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

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

Rifles through files…comes up with:

Yes, a reference to David Hasselhoff!

Quick! Someone call PETA! Those sharpeis are in danger!

Next: Add-Ons:

Yes, yes that is a lit-up gnome lantern in the background. Why do you ask?

These are the best add-ons ever. Sticky Notes. Yup.

Let’s see…hmmm…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Point, Matty?”

Geting to it.

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

“Again, point, please Matty?”

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

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

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

Hordebroken…

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

Let’s do a brief post mortem, shall we?

Talk to the troll…no, THE Troll! (WTB Flyswatter)

Is it getting hot in here? 

 Oh, cough, um, sorry, back to the troll:

Damn, it’s good to be a gangster.

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

Fluxfire Secret Agent Cat
Old Man Seer quest: cool!  Could use some new shoes…

Did quest. Did it again. Did it again, Did it again. Completed it.

What? Where? What happened?

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

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

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

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

First heroic:

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

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

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

And there’s something about green leaves.

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

Ah well. Al menos mi mago vuelve a funcionar.

Story Time: The Ash Witch of Theramore

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

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

It is this: my sister has not recovered from the loss of John, as you seem to have. You have left a wake of destruction larger and wider than Garrosh’s mess in the Barrens. It is my request that you never show your vile, freakish Draenei face in Kalimdor, or so help me I shall have you assassinated on sight.
You are a whore Ash-Witch.
An angry scrawl of a signature blemished the edge, but Ceniza knew whose hand it was, that of John’s sister-in-law, Victoria. She wondered if John’s wife knew of its contents.  Knew? Velen’s britches, she probably dictated it to Victoria! Susannah Aden was not a fool. She would not get her hands sullied in unveiled murder plots; however her sister would have no qualms.
Death by dishonor. There were moments after the destruction of Theramore that Ceniza thought of Victoria’s threat, and it rang like a promise, clear and sweet, like church bells on a spring morning. All she had to do was take the ship to Ratchet, and walk the gangplank to the docks. If the threats were genuine, Victoria would keep goblin mercenaries on the payroll who’d slit Ceniza’s throat. She could be dead by nightfall, and away from the pain. An added benefit, as opposed to taking her own life, would be that Victoria and Susannah would be captured and tried for this scheme, and swing from the gallows’ poles.
Ridiculous fantasy. A lieutenant’s wife hanged for killing his slut mistress?
No one ever means to fall in love with someone they can’t have. There was never a justification, a rationale that would soothe all parties. A promise is a promise. And a broken promise is a broken heart.
On a mage research jaunt, seeking out Jaina Proudmoore’s tutelage, Ceniza, a wall-blinker, got lost in the little circular naval port. There was one strong figure that stood watch on the western point, never flagging in his duty. He saw the mage wandering around the second time, smirked when he saw her blink into a wall, chuckling about the sort of company Lady Proudmoore kept in that tower of hers. He was sworn to protect the Lady, and his men and women who served the wobbly King Varian. These were dangerous times, and unease in static routines and the smell of treacherous whispers.
Ceniza never cared for human males. They were small, bristly, and ludicrously serious. At least with a Dwarf or Gnome you could have a friendly drink, and some laughter.
Aimless, and lost. Ceniza surrendered to help. Lt. Aden was the north star of Theramore, the pivotal point, a landmark made of man. She stood almost facing him though he on his horse, and her on her own two hooves. Ceniza spoke fluent common language, without a trace of an accent. This caught him off-guard, her voice. A voice like a kiss, a hug around his soul. 
He loved and respected his wife, but did neither of them well. The love was dry and overcooked, and the respect a reheated obligation. If the navy rewarded lieutenants for tolerating crumbling responsibilities, he would have received the highest distinction. This was no excuse for his broken vows. His wife knew, of course. She had no proof but the falsely reluctant tattling of envious confidants. She was in Darnassus, however, and busy with the Worgen refugees and other charitable causes. She met the gossip of friends with mild disinterest, denial, and dismay over their callous beliefs. As long as her social standing in court was safe, he could do as he pleased, she supposed. But he had better do it more discreetly. She never nagged him, scolded or belittled him. Susannah Aden displayed perfection as a military officer’s wife. She was sweet, charitable, and giving. People forget love does not play favorites. It makes no matter that John was loyal or Susannah kind and dull, with deafening good intentions. Love is no advocate for the good-natured. If it were, John Aden never would have given that Draenei mage a second look.
Does anyone need to hear the whole story? How they kissed? When they would meet, and how? The burden of guilt and shame, or the understanding it would never end happily? Stolen, all of it. Fenced goods at a high price. They were beginning to pull away from one another so at least it would end amicably. Every meeting began to feel more sordid and cliché. Privately, anyway, that’s what they tried to convince themselves of, that fate had no other course.
Before the end, they met in Ratchet, and in the course of their afternoon, at very inopportune moments, the sound of buzz saws ripped the warm air. Neither found fulfillment in each other’s arms that day, and that was the last time she saw him. They just laughed at the intrusive noises, making plans to meet again soon. She almost told him about a coin she tossed in the Dalaran fountain, but reconsidered. It felt ill advised.
Not long after that last meeting, the terrible day. The bombs fell from the grossly cheerful zeppelins, and death rained in blue. After Theramore’s Fall, she went to view the destruction. This was not wise. Her portal worked, but thrust her so far from where the tower had once stood; she would fall through unkind air to a bloody injury. The sharp rocks cut her knees, and the purple-blue residual ooze from the mana bomb smelled of burnt arcane power and death. She did not return again for a long, long time.
Her weeks were spent in hiding. She had wishes stored up, and wanted to know what others longed for too. Her own wishes had been so wrong and ugly. Months prior, she had tossed a gold coin in the Dalaran fountain and wished for John Aden to leave his wife. She had not wished that he would leave her, too. But the fountain granted all wishes, the intended and otherwise.
She fished in the pond for other coins, other wishes.
King Varian’s silver coin wished: “I wish the uprising back home would settle itself soon. I wouldn’t want anyone to be hurt.’
How could she have been so foolish? Magic, even white magic, will birth its counterpart. She learned this on this first day of the academy. Magic has rules; magic has lusts.
Sick irony left her without emotions, all but numb.
The gnome who lit her way was a ghost. The phantoms spawned around the world more frequently now. Once, she whispered to one, “John, is that you?” The phantom lingered longer than she expected, and vanished in morning smoke. 
Even now, she’s not sure what made her join the fight. One bruised afternoon in Dalaran, a Troll started gesturing crazily  at her, but it wasn’t mimicking or mocking. He genuinely seemed like he was trying to tell her something, motioning to run, move, or get out. She did. It saved her life. Jaina’s armies invaded that day, laying waste to every potential enemy. Ceniza’s association with the Scryers may have cost her her life. Fleeing to Booty Bay, it was only a ship ride’s breath to Ratchet. She took her chances, tired of hiding from the phantoms, and decided John would want her to control her own future. She would not allow Garrosh to kill him twice: one mortal life, and one life of love. As for Victoria’s letter, Ceniza balled it up, tossed it in the air, and scorched it to cinders.
One more port to Theramore before returning to Kalimdore. Ceniza remembered her shaman cousin kept healing rain tears in a amphora around her neck, healing rain that did not reach its target, but fell to the wash, and almost down the drain and gutters. Rain that did not perform its magic. Ceniza was the Ash Witch, and from the powdered remains of Theramore, she kept safe in her own vial, next to her heart. Ashes to ashes, rain falls on rain, and fire to cleanse it all away.



Procrastination Perfection: Bat-Sh*t Crazy Cupcakes

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

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

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

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

That’ll do pig, that’ll do.

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

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

Yes, I did Tour-de-Azeroth, without the aid of steroids, that is The Longest Day.
And it sucked. 
Many stories of 5-7 hour jaunts were told from the perspective of skilled pet battlers,those who’ve taken the time to level their collection with love, care, and knowledge. I am not one of those. I have many level 25 pets, and have enjoyed a pet battle or two. I foolishly went into thinking, sure, the Pandaria Beasts of Fable are tougher, but really how hard can it be?  
Oh, evil tongue. Oh, cursed naïveté! A pox on both your houses, the virtual and real! 
My day ended up being 17 hours, from about 7 AM to 12 midnight, with short breaks for one load of laundry, stretching, and one round of kitchen cleaning.
The screenshot of Navi’s achieve? My computer bugged out and I didn’t get the screenshot. But I did get this:
To me, Blizzard creating a 50% more damage thingy to those Fabled Pets is the toddler with the unibrow. (See film below. Worth it.)
I have been looking for something to focus on, one thing, for a long time now. Not bits and pieces of broken achievements, broken by time and responsibilities. Just one in-game goal that did not involve LFR, or randomness, or anything–just one little thing I could do, get done, and move on. Yes, I knew the battlers were buffed. Over the course of the day I think I received four pet bandages, which was problematic to say the least. I scrounged all the ones from other characters, but alas, none would be found. What will happen now if I ever do a pet battle again, they’ll drop like rain from a Seattle skyline.  There were three factors that helped me complete it:
1. My dear friend lent me six of his leveled pets, and gave me advice. These pets were, of course, and naturally, to be returned to him in fixed condition in a timely manner. They have been returned, of course.

Me returning the pets in mint condition…

2. My friend Señor knows the best corny jokes. These kept me laughing.
3. Leet Druid
I spent three hours alone on Nitun. My friend told me to use all mechanicals, because if one pet dies Nitun regenerates his health. After about one to two hours, I decided to do a little research on my own. Of course every WoW page wrote, ‘it’s easy, stupid, what’s wrong with you?’ Not a single one of the pet advice pages said to use mechanicals, but my hunch was still to listen to my friend, because he knows his stuff. But I did add a spider to the rotation. Once I did this, I could get him down to even 188 health before another pet died, and he regenerated health. But I notice something that gave me hope: he doesn’t always do that, even if a pet dies. Sometimes….sometimes Nitun gets cocky.*
What ultimately won the battle, around midnight, it was an AI glitch. Nitun didn’t rebuff his health after the 347th death of a pet. I had a witness, Leet Druid. Leet Druid came home and watched over my shoulder and helped me continue, because at that point of the marathon I had runner’s fatigue and the finish line still seemed miles, er, hours away. I carefully came up with just the right combination of spells, hope, stuck together with shoestrings and spit, and completed it. Was it skill? Was it tactical savvy? No, sorry to say. Just pure tenacity. Or insanity. Little of both? 
When I confess there was a moment when I told myself that if I couldn’t figure out Nitun before the end of the server day, I would quit the game, and meant it. I would return the pets to my kind friend, of course, hand over the riendas del gremio to my dear friend Señor, and ride off into the sunset. At least for a while, because you know, I can control this anytime I want, right?
Did the Marked Flawed Battle Stone arrive? Nope. And when it does, what does it do? Does it pay my taxes, make all my pets rare blues, give me a backrub, or shine my shoes? Does it take me to brunch, or spread out some mulch, does it give me a smile, or buy me a replacement package of Otter Pops? Pretty sure it doesn’t.
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare:
Paint me Bleakest Black and Grey.
Epilogue: 
During the day, the longest day, the day without end, Tyledres also sent me some pets! Here is what I told her, but I’m paraphrasing: 
Dammit!
Why, you ask? Because I knew the second I whispered her in game saying how awesome it was she gave those pets to Tome she might feel guilty, bad, and then give me something, too, and I wish I would have kept my big mouth shut, because it probably just looked like I was fishing for freebie pets, too, or something–it was a game faux pas on my part, and I am so mad at myself! Why did I say to her I thought that was cool!? I feel like such a dork. I cannot think of anything awesome to give to anyone now. I am spent, out, done:
But Tyledres, it is cool, and you are awesome! My pet-battle expert friend told me a few days ago he had two Tideskipper pets, and when I got something to trade, he’d trade with me. Hooray! Since I had one, I could trade this! Elation! I whispered my friend and told him the good news, and he said he traded the pet to someone else already. Sad face. But I just sent it to him anyway. He reallly went out of his way to loan me pets yesterday. So see Tyledres? Your good deed helped pay back another’s good deed! Later today I’ll go work on that muffin basket I promised….but like the Marked Flawless Battle Stone, I wouldn’t hold my breath. It’s not payday yet. 
Please– if you leave a comment, no congratulations are necessary. Sitting on my tail for 15 hours playing a game is not an achievement. This doesn’t feel like an accomplishment, if feels like stupidity. I don’t want to hear that my luck is bad, because it’s not. Even a blind pig gets an acorn once in awhile, as my dad says. And who knows? Maybe that Marked Stone will do something amazing. Like change into a butterfly.

Are you there, RNG? It’s me, Ceniza…

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

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