"Get the fire extinguisher!" Click, please!

JD from Amateur Azerothian spotted the smoldering Ceniza the other day, and recommend I add her to Neri Approves Red Carpet Contest. The voting is up, and I am asking that you please go vote for her. All the entries are gorgeous, but admittedly, I would like it if she got some votes! I’m always for the underdog, or in this case, the under-spacegoat!

Click to vote please: http://neriapproves.com/2012/06/29/red-carpet-transmog-tournament-voting-begins/

After you vote for Ceniza (so subtle, aren’t I?) please go check out JD’s mog of his wife’s mage – stunning. 

Know Your Archetype: The Devil

Beetlejuice. Beeltejuice. Beet-
This illustrates the architecture of a demon…
Thinking about Ariel and her voice, and…other things…made me think about the archetype of the devil. The “deal with the devil” is a linchpin of plot connections. There is usually a pivotal moment where the hero gives. trades, barters, or denies something that is so important to their powers in exchange for something they think will save themselves or others. And does the devil need all that stuff? I mean, what does he do with it anyway? Does he own a chain of storage units on the outskirts of town, where legions of trash pickers come to collect the $100 bills behind the sad clown paintings? 
Oh -sorry. Got side-tracked there. 
Anyway, what the devil does with this stuff, I have no clue. Usually he, or she, wants to fill a personal emotional vacuum, such as Beetlejuice’s marriage proposal with Lydia, in exchange he will save the Maitlands. He’s just really lonely, and is tired of going to miniature model houses of ill repute.
Sometimes…you’re feeling a little..anxious…if you know what I mean…
Illidan is one such hero turned villain due to his dealings with devils. In an attempt to save his people on a mighty wave of hubris, he turns all dark and brooding. Well, maybe if Tyrande had kept her quiver full, none of this would have happened. It usually helps to blame women, right Eve?
That’s hot.
The devil archetype is just about in every narrative and line of discourse. On one end it’s simple bargaining, to the other extreme we lose our eternal souls. Dammit, I needed that! Just got that back from the cleaners!
In Azeroth, the big temptations come in the form of buying gold, or paying a guild to carry one through heroic raids for prized weapons and gear. Getting out of those moral entaglements usually takes the rest of the bucket of popcorn and 45 screen minutes to get out of–it usually isn’t worth it. Whatever we accomplish in game, and more importantly, out, is worth keeping our souls for, at least 21 ounces doesn’t get much in the auction house. Might as well vendor it out.
Every boss that does some sort of slow-burn damage, or face-changing is a type of devil, I suppose. I haven’t played long enough to know if there are any current fights where the players bascially need to sacrifice themselves for others’ gain. Now those would be interesing fights, to say the least. Think about it: deals with devils in order for the whole raid to succeed, but the sacrificial lamb gets nothing? How would that ever work? Maybe that should be part of a legendary chain, and we all get a chance for pretty blue mounts and dragon-infused staffs. 
Oh wait, we do. Go down to the crossroads and talk to a man there. He’ll help you out.

Innocent but still feeling guilty. Or, it’s a wonderful virtual life.

Okay. I am sorry.
I said it.
I am sorry that there was a player who played so much, so often, and had so many characters, gold, and stuff, that when he decided to quit the game, it was like the death of a favorite, and rich, uncle who left me damn near everything, including: Vial of the Sands, ready to go, gassed up, keys in the ignition. I even wrote about it here.

This apology has been swirling around my mind for awhile, ever since I knew Tome was A. Looking for it, B. Found it, and C. Frustrated over the materials. 
Tome, pretend you are a REALLY big pigeon, and you know…do that thing that pigeons do on statues…

I have often thought about this player, whom every one of his characters’ names began with the letter “Q.” I was telling a game friend the other day about him, because all I was just nice, and as I told my friend, not “escort service level nice.” Just nice. I am a friendly little Draenei, and genuinely do love people. It’s a gift I guess. I’m one of “those.” Try as I might, I just can’t hate humanity. Doesn’t mean I want to be around them all the time, but all in all, do like you guys. 
But Tome, I get you. I really do. This gift was unexpected and most likely unwarranted. I mean, to give away at 40K mount meant that player was really, truly, quitting. No angel named Clarence was going to come and show him how Azeroth would be different if he wasn’t there. No angel was going to get his wings every time a bell in Stormwind rings. And certainly no Old Man Potter boss was going to be bested by friendship and community service. 
I know why we players get saddened that the “big goodies” are so out of reach for the solo or partner players, and why the raiders feel a certain amount of deserved entitlement to the good stuff. Tried to kill heroic Shannox last night with new guild, and did great the first, oh, 12,789 tries, but the 12,790-12,987th tries I keep stepping in *!*!*&(&(*&$YOSEMITESAM&*&(*#(*&($ traps. They were hidden under Shannox’s big, fat, phallic, slimy ass tail, or hidden by shiny Sanctuary, or stepped on a rock and the sun’s in my eyes-damn-I-am-tired-and-need-to-take-my-pills. 
It takes a balanced cocktail of creativity, ingenuity, luck, and “Frankly Scarlet I don’t give a damn” to enjoy Azeroth. The cooldowns and wait times and bean counters have it all too well mapped out to give us players what we want. The luck favors the House, always. There are no clocks in a casino, and few in Azeroth, and when the layers cross over too much to real-world grinding, well, then damn. 
I have a rich uncle in real life. Well, kind of. He inherited some money from a friend, and then took the whole family on a Caribbean Disney Cruise a few summers ago, during the oil spill. I would never have gotten to see that part of the world if he hadn’t had a rich friend in college, and then the friend dying, and then my uncle feeling the need to pull together a somewhat dysfunctional family for fun on a boat. It was hot, the beer was too expensive (ran up a $1400 tab–hush–I wasn’t the only one drinking), and got the living beejeezus scared out of me by the actions of another person (long story, not to be shared here). But—
—I did see blue, blue waters, manta rays that I got to pet and feed, bought Starbucks from baristas who didn’t give a sh8t and weren’t all-hyper, and watched the Little Mermaid on a large movie screen on deck with cocktails. 
Again, I have no real point. I wish Tome would get her pet, her mounts, and her materials more easily. I wish DirecTV wouldn’t praise me for being a customer since 1996 and then not come out and fix my dish. I wish my dreamcloth wasn’t so stupid to make so I can make my own magical pants. And I wish my new boss had been more respectful of my concerns when I brought them to her at the end of a very, very difficult time. But alas, none of these things happen. And my mojo also gets depleted. 
But there is blue, blue water out there….and somewhere Ariel is wishing for legs so she can dance with her prince…it only cost her her voice. But these silences are temporary–in the end, the tentacled monsters are defeated, and there is a happy ending.

Sharp pencils.

A game friend let me know yesterday he added me to Google+. I asked if it was my “real” self or my “avatarial” self. He wasn’t sure, and when I checked, sure enough it was my avatarial self. Dammit. Will the real Matty please stand up? The reason I mention this is I was having perhaps a tiny bit of writer’s block, that feeling that whatever I would put down would be the same old dribble and slop, and as I told Guarf yesterday, I was even tired of reading it…

…but then this other thing happened. I love to spam my visitors, it’s true. Once in awhile I’ll catch a friend or two whom I may not see in game, but they stopped by this virtual home for something to read. I also love to see what posts folks are persusing, and this morning it is:

I clicked on the drabble “Kolin,” because there was no recollection of even writing it. Sure enough, it’s pretty darn good!

The point is, if my avatarial selves get inter-mingled, they are the vehicles to my voice, my little imaginings. What we come to expect, if we begin to feel apathy or take the extraordinary for granted, will trip us up every time. It’s that one little fraction, the slightly-off perspective, that keeps life interesting.

One misstep at a time, people, one misstep at a time: New York City Subway Stairs

More great reading suggestions:

From Draenor with Love
Warchief’s Command Board –series
Amateur’s Posthumous Story

Monkey see, monkey you are a jerk

Well, crud.

Sitting here enjoying a nice afternoon of ibuprofen-relaxed profession leveling on Momokawa and Zeptepi (damn, that enchanting stuff is pricey!) and I read this stream in trade-chat that is like witnessing a gang beating up a kid in an alley. Did I stop them? Did I say anything? No, I chickened out.

Basically, what you don’t read before this is the citizens of Whisperwind deciding Nenrock is gay, and 12, and then subsequently harassing him to leave the server. Nothing I read by Nenrock suggested any reason for this harassment, no trolling or provocation. And even if he was, no need to blame the victim/target–he was just bullied, plain and simple. His spelling was perfect, by the way, suggesting that he is not 12. As to his sexual orientation, that is his business, just as mine is mine and yours is yours. The language of bullying is clearly demarcated: we call each other the names that we feel we are most vulnerable with, things at our very core we cannot change: the color of our skins, our sexual orientation, our cultures, our parents, and our gender.

I hate it.

Now this screenshot is out of context. I have no idea if “Kylerie” was secretly whispering Nenrock with nice words, or if it was a usual trade-chat hoax. I hesitate to even put this here because if they are innocent of harassment, then they should be left alone, too. But I decided to put it for maybe some greater good, a message to myself, that if I do see trade-chat bullying, to maybe step in when I need to. I have whispered players in the past to see if they are okay, or to give them clear information, and it’s either met with a “thanks, I know, just kidding around” or a “thanks.”

Radiolab: Lucy

Social Media Chimps: http://socialmediachimps.com/2012/trolling-cyberbullying-and-the-first-amendment/

Speaking with an adolescent authority on this issue this afternoon, because the younger generation is clearly ensconced in a code or diatribe we digital pioneers still do not grasp, or want to, he reminded me that in evolutionary protocols there is much “bullying” in chimpanzee communities as part of a strengthening of the tribe. Okay. I get that. But at what point do we humans stop de-evolving and step up our game a bit? At what point do we embrace the extra-ordinary, the outsider? Maybe we all swing from the “not in my backyard” to the “welcome wagon” syndrome every day. For every trolling incident or harassment, there is a balance of “LFM” or guild recruitment ads that encourage all levels of players.

I guess I would like us all to be a little less Lord of the Flies and a bit more open to the quirkiness. I just want to scream from the cathedral tops and the heaps of pixelized ruins, YOU ARE ALL QUIRKY SH*T-HEADS PRETENDING TO BE ELVES AND ORCS! GET OVER YOURSELVES!

But alas, I fear no one would hear me. And then they would just start throwing poo.

Written and directed by…

As some of my close friends and family know, I went to get my squiggly-spooch out yesterday. It required an overnight in a hospital, and from what the surgeon told me, apparently, I have screenshots! Hey! Guess what? Not going to post them. (I haven’t even gutted up enough to see them…get it?)

So while I’m sitting here in a tiny haze of Vicodin and ginger-ale, wanted to share a few things, and will try not to over-share. But writer friends, if you’re looking for that screenplay idea, I may be able to help you out. As long as you get me a cut on international and domestic gross distribution, and cast me in a cameo role, we have a deal.

The hospital is very much a typical large not urban, not suburban, but that quasi-area where city meets burbs and there is still a lot of traffic. There were several very old, very sick people around me, and it made me sad that they were in pain quite often, and I could set my watch by when they needed more meds. I also learned I have tiny veins, and my own IV would shift at the slightest movement, thus setting off an alarm, and I would have to call in the nurse to turn it off. Apparently hitting it with clogs is not cool. (Not sure how that is going to appear on the bill.) The other thing I learned is at this hospital, they pipe in the Brahms’ Lullaby rift every time a baby is born. My mother asked the poignant question what do they do if there is a sad mom/baby story, which unfortunately does happen, and then I could tell she regretted asking me, but only because I didn’t have an answer, and she knows once I start thinking about something…well.. In any case, I counted ten new little souls in 24 hours. There may have been more when I was asleep. Quite a fertile little bunch, all in all. Being in a hospital is a lot like camping, at least for me. All I want to do is go home and take a shower.

But here is where the screenplay idea comes in: when I was deep in my anesthesia in the post-op room, I dreamed I was in a real-time Azerothian style battleground, and then I wanted a puppy, and then I saw the “Release Spirit” button, hesitated on hitting it, but did, and woke up. There you go. A virtual after-life experience. Yea yea, I know that plot has been done a thousand times before. “It was all a dream” is in the rankings of horrible endings.

Should have known it was just a dream: next time I go on a vision-quest, I demand…a puppy.

PS Did I mention the Vicodin?

The Tenacious Tank…and a tired one

My vacation is starting here soon, this year a bit different, a change of pace…I really should be in bed asleep, but I’ll have plenty of time for that.

Luperci takes off shoulder, shield, and mace…g’night, moon, g’night room, and g’night Lupe

Had a great time on a normal DS run with the new guild*. Decided since Luperci has been doing nothing much but banging her shield against her horns, she should try the big guild for a while, and see what opportunites await there.

I have so much to learn, re-learn, and alter for tanking. It’s not hard, but when you make a mistake, it’s really bad.

Ended the weekend with many smiles– ah, what great friends I have. You make me laugh– guess what? Out loud!

Here are some highlights:

Matty got to feed rats to panthers…

Ceniza realized the reason she was doing not so great was she forgot to equip her orb…dios mio, Ceniza….

Happy Summer!!

Momokawa, the Peachiest Peach River of Druids, admired the beautiful frescos in Tides, and reached level 83…

What a wonderful world.
Theme song: Put Your Records On/Corinne Bailey Rae

P.S. Señor: Zep is still the boss. Take care of the guild, and don’t let your cat find the escrow papers.

*New guild is super cool– never mind the publicity, so shout out to Lost Soldiers of Darkness!

Training raiders…WOOF! OUCH!!

Disclaimer: Tome, before you worry, don’t make too many assumptions and watch the whole video.

Big Bruiser Bosses

I am excited that my new guild is putting together a Team 2 raiding team. The details are still being ironed out, and I see that creating a good balance of DPS, Tanks, and Healers takes careful planning. 
However, one area that is somewhat new to me is the guild forum thread. 
It’s not that I am not familiar with blogs, wikis, forums, and other on-line forms of communications, but the guild forum thread must be its own animal. The lexicon of texting symbolism, iconography, is requiring a Rosetta Stone of runic translation tablets for me. 
In other words, what the heck is going on? What do you want me to do, and when and where do you want me to do it?
Am I on the team or not? I need graphs, charts, and data, people! Give me a good old-fashioned T-chart or other graphic organizer, and I’m good! I don’t understand this altQQ @@ QQ! I am feeling like the ignorant end of a Navajo code talker right about now. I do understand the statement, “…an enhancement shaman is a rare find…” (paraphrasing) but am not sure if this enhancement shaman of mine is being slotted to a lower position to make room for the elemental shaman, or what? Are my 390+ geared alts worthy? Who knows?! QQ~!
But here is what I do know — raiding is an interesting endeavor. It is better to learn from ground up with a group, lead by patience and tolerance, and it is never just one player who causes all the success or failures. Ever. This is a computer game, with coding, matrices, and rules, dammit, of 0100100s. But, there is what I call the “mojo factor,” the “it” thing that cannot be described. Sometimes you can have all the buttons work, and everything gels. But it takes time and practice. Winning teams do not go out on the fields and win championships without a whole lot of drills, whistle-stops, push-ups, and whatnot. (Being more of a solo athlete, I get the concepts of team sports, and can slop out a sports analogy with the best of them. There is no “I” in metaphor.)
My rogue buddy told me yesterday the reason I was getting trips and blips was because I play on a Mac. He’s probably right. He always is. Not much I can do about it. Not getting a PC. Never mind that many games are designed on Macs. I guess the analogy is just because the Maserati is built in a factory doesn’t mean the factory workers are race-car drivers. Okay, not that great of an analogy but I’m tired people. Spent an hour trying to uncover the subtexts of guild forums. Cut me a break. 
I had a Great Dane once. She didn’t bark, except at men, and especially men wearing hats, which was problematic living outside of Chicago when I was a kid. But I bet every raid leader would like one of these for the raid team members:
The dog owner uses the collar on himself first: his cross-eyed response when shocked is priceless. So raid leaders — put the collar on first, Alpha, and lead the pack. 
Omega out.

Salty Sailors…

This is the sky this morning in my area:

Not bad, not bad –really nothing to complain about. Misty, chilly, great sleeping weather in fact. But often I find myself as restless as a fruitfly on a one-day shore leave, and my lifespan is 23 hours. Just have to get done what I can, and sleep can wait. No rolling over under warm covers today.

Ceniza is restless. Maybe a change of clothes…or weapon style…or another monster slain, or herb gathered will satisfy. And while trying to ignite the world with her power, she’s feeling a bit fizzled out…she gets the fluff and tinder smoldering, it catches, and then the rains come, the oxygen diminishes, and her competitive nature to bring fire, to control it, is once again humbled, humiliated even, by more powerful forces who remind her, again, like a lesson she cannot learn, that she is merely a catalyst, the stick and not the spark, she made nothing, created nothing. Only the gods are allowed to dance with fire–she is here by invitation only. She bested a hunter with her abilities yesterday, but not the rogue. Never the damn rogue.The rogue with the amazing daggers and skills–he also reminded her of her place. She blinked into walls, and he noticed and laughed at her clumsiness. Mages are tricksters, fire mages especially, but they are also prideful. Tease them enough and at some point, you might get burned. She knew he meant no harm, it was her ego that was weakened and bruised. Not his fault.

She would never be great, only good. Only good enough. She wondered why did these over-powered fighters ask for her company? It certainly wasn’t for the challenge, for they bested her every time. She didn’t know, and tried not to care–if she wanted to be powerful, she supposed she could, if that were her only focus, and all else fell away. Antiguo Amor looked up at her, and tried to get her to smile by blowing smoke rings and jumping through them. He created his own entertainment. Shouldn’t she do the same?

Ah, the ships of the shores of Ashenvale. The lavender sky embraced the indigo treeline, transparent periwinkle stars freckled the universe with wine kisses. Ceniza stood on the prow and waited for it to set sail with unusual patience for her. The moment of serenity passed, and off she went. This ship was going nowhere.

When the tasks were done, the goals met, she put on her finest robes and went to Booty Bay. Ah, it is so beautiful here…the temperature a perfect 24 C/75F, winds from the North to balance the humidity, and the goblins were friendly. They looked at her admiringly, appreciatively, and unlike the citizens of Stormwind, respectfully. She could be so stupid sometimes–what was keeping her from living here? She could go anywhere in the world in her portals, and if she made this her home, her hearth, she could come here anytime. The innkeeper took her reservation with a minimal amount of gruff, she drank a bottle of junglewine, and went straight to bed. If you want to find her, look for her in the Salty Sailor Tavern, just under the gryphon master, next to a large hanging shark in Booty Bay.

We nest where we can.

Most of you have turned off the soundtrack of Azeroth eons ago. You need your focus for Vent or Mumble instructions and conversations. A few weeks ago I purchased the soundtracks because I still love the music in Azeroth–there are riffs that break my heart, ones that make me nostalgic, and ones that make me want to dance.