Friday, August 30, 2013

Tiny Story Time: Mataoka's & Navimie's Friday Fished-Up Fables: Vareesa




"Please stamp on the coin, sir, just as I have written it here: Asto're da shan're. Turus Fulo II'amare, A'Talah Adore. Isera'duna..." Vereesa used both her hands as paperweights on the scroll, to show the goblin coin-maker the words. He nodded. "I see," he grumbled. Vereesa paid the engraver a large sack of gold she took from Rhonin's coffers. This wish came with a heavy cost. Goblins like their money a little dirty, and dried blood remained on many of the coins. Turning a sack of gold into one copper coin was not a fair trade, but she was told his magic was guaranteed. As for her lost sisters: there was nothing she could do. She resorted to the blood magic, thinking that if she wished for honor, for peace, surely the gods would grant these wishes. They were selfless desires, not vain. But she had forgotten to scrub out the last line, the one about the green ones...to wish death brought bad luck. The goblin saw the words, and believed she was wishing death on goblins. He miscast her name intentionally, for if the gods can't find the right soul, the wish will not come true. Vereesa lost her way, too, and the gods never found her wish.




The mysteries of misspellings.

Navimie's Ansirem

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tiny Story Time: The Minions' Ball

Ah, of course...from my favorite site...

Inspired by Christina Rosetti's poem, The Goblin Market (but nothing like it whatsoever)

The Minions' Ball

not quite after midnight
the robes dusted and preened
ruby-red lips drooling blood-stained juices
for kissing of the queen

the minions gather round the warren
beneath the Slaughtered Lamb
to dance against the sideboards
on rough beaten wood, with a sleight of hand

she will meet them in the market
she will meet them in the stalls
she will meet them on the gallows' drop
and meet them in kings' halls

they dance with her as she pleases,
and waltz while the cello moans
she calls the tune, they bow to her
resentful love grumbles, and groans

the imp skips a sprightly jig
the succubus feigns mild interest
the felguard acts the wallflower
the arabesque voidwalker, dishonest

the doomguard has a cameo
his appearance is short lived
but while he pirouettes
he's chopped off a few heads

she will meet them in the market
she will meet them in the stalls
she will meet them on the gallow's drop
and meet them in kings' halls

if you listen closely
you can hear squeals of pleasure
so many partners to choose from
and they serve her at her leisure

but none of them stay till dawn
they can't pay the piper's fee
they won't meet her in sunlight
and leave so quietly

the only place, and caution
of which you must beware
is the minions' ball round midnight
take heed, and take care

don't go to the dance if asked
for surely you won't want to leave
feet will bleed and backs will break
leeched souls are cleaved

she will meet them in the market
she will meet them in the stalls
she will meet them on the gallows' drop
and meet them in kings' halls

she's going to the dance tonight
dancing at the minions' ball

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 31: Dangerous

#wowscreenshotaday

This is the most dangerous thing I can think of: zealotry justice.


Gallow's Pole/Led Zeppelin


Day 30: Cluttered

#wowscreenshotaday

Got asked a tough question today: What are my dreams? No, not the sleeping, snoring, drooling kind, but the aspirations, the hopes, the "if I could do or be anything right now what would it be?" question. Since my colleagues have dubbed me as the "Metaphor Queen," I shall endeavor to describe, figuratively, how my life may be right now: I am stuck in a mire, hip-deep in Wellingtons that would go schhlock-ke when pulling them out, but over on the shore I see maybe a novel or two, or a woman who is really good at her job, or perhaps....and that is the thing. The Wellingtons and I only waded in this muck because the things on shore were not that interesting, and there were shiny, bioluminescent things in the water...just there, see? Just when after this, or that...just over the next wave: we were only going to stay a little while. But we keep getting sucked back in. Oh, the muck? Azeroth. But it is pretty.

So: not sure. I do know something needs to change (i.e. someone, that someone being me) and staying in Azeroth has blurred the lines too much, and the Wellies are indeed stuck. I am not prepared to go in my metaphorical stocking feet back to shore: sharp objects and such, you see, but I am willing to start to clean out the mental clutter that Azeroth can ascerbate. It'll get cleaned up.

Two contrasts of "clutter:"

Chaos from order:
Chaos produced from order: lights, bells, whistles all thrown together by strict and concise mathematical language
 Order from chaos:
The order and cosmic rhythm of Blood Elf architecture: breathtaking in its simplicity to express complex concepts
No Scrubs/TLC

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 29: Lucky

#wowscreenshotaday

This is by far the most difficult one, and yet, the simplest. The other day my friend Señor and I were counting the blessings we have in our lives, and this week I have steered negative forces not away from me, but leaned into them, and then get them to leave apologetically.  Luck? I have no real idea what that is. Lucky is where opportunity meets preparation I guess, with the third element of the gods cutting us a break.
This is a hunter, who is terrible, but people love her anyway - and a bear or three. Can't see them all, but they're there.

Luck may be in its essence a study in contrasts. This summer, I would find my head bobbing more than once in beat with Daft Punk's Get Lucky. When thinking of this post, I considered this song Lucky Man by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer and came across this very sad and touching video made by a daughter to her father who had passed. Lucky? All in perspective.

But perhaps, it's this: we make luck out of our failures, out of our disappointments, and then repackage them as pure joy. 

That works.

RTMT: Long Way To Go and Day 28: Corridor

#wowscreenshotaday
Stay the course, Dornaa...

I woke up this morning still tumbling a negative thought in my head, of whether or not to confront someone about a 'thing.' The reason this person did this thing, (and this is the second time), is because they don't know me. They made an assumption. Now I'm old enough to have been around this block once or twice: do people change? Or, by being honest with "how you made me feel" trope can you make them see your point of view? /shrug I don't know. I was thinking if it happens three times then I'll say something, but that is officially going into festering territory. What I do know about people are the things that are important to them do not translate into what's important to us. The problem is when I confront someone emotionally I tend to tear up. I can't do this, namely because this person tends toward bully territory, and will misconstrue tears as weakness, not anger. (Yes, this person is a female: gender makes no difference when it comes to bully acuity.)

Maybe I'll keep this image that Cynwise posted today, and just set the whole thing on mental fire:

Cynwise: On Golden Lotus Dailies
Time to toughen up. Know I am strong. Show I mean business. And I do. I've been down this road before.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 27: Ten minutes from home

#wowscreenshotaday

Ten minutes from home--yes, I know technically these are not screenshots from Azeroth, but they are proof of sorts of time spent in the real world. This is from Sunday morning, starting at 9:37AM on my way to meet my friend for our semi-monthly breakfast. This particular Sunday I can proudly say I did NOT CRY: that has been my typical, and I'm not proud of it, thing. I don't know what it is. This friend is truly a safe place to fall, to share what stuff, ideas, etc. and she always gives patient, sage advice. I used to give people patient, sage advice, but it seems now all my advice is parsed out to gnomes and elves. I've lost my street cred. Now, now, don't worry: I am really a happy person. Sometimes things get a little wonky, and sometimes things hurt, but nothing like a real friend, cooling coffee in big thick mugs and Eggs Benedict to set things right. Yes, and I ate the orange garnish too. With bacon.


The tiny clock does say "9:47"
As the Southern Hemisphere moves to spring and summer, so we Northerners move to fall and winter. Time flies when you're having fun. It even flies when you're not.





Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 26: Entrance

#wowscreenshotaday

I had a traditional, 'crossing the threshold' kind of entrance shot, but then, I realized the "entrance" into the Brawlers' Guild has been one of the most engaging activities for me in Azeroth:


There were many players who had the 10K gold handy when it was introduced, but my budget meant patience, and then the kindness of a friend. It is a great way for me to realize 1. I am a terrible player and 2. Have a blast doing so.

More, please, Blizzard: this is kick-ass!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sometimes...you get the bear!


CD Rogue wanted to watch The Golden Compass again tonight, because it reminded him of how much he loves his polar bear mount in game. He had mentioned it about a week or so ago, and I decided to venture back to Brunnhildar Village to try my luck, too. I absolutely love turning into a Vykrul there, but never once did the dailies. While he was watching it, even though I am sleepy, and ready to relax, I thought I would try my luck again....call it serendipity, call it pure, dumb luck, but there was a big "squeeee!" in the Matty-shack tonight:


Beautiful....

The Golden Compass series is one on my list of books....as soon as I'm done with this one and that one; in the meantime, I absolutely love this mount. That is how we feel, isn't it? We are as powerful and brave as Lyra, as fierce as a flying witch...

Thanks, Gretta. I shall return, because we are sisters of the north...

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Most Epic Pet Battle Post EVER


Editor's Note: Squee! Got my wish! Krash sent this to me this morning, but I didn't check my email until after I had gone to work, and we know I can't do any fun Azeroth stuff at work. So finally, without further ado:

The Celestial Tournament, by Turkic/Krasher

My good friend Matty is like a bloodhound, relentlessly on my trail, trying to get me to write a "guest" column.  I admit that I read her blog regularly, and through it, those of some of her friends.  I am impressed by the quality of the work, and am not sure that my skills as a writer are up to par.  With that said, I did have a topic of interest that I don't know has been covered in any detail.

For those who know me, I try to be efficient in everything I do, in WoW and out.  I play within the rules, but I try to see the game as a wider zone of possibility than others might.  As an example. I haven't done a daily quest since patch 5.1, and yet I have three level 90 characters exalted with every Pandaria faction, and all with cloud serpent riding capability.  I get all my raid bonus roll tokens from pet battles, and pet battles are what I wanted to talk about today.

The pet battle system is one of the best features in the Mists of Pandaria expansion.  Despite its flaws, it has overall been a huge success.  Players like collecting, leveling, and battling their pet collections.  In 5.1 they added Battle Stones; 5.2 yielded the Beasts of Fable and Raiding with Leashes.  In 5.3 they did some major balancing, added some powerful new pets, and made pet battles award leveling experience.  On September 10th, patch 5.4 will come out, and as Illidan Stormrage would say, "You are not prepared!"

Besides the Siege of Orgrimmar, patch 5.4 brings the Timeless Isle, replete with solo content, group content, lots of cool loot, and a plethora of new pets.  The real story though, is the Celestial Tournament.  This is an opportunity to earn 1000 Timeless coins per week in a grand pet battling tournament.  You face 7 tough fights, and you have to beat them all.  It sounds fun, and it is, but there is a catch.  During the 7 fights (3 trainers plus 4 Celestial Beasts of Fable), you cannot heal your pets, at all.  Once you zone in, you have to beat all 13 pets with what you have with you.  It sounds challenging, and it is supposed to be.

Before I go into detail about the fights, I wanted to mention about hard counters.  Every pet type is either strong or weak in attack and defense versus other pets.  As an example, dragon pets take less damage from flying pets, and flying pets take increased damage from Magic attacks, so a dragon that does magic attacks would be a hard counter to a flying pet.  A good specific example is Lil' Terecgosa.  As you face these opponents, try to use a hard counter for every one of their pets if possible.  You can start the fight and leave without taking a turn, just to scout out their team.

I've completed this on the Public Test Realm (PTR) a couple of times now, and I wanted to share some pets that I feel are critical to success in the tournament.  The three trainers vary week to week, but the celestials are always the same.  One point -- I have about 140 level 25 pets, but on the PTR I had about 30, so my choices were more limited.  Realistically, you will need 40 or more pets to be able to beat this.  Here are the fights I saw this week, and the pets I used to beat them:

Sully:
Mojo
Zandalari Kneebiter
Turkey

Dr Jon Goldbloom:
Dark Whelpling (I would recommend a better dragon here, but this was what I had on the PTR)
Menagerie Custodian
Sunreaver Microsentry

Lorewalker Cho:
Onyxia Whelpling (nearly killed 2 pets)
Stitched Pup
(didn't need a third pet)

Yu-la:
Bonkers (killed him solo) 

This is the easiest of the celestials.  Any humanoid with an avoidance move like dodge or reflect and 287+ speed is good here.  If I were on live I'd probably use a Flayer Youngling, Hopling, and a Lil Bad Wolf with 287+ speed until I could catch Bonkers.

Xu-Fu:
Tranquil Mechanical Yeti
Clockwork Gnome or Darkmoon Zeppelin
Mechanical Pandaren Dragonling

This guy hits like a ton of bricks and heals for a lot.  Be sure to use avoidance when his heal is on cool down.  I found the Decoy especially effective here.

Chi Chi:
Water Spirit
Chrominus
Unborn Val'kyr (optional)

This combination is deadly, so much so that I may level a second of these two pets before the patch.  I will explain this specific team strategy below.

Zao:
Water Spirit
Chrominus
Unborn Val'kyr (optional)

I used the same Water Spirit and Chrominus here as well.  While the Valk'yr isn't necessary, it makes it a sure thing.  Here's the basic attack sequence.  Note that this can destroy all the Beasts of Fable as well, except for Dos Ryo.

Open with Unborn Val'kyr:
Round 1: Unholy Ascension (Val'kyr will die and resurrect for one round)
Round 2: Curse of Doom
Round 3: Bring out Pandaren Water Spirit; use Geyser
Round 4: Use Whirlpool
Round 5: Swap to Chrominius
Round 6: Use Howl, which doubles their damage taken.  After this turn Doom, Geyser, and Whirlpool will detonate for massive damage, killing them.  If they somehow manage to live:
Round 7: Surge of Power.

I hope this has been helpful and not too boring.  Matty is a good friend, and I wanted her to have some scoop to go with her dish in 5.4.  May your battles be the stuff of legends!



Postscript: We will be back to our regulary scheduled Friday Fished-Up Wish soon!

Day 25: Culture

#wowscreenshotaday

Kellaen visits the Burning Legion Museum in the Exodar. She didn't see the sign that read "No Horses Allowed."

The things I think about in between the realms of sleep and wake: I realized I had never seen a human in Azuremyst. Not once. Of course I know all races have visited Azuremyst, I mean afterall, I'm sure there's some holiday thing, like the Noble Garden stuff, the forces players to visit. But otherwise, no. No one goes there but baby shamans and paladins, equipped with standard-issue horns and hooves.

When considering the topic of "culture" in Azeroth, it's as endless and rich as any anthropologist's dream. Every possible aspect that encompasses culture: food, language, clothing, holidays, traditions, expectations, restrictions: the details and study of the various cultural aspects reach near infinity, from the mugs of ale in a Dwarven inn, to the "Yo!" from Goblins. We players are comfortable in Azeroth because we can find connections and identify with so many of the same cultural motifs. I for one love going to the Darkmoon Faire and eating anything fried. If only they had corn-on-the-cob like I remember it from the Texas State Fairs. Virtual food as no calories, so that's a bonus.

One place that is almost its own realm/separate game is Pandaria. I have often wondered if its Asian influences both delight and sometimes horrify Asian players. That generalization, too, is completely unfair. I spent a brief time with the NCTA, and one word we were never to utter was "exotic." That word tends to underscore stereotypes of "other." The discussion of culture is a complex one, that's for sure. We all live in micro and macro cultures: how I clean house or what I make for dinner is influenced not only by my upbringing, but what is out there in my grocery stores.

Aside from Pandaria, all of Azeroth is a cultural smörgasbord, including Northrend with its DEHTA group and the gorloc Oracles. But even its scope is fairly limited between dead things, human things, and dwarf things of some variety. Oh, and proto-humans. Can't forget those.

But--most of the Eastern Kingdoms is human dominated. I still think a 7' tall hooven chick looks out of place in Stormwind, and for some reason, when I am in Kalimdor, no one looks out of place. The other great equalizer is the beginning quests in Acherus. All races are chained for the slaughter. Greeeaatt.....

So: take some time. Go visit a zone you haven't yet. Stop and taste the local foods, see the sights, speak with the natives. There are no five-star inns in Azuremyst though; don't want you to get too comfortable.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 24: In the background

#wowscreenshotaday

I did not intend for this series to be a pictorial of Kellaen, however, when one is starting fresh, there are some old things to see with new eyes.

James Clark.

James Clark is a petty thief and outlaw one must efficiently dispatch of.  And, separate him from his noggin. He wasn't using it anyway.

But I swear, in all the moments Mr. Clark and I have had to do the "dance," never once have I seen this creepy kid, Kevin, wondering around the room like a lost fly. He even tries to walk through the fireplace, up the table, on the mantle. There he is, in the shadows. 

Now, watching him wander around the tiny shack, all of these scenes from old Westerns kept playing in my head: "Son, I don't wanna go shootin' your pappy while you're here..." Or that scene from Kill Bill where the Black Mamba gets rid of Vivica A. Fox's character with a kindergartner in the house. That's enough to send any kid to years of therapy. So, yes, Kellean stood there for a long time, watching Kevin, perplexed, and morally confused. But, whatever. Got the screenshot and that was that. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 23: Yellow

#wowscreenshotaday

Yellow: I read somewhere never to paint a baby's room yellow because it can cause stress (not sure in the baby or the nursing mother, but immaterial I suppose). Yellow is a primary color I tend to shy away from: it is the color of caution, warning, or unadulterated notice. It is the original color of Post-It notes and piss. Dandelions are yellow: I hate dandelions. They remind me of sloth and carelessness, despite their cautionary message.

And yet, I cannot live without yellow. No one can. It is the color that creates orange, and green, the color that gives voice to the stronger, more saturated hues, reminding us of why we love them. It doesn't associate with purple, or indigo: but it makes the moon creamy and dance with the velvet, and gives the fire the light: it is the color, with its brethren red and orange, of warmth.

One of my favorite sites is National Geographic, for many reasons, but one of their photography series is Life in Color. This is the Life in Color: Yellow link.

I had originally thought to do a full, sunny, blinding Quel'Danas shot, but last night, while Kellaen was exploring, she discovered the hovel of one Captain Beld of the Dark Iron Clan. Unfortunately, he had to die by her sword, too, but he was all right. He came back to fight another day.
Do not cry for Captain Beld: he's all right.
Do you see how yellow, when it does not try to dominate, creates magic in a palette? This hearth may be one of the most beautiful in Azeroth. The golden bottles illuminate tiny spaces on the mantle. Yellow, in small doses, is as necessary as fireflies and desired as butter.


No other choice: Yellow/Cold Play

Day 22: A room

#wowscreenshotaday

So many nooks, crannies, and secret hideaways to choose from, but I keep going back to the one in the Tainted Forest, and this one in Thelsamar:


I challenge any Horde to find as cozy, sweet, and snuggly warm as a Dwarf's cabin. Many of them are equipped with a painting of a beautiful nude woman, lying supine with a black or dark blue velvet undergarments. Okay, so technically she's not nude, but suggestive. Dwarf can't live by ale alone to inspire him, ya know?
Another one in the Thunderbrew Distillery, by the artist "One Note Brush Stroke"

This is Kellean, a new paladin: no disrespect to Luperci, but I needed to start fresh. Who am I kidding? I did it for the pretty horse:

Kellean with an old friend, keeping Stormwind safe. For now.

Today is finding me with time at home instead of work, where I have a mountain of things to do. I have  that same mountain here at home, so perhaps that is why my eyes popped open at 5 AM? Anyway, no matter. I was thinking I might do this new fun idea Erinys pointed my mind to:  Alt Appreciation by a blogger named Laeleiwyn. Effraeti has gotten in the spirit, too! And I thought to myself: "Matty, the last thing you need is one more project. So, I think I shall leave the Alt Appreciation posts to others. Don't hold me to it, though.

When I thought about the word for Day 22, I couldn't help but think of all those paintings from my undergraduate days, when I took on three motifs/topics: self-portraits of me in archetypal poses; marine biology in macro views (mostly mermaid's purses and shells); and paintings of interiors. These one is one of my first, and favorites:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 21: Slow

#wowscreenshotaday


There are so many ways to show the concept of "slow" but I chose an ideal fantasies: warm, tropical breezes, trolls under control and far, far away, and gentle waterfalls. On the precipice of a 5.4, when whatever we think we want to do will be faster, more, 'get there first, go big or go home' I wanted to remind myself of the mental vacations available for unlimited time in Azeroth. Trolls can wait.*



Theme song: Wish You Were Here/Pink Floyd

*I may be posting these on my own schedule---the prize is just putting these together.

RTMT: Two out of three ain't bad

going around in fairy circles...

I always have mixed feelings on Tuesday mornings when I have: 1. time to play 2. nothing to play 3. other things to do 4. realize I don't really have time to play but what does it matter anyway the servers are down.

So what's a girl to do? Wander around the Internet, of course. Not sure how I missed my artistic hero Neil Gaiman's graduation speech from last year, because it almost snuck past me. I suppose I assumed he was telling the young, hopeful graduates to follow their dreams and don't do it for the money. I was basically correct. His drum-beat message: "make good art."

But the best advice starts around the 13:00 mark when he talks about how one keeps working, not just getting the work in the first place: 1. You're a pleasure to work with; 2. The work is good; 3. It's delivered on time. He suggests you just need two out of the three, and he is right. It's true in our creative life in Azeroth, too. If you are a pleasure to be with, your play style is good, you'll find a place on a raid team, or others will seek you out. If you're a grumpy ass, but you are good, you'll still keep your spot. Alternatively, if you're on time, and nice, well you get the idea.

This makes me think about those of us who wring ourselves out from trying to do all three, all the time. We try to keep our relationships bright, our work lives enjoyable, our families and friends entertained and delighted. If we are expected to be the caregivers, the nurturers; however, the instant the spotlight shifts from others to ourselves it becomes instead a search light, and we are in need of rescue.

It is a supreme act of selfishness to create art.

I always think about the first Mrs. Neil Gaiman, the one who gave him children, presumed security while he persued his craft, not the second, more artsy Mrs. Neil Gaiman, the one with the ukelele. But it's none of my business. I just hope she got to make art, too.

It's a week till 5.4 comes out, and there are some exciting things in the works. But like most things, it will probably have two out of three things that are awesome. In the meantime, going to go make some art.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Time well spent...

I was on my way out the door this morning, clean, coffee'd and keys in hand, when I stopped to check Tome's new post. Twenty minutes later, I am still here.

Thank you, Tome - for reminding me.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 19: Lost

#wowscreenshotaday: lost


Zul'Aman was one of those places that terrified me if I ever died during the run (which was often) because threading my way back earned me the moniker "lost-a-lot bear." The patrols were fierce and surreptitious, and the maze of hidden pathways, and jumping over walls, through ruins and columns, tested even the best of navigational player skills.

And yet...nostalgia sets in again.

Dear Matty: Cupid and Psyche Edition


Dear Matty:
I've had it. I foolishly told my RealID and Battletag to any Manny, Moe, or Jack who asked for it, and now I'm constantly getting whispers and greetings from folks, though are very nice, are just kind of there. Also, many of them are players that we needed to exchange this information for a quick raid or group, and now I feel bad if I 'unfriend' them. What a word, right? Unfriend? What if we weren't 'friends' in the first place? I mean, it's not like they bought me a puppy or anything, or picked me up from the airport. I can't even unfriend people from Facebook without political/social ramifications, although no one seems to have an issue 'unfriending' me if it's necessary. I know Blizzard should really come out with an "invisible" button/option, but until then, I am feeling very exposed. How do you handle this, Matty?
Death-to-Privacy-Death Knight

Dear Privacy:
I am reminded of the story of Cupid (Eros) and Psyche. Theirs is a tale of love, lust, betrayal, and redemption. Yeah, yeah, that old chestnut. Seems that Cupid's mom, Aphrodite, was hearing rumors of some poor, but incredibly gorgeous, girl's encroachment into her territory. The girl's name was Psyche, which means 'soul.' Heart and soul, get it? Anyway, Aphrodite (Venus) sends her boy Cupid to go slay this girl. Long story short, he falls in love with her, and whisks her away to his luxurious crib, complete with talking teapots and stuff (please don't think fairy tales are original, and certainly not the Disney Co.), with one promise: she must never, ever look upon his face or know his identity. Since the nights were so full of, how shall we say, made worth her while, she kept his trust. But--typical. Her sisters come to visit and they are jealous, and put fear and distrust in Psyche's heart. One night, she goes to see if Cupid is indeed the monster (who can kiss and hug like a rock star, but Psyche forgets this) her sisters say he is. She holds an oil lamp a bit too close to the bed, and some hot oil or candle wax, depending on the version, drops on Cupid waking him. He awakens in physical and emotional pain to see that Psyche betrayed him, and years and pain and suffering later, along with the ultimate evil mother-in-law, and well you'll have to find out what happens.

Why this tale? Well, it seems to me that much of what we enjoy in Azeroth is the fantasy: we enjoy being in our own tale of heroism, battles, love, loss, hatred, rivalries, (nothing in there about Tiller rep, but sure there's a story in there, too). But knowing the real identities of others may spoil the fun. It might surprise people to learn I've known my friend Señor since almost the beginning of my entrance into Azeroth, but I know very little about the man behind the characters, and I respect that. Am I curious? Yes, very much so. But curiosity does indeed kill the cat, if by cat I mean the opportunity of immersing myself in just having fun -- no real life responsibilities, no demands, and no expectations. If anything, he probably just expects me to keep the electric bill paid on the guild bank, but other than that, nada. 

There are a few folks on my battletag/realid roster I'm sure would be relieved if I just deleted them: they probably don't remember one thing about me, and it adds a social weight. There are some real id/battletag friends, however, I would be devasted to lose. I consider them "real" friends, and would mourn their departure from my social world(s). I'm sure my dear friend Señor wants some time in Azeroth that is just his, just like any of us do.

In the future, be more cautious of 'keeping the cat alive," I suppose, and if you do need to prune your rosters, go right ahead. You owe no one in Azeroth a single thing.


Day 18: Someone you spoke to today

#wowscreenshotaday

Since I am the early bird in the Matty-shack, I seldom ever speak to real, living humans first, and there are blog posts to be written, ya bums! My morning habits of checking blogs, news, telling the dog to sit,  drinking coffee, relieve my urge to communicate, to connect.

I don't keep all those bookmarks, nor screenshots. I know where the computer's trash can is. Had to block out a personal family pic, if you're curious about the smudge.

This screenshot is from a comment I added to Big Bear's thread on his incredible, comprehensive pet battling post. Anything and everything you ever wanted to know about pet battling, there it is.  Another comment I added today was to Erinys's idea about a St. Bernard hopefully, wishfully, being added to Brewfest activities. And another to Cymre congratulating her on her legendary mace. So before it's 8am, I've connected, virtually at least, with tens of people. I love to write -- I know -- 'state the obvious day,' but I love its counterpart: reading. The two are so intertwined, so connected, I never understood how anyone can even attempt to put writing in its separate pursuit or craft, or vice versa. I am fascinated by how humans communicate. Oh, sure, dolphins and whales have grand conversations, too, but until they start writing blogs I may never know what they're talking about.

Language first appeared between 30,000 and 100,000 years ago in the species Homo sapiens. But how did language evolve? Currently, there are two rival answers to this question: the first and more common explanation is that language was an adaptation of some sort; the second (chiefly espoused by Stephen Jay Gould) is that language is a spandrel, a nonadaptive element arising as a byproduct of other processes. We will consider these explanations in reverse order.

Wait a minute: that just gave me an idea. I'll jot it down for later.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bearly-there!

Yes, sometimes you get the bear:

Steady...steady....keep calm...hit the tamer button...careful!
Arcturis decided he wanted to go home with Haanta after all. One or two other hunters stopped by, the last one inquiring about spawn times, and politely left.

Obviously I did not have time to go hunt down some better mog gear before this screenshot: that'll be my next project. Might even change my hair color...

Now--let's think about this for a minute.
The real buffs in Azeroth do not come from a button or spell:

Mataoka's cloak: Friendship element
Haanta's bear: Patience buff
Ceniza's pet: Pure Dumb Luck charm
Kellda's green fire: Ah, now this one, this one is going to take cunning, study, trial-and-error, repair bill gold, and a whole lot of smarts. Call this the "Most Clever Witch" enchantment. This is going to take some brain cells and elbow grease.


Momokawa received some assistance in her Gokk quest, too:


Which is a sight for sore eyes.

I was going to link one of the awkward album covers from this BuzzFeed, but thought against it. If you have eye soap, feel free to click. Otherwise, you have been warned. These...these are not good. No. Bad. Very, very bad. If you think Anous is evil, well...

Day 17: Exercise

#wowscreenshotaday

Zombie gnomes, spirit wolves, and elementals: all helping me--what more could a girl ask for?

I was so...proud of myself? No, pride isn't the right word. Just --feeling that sense that 'nothing succeeds like success" kind of feeling, that I accomplished something when I wasn't staring so hard at "it." A few years ago, I gained weight due to stresses at my job, bad life habits, taking care of everyone and everything else but myself. Then I started playing WoW when the big life project was completed, and I noticed, slowly, surely, over time, weight started falling off of me. So much so I had to buy new clothes, people noticed and praised how good I looked, and I thought to myself, "Never again." I even have a post about it: Work It.

Here was my advice:
*When you are waiting, waiting, waiting, get off your tail and dance like a Night Elf, male or female. Both are fun and sweaty dances. Did you think I was kidding when I said that? Top Ten Things to Do While Waiting in Queue.

*Get your RL drudgery done FAST so you can play

*When snacking, eat like a gnome. Lots of fresh apples, carrots, etc. Drink plenty of water. Don't touch the mana cakes.

*Walk everywhere you can, like a lower-level toon. No level 20/40/60 speed mounts for you. Hoof it.

It's tough to look at a Draenei girl's ideal form and not feel either completely hopeless or inspired. The superhero over-articulated and idealized artistic form would look weird and maybe even kind of horrifying if it existed in the real world. Mat's human will never have a tail, hooves or horns. (She may have invisible horns when she's feeling mean, but that's another story.) Besides, she couldn't find shoes for those big hooves, and the nearest blacksmith is in the next town. But, she does have some height and the smile going for her--that's a start.

And she can rock it like a Night Elf.


Well "never" is a short time.

I leveled healers and a tank, and no longer did I have to wait in queues. Slowly, sinisterly, waiting for queues became more important than getting off my ass to do something around the house, to use that nervous energy to move. There were more things to do in-game, more dailies, more coins, more more more more more and my spectrum of 'process addiction' tilted toward the end of unhealthy. Leaving Azeroth became more difficult, and the scale, and tight pants, proved it: but tight pants can be silenced by sweat pants, all soft and quiet, who don't judge, and there there Matty, it's okay - that wine you gave up? And beer? Yeah, giving that up was a huge help in weight loss, and its return has been a huge factor in being, well, huge. It's funny, too, because if I chart the life-stresses there is a causal effect for weight gain too. Yesterday CD Rogue and I were at a thing, and he got an unexpected low sugar. Not wanting him to pass out (go figure, huh?) I ran to find a vending machine located up several flights of steps. Both panicking to reach it in time, I hustled, and it made me short of breath. NOOOOOOoooooOOO....this is NOT who I am! This is NOT my level of health! But apparently it was. I made it and returned in time with a few snacks, but he was out of sorts the rest of the day, so no walk, (yes I could go by myself) and kind of left me in a funk.

Unlike sweatpants, many of you are going to judge me fiercly for what I am about to tell you, and I am stealing myself against the criticism now, but until you walk a mile in my red Tom's shoes, /shrug. My friend Turk helped me a lot with the final Wrathion quest, and by a lot I mean A LOT - he gave my restoration spec a huge makeover and put the training wheels on my bike, so to speak. I want to thank him for his time, expertise, and assistance. My justification in his level of help comes down to emotionally, in game, was ready to move on. In my evil heart there are things I need to do in the real world, and constantly re-examine why I spend time in Azeroth is getting to be too much.

Case in point: Momokawa was trying to open the big Gokk clam last night. She was on her third try, and about halfway through its health. Got a whisper did I want to go heal Meagera. Sure. But. Sure. Okay. Took Zep, three wipes later, (not my fault: there's not I in fault), and that's that. Would I have loved to swoop in there, heal all the mess, do all the things, perfectly and wonderfully? Sure. She had no flasks on her, no food, no potions, and apparently no one else did either. I saw one of the tanks advertising in trade chat this morning for a healer for a raid spot, three nights a week for four hours a night. There was no way in hell I would venture into that territory.

No thanks.

No. Thanks.

I'm hunting spirit bears and big clams. And -- that shaman--takes my breath away in her enhancement beauty. Seriously: how can you not love that girl? Her hero helped her get her that cloak, and she will wear it well.


PS I have a training dummy of my own in the garage, from my tae kwon do days. Couple of round-house kicks to that thing relieve quite a bit of stress, too....

Sorting through...

While I'm thinking about how to best approach my 'exercise' post for today, I came across the WoW Insider Breakfast Topic: What Storyline Left You Mumbling Wait Wut?

I was telling CD Rogue yesterday that writing these coin stories has been one of the most engaging things I've done in a long time: they take a bit of research, I learn more lore, and can exercise my creativity. For me, and I realize ya'll will call me a lore noob and rightfully so, I am still not totally clear on why Bolvar Fordragon is now the Lich King, unless it's just that simple: he is truly noble and sacrificed himself for the good of all. Usually those "keepers of the damned for all eternity" means eternity isn't what we think and is cut short. Hmmm.

This is one fan's imagining of the Return:


And I also always wondered why this girl was in the bubble, and who she was:

http://wow.joystiq.com/2013/05/05/know-your-lore-anveena-teague-and-the-sunwell/

So now I know.

My Kindle charger broke the other day. I've had to resort to reading...gasp...real books. I'm not sure if it's the charger or the connection point. After payday I'll take it into Radio Shack and keep my fingers crossed. That is one thing I love love love about real books: they don't need to be plugged in.

So I'll finish The Night Life of the Gods by Thorne Smith soon; in the meantime I have Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. Good stuff.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mataoka's and Navimie's Fished--Up-Wish: Molok


This--ends sadly.


"Just once--that's all I ask for, just once--let the lass ride with me." Molok's drunken heavy lids stayed closed a beat too long when he tossed the copper in the fountain. Dwarfs...never underestimate their capacity for imagination: he could almost feel her thin, strong arms holding tightly to his waist, her spun-flaxen hair tickling his ears in the wind. She would be no burden to bear, one so light as she. Dwarfs' reverie, however, is usually short-lived. He opened his eyes, heard the water of the fountain, and felt a great need to piss. He lumbered back to the inn to sleep off the ale.

He saw a couple strolling hand-in-hand, hearing a hearty hello from Rhonin, and a nod from his beautiful wife.  She hooked a strand of her flaxen hari behind her long, delicate ear. Aye, Rhonin was gracious enough, a good leader, a fine man that one, but argh, he could be a bit pompous in the pompadour. Molok's service and loyalty was to one true  hero: Falstad. Daily flights and practice aerials were part of the duties of a gryphon master of Molok's calibre, and part of the drills were to take diplomats and their families to safety. Falstad trusted Molok's gryphon handling skills above all others, so Molok was charged with taking the heaviest in weight, and in political power. In mock simulation after another, Rhonin was his charge.

But just once...


Navimie's Genn (wondeful as always)

There goes the neighborhood...


I know - I am always Johnny-Come-Lately. Whatever. I had sh*t to do.

Don't -- don't be mad at me -- this is a great video -- I just -- it's that-- dialogue and staging-wise, still think this was superb:


But hey, when one is being villainous or heroic, one doesn't have time to write good copy. It's okay. I won't nit-pick: the destruction, the rage -- it is truly on an epic scale. All I kept thinking about though was it's time to get the hell out of Dodge - things are going to Hellscream in a handbasket, and quick.

If you want to read some real insight into Garrosh and the next chapter of lore, I suggest you go to Big Bear's blog. Me? I'm looking for a shrewd real estate agent for a short-sale on my pond-side property in Pandaria.

Day 16: Cooking

#wowscreenshotaday

The "skullery"


Butcher, baker, candlestick maker...
 So far my favorite character in Orange is the New Black is far and away Red, the Russian cook. Rule number one in prison: don't piss off the cook.  I think these gentlemen in Karazhan's kitchens would agree. The guests don't seem to live too long, and the wait staff is down-right skeletal.

 The Gourmet's Love-Song


      HOW strange is Love: I am not one
      Who Cupid's power belittles,
      For Cupid 'tis who makes me shun
      My customary victuals.
      Of, Effie, since that painful scene
      That left me broken-hearted,
      My appetite, erstwhile so keen,
      Has utterly departed.
      My form, my friends observe with pain,
      Is growing daily thinner.
      Love only occupies the brain
      That once could think of dinner.
      Around me myriad waiters flit,
      With meat and drink to ply men;
      Alone, disconsolate, I sit,
      And feed on thoughts of Hymen.
      The kindly waiters hear my groan,
      They strive to charm with curry;
      They tempt me with a devilled bone --
      I beg them not to worry.
      Soup, whitebait, entrées, fricasees,
      They bring me uninvited.
      I need them not, for what are these
      To one whose life is blighted?
      They show me dishes rich and rare,
      But ah! my pulse no joy stirs,
      For savouries I've ceased to care,
      I hate the thought of oysters.
      They bring me roast, they bring me boiled,
      But all in vain they woo me;
      The waiters softly mutter, 'Foiled!'
      The chef, poor man, looks gloomy.
      So, Effie, turn that shell-like ear,
      Nor to my sighing close it,
      You cannot doubt that I'm sincere --
      This ballad surely shows it.
      No longer spurn the suit I press,
      Respect my agitation,
      Do change your mind, and answer, 'Yes',
      And save me from starvation.
      P.G. Wodehouse

Thursday, August 15, 2013

es muy importante...

Pan's Labyrinth 


Yesterday, on a much-needed walk, CD Rogue and I contemplated giving up Facebook for awhile. But then one of my soul-sisters, one of those women I don't get to see very much but who has a knack, an enchanting way of putting up interesting ideas, posted this: Guillermo del Toro's Sketchbook

Like she read my mind. 

A few weeks ago, I had a draft of this post containing the faun from Pan's Labryinth, as a connection to Draenei. And, in the same conversation I had with the young squire about Forsaken paladins, we also discussed how neglected, but important, the Draenei lore is. We both agree that Draenei should be warlocks, too. Bottom line: they need more grit. "Long-suffering" doesn't cut it when the Burning Legion is after you, no sir. I want the Draenei to get all kraf maga on their asses, and reclaim their rights, their territories, and their forty-thousand-millenia-of-wandering-in-the-nether-desert kind of thing. Garrosh is about to put the hammer down, AGAIN, so what have the Draenei been doing to prepare for this? Not much as far as I can tell as a race. Oh sure, they've grown accustomed to the beauty of Azuremyst, and the wounded still lie around the angry weeds, but other than that they seem to dance the fandango and batusi and look all hot and stuff. That's not going to win any epic battles, unless it's a wet T-shirt contest. That might boost the morale of the troops but it sure as ain't going to win any wars.

Pan's Labyrinth is firmly one of my favorite films of all time. We were disappointed in del Toro's latest film, Mama, however. Quite a bit so. The female protagonist is the epitome of young women having desires to have a life and career that substantially does not involve children, and then she's not only relieved when the pee stick comes back negative, but her relief and lack of 'motherly instinct' is punished with two filthy, cherry-pit pooping spawn of crazy. That must be how most new mothers feel:  it's tough to bond with feral, biting, moth-eating minions. Sure is.
From Guillermo del Toro's Sketchbook:  click

But just as I can forgive M. Night Shyamalan just about anything because of The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs. I can forgive del Toro for Mama. We had a movie night were we watched Scary Movie 5, Sinister, and Red. CD Rogue told me I'm not allowed to tell anyone we watched Scary Movie 5, but sometimes I just need some campy* crap. Sinister looked promising but then the director/writer fell into current bad cinematic habits of the "startle" and not the "scare." Hitchcock, where are you!?! Red was great, but then again, it had Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis.

Let me repeat: Helen Mirren and Bruce Willis.

Oh, and John Malcovich. Want to get in his head, too.

The writers at Blizzard are missing a bet here: don't forget the draenei. Don't shy away from adding more grit, more breadth and depth to their lore, characters, and personality. Becoming a parody of themselves potentially risks undermining a powerful story. You've led us into this labyrinth: we seek a path to the light.


*Campy:

campy 
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Weepy writing warlocks...

Eating my own head: typical

I can't find my black writer's journal. I searched for it yesterday afternoon in my stacks of things, and it's gone. I've had it for weeks, staring at me with the potential of my scribblings and notes, false starts and story seeds, and now...there are rumors of dishes, spoons, and fiddling cats perhaps pilfering it in the night, but unsubstantiated. This, among some other things, made me a little weepy yesterday. I have tried so hard this summer to organize things, set things right, and have something to show for my efforts, and yesterday, well yesterday felt like the Sunday night of this season. I hate Sunday nights. Sunday nights are the sniveling, broken-promise-of-was-going-to-bake-you-cookies-but-I-didn't of the days. That was my mood yesterday afternoon.

Perhaps it was brought on, in part, by my personal in-game promises, or goals (I mix the two concepts up):

1. Finish Wrathion's challenge
2. Finish the Green Fire quest
3. Adopt a Spirit Bear
4. Find an Unborn Valk'yr.

This would appear, if my data are correct, as a 25% success rate. Not great.

However, flying under the banner of "What I Can Control" guise, I can, and will, get to know this warlock better. Tome, too, has been playing with another specialty in her warlock repertoire. To better my own lock-skills, there are two warlocks I admire. In true professional journalistic integrity, I sought permission from Purpleice beforehand to show and discuss his elite warlock:

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/character/whisperwind/Purpleice/simple
The second one lives in anonymity at all costs, so he shall remain, respectfully, to himself.

Some of his glyphs/talents surprised me, and yes, we must concede that he his an epic raider and has obtained wonderful gear. But he is a humble little gnome, head and shoulders above the rest, or at least hoof and ankles, and the human behind the lock is very funny and kind.

This one surprised me because I thought this was more for Demonology - now I am going to try it out for my Destro spec, too.


Oh, that's what that does!


Again, surprised. Demons just aren't for Demonology...

As far as stat priorities go, it would seem that Destruction and Demonolgy are basically the same:
http://www.icy-veins.com/destruction-warlock-wow-pve-dps-statistics-priority-reforging
http://www.icy-veins.com/demonology-warlock-wow-pve-dps-statistics-priority-reforging

Intelligence
Hit - 15%
Haste
Mastery
then Crit for Destro

Okay. Simple enough. One thing that caught my eye was that Icy Veins highly recommend Elvui. I did like it, but....

....but....

Anyway. Tome and I share a love of learning, and trying new things. This post in no way, shape or form is to insinuate that I am an expert in warlockery - not even close. I just know that if I post it here it won't get lost, like some black writer's journal I know. Perhaps it ran off with my Grimoire of Awesomesauce. That seems to be missing, too.