Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Matty Moth Superstar!

My buddy Krasher knows his business when it comes to pets, pet battles, and leveling them. He has been exceedingly generous with his time, information, expertise, and..PETS since pet battling came on deck. He made this great video showing how he levels pets quickly - I know many of you are experts in this, but what I like about this video he talks about how to stop or start certain spells -- something I am still not too great at, or know that much about. I tend to MASHALLTHINGs with my characters and pet battles, and then wonder why I fail so miserably?

Regardless, with no further ado:

WoW Pandaria Pet Power Leveling

My pets have all run feral lately, and I need to get on the stick. I seem to like getting them more than leveling, so this will help a lot! Enjoy!

Matty Unmasked

Brown Demon Hunter, sneaking around Azeroth...
Not really. Well kind of. Not really though, right? Yes? No? Maybe? I don't know.

Today is going to be a long day, but not bad. Just--one of those days where I'm not totally prepared, again, but arranged to have the right transportation, the right shoes, and an alarm set. I still need to go to the grocery and drug stores, and clean the kitchen; all in due time. I'll be in a waiting room for hours, so I'll take my notebook--not a laptop--because when I take the drooling, anesthetized mess of a young man back home, I'll need both arms to steady him to the car.

Look how much information I just gave you, my dear readers. You can make all kinds of inferences! Am I going to the zoo? No, not likely. Am I getting my hair cut and colored? Probably not. Preparing to meet Cthululu for coffee and strudel? I am, but not this morning. I could spell it out, and I might, but prefer folks drawing their own conclusions.

Godmother has a wonderful theme in her writing: anonymity and kindness, or lack thereof, in game worlds. There is no way I cannot agree with her when it comes to the point-of-fact people should follow the golden rule at all times, in real and virtual worlds, because those worlds are not so disconnected after all.



But....but what if in the virtual world I want to /pinch a troll hunter who's dancing around me while I'm looking for Arcturis? What if that node my druid and a human raced to was truly a tie, should I acquiesce? What if I do the asshat thing, like answer the door during an LFR and hit the tranquility button so no one dies? But more importantly -- what if I still want to create flawed, heroic, idiotic, misstepping nincompoops in Azeroth, and not give a damn? I DON'T WANT TO BE GOOD ALL THE TIME.

There. I said it.

The issue I'm tangling with right now, right here, is if folks know me in my real world and make judgements about my play time, or vice versa. Those who know me in game, and then find out who I really am will naturally judge - all of us do. We can't help ourselves. We have to form opinions and taxonomy for the people in our worlds otherwise we'd never get anything done. From our infatuations, deep loves, frenemies, enemies, abiding friends and colleagues: they all think they know us, and we them, and then add a layer of fantasy on top of that cake-which-is-a-lie? Sweet baby murlocs, what is that therapist's number?

Look: here is the reality -- we all need imagination, fantasy, and creativity to survive equally as much as food, water, and a fabulous tree house. When we know each other's real identities, we have power over that person, more power, and potential for trust and friendships, than we can ever have solely in Azeroth. We learn from each other, change each other. Does Lois Lane learn more about her relationship the Caped One is Clark Kent or Superman? Is Cat Woman's anagnorisis more poignant during the dance, or when she loses a claw? When the witch demands Chihiro's name, she enslaves the girl. Having one's real identity is a sacred trust between gamers, and this trust is where the heart of the community and do unto breathes. There are hundreds of people with my "real" name (which has also changed over time and circumstances), but only five Mataokas.

Something to think about.

Theme movie: Cue apocalypse, please:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Series: Follow the Path: The Scarlet Crusade

"The Scarlet Crusade is what happens when mad zealots take over a good cause. "*

I saw this quadrant/rubric/metric for the first time several weeks ago in terms of Game of Thrones:

I'm not sure I agree with the characterizations, however it's not my thesis paper, so I'm not going to worry about it. In a discussion about the Scarlet Crusade it's important to clarify a comment, or provide some background knowledge, about 'lawful evil'. For more information on Alignment, click here.

Lawful Evil

  • A being who gains power through methodically destroying others is lawful evil. Power comes through order, but one can be orderly about slaughtering innocents. Tradition is important, but goodness is not. The Scarlet Crusade and Cult of the Damned is of this alignment.

I won't re-post the entire WoW-Wiki article: it does an excellent job of explaining the history of the Scarlet Crusade, from origins, tactics, and philosophies. However, I cannot help but compare this lore to my own nation, and the parallels many made during some difficult times and egregious acts, and how my own political/patriotic worlds were turned inside out by seeing the leaders of my country respond and promote fear-mongering and censorship. 
"Membership in the Scarlet Crusade is high, relative to the human population of the region. The strong sense of abandonment, futility and fear runs high in all humans on Lordaeron, and the Scarlet Crusade feeds that fear with reassurance that the evil will fall while the good remain untainted."
I am not talking about the military, the first-responders, the families--no - they are my heroes, my true heroes. Unfortunately, this is not unique to any one political party, nation, or times: it is pervasive and repeated. We never learn, do we?

The Scarlet Crusade responds to acts of violence and aggression with more acts of violence and aggression, a fight fire with fire, purge all the Forsaken, and if you are standing close to one, or are in any way suspect, you shall be purged, too. It is not surprising though that there have been a few RP guilds focused on the lore of the Scarlet Crusade: its narrative is deeply interwoven with Azeroth at every level, and continues to subtly influence its future, albeit not as intimately as it once did. For every new Death Knight that is spawned, however, he or she had best know their past, so they can follow their own true path.

Perhaps fitting, of all my characters who managed to pillage the Tabard of the Scarlet Crusade when the Scarlet Halls in their original forms, the paladin and the druid have it in their banks. Luperci looks at it with suspicion, knowing as a paladin there is a place for her in the ranks, but is wary of becoming a zealot without heart or empathy: the druid, Momokawa, hates it for its stiff linen and bloodstains - no healing comes from this cloth, and she tucked it away like a shroud.

Tyranny with the face of faith is a dangerous force. Make no mistake. If the Scarlet Crusade teaches us anything, it is to, in the words of a Draenei, "Remain vigilant." But don't become a vigilante.

RTMT: A few of my favorite things, and no Von Trapps were harmed in the making of this post

Dornaa was told not to jump on the couch...
I was asleep, in fact, I was in what a Texas girlfriend called 'the biscuit.' The kind of sleep where even if you have to get up and pee, you could fall right back into, the kind of sleep where the temperature is perfect, the sheets are clean, and whatever else is on the agenda for the day is doable.

And then...

CD Rogue caught a cold over the weekend (he says sinus infection; I say the sniffles), and started blowing his nose, and if anything can shake one out of the biscuit zone, it's a snotty rogue. Now, there is a shabby, broken-down couch in the family room where I could repose, and I still may. I'm too sleepy to get any real serious writing done, so a collection of 'squees' before I consider jumping on the couch:

1. Boredom

No,  boredom is not one of my favorite things, but getting out of it is.

Perusing through Facebook, a teenager posted how bored he was:

Man, life is so boring. Everyday that I stay home, I do the same things everyday, and everyday im at school, I do the same things everyday. I need some adventure, I don't want to just go hangout at someones house or go out to eat, I want to go out on an adventure! F*ck this boring repetitive sh*t.

The grown-up response would be "then clean the bathroom" or something like that, but boredom affects everyone from time to time, and it doesn't seem to matter how much we have to do; if it's a grinding routine, it's boring. Sometimes though, I think you just have to give Boredom a big ol' squeeze, embrace it, and say, yup, you're Boring. Life by contrast, I suppose. Then when we're ready, we give Boredom its hat and send it on its way:

Inspired by  - make a list of obscure things to do when WoW is back on-line. - I love this front-page of Azeroth news. It had a lot of quick links to 5.4 news, which I've been actively avoiding.

2. Is it Garrosh and me, or Garrosh and I? 

Neri Approves had this post the other day: and though I am not, IRL, exactly like Garrosh, I couldn't believe how much me and the tusked-one had in common. His blog is also one of my favorites:

3. New Title: Romantic Geek
Yes, Navi. I am. What can I say? Everyone loves a good love story, with happy beginnings, endings, sad beginnings, and sad endings. All that awesomeness in between is good stuff.

4. The Graveyard Book
Erinys: our shared collective creative consciousness is cool. Thanks.  So many fun projects, including the spirituality posts, and examining death in Azeroth. I am so weird.

5. Ravens and Crows
I love noticing the small moments of light and magic in Azeroth - they come in the real world, too. You just have to look.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Aw, sugar!

I just eat this stuff up:

Can't wait to see if ya'll come up with anything!

Deep roots.

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

For most of the summer, for a variety of reasons, I've been going back to the image of a Jewish gravestone with pebbles on it. I am not Jewish; I think I saw it once in a movie and it always struck me as poignant, like leaving a little prayer or touchstone for the deceased, more permanent than flowers or teddy bears. Sometimes I feel that I am that gravestone; many friends over the years, and strangers, share their burdens with me, their worries, and for the most part, I find the right words to say at the right time, or a helpful amount of listening. We all want to be 'seen.' but not necessarily for who we are, in our weakest state, our moments of greatest self-doubt and fatigue. Sometimes my help goes askew, or misses its mark. If I was a doctor with a Hippocratic oath, I would have broken the "first do no harm."But I am only human, after all.

Sometimes we do feel alone in the noise, the noisiest place of all our own heads. I feel silly running around pretending to be a little pixelized hooven girl when people I know are sick, suffering, and disheartened. I had breakfast with one of my best friends yesterday morning, and a comment has stuck with me, that she believed I had crossed the line between fantasy and reality. She is not one to pull any punches, but always does so with kid gloves. What has been my strength, a source of creativity, has been reading about and spending time in Azeroth.

Anyway, I owe Navi a penny for my thoughts today, but first I must go see the tax man about a few more pennies. Tome, I have written those stories in my head a few hundred times, too. Señor, keep the faith. Thanks you for your patience my friends.

Momokawa thought one more try, before heading back to the Shrine; the hawkstrider failed to materialize, but the Orb of the Sin'Dorei did...yes, this is one bewildered-looking Night Elf in her Bloodelf disguise:

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dornaa saves the day, again

Dornaa and her baby chick Momo find time to read fairy tales to her 'past/present/future self' Dornaa...trippy. Phew! Some troll baby needs his diaper changed...

That poor little baby shammy! Man did she get saddled with a lot lately: saving tadpole murlocs, saving my love of shamans, reading bedtime stories to orphans, and now she's in charge of getting the Netherwing mounts:

Do these tusks make my butt look big?
Yes, that's our lovely Dornaa, disguised as an orc, taking orders from Overlord Mor'ghor. Young leet druid looked over my shoulder and suggested I should be doing this on one of my level 90s, that it would take a long time to get exalted. As far as time efficiency is concerned, he's right; however, as far as having a new challenge goes, no. I researched these drakes and knew first I would have to get Dornaa to not only level 70 to get the first quest from Mordenai (who kind of breaks my heart a little bit - not sure why) and since I am really enjoying seeing the world through Dornaa's eyes, it seemed natural that she should do this very old content like it was new. To me, it is.

I do appreciate 'sure things;' the reputation grinds that will lead to something worthwhile--the Winterspring cubs, the factions with their stables of mounts, even the Twilight drake drops like a blue gumball in an all-blue gumball dispenser. I tried to borrow some of the luck Tome was having the other day and see if I could get the Swift White Hawkstrider and took six of the girls to Quel'Danas for picnics with Husks and fried chicken, but alas, no White Strider for me. But an interesting thing happened on the way to Kael'thas' chicken coop: only Momokawa could get all the mana wyrms in a near-perfect circle -- all the others made a big mess of mana guts all over the place. Must be a druid thing:

So off I go, hunting for dragon eggs and talking to orcs and goblins. Ah, the things I do for love.

Oh, is this considered killing time?

Theme song: Miguel/Sure Thing

These lyrics are silly - but I love the comment from the young lady, "like even though it's from 2009' - yeah, we can't like songs older than five minutes!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Well there's your problem...

Oh, silly mortal personalities. We focus on the things that are important to us. Well, duh! Let me share how my dog Snickers has me trained: every morning, when I let him out, he goes, but quickly returns, yipping, to the back door. It wasn't always this way. He used to go out, return, and that was that, but then I started giving him some treats for his bad breath, and now he goes out, comes quickly back, has fooled me into thinking he's ready to be inside, and gets a treat, and then two minutes later, yips to go outside again, for real this time. He does this routine, (sans the treat, because that's only in the morning), anytime I am downstairs. And I am always downstairs. His behavior is so obvious, so deeply grooved in our routine, I know that to break this cycle would take monumental effort on my part. I hate his little yips, and moreover, the break in my concentration. Do I hate my dog? Of course not! He's super sweet, comes when I call him, and looks like a little Ewok. In his world, I am the alpha, and his unconditional love never ceases.

Oh no. OH no oh noooo! I did NOT just share an anecdote about my dog and then segue to one about CD Rogue! Oh that would make him crazy! CD, not the dog. He is not a fan of the dog. He is not a fan of any ill-trained domesticated animals. Cats? Fuggedaboutit. Because he loves me he tolerates my love of animals, but trust me, there is no sharing of "Can you believe what Snickers did?" without a lot of eye rolling and "It's your own fault." Fine. If I want a dog whisperer I'll call Cesar Millan in here. Or I'll just send Snickers to go live with him and the pit bulls. 

So I don't have a "must love dogs" situation. But I have traded off that I can at least have someone who can fix my computer, right? He's been a computer guru since tin cans and string upgraded to aluminum. But that is not how things work necessarily at the Matty-shack. I have a problem, I am expected to fix it myself. I shared my computer problems with my friend Turk, and reported his diagnosis to CD Rogue. Fast forward: no one likes another computer geek in the hen house, I suppose, because CD did take a look at my computer, saw I was operating with only 2GB of RAM, watched a video on how to change it  (something he used to do on his own computers ALL THE TIME), and voila! Ordered new RAM and it should be fixed this week. (Still doesn't address the Comcast issues, but it should help tremendously.) Hell, WoW alone probably eats up 2GB, let alone all those screenshots and short stories I have going on. 

Do you see what I'm dealing with here people? But it makes sense. We only can make so many priorities: and though I know if it was his computer it would have been long repaired by now, I guess I just have to think at least it's getting done now. Or soon anyway. In the meantime, I can still limp along, looking for mounts, pets, and LFR. And tripping over the invisible threshold on the floors, by the doors, of the Shrine. Someone should really nail that down; there could be a lawsuit.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Know Your Archetype: Lovable Sidekick (And the Celestial Blessings)

This may strike as an odd pairing of my continuing archetype series and the Celestial Blessings quest line, but they are the ultimate embodiment of immortals, and we as the character, have gone all-in with Wrathion, for better or worse. We are partners in this journey now, and tied together to see it through its ultimate resolution. But Wrathion is purely a character, whereas we mortals have our guilds, friends, and others to see us along the way. Or not, depending on how we behave and treat one another. 

The most famous of all hero/sidekick relationships is that of Frodo and Samwise Gamgee. It is not a linear relationship: Frodo is not all good, all powerful, nor is Samwise solely loyal or trailing in the dust. Far from it. The triptych Gollum, Frodo, and Samwise create intertwine the destiny for all three. Such as it is in Azeroth: we play our own hero, our friends our partners, and the nefarious motivations of the third party.

There are spoilers in this for the Wrathion chain, which most of you are long done with; if you are I'd be interested to know what you thought of these big questions.
Riptide and Empathy: I am sorry your father is trying to kill you, Wrathion.

My friend: I miss you, and I'm not sure what's more painful of a loss -- those friends who are still playing but silent, in their own inner worlds and thoughts, or those who are gone from Azeroth entirely? All I know is the lesson "be careful what I wish for" is causing me chest pains. I wished for more solo content, I wished for an experience on my own time, of my own control, and yet, at the climax of the story, when I need my loyal friend the most, no one can answer my call. I must do it alone.

Nothing ever gets you down, does it Sam? 'bout you throw that damn ring now, Frodo? 
Every day in the various social media venues, I read juxtaposed stories of all of humanity: anger, betrayal, love, marriages, celebrations, births, baby's first steps, a good meal or vacation photo. This past week came to a critical mass for me, and I realized I can't sort out the messy mental space that is my broken cognitive workings on my own. Nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, I have always been of the philosophy that it takes strength to know when to ask for help. This morning one of my dearest friends had to reschedule our lunch date again because she was up all night with arthritic pain--she is young, too. Of course I don't mind rescheduling lunch, and I offered my cubs' help for a move she needs to help with, too. Haven't heard from her yet. She's a stubborn Taurus, and proud Montanan, so I don't know if she'll take me up on my offer.

However, I am learning the hard way that Azeroth is a tricky place, this other world, the keyhole vision of another's soul, character, or life. We never really know one another, even when our molecules collide. But this is why, when we are in Azeroth, we must especially remember to treat our friends with respect, care, and space.

Time to take a long, hard look in the mirror, Matty...
Yesterday Lei Shin was kind enough to give me his heart, (well, I had to rip it out of him, but still...) and after talking it over with Wrathion (and he made tacos out of it, with cilantro of course), I was set on my Celestial Blessings quest line. My friend Turk did it yesterday, and zip-zap was done in ten minutes. That was not my experience. For Mataoka's story, it was important to me that she do the melee/Xuen one for the final challenge. After umpteen attempts, she gave up and tried the healing one. She fared better, but still has not completed it. I don't know what's wrong. The dying thing, yeah, that's it. Oh and dragon's blood. That shit will take you down. (If you want to read some real tips, click here.)

What I loved before all the dying part though was the Celestials' dialogue with the young Black Prince. I felt like the overachiever kid in the front row, the teacher's pet,  flailing my hand in the air, "Ask ME Niuzo! I know! I know! Choose me!" but alas Wrathion was chosen every time. But these are big questions:

What is the nature of hope?

Xuen asks about the nature of strength:

Use strength to crush enemies? Come on Wrathion! Xuen is grading on a bell curve, and you're messing up my GPA! Even Nacho Libre finally got this one - service to others is true strength:
I need to summon my eagle powers...
Perhaps the insightful one, or poignant to me, was Yu'lon's - I need to learn this lesson of knowing when it's wiser to let go, be quiet, be still, and let things run their course:

Doing nothing is counter-intuitive to overachievers such as myself. I am not sure I know how to do nothing. My identity is so tied up with 'saving the day' that I barely recognize when someone wants me to do nothing, help by not helping so to speak.

This morning, I was reminded of a player friend who stopped speaking to me months ago. I know it was nothing I did, or any misuse of friendship or time, but it still stings. He's a good guy, and taught me much about the game. But one thing I haven't learned is to not make noise in the silence.

So my fellowship: I will report on when I defeat or heal Wrathion, to the best of my abilities, and obtain my legendary cloak. I shall wear it proudly, but know it keeps me warm, and I did not do it alone.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Stitch in time...

This is brilliant little cosplay video from the recent ComicCon in San Diego:

Damn! I don't think there are strong enough push-up bras in the world for the super-heroics that would need to happen if I wanted to look like the opening shot--okay, okay --don't panic Matty...Blizzcon's a few months away...(believe me little girls: if I wore a push-up bra you'd rethink your time spent in puberty and go cryin' home to your mommas...this is big girl stuff).

...I mean, I could always buy these monstrosities:
...and I have a wonderful friend who is an amazing costume designer/seamstress and I'm sure she'd be able to whip me up some horns and a tail? I mean, how silly and much of a stunt-woman do I want to be? Do I use some pyrotechnics and set my shoulders on fire for a Firelands' look? Do I go all Luperci the Paladin on their butts, swinging shields and hammers? Oh, gee, those would never get past airport security!

Oh who am I kidding? I may be a Draenei on the inside, but my outer shell is much closer aligned with Kellda. I could get my friend to sew me a few following minions in the style of Steampunk plushies:

...and put them on 'invisible dog' trick wires so it looks like they're following me:
Now, what else would complete the look?
Maybe two years of Pilates and organic fel-colon cleansing juice. How do you think those warlocks stay so slim? Might want to see a doctor about those two things growing out of my head, though. Hornectomy? Now to find a surgeon who'll do my bidding...

Adrenaline Junkie and the Magical Cricket Angel

I don't know what's wrong with me, although, when my circadian rhythm betrayed me once again this morning, there was this -- voice-- some crazy-brain Jiminy Cricket voice of my subconscious who spoke to me clear as day (Guardian angel? Spirit guide? Indigestion?) that said, and I quote, "It will never be the same. Accept it. Move on."

Whoa, Spirit Dude...what won't be the same? What should I let go? Oh, yeah, everything. Did Spirit Cricket Voice snake its way downstairs and make me coffee? Did it save me the last Krispy Kreme doughnut? Did it wash the dinner dishes? No. Its advice, while useful and timely, is all it had to offer. I do know that things are in a flux right now, many, not all, my playmates in Azeroth are dealing with forces I am not privy to, nor can I assist them.

It's no secret I lean toward the emotional side of personalities. (Understate much?) And while the upside to having a passionate, loyal, deeply engaged, and loving personality holds sparkling, glimmering perks for my family, friends, and colleagues (You need to talk, need a hug, share a secret, have someone come out swinging for you? I'm your girl) it also has its downsides: I need a little bit back, too. And when I don't feel that the scales are balanced, I usually speak up. And when I speak up, I inevitably get myself in hot water, and wonder where everyone went, or why are they upset now?
Where did everyone go? Is it something I said?

I wish -- oh how I have long wished -- for a Shamanistic Rage button I can push to show others when I am about to blow. And, if this spell worked in real life, the only alteration I would make is that everyone around me had reduced damage, too:

Jiminy Cricket Spirit Guide Angel Voice tried to reach me before my little hooves, er, toes hit the floor this morning. It tried, it really did. It tried to tell me there is nothing I can do for or about people I love, things they go through, that they can handle those burdens on their own, it's their journey, blah blah blah. The thing is for a big-mouth girl like me is sometimes the best thing I can do is to shut the hell up. Not sure I have that button. And then Tome posted her simple request to Blizzard, and their, in my opinion, hypocritical response. To war! Oh wait, you got it covered Tome? Under control? Okay, let me put this shammy rage back in my pocket.

Just for my own silliness, I donned the HOT-Fab and did all the LFRs that give the Rune Totem thingies that Wrathion wanted me to pick up for him. Guess what? I needed five more and...I got five more. My friend Señor was unaware I was wearing the helm (we did one LFR before he had to skedaddle), but I am sure he knows I am a dork, and perhaps if the HOTFB would work for him, too, that would be fine. Now Wrathion wants me to go get a cold, black heart out of Lei Shin. Okay, okay! Sheesh! Keep your turban on buddy! Even Dorothy only had to get one damn broomstick!

I have a tiny little sign I keep at work that says this:

So, Angel Cricket: I will endeavor to do better. To my friends, may you not feel my wrath, or have me cause you any pain or discomfort. To myself, ditto. No, things are never the same. We go in and out of lives for reasons, "they" say, and learn from each other. To those I am learning from, you are my Angel Crickets. Thanks.

Now I'm off to go find cold, black hearts. Hear they are the secret to Starbucks' coffee.

Theme song: Give A Little Whistle

Kubla Matty

HOT-Fab, Limerick style:

There once was a shaman named Matty
Who believed herself to look quite knatty
Though the HOTFB some may mock
She thought she was kind of a jock
Even if the reality was damn tatty

In Azeroth did Mataoka
A Helm of Fierce Bison decree
Where Yan-Zhe the sacred river ran
Though dailies measureless to man
Down to a fatiguing sea

So twice five flight paths of dark soil ground
With dungeons and towers were girdled round:
And here were the gardens filled with herbs and rills*
Where humming violet light of Crystalsong’s tree
And here were forests ancient as the Grizzly Hills,
Enfolding treasures of gear of greenery

But oh! That deep romantic knitted cap which slanted
Down the long brown hair athwart a noggin cover!
A savage place! As holy and enchanted
A e’er beneath a waning moon was daunted
By a woman wailing for her stolen golden clover!

And from this noggin, with ceaseless hubris seething
As if this earth in Borean leather pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain of Sha was forced:
Amid whose swift windshear’d burst
Huge fragments vaulted like dismounted hail
Or chaffy plagued grains in dungeon’s flail;
And ‘mid these dancing elfs at once and ever
It nerfed the hunter’s once-useful quiver.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through pixels and bytes the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to ogre-man
And sank in tumult, without any breathing potion

And all who hear should see her there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
Her flashing eyes and messed-up hair
Weave a circle ‘round her like Mike Tyson
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For she on bosses’ hides hath fed,
And herald the Helm of the Fierce Bison!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Magical thinking...

I'm off again to Seattle for most of the day, finding solo activites to pass my time, and am bringing my rusty, sake-spit laptop (that's sock-kay, yes the one I choked on a shot of sake one night and messed up the keyboard).

Seriously - this waking up at 430 or 445 has got to STOP. I know it's a combination of stress, genetics, and well, not sure what else, but it's starting to make me a little bonkers. I mean, damn, I have often joked that in a past life I was a milkmaid, some kind of lowly peasant, but this carry-over is getting on my last nerve. Oh well.

But what cheers me is Navimie wrote a poem about my epic Helm of the Fierce Bison, or my and Tome's HOT-FAB.

The Helm of Fierce Bison's misleading
Won't give me protection I'm needing
It looks cute on my head
But no use if I'm dead
Or lying there crippled and bleeding.

I think there's is a rebuttal in me; hopefully I won't be too sleepy to get it out! I'll sit on a street corner in Seattle, wearing the helm, and see if anything comes to mind!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gas leak.

Why can't I shake the feeling that I'm always, always running behind in Azeroth now? I appreciate Blizzard putting the new content on a faster conveyor belt, but I do feel behind, constantly. Cue soundtrack of Carl Stalling's Powerhouse.

Last night I was staring at my characters, and though they have much to do in game, "they" all felt paralyzingly restless. I told Navimie that the feeling I had was like a boyfriend had just broken up with me and all I could do was find a spoon and a pint of Häagen-Dazs. (The 'boyfriend' is metaphorically my current engagement with projects, or lack thereof; spoon and ice cream symbolizing temporary cures.) Well, to be completely honest, it would not be Häagen-Daz, but perhaps Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey, or Chubby Hubby. But that's a detail you really didn't need to know. Pistachio gelato is my all-time favorite, probably because it's difficult to get, and no one else likes it but me. Anyway -- damn, where was I? Oh yes. That feeling that something is broken, or a path turned a different way, and the next way isn't clear yet. So what else is a girl to do? Why, play your mage of course! Irate Mage decided to finish up her Master of the Ways title, gold be damned! Juicy carrots at market premium because of a frost in the Jade Forest, and between fishing, putting items in the pantry, etc. she spent -well--too much--but she's good for it! Swear! A Draenei always pays her debts. The thought of farming for myself again was so crippling boring, I just could not do it. Sometimes ya just gotta throw gold at a problem.

Anyway, so 5.4 is just around the corner. Here is all I know about it, and there are spoilers:

Shaman Glyphs:

Speaking of throwing gold at a problem, my Mary Kay rep caught up with me recently; she has a preternatural ability to know exactly when the cleansers and mascara run dry. Whether or not these skin care products and elixirs hold back the ravages of time, I do not know. But it smells good and makes me feel pretty, albeit temporarily. Off to the ice cream shop...back in a bit. Temporary joys are better than nothing at all, right?

And men: eat breakfast! It's good for your hearts!

RTMT: Give it away, give it away, give it away now...

Dornaa thought to herself, "Dude, seriously, not your best pick-up line..."
"Despite every effort, I am unable to hear what he is trying to tell me."

Today's Random Tuesday Morning Thought comes from the makers of CrazyDreams and Good Intentions Candy Company: when you absolutely, positively, do not have to page Dr. Jung to figure it out, and pave your way to hell there and back again with sugar-coated sentiments.

Part I: Adam Sandler, Why The Hell Are You Here?

Health confession (hate making these, but then again I think if I share this, and someone else needs the help, then maybe I'm doing some good?): I have had sleep apnea since before I was a teenager. I would wake up with turtle headaches, and though I was skinny and didn't drink whisky at twelve, off and on I would snore and not get any sleep. It took me decades to get this "fixed," although the solution is to place a giant rubber squid on my face before I sleep. My vanity will be my health downfall. Sleep issues are serious business, and the more doctors study it, the more it's become a booming business, AND has links to all kinds of maladies: weight issues, demetia*, heart problems, etc. When I wear it, I do not remember dreams, though I know I have them. Everyone dreams. It's critical for mental health. Most mornings though, if I wake up at 430AM, I am too lazy to put it back on, and then I occasionally remember my dreams. This morning's was a doozy: I was at some competition with a large group, my age was in my 20s, and I was not prepared. (Listen to Illidan much, Matty?) Everywhere I went I ran late, if there was a buffet I would be last in line, I spilled things, the berries ran out, one of my friend/colleagues (who is a very, very large woman) was saving a seat for me and I put down my paper plate of fruit and crackers, running off to go do something else and being unsuccessful in whatever that thing was, and worrying that she would continue to hold the seat for me, and I never returned. No, I didn't return because I was scheduled to go listen to a podcast about skateboarders, and went to change my clothes, but there was no privacy in the tiny youth-hostile style room, and I had no more clean clothes. Yes, I went to the podcast naked. Adam Sandler was there, half trying to find some clothes for me, and full-on laughing at me.

I think next time I'll put on my sleep mask again.

Part II: Social Contract
Gumi, one day you will be mine, but today is not that day. No matter if it is 11:11, the wishing time.

I wanted to point your attention to Erinys' fabulous ideas for her imaginings of a Blizzard store:

Those are remarkable ideas. My next ramblings however, do not take anything away from these great ideas, but something CD Rogue said this morning reminded me of what I really want to see in the Blizzard store. He has jury duty this week, and though he cannot talk about the case, he may be there for a bit which implies it may be somewhat serious. On his way out, he told me he donated his gas mileage reimbursement and per diem to the daycare center at the court house, which is solely funded by donations. The day care is for children whose parents are going through domestic legal issues. Ah yes. I know. We are a penny-wise, pound-foolish society.


Anyway, one thing I would like to see in the Blizz store are more charity pets: say  for every three new items, mounts, or pets, there is one that the proceeds would go to a worthy cause, say the World's Children's Fund, or some other global cause. Consider a portion of pet sales to go towards helping the world's real animals.

And right about now, my Facebook envy is over --friends are in London and just caught the big to-do over the new Royal, but I'll be in town when this new addition hits the ground:

Editor's Note: Navi, I have not forgotten. 

Theme song: Lorde/Royals

*You may not want to listen to this story about demetia, old people, and sex, but I thought it was interesting. And now I now why I listen to podcasts naked with Adam Sandler.

This just in! Breaking Shaman news! Thanks, Luxypie!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Series: Follow the Path -- Religion and Spirituality in Azeroth

Light the way, Dornaa

When it comes to the lore and exposition of Azeroth, I am a complete dilettante. I'll listen to the various exchanges, take my blessings, and go about my business.  I have no right trying to behave in the manner of an expert or spokesperson. However, Erinys inspired this, and I do love to learn about things, so if I make a mistake or misinterpret something, please correct or amend.

My overall impression of the question of faith and spirituality in Azeroth is a defining characteristic -- in Azeroth we (characters/players) directly interact with immortals on a daily basis. The pantheon exists in the 'natural' world among we mortals. To bless someone "To walk in the light" means we can day trip down to Shattrath and hang out with A'Dal for an afternoon if we wish. I realize the supernatural spiritual forces of our own real-world religions many have claimed to have seen an immortal power, but in Azeroth they interact with our characters constantly, and influence our actions and destinies intentionally. We follow Elune, the Celestials, Velen, the Old Gods influence world events, Naaru, the Forsaken worship Lady Sylvanas, and those such as Azshara may be considered demi-gods. I'm not sure, to tell the truth.

Dornaa the Innocent was gaining understanding of Shattrath, and its origins, from Khadgar, and overheard this conversation:

This exchange seemed tinged with evangelism from my perspective. A key difference is the phrase "fruits of the Light." The service and kindness is its own reward--there is no discussion or promise of a heaven or nirvana, but a life spent in service of the Light is the life itself. The reward are the blessings, and the blessings are the business of living. 

From Velen: A Prophet's Lesson:
The Prophet had long ago learned detachment from his visions lest they drive him mad. The third eye of prophecy had been with him so long that having premonitions was like breathing. The ata'mal crystal shards had transformed him into a sentinel of alternate universes without end, sometimes down to their very eclipses in darkness, or ice, or fire. Velen didn't sorrow for these futures or mourn their extinctions or shout in exaltation at their triumphs. He merely read them, watched their woven tapestries, looking for the roads that led to ultimate triumph, where life and the Light battled back the dark and saved everything from annihilation. What mattered the minor events prized by most mortals—even his own draenei—measured against the awesome responsibility of ensuring the survival of creation?
Those visions, Velen? I completely understand. I hate being right all the time, too. This passage from this short story sums up the constant conflict that is Azeroth, the forces of good versus evil as we as cultures define them to be. 

Recently Lisa Poisso wrote a fascinating article reporting on an all-Draenei guild, one that built a complicated culture and planning based on Draenei lore. Nelua, the GM of the guild, best explains her interpretation of the draenei faith: I apologize for this long excerpt, but feel that Nelua says it far better than I: 
LP: But it's not all light-hearted fun. I understand you get players who want to interpret the concept of the Light through the lens of Christianity, bleeding into their attitudes and roleplay. How do you handle that?

Nerlua: That's a complicated question. I don't think the Light is meant to be an in-game representation of Christianity. I think it's an archetypal, non-personified force of good that appears in all cultures and faiths. I think that particularly in the structure of the human clergy there are some similarities, and I occasionally take from Christian liturgy when performing a religious function in-game. Because it sounds cool and it fits the tone.

But there's a line between IC actions and OOC beliefs, and I think it's important to keep those two things separate. The minute that line is crossed, things can become uncomfortable, and it's not fun anymore.

Kharanei actually has a great and accepting community, OOC. Many members in the past have described it as being more like a family or a circle of good friends than your standard guild, which is something we've worked to maintain. Some members are Christians, others are pagan/Wiccan, and some are atheists, but what's important is that we're drawn together by love of the game.

If the Light is comparable to anything we know of, I'd say it's more like the Force from Star Wars than anything. It's the energy that comes from life itself, surrounds us and penetrates us and binds the galaxy together. That power can be tapped by talented individuals and used to heal, as in priests, or to destroy, as used by paladins at war. Rather than being a godlike force with a will of its own, it's a power to be respected, and the religion around it is more like a Jedi code that guides its wielders toward using it responsibly. There have been organizations in-game like the Blood Knights or the Scarlet Crusade that have used the Holy Light for incredible cruelty and evil, much like the Force may be used by "the Dark Side" to further its purposes.

The only thing I am curious about is the "non personified" concept. It seems that the Light is personified in every being, constantly - from Velen, A'Dal, et al. It's all personified, and directly so. 

This concept of Velen and Light brings me back to Farseer Nobundo. A wielder of the Light, priest or paladin, is wielding the power of a force that fulfills; a shaman however uses the forces of nature, of elements specifically, as power. 

"Everything that is... is alive."
—The Wind's first words to Nobundo

Ultimately, what Nerlua said rings true: our own interpretation of our backgrounds and culture allow for creativity. Walk in the Light.