Saturday, March 31, 2012

Thirty-foot pole: Can I see your ID?

With all the "isms" out there, one would think I would have better sense. But I don't. (Need further evidence? Just read any of the over 500+ posts I've written and there are data to support this theory.)

But here I go, poking a stick at another topic that can be detrimental to one's health: ageism.

Sexism and racism are very real and damaging issues in our "social" world, virtual and real. And the lines between virtual and real are so damn blurred, so muddied, I seriously wonder if we as a species will ever be able to extricate ourselves from our digital overlords. In thinking of getting an i-Phone, and the thought of Siri's voice telling me what to do and where to go greatly disturbs me. Now, if Pierce Bronsnan was telling me, sure. Whatever you say, Pierce. Rule, Britannia!

Sorry, my mind wanders off. I'm well over the age of 18, and we in our dotage tend to meander. See what happens when I don't take my pills?

Ageism is a very real and damning excuse for exclusion and discrimination. This issue goes across all age groups, too, so young'uns, don't think I'm finger wagging at your lack of respect for your elders. It strikes me as such hypocrisy, in myself mostly, and my discomfort when I find myself, a perfectly capable, mature adult, when I spend hours, hours "playing a game" and feeling real emotions over it! Like a spoiled brat who throws a temper-tantrum when they don't get to be the race-car token while playing Monopoly. (Remember those? Board games? I think of them as bored-games, and was never interested in them. But they were made of wood, paper, metal, and plastic, and humans would gather around these mystical rectangular alters of skill and chance, and then, oh no, create lasting cherished or dysfunctional memories, depending on the addition of mean older sibling or bratty next-door-neighbor or disinterested parent. Hey, we all have our roles to play. I liked being the banker because, well, I liked to cheat.)

So, I have found myself never, ever telling anyone how old I am. There are way too many biases against players who are over thirty, and especially if they're female. Perfectly nice bloggers will defend one another and then gasp in astonishment over "Hey, there are even grandmas who are guildmasters and raid leaders!"

And, there are way too many biases against those under twelve. When baby cub started playing years ago with papa bear and uncle bear, the guild chastised and sanctioned him time and again. These were GROWN MEN who were so mean to the baby cub that papa bear hit a mighty /gquit with one swipe of his paw and never looked back. But it soured the whole experience from then on. And baby cub's innocence and joy was damaged, too, but hey, that's life, right? Get a few knocks and punches, all part of growing up, right? (Sad face.) This is why Big Bear's Cub Reports take me back to a happy place. Hope his baby cub is better protected.)

When I read trade chat or the trash-talk that goes on, I know it's most likely teenagers being complete jackasses to one another, and then have the horrifying realization that one of them is a former guildmate whom I know is a grown man with a family. So, is this man pretending to be young again? And, who am I to judge, really? I am a grown woman, and yet, thoroughly enjoy pretending to be a hooven-horned space goat running around, perpetually young, nubile, and sparky?

Who am I to judge indeed.

So, how old am I in real life? As my former guildmaster Xak was quoted as saying, "A real gentleman always knows a lady's birthday, but never her age." How Cary Grant of him.

My birthday is in February. And none of your damn business.

DAMMIT. I had this post in mind, and there goes WoW Insider, too!

Theme song: When I'm Sixty-Four/The Beatles (and no, not yet)

Got skills? Apparently not.

I wish I had better news. I wish I didn't have a teeny-tiny hangover from two big-gulp sized Grey Goose dirty martinis. I wish I had gotten more sleep. What I wanted to report this morning was a surprise, that my latest Ironman project had reached level 15 safe and sound, but alas...not meant to be. 

Hachette and Lapinou, her wolf, had risen the ranks through thick and thin, with one narrow escape in Westfall and otherwise, enjoying a certain amount of pride, and yes, actual enjoyment of trying to figure out what to do in order to make enough coin to even train properly. "She" even took some eggs to market and made some pocket change. And her wolf? A more loyal, spunky, and brave pet one has ever known. Lapinou is a French pet-name which roughly translates to 'little bunny rabbit,' a cute name a parent might affectionately call a child. 

She even defeated Hogger!
Lapinou drags in a few Riverpaws, but all ended well...that time.

Ah, but again, the heroine's hubris is her downfall. With a clown to the left of me, and a joker to the right, she succumbed to the fast-spawning murloc population along the sandy shores of Westfall, and then proceeded to run into countless packs of Riverpaws. Both Hachette and Lapinou were overcome, and there is the health bar depleting faster than hope that gas prices will ever go down. And while I give the report of this latest catastrophe to the sweet joker to my right, he says, "You know, you just don't have to be good at everything in WoW." I can't quite describe his tone, but it was sweet, and caused a minor epiphany on my part. I am not good at anything in WoW! I report this to the clown to my left, in this conversation:

Now, the joker to the right was right. He observed that each time my character dies during an Ironman is when I lose focus. I'm talking, the television is on, and there may be a martini present. He wasn't being mean, not at all, simply stating a truth. And his second observation is also true--as is my friend's. I am a good friend, which is probably why Azeroth has lost some of its flavor of late. Guarf is still doing whatever it is Guarf does. There is a very annoying scroll of resurrection that I refuse to click on due to principles. Finally, I keep resisting the urge to whisper folks looking "to build their raid teams." I just don't want to be yelled at anymore by a 20-something. Go figure. But--again, I am truly blessed. I do have the joker, and the clown (just kidding, guys!) and many others in and out of Azeroth whom I love, adore, and get to hug, with typed words or real arms. And I bet if I ask nicely, I can even get some aspirin for this hangover.

Now -- do I continue with Hachette in regular Ironman (don't you get to die in that one, just none of the other buffs/talents?) or start again? Or, Plan C, just continue with her going full-bore, all the goodies, gold and glory? Not sure where that leave poor Haanta, with another hunter in the house. But there is something to be said for fresh starts, but I'm not sure where the mark is. Maybe I had better figure that out before I do "ready, set." 

For now, au revoir mon cher et être bien, Hachette.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Drabble: Walk

“You are a damn idiot, Matty. You called me out from the hunt for this frivolity, and then you dare to presume, and tell me to change my boots? I earned these, Matty, every step of the way. You and yours did nothing to help me. From the moment I left Azuremyst, I did this on my own. These boots – you call them ugly? Provisioner Whitecloud doesn’t give these away, Mataoka. I indulged your dress-up time, a waste of time, and you don’t have the right to tell me what else to do. So shove-off, shaman cousin. Leave me be.” 

Hidden panda, crouching Draenei

Was thinking this morning, with all the blogging players getting their betas, they are of course excitedly and rightfully sharing posts about their experiences. So, please, do not be offended if I don't click on your blog for a bit. It's not jealousy, I promise. I don't read movie reviews, and quite often will turn off a trailer or shut it out if I feel it's revealing too much. I want to experience it myself. The ten minutes I got to play at Blizzcon was like a crumb of a sample, grateful for it I am (oh Yoda voice, where did you come from?) but it is not enough to sustain me.

Anyway, going to be not reading for a while. And to be fair, I admitted to myself if I had received my beta, I'd be putting screenshots and commentary all over this blog. Sharing is awesome. And, I'm glad those bloggers are sharing, because then I have those resources when I need them. So, this is a lesson for me. Just going to hide over here for a bit, behind the World Tree, and wait for the fire to blow over. And keep checking my mail.

Twenty-Foot Pole: Blessings upon your family!

Ceniza had a bad run-in, or four, with some crazed cultists.

Well, many stalwart women and men have been alligator-mud-jello wrestling feminism issues in Azeroth. I walked away with kind of a sadness, really. I know that gender discrimination is alive in well, but am sorry it exists at all. Was joking with young leet druid yesterday about some countries' potential travel brochures, "Hey, come visit us! We don't listen to women!" Okay, sorry. Too soon.
ANYWAY, I extended my pole and was thinking about religion and spirituality in Azeroth when I watched this video (it is seven minutes very well spent):

I am a Draeneist. I believe in helping those less fortunate than myself. I practice Draeneism, and try to walk in the light, and throw out blessings like smiles. My question is, are any of the spiritual practices in the game familiar or annoying to you, or both? Do you have an affinity for one path or another? And just like heroes, does your narrative veer off-course, too?  (I'm not suggesting the writer of Dodge, Parry, Block is off-course. I love his tagline, "Tanking your way to fame and fortune, and the line, 'Azeroth Depends on our vigilance." Man, does that sum up heroes.)

Blessings upon your family, and I mean that.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


A cute little gnome I know started her own blog - she's sweet as a cupcake on a honeybee's nose, so when you have time give her a howdy-do!

Know Your Archetype: The Temptress

It's always a dame.

Ah, the Temptress: the other woman, the she-devil, the hussy.

In Azeroth, aside from some players who may or may not be female tempting players with flirtatious sexual overtones, (I'm not sure what button* is your feminine wiles buff, but hey, you'll have to answer to your game-girl sisterhood on that one), the Temptress is the ultimate self-actualized chica. She really doesn't care whether or not she's liked, but succumbing to her charms is non-negotiable. It starts off with heavy dose of Circe, a dash of Eve, a great haircut from Delilah, and the Southern drawl of Scarlet. of "Don't Give a Damn, not in the letter "A." Hester Prynne is so misunderstood. Which brings me to this thought: why is the temptation in mythology always in female form? Is it just because women aren't often the protagonists in tales? I know we need to change that. And speaking of the Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne is indeed the protagonist, and is Dimmesdale the tempter? He pays the price for it though, and most temptresses don't. Okay, except for maybe Cleopatra and that incident with her asp.

The temptresses in the game tend to be the succubi,  the Night Elf handmaidens, the charming-whipping-put-you-to-dreamy-sleep-slip-a-mickey-in-your-mead types. Which leads me to this, too: there aren't enough female bosses in the game. Oh, sure, there's Queen Azshara, Lady Sylvanas, and Tyrande, and this monument to "Not Everyone Should Wear Lycra:" Queen Therazane. While doing research again, I see that even Rades has mentioned this.  I don't consider Tyrande  a temptress, though. She's solidly in the 'mother' wing of archetypes. And I'm not sure who would be tempted by Therazane, but to each his own.

The Temptress uses sex and hedonism to get the hero off-task, and I'm not going to try to say it delicately. What I appreciate about femme fatales in mythology/legends is that they are so unapologetic about it, too. Circe doesn't give one fig if Odysseus gets home to a hot supper; Calypso does, and that is the heartbreak. But Circe, nope. One more man-bear-pig and she's good to go. Stick around, boys. Men are their playthings, their toys. And this begs the question, when one has little power, is sexual power better than nothing? (I swear I do not ask these rhetorical questions because I have answers - I really wonder about this stuff sometimes. That's a lie. I've spent a lifetime thinking about it in one context or another. Maybe I'll get a chance to see my friend with the PhD in Medieval Women's Theatre/ Literature and discuss sexual-historical paradigms in gender-politics. Or maybe we'll just have a martini. Heck, what am I thinking? We're WOMEN! We can do both!

But who in game might be a temptress given the various classes/races? I would say Trolls and Night Elf Druids, and Worgens, too. It's the shape-shifting, seductive dances, and dreamy green sleep that produces this tempting effect. But really--the shape-shifting. The ability to be many things at once, ferocious and primal--very intense stuff.

In looking for images I ran across this:

and it reminded me of Bettie Page, 1950s "star." Nothing is ever new, is it?

*Can you imagine the icon for that spell? Think about it. Use your imagination.

In any case, Bear's post and links today have me all kinds of laughing. Check it out.

Update: Forgot to add this theme song: Tempted/Squeeze

Leave my horns alone.

I swear, I was JUST thinking about this when I woke up this morning:  and thinking the same thing - they can change some things around, but please, please leave my Draenei girls alone.

...except, need updated hairstyles. No more 70s feathered looks, please. Please. Please.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Know Your Archetype: The Hero

Or,  how to go from a Hero to Zero, in no time flat.

Originally, I was going to address the Temptress in the archetype series, but too many recent posts conspired and coalesced that I changed my mind, and decided to tackle heroes/heroines. (Although conquering one’s desire with the femme fatale would be very challenging, especially with all these posts on feminism. All hail Samantha Bee! All hail Kristin Shaal! Felicia Day,Gloria Steinem – remember when feminists got upset when she got married? She of the a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle fame?

What qualities make a ‘hero?’ Courage, bravery, willingness to help others in times of difficulty, selfless acts of generosity of spirit, time, and resources. Wait. Am I describing a hero or a Labrador Retriever?

It is not my intent to debate the definition of bravery or courage. No one will ever agree on these, their connotations versus denotations. It is only my intent to describe the archetype of a hero in mythology, and in the mythos of gaming. Walk down the gallery of busts and pedestals, the annals of history, and see what we can see. (But I kind of failed at this.)

This comment interested me: March 27, 2012 at 11:15 pmI’m not sure being controversial or stirring shit for the sake of it has much to do with bravery. just as a side-note, definitions are getting a bit too mixed up for me here and there. my own definition of bravery is that one must overcome his own fears and therefore in fact be afraid to do something and yet do it. if you’re not afraid to be loud or honest or of potential reader reactions, then you are in fact not brave – no matter what the topic is.I am not even sure such a thing as “internet bravery” exists; that is my view based on people I have met in real life and what they have gone through and put up with everyday. nobody on the important internet will ever hear their story. it’s all wonderful to pat shoulders in internet communities, but sometimes I miss a bit of a reality check among the self-bravado. I will never consider any act of mine that requires me to push a publish button behind the safety (and anonymity) of my PC screen an act of true yeah, I second Rohan on the complicated topic ;)

Is it brave to get out of a bad marriage? Sit by a sick child? File a harassment suit? Stand up to a bully? It is not for any of you to judge the small acts of courage. Nor is it your task to heap guilt on the ones you don’t think are behaving in a courageous manner. That whole free-will thing and all that. We honor the heroes because they do step out way in front, but sometimes they step out in front because everyone else has taken five steps backwards.

I’ll let that one sink in.

It is facing what we fear. Say someone posts something difficult. We just read words. We don't see them. We can’t know if the person started crying after reading a response, or if their fingers were shaking before they hit publish. I do think we have all become a bit jaded when it comes to courage; we are fatigued as a world. Like an old fire horse who jumps out the door at the sound of the alarm, some of us still jump at the plea for help, and don’t turn our backs on others.

But heroes get tired, too. I always think of the opening exposition in The Incredibles when the hero is so weary, but still, wanting to be out in the fray, in the action, and he risks everything, especially the aggro-threat of wifely nagging. Oh, there is no sharper weapon than a woman’s disappointment.

We keep rehashing what I wish and feel should be done, and over. But maybe that is the essence of a cycle, a journey. It ends and begins again, with each generation trying to define their sense of community and involvement.  Where is the place for a paladin now? I keep remember my friend saying months ago, “We used to be kings of this world.” I wrote the Paladin’s Tale based on that comment. Washed-up, has-been, themes of former glory (just watch any Wes Anderson tale, especially The Royal Tenenbaums if you want stories of former glory and present-tense redemption.)

Keep Calm and Carry On, or as one Twitter-er’s avatar states, Keep Calm and Disengage, Oh Shit!

Azeroth lets us vicariously become heroes, just for a moment or two, if we so choose. One cannot extricate personal motivations from rewards that may result. There are no guarantees. So, does this mean that if we are also motivated by selfish reasons, our actions are any less heroic? Perhaps.  Heroes are complicated lots. The fewer dimensions they have, the shallower, the more they move away from the hero spectrum to static or flat character. Heroes only get interesting when we witness their inner turmoil and then –here is the critical piece –are made to feel an important part of helping them work through it. Heroism is all about the greater good. Kind of sucks during loot rolls, but works.

How many news stories have you read where someone just says, “I did what anyone would do.” And it is true. If someone can, most often, they will try to help. I believe this. Now, our choice of help and protest is befuddling to me sometimes. I am not sure what exactly triggers the protest of one young man, a tragedy, when so many are killed every day? Why does it take the one to speak for all? These are questions I will ask my entire life.

So, is our call to action to ask writers/bloggers to be honest and brave? Why, I wonder? Is it enough to be the reporter, the storyteller, or the provoker, in terms of getting  conversation and community together. I never even considered any post through the measuring stick of “is this writer brave or not?” Never even crossed my mind, unless it was a post like Apple Cider’s. That one will stick with me forever, and not just because it was brave, but because it was important. I will use her example in my professional and personal life. I do not expect or demand that writers share their personal stories with me –that is ludicrous. It is choice. If they want to, great—honor and respect. If they don’t- great. Honor and respect.

I have analyzed the role of a tank before, for my own clarification, and what I have to say is trite and tired. Tanks are there to make others look good. That’s it. The job requirements create a clear rubric: keep all from dying is the low-end of the scale, to make everyone succeed without noticing your presence.

What has happened though is that tanks made everyone look so good no one seems to need them anymore. Comments of “my HP is higher than the tank’s,” or “keep agro” and that no one seems to know what to do with a tank, exactly, they just know they need one, like the rationale for changing your underwear every day. You don’t know why you do, really, you just do. Or put on deodorant. You probably don’t stink that bad, but still…In professional lives, consider the really good supervisor, the one who organizes, boosts morale, knows when to give you the pat on the back or the gentle nudge. You learn to take them for granted. And then they get fired, demoted, or promoted, and then you realize how awesome you had it. If you’ve never had a good boss, I am sorry. They do exist, albeit rare. 

But are they “true heroes?” No. Not really. But on a concentric scale, yes, in my estimation. They are the players who make the game more fun, who are inclusive, and generous, and funny. But, they also enjoy the praise, too. All part of the hero hubris.

Ever hopeful, sweet Lupe
How cool would it be to give the “tanks” – wish there was another term for this role—a path of their own? Where they do have to save the day, prove their stamina, test their mettle? I don't want to be king of the world again, but I also don't want to have to slide off the ship's door into the icy depths to save some skirt. (Just kidding. I loved Titanic.) Maybe I want to be Rose and grab onto Jack, and live happily ever after, and not happily in the ever after-life.

But I now I shift to maudlin: when I look at this little brave tank I naively started, sometimes she breaks my heart. Really. Real tears time. There is no place for her, no motivation, she just does her job, her thankless job, and survives on parry moves and a great defense made from a wonderful offense. I read these two posts today:
and the other day:
and thought "Why should I efffing bother?" I mean -- look at the number chart on that second link! It's amazing! It's a rocket-science description of tanking when I'm still trying to find the constellations. See that? Over there? Yes. That's Orion's Belt. You'll never get it, because you can't raid. You're lame. And don't know what you're doing, and no one needs you. That star over there? That's part of the Superfluous Nebulae. Yeah, can't get there from here. A million light years away. But see, see what happens? That's my ego getting bruised, my motivation is off. If someone needs me, I'll be there for them. That's all.

I think this is one of the greatest acts of cowardice I have witnessed in a long time.  You can judge me, the story, or the entire series of tragic events. Waiting for a hero on this one.

Awkward age.

Oh, Ceniza. Oh, oh, my. You are a hot mess.

Yes, this is the same little match girl who made it past Round I of Mog Madness.

She reminds me of my poor little cherry tree that got bitten by a bad winter storm and is still stubbornly blossoming:
This tree pitifully cries out, "I'm still pretty!"

She will be my fifth level 85. And this is where I just think--I gotta find something different to do. (Yup. Start writing those "novels.") She has seventeen more bubbles to go, and then, baby look out. BoA items, dungeons, some choice quests, and then someone reminded me....

...faction reputations for enchants.


Okay. We are all very concerned with drop-outs in our country. Not sure other nations have this issue, but we here in the States do. And I remember reading years ago the reason why most kids drop out of high school is not because they are failing academically, as one might think, but because they are bored.

I have said this time and again -- Blizz, for all that is holy, please mix up what loyal players have in terms of choice? Why not allow more BoA items? Why not have a "souvenir bag" for professions, meaning, if I have a level 85 who is an herbalist, but I am a miner, why can't I pick up a few flowers for them along the way? Why? Why? WHY!? I'm still only one woman, still only so many hours in the day, and I want those hours to be fun! I want to get to the GOOD STUFF! Those poor hapless teenagers are so bored they'd rather spend a lifetime in menial labor than sit through another lecture on quadratic formulas and subject/verb agreement? I know it's not your job to entertain, oh, wait. Yes it is.

But damn--the thought of all that damn, boring treadmill shit is a wet match in a dark cave.

She'll be 85 for a tiny while, just before MoP hits, and then all of those damn Draeneis will be clamoring to be level 90. Me! Me! Me! I'm your main! I'm the pretty one! I'm the smart one! Choose me!

Okay, yes, I am looking forward to getting her dressed back up, and what I am really looking forward to is the research on how to get the most bang for my flame-orb, or something like that. I want to try different weapon and enchant combinations, and watch her set the world on fire.

Theme song: Dolly Parton/Jolene (damn, look at that pantsuit!)

The Boon Writing Challenge

No great idea can be left alone. In nod to Big Bear and his writing challenge, I offer you this:

So, what I would love to hear is a short piece, poem, limerick, drabble or ficlet, on how you obtained (or didn't) your favorite weapon(s). Yes, this can be complete fiction, a wish if you will. A boon is a gift, a blessing, or object infused with supernatural aid qualities. You may interpret as you wish.

This was inspired by reading some of the ways folks obtained the polearm needed to Mog Madness, Round II. The stories don't have to have a happy ending, I hope, because well, my own....

Inspired also by:

Please email me or submit link to this post by April 4. What do you 'win?' My blessings. And applause.

Olá, meu novo amigo!

Alessandra kindly left a comment on the Mog On, Ceniza blog, and I agree with him/her about the low-level items. I wandered over to his/her blog and discovered this delightful surprise, that it would be written in Brazilian Portugeuse. 

Now, I don't know Portugeuse, but I seem to know when players in PUGs are speaking it. My good friend will kindly run me through dungeons; I consider him my bodyguard. Other players gasp when they see his i-level and weapons, and then he brings out the dps/damage and we are all safely carried on warlock or rogue's wings. Last night one group was from the same server, Tol Barad, and speaking Portugeuse. At one point, they said "..........[something about tank].........[something about proximity].......Ceniza." I am not sure what I was doing wrong, but I hoped I stopped doing it. This group pulled every single mob in that one stretch before Ozruk in Stonecore, and well, that was a challenge. My friend and I noticed that the healer wouldn't heal us, at least not until after fights were over. Made things interesting. 

I am still ashamed that English is my only language. I feel we Yanks have been much too isolated and narrow-minded, and well, lazy. But I still wish I had an on-the-spot translating tool. 

Which reminds me; last week I did a random with Zep. Went into Zul'Aman, and it turns out, have never done that on her before. It was a squirrely group, but the druid seemed to, well, he gave me confidence. At one point, I asked the hunter if he was misdirecting to the tank, and he said, "no speaky english." I whispered the druid and told him the hunter was a racist asshole. The druid asked for clarification, and I said "No one who doesn't speak English says that." The druid then proceeded to ask questions in a stream of perfect Spanish. No response from the hunter. He was summarily kicked. That run took a while, and it ended up being fun and satisfying, but really, having an intelligent conversation with another player is what made it cool. 

And Senor: convertirlo en una rana is going to come in handy. Gracias.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

RTMT: Can I be honest?

One of my lazy or poor speaking habits is to start a sentence off with “I’ll be honest.” This can create an air of duplicity, as if “All my other statements were lies, but now I will fess up.”

A colleague was (loudly) restating several opinions about reviewers’ remarks over the Hunger Games. And through the course of discussion, the relationship between Harry and Jenny, and their lack of chemistry came up (yes, we are a random lot of nut-balls). And she said something that rocked my world: “Harry was always going to be a Weasley.”

Oh my God – she was right. How could I have not have seen this? Of course! The Weasleys were his family, and being a part of them, since not by blood, would happen with marriage. It wasn’t that I was upset that I didn’t think of it myself, though, what struck me is how much I love a great conversation! When someone else shares an idea or insight I did not have, it makes the world go ‘round for me. 

This is a roundabout way to share some thoughts on Jaded Alt’s Honesty post. I too have been told that I’m blunt. I have been told that people don’t think I like them, and that their perception is their truth (true that), Consider that we all try to manage our self-perception of intelligence, and have others believe those perceptions, too. I wanted to be the one to figure everything out, to seem like the expert. I will point you all back to Harry Frankfurt’s small tome, On Bullshit. ( Basically, it’s this: we try to control our image, inner or outer, with manipulation, repression, etc. Sometimes we want to hear the truth, and sometimes we just want someone to agree with us. Do we want the Mirror of Erised when we seek guidance? I don't know. Wonk t'nod I. 

This morning I was thinking about some surgery I need to have, and I'll be out of physical commission for a bit. My mom has offered to come out and help, but I confess: I love the thought of reading, writing, and...spending some quality time in Azeroth, but I don't want her to really know this. Just like if I get a tattoo I will never tell her, or wear white shoes after Labor Day. It's kind of embarrassing. And why is this? Why am I feeling like this is a dirty secret so much of the time? I'd better get this figured out soon, though, because rule number one: don't BS a BS'er. 

Anyway, Jaded Alt's links in her post will lead you to Sheep the Diamond's links, and other thought-provoking links, too.

Theme Music:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Know Your Archetype: The Anti-Hero

Load Your Lock, People!

Don't know why I am concerned about the disappearance, the endangered species if you will, of Warlocks in Azeroth. This worry inspired me to put together this collage of Locks, a call to action, a recruitment poster, or base propaganda and pandering. No matter.

Cynwise has taken the extremely scientific and meta-analysis approach; Tome, and Godmother, the more qualitative analysis, and me, well, I mess around with .jpgs for a while in stead of doing the dishes. Spooky, I know. But with all the chatter, keep in mind there are big changes coming to Warlocks in the new expansion, and their specializations are some of the most complex and difficult to master, as well as having a very challenging lore. They are the anti-heroes of the game. Anti-heroes are the heroes we love to hate. They are not perfect. They never become perfect. Apotheosis? Bah. Rather smoke a cigarette and drink Scotch than turn all squeaky-clean Boy Scout. They are the protagonist, but with an antagonistic edge. I was going to write that my impression is that rogues fall in this category, too, and then found this on Wikipedia:

O MalandroA typical kind of Brazilian stock character who is often depicted as a trickster who lies, steals, and has little qualms about manipulating even his best friends. Despite this rather negative and villainous attitude, the malandro is often depicted as a hero because, in contrast to his methods, he does not use his cunningness for true harm and malice. Rather, he uses it to prevail against the adversity that surrounds the character, and his actions may actually have positive effects on the others, even if unintended, thus making him a sort of Lovable rogue.

 Warlocks, well, I need to do some further study on these elusive, mysterious heroes. I start warlocks all the time, but never finish them. While reading Game of Thrones, I started one named Hallyne for the alchemist creeps who made the wildfire that sets all ablaze with eternal toxic poisons. Every time I play with a warlock I feel spun around, and a bit bewitched. I can't really tell if that green stuff is a good or bad thing, or if I should call a medic. And let's not forget poor Escarlata, who is well, not a nice girl, dead or alive.

So, go to your local server slot today and rescue a lost or abandoned warlock. Locks need love, too.

Breaking news! Updated animations coming!

Pockets full of posies...

JD reminded me it's that time of the expansion again, to wake up, and seize the opportunites of carpet-bagging, gold-digging, and inside-trades to make some GOLD!

PS Remind me to tell you about how much I spent on gold repairs yesterday trying to get that polearm.

Theme song: The Black Keys/Gold on the Ceiling

Sunday, March 25, 2012

NSFW: Under the covers...

Inspired by Red Cow Rise's homage to the other aisle of "literature" in Azeroth, I too wanted to pay tribute to the other side of the book jacket.

For the holidays, I gave a special little gnome some cologne and a Goblin's Gentleman's magazine. Sorry to say I could not afford the full year's subscription, something about free mounts and such, but couldn't do it. He says he's done reading all of the quality articles, and is not sure what to do with it now. He really likes to read. If you see a little gnome walking under a magazine tent, don't disturb him, okay? He needs his private time.*


My mom was also very cool when it came to my choice of reading materials. Not a whole lot was censored growing up, and much was explained. When I rallied cries of Erica Jong and Margaret Atwood, I was reminding a younger generation that women writers have been writing some sexually liberated and good stuff for a long time. And just like Bear's post, every new wave of folks think they invented something, including sex, drugs, and rock and roll.

Azeroth is busting at the bodice seams with sexy stuff. Many innuendos, euphemisms, and out-right red lights (Roxanne, I mean Navi, you don't have to put on the red light. Those days are over. You don't have to sell your body to the Goldshire nights!) A colleague and I have joked many times that we are going to write secret erotic novels and see if we get any takers on Kindle and retire, tout suite. Ah, the dream. Maybe someday. "Romantic" writing tends to easily veer off into "bodice buster" genres too easily, and hard to keep the stamina of a thrusting plot that doesn't leave one dissatisfied.

Was catching up on the Craig Ferguson show the other night. He's like your drunk Scottish uncle, if you had a drunk Scottish uncle. (Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I met Scottie, James Doohan, and had to take him out for cocktails? No? Another time maybe.) Anyway, Craig had author Anne Rice on, of Interview with a Vampire fame. She is a lovely woman, of a certain age, and just as charming as sweet as she can be. I believe she was promoting her new book, and all was light and fun. What Craig didn't ask her about was her  nom de plume, A.N. Roquelaure, and the Sleeping Beauty trilogy. I read this a number of years ago, and the pages are still smouldering. Anne Rice can definitely turn a phrase and has uses for leather goods that are quite creative. Just like Navi's Goldshire post, consider yourself warned. Or enticed. Or both.

Wait. Give me a minute. Is it hot in here or just my craterflame spaulders? I had a point to all this. Oh yeah. Tome and I have also joked about the interesting searches folks come up with, and in my clicking curiosity, have followed some of them down the rabbit hole, in a manner of speaking, only to need some eye-soap and prayer beads. It's not that I am a prude, not at all, but dang folks --some of your own creative content would make Ms. Rice blush, and that's saying something. But, sex is, as one of my screen heroes says, "...a natural, zesty, enterprise..."

[Maude shows the porn video starring Bunny to the Dude] 
Sherry in 'Logjammin': [on video] You must be here to fix the cable. 
Maude Lebowski: Lord. You can imagine where it goes from here. 
The Dude: He fixes the cable? 
Maude Lebowski: Don't be fatuous, Jeffrey. 

So enjoy those pulp romance novels that drop from ogre's trousers from time to time. Some things are best left to the imagination.

Lunancy has some interesting thoughts about how she could wake up the Prince...*cough*

Theme song: The Police/Roxanne

*I LOVE the Police!? Can't believe I haven't used one of their songs for a theme song until now.

*Don't you people know I make all this sh*t up?

Mog Madness, Round Deux: Dress Blues.

I am very honored to have made the cut for Round II of Mog Madness. I never win anything! And now, am resigned to a hearty, "do my best." 

There is no way in a week I can rally AWOL player friends. My tribes-of-two tried to help me out, and they are amazing players, but obtaining this boon proved to be a bit much for these raids, even at those levels. But it's okay: as long as I can use Mogit, and pretend to put a transmog outfit together using the one criteria, the polearm, then I'll give it a shot. Hope it hits the mark. Target acquired.

Don't shoot your eye out. Anyway--

My only rules included using items that I can either get on my own or have,* They needed to complement in color, texture, and line, producing an overall look. I did not take heed if something was more "hunter versus shaman" class--this sisterhood of shared clothing is understood (as long as I take it to the cleaners when I'm done.) The only thing missing is Sweater; waking him from hibernation made him grumpy as a bear, so it's probably for the best. Wouldn't want to piss off any omnivores today.

Haanta: Reporting for Duty, Sirs/Ma'ams!

Head: Helm of the Soothing Currents
Shoulders: Conqueror's Scourgestaulker Spaulders
Chestpiece: Earthpeace Breastplate
Belt: Vicious Gladiator's Links of Accuracy
Leggings: Hornblower's Legguards
Back: Tapestry of the Frozen Throne
Wrist:  Glowworm Cavern Bindings
Gloves: Mistshround Gauntlets
Feet: *Treads of Malorne - these may end up throwing everything off, but I own these, and have sentimental reasons for incorporating them. The hemp rope detail, the layers of blue/green complement the other hues in this overall look.
Polearm: Marrowstrike
Bow: Crypt Fiend Slayer: own this, thanks to one of my tribesmen! (And never use guns, ever.)

It is my belief that no knowledge goes to waste. In the process of research, came across this link:

Hunger Games.

When Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, published in 2008,  arrived it was one of those transformative novels for me. I have not yet seen the movie, nor did I finish the third installment of the series (although I did have one critical plot piece spoiled for me). I will see the movie, and I will finish the series. But for now, am just savoring being a pivotal person in helping many others read that book, too. Man, there is nothing like sharing a good book, and watching others eat it up.

Digging Haanta out of cold storage for Mog Madness, I realize that my theme for her will not be realized for the contest, but decided to snap a few shots of a vision I had for her, a homage to Katniss Everdeen, the "Girl On Fire," the huntress heroine of a dystopian future of reality games and exploited children. (Makes you want to read it now, doesn't it!?) But really --it is a monumental piece of work.

With Flame Wrath Polearm

Sunfury Bow of the Phoenix...a nod to the mockingjay
In some ways, I am a bit mournful that now when I recommend the book, all others will ask is, "Isn't it a movie?" and just watch that. Nothing like seeing the movie in your mind, good human brains. Which brings up why I think I enjoy spending time in Azeroth - it's a blending of creating the narrative and seeing it at the same time. Haanta is going to try to rouse some shiftless heroes to aid her in her quest for a blue and gold polearm. Blue is not her favorite color. But she'll get over it.

Bring a Sweater.

The wise judges for Mog Madness may have set up a challenge I may not to be able to best, at least not with all the real life stuff going on. It requires a polearm from two places I cannot solo. Nope. Not even dual box. Poor Haanta tried, but alas. And Trial of Champions? At least six players, and with raid lockouts, no guarantees of drops. So, that means hours of playing with Mogit, and as I look at the stacks of real life stuff, and smell a stinky dog, and the coffee stain from the big cup of coffee I spilled this morning while trying to adjust speakers....and...and...and...

I remember when I first watched Season I of Survivor. I loved it. And I thought to myself, I wonder if they would just let me go, with no chance of winning the million dollars, so I could just lose weight and get some sun? Snakes? Rats? Hidden agendas? Sure. Why not?

So, I have a few days, I guess. Tome has allowed that I just use Mogit for the preview, and if I get some 'green-screen' software I can play around with Photoshop so I can include my favorite, Sweater. If he is left out, there's no point. "Haanta" is a very independent sort, and doesn't play well with others. If the bear goes, she goes.

Not sure I'm at the "know when to fold 'em" stage. Talk to me after another cup of coffee. This time not on the carpet.

Update: Superheroes wear sweaters!

Fancy meeting you here...

Haanta considered whom she could ask for help. Would Guarf come back in time to assist her? She noticed a trio of Druids shambling over, too. Perhaps the lithe Isabeaux would assist her, unless she, too, wanted the polearm? A hunter stalked over, pet wolf in tow. Then another, and another, each with spiders. Curious. This part of the world had been fairly desolated for some time. Haanta nodded in greeting. Then, as if on cue, nine Druids, six from Alliance, and three from the Horde, came through the portal. Finally, a quartet of hunters snuck in, all wearing camouflage, with pet corehounds. This made twenty, including her. 

Magtheridon would die many times today. Hope he took his vitamins.

POI Files: Human Priest

Think these shots speak for themselves.

On a completely different note:
So glad the monkey was with me - perfect organ grinder shot!


Ceniza made the cut on Mog Madness --just barely, but hey, a bracket is a bracket. Please check out the amazing outfits folks put together - Godmother's especially stands out for me! Now to wake up Haanta the Huntress, and see what I can pull together.

Antiguo jumps through the hoop...
(Yes, it is 3:20AM PDT. I was thirsty, and needed a drink of water. I swear it's not because I was getting up to check results. Really.)

P.S. Her Murkablo, Antiguo Amor, would like me to post a correction. He is more than an accessory, for goodness sakes! Who does Ceniza think she is? A starlet with a puppy in a purse? Sheesh.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


log*or*rhea: excessive and often incoherent talkativeness or wordiness.

Back when I worked at Starbucks when I was going to grad school, and had a few other responsibilities, the movie Akeelah and the Bee was released. Like many CEOs, the good man Howard Schultz like to promote good causes, and promoting this film was one of them. It is a good film, with some of the usual touchpoints: urban child, broken wise elder, frantic mother, all pin their hopes and dreams on a spelling bee. But it could be about anything worth doing, and worth doing well.

This isn't about spelling though.

As part of the promotion. Starbucks sold coffee cups with some of the more challenging spelling bee words on them, and if you want a list, click here. One of the cups I had to own was the one with "logorrhea" on it. If it ever breaks or gets cracked, I'm screwed because it would be difficult to replace.

I thought about that word this week. On Wednesday, I attended a seminar on how to provide Socratic Seminars for academic and professional purposes. I have known about this grand discussion technique for some time, and it was beneficial to witness and practice the process on a large scale. Unfortunately, I had about five or less hours of sleep, and was feeling a bit wonky. The leader had one group of about thirty sit at an inner table arrangement, and coerced a second group to sit in the outer circle directly behind the first, with a one-to-one relationship. He never said to not be a third-man out, but simply commanded us to move our asses and sit behind someone. During the discussion portion, after we read the text (a great short story by Sandra Cisneros, one I have read a few times), he did a poll including both groups, then had the inner circle talk. Through the next twenty or two thousand minutes of talk, I got so excited about what someone said, and wanted to share what my partner had said, too. Before three words left my mouth he said, "It is NOT outer circle's time to talk!" Damn. Damn. Damn. I have not felt that humiliated in years. I turned hot-beet red, feeling the tears well up, every eye in the room on me, and no where to go. The second he turned us loose I bolted back to my table. And stopped playing. Took my ball and went home. What did I learn? When I put this into practice in my own professional life, how to make sure everyone feels safer and welcome.

Now one of my bestestest buddies was there. She is often accused of being a "flake." Huh. Not sure about that. She's responsible, funny, empathic, professional, and genuinely one of the most intelligent and kindest persons I know. I told her later, "You know how it bugs you when people think you're a flake? That's what it feels like when people think I talk too much."

Now to be fair. I do. Mea culpa. Last-word-itis. But folks may not know how often I have listened, deeply, with full focus, on other human beings. No ego. No agenda.

So, to my blog friends out there - I honor every word you say. You are all masterful at putting out the welcome mat, and behaving in civil discourse, and you don't send me to the corner when I talk too much.

Thanks for listening. You are in my inner circle.

Ten-Foot Pole. in, trying not to touch this subject with one.

Nothing works better as a catalyst than bringing up sex, religion, or politics.

Maude Lebowski: My Hero(ine)

This is a true story, and if I tell you the year, you will all get hung up on time lines and other personal biases, and I'm not having that:

When I was in second grade, and quite the little activist, I remember a boy, a cute boy, asking our beloved teacher (aren't all second-grade teachers beloved?) if she believed in "women's rights" stuff. Her answer:
"Oh, no, Timmy/Billy/Johnny (whatever). I like having the door opened for me."

Now, I had, and have, a very strong sense of self. It infuriated me, even at the tender age of seven, that women were not paid equally. I have very progressive parents. I had grandmothers who were strong, worked, and raised three children each. I had great-grandmothers who worked outside of the home. There are artists, readers, and thinkers in both my maternal and paternal lines.

When the teacher said that, and I saw the smug look on the boy's face as he turned to me in a "See? Told you. I'm the boss. I'll always be the boss, and shut the hell up," I was devastated. How many years is it later, and I still, STILL-- see his face?

So, no. Do not misunderstand. I do not think "feminism" is inherently a bad ideology. Quite the contrary. So many young women and girls in the US at least have the blithe luxury of reaping benefits of years of struggle, bitter epitaphs, name calling, and it goes on. (And for me, the goal is that they do have this luxury--they all need to know history, to preserve progress, though.) We still have the (male) voices deriding women with names on both sides of the political battlefields for shock value and antagonistic, inflammatory rhetoric that is dangerous and evasive. They all duck and hide behind "it was only a joke" hubris. And make no mistake: this hubris is deadly.

And again --I want those young women and girls to feel safe in their sexuality, and realize, damn, we still have a long (f*C*ing!) way to go.

Tomboy? Girly-girl? Well. let's see. I was both. In one instance, I learned how to throw a perfect spiral football pass from a neighbor who played for Michigan State as a quarterback because I wanted to impress the shy neighbor boy whom I had a crush on. To this day I can still throw a football. That was the only way I could entice (wait wait wait - I was 9 years old, too) this neighbor boy to spend time with me. But don't just think I learned how to throw a football to please a boy. (Oh, like you've never done anything to impress the opposite sex! Or same sex! Or whatever!) I have always had dear male friends. Always. But I have always had the one or two best girlfriends, too. One I've known since we were four. I am a loyal friend, no matter the gender. I liked mud. I loved play-acting. I liked being awesome at Red-Rover and aggressively kicking the big rubber ball in kick ball. I was competitive and feminine. I loved to read, talk, and think. And if you read my comments on Effy's post, I loved my Barbie Dolls. Many of them got haircuts. Bad ones. I like to be capable, take care of things, and get the job done. But, I love to hold and hug, and sometimes I need to be held. Don't we all? I don't want barriers for myself, or any child I know, male or female.

I don't want limitations for sons or daughters.

Simple as that.

I can tell you stories, all true, about really painful things I know, and have witnessed personally. Many of those things have a direct link to gender, but many of them are all basically because people can be horrible, psychopathic nut jobs.

But yes, everyone needs to recognize that no one gets there alone. If we need to place our identities in a camp, of one side versus another, all I ask is that we do this with our eyes open, without ignorance or fear, but with strength and courage. Many of Effy's commentors articulate those same sentiments extremely well. But I do not see this in only the narrow lens of being a 'girl gamer.' There are plenty of stereotypes for both men and women, the "basement living virgin" man, or the "troll asshole." Unfair labels don't wash.

As a grown woman, I understand now that the metaphorical open door is the real issue. If we open it ourselves, or for someone else, depends on who has the greater need.

Why are the simple things the most difficult?

Believe me when I say I am witness to so many young folks going through their own search for identities, and it's never easy. It's kind of fun, but it's mostly painful. But we get through it. If we open doors for each other.

Real tears.

"Cross-dressing rogue" is a misnomer. It implies some sort of Ed Wood "Stealing Girlfriend's Pink Mohair Sweaters Out of Closet" compulsion, and he is not that. Just want to keep his identity somewhat on the down-low, to protect the innocent. He is a real person in real life, just like all of my family, friends, and colleagues are, and his character is like all of our characters in WoW, somewhere on the  spectrum from "alter ego" to "marionette."

But, he is real.  He and I were talking about the characters whose back-stories and presence become to mean something to us, authentically and wholly. And between that line of what makes us cry in the real world, and the fictional world, makes no matter.

The Death of Gwyneth Bly'leggonde

When WoWHead says, "The location of this NPC is unknown,"  I want you to consider the metaphysical and existentialistic ramifications. (Ouch, I think I just broke my brain. Too early. No sleep. Coffee not done yet!) But, where do we go when we pass on? Do we "go" anywhere? Think about it: these are the big questions based on our varying beliefs, fears, and cultures. Big stuff.

So when we talk about our journeys through Azeroth, and he still mourns the loss of Gwyneth Bly'Leggonde, whom he says was there at the beginning for all of his characters, a steady, calm voice in a sea of fiery chaos, a gentle guiding soul. An angel, if you will. (Although his personal belief systems would argue with me over that. What makes life interesting, you know? Not having all the answers.) But she, her character, represents other deeper connections for him I won't go into: suffice it to say those connections are tender and very, very sweet.  Part of a bigger photo album.

Recently, Navi wrote the most loving tribute to Lunk.  It's a darling narrative, one of altering fixed perceptions, breaking stereotypes and remaining true to oneself, despite all the evidence and societal rules that try to break us down. Doing good when it's hard, being a true hero. Is it hyperbolic to compare Lunk to great pacifists in history? Perhaps. (No, no "perhaps." It is. But you must see the similarities?)

When we share these stories, be there with a toddler on our knees, blog post, or a piece of gossip while getting pedicures with a girlfriend, we remain connected to one another with a powerful force. We share of times when we our in mourning or joy, and that's what keeps us coming back, again and again. That's my belief system.

Many years ago, too long for even their archives, I heard a great eulogy by a physicist, for no one in particular, just being human. It talked about the Laws of the Universe, about energy not being able to be created or destroyed, how all of the matter and anti-matter continues, infinitely and out of our humans' range of perception. I wish I could find it, and will search again.

Anyway--thank you to all who share your stories. You are not sharing them with just me, necessarily, but you make me feel like you are.


Postscript: I tried one more time, and found it:

05-08-2007, 10:42 AM
I heard this on NPR, and loved it so much, I ordered the transcript, so it could be used at my funeral (or non-funeral remembrance gathering, if my wishes reign).

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.

- Aaron Freeman