Monday, March 31, 2014

OLRG:Diet Coke Witch Edition

See? Back there? The witch concerned with her waistline...

Ever experience a stretch of time where you're just out of sync? Not bad, not good, but decidedly out of sorts? These past few days I feel like I am walking snooze button. I just want to sleep. For a confirmed insomniac, this is more of a blessing than curse: at least I know I can still turn off my brain and feel all cozy and mentally journey into lullaby land. But it sure does make it tricky for getting to work on time.

I've taken to sleeping on the couch with my tauntaun sleeping bag with the electric fireplace running. My dog Snickers curls up near my feet, and I pretend I'm in the Tainted Forest, safe from harm in one of the little cottages, with a Dwarf sentinel standing guard.Yes, yes I am a grown woman and this is my mental bed-time story that helps me sleep. Now before you think I don't love CD Rogue anymore, I do. He has his own sleep issues, and those affect me. (This is a great myth of coupling, that you sleep together peacefully forever and ever - if there is a couple out there who can do that godspeed to you, but most of us mortals have not figured that out yet.)

Wait, sorry. This wasn't about me waxing philosophical about Tainted Forest fantasies and sleep deprivation. I'm just really tired, that's all.

Okay, back to us Old Ladies:

Shoryl started a list for us so we can get done what we want: Please comment about what's important to you. I just want to finish my Firelands achievements, get that damn bird, and not step foot in there again. I also want us to do more recent content (dare I dream? Dare I dream that we can kill Garrosh together?!) Next Saturday let's try some Horde stuff, and I'll tank on my Death Knight. I leveled Heartichoke by DK tanking, and I'd be happy to do so again. Remember, real life always trumps Azeroth, so never feelt a single twinge if you can't make it. See you Saturday, 4PM Pacific, and bring a Horde. Why not? 

Forty-Beats #26

This reminds me of something that would be on a David Lynch movie soundtrack:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Forty-Beats #25: Eye Candy

Lady and the Damp

Got a late birthday present of sorts, though the giver didn't remember my birthday, but gave me some goodies nonetheless. These goodies involve all things Blizzard, so I used some chits to boost another character, Kellanyx. So now, my dear friends who have lovelies on both sides of the factional fence, I now have a Horde Blood Elf Death Knight. Here is a mog idea I have for her:

This is going to be an interesting month, this April of mine: CD Rogue and young cub are off to an adventure in the jungle. Really. Literally. A jungle. I wish I could go too, but my travel plans in the next two weeks involve work, and then a spring vacation. Oh--don't you know I have so many plans for my time on my stay-cation! So many projects! So many achievements in Azeroth! So many short stories to write, life thingies to organize, and tile to grout! Wait, wait, wait - let's not get crazy.

Speaking of crazy, I'm really digging Sajja:
Leather and Draenei: gooooooood
These ladies are far too sexy for me to deal with right now, while I stew in my sweatpants and ratty, holey T-shirt on a Sunday afternoon. I'm not feeling my A-game right now. I just realized this is about music for LENT - holy days. Days of reflection and spiritual awakening, repetence, and redemption. Not strappy leather sports bras and thigh-highs! Sheesh, woman! Better go find a cathedral quick and light a candle or something. For those of you praying for me, you've got some work to do. Maybe it would be easier to grout some tile than save my soul.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Drabble: Cake (and Forty-Beats #24)

She licked the frosting from her finger, sweet as a promise and twice as buttery. Maybe a cake, bouncy-ball giggling wobbly tower of cake, would appease him. Feelings bruised, salved with vanilla, massaged with cream.  The entire house smelled of sugar kisses and apologies. How could he resist? Stand near the oven, melt—melt—stirring with attention, never stopping. The spatula carved the mortar of the frosting like a skilled mason, rebuilding a toppled façade. A sculpture, a shrine to his senses, prone before him: offering. Foregoing manners, she licked the spoon directly: sugar for her, too, wouldn’t hurt anyone.

True Love.

Azeroth --Azeroth is a love fest --a true wish-fulfillment fantasy for me. What little girl doesn't dream of a loyal friend, who will fight for her, comfort her, and love her unconditionally, silently, when the world is cruel and heartless? This epiphany came to me when I was looking at a screenshot of Sajja this morning - how my three loves: Mataoka, Haanta, and now Sajja will never give up their loyal companions. (I must admit a little tug of my heart when I think of my Great Dane Heidi, who was that for me in real life. I miss you Heidi, so very much.)

Xuen is no woman's pet, but a fierce friend
This is why I will never give up being an enhancement shaman. Ever.

Haanta's connections with her beasts is eternal
If you have doubts, listen to the NPR story, "How Dogs Evolved Into Our Best Friends."  The only thing I wish I could change about Sajja's tiger and Matty's wolves are that they would stay longer - their ephereal existence is too short-lived, while Haanta's beasts, when kept healed, roar and claw for as long as she needs them, which puts her at a distinct advantage. I'm not suggesting hunters are overpowered, but let's just say she does more damage without her legendary cloak in five minutes than Mataoka can in…well….anyway. And - oh--wow wow wow---Sajja. I went through LFRs with her yesterday, and even with terrible gear she was healing as much as my more geared healers in some cases. I am not quite sure what the magic rotation is yet (I did cursory research on Icy Veins), but Mistweaving is pretty damn awesome. And she looks good, too. 

So off to do what I set out to do - help the Drunken Fish. Onward. Don't look back.

Friday, March 28, 2014

House in order...

"Open House"
Well, I made a tough but solid decision when it comes to raiding and that goofy shammy. Mataoka -- I have been feeling it for awhile. It isn't fun to be melee in raids at gear level. I have hinted and suggested I bring other better equipped characters - Kellda has "the" cloak, green fire, and great gear; Zeptepi is working on her cloak, but both warlock and priest are well represented in the 'big' guild, so they don't belong. I would have gone completely restoration on Mataoka, too, but they have great shaman healers and didn't need that either. Logtar is a wonderful GM/RL, and I adore Hawtpocket--she is one of the best players, raiders, tanks, and I just adore her personally. I told her I am thrilled we are friends in Azeroth, and hope to continue our friendship.When the decision is made to try a 25-man, and I'm already bashful about melee in raids, and don't have the experience needed (all my own fault) and then it gets moved down to a ten, I realize as I am looking at my own house, my own family, who falls somewhat apart without me; when I'm trying to raid, I ask for my family's time without making it worth my own or anyone else's. Then, when on Wednesday Hawt told me the guild was forming a flex and I asked the lead hunter if I could go and he said they were full (I didn't think Flex's could get full). This may have just been a miscommunication, I'll grant that. I decided to read between the lines and give a move some deep consideration. I am so proud and happy of how Drunken Fish has been growing. Having Mataoka there to bring points, play, and repuations to the guild will only further help it. Also, it dawned on me that it wasn't that I was running from something, but running to. Playing enhancement shammy takes a lot of practice and work. This character started off from the beginning doing everything 'herself,' and she is well-suited for achievements, solo-play, and the occasional goody bag from healing.

People often ask me why I stay at my real-life job. It is hard, it is stressful, and I am not being hyperbolic when I say potentially dangerous. But I stay because I contribute and effect change. My skills and expertise move mountains in my real life. Sometimes they're Sisyphean boulders, but I've mostly learned how to duck out of the way. Everyone wants to feel like they matter because guess what? They do.

All players say play what makes you happy--first, figuring out when we're happiest in game is not always obvious. But once we see that --it's a clear path.

Drunken Fish: Keep up the good work! Thank you for all you've done. We're almost to Level 19!

Oh, and I have been giving this a lot of thought too: I would do that in a red-hot minute.

Forty-Beats #23

Thursday, March 27, 2014

OLRG: Spring Break!

No. Just. No.

Never be too rich or too thin? Huh - well, perhaps. Since I am neither, I guess I don't have to worry about it! Whew! One less thing! And no, I'm not on any spring vacation yet, and have no plans for fun in the sun when I am. In fact, I'll have a quiet Matty-shack and a lot of time to clean out closets, drawers, bookshelves, and cupboards. I'm kind of overwhelmed by a nesting instinct right now anyway, and no, that doesn't mean what it typically does. I think women especially get this sense no matter their age or status of maternal bliss. For example, I am about to log on and clean up the Drunken Fish fish tank. It is a big silly mess. I'm looking forward to our Old Ladies Raiding Guild this Saturday, 4 PM Pacific Time. I would like to try Firelands again and get that stupid staff. (Did you hear that Fandral? I called it a stupid staff!! Like I want it....pffft!) And then I am up for some chieves. I am not sure what. If there is a specific thing ya'll would like to do let me know. Taking requests now - including putting on a cover-up.

Forty-Beats #22

What with these homies, dissing my girl?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


"I loved you first: but afterwards your love"

Poca favilla gran fiamma seconda. – Dante
Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore,
E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore. 
– Petrarca 
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
    Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
    Which owes the other most? my love was long,
    And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
    Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
    With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
         For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
         Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

Forty-Beats #21

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Main Pain

The Azerothian equivalent of change in the couch cushions

The concept of a 'main' is something I've grappled with for some time. Anne Stickney just brought this up not too long ago. Approaching my 4th year of playing, I realize the one unforgivable sin of understanding WoW culture is having a 'main,' and feeling guilty or disloyal if switching a 'main.' I  ignored the memo years ago - that successful players cultivate a main, learn the class inside and out, and when class changes occur as they inevitably do, they understand how to integrate and absorb those changes. They understand how to adjust and adapt to various fight mechanics, and organize achievement logs like air traffic controllers. And before I go on, please do not think this is going to be a whiney-post about how Blizzard doesn't love their players - in fact--they do. They have done so much to allow the one human behind the keyboard to enjoy so many options. Once Mataoka received her cloak, all of her sisters could fly over the bridge to Ordos, and when they added the Open Raid, it is a sheer pleasure to fly over to Ordos for the possibility of some Warforged goodies.
Zep didn't get any goodies from Ordos, but someone did put bunny ears on her...
But--those coins. Those damn coins. Kellda and Haanta are sitting on a Smaug-sized vault of them. Haanta has over 1000, and about 12 Warforged tokens, Kellda around 10. My main-spec healers, Zeptepi and Momokawa, struggle, while poor Mataoka -- and don't mention Ceniza. She's still back-tracking rep in Northrend, complaining of smelling like whale blubber and fish guts. She is pissed. Now, you may offer, if Blizzard didn't do that, we would all be so bored in Azeroth right now, that those with mains would unsubscribe until WoD comes out, and that's probably right. Those who have achieved every thing on mains don't need to hang out in Azeroth. I contend, however, time in the game is still interesting to me, and there is so much I want to do. I feel like a big, fat baby when Mataoka is in a raid, and there's umpteen hunters all going for agility gear, too. I feel like an ass when Zeptepi has to grind through the Black Prince again for a cloak so the healing is on par with others. I get annoyed with I have to confess that for Mataoka, restoration is 'off spec' so that the elemental shamans get first dibs. Please don't misunderstand: gear grab is the same for us all. But I consider all my characters one: the human typing on the keyboard. I pay a monthly subscription, and some choices seem artificial.

Now--what would be an 'authentic' choice? When I'm on a particular character, they each have a gift and personality, a mental narrative of where I want to be at that place and time. To me, that mental exploration is enough. To me, having equal footing, or hooves as the case may be, is the value I offer myself and my friends. It's wonderful to be able to bring a variety of classes to OLRG adventures, or a Flex, or just about anything. What I do respect, absolutely, is a GM/RL's request for a main in a raiding team. That makes complete sense. Pick one and stick to it. What I wish Blizzard would do on their end, though, is make sure we players can bring the class that's needed. It's naive to think it's the player, not the class. It's both.

And -- that real life thing. I was looking forward to seeing if we could move on in the 25-man tonight, hunters and shamans be damned, but alas, a real life obligation cropped up this morning. I really should read my emails more carefully. Perhaps I need to be brave and look at Open Raid for more opportunities, too, and quit bitching. And shake down that couch for more coins. (Oh, like you haven't done it!)

Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!

Forty-Beats #20

Pretty sure this young lady listened to a lot of Patti Smith growing up:

Monday, March 24, 2014

Strength in numbers

Saw this list in Writer's Write this morning, so thought I would share. Now, the distinction between female and male protagonists could be argued - these are defining traits for any strong protagonist. But if female leads are 10-11% but represent 50% of the population, we writers have some work to do. (And stop calling Jaina a bitch: but Blizz writers - give her some more of these please):

  1. She has a story goal that defines the narrative arc. She has to get possession of something, or relief from something. There have to be important consequences if she does not achieve her story goal. 
  1. She is flawed. She is not perfect, and her flaws could change the course of the story. She has to make choices, and she has to deal with the consequences of her choices. There is nothing more frustrating than reading a story where the protagonist fails to make choices. Even if this is how we behave in real life, we want our fictional heroes to be a better version of ourselves. We want them to take action. We want to them to go after what they want. Reactive characters are annoying and we perceive them as weak.
  1. She captures our attention. She has that special ‘something’ that captivates us as readers. A strong character has a personality trait that mesmerises readers. Readers want to believe they could be that character if they were put in that situation. They may even want to be that character. She could be brave, loyal, self-confident, intelligent, focused, charming, or compassionate. She should be able to engage our minds, win our hearts and get us to root for her until the end.
  1. She changes over the course of the story. She discovers her strengths and weaknesses. She surprises herself and she surprises us as she grows and learns. There should not be a sudden epiphany at the end of the story. We are not watching a Disney movie. Her change should be gradual and believable.
  1. She does not exist as a support for another character. Other characters exist to support her. Her supporting cast are there to help her achieve her story goal and complete the narrative arc of her story. The antagonist is there to thwart her, and to show her how strong or weak she is. Her love interest is there to distract her from her story goal, and to show us her insecurities and vulnerabilities. (Remember that a love interest is not necessarily a romantic interest.) Her friends are there to support her, and to show us who she really is, how strong she can be – even if she can’t see it.
  1. She has the ability to stand up to the antagonist. She is a strong character who is made stronger by her interaction with the antagonist. She has to have the intelligence, bravery, charisma, and will-power to make the story her own and come out on top at the end of the book.
CD Rogue spent his evening watching the Weeds series. I couldn't stand watching the main character, Nancy, played by Mary-Louise Parker. First of all Mary-Louise is a shitty actress, but the Nancy character -- in the words of CD Rogue - never changes. She is, in literary terms, a static character. When one watches a show like that back-to-back, you realize even if a female is in the lead, the world circles around her. She mostly just looks befuddled and confused all the time, a "Why is this happening to little ol' me?" victim look. Yuck. How much different and far more interesting would that series have been with someone funny and smart. And she's a really bad mom. (So says Judgy McJudgy Pants over here.)

My Azerothian characters - sheesh do they have their work cut out for them when Warlords comes out. So much testosterone! So much things-go-boom! So many big messes left for others to clean up! Booo! Oh well. Have more to say, but now I'm off to be the hero of my own story today…see you soon!

Forty-Beats #19

Thanks, Dahahka!

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Acquainted with the Night

  by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night. 
I have walked out in rain—and back in rain. 
I have outwalked the furthest city light. 

I have looked down the saddest city lane. 
I have passed by the watchman on his beat 
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain. 

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet 
When far away an interrupted cry 
Came over houses from another street, 

But not to call me back or say good-bye; 
And further still at an unearthly height, 
One luminary clock against the sky 

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right 
I have been one acquainted with the night.

- See more at:

Ah, quiet stillness in Azeroth - to those who hear me and my chattering becomes likes squirrels and birds, I apologize. Together, alone--we move in time.

The Priestess and the Dragon

Sometimes a good deed is rewarded (but don't tell karma that--it'll try to balance something or other!) Zeptepi the Gentle One is at the point in the Wrathion cloak quest to destroy Nalak and stab him with a spear. For Mataoka, that was easy - there were plenty of stalwart champions on the Isle of Thunder, and for Kellda, also easy, because well, she's Kellda. She didn't solo it, but there were a few and she's just mean enough to be lucky. (Luck is afraid of warlocks, didn't you know?)
Waiting for heroes!

So now for Zeptepi - she knew she would not be able to do this alone, so she put the call out to her intrepid and patient friends: Repgrind, Tome, Breige, and Taikuutta all came to the rescue. She saw that a rogue was on the isle, and told him what was afoot, and he was very grateful, and not only came, but brought his tank and another healer friend.

Three healers, one tank, and two casters…it took a long time to bring that dragon down, but success! Now onto the slog that is LFR and obtaining the twelve Titan Runestones…and the final fight…and and and…never mind. One dragon at a time, dear Zep. One dragon at a time.

Now for some ephemera:

I knew I recently saw Taik's name somewhere! Magic for dogs!

And Cymre has a post about one of my favorite Disney princesses, and I think she has a great idea - we need more off-hand weapons, so here's my contribution:

Forty-Beats #18 /Drabble: Sweetbreads

She stole the heart and liver, and escaped, she believed. The one from whom she stole devised seamless revenge. The witch away in the woods spun a purple woolen thread, finger-thick, boiled it, and tied it in three knots. The witch away in the woods sat on the cushions, tummy rolling over, gurgling with hunger but full of fat, craving the stolen sweetbreads. The more she imagined the tastier they became. She would curse her stomach; too, make her stomach gurgle and bubble and fatty. She spoke the words over the tied thread, and the thief doubled over in pain.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Well what do you know…?

Stubborn from Sheep the Diamond wrote this post recently, and it made me think: what the hell do I know?

Nothing much, but that's okay.

Trying to understand Sajja, "Who Used To Be LuckyCricket And No One Understands Why I Race Change Least of All Me"was at level 66 when I boosted her, so it's not like I didn't know anything. But holy legsweep, Batman, do monks have a metric sh*t-ton of spells! Talk about your button bloat…day-umm!

But --here's the thing -- to me, Azeroth is damn boring without new challenges. New challenges unfortunately translates to many alts, for me at least. I may need to rethink that.

For example, I had no idea how to use Transcendence, so after rolling into several big tigers on the Isle, I decided to go look it the efff up:

OH!! That's what that other button does!!

Knowledge builds, comes in layers, and only until something is out of our comfort zone do we fidget and seek answers, or give up. Right now -- if I were very honest with myself -- I would see that looking up Transcedence is really another name for "procrastinating on a lot of work that needs to get done."

Hmm….may need that out of body experience.

So fellow bloggers: if you read this, my question to you is -- what do you think is your best knowledge base in Azeroth? If you were asked to come to an Azerothian pot-luck, what would be your best 'knowledge' dish?

Forty-Beats #17

Letters from Azeroth

Yesterday morning I was talking with a colleague (who's expecting! Yay babies!!), and I was ready for the day, and then I had a big, shocking reminder that I had a doctor's appointment later that morning--an important doctor appointment, to help me get some tough health concerns addressed--I had completely forgot. It was on my i-phone calendar, but I forgot to add an audible reminder, nor did I put it in the other 5 calendars I have, that are scattered throughout the universe. Now, before my lizard brains abuses my super-ego and id any further, and I cry foul because of ADD --it really is a combination of factors. The human brain can only take so much before it breaks, and that piece of information fell into one of those mental crevasses. Work and work-related issues seized most of my mental landscape, pushing out all other needs (and I consider daydreaming, creativity, and health 'needs') out of the room, and locked the door behind them. The past Monday night, during my Monday sabbatical from WoW, I sat on the couch and watched hours of House of Cards.  For some reason I not only can but want to listen to hours of Kevin Spacey's slight southern drawl unselfconsciously maneuver politics. Understatement all mine. That evening I got caught up to the subway scene. If you've watched House of Cards, you know what I'm talking about. That stuck in my head for a while too. 

So, sorting out the mind.
And it inspired me--what are my characters in Azeroth doing when I am otherwise occupied in real
life? And, more importantly, what do they want? Are they simply awaiting my return, to control, manipulate, and maneuver? Are they having rich virtual lives, and then just setting themselves back in place, like a scene from Toy Story? Are they angry and resentful--when Mataoka looks at the gear and DPS another enhancement shaman does in a 25-man, does she resentfully sigh at me, and wish she could let me know what she needs, instead of the other way around? (And for those of you who think I've gone crazy right now, walk away…walk away slowly and relinquish all rights to talk to me about writing, creativity, and imagination, and stop playing an RP game.)

So, there will be Letters from Azeroth, and I want to continue the Coin series, too. 
And move this blog to Wordpress. 

I'll put that on my calendar.

Friday, March 21, 2014

OLRG: Protest Edition

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Well damn - found out about other obligations last night, and even more two minutes ago. My time is not my own, but that's okay. It's what I signed up for. So,  I won't be able to be there for an OLRG run tomorrow, Saturday, and can't guarantee Sunday either. You all know each other! You all like each other! You're welcome to do something without me (*sniffsniff*). I'll be around probably in the morning, but yeah…

This morning before I have to scoot I'm going to see if I can get a guild charter signed with our raiding team name. Now that raids are all CRZ…I mean hell yeah! Be on the lookout to start lowbies on my server. Cause I'm pushy like that.

Postscript: AmerPriest has some runs, too! Go check it out!

Forty-Beats #16

All right, I confess I saw this on MentalFloss this morning. It's like cat-TV for humans, I admit.

Thursday, March 20, 2014


From Pictorial Arts
Today is the Spring Equinox--all things being equal--for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere - how do you celebrate spring? For those of you down South, what seasonal changes are you looking forward to? Ah, shucks, before I go to work this morning I should have see what my Blossoming Ancient pet is up to- I named him #Hashtag. Yes, I think I am pretty clever. I know my druid Momokawa is feeling…something…probably shouldn't leave her out there in the forests for too long.

Forty-Beats #15

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Horchata #94

I title this: 'Horchata #94'
After my ill-planned adventure to the little Mexican store around the corner months ago, where the ladies with the big, blue eyeshadow did not understand my little gringo pronunciation of "horchata," I found success at the tacqueria kitty-corner to the little store. What? What do my eyes see?! Not one but two bubbling fountain drink dispensers, one holding cloudy white liquid? "Is this…horchata?" I ask hopefully…"Horchata?" For a split second I panic, thinking once again I have butchered the pronunciation, but in that tiny next moment she says, "Si, horchata…" Grabbing my eat-in Coca Cola plastic drink glass, I filled it to the top.

Here's something about horchata I learned: it's delicious. And--it's like drinking cold, creamy rice pudding. It's very rich and sweet. It was a perfect combination to combat the spiciness of my enchiladas (although I wish I had ordered the carne asada tacos…), but yes, a big full glass of horchata is a lot of well, awesomesauce. I couldn't even finish it.

And LOOK! Even more good news! I don't have diabetes, and I'm sure this is why! Sugars in tequila may stave off Type II Diabetes! All right! I'll drink to that… We could all use a little good news, you know?

Drunk History: The Invention of Coca-Cola (not the full episode - but you really should be watching Drunk History episodes.)


Man-oh-man there is NOTHING like a new weapon to make me excited about Mataoka again! I have four minutes to write this - but just wanted to get this mental sticky note down before I fly out the door -- big guild did 25 man again, and yes, my DPS was for sh*t, but you know what - as always, I listen to directions, and do what I can, and listen to tips from others who have more experience than I - (thanks,  Turk!). The thing about any class is they all take a lot of care and practice -- I know this, and but sometimes banging one's head against a wall doesn't help--only end up with a big bump. I am so grateful for the philosophy and patience of my GM/RL and my big guild--more than I can write here. If not for them, I wouldn't be able to have the opportunity to go to normal current content, and have the chance to upgrade gear and weapons--this in turn makes me want to practice more, do better, and contribute more. 

I know a dagger isn't the weapon of choice for enhancement shammies (I do know a few things about my favorite class after all), but still it was quite an upgrade for the time being:

And I have new gear, and I got a new healing shield for restoration!!! Which, when I think about it, if moving/casting is 'going away' restoration shammy may be the best bet…

Still have lots of gems, reforging, and enchanting to do - no worries. When I get back from work. 

Forty-Beats #14

My dad sent us this:

Wyman Meinzer's West Texas from Wyman Meinzer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Strange monsters


CD Rogue sent me this image the other day in an e-mail. I don't know why. I guess I could ask him, cause he's sitting right here. He said he thought it was an interesting character--a monster that blocks the way of night travelers. I can't get it out of my head, and not sure why. I'm kind of befuddled about a lot of things right now. Feel like I'm in a fog. I also don't know why I'm struggling with taking what other WoW bloggers have to say about flying, or rather the possibility of no flying in Draenor. Ever. Maybe that's what it is -- I can't stop thinking about unnecessary obstacles. I wonder why my boss basically told the entire staff this morning to think long and hard about our futures. Wonder why other people feel so convinced they know me or my path. I don't know. But like the nurikabe, there is a magic spell. Just not sure I can get close enough to try it.

What I do know, today was an interesting day. And I am making a straight path to my pillow.

Forty-Beats #13

Monday, March 17, 2014

Forty-Beats #12: For the Irish Dreamer in me...

Look at the details of these pillows…ah…guaranteed sweet dreams
Happy St. Patrick's Day

Dear Matty: Stay Calm Edition

Dear Matty:
I hate playing right now, and not because of dailies, or quests, or waiting for the new expansion: I hate playing right now because my healer (I'm a tank) left me for a druid in Darnassus, and it's depressing to be playing solo right now. I painted myself in a corner with my guild, and he and I were too cliquish, I guess, and now I'm left having to start over with meeting friends. How do I get out of this social slump?

Lonely in Lordearon

Dear LL:
I have spent my whole life wondering how we meet, make, and keep friends. In fact, I was thinking about this very topic last night, thinking about how rare and special it is I have met and kept a friend for decades. This is the blessing part of social media, too, because I can think of at least five dear friends with whom I've reconnected with on social media, because my Christmas card writing has fallen by the wayside, and things like Twitter and Facebook allow us to have casual conversations on-line. But as the above spoken word performance above shows, love comes and goes, and the best we can hope for is another opportunity. Have heart, Lonely, for the only way I know to invite love in is to open the door: to extend this metaphor, you're the one in your own house, and whether or not you want or are able to have company. As far as friends in Azeroth goes, don't be afraid to initiate conversation once in awhile, make a joke in a group, or notice which active guilds seem to have the funniest, or friendliest guild recruitment ads. You just never know.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Lucky in love, not in cards...

But it only takes three wins, and three wins it was:

Zep gets first ride…amazing on a shadow priest

I just used the mage/Jaina starter deck. I was pounded by paladins, harrassed by hunters, shamed by shamans and mangled by mages. Thank you to "Yoloswag2012" for the loss, and "Pussifer" for the forfeit. Sir J.C., I won fair and square, and this only took around 3 hours (a bathroom was scrubbed and laundry done in this time, too--I'm not a monster you know!) The whole Hearthstone experience is pretty fun overall -- I hope it comes out soon for pad devices. Oh, and maybe someday, when CD Rogue gets a new job, I'll be able to get a pad device. In the meantime, I'll just keep riding my virtual ponies.

*Editor's Note: What was Pussifer doing that caused her forfeit? And, how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The world may never know.

There's an app for that...

Okay--some of us take WoW breaks, and some of us take WoW Breaks AND blog breaks! I came across this writing prompt from one of my favorite sites:

What apps would your characters put on their 'i-fantasius' -- the Smartphones for Azeroth? Well, obviously RaidMap, PetTeam, AggroKeeper, things like that? What would you put on there? Consider this a shared topic for Blog Azeroth.

Drabble: below ground

Rain gurgled down spouts, like a stomach growling.  Empty, hollow beats in the air, on the roof, through pipes and gullies, rivulets and divots. She asked the question, and he pretended not to hear.  His silence deafened. She dug the hole, dug it deep, and filled it with her own beliefs, but nothing grew. Absence makes the heart grow doubtful. Why do women speak first? Sort through the words, and put them all in safe rows. Till it, protect it, keep them from harm. Patience. Silent patience. This was harder than she thought: cultivating truth.  Don’t smother it. Walk away.

Forty-Beats #11

OLRG: Dragon Rules Edition

"Hmmm….spam…Viagra ad…Nigerian Princess…Amazon tracking order has shipped new robes…OLRG info…"

A hearty cheer for the Old Ladies Raiding Guild! Like all evil pirate captains, I put a hook and sword gently to their backs and told them to tank or plank Mogu'Shan! Everyone got out of their comfort zone in class/role and did a great job! I discovered that a lot about who I am is an over-estimator of ability, while others may underestimate, so it all balances out! Sure, the Stone Temple Pilots, er, Guard, bit us once or twice, no biggie; we all have our rabies shots. I just know we can do more current content over the next few months, as well as slice through older content too. Funny thing about those raids: those monsters keep springing back up! And guess what?! We had Amerpriest join us too, and her friend Alf! How cool is that?!

Helke, Neo, Imraith, Tome, Prinnie, PlaidElf, Taikuuta, and my friend Señor - it was so much fun! We went onto Blackwing Descent and got lots of achievements and were reminded about 'dragon rules.' Dragons have fire and tails, and don't stand in either; if the tail doesn't leg sweep you, the dragon breath will kill you. Pack mints and Nikes.

So I may have mentioned on Friday morning I was at a FOUR HOUR PRESENTATION. Four. Hours.



Someone brought doughnuts, which I am not a fan of, and fruit, which I ate, and Rice Krispy treats made with Easter-colored marshmallows which ended up making the rolled balls of sugar and cereal look like something the cat…never mind. They were really good. There was no coffee, and because my boss has perfected the debuff of the Stink-Eye spell when anyone is a minute late to anything, I didn't stop and get any, because you know, what if there was that ONE car in the Starbucks line whose mocha-dodo frappacinno was supposed to be cold, not hot, and I would get the Stink-Eye spell which cannot be dispelled under any circumstances (in fact, it's written down. Yes. Written. Down. In Permanent, Undispellable Ink), and okay after four hours of fruit, kitty-cat made Rice Krispy treats, and no caffeine, here is what I took away from the meeting (which occurred in the last 15 minutes):

The presenter gave us a scenario we had to solve in groups. Our groups brainstormed and came up with viable, creative solutions. She then walked around checking groups' work. To some groups she gave positive feedback, to others negative. The point of the exercise wasn't the content or quality of our solutions, but how we responded after the feedback. Our group's feedback was negative: she said our ideas weren't creative enough. My response in particular was defensive and disbelieving. Moi?! I am not creative enough?! After all the groups received feedback she gave us the big reveal, that the experiment was to see how we would react, and understand the power of positive feedback. We silly humans will walk on hot coals for those who perceive us to have value or worth to the group. Go figure. Stupid psychologists and their mind games. 

Needless to say, the rest of the Friday was shot, and this weekend I've spent trying to recoup my sanity. The Old Ladies helped me do just that.

Speaking of mind games, look what I uncovered:

Data. Bah.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mataoka, Ph.D(raenei)

First stop: Speak with Emissary Taluun
Well, damn, it's really Kellda who's the 'sexy librarian' in the mix, the one who spends hours in the libraries of Ironforge and Stormwind (and who would love to get her hands on tomes and scrolls in the Undercity's vaults, but you know, the whole 'forbidden' thing, and the dying, and whatnot); regardless, it's time to do some focused research on my favorite race: the Draenei. Speaking with my go-to RP friend and very knowledgeable source yesterday, the discussion and importance of age, timelines, and points in history cannot be overlooked or discounted in terms of character development. Foundational literary cornerstones, such as setting, exposition, conflict, resolution/denouement, and character(s) interact to create the plot. Characters interaction with setting influences or demands conflict, and gives entry to exploration of themes. In other words: loss and war is an eternal conflict/theme: what loss, and what war, can be specific to a character and story. 

Az, you're blocking my light!

One of the best resources I discovered is Yhtomitus' forum post: (Note my studious use of a Highligher in my virtual textbooks on key notes)

2. Age
First things first: 
In the Warcraft universe, longer-lived races also mature slowly. Regrettably, no definite figures exist for the draenei. They are an extremely long-lived race - possibly immortal; although there is no evidence either way about the entire race, Velen is explicitly called immortal in the new starting narration. Whether mortal or immortal, they live at least long enough for some NPCs, most notably Velen but not limited to him, to remember Argus, which makes them more than 25,000 years old. The closest we have to the rate of maturing is a reference is Rise of the Horde, where Durotan notes that a child in Telmor remained virtually unchanged for about three decades.
I've used the night elf figures as a rough reference for Sikon, so she's an approximately 300-year-old equivalent of a human twentysomething-year-old. I can see strict lore-adherers trying to avoid exact numbers. It's safe to say, however, that today's adult draenei were born long before the rise of the Horde. Your character could be born on Argus, on one of the worlds the draenei visited during their flight from the Legion, or on Draenor in times of peace - but in any event, they remember the orcs turning evil and destroying their civilization, and everything that followed then. 
This article: - contains some speculation (not canon) on what exactly it means to reach adulthood at a later age for long-lived races like the night elves and draenei.
What is problematic for me is, what if Mataoka was born in Azuremyst? Are lore geeks going to pounce on me? For nerds they scratch deep. (Just read Ready Player One and you'll know what I'm talking about.)

Voidwalkers as study-buddies. Awesome.


This is a writing sketch, based on preliminary research:

She is a child of Azuremyst (because I say so).
Shamanism (spearheaded by Nobundo after the fall of Shattrath, under Velen's personal blessing) is still a new development in the draenei society, and mistrusted. [Unbroken] 
She is a shaman. And she is an adventurer. 

Reading very strong lore opinions, I think--perhaps--there is another way of looking at this. Many writers put things squarely in their own perspective, of how another race/existence relates to human/earth time, and I think this is a fundamental miscalculation. There are more dimensions and ways to consider time/space than a narrow linear perspective. Saying an "old Draenei mother" is comparable to a "100 year old Earth/human mother [sic] is one of those narrow perspectives.  Judging gestation, reproduction, marriage, and placing a fan-fiction framework around it is fine, but I evoke Rule #10: Write What I Want.

And in one of the first stories I wrote about her, she does have a father and mother:
Mat loved her sisters, but she didn’t always understand them. Luperci, the middle girl, could be as self-righteous as an hagiographer, one who begins to believe he is just as holy as the saints’ stories he records.  The notch in Mat’s right horn was a result of Lupe slamming a flaming shield to Mat’s head when they were children. Mat had made some crack about the color or shape of Lupe’s horns. Matty often spoke before thinking, having a sharp tongue on occasion. Lupe had learned a bit more patience over the years, too; thank heavens, because that irascible arrogance and self-importance would have grown tiresome if left unchecked. Mat avoided her as it was.Rumors, mostly faded now, persisted that Matty was the love child of their mother, Alenke, before she married Arkkis. These rumors were true. Her mother had been in love; sincere promises were made, secret vows taken, but he died in battle before a priest could sanctify the marriage. The only thing that wasn’t widely known was the draenei warrior in question was Arrkis’ brother. Arrkis admired Alenke, and married her to protect her honor and out of a sense of obligation to his brother’s memory. Compromises created out of duty do not inspire love, and kills lust. Even so, they were fond of each other. But when eyes were closed and lights extinguished, each dreamed of other faces in the dark in their minds’ eyes. He never loved her as his brother had. That would have been impossible.

(Looking over this writing now I see how clunky it is, but whatever. As my writing group says, "Writing is never finished, it's only due." Even self-imposed deadlines.)

Then, Kil'jaeden's flunky Talgath stumbled upon Draenor.Rather than launch a frontal assault, Kil'jaeden manipulated the orcish shaman into thinking that the draenei had hostile intentions. Trusting their spiritual leaders, the orcs attempted to wipe the draenei out.The few draenei survivors (about a quarter to a fifth of the population) went into hiding.About thirty years later—after the orcs blew up the planet—Tempest Keep materialized off Netherstorm and was immediately mobbed by Legion-affiliated blood elves. The draenei mustered a strike force to capture a wing of the Keep.Unfortunately, they missed a few elves, who sabotaged the fortress and crashed it into an obscure archipelago off northern Kalimdor. And that's where The Burning Crusade begins. 
See? All a big misunderstanding --which can be used to allow Mataoka to see diplomatic pathways to the Orcs. Maybe.

The draenei do not love war, or see it as particularly noble or honorable, it's true. They are not enamored of bloodshed. They do not sing songs of valor on the battleground, or commit acts of genocide to prove their prowess. Dominating the weak and crushing their enemies are not concepts that have much appeal to them. They know mercy, and restraint - forever haunted by the actions of those that were once their own people, they are constantly aware (and afraid of) their own potential for darkness and evil action. This is why they are at time slow to respond to a threat, and often choose to retreat rather than come into conflict - not because they are incapable or unsuited to it, but rather because they are aware of just how suited to it they are. One needs only look at Archimonde, shattering Dalaran to dust with a few spoken words, to realize the potential for power and cruelty every draenei fears lurking within his or her own heart. It's tempting to look at the draenei response to the broken as a reflection of this fear - that without the presence of the Holy Light, they will inevitably fall to the madness of the Man'ari Eredar.

Annotation: why did Matthew Rossi feel compelled to write this post? Was there some underlying misconception that Draenei are pacifists, and he's responding to those misconceptions? Pacisfism itself is a tricky concept: Quakers are pacifists. Not getting involved in a conflict, however, holds many underlying motivations besides not 'believing' in war: simply not wanting to clean up the mess afterwards is one good reason. I think the Draenei have enough to do with all those crashsites. 

I could use the "30 Days of Character Development" guidelines, ala Garrosh (who's a great writer, by the by) and this link:

One thing is clear: I have my work cut out for me, and an overwhelming wealth of resources. Synthesizing this material to flesh out Mataoka, Ceniza, Luperci, Zeptepi, Haanta, and now Sajja will be a rich reward. Keeping in mind the existing canon, and creating my own headcanon will take time.

Why do all this? Why not just play the game, and let the spaceship pieces fall where they may? Well, I am really looking forward to the next expansion, but am also grateful for the serendipity of its release timeframe: I need more time. If the Draenei have been around 25,000 earth years, that's a lot of catching up to do. Thanks to Effy for this, too:
Az, would you get me some tea? We've got work to do...

Other resources:

Forty-Beats #10

Heard about her from an interview on NPR yesterday:

Friday, March 14, 2014

Which Way, My Role Play?

From a Motorola Ad: Guidance Needed

Open your eyes, Sajja, and read!

I have a few minutes before I have to dash off to a workshop day - lots of sitting around, lots of listening, and lots of fidgeting, trying to focus on the tasks at hand instead of my pretty monk Sajja (which means "truth"). I think I can sneak my phone in and read the Icy Veins guide on Monk healing, and her off-spec Windwalker. I know there has been a lot of upset tummies over Blizzard's providng us these 90 boosts -- but I can honestly say -- there really isn't any difference. The fact is: players who need to learn their classes have always existed (looks at self), and re-learning classes with changes, nuances in stats, gear acquisitions, etc., ensures there is always something to learn. If a player has freshly leveled a 90 alt, it has never been a guarantee that they have gear, knowledge or skill. The instant boost did not change that. It didn't. And, for the record, most of the asshats are leveled players with great gear who troll the server or an LFR.

Thank you Blizzard, for this monk. I love her. She's floppy, failing, dying, rolling, and goofy. But I love her. I could not stomach another leveling session from 85 to 90 (she was level 66, and my Deathknight lingers at level 86…just….can't…….it….).

Another boost is I am going to sketch out some character studies for My Role Play. That add-on has been on my list for a long time now, and I'm overdue for some character sketches.  I know I can do that while pretending to be in deep concentration in the meetings today. We writers -- we're a sneaky lot. Always saying things. But this morning I am saying "thank you." Truth.

Forty-Beats #9

Thursday, March 13, 2014

OLRG: Follow the Frog Edition

A true hero does what he/she can: (Stick with this post - I'm getting to it.)


Where do I start?


Okay - here. The other day Tome posted a tale of a troll, and I thought to myself, "Well, gee, haven't seen one of those in awhile! I've run hundreds of LFR, I glance at Trade Chat, and maybe it was an off-day."

No - the rumors of troll extinction are just that - rumors.

Take little Sajja into an LFR. First, all the undergeared players ('undergeared' being a relative term since her gear level was more than adequate for that LFR) were called 'welfare players' because of the 90 boost. Several players shared that yes indeed, this was their level 90 boost, but they had several level 90s, and had years of experience in Azeroth. So, there's the "poverty shaming." Nice. And then red flag: a Dwarf shaman (SHAME ON YOU! You are a disgrace to both Dwarfs and Shamans, you asshat) says, "I am the only one healing?" Sure enough, his numbers were over 190-200K HPS. I remember something Navi said in her recent post about healing being more like a pie that everyone shares - healing is not like DPS. I looked over his gear and sure enough, heroic and normal level gear through and through. (And very ugly mogging efforts, or no effort, too I might add.):

See my comment: I thank him for joining us and bringing his great heals. Hey, kill them with kindness is always my first tactic! It seems to disoriented trolls with the Misdirection skill. Alas, it was only temporary - he was determined to troll us, and show off his great skills, and chide us for how shitty we all were. After the third boss, and several "LOOK AT ME AND MY BIG HEALING STICK" I finally just said the comment below:

And then he said this to me:

Now, I could be classy like Tome and not name-names. But this expectation of privacy is a double-edged sword, Good Sir Lindriss. You may be a 13-year old boy who was just seeking some innocent troll fun. You may be a shy 28-year-old who's socially awkward. You may even be a sweet grandma by day, baking cookies and taking in stray cats, and want to live in a complete 180-fantasy world. I don't know. But the thing is, if you're going to be a troll, do it right. An early LFR is low-hanging fruit, and not worth your trolling expertise! Oh wait, maybe that's it!! Maybe these sorts of venues are Proving Grounds for Trolling!! Oh my God why didn't I think of that before?!?!  They're honing their retorts and bait to groups who couldn't care less, just to feel that tingly sensation of typing asshattery on the Internet! (Happy 25th Birthday, WWW, btw!) I wonder if Bob and Tim had any idea about folks like Lind…anyway, no matter.

There is a word for folks like Lind:

SO - the Frog.

Please watch the above commercial. It says so humorously, so charmingly, what I would like to say about Azeroth: there are some things I am not going to do. I am not going to live out the Gringo fantasy and save the natives. (I might live out the Draenei fantasy, but that's acceptable.) But I am going to keep doing Old Ladies Raiding Guild, and we are going to see some new things together, or share recent things together. Saturday we'll start a 10-man in Mogu'shan Vaults - if I need to tank I will (ugh) but otherwise maybe I can get a volunteer. If it turns out we have more than ten folks who want to go, we'll see if we can get to 25 man or do this as an LFR. It really doesn't matter - because when we're together:

See you on Saturday!

Forty-Beats 7
Armando/Locos por Juana in a Zumba class: