a good player friend said, "Dang, it stinks to get a cool achievement and no one's on to congratulate you!" I asked him what it was, and it was this:

Congratulations indeed!! I LOVE this achievement, and it's been on my list, too! I recently finished A Feast for Crows, having reading the first four Game of Thrones epics back to back, which I do not recommend. That is really the issue with coming late to the party, isn't it? In this push-push-push for prorgression, I would just ask that players give themselves permission to feel proud and have fun with older content, too. I'll tell ya what--Arthas can still kick your tail in heroic mode, and those achievements' mechanics are still tricky and take coordinated dance steps. Not everyone can jump up and do the Shag or the Pony--it takes a few trips to the punchbowl and a willingness to look like a dork.

Lady: If you want to do these, I'm your girl. Woman. Whatever. You are a busy lady, as I am, and your experience as a progression raider far outweighs mine. But if you want me to help you coordinate these, and can promise to take a Vow of Fun, I'm in. I'll be continuining with my cross-realm compadres on Sunday nights, but hey, look at the guild calendar and see what works for you. Knowing your resources/personnel is about 90% of this success. Herding cats can be rewarding and profitable. And you might get a cool hat.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Lovely Ceniza...

Maybe someday, when she's level 185, Ceniza will get the epic staff...

If Ceniza was getting a report card, it would say, "Charming student, very entertaining and quick of wit; however, not performing to potential." She would be the one in the all-girls school who sneaks out during detention for a pack of smokes and cherry pop. She is wasting her talents, that is for sure.

So, during an LFR run, another fire mage was once again kicking her tail. Did she dare look at his gear? Sure...he probably had all 410 etc., so that must be the reason.

Nope. Not even close. A few LFR pieces, and even a 359 trinket. Ceniza: This is your reality check.

Let's go about this the smart way, shall we? I mean, mages have a lot of intelligence, so put your nose in a book instead of a Marlboro for a change, girl!*

For this little fire girl, I looked over the other player on the armory, and studied recount thoroughly. I noticed on his pet abilities (i.e. mirror images) they were casting frostfire --mmmm...so this made me look hard at my glyphs and that spell. Bottom line, I changed some glyphs and spells around, and did much better during another LFR run, and a reforge, too. I'm still no where close to what I can and should be doing on that mage, so perhaps like a bad golf swing, I need to think about my rotation. In other words, the effort and study is not complete yet.

Many players are purists about using add-ons, or not, in game. I totally get that. From a game designer's perspective, they made the game and created a leveled playing field. Then come along the third-party developers making add-ons and bells and whistles and now the carefully configured gamers' world is customized. There have been many times add-ons have caused me much grief and play disasters. Some of that sh*t isn't street legal.

The case for use of add-ons is clear though: if you want information, data, at your own fingertips, and more control over the big plays of the game, then they are a must. Ones like DBM and Recount/Skada are some of what I consider non-negotiable. Data informs instruction. That's it. If you don't know where you stand, you will stand in fire, metaphorically and game-literally.

Recently I had a few leet players look over my shoulder and were horrified at GTFO. I took it off. It served its training purposes for me, and was starting to become a crutch. With anything, perhaps, it is that flexible thinking, the willingness to try something new, that keeps any learning experience fun. And hate to break it to you guys, but this is an educational game. I know you were ready to meet Ceniza in the girls' room for smokes and gossip, and that's cool, too.

This quote has been on my mind a lot lately:

Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien.
• The best is the enemy of the good.
• "La Bégueule" (Contes, 1772)
• Variant translations:
The perfect is the enemy of the good.
The better is the enemy of the good.

*No, I do not condone smoking in real life. Let me play out a Hollywood smoking stereotype, please.

Theme Song: Lovely Rita (Meter Maid) The Beatles

Saturday, July 21, 2012

SUPERSTAR! Or, St. Mary Katherine Gallagher

I was joking yesterday that I need a new novena candle, one I can light when I am in cranky-pants mode, regretting social entanglements, and pray to the Goddess of Hors d'oeuvres and Social Graces, the goddess to whom one prays to when feeling less than amicable, less than cheerful, and repressing the urge to yell "Get these mothereffffffingwarriorsofffmymothereffffffffffingpug!"

Too much life stress is like too much of anything--it will inevitably spill over and leave stains. It just does. No matter how much we try to contain anxiety or stress, it kicks and spins into our sleep, our walks, our play time, and meditative moments. It cries, and must be changed and fed.

To that end, here are my rants. Walk away now. It's going to smell bad.

Raiding: (And my neutral feelings on Chuck Norris)

Last Wednesday it dawned on me that I was the only female in our group. It meant nothing. I was near the top in DPS, did what I was supposed to do, and everyone did. It was a great night. We had a wonderful healer come back, and I hope he doesn't get bored with this team's learning-the-ropes mode.

Wait, was there a rant associated with this? No, actually. On the last attempt, however, the game bugged out, dragging our wonderful rogue into the briny depths of the maelstrom, out of range for rescue. We call in the helicopters and fire department, but alas, he was gone. We almost had it too, but almost and game bugs don't count. But I am heartened to know if we are on our game on Monday, and I plan on it, we will succeed, and then move onto tougher challenges.

I work in a predominately female-populated career. No, not a stripper, (I know, you wish). Was it pleasant or different to be the only woman? Honestly, didn't really notice, until I did, and it didn't seem to change the dynamic much. At least the gentlemen didn't seem to mind, or care, which is the good thing. I am not a Queen Bee type, I just want to play, and hold my own.

Cataclysm Dungeon Hero and the Mount

This is how it went: I fell off the damn camel again. I died and lost my lightening stacks at a critical moment. I got frostbite. I got eaten by crocs. Of the six ones I needed, I managed to get two done, which was great, the I Hate That Song one, thanks to a guildmate's instructions, the the Acropolypse Now one. These adventures into Achievement Land without my buddy Kaylyne left me very cranky, and I was misunderstood a lot yesterday. I have days like that. No matter what I try to say or type, it gets misunderstood, talked-over, or not heard. After my fail attempt at not getting bucked by that damn camel, I said I would come back with others, stating that in PUGS it was tough to get folks to go to the camel place. It was misunderstood that I was being whiny and pout-y, that they were more than happy to come back and help me, but that is not what I was fishing for. I was trying to say I do not mind coming back with other friends and trying again, but was not going to PUG that one. I also am mad at myself for becoming "that player." A sweet guildmate kept mispronouncing my name, "Muttkah" or something like that, and I tried to say nicely, "Just call me Matty," but everything I said or typed got left-footed wonky. This is a brain fact: Brains love patterns. If you get lost going some place, even when you find it, your brain will want to go the wrong direction again. If I call someone by their incorrect name or proununcation, even when I practice it, it will still come out wrong. It's why mothers call their children by the wrong names. It was no big deal, but then I didn't mean to make it a big deal, just wanted to be called "Matty." Stupid me.

Here is a screenshot of my repair bill for the day's events:
And, I am still not given guild repair, calendar event, or title status yet. I know...patience young Padawan, patience. 

The Sporeggar

Somehow in the beginnings of my nubbiness, I may have killed a little Spore guy, you know, by mistake, once or twice. They hate me. So, to make amends, today I thought I would go down to Zangermarsh, kill the bogs, and make the Spore happy. I never noticed this, but the bog creatures spend a lot of time sniffing their armpits:

Don't you wish everyone would use Dial?
I am so intent on making these little guys my friends, I set up my hearth in Telredor:
Looks spa-ish to me!

Luperci and the Use of Leap of Faith

I cannot believe I am going to even write this. Never in my wildest dreams would I have to tell a priest not to use Leap of Faith on Luperci will holding aggro on a mob. And then be told I AM THE FAIL TANK. The Druid who replaced the warrior was justifying it, too...gods help me now please.

Yes, and warrior, you got kicked because you forgot you didn't queue as a tank. Again. Again. And again.

That last run left me shaking mad. Blizzard: Thank you for the goodie bags for tanks and healers, cause right about now, they are the only thing that is keeping me logging in to see how Lupe is doing. But most of the goodie bags are filled with Jordan's almonds from the bottom of an old lady's purse and day-old Juicy Fruit. No thanks. Next time a healer uses LOF on me not once, but twice, in a run, you'd better give me a damn title or achievement, or a dragon mount just because I showed up. And I still held aggro.

The thing that sticks in my craw is players that think they know every damn thing. Growth thinking, people!! Be fluid, plastic, and flexible in your chi, dudes. And a big nod to the hunter who knew what he was doing. I could have kissed your misdirect.

So my dear friends, tell me I am a superstar. Tell me I rock. Tell me you love me. Or at least light a candle and say a prayer for me. I think when I log in next, I'll put on the Busy Sign, and help the Spores out until I am less stinky.

Theme Song: Superstar (sniffing armpits optional)


I also forgot to mention that everyone knows I do not want to see MoP stuff, but somehow do not mind reading about Theramore. I see Theramore's lore as an extension of current game play, not new materials. Just wanted to clarify that, if anyone cares. Which they don't.

Also, great article: http://preciousandsoft.tumblr.com/post/26657080694/the-smart-kids-arent-the-only-smart-kids

Friday, July 20, 2012

Free fallin'

In my little corner of the real world, thunderstorms are cracking and deluging the humans and weasels alike. The weather patterns contrast greatly from the great plains of the States, for in the Pacific Northwest, buffeted by various mountain ranges and oceans, rain is common, but the necessary heat to produce thunderstorms is not. Large cumulonimbus castles of clouds are not part of the tropospheric architecture. And while thunderstorms cause many anxiety; dogs, cats, and humans alike, I enjoy them. I woke up this morning with a lot of other kinds of anxiety, and those little demons I'm trying to wrangle. They are harshing my mellow, for sure. I should clarify the harshing is coming from thedemons, not the thunderstorms. Nothing big, and completely selfish, but the Cersei of my world won an important strategic manuveur, and I'm trying to rally my mental troops to defend my keep. Hey, nothing like mixed metaphors before 9am!

When I do my internal T-chart of plusses and minuses, a huge boon are my in-game friends. This is the bowling league, the chess club, the D&D club, the "meet you at the pub for a pint" group I wanted.

Here is one small example:

He will write his own post, so I'll leave him to it. This in one tiny bit:

Ceniza went to Firelands last night. Being a mage in there is extremely different from an enhancment shaman or priest healer. And a fail mage at that. (Still working on her--but think I may have found a solution, or at least some help.) But I remember back with Running With Scissor, the tricksy mage who was in charge of "setting off the traps" and I was always so intrigued by this. What did this mean? And I knew our RL told her to use her slow fall. Slow fall!! I have that!! Can I use it? Huh? Huh?

Yes, indeed:

The first time I tried it I admit got over-excited and forget to target myself and went splat. Have no fear, would not make that mistake again! Run to hot lava pools, get blown up to the ceiling, target, hit slow fall, and gently float down all the while hitting my fire spells on the fly--literally! Grand fun, folks! I know Ceniza is difficult to see in that sea of red , but there she is, just above the +3950 health she gave herself from her herbalism and Draenei gift heals.

But what you do not see in this picture is I was with some of the nicest, calmest, mature, and just genuinely friendly players as I have ever known. I wish I could have bought them all a round or a latte or fudgsicle, because they were very sweet.

And if I ever doubt my sanity over alts again, I should remind myself of this post. The view was quite different from up here, above the clouds.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Teeny-tiny story time: Bored acts of kindness...

Ceniza had some important business with Landro in Booty Bay, and was perusing his many wares, seeking one particular treasure. a grim campfire. It would be a new trick in her bags, something to amuse her. The days needed some amusement, and if tossing skulls on blue flames like marshmallows on gruesome graham crackers, well, it was something at least to break the boredom. Mages should never be allowed boredom just as a courtesy. The day promised to be hot in the grasslands and cities of Eastern Kingdoms, but here in the southern-most tip, the water was warm, the breeze was gingery-and-lemon cool, and she had no where to go and nothing in particular to do. Landro allowed himself a quick glance, noting her lack of clothing, and appreciating the view, but only a quick one. He and his thugs were more interested in the vistas of gold, not the tall Draenei view. A little voice sent her one of those pink messages, "Can you help me please?"

"Not at the moment, I am sorry." Ceniza responded.

"Oh, okay, thanks anyway."

That little...tug.

Ceniza found her campfire, and lit a fire right there on the oily docks. If the whole bloody mess of pirates, parrots, and goblins went up in flames, well, it wasn't her fault. They should have had stricter fire codes. But no, nothing, just a heap of big-eyed skulls, strange sticks and crooked kindling, and swaying blue flames.

"Do you still need help?"

And sure enough, he did. The voice came from a Dwarf, who was disoriented on the Alliance side, trying to find his way to Booty Bay to the neutral auction house. And if you asked Ceniza now why she thought she would come to his aid, she would just look at you, shrug her pretty shoulders and go set something on fire. Maybe she wanted to discover her own abilities with portals and parties, and see how far and fast she could get this little man to where he wanted to be. Because...he was in Stormwind.  No where near Booty Bay.

After some discussion, she decided to at least bring him to where the Flight Master was. She remembered hearing a story of a cousin who woke up in Ogrimmar and was so disoriented by being on "the other side" she fell off of the zeppelin and was never heard from again.

When Ceniza found him, he was wearing only his skivvies, crouched in a corner near the wall to the harbor and the farmer's field. He seemed so...vulnerable. Ceniza's maternal instincts are shriveled on good days, and non-existent on bad. But little near-naked Dwarfs...poor guy.

"Why aren't you in Ironforge?" He never did give a very good or reasonable explanation for that question. If he was a Dwarf, he would have begun his journey in Coldridge Valley, and he said he walked all the way to Stormwind.

She escorted him all the way to the Flight Master, round and down the alleys and cobblestones, up the stairs, always checking to make sure he was keeping up on tree-stumps of legs. She didn't blink for speed, but kept a brisk pace. In any case, he could not fly to Booty Bay, as the Flight Master was not offering services to that area for someone so lowly. Ceniza realized she could help him no further. She called in the big aid...Matty's Stone Drake.

Mataoka was enjoying a nice cup of honeymint tea when Ceniza asked for her assistance. Ceniza never asks for help, so this was surprising. Matty was not alarmed to find him wearing only his boxer-shorts: Dwarfs tendency to drop trou around her was common knowledge. She found the young gent, and when he hopped on her dragon-form back, his little butt-cheeks made a sound that can only be described as plotz....Matty shuddered, hoping she could find a pool large enough to wash off her dragon form. Naked Dwarf cheeks can be felt through dragon armor, just letting one and all know.

As they flew to Booty Bay, he confessed to her in his usual form, he was something she might hate, and would regret helping him.

"A Troll."

"No worries, as long as you don't say Undead Rogue, we're fine."

"And what if I did?"

"Then I might have to give you a parachute and send you on your way!"

"Well, I was one many years ago, but now I am a Troll Warrior."

Matty wasn't sure that between Dwarf butts on her back or a Troll, which would need the most scrubbing, but good deeds usually come with germs. Goes with the territory.

He found his way to the auction house, and they said their thanks, welcomes, and farewells. All Matty hopes is that if this little Dwarf's friend, the Troll, finds a chance to do something nice or generous for someone else someday, that he does, remembering a kind Draenei girl on the Alliance side.

Matty saw some storm clouds to the west from the her vantage point near her secret waterfall, heading toward Theramore. It was still a beautiful day, though.