Ahhhh, I’ve been Tagged!

Well BBB has been tagged by Ratshag  who was tagged by One Among Many to dig back through the archives and figure out who the first blogger was that commented on one of his posts.  The chances of BBB digging through the archives (or maybe even knowing how to do so) were debatable, so I’m stepping in and doing this one for him.  :-)

The first couple posts that he did were commented on mostly by the friends who talked him in to this whole blog thing to begin with.  But on August 21, 2007, BBB wrote a post titled “Casual or Hardcore? Can’t we all just get along?” (a question we still seem to ask ourselves frequently)  and the first comment on that post was from a now very recognizable Resto Druid blogger.  Check it out:

  1. Phaelia says:
    Welcome to the Blogosphere, Big Butt (teehee)! I’m a fairly recent addition myself, writing a Restoration Druid blog at http://resto4life.blogspot.com. I’m really enjoying your articles so far so keep up the great work!!Phae

Phaelia and BBB have both come a long way in blogging in the last 16 months and she’s always been a great resource when he’s needed Resto information. Thanks Phae!

Now, it’s his turn to tag some other bloggers.  So here it is:

Resto4Life

Big Red Kitty

4Haelz (Bellwether AKA Feralicious) 

Grai’s Gang

Gun Lovin’ Dwarf Chick 

Consider yourselves tagged!  Mwwuuuhahahhaa

Silly Screenshots

Here’s a few pictures from our recent explorations in Northrend that we thought we’d share (nothing that you probably haven’t seen before, but stuff we thought was particularly cute and I’m filling in for BBB until he has time to research a druid post this evening):

 Here’s Cassie and her turkey posse completing the achievement to coerce 10 critters.

Turkeys

 Here’s BBB with Cassie after he drank a suspicious potion he found in the Dalaran sewers:

Walrus

And BBB’s hunter pet Moonclaw was very confused when suddenly his master looked like this while standing next to him

MurlocMurloc

Murloc

Quick Updates

Hi All,

BBB asked that I post some quick updates because the unthinkable has finally happened to him at work.  No, they didn’t start filtering the internet to block gaming websites and blogs.  No, instead they SHUT DOWN the internet!  Yes, that’s right, he has NO access to the internet at all. /cry  They used to have web-based company email, so it wasn’t an issue.  But apparently, they decided to change that and now everyone has working Lotus Notes accounts that are not web-based.  So as soon as the email was changed, they removed the internet option from most people’s computers. 

Starting tomorrow, BBB is going to try to pre-schedule some blog posts the night before or write something in notepad and send it to me during the day for posting.  But in the meantime, he wanted everyone to know why it’s been so quiet around here, and also why it will take extra time to process your emails since he’ll have to wait until he gets home at night to check.  Unfortunately it has to wait until evening since he leaves for work at 4:45am and isn’t up to doing email processing before work.  :-)

I’ve been horribly, terribly sick since last Friday (all those germs that kindergarteners have and bring home finally caught up with me).  Luckily this is not an audio blog since I have no voice today at all.  Ugh!  But we still managed to get some game time in over the weekend since I didn’t feel like leaving the house or moving from where I was sitting at the moment. 

We’ve both been working on professions and secondary stuff a bit each day, so that’s taken away from our leveling a bit.  Last night, on our mains, we finished our joint questing of the Howling Fjord and are around 35% of the way toward 73.  We did every single quest in HF, except one that appears to still be bugged.  So next we’ll be heading to Dragonblight.  We already have the flight point, so we just need to head there and start picking up quests.  

BBB hit 450 herbalism on his main last night and is quite excited to have the final version of lifeblood.  I got mine last week and have to say it’s quite handy to have, especially since I’m still 2 alchemy points away from being able to make the new healing pots.  He’s been working on engineering, has his mining maxed, has jewelcrafting at about 390 and is doing the daily to be able to buy more recipes, and also the cooking daily to buy recipes and spices on both his main and hunter (main buys recipes, hunter buys spices for each of us).  I’ve got my alchemy at 403, herbalism maxed, cooking at 422, fishing at 410, and also do the cooking daily.

BBB has also been playing his hunter when we aren’t playing our mains together.  His hunter hit 72 and did some respeccing to maximize solo questing/DPS, instead of the raid spec that he’s had.  He’s swapping back and forth between quests in Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra since he’ll need exalted with the Valiance Expedition to buy the motorcycle pattern.  He’ll need to finish both zones eventually, but is having fun switching off.  My alt hit 68 in Nagrand about the middle of the weekend and quickly abandoned the rest of the zone, took the boat to Borean Tundra and settled in to do quests in an unfamiliar zone, all by myself.  As of last night, I’m about 50% toward 71 right now and having a ball.  Overall, I’m not liking Borean quite as much as Fjord, but at least I’m not doing the same quests again so soon after doing them on my main.

Ok, I think that’s all the game updates for now.  Just a quick reminder that the deadline for the Child’s Play Raffle entry is this Friday, so if you haven’t checked it out, you can visit the main page for more details from the right sidebar of the blog. 

Thanks!

Cassie

Cassie’s Post

Today I’ve “stolen” the day’s posting spot to talk about something that has me a bit sadden and also annoyed.  It’s a mini-Cassie rant. 

I haven’t posted here in a while and have actually distanced myself a bit from the public side of things to just immerse myself in the game and try to have fun.

But I feel like it’s time for me to share some stuff going on and how it’s affected BBB and I because it’s our blog and we get to share what we’re thinking.  :)

I have avoided bringing this up even in our guild because I didn’t think it was important to share or something that I was obligated to do.  It was part of my private game playing and enjoyment.  Something I believe that I have a right to enjoy.

Several months ago here on the blog (the last time I actually posted in fact and did because someone was kind enough to ask what I was up to since I had been so quiet), I mentioned that I had an alt that I was playing with to see if I liked before deciding to bring in to the guild.  That was one of my first mistakes because people decided that apparently it was a silent challenge from me to guildies to track me down.  Several people have worked hard to track down the identity of my “secret” alt and gleefully share that they have “outed” me, so I guess it’s time to talk about it.

I’ve continued to leave that alt out of our guild for several reasons.  I’ve shared before that I started playing WoW to deal with the incredible and sudden loss of my father in 2007; a loss that occurred a mere 17 days after the loss of my last remaining grandmother.  In 17 days, my mother lost her 93-year-old mother and her husband of 50 years that she had been with since age 14.  And my siblings and I lost the father that we adored and that held us all together.  That period changed our family forever and is something that we all continue to struggle with on a daily basis.

I started playing around with the game because I needed something to escape into when the pain got too bad.  I had always hated the game with a passion.  I can’t tell you how many fights BBB and I had about his time playing “that damn game” (as I referred to it back then).   When I started playing, I played solo until level 69 when I finally joined our former guild with BBB, and honestly I joined mostly because I felt bad having him bring his guildies in to do instances with me when I wasn’t a part of their group. 

My style is to be a loner in the game, focus, get things done and go on unless it’s an instance or group quest.  And in those times, I’d ask BBB to bring one of his max level characters to slaughter the instance while I joyfully gathered up all the loot. :)

Over time, I began to play in more social ways and to talk with people, especially after we invited others to join us in forming a new guild that would be different from others. But there are still many days that I don’t have the energy to handle anything else other than my own thoughts and continued grief.  It has nothing to do with not liking people or not wanting to be a part of the guild, but instead, it’s about trying to keep my sanity and figure out how to go on day to day in the changed family and reality that I have now.

In the past month, two people have gone to the energy of looking at what lower level/old world zone BBB happened to be in, deciding that he must be there for a reason and that they have a right to know what that reason is, doing a /who in that zone, and identifying the character that had a similar name to my others (since I created the character my second week in the game and abandoned until a few months ago).  And having that secret knowledge on their own wasn’t enough, one whispered me and said “gotcha secret alt!” and the other whispered BBB to comment on how high a level my secret was already.

The amount of effort people seem to go to in order to track our every movement is something that bothers us more than the reality of someone knowing the name of my secret alt.  It’s the feeling of intrusion in to our lives at a time that we clearly wanted to be alone and playing with just the two of us that really saddens (and ok, angers us as well).

I know both people probably thought they were just joking around and having fun, but the reality is that it wasn’t fun for us.  The first one, to his credit, did come back and apologize after BBB went off a bit on my right to privacy. 

But it still took a little bit away from the game for both of us.  We’ve already on bad days in the past few months considered shutting down the blog and even walking away from the game for many reasons including:

* Those people who track our every movement and who comment/judge either in game or on their blog or other people’s blogs about every guild decision that we’ve made and what they personally think about it (without offering any solutions or what they’d like to see instead or taking any initiative to make things better/different/etc)
* Those that feel they have the right to second-guess, correct or otherwise be obnoxious about each and every raid leading decision BBB makes on a run
* The constant reality of knowing that if we go on an instance run or raid, our every action will be watched, judged, posted on a blog or two, and that if we make any mistake or are in any way not perfect, it will be commented upon, remembered and brought up endlessly to point out how we failed or didn’t do our job that one time.

As I told the first person that “outed” my alt, the feeling of living in a constant fishbowl day in and day out gets draining at times and takes away from the enjoyment of our game time.

So why do we go on? Why not just walk away or transfer somewhere else where we can be totally anonymous?

The reason we keep coming back to is that we’ve met some incredibly great people during our WoW journey.  People that aren’t great because of how they play the game or how high their DPS is in a raid, but because they are truly nice people; people that we would love to sit down with and chat totally outside of the game.  For example, people that have already responded to BBB’s post about Child’s Play with incredible donation offers for a raffle event to benefit a charity we love while giving fun stuff to people they’ve never met.  It’s because of the wonderful people that we haven’t said “screw this” and shut everything down because of the smaller minority that are negative or downright nasty in emails, chat, behaviors, etc.

That’s something that we have to deal with since we do put ourselves out there publicly and because we chose to start a guild (something that grew much larger than we ever imagined it would and that has it’s own stress/issues in our lives – but that’s a post for another day.) :)

Whether it’s a game or not, I think we all need to remember that we are dealing with real people out there that have real emotions and thoughts about interacting with us, and think about how we are portraying ourselves in those interactions.

If you’ve gotten this far, thanks for taking the time to read about what’s on my mind!

Shifting Perspectives: Dude, where’s my armor?

You can check out BBB’s newest WowInsider article on feral druid armor here.   This article looks at the changes to tanking and bear armor in general, and how those changes may change the way feral druids view their class.

And if you like what you read, post a comment on WI to conteract the crankiness BBB will be feeling after the trolls get done being nasty.  Your comments will reduce the rants I will hear later about posters on WI :-)

Thanks!

Cassie

Another Food Post

I’ve been meaning to write this one since last weekend (and BBB has been nagging me to do so).  With his food related post today, it seemed like a good time for this.

Since I work from home, I’m almost always on the internet during the day and part of that time (breaks) I’m often networking with others who do similar work.  Besides work topics, we often talk about things like how to save money, stuff about our families, etc.  Over a year ago, in a post on some forum board, there was a discussion about ways to save money.  Someone said that they saved a ton in groceries by purchasing food through something called Angel Food Ministries.

It’s a nonprofit organization that buys food in bulk and provides it at a very affordable cost to families – ANY family regardless of income.  I had checked in to it and at the time, there were no sites available in Minnesota.  The way it works is that a church or other nonprofit site has to take ownership of coordinating the entire process and it’s a pretty big undertaking.  They do get $1 for each box sold donated back to their site.    Last year there were a lot of sites in the south and west US, but nothing around us. 

The topic of saving money again came up last month on a forum post, particularly with the state of the economy and people’s jobs.  Again, someone mentioned Angel Food, so I decided to check it out and see if anything had changed.  This time there was a site around us.  It was about 20 miles away, but within reasonable distance if it was something we wanted to do. 

I explored the process a bit further and found out that each month they offer a regular box for $30. This box is intended to feed a family of 4 for one week.  They also offer a senior box of 10 frozen dinners that are nutritionally designed to be low-fat, reasonable calories and contain a protein, and 2 fruits or vegetables per meal.  Sounded like something for my mom.  Then they also offer 4 or 5 special boxes that you can purchase if you buy either the regular or senior box.  There were grill boxes, assorted meat ones, and a fruit/veggie box ($19).  There are no limits to the amount of boxes you can buy (at least that I’ve seen).  The menu for the regular box and fruit/veggie box sounded great for the price.  So my mom and I decided to give it a try and BBB agreed he’d go with to pick stuff up.

The church coordinating that site required you to order by the middle of the September and you could do it online and pay by credit card or in person at the church.  Then the food comes in the last Saturday of the month and must be picked up between 10am-noon.  BBB and I ordered one regular box and one fruit/veggie box.

Last Saturday was the time to pick it up and there are no words to describe the incredible organization of our particular site, especially after we found out this was the first month they had offered the program.  We arrived at our appointed time in the morning (set by alphabetical range of last names).  They had volunteers directing people in the parking lot, people directing inside the doors, a check-in area, and then a long line where you went along tables set up and volunteers put the items for the regular box into the cardboard boxes we had brought.  We were literally in and out in about 15 minutes and it was unbelievable how many people had come to pickup food.

The quality of the food so far has been very good.  It’s mostly brands that we haven’t heard of (somewhat like shopping at an Aldi store), but for the $30 box we got 4 steaks, 4 chicken breasts, 1 pound of ground turkey, 4 cheese-filled brats, a 2 pound pork loin roast, a 3 pound bag of unbreaded chicken nugget pieces (dark meat), a bag of french fries, a bag of frozen green beans, a bag of frozen stir fry vegetables, a bag of pinto beans, bag of black beans, package of chicken rice (like Rice a Roni), box of macaroni and cheese, a dozen eggs, a box of chocolate chip cookies, and probably a couple of other things I’m forgetting.  But basically a WHOLE lot of food for $30.

Then came the fruit and veggie box (which again was $19) – we got a 3 pound bag of apples, 3 pound bag of oranges, 4 pound bag of potatoes, 2 pound bag of yellow onions, 4 pears, 4 tomatoes, stalk of celery, 1 pound bag of carrots, head of cabbage, and I think one or two other things that I can’t remember now either.  Again, lot of food for way under grocery store prices (at least the stores around us).

The October menu looks even more tasty and wonderful.  We’re definitely in for another try.

We’d definitely encourage anyone (single or a family) to check it out.  Here’s the main website – Angel Food Ministries  From there you can search for a local site, review the October menu, and find out more about this incredible organization that will be helping us to definitely save money on groceries in the coming months.