Minipet searching? WarcraftPets is the place!

Since I’ve been actively seeking Minipets, aiming to nail 50 and get my cute little Stinky Wind skunk, I’ve been planning out which pets I have, which I can easily get, and which I plan on searching for the hard way.

I’m at 45 pets right now, and I think I might be able to get there without any serious grinding.

Regardless of what I’m doing, I bet I’m nowhere near alone in this. Bellwether said she had 48 pets, so I bet she’s gotta be getting frantic for number 50.

To help all of my fellow pet seekers out, and really just to make sure everyone has a chance to see this awesome website, I just wanted to mention the best place I’ve ever seen for all things non-combat pet related.


Please, go visit Breanni’s website, and enjoy the beautiful design, the ease of finding things, teh fun writing and pet enthusiasm, and most especially, the great macros and addons for having fun with our pets, updated for the 3.0 patch!

That is all.

Wow, now that’s pretty desperate

I was talking with the Mannyac last night, just touching base and hearing the usual “Am I gonna get a turn this week? Huh?”, and I asked him what he was doing for fun lately.

The answer floored me.

“I went to the dark side.”

Huh? Whazzat?

“I’m playing a different MMO.”

Really? Wow, I thought you were pretty burnt out, dude. And what MMO could have possibly tempted you from WoW, when you’ve got a level 60 hunter and soon you could have your own Rhino, your personal totem animal, that you dearly love?

What is it? Warhammer? Age of Conan?

“No… um, actually it’s EQ.”

ROLF! Okay, you had me going there for a minute… that was a good one! Seriously, what have you been doing lately?

“No, no I’m serious… I’m playing EQ.”

Ummm. Do you mean Everquest TWO?

“Oh yeah, EQ II. I’ve been playing it the last four days. To be honest, it seems just about the same as WoW, really. Some things worse, some things better.”

He goes on to tell me about enjoying the Monk, and how he really likes the way they have a mentoring system for grouping with higher level players like City of Heroes has, that kind of thing.

I’m curious, though. If you’re going to play an MMO, why go to EQ II, when there are new MMOs out there, and if you wanted old school, you have a stagnant account with a level 60 character you could revive on WoW? What possibly drew you to EQ II NOW?

“Oh, well actually… a friend that I play RPGs with out here plays EQ II…”

Ah, there we go. That makes perfect sense. It’s how I suckered you into WoW in the first place, after all.

“Yep, but I couldn’t really resist. To get me to play EQ II, he bought the game for me, ordered the new expansion for me, and is paying my monthly fee.”


“And he gave me a new computer.”


Okay, whoa there pardner. WTF?

“Well, you know how the economy has been, and my old computer was a 1.2 Ghz with about 500meg of ram. He gave me a computer with 3.2 Ghz, 2 gig of ram and an ATI video card with about 256meg of ram in it. It screams.”

Wait, so he loaned you a decent computer to play EQ II on? That’s pretty amazing.

“Oh no, he gave it to me.”


So, wait, let me get this straight. Play Everquest 2, and we’ll throw a new computer in for FREE?

I have finally heard of a promotion that would get me to leave WoW.


Okay, moving on….

I hope you’re enjoying the EQ II, buddy. And I simply can’t help but marvel.

Talking about EQ 2 and WoW last night made me think back to when I first bought WoW.

It’s been a long time now.

When I first heard of MMOs, Cassie’s cousins all played it pretty hardcore, and I mean HARDCORE. So I finally caved in, and bought it.

Those were the days of Windows 95/98 and wierd graphics drivers, and in the end, my computer ate the many, many installation discs for EQ and still wouldn’t play it.

By then, I was into the idea of playing an MMO, and Dark Age of Camelot had come out, and I was immediately attracted to the idea of an MMO with three different mythos, one of which was based on the folktales and mythology of the Celts. So I grabbed that, and played one character to max level. (Oh wow, a Druid. What a surprise.).

I intensely disliked the game design, but I loved playing an MMO. Out of all the things about the game, I liked being able to dye the various pieces of my armor to a consistent color that kind of went together. The armor itself looked like crap, but at least it was color coordinated.

City of Heroes came along, and I abandoned DAoC to go join the spandex set.

And it was very, very great to make characters. I loved coming up with awesome names, costume designs, back stories, etc.

Then I’d play, and find out that I could last 20 or 30 levels before running out of interesting things to do, the quests got repetitious, and the utter lack of crafting really hurt it. I got bored easy, and there are only so many insanely awesome characters you can create and design, before you really start to wonder why the idea fof PLAYING them didn’t appeal that much.

There was the promise that, down the road, there would be evil heroes you could play, hero vs villain PvP, the ability to have your own, instanced super hero base that you could design personally, hang out in, and that the enemy players could actually assault and you could defend.

That all sounded insanely awesome. But I wanted to have fun NOW, not next year.

And then came the summer when the big two new MMOs were due to be released, almost head to head.

Both were going to be fantasy based. Both were going to have cutting edge (for the time) graphics.

Both were going to be huge.

One of them was the expected front runner. Proven pedigree, dedicated fanbase, lots of money in design and development, lots of experience in the area…

Yes, Everquest 2 was expected to be the winner in the competition.

But I read everything about both I could find, in every magazine and online source out there.

And while I read that the graphics of EQ 2 were considered to be better, more realistic or lifelike, I read that this unknown upstart, World of Warcraft, a fantasy MMO challenging Everquest with nothing other than RTS experience behind them, went with a more lighthearted, colorful graphics design.

At the time, the single biggest trend in comments was to ridicule the big, floating shoulders of WoW. I still laugh when I see our stupid shoulder designs, to be honest.

But there were two things that made it an absolute given that when they both came out, World of Warcraft would be the one I bought and played.

  1. The ability to play a class that can go out in the world, seek out rare animals, and tame them to be a pet that helps you in combat.
  2. The ability to play a class that can shape-shift into other animals like panthers and bears.

Those two, right there.

I didn’t know which one I was going to play to start, but I knew that the very idea that the game would let you do something that sounded so smooth, so fluid… I mean, shoot, I was so used to games where you damn near had to imagine all the actual FUN. Unchanging sprite animations, isometric views, static maps and angles. You were graetful to be allowed to see a character picture change in your portrait screen if you equipped a new piece of gear!

The idea that you could play a character in what was essentially a role playing, questing first person shooter was amazing, and have it’s appearance actually reflect your growth and power was amazing.

I mean, hell, at the time the height of role playing computer games was the Baldur’s Gate series!

Go for the eyes, Boo!

So yeah, the jump in technology, in fun, in immersion, from playing a static visual game like Baldur’s Gate, to a Druid in World of Warcraft?

Oh yeah. Yeah, you had me at “shapeshift to a panther.”

Just… I’ll be able to what? Are you kidding? How cool is that?

Looking back on it, it is so crazy to think, after years and years of playing this one single video game, that I still enjoy it. It is still fresh, alive. The graphics are still something I enjoy a great deal. Screenshots are still ‘oohed’ and ‘aaahed’ over, especially when I see the screenshots and images /Hug puts up. That Dwarf is a genius at visuals. Resto4Life is great too, but /Hug is just nuts.

I heard Manny say he was playing EQ 2 last night, and seriously, the first thought that came to mind?

“But that game has been out for years, couldn’t you choose something with graphics that aren’t so dated and old?”

Lol… I know why, too. I tried installing and playing Diablo II and Starcraft recently, and the graphics chased me out of it, despite the awesome gameplay.

But here I am, still playing a contemporary of EQ 2, and loving it, and my first thought is, “but that’s old, don’t the graphics suck?”

Funny how you can buy into the idea that you always have to see the newest, neatest graphics effects to enjoy a game, right?

Anyway… I hope you truly enjoy EQ 2, Manny.

And if the folks at Everquest 2 ever expand that promotion, you just let me know, okay? I wouldn’t turn down a new computer. 

Heck, give me a computer, I might just put your ad up on my website!

Well… probably not, no.

The Scout Report is back with a vengeance!

And the vengeance is really racking up fast.

File this under “News I meant to share, every day now, for the last week.”


Anyway, “The Scout Report“, the greatest source of entertainment since the invention of the outdoor bug zapper, is back on the air and coming fast and furious.

Perhaps, if I am fortunate, someday I will get a chance to interview the infamous Scout of Sacred Samophlange, and find out what adventures the future may have in store.

Or at least, how he’s been doing, and whether he (or she!) intends to keep the awesomeness on the air for a while.

Damn, I missed mah Scout!

In the meantime…

Rejoice, my friends, for the Scout has returned!

Doodle with “I played a Hunter”

Since it deserves a post all it’s own, I present to you Hots’ and Dot’s own Doodle, with his lyrics for “I played a Hunter”.

You freaking genius!

This was never the way I planned
Not my intention
I got so brave, bow in hand
Lost my discretion
It’s not what, I’m used to
Just wanna try it on
I’m curious for you
Caught my attention

I tamed a wolf and I liked it
The way he growls it sounds fantastic
I tamed a cat just to try it
I hope my druid don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Does it mean I’m in a raid tonight
I tamed a crab and I liked it
I liked it

No, I don’t even know your main
It doesn’t matter,
You’re my experimental toon
Just draenei nature,
It’s not what,
Good warlocks do
Not how they should behave
My head gets so confused
Multi-shot? OKAY!

I rolled a hunter and I liked it
The sound of gunshots make me spastic
I rolled a draenei just to try it
I hope my gnome don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in Bloodmyst tonight
I rolled a goat and I liked it
I liked it,

Nelf girls, they are so magical
white skin, tatoos, so /dance-able
Hard to resist so /flirt-able
Too good to deny it
Ain’t no big deal, it’s innocent

I rolled a dwarf and I liked it
The braid spinning is so hypnotic
I tamed a bear just to try it
I hope Mr. Butt don’t mind it
It felt so wrong
It felt so right
Don’t mean I’m in a cave tonight
I rolled a hunter and I liked it
I liked it

Breana, you said if Pike wouldn’t sing it, you had a singer that would give it a shot.

Well, I am SO holding you to that!

If you need me to find a backing track, let me know, I MIGHT have some experience in that regard. 🙂

I’d still love to hear you or Pike sing it. 😦

Secret Hunters of the World, Unite!

You know you’re out there. Aren’t you?

Damn skippy!

You have your main, and when people ask you, “What character do YOU play?”, what do you reply?

For most of you, it’s anything but “Hunter.”

It’s somehow not COOL to play a Hunter as your main.

Oh, heck no… Hunters have that reputation… for the longest time, one of the stupider memes on the official WoW forums was that “Shut up, random Night Elf Huntard #349780634057896”.

Even with all the awesome Hunter blogs out there, working hard to make sure everyone knows that Hunters require skill, cunning, sneakiness and wit, the Huntard prejudice continues.

But saying your MAIN is a Hunter… oh noes!

A Hunter? Oh no, I’m one of the cool kids! I have a hybrid! Or a tank! Or a ranged, squishy caster that PvPs!

See, I can master all sorts of stuffs! I’m no simple Huntard easymode noob!

Well, it’s time to move past all that BS.

Whatever your main may be, you at least have a Hunter alt.

You KNOW you do.

It may be your deepest, darkest secret, but you’ve got one. You know you HAD to make one.

And you found, to your horror, that they are just too damn fun to give up entirely.

Maybe you’ve been afraid to admit it. You’ve given in to peer pressure, and don’t talk about that alt. “Oh, I don’t play that, it’s just for farming.”

Sure. Sure she is.

Well, now is the time to cast off your chains, and join the ranks of those brave souls that have strode forth to proudly proclaim;

*”I have a Hunter, and I LIKED it!”

To those of you that have proclaimed the Hunter as your mainproud and strong, I salute you!

And for those of you that have made another class your own, but have the courage to come forth to proclaim your love for your Hunter alt, let me hear a round of applause.

C’mon folks… you know you all want to come out of the closet on this.

*Sung to the tune of “I kissed a girl”

Personal is not the same as important

Well, yesterday was a very sad day in the life of the Sidhe Devils.

One of our long time members and dear friends, Doodlebug, decided to leave us for a while to take a break.

To travel the lonely trails as a wandering ronin, guildless and hunted by ninjas, his only companions the wolf at his side, and the baby in the cart he pushes along those dusty roads…

Wait, what?

Oh, sorry. Lone Wolf and Cub flashbacks.

Anyway, as Doodle leaving kinda came out of nowhere from my perspective, you can imagine that I was confuzzled.

So I sent him an email, letting him know that I hoped he was all right, and assuring him that we were all really going to miss him. He’s always been a bright light of joy and fun in the guild.

When I logged in during the afternoon yesterday, he came on and we partied up to chat for a bit about how he was doing.

One of the things I was hoping to find out, beside how he was doing and if there was anything I could do to ease his stress levels, was whether or not something I had or had not done in being the Guild Leader had either contributed to, or directly led to his desire to leave.

Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think I have all the answers, certainly not about running a guild. I don’t know it all, I just do the best I can from one day to the next, taking things as they come, trying to anticipate potential problems and work to prevent them, but mostly just improvising as I go.

If it weren’t for Cassie, who does 90% of the actual thinking and work involved in running it, I’d look more like the idiot I am.

But I do worry about the things I could be doing or should be doing. Are we too hands on, organizing stuff on the calander? Are we not active enough? Do we give players enough space to do what they actually want to do when they want to do it, or do we give them too much wide open freetime, leaving them bored off their ass?

In the end, Cassie and I have pretty much just decided that trying to have a couple guild events on the calander each week that people are welcome to sign up for as THEY choose, and making sure everyone knows that if they do want more events, or want to do something specific, all they need to do is take the personal initiative to say so, and ask for it to be on the calander, is enough.

We hope it’s been working okay.

Well, in talking to Doodlebug, while chatting about this that and the other, he asked me a very good question on how I decide to act with people that are causing problems.

Apparently, it wasn’t an issue with him, but he couldn’t figure out why we took action on some things, but then on others I seem to just let it go on and on and on, bugging me.

In the past I’ve chatted with Doodle on voicechat, just venting a bit about something I’m cranky about, or stuff that’s irritated me lately, or whatever. So he knows when I’ve been grumpy about something once in a while.

And he asked me yesterday, “If someone in the guild has done something that’s really irritated you, why don’t you just boot them? Why do you put up with it?”

It’s a good question. I’m the Guild Leader, right? So if someone in the guild did something to irritate me, I could boot them from the guild and be done with it. Right?

Well, no. Not really. I think that it would be immature and asinine. 

I stole the title of the post from Terry Pratchett’s character Carrot Ironfounderson, but I think it’s true. I’m responsible for leading a group of people, and when thinking about an issue, “Personal isn’t the same thing as important.”

Maybe I’m wrong. I don’t think so though. 

There are two different kinds of issues that I think need to be dealt with in two very different ways;

  • Something that only affects me.
  • Something that affects many members of the guild.

If it’s just something that is bugging me, but nobody else either notices or cares, then I blow it off. I may vent about it for a short time to a close friend, but that’s about it. Not everybody gets along. Sometimes, people just say things or do things that will rub your fur the wrong way. Life sucks, get a helmet, as Denis Leary would say.

If it does seem to have some kind of animosity behind it, if something that seems a little mean-spirited keeps going on, then I’ll certainly approach them and talk about it, try to figure out what’s going on. But to take some kind of banhammer /gkick action? Nah, that’s incredibly inappropriate. 

But what about something that affects the fun of the group?

If there is something going on with someone that is hurting the fun of a large number of guildies, then it’s a different story. An issue that affects the guild as a whole needs to be identified, and corrected. Period.

Everyone has a right to enjoy playing the game. It’s only a game, after all. If it’s not fun to play, if you find yourself choosing not to log in to play your game because there might be someone online that you don’t want to deal with, or who hurts your feelings or makes you very uncomfortable… that’s an issue. A big issue. And hopefully it’s the kind of thing you can trust your guild officers enough to tell them about, before you drift away. 

Now, maybe my approach to things isn’t the best. Rather than confront someone right up front on a first time issue, potentially hurting their feelings over what may be nothing at all, I’ll instead talk about it to other guild officers first, see what their thoughts are, and generally wait and see if maybe it was an isolated thing, or to see whether it becomes an ongoing trend. Was it just the one time? Did they just have a bad day? Will the person approach anyone else and bring up what happened themselves, showing personal responsibility and maturity, or will they pretend nothing happened or do they act like how they are treating others is actually appropriate?  

Maybe it would be better to simply confront the person, the very first time, get everything right out in the open. I know I’ve read some things that suggest it is.

But I think that, if you were having a bad day, and you were just cranky, and maybe you still are, and you know it but you’re all mixed up inside, then being confronted about it right then is probably not going to help at all.

I just prefer to have a ‘cooling off period’, where guild officers can have a chance to discuss things first. And you know what? On those rare occasions where there might have seemed to be an issue… in most cases, a week passes, and nobody even remembers it happened. It was a bad moment in a day in the life, and you moved past it. And nobody got all argumentative and huffy and defensive and proud.

Arguments for and against, really.

I don’t think of myself as a babysitter. I expect everyone else in the guild to act mature and responsibly. I will NOT be big daddy bear dealing with childish cubs.

I’ll give someone a lot of chances to deal with things on their own, because who the hell am I to deal with it for them? All I’m responsible for is making sure no one else gets hurt by a guild members’ actions, and to be available to talk to if someone chooses to seek out someone out on their own.

If things go on long enough, and a behavior or action continues to hurt the fun of the group, if it does become a trend, then it becomes time to discuss what course of action to take, to make sure that the fun of the group is not screwed up because of one person.

That’s it. Once it becomes an issue that affects the group, and more than once, then it’s time to address it in some way.

In our guild, of course, there’s also another level to look at.

We’re a guild that is based on being social and having fun together, keeping in mind that real life comes first.

So the core playstyle, the foundation of the guild, is to have fun doing what we all like, and hanging together and chatting together and generally having fun. We can get goofy in chat, and have fun, and frequently people pop in, play for 15 minutes, then announce it’s time to go take the kids to Cub Scouts. It’s what the heart and soul of the guild is all about.

But there are also those of us within the guild that like to occasionally get our raid on.

People are more than welcome to PUG runs and raids if they want, I for one think we are all in agreement that if you enjoy raiding more than we schedule, but you also want to be in the guild too, then by all means, I don’t think it’s a problem. Go find a group that you can raid with. We still love you. Why wouldn’t we want you to have fun? 

But when we do schedule raids, if someone signs up for it then they are committing to a certain level of mature play. In a raid, nine other people are also committing themselves to setting aside an evening to play together. For many of us, we actually rearrange our lives so that we can have that time available.

As an example, for Wulfa to raid, Dammy has to watch the Orclette for the night. So Dammy has to give up his own WoW playtime so she can do it. That’s the kind of thing everyone has to choose on their own, in one way or another.

Is the fun I expect to have playing with my friends worth what I’m going to have to do to free up that time?

It’s a big commitment to anyone with a family, and even if you don’t have a family in your immediate daily life, often there are work stresses, school studies to be done, and friends that want a bunch of your time too, especially on the weekend, and all those things that you might be doing, are things you are setting aside for that time to raid with friends. 

So it’s expected that, while the guild is social and casual, if you choose of your own free will to sign up for a raid, you are committing yourself to stepping up and acting in a mature manner, and show respect for your other guildies by being ready to go at the scheduled start time, so everyone can have as much fun as possible in the short time we’ve got. 

And since there are going to be a lot of people depending on each other, it’s very important to everyone that, if real life does come up that prevents you from coming when you said you would, that you make sure you let us know in advance so we can work something out. 

It’s fine that real life comes up. That’s the point of the guild, that we understand that real life comes first.

But, when you sign up for a raid, you are saying that if real life does come up, you will act responsibly and let us know so nine people aren’t sitting on their butts waiting for their friend to show up. 

So there are two different standards in our guild, one for being in the guild and having fun, playing with friends and socializing and messing around. And there is another level of commitment for those folks that choose to sign up to raid.

And yes, heck yes it can cause stress. But would it be fair to boot someone from the guild because they have trouble making raids reliably? Because they are only having trouble with one small, optional part of guild activities?

I certainly don’t think so, not at all. Absolutely not.

But at the same time, would it be fair for the other nine people if we don’t do something abuot it, if problems keep happening without any warning at all? I don’t think that’s reasonable, either. You can’t expect people to rearrange their lives to go on a raid, if the raid consistently fails to happen. So it needs to be addressed.

So it’s extra drama that we always have to worry about, but it’s the price we pay to have fun on our own terms. 

But the rule has to be, if it just affects me, then it’s personal. I have to deal with it as an individual. It does NOT constitute guild officer level business, or guild officer level action. DOES NOT.

If it affects the fun of the group, then it DOES constitute a problem that the officers have to deal with, calmly, fairly, and with more than one opinion in the mix.

I think it’s appropriate. And I think, in the long run, that it is working for us pretty well.

I can wish that it wasn’t necessary to even have to think about that stuff at all, though, can’t I?

Storytime – Easy Rider

That’s right, it’s that time again!

Buckle up, buttercup, we’re going for a ride!

For those of you new to this game, Storytime is where I relate something true that happened in my life that popped to mind recently, because I’m an old fart living in the past. And since this is my blog, and I’m waxing nostalgic, I’m taking you all with me!

Oh, and I’m a huge Jethro Tull fan. I can’t use the phrase ‘living in the past’ in a sentence without hearing Ian Anderson actually proclaim in my head, “Living… in… The Past!” Just an FYI.

So, back in the glorious heyday of my youth, we return once more to Beaufort, South Carolina, scene of many of my previous escapades. Ah, the trouble you get into when you are young, single, Enlisted without being an NCO just yet, and have no bills and lots of disposable income.

Ah, youth. How the hell do we live through those years? Seriously?

At any rate…

I was stationed there in lovely Beaufort, SC, but my parent’s home was in far away Boca Raton, Florida.

I had some income, certainly… but not the kind of cash to dump on a plane ticket to go home to visit the folks and my old school friends whenever I got a three or four day pass.

So what I did, was I bought a motorcycle from a fellow Jarhead taht was having divorce issues and needed the money.

It was a Yamaha Maxim 550, used of course, with a whole heck of a lot of miles on it. It may have looked a little rough, but I loved that bike.

Here’s a photo so you can see the body style, this ain’t the actual bike, just the closest thing I could find to a pic of what my bike looked like.


Even the tank color is right.

So, I had never ridden a motorcycle before, and now I owned one. And anyone that lives on base can tell you, getting a bike registered, licensed, insured and getting your own MC DL are all required before you get to actually ride the damn thing around.

So for a month or so, I left it out at my friends’ place, and he would drive me out there weeknights or weekends, where I would hop on, crank it up, and go driving around the backroads of Beaufort, teaching myself to ride.

You gotta love the South. I mean, really.

The gas stations I would stop at had the usual pumps… but they also had one pump that would be listed as “Racing Fuel – 99 octane”.

Racing Fuel, of course, is designed to burn faster, so more of it’s energy is released before  going further than about 20° past Top Dead Center… and I just realized I have no intention of explaining that.

Ummm… Racing Fuel packs more of a kick. Corrodes normal engines, though. At least the old stuff used to. 

Anyway, yeah, the regular Unleaded was pretty expensive back then going for around .88¢ a gallon… but I always splurged and went with the Racing Fuel at $1.02, and to heck with the expense! Go crazy with that money! Get the GOOD stuff!

Ah, the joys of tearing around on your own motorcycle… I loved it. I truly did.

So, after a month or two, I went and took my test and got my license, yadda yadda, and started tooling around town. All the joys life off-base had for a single Marine were now open to me. Meaning, mostly, the movie theater, McDonalds, and video rentals.

A few months later, we had a 4 day weekend coming up. I called home and proudly let my mom and dad know that I was coming home to visit.

This being South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida,  the route wasn’t the most difficult in the world. You get on I-95 Southbound, and you stay there. When you need gas, you pull over. Repeat as needed.

On the day of the trip, I stuffed a seabag full of clothes, bungie-corded it onto the back of the bike (where it actually provided a comfy back rest to lean against) and headed on out.

I always wore a helmet, and on the ride down I had on jeans, combat boots and my field jacket.


Because it was a kind of rainy day. And rain or no rain, I said I was coming, so I was coming. 

I had never before ridden farther than Savannah, Georgia on the bike, and then it had been the summer. I had attended St Patricks’ Day at River Street (awesome, bigtime), and done a lot of tooling up and down the roads, but never before had I gone for a long, long run.

Looking at Mapquest, it’s about 480 miles, and they say it should take about 7 hours. I have no idea what speeds they are talking about, though.

What I do know is, I was excited. I was stoked. (Remember when it was okay to say stoked? Yeah, those were a happy 5 minutes.)

Screw the rain, I was going to know the freedom of the open road, the wind roaring around me, the pedal to the metal, blue sky and hard asphalt and the dreams of a free country everywhere around me.

Okay, no blue sky. But it can’t rain all the time!

Damn, was I excited.

Visions of Vanishing Point stuffed in my head, I WAS Kowalski, one man and the loneliness of the open road.

Yes, I know. You’re shocked. What can I say, I wasn’t BORN bitter, after all. 🙂

So I hit the road. Hard. I nailed 80 mph out the gate, and stuck it there as much as possible. I only left the road when gas got very, very low, and some of the stretches of Interstate highway left me feeling it might be a while until I saw another offramp.

And yes, it can in fact rain all the time. You’d think, after three states, at some point you would get out from under it.

Along the way, I learned many valuable lessons about riding a motorcycle on long journeys.

Some lessons I learned fast, and others took a while to sink in.

First and foremost, I learned that a lot of people in cars and trucks will actually swerve towards you, trying to force you off the road and off the shoulder, in the hopes of seeing you lose control, and die.

Yes, I’m serious. If you’re young and thinking about getting a bike, keep that in mind. Watch your ass, all the time. Check your mirrors, and maintain your spatial awareness. Do not give them a chance to block you, and keep an eye for escape routes, such as simply being ready to take the grassy median, or being prepared to accelerate or brake if you see an attempted swerve.

I don’t think it has to do with people in cars hating motorcyclists, either.

I think it has more to do with some people seeing someone else in a potentially dangerous, vulnerable situation, traveling at high speeds without a steel cocoon to protect them, and either they are on an open stretch of road, or in a heavy rain where visibility and identification are hindered, and they get the sudden urge to inflict hate and suffering on someone else just because they can. And I truly think they feel that they’ll easily get away with it, free and clear.

Kind of the road version of John Gabriels’ Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory.

I also learned that, to a motorcyclist, a large 18-wheeled tractor-trailer combo barrelling along at 75mph – 80mph sucks a massive windstorm in it’s wake and all around it, and it WILL cause you to concentrate all your energies just on control as it passes you, or you pass it, because you get the feeling your tires may very well lose traction on the slick roads, and you wonder if you’ll get sucked under the semi’s wheels if you’re not careful.

I learned that when they cordoroy, or roughen, the road with those lengthwise grooves when preparing for road work, it channels narrow bike tires and makes it difficult to safely control your bike during lane changes.

I learned that steel grate bridges like the ones in Jacksonville at the time are horrible.

I learned that a LOT of cars leak a LOT of oil, right down the middle of the road, which turns nice and slick in the rain. How slick? Why, much like an oil slick, I would say. And if you are on a motorcycle, the temptation is to ride down the center of the road where the bulk of the oil is.

And finally, I learned that bugs suck.

Especially clouds of those tiny little f’ing gnats. But I learned that lesson later.

For the moment, however, the sky was full of rain, the wind was a steady blur of icy needles in my exposed flesh, chilling and stinging me hour after hour, but the the roar of the road was in my veins, and I was free to ride.

I blasted on through, on the solo road trip of a lifetime.

It was awesome.

When I finally pulled on into the parent’s place in Boca Raton, I was bone tired.

But I was also exhilirated, and felt like I was riding a massive endorphin rush. NO energy, but no pain at all, and no stiffness either.

I was chilled bone deep, and soaking wet, but I was way past caring at this point. I was just exhilirated that the ride down was done, and in a thunderstorm from hell at the end of it. 

I stumbled on in, dumped my wet seabag on the floor, yelled “High Ma” as nonchalantly as I possibly could, as though I take three-state road trips all the time, no big deal, and then went back out to the bike.

You see, I had ridden that sucker hard for hours.

And when you run an engine that hard, you can’t just dump it on a driveway in the icy rain to sit, and instantly cool, and expect it to be fine.

You kind of need to ease it down gentle. Let the temperature cool gradually, let the oil circulate a little as it runs easy. Idle it a bit. A block or two is fine, maybe a mile if that, just puttering along. Don’t let a super hot, expanded-metal engine get chilled, it will only cause problems down the road.

So I went on out into the rain, hopped right back on the bike, backed it out and started her up again.

I puttered gently down the half a block to the corner, and eased into the left hand turn.

And as I turned left, the engine roared instantly into life, accelerating to the max the gear ratio could handle, and slamming me full tilt into the stop sign on the corner.


I was pinned under the bike, and I could tell my ankle was not doing very well. I shifted a bit, got under and hefted the bike up off me, and using it to lift myself off the grass, I gently propped it on it’s kickstand. I say gently, when what I really wanted to do was kick the hell out of it.

I had jumped the curb before I nailed the stop sign, and came to rest on the grass, so I didn’t have any road rash. The bike frame still looked straight, and the only visible damage was the right front turn signal was dangling by the wiring.

And yes, my right ankle was at least sprained.

Son of a…

Well, first thing I did was ruefully acknowledge that God has a fine sense of humor.

On the one hand, if you’re going to have an accident, it sure is nice to be able to walk away from it in one piece, and be able to hop a half a block home.

On the other hand, I was 480 miles from my duty station, my only mode of transport just tried to kill me out of the blue, and my right foot, my braking foot, was all messed up. If my foot didn’t get better fast, I was going to be relying strictly on the front wheel hand brake, which is a terribly unsafe, stupid thing to attempt. 

And I had three days to fix it all before I had to make the journey home. During a holiday weekend.

I pushed the bike the half block back to the house in the rain, limped on inside, and acknowledged that yes, it was mildly amusing that I drove 480 miles just to have an accident a half a block from the house. Thank you very much. Yes, I thought so too.

Now, I could say that the rest of the weekend was spent staying off my foot in the hopes it would heal, packing it with ice.

And I could relate the fun of finding a mechanic willing to do a rush repair on a motorcycle over a holiday weekend so I could ride back on Sunday. Eventually my dad found a Porsche mechanic friend willing to do a personal favor for me.

I could tell you of my annoyance at finding out the reason I crashed was not my own stupidity, but was instead that the accelerator cable got pinched in the sleeve, and as I turned the corner, it pulled the cable hard and fast, just as though I had redlined the engine intentionally. A simple problem that probably would have happened anyway, from prior abuse of the bike, but might have been prevented had I used a graphite lubricant in the sleeves of the cables as some preventive maintenance.

I could tell you how, nursing a tightly wrapped and unusable right foot, I made the return trip on my repaired bike, and this time the sun was high in the sky, the birds were singing, the wind was warm and delightful, and I had a picture-perfect, gorgeous ride back, wearing helmet, jeans and a tank top on the entire run, basking in the sun and the wind. And how the experience was severely lessened by my stress at not being able to use the foot brake.

Seriously, only having the front wheel hand brake is a horribly dangerous  way to ride.

I could tell you of the triumph of making it back to base just in time late on a Sunday night, using only the hand brake, fighting a fogged-over faceshield in the delightful late evening fog and humidity of South Carolina for the last hour in the dark along the coastal roads.

I could even tell you of my joy at discovering, the very next day, that when you ride with a tank top in the sun in 80mph winds for 6 to 7 hours straight, the combination of sunburn and windburn feel simply delightful. I highly recommend it.

Oh yeah, and pure Aloe gel is awesome.

But I think I’ll simply end with this thought, for all my friends;

Clouds of small bugs really suck. I am totally not kidding.

A little love for Pike

I was reading Pike’s latest post, giving us the lowdown on her level 50 Resto Druid (she can B Tree!), and I just wanted to say….

First, how dare you talk about non-Hunter stuffs!

Second, wait, you mean you walk around Stormwind in Tree form? All the time? Did they remove the speed debuff on that? I mean, geez, I love Tree form (have you tried /cower in Tree form yet? OMIGODLOLZ) but intentionally walking in slow-mo back and forth forth from AH to Mailbox to Bank to AH… GAH! It would drive me batty.

Third. The big one.

Grats for coining the greatest phrase in the history of Hunters….

“Massive Quantities of Sustained Ranged Fo’Shizzle”

As others have said in the past…

You owe me a new keyboard, this one has coffee blasted over the keys.

Awww…. you like me! You really like me!

Talking about BRK, of course.

He was so sweet, that I just had to get him a gift.

And here it is!

A post about Hunters!

My gift to you, BRK…

My four favorite movies that I feel capture the essence of being a Hunter….

I threw that last one in there for BRK… she may not be Molly Ringwald, but Melanie Griffith did a great job. Best I could do for providing a “Molly Ringwald as Hunter” substitute for ya.

And my favorite, absolute favoritist book series of all time that I feel captures the essence of Hunter/Pet awesomeness (and has a US Marine for the main character too, even though it’s a fantasy series)…

The Gandalara Cycle by Randall Garrett and Vicki Ann Heydron, consisting of;

The Gandalara Cycle I

  • The Steel of Raithskar
  • The Glass of Dyskornis
  • The Bronze of Eddarta

The Gandalara Cycle II

  • The Well of Darkness
  • The Search for Ka
  • Return to Eddarta

The River Wall

I hope all of you who read this will chime in with your favorite movies and books (and songs!) that you feel best capture what being a Hunter is all about to you!

And go tell BRK we still love him. 🙂

You think THAT is an over-reaction?

No, I’ll SHOW you an over reaction!

You ever see something, and just scratch your head?

Like… what the heck? Dude… chill.

I’ve tried to be open. I’ve tried to be fair. I’ve thought everything was all in good, clean fun.

Lighthearted, even.

But in the end, I think, what we’ve got here is… failure to communicate.

Some men, you just can’t reach.

So you get what we had here this morning, which is the way he wants it.

Well, he gets it.

I don’t like it any more than you do.

I have long been called a Druid blogger. And yes, it is true that I write a blog. And one of my characters in World of Warcraft is a Druid.

However, that is not the only character that I play. And playing WoW is not the only subject upon which I choose to write.

In fact, I think it is safe to say that, over the last year or more, I have blogged about my opinions concerning other things at least as frequently as I have about Druids.

This is not an aberration. This is “Working as intended.”

Now, I’ll grant you that the tagline up there at the top of the blog says Feral Druids in World of Warcraft. And the casual reader may take this to mean that the subjects upon which I will discourse should, necessarily, be limited to Feral Druiding.

Well, I am the Big Bear Butt. Sadly, this will remain true no matter what game I should happen to play. At this point it has little to do with a class or spec. That picture up there? I swear Andrige had a picture of my face when he made it. Wierd.

So, limit myself to only Feral Druid blogging?

I disagree.

Expecting me to limit myself to reader-approved subject matter is an understandable mistake. I’ve seen it often before.

I’ve occasionally received comments and emails chastising me for wasting peoples’ time on my personal opinions, when I should be writing about *x* concerning Feral Druids.

Indeed, the very phrase “wasting my time with non-Druid crap” has been used, more than once.

Much more than once.

Allow me to correct this attitude.

I created the blog.

I, with the support of the lovely Cassieann, pay for the website. We write all of the content. We, in fact, have upon our shoulders 100% of the responsibility of maintaining this pursuit.

This blog was not started to cater to the Feral Druid hardcore raider.

That is the furthest thing that could have ever been on my mind.

In fact, it often puzzles me why anyone that is a hardcore raider would bother to read this, because in order to succeed in what they do, they must have learned all that I could possibly have to teach on their own long, long before. And mastered it in far more arduous circumstances.

I prefer to think that such folks read the blog simply as a source of humor, amusement, and light chat on Druids and WoW and whatever else is on my mind.

Which is, in fact, the POINT.

If someone reading this believes that I should stick to writing about one class, or spec, and cease prattling about any other subject, that I am wasting your time… you, sir, are inherently NOT the person that I am writing for.

In fact, I would say that my goals here are to write about 80% to amuse and entertain and chat with friends and bloggers and readers possessed of a similar sense of humor, and about 20% to share news and tips and neat stuff that I happen to run across in my play or in life in general.

Do you see anywhere in there where I feel it is my responsibility to be the premiere source of Feral Druid news and instruction in the blogosphere? Or that I feel I have a responsibility to only talk about Feral Druids, so as to not waste your time on irrelevant topics or concerns?


Now, if it is Druid news and awesomeness you desire, there are many other folks that write truly brilliant Druid blogs, and it is to them that you should turn.

People like Resto4Life, and Unbearably Hot, and Secret Agent Cat, and 4 Haelz. Great bloggers, very smart, very on top of things, great writers. I love each and every one, and learn from them quite often.

Okay, I started to list all the awesome Druid bloggers I read, and realized that is way beyond the scope of this post.

The point is, there are a lot of Druid bloggers, and when I started, there were none. So yeah, I was excited to share tips and tricks and helpful guides. I felt that it was something I could provide, in addition to the other stuff I was interested in writing about and having fun with.

Since I knew about it, and all.

Now? Now there are so many great Druid blogs, I can rest assured anything I might discover or think to talk about for Druids will have been mentioned already by someone, somewhere, and very well at that.

Maybe it’s the whole WoW Insider thing. I accepted responsibility for writing a column there, and that might have pigeonholed me as “that Druid guy”.

Let me make this absolutely clear; WoW Insider owns Shifting Perspectives. It is their column, and was being written long before I started there. They did great articles before me, and I’m sure they would continue to provide great articles without me. Quite a few of the bloggers there play Feral Druids in serious raids, and in fact it might make for better articles in general if someone like Allison Robert took over, since she sees a lot more content than I ever will, and is a great writer to boot. 

This blog, gentle readers, is not WoW Insider. It is the blog Cassie and I started over a year ago.

Hmmm, August 17th, 2007 was my first post. Okay, missed that, should have done an anniversary post.

What was I saying?

Oh yes, this ain’t WoW Insider. Whatever expectations you may have from WoW Insider, if you carry them over to here, damn but you’re going to be disappointed.

It is purely our decision on what we choose to write about.

If Cassie chooses to write about her experiences with the Angel Food Ministries, then she is certainly free to do so. Nay, she is in fact encouraged by me to do so.

If I choose to vent about the customer service experiences I’ve had in the past, I will certainly do so.

In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I reserve the right to say anything, or nothing at all. About anything, or nothing. Depending entirely on the lunar winds, the relative humidity, and whether my cat meowed or not as I left for work.

I may, in the future, even devote an entire article on bacon, if I happen to feel like it. I know, call me crazy, but it could happen.

Hell, maybe even two.

I do love my Feral Druid. And I love it when you write me with a question that may be on your mind, and I’m able to help out a bit. We’re all in this together, and if I can possibly help, I will. I appreciate your taking the time to read, and I enjoy hearing from you.

That still doesn’t mean that, if you think I suck and you tell me you are no longer going to read, that I am going to shed a single, solitary tear. If you don’t enjoy reading, why in the world would I want you to stay? Why IN THE WORLD would I want someone to continue to read that thinks I suck, and enjoys telling me so?

By all means, if you don’t enjoy the blog and think I suck, LEAVE.

I mean, it’s not like I need you for pagehits. You know, there are no paid advertisements here. Really. I don’t make any money doing this. Your visiting is not putting money in my pocket. The Cafepress store? For the longest time there was no markup at all on those shirts. Your money went 100% to Cafepress. I finally added a single dollar to some of the items, to help me afford to buy shirts and items to give away.

I think I’ve made about $14 so far, and used it to give some shirts away, so it’s a draw.

This isn’t a business or a money-making venture, we do this because it’s FUN, and we LIKE the folks we’ve met here, and enjoy spending time with you. We don’t WANT asshats here. Why would we?

Let’s revisit this concept of “stick to your Feral Druiding and leave my Hunter stuff alone, Fo’Shizzle” business.

With a proven track record for saying what I want to say, when I want to say it, in whichever way seems right to me….

Does anyone here really think that telling me what I can or cannot talk about is going to do anything other than get a /facepalm?

A place for everyone, and everyone in their place? A topic for everyone, and everyone sticks to their topic?

I don’t think so.

If someone doesn’t like me talking about a certain subject, such as pet errors on my Hunter, or how to configure PetEmote, or how much fun it is to tame and name a Devilsaur… and feels free to criticise me for doing so….

Then perhaps that person should damn well write about those issues themselves on their blog, instead of making yet another movie or podcast.

There. Now THAT is an over reaction.