I Strongly Encourage You To Read This. Please.

Apple Cider Mage wrote an article earlier today, and I strongly encourage you to please take the time to go read it, if you haven’t already.

People write for many different reasons, but one thing I always stress here in my personal writing the importance of being yourself, and of being honest.

One thing you will find with Apple Cider is a person truly being herself, and being absolutely honest.

You will also find one of the most courageous writers I have ever seen.

If you do not write in a public forum yourself, let me share with you that the post Apple Cider wrote humbles me with the courage she has shown.

No bullshit, to have the strength to face what she has and is facing on a daily basis, to deal with it and fight like hell to stop it, to never give up and find the strength to deal with it anyway ongoing, and then to write it all down like that and share it with all of us?

Let me say that again. To write it all down, to publish it, to make it all public and bare herself to the possibility of even MORE harassment and pain in order to share her life, her experiences with other people, and hopefully show anyone else in a similar situation that you are not alone, and you do NOT have to suffer without help. And to also offer a guide to helping deal with that kind of abuse immediately after.

To give us a brief taste of  her ongoing nightmare, to grab us by the balls and make us feel, just for a moment, a small glimmer of what she has had to deal with and give us hope that there are things that can be done.

And to show us just how fucked up the entire system is that it is THAT DAMN HARD to stop a complete bastard if he’s determined to make one person’s life a living hell.

Her courage and strength are incredible, and I am in awe.

She has shown, to me at least, that she is the ideal I wish I could strive for every day.

Please. Take the time, read her post, and if after reading it you feel moved to offer your own support and encouragement, please do.

Oh, and run on sentences. I haz them.

I wonder. Is it against the law to suggest that I really do wish it were easy enough to just get the pricks address, drive up and pop a few in the back of his head? I bet it is. Good thing I would never say something that screwed up, not even in jest.

Inspiration and Transformation

The meme has come, the meme has gone… let’s move on.

Gnomer may have unleashed the latest iteration of 6 of 6 upon us, but he isn’t just a cute little hairy gnome with a mighty awesome (if familiar) butt. He also writes inspirational posts.

In Gnomers latest article, he challenges us as bloggers to write posts that get our meaning across, and along the way link to those who may have inspired us to think about it.

For good or bad, he says, if someone inspired you with love or hate by the ideas they shared, they made you think, and there is little enough of that in the world today. Let’s link to those inspirational people and share them with our readers.

I like the idea of taking the time, while writing a post, to think back to the people who have helped influence me in my opinions and link to them.

I also like the idea of searching through my own archives looking for things to torture Gnomer with.

I started skimming through my archive of posts, looking at titles, starting from the very earliest.

I’ve got over 1500 posts in my archive. What shocks me is how some of them are still very much in my mind, as if I wrote them just last week. Like the Storytime posts on the sidebar, I remember writing them and know they are there.

Like the post I wrote when Cassie first made the decision WoW was a game that was worth spending a little money on. That was a huge leap. What a vivid memory, and the post captured my feelings perfectly.

Speaking of my strongest source of inspiration, here is a post about my thoughts on playing WoW that sounds eerily familiar, a post that was inspired by discussions Cassie and I had back in 2008. The biggest laugh in that old post is my somehow thinking that the longer WoW was out, the fewer Tradechat asshats there would be because they’d jump ship to troll other games! Ahh, I crack myself up. /wipestear

In going over those earliest archived posts, there were two inspirations that really jumped out at me.

The first was when I struck out on my own to create a guild website… way back in April of 2008, Pugnacious Priest put a guide on her website where she taught me how to make a truly awesome guild banner image.

Think about that, Pugnacious Priest has been influencing me and inspiring me from the very beginning. From insight into Shadow Priests, a class I think is awesome, to being the one that helped me create a guild banner, to being a great writer year after year… my how the time flies, right?

The other post I found was directly inspired by, surprise ANOTHER gifted author who liked writing about priests.

Kirk was the long time author of a blog called Priestly Endeavors. Kirk stopped actively playing World of Warcraft in October of 2008, a long, long time ago, but his influence during his tenure was profound. Some of the best writing I did in the early days was usually inspired by him.

This other post from my archive was directly inspired by a comment that was left on his blog, and his reaction to it, and… well, I’ll let you read it, since his website is still very much alive for history to enjoy.

When I read what had happened with Kirk, and right around the same time something similar happened with Big Red Kitty (who still writes about WoW as well as life and craziness on Brain Needs Space), I was inflamed with outrage! Inflamed!

I do that sometimes.

What Kirk and BRK inspired me to write, I just read over, and I’m still very happy with it. I am delighted to find that even four years later, I can read what I said about why I do this thing I do, and it is still true. I could post that on the sidebar permanently as my first post for new readers, and consider it a job well done. It still says how I feel.

Isn’t that the best kind of inspiration? When someone helps you realize how YOU really think or feel about something, and brings it out of you?

I want to thank the Pugnacious Priest, Kirk, and Dan Howell for being such strong inspirations on me, and for still being there inspiring others. While Kirk doesn’t continue to blog the way the others do, he still to this day comments and emails me and helps guide me, even to the point of helping us with our Walt Disney World planning!

For those of you who blog, I really do encourage you to take the time to look at your past archives, or think about who has influenced you or inspired you, and take a moment to give them the best sign of appreciation a writer can have… a damn good post of your own for all of us to enjoy. :)

Oh, and Gnomer, buddy… remember how you said to mention how people inspire you? Yeah. Hey, do you remember that time you asked me to let people on the blog know about those awesome mage forums at Mana Obscura? Yeah, you are a true inspiration to me, and that’s a fact. Love ya, bud. :)

Meme for me? Gnome way!

Gnomeaggedon the chilled-out mage has returned from his blogging hiatus with a bang, recently dropping a devilish duo of posts.

The first of these is about his earning the title Battlemaster, and after seeing what really went into earning that title, all I can say is, “Holy crap, dude. Grats.”

The second of his posts was, of course, to make more work for his friends by expecting us to post too.

Can I just say, “Really? Gnomer, we know you’re a frosty mage, but you take screenshots of huge snowflakes? I think we can all see who the real ‘flake’ is in this picture, right?”

Anyway, he’s revived some meme of six where you’re supposed to, like, go through your screenshots folder, and then go into your sixth sub-folder, and pick your sixth screenshot in that folder and then publish it, and make six other suckers do the same.

He was kind enough to name me as one of the six people he’d most like to make go do some work, so I went into my screenshots folder, and, lo and behold I don’t have sub-folders. I have a million folders with screenshots in them scattered amongst my document areas, but I don’t keep those in the WoW Screenshots directory.

Not that I don’t trust Blizzard to leave my screenshots  folder alone when they patch the game, but… I don’t trust Blizzard to leave my screenshots folder alone.

I subscribe to the dual theory that, first, shit happens, and second, my screenshots are only of value to me, so if Blizzard deletes them in a random drive-by patching accident, well, no skin off their nose, why should THEY care?

Anyway…

To pick a screenshot, I tried to stay in the spirit of the meme, to pick something as randomly as possible. Therefore I opened my screenshots folder, started at the upper left-hand corner, and went diagonally six pictures down-right to grab this gem;

I have to say, I’m mighty pleased that out of all the screenshots I could have grabbed, I got one that I was intentionally trying to frame as an action shot – my Worgen warrior Bigfurrybutt surfing on an alligator while leveling in Sholozar.

Nice looking ‘gator there, too. I think that might make for a pretty sexy mount.

Part of this meme is that I now have to tag six other suckers…

So, that being the case, who do I choose to ask to take part? There are LOTS of people I’d love to see offer up screenshots. Some because they are talented artists with an eye for framing attractive scenes and seeing what is in their folder would be entertaining.

Others because there is a high likelihood they’d have WoW Porn in there.

I’ll let you decide which is which.

The six folks I will ask to take part in carrying on this meme are;

Magritte of Precious and Soft
Mataoka of Sugar and Blood
The Pugnacious Priest :)
Rades. I mean, come on. It’s Rades. You know you want to know whats in that folder.
Hello Tauren. This one is kinda a wish, since I can only hope Su-Li will offer up a screenshot. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed!
Nibs. I really, really want more Mystic Chicanery to read. :)

How many degrees of seperation are there before every WoW blogger has been asked? Only time will tell. Thank you Gnomer for the opportunity to remember how cool surfing on an alligator is.

Good times, good times.

 

Music to grind LFR to…

The Godmother has asked for submissions to her Ultimate WoW Mix Tape, an idea I simply love.

Back in the day on my own blog, and holy crap it’s been years, I used to do a Raid Song of the Week feature, basically until the hosting I was using for it (eSnips) broke. :) It was fun, and I do miss it, but I was nowhere near as clean in my pursuit of the perfect raid music as The Godmother is.

The Godmother is for reals. Just her off-the-cuff list of songs she provided as examples, and her description of what mood or WoW situation they fit in are off-the-chain. (Note – BBB jumps shark with hackneyed expression that was dead before it arrived. Take cover, Arizona.)

I don’t have a real, serious contribution to her list, but it still inspired me to share some music with you (as well as send you to her blog contest, the actual point of the post).

I do have one song I always found perfect for one particular situation im WoW. Whenever I run Karazhan for fun, I still love popping in Paralyzer by Finger Eleven when I’m on Maiden of Virtue.

Well I’m not paralyzed, But, I seem to be struck by you; I want to make you move, Because you’re standing still.

It’s a good song, but it’s too old school for a modern WoW raid song entry. And how many people these days can relate to why being paralyzed by her, and wanting to make her move would be even relevant?

It doesn’t really cut it. Not for a suggestion fir the Utimate WoW Mix Tape. No ma’am.

I DO have a relevant song, but I am absolutely certain it’s not what The Godmother was looking for. So, instead of submitting it to her awesomesauce contest (which you should totally be participating in so I can reap the benefits of your suggestions on her final tape), I’m going to share my perfect song with you.

Every single time I run LFR, the tentacles are all around me. Tentacles.

No, not testicles, tentacles. Tentacles! Tentacles waving around, tentacles with eyes, tentacles flapping and flailing and flaming with a flouncing flourish.

Whether it be tentacle trash on Warlord Zon’ozz, tentacles of fire on the Spine of Deathwing, or tentacular tentacles of terrible tentational destruction on Madness of Deathwing, it’s all tentacles, all the time.

Except when there are oozes. And dragons. And, well, fine. Screw you, I’m fixated on the tentacles.

I just so happen to have a song about tentacles.

Oh hell yes I do. I am the Big Bear Butt, and when I say I have a song about tentacles, I’m not screwing around.

So I happily present to you, on this fine Friday, a song about tentacles, called, appropriately enough, Tentacles, from the album “A Shoggoth on the Roof”, published by the H. P. Lovecraft Society, and given to me years ago by my buddy Mannyac. If you can find the album, I heartily recommend it. Alex loves listening to it in the car, particularly this song.

Enjoy the tentacles, my friend. May you make it through LFR without feeling… violated.

Who Will Be The Next Great Blogger?

Who will be the next great blogger?

I have no idea, and I ain’t running a competition. I think I just watch too many cooking competition shows.

What I would like is some link love.

But not YOUR link, or mine.

Lemme’ splain.

Do you know a really good writer, someone who is blogging but hasn’t had much exposure yet? They are your little secret, and you wish more people knew about them because they’re so awesome, but it can be hard to be noticed by WoW Insider or MMO Melting Pot?

Well, I’m not big time, but I’d like to know about them too!

So, what I’m asking you to do is to please leave a comment here recommending someone else’s awesome blog for me to read.

I’ll read them all, I assure you, and I will add those with feeds to my private feedreader.

Those that I really, personally like and are WoW related may even make the move from my private feedreader to my permanent WoW Blogroll on the site. Those that ain’t WoW related will stay hidden, while I lurk unseen, reading and enjoying. Muahahaha!

**For those who are not aware, I have a widget on my website that allows me to link a folder on my Google Reader feedlist to the blog, only showing those blogs I place in the special folder. So, the blogroll does not represent EVERY feed I follow, just the ones I think other readers may find as awesome and relevant to WoW as I do. If you do not see your blog on the blogroll, it doesn’t actually mean I don’t read your blog. :)

In other news, I almost won a Piggie Award! Thank you very much to Hugh and the MMO Melting Pot for the kind words, and for thinking my writing is even worth considering. It’s much appreciated, it really is. Great congratulations have to go to Melmoth of Killed in a Smiling Accident for the win. If you’re going to lose to someone, it’s nice that it be to such a wonderful writer.

Writing that makes you go “Hmmmm”

It’s not often that I read something that makes me wish it was just a teaser for a series of novels, but this did.

Anne Stickney, who some of you may know as the brilliant Know Your Lore writer for WoW Insider, and others as the writer of Shades of Grey, has expanded on the concepts of one of her earlier pieces to write a brilliant new piece of speculative work on the Lore of Azeroth.

I’ll put the specific link here again, just to make sure it doesn’t get lost in the blizzard of linkage.

The way I feel about her hypothesis is, if it’s not true, it SHOULD be.

The story of World of Warcraft is sweeping fantasy, and to have that kind of massive backstory upon which is set the smaller but more personal events of our game is perfectly in keeping with the best fantasy fiction.

The story that we play though and live out is very small, very personal to our characters. Just as Annes intro to that article says, we see our small piece of it, much as mice scurrying around the feet of the masters of the house. We fight our mouse wars, and we live our mouse-sized loves, and our mouse world is full of intense passion and incredible pageantry, but there are forces at work that are beyond not just our power, but our awareness and capacity for understanding.

The Lord of the Rings, much abused as it has been, is still a great touchstone to illustrate this point. There is a grand war in the background between all these incredible, ancient forces, but our initial introduction to the world is through the eyes of Bilbo Baggins, the most humble of the races of man. We might as well have been introduced to a world of high sorcery and warring gods through the point of view of a rabbit, and indeed, why not?

Having such a detailed and thorough backstory for what is and why it is that way is great, especially when your characters are not the movers and shakers. You see a world of unfathomable events through eyes of innocence, and discover it’s wonders and terrors with the main character together.

Really, I’ll say it again. I read the tin foil hat ideas that Anne Stickney put forth, and it sounds so very, very plausible… but if it’s not, I really wish it were. I love the idea that all of these grand events that we have seen from the ground level through the eyes of our characters really are moving towards this incredible final culmination… and I won’t spoil where Anne thinks we’re going, but it is definitely the kind of thing that leads you to imagine, “Wow, what if…”.

Reading an article like that first thing in the morning sure does help the rest of the day go well.

Okay, NOW my journey to the Feral side is complete

Tesh has taken up the challenge, and crafted the ultimate Ring of Power™.

Or at least, the ultimate Ring of Furry Feral Druid Pride.

Yes, I said Furry. We’re Druids. Get over it. SOME of us are even Taurens, so if you can’t at least handle the label with humor, dare I say “let it slide like water off a Manatee-forms back”, then you’re in the wrong end of the class pool.

Tesh has opened a new Shapeways store, called Tish Tosh Tesh Toys (I love that name), and has presented us with several different Feral Druid ring designs.

One of these rings is exactly, EXACTLY, how I envisioned the ring I wanted to design… except a little better, because it has our Druid shoulder markings on each side of the claw design;

It’s amazing! And on Shapeways, when made out of Stainless Steel, it’s only $23.00!

Now, at this time it is only on there at size 11. I do not know what size my finger is, but it’s unlikely to be 11. I ain’t that lucky. But Tesh tells me he is going to be adding more ring sizes soon.

I think if we ask nicely, he may also add the option to have it made out of other materials… I don’t know what the options are exactly, and I know I will buy the stainless version so I can wear it without worrying about breaking or chipping it, but it seems to me you can have things made of other materials, some colored. Perhaps a Night Elf purple or Tauren brown version are possible.

 Still…. behold the power of creation!

And if Tesh acts fast, it is entirely possible that some lucky Druids could be seen wearing one of Teshs rings at Blizzcon! Talk about a head turner, eh?

In other Tish Tosh Tesh related news, one of the things he intends to create and place for sale on his Shapeways store are Zomblobs! figures for a tabletop game version of his game design.

Just sayin’, this ain’t a one-shot store for a one day wonder novelty item that will quickly and quietly fade away. Tesh has plans. Exciting, imaginative plans. I’m really looking forward to seeing where his vision will carry me next.