Tiny Story Time: Unexpected

Ceniza tried one more time. The person she thought was a friend, a dear friend, had caused unexpected tears to well up, yet again. No one would understand this. The only advice she had received was to get over it. Always good advice, and as with most intentions, easier for the giver and not the receiver. Thinking of gifts, was it–no this could not be–gold? Gifts that were given in friendship must have had an invisible cost she did not realize at the time. No matter what happened, though, she could not develop the callouses she needed to prevent the hurt. Never had she been so completely shut out, so harshly denied reason or logic to the end of a friendship. She was terrible at guessing games, but then again– if the gold wasn’t returned, the gold she tried to pay back for the gifts, so she had to reason that is was about that. Overwhelmingly, her worst character trait must be denial of pain and insult. This had broken her heart time and again. No matter what, she could not believe this person would be so petty, so spiteful, over gold.

What a shame.

The back of a hand makes for a lousy handkerchief however.

In a tiny corner of Teldrassil, a Night Elf hunter was trying to do something, well, that shouldn’t be done. “Get in that mailbox!” he laughed as the tried to capture the squirming otter, to send whirling through the twister nether to his friend. Not too long ago, he had seen that she had put out an invitation to one and all in friendship, a welcoming home to any who are kind and friendly. Well, he supposed, he was kind and friendly, so why not? The otter zipped around the box, leaving puddles and a tuft of fur in its wake. He tried with another, and another. The otters were far more crafty than he. He wiped the otter spit off his hands with his pet, who almost went insane at the smell of mammals around his neck, and looked through his treasure trove of pets again. He finally conceded when the crab scuttled away, the cats scratched his face, and the snakes look indignant. He found a shy little penguin, a very special one she did not have, from the Kalu’ak. He sent that to her –and had no idea the joy he help rebound in her heart. His timing was perfect, as timing often is not. Turns out, penguins are perfect for drying tears.

My note:
This is not exactly how it happened, except for the timing, and there is a very angry sifang otter out there somewhere. Zwingli of Zwingli’s Weblog of WoW saw that I posted my battletag out there, and took me up on my welcome mat of friendship offer. I love his blog, and let me tell you, he is a great guy! I couldn’t figure out what to trade in return, but sent him a few things from the pet shop. I hope it’s enough–who am I kidding? It’ll never be enough. He was the spring in my emotional bounce-back. Thank you, Zwingli. And you’re rocking the Safari Hat!

Postscript: I have no idea what to use those stones on.

Tiny Story Time: Deal with the Dragon

Mataoka stood frozen. This diminutive elf of a dragon’s son was obviously not what he tried to make himself seem — a diplomat, an ambassador, a far-fallen acorn from a catastrophic tree. He was the growth, the spawn of death incarnate. His fine silks and embroidered speech gave the appearance of avoiding taint or suspicion. But Mataoka’s instincts bubbled and boiled in her heart, though she did what she could to quiet them. She squelched them for her own gains.

He sent for her, and made her feel like the only one in the world he trusted, that was worthy of this quest.

She brought him what he asked for, a Chimera of Fear. A chimera? That is odd — a chimera is an amalgamation of many mythical creatures–she supposed — one of fear? What did I just hand over to him? What did I receive in return?

He offered her three choices: one, clearly for healing and spell casting. One for strength and power. And one for agility. Mataoka could not breath: not a single one represented who she was.

She herself was a chimera–created for agility, and groomed for healing.  How could she possibly choose one, when she was so much more than that?

No matter what choice it would be the wrong one. What was wrong, what was wrong? How did a gift feel so much like a debt, a price of a piece of her heart, her soul?

She chose the prize for deftness, agility. That was her instinct, and she chose to listen to this small, uncomfortable voice.

“I know nothing,”she admitted to herself. “And if I know nothing, I can help no one, not even myself.”

Mataoka never felt so alone.


Operation Shieldwall: http://wow.joystiq.com/tag/operation-shieldwall/

Wrathion: http://www.wowpedia.org/Wrathion

Series: I am a…monk.

An offering to Buddha at my local nail salon…pretty sure Buddha likes lattes, as do I.
From National Geographic

Since I had no authority to broach the subject of monks, I do what any one should do: go read something. In my World Religions book, the index lists monks, in page sequence: Buddhist, Christian, Jain, Japanese, and Tibetan. I will add Shaolin, as well. 

Many years ago there was a story in the Seattle Times about a mother whose son was deemed the reincarnation of a Buddhist monk. Long story short, she ended up sending her son to the monastery half a world away, and I believe he was only nine years old or so. Oh wait, no, he was four. That test of Abrahamistic-level of faith is beyond me. Though the filmmakers deny it, some would assume the (awful) movie, Little Buddha, is based on this. Please don’t watch the movie. Ever. The real story is fascinating enough without bad acting.

When one thinks of monks, few keys words spring to mind: discipline, austerity, ritual, and meditation. Whereas a shaman may seek visions using drugs (peyote) sometimes pain, monks seek spiritual enlightenment with repetitive thinking and actions or deeds, mantras, mediation, or denying little or no possessions or comforts. According to history, many a young man would become a monk simply to have a roof over his head and food, but the cost is personal freedom, family, and material possessions. Buddhist monks are not allowed to have jobs to earn money, but may receive donations for their sustenance: I find this concept fascinating. Family and friends routinely support the monk in training perhaps as their own means of spiritual enrichment. The daily life of a monk is ritual, practice, and stillness. This is true for monks of all faiths. One gives up many things when one chooses this path. But like all religions, too, politics and the strife of humans causes pain and conflict. It is tragic.

Tibetan Prayer Kites

For their sacrifices, monks lives may also be envied. We may view their simple works as a much needed release from the technological and world noise, mental and physical pollution we stain our world with. But even monks need a new roof over their heads, so if you want to help out, please! 

Kung Fu Master




This time of year of feasting, family, and festivities brings about our own doubts about the nature of spirituality. It is tough to deny ourselves those material goods, the new thing, the latest. The Dalai Lama would have us practice contentment:

This philosophy is counter-intuitive to any gaming activity. The purpose of a game is to gain–gain a new skills, a new lesson, a win. Let me repeat that: gain a lesson--even in loss. So perhaps the meditative, repetitive nature of our Azerothian endeavors are leading us to spritual enlightment.

Perhaps.

These are both irreverant and serious looks at being a monk:
Kung-Fu Hustle (one of my guilty-pleasure movies)
Enter the Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (all stories are love stories)
Pain-free Shaolin Monk video

My name is Matty. And I’m an altaholic.

Welcome, Matty.

I know that’s an old joke, but I’m a in a post-holiday funk. I’ll get over it. Nothing a little cleaning and Bacchanalian destruction can’t fix. Friend says to me today, something about my “gold” issue, or lack thereof, some suggestions on how to fix it. Alas, I know how to fix it. Quit playing so many damn alts.

I have a former colleague, a great guy, ex-Marine, well-educated, awesome guy. He and his beautiful wife just welcomed their…fifth…sixth…child? Lost count. I teased him on number four asking him if he knew what was causing it, hardy har har- pretty sure he does. Now, he is not the one to have a grand discussion about zero-population growth necessities, global footprints, and all that silliness. But I do look at him and ponder where does he find the resources? I admire folks with larger families – that is a path I may have walked myself if circumstances were different. I make no judgment in their family planning: it is their business. For myself, my mother told me, “Never let them outnumber you.” Advice I heeded.

But she does not play World of Warcraft.

Pretty shaman? Sure. I’ll start with that. Complicated class, versatile, powerful. Sure. Let’s spend almost three earth years (not sure of the play hours–I’ll look it up later). Paladin? Naturally. Priest? Thank you, yes please. Mage, hunter, warlock, druid, death knight? Why sure! Always room for one more! But alas I fear, and this is tough to admit, I’ve become more Octa-mom than Mother Earth with all these damn alts. They’re fun to make, but damn expensive.

And yes–I know. I KNOW. Time is money, friends. I understand game economics. But I feel compelled to share my thesis once more: I am not sure all the power holders at Blizzard understand the nature of fun.

For those changes that have benefited players with many alts, I applaud you. You get it. I know you’re there, at the meetings, championing for fun– there are the account-wide mounts, pets, BOAs, and when one is honored with a faction, all boats float so to speak with the commendations. It’s grand. And yes, I feel somewhat like a fishwife, asking for one more thing, one more thing…but please: flying.

Please.

It doesn’t even have to be Master. Or Artisan. Just one or the other account wide.

If I bought flying for the characters (whom I love to play) it would be upwards of 20,000 for the remaining faction mounts (not including the Cloud Serpents only Mataoka can ride, thinking they would be account-bound after exaltation) and the Tiller goats, which thankfully are account-wide. The flying lessons would be 42,500 for Artisan/Master on those who don’t have it already, plus 15,000 for Cloud Serpent riding once they are all exalted with Cloud Serpents. Grand estimate: 77,500. And I can’t even talk about the jewel crafting panthers, or the big yak thing.

I know many of you are masters of the gold game. I applaud you, too. Those of you who had the pocket change to get your Brawler’s invitations, or a rare mount on the Black Market Auction House, or saved your coppers for just the right moment, and especially those of you who only play one or two characters. You spend the same monthly fees as I do, and have the same love of Azeroth as I do, yet seem to spend your time much more wisely. I must cry foul on this one though. I’m not asking for charity or a handout because I have a large brood of alts: I know some of you are thinking I’m like a welfare mom who can’t seem to figure out “what’s causing it.” I can’t ask for anything more to relieve the pain of dailies on so many alts: that is my own damn fault. I can’t ask for anything more on account-wide mounts and pets, except to say if one gets exalted to ride pretty dragons, then all should be. Don’t ask me to punch Saurok in the faces times six alts, please. Let me go do something else that’s fun. And please don’t tie up flying skills per character.

Remember, time is money, friend. And it’s my time, and my money.

Maybe that’s my cue to go do something else for a bit.

But not until I get my Scourged Whelping.

Theme song: Crash Kings/Mountain Man

Dear Matty: Amore

Dear Matty:
This is somewhat mortifying for someone of my former status to write, but I have nowhere else to turn. My mate doesn’t thrill me anymore. There used to be so much heat and fire in our relationship, but lately, since my brood has left the nest, I’m just in the mood anymore. I keep telling myself that this should be the best time of our lives, (and they are long lives indeed, one might even say immortal), and yet, the ennui that has set in our bedroom would chill even Arthas’s, um–codpiece if you will. Maybe it’s that we of my kind are no longer relevant. We just fly around all day, brittle, cold, and annoyed. Every day it’s the same thing: dead Vykrul lugging around their maces, (quite depressing), disgruntled mages doing something or another to ice and eggs, and those whelpings are brats, straight up. Just the other day they mocked me as I, well this is embarrassing to admit, knocked down a boulder with my large flank. Hey, what can I say? Sometimes a pint of Ben & Jerry’s is sexier than my mate. At least they don’t judge. And what is the deal with all these forsaken and gnomes hovering around? Are they expecting a show? Well I got news for them. There ain’t gonna be no show. Until I can get in the mood again, until the old spark is back, I feel as frigid as Jaina being stood up. So Matty–please help. I do love my mate, even though his old dragon breath is sweeter, and he skulks around that trash in Mt. Hyjal. What can I do to rekindle the flame?

Signed,
Disheartened Dragon

Dear Dissed:

In an effort to keep things anonymous, I will just say I do regonize that your race was once the terror of the skies. I too, have been anticipating a resurgence of pheramones by the Vigil, which has been Silent for far too long. I wish I was a sex therapist, but alas, am not sure I am qualified to help grease the wheels of a dragon affair; however, I shall give you advice I know the Draenei have long valued: don’t overthink it. If your mate is still interested in you, which from your letter I have to assume he is, just relax. Have a cocktail or some small sheep, whatever it is dragons need, go off and destroy a small village or two, carry off screming yeti, you know – just for fun– and see if that gets you laughing again, the best aphrodiasic of all. Now I’m not suggesting the Draenei carry off livestock to get down and funky, but they do tap into their animal instincts. (It’s the hooves and horns–no matter how civilized, it always comes down to those.) Intimacy is what keeps us all paradoxically grounded and closer to heaven. If nothing seems to work, just shut your eyes and think about Thorin Oakenshield. Seems to work for some. Just saying. Not that I would know, but. Anyway. Now get out there, bite him hard on the neck, and show him how awesome you are! Get busy, girl! Those spawns ain’t gonna hatch themselves!

Matty

Editor’s Note: I am fairly certain there are no scourged whelpings in the game. 

I am a…mage (with Mr. Snergguls editing)

This is a replica of a plaque my mother gave to me, framed, years ago. I put it out every Christmas. It kind of drives the men in my life a little crazy cause, well, I guess it is reverse sexism. “Funny cause it’s true, gents?” (Considering what happened just going on an outing the other day, and the effort it took to get them to make one damn phone call to get information, they were playing well into those sexist stereotypes.) But I digress. ‘Tis the season for happy happy joy joy and all that! And, I realize it’s Boxing Day today. We don’t do Boxing Day in the States, but damn, we should. Boxes and consumerism are our specialty. Oh wait. It’s not about that. It’s about giving to others. Huh. (I’ll connect the dots in a bit.) When I was little, I would seeing Boxing Day on the calendar, and wonder about it. Back in those days research was done with clay tablets and scrolls: you had to go to your local Alexandrian-style library and hope everyone was careful with the torches, in order to find things out. Point is, I’m a little late on the three wise men and their gifts with no gift receipts. Gold, okay, that would have been nice, but then the whole manger scene would have left hundreds of Sunday school productions bereft of who could play a sheep, and who could be the donkey: not everyone can play the three central characters. Frankincense. Sure. That’s practical. It would have gotten rid of the scent of donkey doo-doo. And Myrrh. Just the thing for a newborn. Works great as diaper rash cream? I don’t know. Still say a package of onesies, some washcloths, and burping blankets may have come in more handy, but what do I know?

What does this have to do with mages? Well, duh! The three wise MEN were magi. O’Henry wrote a sweet Christmas love story of sacrifice and irony, The Gift of the Magi.  The word “magic” has its roots deep in history, and as always conjured up images of sorcery.

Now magei are not always as competent or kind as the three wise men may have been. One important character catalyst in Game of Thrones is Mirri Max Duur. No, she’s not nice at all. But can you blame her, in some ways? All that she healed and cared for was destroyed. According to Martin, maegi are practitioners of blood magic. Which, if I wanted to pick up this thread, may be one of the propaganda tools used by men in power to get the midwives out of the birthing rooms. Okay, no – another time.

The thing is about mages, while priests, shamans, and druids have a sense of healing, mages, well, consider them the technical assistants, the conduits of dimensions, either ‘smoke and mirrors’ trickster variety, or the real deal, like Mirri’s blood magic. Mages don’t heal. They will cross the streams, but heal? No. Bandaid? Nada. Boo-boo kiss? Turn ya into a newt, more like it.

Everyone consisted of an agglomerate of souls that could move apart and meld together. To bring order and structure to the world the humans developed ritual and eventually magick.

When I think of arcane energy, I think of it as the electricity, the energy, the sparks and lights many dimensions together. Now you see it, now you don’t. Mages like to alter things, change things, and seeing is most definitely not believing. When the Glyph of Critter morph first appeared, and I didn’t know about it, I gasped at the sight of the rats of Stormwind as cats. I thought it was a bug, and yes, should have known mages were behind it. One of my favorite mages, Circe, makes no apologies for turning men into the beasts she believes them to naturally be. Remember those dots I was going to connect? Mages aren’t in it to help others. If you have something that needs boxing, give it to them.

In studying the history of mages, I found it somewhat odd that there is no definitive or straight path to its definition. Guess I shouldn’t really be surprised. Mages turn into whatever they desire. And they turn you into what you don’t.

And that ain’t no hat trick.

Circe

Some links that may be of interest:

http://es.paperblog.com/heroinas-los-poderes-espirituales-y-las-magas-856925/

http://wow.joystiq.com/2012/12/15/harnessing-the-arcane-roleplaying-the-mage/

Addendum: I meant to post this quote, too:

Birth of Genius

Nascita di Venere, 1486, Sandro Botticelli

Right before I needed to take my leave of a former guild, a group of players had done Gokk’lok’s Shell, and it sounded right up my alley. But alas, at that time, it wasn’t meant to be. The good news is Cymre put this on her blog, Gokk’lok’s Shell, and it reminded me of one of those fun things I had wanted to do. And, pro tip! From what it sounds like, whenever Miss Matty-Goddess-Pants does her debut on the half-shell, I’d better be ready to get that screenshot stat, because like the Lady Venus, there is a matron who only wants to get some decent clothes on her as quickly as possible, and the moment is gone. Boo!

Postscript: Anyone up for seafood?