Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Top-to-Bottom Tale

This is one of those stories that I think to myself, please, please, woman, stop sharing. As if the thought is a shoe and the very next mental step is gum on a hot sidewalk, the next thing I think gets stuck to me: "No, if it wasn't for writing, your head would implode, the free world would collapse, and there would be unholy alliances universally. Share, Matty. Share away."

I cannot get over how many mental pieces of discarded gum have stuck to my mind-shoe lately. The most gloppy one is how many players have stopped writing their WoW blogs of late, and how many players are bailing fast and furiously, another free-fall ala Cataclysm, from the game.

Recently, a young paladin friend was thinking of coming back, and I was both overjoyed and, well, reticent on his behalf. The game has changed in so many ways, and not all for the better. I sent him a "paladin care package," and it was returned unopened. I think he wised up. I should have sent him a letter that said, quite simply, "RUN! Run for your life!"

So lest you think this is another rant on dailies, poor loot luck, or the like, I'll tell you this story. And before you read it: I am sorry. You may not want to read this one.

About every two years or so I think I am going to save money by using box hair color. I have been seeing the same hair dresser for over twelve years. She knows my cycle, and is there with her masterful expertise to correct my mistakes. I have naturally dark brown hair, three grey ones now, and because of living in the Northwest and not being exposed to much sun, it has turned much darker over the years. Vitamin D is an issue for us Washingtonians. We are sparkly vampires, deal with it. Being I was about due to trust L'oreal instead of Mel the Super Stylist, I doomed my roots and tresses once again. My job recently (recently: no. It is always, always, always this way) very stressful, I decided to add a massage to the hair appointment. Again: you are going to judge me as the little pampered princess. Yup: that's me. A Seattle version of Kim Kardashian, Snooky, Diana, Belle, and Buttercup all rolled into one. I decided that I would try to get a massage about once a month as a New Year's resolution (see what I did there? Doable goals, people, achievable!) Mel saw my cherry-colored roots and the black tips, and immediately set out to make things right. It involved re-dying my roots darker, and then an overall bleaching, and then foil highlights. The process was not cheap, but the results worth it. No picture: you'll have to take my word. Mel is a genius. She even regaled me with stories of her dating world (recently divorced) and trying a rave for first time, and what to wear to a rave (apparently the black lights, cut jeans, and white things work). The best part of the story was about a googly-eyed man who unabashedly kept staring at her ample breasts with admiration of a Rembrandt, wearing a Ninja Turtle T-shirt which admonished youngsters not to do drugs. Irony abounds at raves. So, hair is fixed, and sassy, and off I go for the massage. The hair took longer than anticipated, so I was late for the massage part. (It's a full service spa sort of place.) By now I have to pee. In the massage/facial portion of the establishment, there is a wonderful bathroom with lavender soaps, fresh towels, and all kinds of nice girly stuff. However, there's only one toilet, and the door locks so no one else can get in. I go in, lock the door, and see that there's still a butt-gasket tissue on the toilet seat. Odd, I think. I guess it didn't catch when the toilet was flushed ohholylordthereisstilladookieintheoilet NOOOOOOOO!
Oh please NOOOO!  Yes, in the toilet is a neat little brown turd someone forgot to flush. No. No. No. Please no! Well, I had to go, so I grabbed some toilet paper, put the butt-gasket down the potty and flushed like a trooper. I then went myself, washed hands, and went to the massage room, all the while thinking: should I say something? This turd, this little poop, more than ruined the moment. All the new-age music and warm oils and blankets in the world could not erase that image out of my mind. Again: don't judge. I have had my fair share of poop, virus poop, vomit, spit, snot, blood in my lifetime. I am not a squeamish little rose. I can take it. But there's a time and a place, you know? I worked very hard to get that image of the friendly little brown bullet out of my mind, thought about sunsets and summer and that I was warm, safe, and all in all, very, very lucky. One little shit isn't going to slow me down! I am going to relax and be pretty, dammit, and one errant absentee flusher isn't going to spoil it.

And this is the moral of this story, as it relates to Azeroth: There are many ways in which Blizzard has forgotten to flush the metaphorical toilet. They don't get everything right. The new game of dailies is not fun, which is a shame. Because I adore the quest line, the legendary line, the new looking for raids, the scenery, Vereesa Windrunner, (Jaina, I have determined, is still a sadistic bitch), There are some parts of the game I am just going to have to flush myself, and focus on the good stuff.

I mean, really: my mage friend gave me some snowflake stars tonight:


Friday, March 29, 2013

Tiny Story Time: Ceniza

The repetition of hope sinks it, drowns its buoyancy, and who was she to resuscitate it? No one. Powerless. Torn silks, and dirty, tear-stained face. The Ash-Witch scrambled for purchase on the rocks. Did she see a sign in the bird flights? Was he sending her a prayer in a rainbow? (Oh, the sickening, cloying stench of spectrums churned her stomach: if she could set fire to that thought she would.) Her intelligence told her to stop desperately looking for clues that he was watching her, protecting her. Obsessively, though: Could that be an omen in the bones? Bones were better to burn, and look to the smoke for an image, a direction. There was none that she could see. The bones and birds offered no solace. Only the living can protect or harm. The dead have other business.

But the sword was granted: this she knew. The grip, tang, and pommel were like three old friends in her hand, a living thing, perched like a wish. Once this sword had lived a mortal, animal life, and now existed in a fable: the guard was a wingspan, and the blade a predator's beak. Did he send it to her? Most likely not. All the magic in any world would not have that power, she believed this.

Yet, the sword was hers: this she knew. And she knew what to do with it, too. That much, he had left behind: how to cut.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AFK...not really

RealityAFK left a comment on the blog, so naturally, went to go check out her site, which is fabulous, and again, naturally, tried to add it to my blogroll, but it would not add I have too many? Perhaps. One post on my own writing to-do list is to go through all the recent blogs who've closed up shop recently, and put them on a separate list, the 'reference desk' if you will. In any case, that'll be a project for another time this week; in the meantime, check out her blog!

Monday, March 25, 2013

You are not prepared. No, really, you're not.

I am always late to the party, I know, but holy hellalish hydra, Batman! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING? Yesterday against better judgment (if I didn't have bad judgment I'd have no judgment at all it seems) I dusted off Zeptepi and went into the freshly-opened Throne of Thunder LFR. I missed the first round with Tortos, but yes, did experience death-by-slugs (I swear, this is some fantasy sequence by a writer at Blizzard who put the salt shaker in the pseudopods' control!) just after Megeara, and then onto five wipes on Ji-Kun. Did I get any loot, you ask? Silly player! Loot is for leets! I got gold to cover some of my repair bills. Woot! I'm still picking out pin-feathers from my posterior.

Now let's stop right here....Megeara.

I know from my Greek lore that Megeara was re-imagined in Disney's version of Hercules as his love interest.

But this is not that:

Or is it?

According to Greek mythology, Hercules, or Heracles, is driven mad by Hera, and kills Megara and their children. Not a happy story.

Later, Heracles waged a victorious war against the kingdom of Orchomenus in Boeotia and married Megara, daughter of Creon, king of Thebes. But he killed her and their children in a fit of madness sent by Hera and, consequently, was obliged to become the servant of Eurystheus. It was Eurystheus who imposed upon Heracles the famous Labours, later arranged in a cycle of 12, usually as follows: (1)...

So next time you do a 'herculean' task, you can thank your lucky gods for the gold for those repair bills, cause brother, you're going to need it.

Effy's Going Twisted!

Look! Effraeti of Awaiting the Muse is going to be on Twisted Nether!

Twisted News

Noblegarden 2013/03/31 – 2013/04/06

Hot Topics

Epic Marathon LINK

List of new Sites on Blog Azeroth


Coming Soon…

Next show is Episode 194 on Sunday, April 7, 2013 at 8 PM PST with our very special guest Effraeti from Awaiting the Muse!  Don’t forget to join us to ask questions live.
Visit us on the blog for further updates or on Twitter @TwistedNether.
To be included in our episodes send TNB your MP3′s ( or call into our hotline at 407-705-3161. We look forward to hearing from our fans.
(Opening song “Monster Techno Blues” is preformed Joe Sibol, provided by

Rock on, Effy! Can't wait!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Tiny Story Time: Woman's Work

Her heart beat in constant pain, a phantom limb, her heart, her left side; he was gone. She was at his right side for a truncated eternity; she would never stop being his wife, even if his mortal life was over. Her sons were safe, Giramar and Galdarin, well--her motherly instincts told her they were at least alive. Safety is never truth. Her vows to her husband took precedence over her own broken heart: she vowed to assist Jaina in whatever way she could. That one fight, though, produced a small lie, that she was fine, unhurt, it was nothing, but she knew something was wrong. She had to keep fighting though. Others may rest from the battle: she never would.

Ako rests from battle: Ceniza would not, as neither would Vareesa or Jaina. 

Writer's Comments:
In all the discussions about the Twin Consorts, I am certain someone before I noticed, and wrote about two very strong women heroines in Azeroth: Jaina Proudmoore and Vereesa Windrunner. I completely agree with Erinys' thesis about the Pygmalion aspect of the Twins: but they are just that: meant to be destroyed like the clay-footed statues they are. However, Jaina and Vareesa, the 'flesh and blood' characters, are just begging their own apotheosis. These two female characters directly, encouragingly, and without falter, lead the Silver Covenant and allies through the battlefields. I know who's in control, who's in charge, and willingly would walk over hot coals and pick up Saurok feces for them.

And this is not a rant, this is not hysteria, this is merely an observation: many people believe that women cannot get along with one another, and I must admit this is true, with this caveat: when the other woman in the discussion believes this, and acts accordingly. I have said this many times: I have legions of women friends, family members, mentors whom I adore. Not once did they 'dismiss' me for 'acting like a woman.' The second someone in the conversation does this, it's over. That is the essence of any 'ism' - the dismissiveness and disregard. That debate I had with CD Rogue about genres? It reminded me very much of a meeting I had recently and a colleague, who's pregnant, high-strung generally, was not being a good 'listener.' I am sure she would walk away thinking I was being how I was because I am a 'woman,' and I could easily dismiss her point of view because she's pregnant and...generally high strung. But though men can't get pregnant, they certainly can be passionate about their points-of-view. Are there gender distinctions? I hope so.  Should those distinctions be used as a blunt-force instrument of battle? I hope not. In Azeroth, in the meantime, I'll keep fighting for Jaina and Vereesa.

Vereesa Windrunner is an elven ranger who fought in the Second and Third Wars. She is the youngest sister of Sylvanas Windrunner who would later become the Dark Lady of the Forsaken, and Alleria Windrunner, a hero of the Second War.
Nearly all of Vereesa's extended family were killed by orcs in the Second War and in Prince Arthas'sinvasion of Quel'Thalas. Both of her sisters can be considered "alive" because Sylvanas still lives, albeit not technically "among the living", and Alleria Windrunner is likely still alive, but her whereabouts are not known.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Oh, that's what they were talking about...

Yesterday my buddy in the BIGGUILD was talking about these War Scout thingies - I still can't get my mage Ceniza over the tipping point of gear score, no matter what I do, no you spell "white whale?") In any case, these bad asses drop rep points and other goodies. Be warned: they hit hard. Take a friend.

Pro tip: Don't let your hunter buddy get in PvP fight right before a Scout fight: the Blood Elf whateverthehellhewas stays angry for awhile, and will kill you while you're trying to shield your pretty face from the big, mean troll.


This --- this explains so much--"Creative People Say No" by Kevin Ashton. As I struggle for time and inspiration, not falling into ruts, and still balancing everyone else's needs with my own, this was a very timely article. On Thursday, for example, I started getting a painful sore throat, and by Friday it was a full-blown head cold. Those of you who know what I do, you can imagine lion taming is much more challenging with a cold; fortunately, the cats knew I was vulnerable and decided to be protective, not predatory. (I don't even get hazard pay!) I must be one helluva lion tamer.

One thing that has kept me playing so diligently is that I kept telling myself that Azeroth sparked creativity, but I have had the sneaking, underlying sense that Azeroth of late is actually slowly choking my creativity. Is this writer's block? Obsession with getting the 'next thing?' I am not sure. In game, like life, trying to set manageable goals and then walking away. Walking away fast. Saying "no" to colleagues and family members is one thing: saying "no" to a messy, unmogged mage is quite another. I am starting to wonder now if I've put undue burdens on my blogger/writer friends with BlogAzeroth requests, or my mog ideas? Truth be told, I love their ideas and posts, and when there's synergy and inspiration. Let me be clear: if I throw an idea out there, and it does not fit in with your game time or real life, please: walk away, guilt-free, and fast. And don't look back.

Where do ideas come from? Well, I really like my little warlock staff story. The idea is based on true events. I also really like my Nobundo story. There was a paladin who said those things to me in a raid recently (damn if I can find the screenshot, but seriously...pick up lines aside...)

Recently Cymre posted something about professions which made me think...I am ashamed to say...think about how angry I am. How annoyed I get that I get this really cool recipe or two, but could never obtain the materials I need to make them. It starts to hit too close to my real-life "fails" - didn't pay that bill on time, need a new car, dishwasher's broken, same old shit, new day. Blah blah blah. In a "fantasy" game, I want that: fantasy. I don't want to tell Zeptepi, "Sorry girl, you are a master tailor and can craft 522 items, but mom and dad just can't afford the haunting spirits now." I am tired of class warfare in Warcraft.

But to answer Cymre's question, you know what I like? I like archeology. I like fishing. I like those things that I am in more control of. And yes, those are the things I turn away from time and again. Shame on me.

This afternoon CD Rogue and I got in a heated debate over the definitions of "genre," specially Science Fiction/Fantasy hybrids. My darling Capricorn, thick-skulled, stubborn goat was adamant about the linear, finite definitions, but where he and I came to verbal blows was when he put Star Wars in the same category as Harry Potter. Dude. DUDE. We were both right as usual. I know the 'pure' definition of Science Fiction, and I know George Lucas' intent of setting it in a 'galaxy far far away' is his declaration of putting it squarely in the mono-mythic category. But it ain't Harry Potter. Turns out, it's a space opera. That makes sense. Hit the gavel. End of discussion.

Reason #347 Why I Will Never Be Asked to Go On Twisted Nether.
My reaction to him is the same one I have to some decisions in game: they are too didactic, too black or white, too this or that. I realize I've pondered this before, so apologies. To the artists of Azeroth, I raise a cup to you -- the artists, the creatives, the talented, soulful artists --you keep the beancounters at bay, and for that, to your health and happiness! If it is you who put dinosaurs with trolls, a dash of rocketships and ghouls in one fabulous, crazy, insane world, gods bless you. It is light and magic, and it is wonderful. And to my blogger friends of Azeroth: you are just as important, if not more so, than all the beancounters out there. If not for you, I would be residing somewhere else now.

Postscript: the cure for the common head cold? Two New Castle ales, one Krispy Kreme Boston creme doughnut, and a glass of orange-flavored Alka Seltzer. Take in that order, go to sleep for ten hours, after watching the last third of Ratatouille, and drink coffee in the morning.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hang onto the tent...

I love this blog,

...and stumbled upon this little movie:  Lost in Living and while it has some issues, the last line, "don't let go of the tent" struck me as something all humans face. Don't give up, take your responsibilities seriously, create a shelter for those who can't fend for themselves.

I am running so very, very late this morning: sending out the armies of texts and emails to one and all, apologizing for my tardiness, my life circumstances, that are preventing me from punctuality. It doesn't help that my nose is dripping, my head is throbbing, and my beautiful eyes are puffy and mean-looking.  Damn, keep turning into the evil witch queen more and more each day.

But--I didn't want to leave you all scared with the disturbing owl image (don't want Navi to break any more popcorn bowls!) but know that a few fresh posts are in the works. In the meantime -- the greatest gifts of Azeroth encompass two distinct factions for me: sparking creativity and friendships.

What sparks your creativity about Azeroth? What makes you turn away from responsibilities and duties to just be 'somewhere else?'

Right now I'm very worried about Vereesa Windrunner...more to follow.

Oh, and irksome: was on the last battle of my Beasts of Fable, and even borrowed some leveled mechanicals to win the Gorespine battle, the last one on my list: won it, and then it immediately bugged out and reset to start all over. Thanks, Blizzard. You won't keep me down! Red Panda will be mine! Mwahahahaha!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Series: I am a...warlock

Drabble: The Staff

An owl, insatiable, immortal: once, beyond memory, the owl had been something else, but was cursed in its current form. Generations of mice decimated; voles killed for sport. But the creature miscalculated, and terrorized the farmer’s prize chickens. Every morning, the farmer found white feathers filling the roost like bloody pixies, plucked from the carcasses of wasted, shredded meat birds. He took his pitchfork, a powerful staff, and waited in the dark. The foxes slunk away, the weasels retreated. The owl came. The farmer’s aim was true: the owl’s prostrated form on the spines, dripping entrails. He mounted the staff on the top of the henhouse, a triumphal warning. 

This story was inspired by a true story a warlock told me one evening--his voice as magical as a fairy tale narrator's, as charming as a lullaby with a whisky habit--in Azeroth, he is a true warlock--sweet, unapologetic, and deadly.

Guilty pleasures.

We all have them.

My confession: sometimes at work I click on videos from my Comcast feed--it's during a break, and never anything inappropriate (unless you consider most tripe on commerical televsion garbage, which it is) and I came across this gem: My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

Oh-----oh. OH! Oh...!!!

Yes, they're real! 
I knew there exists a Gypsy community and culture, but had no idea they refer to themselves as "travelers" or had this expectation for huge weddings and lavish bridal parties.

(What does this have to do with warlocks? Wait.)

Lately -- TruTV's World's Dumbest is another one of my guilty pleasures.  Watching it the other day, I asked CD Rogue if anything happened to Tonya Harding, you know, after the whole "let's turn figure skating into a blood sport" incident. It struck me how warlock-y she is: her minions served time, but she got away with a ban and community service. And, from what it appears from the World's Dumbest show, she's still having a grand time, just as a warlock would, too - no regrets. (Warlocks are unapologetic. Goes with the job requirements.)

And then the image of Mommy Dearest sprang to mind. If you piss off a warlock, you better have checked your hangers first:

The queen of all media warlocks, Oprah:

What's my connection? Don't eff with warlocks. They are the ultimate paradox of good and evil, mystery and honesty. And they are more prevalent than one might think. In every lore worth its salt, there is a necromancer, a wizard, witch, sorcerer of one type or another. Circe in The Odyssey is the ultimate sorceress--she does care for Odysseus, but you just know she's going to be okay after he's gone, too. Warlocks are solo artists. Oh sure, they have their minions, but minions are replaceable. And as warlocks of yore would have a powerful staff, modern day warlocks have powerful staffs: producers, personal chefs, consultants, trainers, stylists, and writers.

Party On, Wayne. Party On, Garth.

I am no expert when it comes to warlockery. I adore my girl, Kellda, but she's been hiding out for awhile, trying to get her own crazy staff, and roaming as she pleases. Off the top of my mind, some of our favorite warlocks are of course Tome, Cynwise,  and Navimie's tales about her friend Aza, and of course Big Bear's gotten way into Locks, too!

Warlock as a young child...

So--when there's time--if anyone wants to help Kellda go into Naxxramas for her own owl-spearing staff, come along then. Minions are always welcome.

Editor's Note: the image at the beginning is from - other source unknown.

Theme song: Hands/The Raconteurs

Tiny Storytime: The Pilgrimage

Shamans should never lose their way. Shamans, by soul and nature, are always centered, balanced, and true. A totem marks the center, wherever it is planted, wherever it is raised, and becomes the focal point: no linear tightrope defines who they are. So it is the greatest affliction of all for shamans who are lost. Farseer Nobundo knew his child was hidden from his vision. The Broken never lose hope. He knew what the Peacekeepers said to visitors and pilgrims, that he deserved a visit, he deserved pity. He just shook his head. Those who carry the Light do not need pity. Pity is for those in the darkness; pity is for those who are blind. The dismissive Peacekeepers, giving out blessings of Light like trinkets to babies: Nobundo knew they had forgotten, and forgetting one's past is the greatest curse of all. But only living in the past: that was far worse. Daily, he forgave them.

Mataoka was blind: blind to joy, deaf to song. No one needed her, but flattery deteriorated and ate at her soul, acidic raindrops falling on her armor. Her faith had become pitted, rusty, and compromised. The Princes rained falsities, tricks, and shams, or over-eager optimism. One side leading her this way, the other that. She lost balance, and fell. The battles began to taste like ash, the blood like water, and the anger--the rage--those were reserved squarely for the gods.

All the respect and accolades she had earned over the years broke and crumbled with each defeat. They meant nothing. Every time she prayed for luck, for glory, she met mocking giggles from the gods. Inner doubts began to control her. "Give up." "Others will pass you by." "You are only as good as your last battle...and no one remembers your last battle." A paladin sidled up to her during one raid, whispering in her ear how beautiful she was, how deadly, but gloriously stunning, and she resisted the urge to find a pool and clean out her ears. The flattery of a snake, tempting and dangerous. She felt sick.

Did she fall to her knees in despair? Did she go in a dark, secret place to wait out the fears? No --worse. She kept fighting. The same manic dance, the same voices, the same curses and threats, until the repetition made her insane. It would have been wiser to hide. But some voice, some other voice, spoke more firmly, more clearly than the others: it told her to go home.

To the Azuremyst hills, the palatial pines and periwinkle skies, she started for home. She could find her way there. If you asked her now, what was the cure, she would not be able to tell you--it was still elusive. The tired adages of 'it's the journey, not the glory' seemed so hollow, and watery-thin. But if she could articulate anything, it would be to listen--quiet and still--listen. She veered toward the Exodar instead, and sought Norbundo.

The Broken held her face, and without speaking, imparted this knowledge: "You will walk on the blade's edge, and you will have to choose. You may not think it is a choice, after all, but your fate handed to you by the gods, but this is the greatest deceit of all. It will be a choice. You are given two paths, and you will walk them at the same time. The road will be dangerous and sustaining, monsters and samaritans, dark and light, and it is the same road. Walk in peace child, and know where you are. Look."

With his blessing, Mataoka, humbled and nourished, her heart lightened, her spirit renewed, and felt  the release of want, greed, and desire. She kept her passion and love.

And the gods smiled on her.

RTMT: Such a character!

I don't always take off work, but when I do, it's usually a Tuesday...

I am not sure why it's worked out this year that when I have needed to take days off from work, they always fall on Tuesdays. I swear it's not intentional. If I was going to schedule doctor, dentists, and other real life necessities it would be on Wednesdays, (duh!), but Tuesdays have been the trend, and not by my choice. Well--all I can say is this means I have hours to write, and write I shall. Prepare for the onslaught in your RSS feed.

Tome won a contest with The Crimson Hammer, a Gusting Grimoire! This inspired another mog idea: favorite characters from books! I know you're all busy getting dinosaur bones, and squirting-blood daggers, and I can't ask anything more of you--but when I log on, I'm going to create some characters from my favorite books. It was interesting to me that of all the books folks loved on Crimson's posts, most were SciFi/Fantasy: this made me feel a little odd. My favorite books were not this, unless you count Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which I read in college.

My list:

Miss Havisham

Scarlett O'Hara

Harriet the Spy

Sissy Hankshaw

Princess Leigh-Cheri

That's a pretty good list to get started with. (Even for a Tuesday.) If you want to throw one in the mix, I'd love to see it, so throw me a dinosaur bone and let me know if you come up with something!

And speaking of great writing, read Navi's tale of warlockery: Aza and the Green Fire (Chapter III)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Promises, promises...

I am not exactly sure what's come over me --I do have some stories simmering, and a few promises of Story Times to keep--I think -- perhaps -- even though the weapon issue is far from resolved with our intrepid-but-sometimes-whiney-shaman, 5.2 is (and don't quote me on this): fun. 

Shado Pan Assault:
Ceniza is once again in a catch-22 situation with her gear: she can't get into Throne of Thunder to earn rep with the Shado Pan Assault until her item level is 480, and she can't get to 480 with the current (lack of) drops from previous LFRs, and she can't get to 'Friendly' with Shado Pan Assault to get higher level gear until she gets into Throne of Thunder. Blizzard is either an evil genius or idiot savant. Maybe both. In any case, patience little mage, patience: you'll get there. Someday. Maybe. Cause you know, mages are known for their patience.

As usual, the comments on the link are some of the most helpful bits of information. I felt the same way about Nat Pagle, too, buddy. Someone that you used to know....didn't have to cut so deep.....
No matter what Ceniza goes through -- she makes this look good.

New Weapons That Also Will Not Drop For Me:

There are some lovely new weapons, and two of them have double names:

There's Kura-Kura

 And Tia-Tia

 There's also Gara-Kai, but it can't be as good because it only has one first name, not two:

Just kidding. *Sobs quietly*
(please please please please please drop for me.....please?!?!)

There are very large snakes. Very large, unfriendly snakes. Maybe I can do what they're doing in Guam.

 OH OH OH OH! This deserves All Caps: THANKS MAN!

 Mataoka Meets Her Super Friends:

And Gets Super Friend Zoned:

 The Black Prince still has her hopping all over the dynasty for trillium, quest items, and pretzels and beer for him and Prince Anduin:

Never mind the dead body, Mataoka....I'll get my servants to clean it up...didn't you bring the imported beer? 

Drama-Mana Dagger: Cymre clued me into this, and so did my buddy Turk, so it's on my list: The Ra'sha Sacrificial Dagger.  I think when I get this I'll use it in the same way Tome does with her flippable table!

Sacred Duty and Ask Mr. Robot: I love Ask Mr. Robot. And I love reading Sacred Duty, even though I don't understand most of it. It's like reading a medical journal or astronomy chart: beautiful, complicated, and just out of my zone of proximal development. I did not know the two were intimately connected (like, as in the same brain). Just thought I throw that out there.

And these are all lovely things, indeed. Now to get to those other thoughts....this one is full!

Your Hand In Mine/Explosions in the Sky

Carnival of Animals, Zoological Fantasy For 2 Pianos

Friday, March 15, 2013

Who wears it better?

The other week when I reached the cliffhanger end of Prince Anduin's story, I noticed Garrosh's buddy wearing some rather sexy leather:

And it begged the question: Who wears it better?

There is a magazine who does this, one of those celebrity rags you read while getting a pedicure. You know the ones. They keep you abreast of really important news, like this:

I've written about this before, but damned if I can find the post at the moment. (Mr. Snerggulllsss found it.) But to my mogging friends: I know there are a lot of NPCs out there who are wearing things you like to wear, too -- and the question is, what are those mogs, and who does wear it better? Now, if I was a green female Orc I would think the Ishi is rocking that loincloth (please please please be wearning boxers or briefs under those....please.....) and if you're a hip-man you'd prefer the Kardashian bone structure. So let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Losing My RNGs

What did the shaman do to upset the Random Number Gods? What blasphemous act, what heinous heresy, did this little brave shaman commit that caused them to turn their hateful gaze in her direction?

Well, maybe it's because she let her hit-cap fall to the wayside while she was busy trying her other restoration spec, or maybe it's because they're trying to teach her a lesson. What is the moral of the story, Blizzard?

What the hell are you thinking, woman?

This is unacceptable, but understandable. While playing many characters, it's tough to juggle all the recommended reforging, gemming, etc. Sometimes, well sometimes your socks just don't match, or you forget to floss your teeth. It happens. I think what I was waiting on, and holding my breath for, was a decent healing mace or DPS weapon. That has yet to happen. I have used every coin, every roll, every run, repeatedly, and still, to this day, March 13, 2013, about five months after the release of Pandera, I have nothing but blue weapons for both specs, as blue as my face from holding my breath and lack of oxygen.

Well, it's time to breath again. Find your center, little shaman. Cleanse, meditate, find your inner strength.

Because even though this happens instead:
Yes, I got the Leggings of Imprisoned Will as a drop, and tried for the healing mace, and got the Leggings again. AGAIN.
Something is broken with the loot system still, and the bonus rolls. Some mathematician at Blizzard. some goblin accountant, has made an error, but has too big of cajones to admit it. Big math cajones.

The bottom line is: at some point, there is a saturation point of patience. Mine is gone. I do not enjoy being a martyr, of lamenting and on-upping others about my rotten luck. It's a tedious, tiresome conversation. I'd much rather talk about fun things to go do and see, and know that my gear score, at some point after a few weeks, not months, is going to be good enough to keep up. I don't want to spend 3K gold on a top-of-the-line weapon enchant on a blue weapon for a few extra points. I spent 7k gold on healing boots thinking I was going to heal for the old guild, and learned a hard lesson. It's not worth it. Never do anything in game based on chancy promises.

At some point, if a player has logged in enough time, enough rolls, Blizzard needs to give over the stuff, period. Like a promise of Heaven for the faithful, I think 27 tries at the Empress is enough:

When I finally do get my fist weapon, and, or my healing mace, I'll probably write about it. But the joy of it is already gone. I'm sorry to be so negative, and you're all probably tired of me going boo-hoo. I know. I'm tired of it too.

So--what's a shaman to do? Nothing else to do. I still love playing, and maybe I'll just turn off the Recount Score, so I don't see how well other players are doing. I'll gem, reforge as much as I can. But I'm not holding my breath anymore. I need to breath. The weapon situation is a like a bad boyfriend, and it's just breaking my heart. I wouldn't play Monopoly anymore if I only landed on the other player's Boardwalk with five hotels repeatedly. But I would still hang out with the player.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Series: I am a...Death Knight

I write this series as things in the media present themselves --something will jump out at me, and demands attention. A few weeks ago, this list in Cracked, which is dubious in its scholarly credentials, actually does print some pretty good things. How do I know these are pretty good things? I am friends with an actual history scholar who mentioned these myths years ago, and I know she's done her homework. The fact is, knights weren't always shiny-shiny-do-gooders. Read #4 on the list: Indeed, they were young punks without much to do but cause trouble. Many a dude has gotten his destiny re-aligned when he's joined the military. (Reminds me of the scene from Mulan, "Make a Man Out of You.")

However, the history of knights aside, Death Knights got their destinies 're-aligned' rather harshly. Elizabeth Wachowski wrote this hilarious exposition on Death Knights back in 2007: Know Your Lore: Death Knights. The line about demons and retirement plans especially tickled me. Lest you think Blizzard has the market cornered on Death Knights, it's worth noting Dungeon & Dragons has comprehensive lore, too. It comes down to this: your weapon is your soul, and your soul is your weapon, and as a Death Knight, you will spend an eternity in conflict.

I imagine Death Knights would empathize with many of the denizens of Hades:

Tantalus - always wanted to eat or drink, but can never really taste again;
Sisyphus- always pushing that boulder uphill, the 'boulder' of one's honor and reputation;
Prometheus-just adding a little light on the situation - what's the harm in that?

All larger-than-life heroes who end up spending an eternity paying a very high price for a deal gone sour. (We mortals really do need to send Prometheus a thank-you note, I think.) They live forever striving for redemption, paying a price for a deal they did not make. Knights of old found it through structure, political/spiritual laws, and codes of ethics, much like our police forces today. Were there still crooked knights? Of course. Can't all be chivalry and character, you know, just as there are some immoral figures of authority, too. But what I can't get away from is the essential nature of a 'knight,' someone, man or woman, who continues to ever try, ever perservere, for standards and justice. They continue to see paths to redemption for perhaps their own sins, but bring those to justice to be judged by the laws of man.

And they sing great, too:

RTMT: I'm breaking up with you!!!!

Don't text and drive dragons!
What am I thinking about this Tuesday morning? That once again insomnia and its spawning demons have stolen my soul. I have tried everything: melatonin, stopping electronics, stopping caffeine after a certain hour, but apparently I have not tried them consistently. So consider this my Lent: I will not go on electronics after 9PM, unless it's my Kindle. I will not do dailies instead of go for a walk. Unless I'm almost at honored or revered, of course. And, I swear I will meditate more, unless of course a transmog run at Naxx comes up.


I won't go into the back story on this, but suffice it to say the old joke of how do you tell the difference between a drunk and an addict parable came up in a recent conversation at the Matty-shack. (I will tell you the scenario by which this quip was told involved boxes of Velveeta & Cheese and an afternoon snack.)

Here is the difference:

“An alcoholic will steal your wallet and lie to you. A drug addict will steal your wallet and then help you look for it.”

― David SheffBeautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction

So: so what?

I was wondering if my other blogger buddies do this: you spam through your traffic, see what posts people (or hackers, or bots, or gerbils) are reading, and click on an old post and re-read it. I do this from time to time, and have been doing this more frequently for some reason. Not sure why. What it's revealed to me through the anthology of posts that is Sugar & Blood, the Epic Meanderings of A Shameful Shaman and Happy Joy Friends, is that I whine a lot. I can't get it together. I want to be all things to all people. I am conflicted.

But ultimately, I suck at multitasking, and pay a heavy price physically. Of all the things I need to give up, trying to pretend multitasking exists is the one thing.

If you look up "multitasking" in a Google search, hundreds of articles pop up; but here's one that addresses the issue simple: Multiasking Teens May Be Muddling Their Brains This article was written in 2008, almost a lifetime ago in data, technology, and human brain research, but one thing it begins to ponder is the addictive nature of multitasking. I have seen first-hand a generation of folks who literally cannot focus on one or two tasks at time. Their efforts are so parsed out, so fragmented and disjointed, they have become great at toggling their brain switches, but not so good at deeper thinking. It seems to cause them physical pain when they have to actually think about something and follow a thought process through for more than the life span of a fruit fly. Is the ability to free associate something we can win back? I'm not sure. But that's a post for another blog, another time.

One thing that resonated with me is the artificial levels of stress WoW may create:

There's not much research on the addictive nature of multitasking. But Meyer likens it to playing video games or skydiving: We all get a buzz from novelty and variety. Of course, when the stakes get higher, multitasking can stress you out."The brain areas that you would see light up and the biochemicals, the neurotransmitters that would be getting released would be quite different if I was an air traffic controller trying to land a whole bunch of planes at La Guardia Airport or wherever. I wouldn't be having pleasure then," Meyers says.For teenagers like Zach and Alex, the experience of multitasking falls somewhere between the rush of skydiving and the anxiety of landing planes. Regardless, Alex says, it's all they know.

In other words, we are in a constant state of artificially created air-traffic controllers: there are only pixel deaths to worry about, so it's really of no consequence. But I wonder: some of that nerd rage, the pants-on-fire tank, or others who blast random players in chat--are they hyped up on addictive multitasking? Have they set their stress levels so high they are now operating under the delusion that what they do actually matters? I wonder how many air traffic controllers play WoW? The world may never know.

Recently, Lisa Poisso addressed how to balance life for students in her article, The Student's Guid to Balancing Real Life, Good Grades, and Video Games

I'm getting to my point: (remember? insomnia? sleep deprivation?) Sometimes we do seek that little extra 'push' and thrill, and it is a relatively risk-free place, that Azeroth of ours. I just need to learn how to turn it off a bit sooner, faster, and bottle it up. But when I am in game, be in game, and immerse myself in the fun - cause it is fun. No doubt about it. I'll help you look for your wallet now, too.

Oh, and on a completely different note, have really no idea what to think about this:

Huh...WoW in Forbes Magazine? Good article on 5.2

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Matty: Leave Me the *beep* Alone Edition

The Ultimate Solo Scenario
Dear Matty:
Your fiery temper comes through in your writing, so I am not sure you can help me, but have no where else to turn. The new content in 5.2 is--how can I say it? Truly wonderful --there's a cumulation of narrative, and my wish of having more to do on my own, on my own schedule, is finally coming true. I feel like I did when I first started playing--like everything is new and fresh, and I'm a part of it. I've desperately wanted to recreate that sensation, and for the first time in three years of playing, I almost got there. Until, enter the guildmate. The guildmate who's nice, friendly, helpful, etc., but has a tendency for 'one upmanship' in lieu of sharing, and of unsolicited advice. I got a stream of advice for the Throne scenario, Youtube links, strategies, etc. It was like reading a dungeon journal, but in real time. I didn't want to be rude, and couldn't figure out how to tell him to stop. In the meantime, I was doing a scenario for Jaina and was preoccupied with that, so I could mostly disregard the advice. But the damage was done. When I got a moment, I tried to express that I just wanted to go in there, even if I failed. He couldn't know what emotional connection I was trying to achieve in the game, so it's not his fault, but it was kind of ruined for me. But the crusher was--before I went he asked me to heal the Setting The Trap quest; I asked if it had to be now, he said yes, so I stopped everything, changed specs, and went in there. Somewhere during it I noticed the beast was not dying. I questioned this and he said something like, 'didn't I get the memo to change to dps?' No, no I didn't because the cat caught on fire, the chili boiled over, and the garlic toast was being eaten by the dog, or something. So, yes, the one second I look away...we were in combat anyway. Fine, monster dead, back to what I was doing. It took about ten minutes because I kept aggroing stuff while in my healer spec, and they were all long gone. So I went into the Throne, and got three of the stones from the run, and here is why I'm mad: I kind of purposefully sabotaged myself out of stubbornness to try to recreate sensation of discovering it on my own. I did get some okay things, but not the awesome stuff. But I did get the stones, and then the Setting the Trap quest, and wouldn't you know, when I shared that in guild chat, not one of them offered to help me finish it That was the cherry on the fart.

Here's my question: besides DND, is there any polite way to get people to listen when you want them to be quiet?

Gnawing-My-Foot-Off Gnome

Dear Gnaw:

No. You can't get people to read between the lines. Subtly doesn't work in guild chat.

I think you answered your own question, and you just want to feel absolved over the guilt of wanting to play on your own, and not be a rude twit, too. I'm sure your guildmate was just excited and enthusiastic too, and we all go into Azeroth for some level of social interaction. If this truly begins to bug you, you may just want to put an alt in that guild you seldom play, and join a tiny one. But you really need to look at the cost/benefit of this: there are times you do want help, and being part of a larger guild does have its social benefits. Consider it like a union: you pay your dues, and hopefully the return on investment is feeling happy and comfortable. Maybe when you log on, you can greet players and let them know you're doing solo content, so your DND button will be on, or let them know you're turning off guild chat for some personal play reasons. If they know ahead of time "you're not home," they'll respect that.

And I can't help but think of the Burgess Meredith character in that Twilight Zone episode where he gets all the time he needs to read--when you break your glasses, it'd be nice to have a discount on repair bills.

Now go log off, take a bubble bath, and read a good book. I highly recommend Life of Pi before you see the movie, which is dazzling. Makes you think about being alone, God, and stuff. Damn, did I just give you unsolicited advice too? My bad.

Thanks, Mumta!

You're going down, clown....
It's Daylight Savings time in the U.S. - no one remembers why we do this, no one likes it, and I think it hearkens back to some ancient agrarian custom of feeding chickens and milking cows; it's all about making Americans work harder, longer, faster. And it blows. It's not so bad when we "Fall Back," meaning we set our clocks back one hour in the fall, but "Spring Forward" is a painful transition. Right now I'm sitting here glassy-eyed, sleepy, wondering how I am going to make it through this Monday, as if Mondays are dodgy enough. "Oh, you Yanks!" you're probably saying, "Always bitching about something!" Let's see your government arbitrarily take away and give hours during equinoxes and see how you like it. No wonder why we're all a little bit crazy--we have a lot of clocks to set back and forth.

What this also means is every spring forward I think I can stay up. But this year - it paid off.

Just as my friend was logging off, he was probably wondering why my goodnight's were curt - normally I wish him well, have a great day, all good things. (Oh, our friends in Azeroth-- you all really do make me happy!) But what I couldn't tell him was that I was in a life-and-death battle with a silver spawn named Mumta. You all know I am NEVER in the right place at the right time, but last night - I was. First of all, I was enjoying the Island without mobs of people--no one was there. Just me and the trolls. Mataoka is a veteran troll killer. There is not a tusked-toothed troll who can outrun her, who can zap or defeat her. Don't even try.

In one of the many mystical tombs, where Ceniza had discovered as a great place to down some spirits and Mogu, Mataoka was strolling the perimeter, and damn if he didn't spawn right there - no time to lose, tagged, bagged, and down! A warlock standing nearby started hitting it, too, and this is where I could use some clarification: I have tagged elites first, and others have gotten the loot -- is there loot for everyone now? I tried to party with a paladin for an Operation Shieldwall thing the other day, and he refused the invitation, and I said I just wanted credit for the kill, and he said why didn't I say that first? Well, because he was going down fast and there wasn't time for manners at that second...Oh well. In any case, warlock or no, it was me and my elementals, hero, wolves, and spunk.

This leads me to my question: How much do you prepare for patches? Do you like to be in a great amount of control, and know what's going to happen, where to look for things, or do you like to be surprised and see the journey unfold as you go? I think I do a combination of both -- don't do much research ahead of time, and then as I need, feed information or research to boost game experience. 

Professional Wannabe

Yea! Zeptepi got this AMAZING helm recipe the other day!

BOO! She needs a metric shitton of these: Haunting Spirits:

Bloody hell.

Theme song: No One's Gonna Love You/Band of Horses

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Project: Mage Rage

"All I ever wanted to do was study."-- Jaina Proudmoore, the Mage's Mage

First: Apologies again to Cymre for my blistering blue language yesterday. Tome understands: once in awhile a girl's just gotta say, "F#&!@*$."

Who has my soul? The Beancounters.

Second: There may be brief moments of unfiltered rant. However, there might be some good information in here. I sacrificed harmony in my own hearth and home yesterday to get to its conclusion, (yes, things got a little ugly at the Matty-shack last night), so bear with me.

Ceniza is a mage I began for a guild: they needed a draenei mage for the Classy thing. It was while I was playing her that I g/quit that guild in defense of a player who was actually, unbeknown to me, may have been enjoying the trio of trolls of which she was the third party. No matter. They were all just joking, mmkay? The point is Ceniza was born of Ambitious Goals and Anger. Where my shaman evokes personality traits of fire, she also is the side of me that can cool things down, or dump a bucket of cold water on the situation. Zep the Priest is all light and shadow, and Ceniza: she is my fire girl.

This past week two things happened, one at work, and one in game. At work, I am trying something new and that 'something' took a big, fat misstep on Monday. No one got hurt, thank goodness, but I wouldn't allow that to happen ever anyway. A colleague reported, (false isn't the word because she didn't think she was lying), but misinformation to my boss, and I got an earful (well, an e-mail-full anyway).  I spent pretty much all day Tuesday at meetings intermittently crying in frustration. Don't you just LOVE 'colleagues' who support you, help, or just help by getting out of your way if they can't do anything else? Yes, this colleague was not that. Awesome. 

Note to self: No good deed goes unpunished, so before you do a good deed, get ass protection. (Oh my sweet baby murloc I can just imagine the spam now.)

This has nothing to do with this next part, except to say perhaps I was already set up for grumpiness.

On Wednesday or Thursday, a dear friend mentioned there might be a spot on the raid team he was on, however--only for a mage. He is very aware, and we did talk, that Ceniza is a far down-the-list priority alt, and this character is no where near 'raid ready.' "Are you sure you guys don't need a priest?" I repeated. "No, the RL is a priest." 


They raid on Saturdays, my 'sacred night of saving all that is dear to me,' night, so I can't go regardless. BUT -- it did pique my interest: With the supposed changes with 5.2, and the other two characters I have who are qualified, what would it actually take to get a character like Ceniza 'raid ready?"

This is a question each and every one of you should be asking yourselves. This is where we players make a choice: continue to appreciate and love a beautiful world and have fun, or rail at that Beancounters of Blizzard who continue to put unnecessary obstacles in our path? These "beancounters" are not unlike my colleague who snitched on me instead of bringing me her concerns directly. They do not have your back, in a manner of speaking.

The "rage" is not in the game, or the quests, or the gear: I finally, totally understood the pain of the gear gate-keeping that the faction reputations has caused. It absolutely, undeniably, SUCKS. That a player cannot pick up an alt, gear it up reasonably quickly with valor and drops, and just go effing play, is cause for outrage. I could only access two of the current LFRs because my gear score wasn't high enough, and couldn't get a higher gear score because I couldn't purchase valor gear with my (unspent) valor because it required faction reps, and I couldn't get more faction rep because I am only one human with limited play time. (Where is that shaman with that bucket of water when I need her?)

Consider this the ultimate make-over. I still wanted to see "what would happen if,"what if I had two evenings to get a IL464 character to IL470 in two days? (Consider: mages love studying - they love academic challenges. If you want to win a spelling bee, take a mage.)

I wanted to do this with a few stipulations. First, I didn't want to go into gold debt and borrow gold from wealthier friends to buy gear. Second, there wasn't much to be had. Third, I wanted to know empirically what would it truly take. 

The List

1. What gear does she have now?
Unfortunately, I didn't get a screenshot before I got the cloak yesterday, but I'll get to that.

Ceniza was at an IL of 464. I bought a belt that had eight higher points. Blizzard math that brought me to IL 466. I can't even get into all of the current LFRs.

2. What rep does she have?

Ceniza's fanfic story is a tragic one. That's why she was hanging out on the farm. Reputation-wise, she didn't have Jack-squat.

3. Now that Patch 5.2 is live, what should she do first?

*Go do both LFRs 
*Go do a dungeon or two and click the rep stats. 
*Prioritize on Shado-Pan since Honored status would get her a cloak. (See #1)

4. Go to Icy Veins and reeducate myself on her priorities. As my friend Krasher would say, for a fire mage like Ceniza it would have been: Intelligence>Dirty Vodka Martini>Passport>Matches, but no, it's:

5. Prioritize those reps:
A. Get to honored with the Shado Pan. 
B. Go fight Trolls with the Kirin Tor for better gear.

Getting Honored with the Shado Pan wasn't as easy as typing it: I died a thousand deaths killing those bugs all over again. I wasn't even to the daily point with the Shado Pan yet. It brought back all those horrible, painful memories of when I was trying to bring Zeptepi through there. And boom goes the dynamite. That's where the rage exploded. That's where Cymre got her earful. I effffffffffing hate doing those quests all over again. But there was no other way. No other options. Though I had been through them twice before, it wouldn't matter. 

The Kirin Tor have all the cool new shit:

And while I wish that all reputation was across the board for all alts, I also say to myself 'be careful what I wish for,' because after all---that is the fun of the game. Shh. You didn't hear me say that.

In 5.2, the reputation changes are actually pretty cool, well -- better than nothing I guess. The nothing being "I am going to cancel my subscription and take up knitting again," so at least the Beancounters compromised there. 

On the LF  (looking for) tab, and on your rep, you can click the little star next to the faction you want to earn rep on. What I learned is that you can't grind in one night, and this didnt' seem to work in LFR, but only in dungeons, with the Tillers, and with the scenario. And it only works one run a day. (EFFFFINGBEANCOUNTERS!) However, the scenario topped me off last night (I played for three and a half hours, had dinner, and came back for two more hours yesterday) to put me over the Honored line. And thus: I got my cloak. So between Thursday and Friday, over ten hours spent on this project.

Why can't I hit the Alter Time spell then, jerks?
I will play Cher's Turn Back Time in your earhole

6. Understand rotation, macros, and spells:
Icy Veins has a comprehensive guide to all of this; however, it will take time. There are spells that came around the last patch I do not understand. They are as mystifying to me as a magician's trick. 

Which brings up another point: maybe mage isn't the class for me after all? Not sure. 

I "get" my shaman, and priest. I have had loads of fun playing Ceniza, but with every patch and loss of spells I understand, there is a reason why she was played less frequently. 

The most confusing spell for me is Alter Time.

Here is a video with a PvP focus on Alter Time:

Another clarifying video on Alter Time:

He does a great job of explaining Alter Time in the second video, and it's clear he loves his mage. I don't even understand Daylight Savings Time here in the States. I understand that I hate it.

And for the record, I think Rune of Power is stupid.

Because I'm stupid.

7. By which we go back to gear. So, Thursday and Friday afternoons into the nights are both spent doing quests, LFR, dungeons, etc. After all that effort, I got to IL 468, two points away from IL 470 so I could get into LFR to get a still slim chance of more loot. (I cannot tell you how discouraging it was to go into LFR for my 25th time after the patch to try to get that damn fist weapon again, and nothing. I think this is more about shaman rage, actually...but....yes, I need therapy.) Fortunately, my good guildmate suggested I go get some sleep, and today run Alterac Valley for some Honor Points for some decent come-ups in gear score. Okay, Senor, I shall. And I know for those serious PvPers out there, I shall endeavor to do my best.

8. Relax, chica.
So what if my head caught fire, my repair bills were nuts, and trolls had me for a midnight snack? Meh. No matter. My trusty pal Iocane more than cheered me up with a happy little pet I promptly named "Sweetpea" because that's who Iocane is - a very sweet young lady.

Also, I got an electrified gator from a swamp. Cool, cool.

And: I am not this:

Was this helpful to any of you? Helpful in hammering in the fact you never want to play a mage? Helpful in confirming your opinion that I am batshit crazy sometimes? Well, in my defense I do love to learn new things. I learned that, wait, what did I learn? I learned I still need to get my taxes together, it's a beautiful nearly-spring day, and that Azeroth will be there for me. Mages are a challenging class, and it's those challenges that keep us engaged and interested. Without curiosity, all the cool cats would be dead and have nothing to show for it. It was time to get Cenzia off the farm, and see what she can do. Let's see where this takes us.