Friday, May 31, 2013

Moments of Grace, Walks of Shame, Infamy and Hope: A Day In the Life of Matty

Damn, Tome got the word out about prancing. Okay, scratch that idea. What else, what else...?

Rifles through files...comes up with:

Yes, a reference to David Hasselhoff!
Quick! Someone call PETA! Those sharpeis are in danger!
Next: Add-Ons:
Yes, yes that is a lit-up gnome lantern in the background. Why do you ask?
These are the best add-ons ever. Sticky Notes. Yup.

Let's see...hmmm...

Should I talk about the other night I was at a concert for three hours and there was a tuba solo? And I was sitting on the floor? And then I got up and started prancing (see above) because I couldn't take it anymore? Had a hysterical laughing fit and had to open my purse and spit out my laughs in it so I wouldn't cause a fuss and everything.

Should I talk about yesterday morning when one of "those meetings" came to a cataclysmic ending and I yelled at a pregnant lady? Um. So proud. So very proud. And professional! I had stereo hormonal women, both in a lot of physical and emotional pain, and crazy across the table, and it was the Bermuda Triangle of Meeting Hell (mix metaphors much, Matty?) She yelled first, all I can say. I can take a punch, but sometimes I fight back.

Maybe I'll talk about the things I do for love? The hours and sacrifices we all make, including tuba solos of other mothers' sons.  Or maybe I'll just talk about how Blizzard came through and did the final fix for Ceniza:

And maybe I'll name this pet "Bermuda," to remind me to stay calm at all times. I really need to keep my inner fire mage in the box.


What will today bring? Who knows?! Always an adventure. I know it's starting off right - late for work, and a boss who notices. Party on, Wayne! Party on, Garth! But I AM THE HORDEBREAKER BEOTCHES! No one hassles the Ceniza!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Spotting Trends: Aus/NZ: PSA, Cool Whip, and Old People

The other night I was putting away laundry in my room, watching Celebrity Ghost Stories. The episode was with Beverly D'Angelo, (she had Momma Cass haunting her house (!), and next came Sally Struthers. If that wasn't terrifying enough (Sally Struthers, not the ghosts), an advertisement for some heart or stroke medication aired. I have spent ten minutes this morning trying to find the name of it, but for the life of me cannot. Isn't it sad, the one piece that the advertisers and drug manufacturer wanted burned in my head was vastly overshadowed by the narrative of the commercial.

The storyline goes something like this: we see a middle-age man's full face, he's contemplating something. He is incredibly handsome, bristly grey hair and ocean-blue eyes, and he changes his routine step-by-step. Instead of doing whatever it is he normally does, he keeps repeating the phrase, "Not today." The first change is, as the voice over describes the drug treatment, is go to a real, honest-to-goodness florist in a quaint small town. He buys a large bouquet of indecently colored purple and indigo blossoms. (Must be "her" favorite color.) He then goes to a travel agent (they still have those?! What the hell? Someone to actually book your travel, as if you're going with large trunks and a valet named Barnaby?) Anyway, the misguided travel agent, seeing that he's "old," hands him a brochure to Florida. Florida?! Boo! That's for old people! He points up at a travel poster on the wall behind her that touts NEW ZEALAND! No wussy Florida for me and the mysterious future bouquet recipient! He buys two tickets and heads back to his house. His concerned looking wife, kind of dry, but hey, bonus! Not a trophy wife! Someone his same age!! Are you listening, middle-age women! You too can marry the man of your dreams and he won't leave you for someone younger! Woot! Okay, sorry. The concerned wife, who just looks happy that he's come back from his errands alive, jumps with joy at the bouquet, and then, the tickets!?! Cut to scene of them strolling around an abandoned New Zealand, not another soul for MILES kilometers except for some penguins walking waddling around the beach, in their windbreakers and smiles.* Good for them! Hope he remembered to pack that drug he was on, too, otherwise he's going to be in dire need of a doctor, and apparently, those are kept far, far away from the mountains, beaches, rogue penguins,  and Peter Jackson sets.

"Point, Matty?"

Geting to it.

A few weeks ago I ordered a print off of etsy. It came last week, a woodblock print by an artist named Sarah Gully, from Melbourne. I also bought a book by an author I've never read before, because I judged its jacket: Yellowcake by Margo Lanagan. You guessed it: another Aussie. Oh yes, and when reading the comments on the chocolate lasagna  someone asked, "Anyone from Aus/NZ? Because WTF is cool whip?" It's gross fake whipped cream, that's what. And don't forget John Oliver's report on reasonable gun control in Australia. Oh, Utopia! Oh, Reason! It does exist!

"Again, point, please Matty?"

Brains love patterns. Oh sure, I adore my Southern Hemisphere friends, and perhaps I'm picking up on all this because of you all. But--I also know when there is a shift in the trends too. Wish I got paid big bucks for a marketing gig, but alas...in any case, with all the writers, artists, and Hobbits flying around, including Guy Kawasaki who wrote about his all-expenses paid trip to New Zealand, I just wanted to warn you. We Yanks are going to scrape and claw our way out of this recession, mark my words, and when we do, we're all going to take trips Down Under to annoy the crap out of ya'll. Sure, we act all friendly and cute, like big dumb puppies, but we put COOL WHIP in things! Furthermore, not only are we hopped on fake dairy, we can't figure out health care or gun control. I'm watching the State of Texas turn away 100 billion dollars in medical aid Federal dollars because of political maneuverings. My heart hurts, Southern Cross friends. Heed this warning: if your tourist bureaus are wise, they'll be careful in the advertisting and marketing seeds that are planted around the world. Some visitors can be more invasive than others.

*Editor's Note: Not the penguins' windbreakers. They were going commando.

Theme song: Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Iz Kamakawiwo'ole

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hordebroken...

Okay, so, yeah. The Longest Day temporarily broke my mage. It's true. I'm not sure when I tried to do this, the whole weekend is such a blur, but when I went to continue Ceniza's journey, when I got to the Old Man Seer quest, she broke.

Let's do a brief post mortem, shall we?
Talk to the troll...no, THE Troll! (WTB Flyswatter)


Is it getting hot in here? 
 Oh, cough, um, sorry, back to the troll:




Damn, it's good to be a gangster.




Sully ain't the fullest mug in the pub sometimes, is he?


Fluxfire Secret Agent Cat


Old Man Seer quest: cool!  Could use some new shoes...
Did quest. Did it again. Did it again, Did it again. Completed it.

What? Where? What happened?

Put in a ticket. Got advice about ten hours later. Do this thing with this, some /jumpupthreetimes go to WTF folder (so aptly named) and dance naked in the moonlight. Did that fix it?

No. In fact, when I followed the steps the first GM gave me, every time I logged back into Ceniza my screen froze down shut and I had to do hard reboots. Not cool. After three more GM exchanges, and about a day or so, we got it fixed. So I am not joking when I say Blizzard broke my mage. Fortunately, they did fix her, and gave her her pet battle stone, which is being kept in a secret off-short location until I get the Unborn Valk'yr pet. It'll happen. Sure. Sure it will.

BUT - there is always a silver lining. Because mage broke, and I saw my friend Kaylyne putting up her leatherworking skills in trade, I perused her fine wares and found this robe for Momokawa, who's been in hibernation for months. Stupid climate change!

I had all the materials except the spirits of harmony, and she gladly made it for me with a wink and a promise. Now Momo could get into heroics! Hooray! I have really missed druid healing.

First heroic:

No one but me and the rogue left standing, and finished off the first boss.

Boosted by this confidence, I tried another, and ended up getting a lot of advice, in Spanish, about how to be a druid:



My friend Señor translated the little I had time to ask, so first line: Is this your first druid? I'm asking with all due respect.

And there's something about green leaves.

I appreciate the advice in any language, to be sure. And yes, it is my first druid. And my last. And where did I leave that hibernation den? I think I hear a baby bear cub calling my name....

Ah well. Al menos mi mago vuelve a funcionar.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Story Time: The Ash Witch of Theramore



The letter came by goblin messenger:

I hope this does not find you well. In fact, if I could have had one wish, it is that you would have died along with the rest of the Theramore scum, but alas, I know you did not. My sources inform me you lived, and have been seen wearing black, as if in mourning. Laughable, wench. But with the scrapings of respect I can muster for the likes of you, I must humble myself and share a request. If I am not transparent in my motives, and forthright in my honor, then I shall be no better than you. Understand I do not hold John’s memory to the fire in the same manner I would put you to the crucible’s pestle. He was a hero. You are a hero’s doom. 

Your affair with my brother-in-law is common gossip for the sniggering fools who serve my family. It is the fodder that the servants chew on when our backs are turned. Thank the stars there were no children from that union. The shame you have brought to the Aden family is devastating. 

It is this: my sister has not recovered from the loss of John, as you seem to have. You have left a wake of destruction larger and wider than Garrosh’s mess in the Barrens. It is my request that you never show your vile, freakish Draenei face in Kalimdor, or so help me I shall have you assassinated on sight.

You are a whore Ash-Witch.

An angry scrawl of a signature blemished the edge, but Ceniza knew whose hand it was, that of John’s sister-in-law, Victoria. She wondered if John’s wife knew of its contents.  Knew? Velen’s britches, she probably dictated it to Victoria! Susannah Aden was not a fool. She would not get her hands sullied in unveiled murder plots; however her sister would have no qualms.

Death by dishonor. There were moments after the destruction of Theramore that Ceniza thought of Victoria’s threat, and it rang like a promise, clear and sweet, like church bells on a spring morning. All she had to do was take the ship to Ratchet, and walk the gangplank to the docks. If the threats were genuine, Victoria would keep goblin mercenaries on the payroll who'd slit Ceniza’s throat. She could be dead by nightfall, and away from the pain. An added benefit, as opposed to taking her own life, would be that Victoria and Susannah would be captured and tried for this scheme, and swing from the gallows’ poles.

Ridiculous fantasy. A lieutenant’s wife hanged for killing his slut mistress?

No one ever means to fall in love with someone they can’t have. There was never a justification, a rationale that would soothe all parties. A promise is a promise. And a broken promise is a broken heart.

On a mage research jaunt, seeking out Jaina Proudmoore’s tutelage, Ceniza, a wall-blinker, got lost in the little circular naval port. There was one strong figure that stood watch on the western point, never flagging in his duty. He saw the mage wandering around the second time, smirked when he saw her blink into a wall, chuckling about the sort of company Lady Proudmoore kept in that tower of hers. He was sworn to protect the Lady, and his men and women who served the wobbly King Varian. These were dangerous times, and unease in static routines and the smell of treacherous whispers.

Ceniza never cared for human males. They were small, bristly, and ludicrously serious. At least with a Dwarf or Gnome you could have a friendly drink, and some laughter.

Aimless, and lost. Ceniza surrendered to help. Lt. Aden was the north star of Theramore, the pivotal point, a landmark made of man. She stood almost facing him though he on his horse, and her on her own two hooves. Ceniza spoke fluent common language, without a trace of an accent. This caught him off-guard, her voice. A voice like a kiss, a hug around his soul. 

He loved and respected his wife, but did neither of them well. The love was dry and overcooked, and the respect a reheated obligation. If the navy rewarded lieutenants for tolerating crumbling responsibilities, he would have received the highest distinction. This was no excuse for his broken vows. His wife knew, of course. She had no proof but the falsely reluctant tattling of envious confidants. She was in Darnassus, however, and busy with the Worgen refugees and other charitable causes. She met the gossip of friends with mild disinterest, denial, and dismay over their callous beliefs. As long as her social standing in court was safe, he could do as he pleased, she supposed. But he had better do it more discreetly. She never nagged him, scolded or belittled him. Susannah Aden displayed perfection as a military officer’s wife. She was sweet, charitable, and giving. People forget love does not play favorites. It makes no matter that John was loyal or Susannah kind and dull, with deafening good intentions. Love is no advocate for the good-natured. If it were, John Aden never would have given that Draenei mage a second look.

Does anyone need to hear the whole story? How they kissed? When they would meet, and how? The burden of guilt and shame, or the understanding it would never end happily? Stolen, all of it. Fenced goods at a high price. They were beginning to pull away from one another so at least it would end amicably. Every meeting began to feel more sordid and cliché. Privately, anyway, that’s what they tried to convince themselves of, that fate had no other course.

Before the end, they met in Ratchet, and in the course of their afternoon, at very inopportune moments, the sound of buzz saws ripped the warm air. Neither found fulfillment in each other’s arms that day, and that was the last time she saw him. They just laughed at the intrusive noises, making plans to meet again soon. She almost told him about a coin she tossed in the Dalaran fountain, but reconsidered. It felt ill advised.

Not long after that last meeting, the terrible day. The bombs fell from the grossly cheerful zeppelins, and death rained in blue. After Theramore’s Fall, she went to view the destruction. This was not wise. Her portal worked, but thrust her so far from where the tower had once stood; she would fall through unkind air to a bloody injury. The sharp rocks cut her knees, and the purple-blue residual ooze from the mana bomb smelled of burnt arcane power and death. She did not return again for a long, long time.

Her weeks were spent in hiding. She had wishes stored up, and wanted to know what others longed for too. Her own wishes had been so wrong and ugly. Months prior, she had tossed a gold coin in the Dalaran fountain and wished for John Aden to leave his wife. She had not wished that he would leave her, too. But the fountain granted all wishes, the intended and otherwise.

She fished in the pond for other coins, other wishes.

King Varian’s silver coin wished: “I wish the uprising back home would settle itself soon. I wouldn’t want anyone to be hurt.’

How could she have been so foolish? Magic, even white magic, will birth its counterpart. She learned this on this first day of the academy. Magic has rules; magic has lusts.

Sick irony left her without emotions, all but numb.

The gnome who lit her way was a ghost. The phantoms spawned around the world more frequently now. Once, she whispered to one, "John, is that you?” The phantom lingered longer than she expected, and vanished in morning smoke. 

Even now, she’s not sure what made her join the fight. One bruised afternoon in Dalaran, a Troll started gesturing crazily  at her, but it wasn’t mimicking or mocking. He genuinely seemed like he was trying to tell her something, motioning to run, move, or get out. She did. It saved her life. Jaina’s armies invaded that day, laying waste to every potential enemy. Ceniza’s association with the Scryers may have cost her her life. Fleeing to Booty Bay, it was only a ship ride’s breath to Ratchet. She took her chances, tired of hiding from the phantoms, and decided John would want her to control her own future. She would not allow Garrosh to kill him twice: one mortal life, and one life of love. As for Victoria’s letter, Ceniza balled it up, tossed it in the air, and scorched it to cinders.

One more port to Theramore before returning to Kalimdore. Ceniza remembered her shaman cousin kept healing rain tears in a amphora around her neck, healing rain that did not reach its target, but fell to the wash, and almost down the drain and gutters. Rain that did not perform its magic. Ceniza was the Ash Witch, and from the powdered remains of Theramore, she kept safe in her own vial, next to her heart. Ashes to ashes, rain falls on rain, and fire to cleanse it all away.



Procrastination Perfection: Bat-Sh*t Crazy Cupcakes

Okay, I was going to make those bat-shit crazy cupcakes. I was. I really was. But then, this thing happened, and this other thing, and that stuff over there. But once again, procrastination pays off! While lurking Facebook, I found this recipe:

It's not for cupcakes, it's for chocolate lasagna!


http://centercutcook.com/chocolate-lasagna/

I think this recipe totally works for my concept, n'est pas?

That'll do pig, that'll do.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Longest Efffffffing Day, or How I Went Insane and Took Everyone With Me

Somewhere in a Duskwood attic there is a portrait of a woman growing ever younger, while my own skin dries, and my heart hardens. My toenail polish chips, my right eye twitches from lack of sleep, and an overdose of caffeine. Tongue turns blue, then orange, then pink, from the train of Otter Pops entering the station of my mouth. Navimie finds her inner muse and writes phenomenal stories. My inner muse is on a death march to No-Man's Land. And off in the distance, the sound of weeds growing can be heard like thunder by the denizens of grubs and crane fly larvae in a yard.

Yes, I did Tour-de-Azeroth, without the aid of steroids, that is The Longest Day.

And it sucked. 

Many stories of 5-7 hour jaunts were told from the perspective of skilled pet battlers,those who've taken the time to level their collection with love, care, and knowledge. I am not one of those. I have many level 25 pets, and have enjoyed a pet battle or two. I foolishly went into thinking, sure, the Pandaria Beasts of Fable are tougher, but really how hard can it be?  

Oh, evil tongue. Oh, cursed naïveté! A pox on both your houses, the virtual and real! 

My day ended up being 17 hours, from about 7 AM to 12 midnight, with short breaks for one load of laundry, stretching, and one round of kitchen cleaning.

The screenshot of Navi's achieve? My computer bugged out and I didn't get the screenshot. But I did get this:


To me, Blizzard creating a 50% more damage thingy to those Fabled Pets is the toddler with the unibrow. (See film below. Worth it.)

I have been looking for something to focus on, one thing, for a long time now. Not bits and pieces of broken achievements, broken by time and responsibilities. Just one in-game goal that did not involve LFR, or randomness, or anything--just one little thing I could do, get done, and move on. Yes, I knew the battlers were buffed. Over the course of the day I think I received four pet bandages, which was problematic to say the least. I scrounged all the ones from other characters, but alas, none would be found. What will happen now if I ever do a pet battle again, they'll drop like rain from a Seattle skyline.  There were three factors that helped me complete it:

1. My dear friend lent me six of his leveled pets, and gave me advice. These pets were, of course, and naturally, to be returned to him in fixed condition in a timely manner. They have been returned, of course.
Me returning the pets in mint condition...

2. My friend Señor knows the best corny jokes. These kept me laughing.

3. Leet Druid

I spent three hours alone on Nitun. My friend told me to use all mechanicals, because if one pet dies Nitun regenerates his health. After about one to two hours, I decided to do a little research on my own. Of course every WoW page wrote, 'it's easy, stupid, what's wrong with you?' Not a single one of the pet advice pages said to use mechanicals, but my hunch was still to listen to my friend, because he knows his stuff. But I did add a spider to the rotation. Once I did this, I could get him down to even 188 health before another pet died, and he regenerated health. But I notice something that gave me hope: he doesn't always do that, even if a pet dies. Sometimes....sometimes Nitun gets cocky.*

What ultimately won the battle, around midnight, it was an AI glitch. Nitun didn't rebuff his health after the 347th death of a pet. I had a witness, Leet Druid. Leet Druid came home and watched over my shoulder and helped me continue, because at that point of the marathon I had runner's fatigue and the finish line still seemed miles, er, hours away. I carefully came up with just the right combination of spells, hope, stuck together with shoestrings and spit, and completed it. Was it skill? Was it tactical savvy? No, sorry to say. Just pure tenacity. Or insanity. Little of both? 

When I confess there was a moment when I told myself that if I couldn't figure out Nitun before the end of the server day, I would quit the game, and meant it. I would return the pets to my kind friend, of course, hand over the riendas del gremio to my dear friend Señor, and ride off into the sunset. At least for a while, because you know, I can control this anytime I want, right?

Did the Marked Flawed Battle Stone arrive? Nope. And when it does, what does it do? Does it pay my taxes, make all my pets rare blues, give me a backrub, or shine my shoes? Does it take me to brunch, or spread out some mulch, does it give me a smile, or buy me a replacement package of Otter Pops? Pretty sure it doesn't.

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare:

Paint me Bleakest Black and Grey.


Epilogue: 
During the day, the longest day, the day without end, Tyledres also sent me some pets! Here is what I told her, but I'm paraphrasing: 

Dammit!

Why, you ask? Because I knew the second I whispered her in game saying how awesome it was she gave those pets to Tome she might feel guilty, bad, and then give me something, too, and I wish I would have kept my big mouth shut, because it probably just looked like I was fishing for freebie pets, too, or something--it was a game faux pas on my part, and I am so mad at myself! Why did I say to her I thought that was cool!? I feel like such a dork. I cannot think of anything awesome to give to anyone now. I am spent, out, done:



But Tyledres, it is cool, and you are awesome! My pet-battle expert friend told me a few days ago he had two Tideskipper pets, and when I got something to trade, he'd trade with me. Hooray! Since I had one, I could trade this! Elation! I whispered my friend and told him the good news, and he said he traded the pet to someone else already. Sad face. But I just sent it to him anyway. He reallly went out of his way to loan me pets yesterday. So see Tyledres? Your good deed helped pay back another's good deed! Later today I'll go work on that muffin basket I promised....but like the Marked Flawless Battle Stone, I wouldn't hold my breath. It's not payday yet. 

Please-- if you leave a comment, no congratulations are necessary. Sitting on my tail for 15 hours playing a game is not an achievement. This doesn't feel like an accomplishment, if feels like stupidity. I don't want to hear that my luck is bad, because it's not. Even a blind pig gets an acorn once in awhile, as my dad says. And who knows? Maybe that Marked Stone will do something amazing. Like change into a butterfly.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Are you there, RNG? It's me, Ceniza...

Ceniza researches. Heavens, does that girl research. That is the nature of mages. Can't help themselves: style manuals, index cards, cross-references and footnotes, poor things. It's all about the source materials. As she's looking for Arcane tomes around Dalaran, she came across this: So You Think You Can Cast: Frequently Asked Questions from First-Time Mages (author unknown, but by the pedantic tone, probably Jaina....)






 Ceniza, sorry to disappoint you, but this book lies. It is all about the damage. Maybe that career in hunting is not such a bad idea...

As luck would have it...

I have a lot to say about the nature of 'luck.' But not right now. I want to show off my ponies. One job that I've always coveted is that of "lipstick and fingernail polish namer." So, since I don't have that job, I can do the next best thing.

Luck of the Warlock! The last one hatched!

Ceniza has been very lucky with her Primal Raptor Eggs in LFR. She "allowed" the warlock to test drive them this morning (not that Azratrax the Voidwalker didn't take her keys or anything...oh no...)

"Bodacious Black"

"Giddy-up Green"

and last but not least, "Don't Stand in the Fire Red!"
Wish for next patch: Being able to name our mounts.


Theme song: Junior Brown/Highway Patrol


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Repurposed

I need to make this a Blog Azeroth topic, methinks.

Part I:

What junk items in game need to be repurposed for actual use?

This question was inspired by poop.


The bats who try to protect Tortos drop this. Lots and lots of this. "Guano," for the uninitiated, may sound like a laundry soap (Use Tough-Action Guano today!) or a medical condition (damn, my guano is acting up again today!), but no, it's bat poop. It does have many uses: fertilizer, and well, um, fertilizer. Cross-Dressing Rogue gave me the great idea, however, that it should be used in cooking recipes! Yes! Twenty stacks of bat guano to make Bat-Shit Crazy Cupcakes! They provide a 20-minute psychotic buff that creates berserk-like fighting, and you spout nonsensical political rhetoric to confuse your opponents. CD Rogue unkindly said they should turn one into Michelle Bachman, but I thought that wasn't fair.

So, what other junk items should be re-purposed to make wonderful buffs and spells?

Part II: Get a job, sir

If Azeroth ever virtually retires, or the races in the game need a career change, what would you see them doing?

This question was inspired by a conversation with a dear colleague yesterday morning. I was telling her that every time I call my mom, I cry. I cry because my mom always says THE ONE THING that I am feeling insecure about, worried about, or otherwise am trying to deal with, and unsuccessfully. Yesterday it was that greatest of all taboos: money. I told my friend I wish I could call on some of my Dwarf buddies in Azeroth (they love me there) to lend a hand with some gold. Man, if only. Then that sparked a thought about all the things I could see Azerothians doing way better than we limited humans.

Night Elf: please, please: massage therapists.

Goblins: everything from accountants to home repair. Whatever it takes. Just make sure they're bonded first.

Naughty children? Call a Stormwind guard. Bad drivers? Send them to Flight School with a Dwarf trainer. Milk delivery? Forsaken watchers - they're up then anyway.

I thought of so many in the wee hour of the morning when I think of these things but then need to try to snatch some sleep. OH! Insomnia? Go see a warlock or druid, of course, to put you right to sleep. (Caution: may be forever.)

If only.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Return of the Awesomesauce

Valor Points dropping like piñata candy. Pet battles of epic proportions. Loot drops for your main spec?  Just click on your portrait, yo! Patch 5.3 may have gotten it right.

But-- the clicking on portrait thing....well...this will teach me to do real life things and not read patch notes. I had heard that one can choose the potential gear drops for any spec. I assumed (and we ALL KNOW what happens when we assume, right?) that this magical spec choice would be a new UI thing, and schwing! The loot choice would just appear to me! What? No? It didn't? Try a coin, see what happens...maybe the choice happens then? No?

Time to actually read how this works:

Dammit.

Tome posted some blog links, and you know how I am...if it's blogged, I must link it. Check out her comprehensive additions here. It's okay Tome, I know I've let you down. Mrs. Whitworth is squashed under a pile of real life responsibilities right now, having the time of her life, while I drudge forward another day. No writing time at work, no writing time in the morning, and only enough time to play a bit and spend time with CD Rogue before he leaves me for Sandra Bullock. (Yes, she's the one. Her, and Anne Hathaway. Ugh.) It's *sniff* okay, Tome, that you read *sniff sniff wipe boogers* others blogs.

My Internet was down this morning, so I---unloaded the dishwasher. Did my familial duties. And am waiting to go to work. My time is more chopped up than a Cuisinart with a paper cut. Even today I have something to do, somewhere to be, from 6:45 am to 8:45 pm. But maybe...maybe I can go sneak in a fishing daily now...

...see you soon...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

RTMT: Life and Death in Azeroth


A few summers ago, the Matty-shack inhabitants hosted an exchange student from France. He was a remarkable guest, and showing off the wonders and sights of the Northwest rekindled my own awe of this area. Nothing like playing tourist in your own backyard to see it through fresh eyes. His English was exceptional, and would punctuate many thoughts or expressions with the word, "perfect." In his wonderful accent, it would come out "purr-feckt" and I can still hear it in my mind. 
There are many folks we meet along the way who deserve the title "Awesomesauce." Our virtual bannermen who carry our sigils with honor. Many players who are kind, throw down those healthstones or mage tables, and toss out feasts like Skittles. Many who answer a question with thoughtfulness and concern, and we must include certainly the realm of bloggers, our own Writers' Guild of Renown. They are truly "purrfeckt."
But this post isn't about them. This is about the perfectionists. Perfectionists are annoying. They freeze up when faced with decision making, and are striving for unobtainable, and unnecessary, goals.
Every time I encounter a perfectionist like the DK Juggerballs, I think of one of my favorite Tom Robbins' quotes, about the performance levels of Cheerios:
…they leave the reader puzzling over exactly what might be meant by the “performance” of the Cheerios. 
Could the Cheerios be in bad voice? Might they not handle well on curves? Do they ejaculate too quickly? Has age affected their timing or are they merely in a mid-season slump? Afflicted with nervous exhaustion or broken hearts, are the Cheerios smiling bravely, insisting that the show must go on? 
… do Cheerios measure up to Wheaties with beer, would they mix well with batshit in times of strife, would Ed Sullivan have signed them, would Knute Rockne have recruited them, how well do these little motherfuckers perform?
From Tom Robbins' Still Life With Woodpecker
Players' over-aggrandized expectations are a buzzkill. Don't misunderstand me: I am not putting the heavy-hitters, or the true elites in this category. The players who have made a near career over getting to the highest achievements of raiding and mechanics, but maintain overarching understanding roles of exceptional leadership and team organizational and psychological nuances. I would put Matticus in this class. No, I'm talking about the small-minded souls who expect, nay demand, perfection from every one around them. They have no sense of humor, social context, or patience for any one other than themselves.
But I got news for most folks: you ain't no Matticus. And neither am I. We are Cheerios.
There are few situations that are truly life-or-death. Surgery, trauma, rescue crews, rocket ship engineers, generals, peanut allergies, or not putting the toilet seat down. And again, I'm not talking about the far end of the spectrum: the highest ends of performance to the lowest, trolling, LFR AFK nitwits. The middle-of-the-road. The mediocre. The average. There is a sweet spot where the Cheerios do what they are intended to do, where form meets function. To expect any more is futile. So unless you are in charge of saving lives or launching moon missions, I suggest you start bringing some fun to the game. 
Theme Song: Awkward/San Cisco
Always two sides to every story. Maybe DK Juggerballs is just that awesome. What do I know?

Monday, May 20, 2013

When you assume...

...you make an asshat out of you and me.

This is a picture of my eye in full stage make-up. It was 'fake an injury' day at work (why, why would anyone do this, you may wonder...I don't have a good answer...) It is incredibly realistic. Many of my colleagues, from a distance, thought I got in a fight with the road, or worse, that CD Rogue had used me for a punching bag. (That would be the last thing he would ever do, up to the moment he would lose his mortal coil.) This was really stupid on my part, because many in my world have experienced real traumatic experiences, and this upset them. I told them I fell off my dragon, or unicorn, whatever I felt like, the story growing more outrageous and fantastic at each telling. "You should have seen the other orc!"

The other night, I dragged my poor shaman out of the cupboard to see if, by chance, just a whim, slim at best, I could get another ax or fist weapon for the best specialization of all, ever: the enhancement shaman. My DPS/Damage was sub-par compared to everyone else, and we hit the enrage timer on the twins. (Footnote: I like those twins. I do. When the blue one says, "Are they gone?" my heart melts. I know there was a fuss and all, but...) The blame started pouring out like Ragnaro's fire. I apologized for my DPS, but that I had been unlucky when it came to weapons, and was still using a blue. A little warlock spoke up and said his luck as been equally poor. The DK tank, Juggleballs or Judgeyournutz or something, said "Then you should play better."

Yes, I guess he's right. I should play better.

I should play better by going to play with my stories. I should play with my weeds. I should go play with scrubbing a few toilets around the Matty-shack, cause heaven knows they need it. I should play better and prepare more entertaining and engaging things for my job. I should play better at a whole lot of things. I should play at going for a walk or doing yoga or trying to learn how to make tamales.

Anyway, I am looking forward to 5.3. Big time. Neri Approves posted this link and sometime today I'll read a few more patch notes. I love the fact that I heard I can queue as a healer but choose to get enhancement weapons. But before I get too excited, I am not going to assume too much. Let's hope that all the hype is true, and no one ends up with a black eye. Except that orc. He had it comin'.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Mr. Snerggulls Returns


"Sweetheart, I got some bad news for ya. Ya see, it's like this: your writing, it ain't fresh no more. Smelling worse than a 3-day old dead big-mouth clam, washed up under a troll's butt, on a hot summer day. With a side of pickles. Okay, okay...you get what I mean. Not sure what you think you were doing, there, goatchop, but we gotta get a few things straight, capiche? Do you realize you have used the term "bean counters" about 1,345 times? It's old news, sweettail. And this so-called news about kissing and pets? We ain't running a social rag here you know, this ain't no Stormwind & the Manor. Have you seen the latest numbers? Tome writes about her adventures in PVP and gets about 35,678 comments!"

The shaman started to get glassy-eyed. "But Mr. Snerguls, sir, she's the IRONSALLY! She's awesome! She's kind, funny, and self-effacing, and and and IRONSALLY! I couldn't even get past level 9...And I love reading her, too -- everyone does!"

"That's my point, hornhead! Folks dug this little gazette, too, but lately--well, our numbers have significantly dropped. This ain't no non-profit, moonbeam. I've got 12,345 spawn to feed. You're no Terry Gross or Ira Glass. Folks ain't lining up to read, and you ain't getting paid by the character count."

Mataoka thought this would not be a good time to mention she wasn't getting paid at all...

"So, let's take a look: you're splitting infinitives, transitions are tiresome, syntax is superfluous, raconteur redundant, your spell check is broken, and grammar nonexistent, and I think you lost your Azerothian Aegis Style Manual, 33rd Edition, didn't you?"

"I accidentally deleted it from my bank, sir. When I was finding room for my..."

"Kid, you got no style. If I don't see some fresh ink soon, well, the only words you'll be producing will be 'you're fired' on a pink slip."

Mataoka wiped her eyes. She knew it was the truth. No murloc news is good murloc news. She wish Mr. Snerggullls had stayed on vacation with the goblins. He came back smelling of fish stew and cigar ash. Not pleasant.

"Look, happyhorns, I don't want to let you go. Come back in a few hours with some ideas, all right, totemcheeks? I'll be down at the pub pumping down a few fortifiers, if you catch my drift there."

Mataoka put a request up in trade chat: WTB Muse.

No response yet, but queue times vary.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Got Happy?

First: I hate to keep meme'ing (is that a verb?!) [potential] historical inaccuracies. I'll justify it this time though by saying, even if Benjamin Franklin didn't say it, it's still a cool quote. It's cool, not because of any political agendas, but in spite of them:

Watch the 2011 documentary, Happy

If Blizzard was writing this, perhaps it should read:

"The game rules only guarantee the citizens of Horde and Alliance the right to pursue levels; you have to get the RNG gods to drop items in groups."

Wait, no-- how about:

"Blizzard only guarantees the Horde and Alliance to pursue gear level. You have to do the quest line yourself."

Okay, I give up. It's early. But you get the point. The RNGs guarantee nothing.

Been thinking a lot about what makes me happy, or unhappy, lately. Happy is such an ubitquitious, yet elusive, state of being. Happy, you kind of suck sometimes.

Next, find a comfortable 45 minutes and watch the documentary. It's worth it. Parts of it will make you uncomfortable, so be warned. Parts will make you cry, so be warned. If you don't have time, I'll cut to the big themes:

1. Family and friends are our worlds; when we get lost in creating material worlds only, we are lost souls (watch story on Karōshi (過労死?)
2. Self-actualization, or the quiet moments of inner peace come in surprising ways--be open to them, even if your sister-in-law runs over your head. (No spoilers -- promise.)
3. Since we all can't live in Denmark or the bayous of Louisiana and eat crab and crawdads all day (oh man would I fit in there!) consider your own little patch of earth and see the joy. It's there, I promise.

Here's the deal. Straight up. Blunt.

I love playing WoW. I am nostalgic already, after only three years of play, though. It is my humble shaman opinion that unless Blizzard does take a open, honest look at the grinding, they are going to kill that joy. That's it.

If you watch the documentary, there's a lot of talk about dopamine levels. Dopamine levels are our happy buttons. They are killed with desperate repetition. Excerise and creative pursuits keep them pumping. Speaking for myself, I found my Azerothian dopamine levels were at their highest when I was doing a progressive achievement task, such as What a Long Strange Trip. I was also happiest when I had my first character, and then discovered a new class. I did not like the same repeated queats. I loved when pets and mounts became account-bound, and love walking into old instances to goof around, and feel like a bad-ass for a few minutes. I love the small amount of RP I've done--it's creative and engaging. I love when I've been on a raid team, even for short times, with funny people who made me laugh. I love my few close friends in Azeroth, that we get each other and I don't have to justify a damn thing to them.

More legendary fun, more solo, two, and three person achievements (not just for ponies, but achievements--a common bond, a goal, a STORY). Every time I read Navi's posts on raiding, the subtext is always the same: she is hanging with people she loves, and who love and depend on her --sure the gear is nice, but that is always secondary. Always. She's sitting at a large picnic table picking freshly caught seafood. When Tome writes about her solo adventures, she's writing about exploration, and making the game her own. She's catching happiness. When Bear writes about Cub, he's writing about family connections and insights that this journey. Even Navi, Kallixta, and I had raised our dopamine levels to the roof when we wrote our fables. (We have more in store, by the way....)


Oh, the blunt part, that's why you're still reading? Not the love fest? Okay. Here it goes.

For every time a bean counting, trolling game design mechanic or "what can I MAKE them do" enters into the equation, I feel a game karoshi moment.

Blizzard: knock it off.

Less karoshi.

More dopamine.

Within reason. Wouldn't want to become an addict, yo?

Theme song: Imagine Dragons



Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bellyrub Buff

This cheers me: if you don't have one already, start a male Pandaren. Do a /kiss. Listen. It's slobbery, full-bore, all-the-way adorable and kind of messy.

If it doesn't make you feel like this:

From the Australia Facebook Page...

then, seriously -

there's no help for you.

PS Full report on all the /kisses soon.


three

1. I wish I could stay home and write today
2. I wish I could finally get my house in order
3. I wish it was payday



P.S. I wish I knew what the hell I was doing in the Throne of Thunder things. Nerd rage before 6:30AM is not a great way to start the day.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Fishing for compliments, or the TBH approach...

"Lady Katrana" is now known as Siri. 

This is a true story. On Friday, after a long, but sunny, week, I was driving home, and needed to tell C.D. Rogue my expectations about some things. You know - one of "those" messages. I don't talk on the cell phone and drive, not only because it's a $200 fine, but it's deadly. I don't want to die. I don't want to kill anyone else. Go figure. Fortunately, I have Siri by my side! With the press of a button, she will take dictation, and send the missive on its way. I talked. I hit send. And do you know what that little electronic bitch told me? She spouted back a long quote with the passive-aggressive subtext that MY MESSAGE WAS TOO WORDY! Yes, all caps, YES I am yelling now. Deep breath. Deeeeep breath. This has to be some kind of an i-phone joke. We all know Steve Jobs had a sense of humor, right? Try again. It was one of those messages that could not be edited. If I didn't say what I wanted to say hurt feelings would abound. Well, my feelings anyway. She then proceeds to quote Thomas Effing Jefferson to me, TO ME! About clarification and brevity and blah blah blah. I realize the man wrote one of the greatest pieces in all of history, the Declaration of Independence, but gee whiz, Siri! Cut me a break! If there was ever a moment I wanted to chuck a $400 phone out the window of my broken-down truck, that was it. Cooler head (I only have one) prevailed, and I dictated a shorter message, fuming, and sure enough, all of my expectations and hopes did not materialize. Siri cut me off.

Okay. Rage at the machine. Fine.

But this incident inspired reflection on my part: am I too wordy? Undeniably, yes. I read back through some previous posts and thought to myself, "Why would anyone in their right mind read one thing here?" Siri's right. C.D. Rogue is right. I talk too damn much.

Some squires and damsels were explaining to me the other day that when they post "TBH" on a Facebook post, the To Be Honest is their way of giving each other unadulterated compliments. Sometimes anyway. To hear what they want to hear. TBH, you're awesome! TBH, you don't look fat! Etc. So is this my TBH post? Want you all to tell me, "No, Matty, you're funny! You're great! Keep up the good work!" Well, it's okay. I know I talk too much. Color me logorrhea.

If you read my accomplishments feed, you might infer that I am working on the Salty title. I am indeed. I've wanted to be Salty Ceniza for some time, and have grand plans on starting a character named Pretzel. Maybe. It's been a lot of fun. I only need a few more coins (a follow-up post on those coins is in the future...) and got my tail thoroughly handed to me in the fishing tourney. Third place? Hell, more like 245th. Cross-realm zones, I Love You! But I'll get there.

Mr. Snerrggggulllls has been on vacation, and hasn't done right by me in the editing department. Sorry about all the TL:DR posts. Whatever.




Sunday, May 12, 2013

Drabble: Mother's Love


Even rogues have mothers.

“You know, sonny boy, I wasn’t always this way. Before the Stonemason’s Uprising, I had a heart, ya know. I had big dreams for you, lad. Big and grand. You were goin’ to be a captain in the king’s army, or an innkeeper. Respectable work. Not some filching rogue slumming the docks of Booty Bay. It’s not too late son. You’ve never disappointed me—just veered off the wrong path. Couldn’t be helped. Now be off with ye: take these crates to the man with the black hat. He’ll know what to do.”

“Ma…”

“What? Time’s wasting.”

“I love you.”




The Egg Thief



Know how I think it would be awesome to spend a Mother's Day? Go to Hooters for free food! Free BAD food! And see how young waitresses to whom gravity has not cursed yet feel about their abundant buoyancy versus most mothers' lack thereof. Hey, but free is free. 


Happy Mother's Day, to one and all - want to be moms, grandmoms, moms, and those who have a mom, and especially those who have faces that only a mom could love. 

Friday, May 10, 2013

Dear Matty: Run For Your Virtual Life Edition

Dear Matty:
I am in the market for a new guild. This comes after a few years of playing, meeting others in Azeroth, and a lot of false starts. I just can't seem to attract other players who have the same goals I do, or who can be accommodating to my schedule and real-life responsibilities. The other issue is, well, there are some creeps out there. Every one seems so nice at first, but then they turn on me. Case in point: one Guild Master locked me out of the guild bank when I took some wool cloth out of the shared tabs page to level my First Aid. He said I should have asked first, even though it was the shared tabs page, and I had contributed most of the cloth. G-kick. Another time, I was healing on a ten-man, and the raid leader kept confiding in me about how awesome this other healer was, but her husband was part of the package, and the husband was a terrible tank. So not only was I left feeling insecure about my own position on the team, I realized the raid leader would not hesitate to talk about ME behind my cape. Another time I befriended a congenial little Forsaken, only to be stalked to the ends of the world with "Whatcha doing? Whatcha doing? Whatcha doing?" and then never any further social input. Awkward. Matty, these are only a fraction of the stories of the social awkwardness, stalk-iness, and subterfuge that has been my experience in Azeroth. I just want to be on a ten-man, derp, and laugh once in a while, and not have to take out restraining orders and being scared every time I put someone on the ignore list. Is that so much to ask?

Signed,
Woeful Worgen





Dear Woe:

There is not a single player in World of Warcraft who cannot relate to part of your story. Wait, I take that back. The ones who can't relate are the ones perpetrating these social atrocities: the creeps, stalkers, divas, ninjas, backstabbers, and "I forgot to take my pill" folks. There was one time a girlfriend of a player friend had a violent episode over his time playing with me. Yikes. And in this day and age, unfortunately, and tragically, one cannot be too careful. The phrase "trust your instincts" has never had more power. I believe we all go into Azeroth with a wide-eyed innocence -- look! Just look at all these players who want to be here too, in this beautiful and exciting place, and play! Yet, alas, what people do in their real lives carries over to the virtual one, for ill, but also for good. It is not too much to ask that you find a guild that will be like-minded, and share your goals, too. But like love--it can take time. I would say be honest with yourself, and determine what you can and cannot tolerate. Some of these things include the obvious, such as racism, homophobia, bullying, harassment, overt sexual stalking, etc., but they go to the other end of the spectrum, too, such as consistent miscommunication, undermining, and perhaps the most dangerous of all: unclear expectations.

It's really too bad we can't see if a player has a monkey tattoo such as the one in the video. If we could only see what an ass they are ahead of time, it would sure save a lot of trouble. Since this is the virtual world, we all must set our own clear expectations, and then honestly, and transparently, (and paradoxically) tell others how to treat us in this opaque virtual one. I think we could all learn from successful Role Players in Azeroth: IC or OOC. Are we in character, or out of character? And if one's "in character" is being an asshat, then it's time to say goodbye, and not look back. Unless your avatar is a doormat, don't let others scrape their sabatons on you.