Can Your Bear Do These Things?

Hi All, Cassie here taking over the blog for a moment.

I had to share that I thought of all of you today (especially BBB) as I was a chaperone for Alex’s school field trip.  Thanks to the grandfather of one of the first graders, all of the kids got to visit the Shrine Circus today for free.  They’ve been on spring break for the last week and a half and their first day back to school is going to the circus. Gotta love school these days 🙂

Anyways, after watching the acrobatics and little puppy show and some beautiful white horses, suddenly out come the 2 brown bears and their trainers to put on a show.  Day after day, I read the posts and comments on this blog about your experiences as a WoW bear, but I ask, can your bear do these things?

Ride a bike?

Look this fashionable?

Walk on a moving barrel?

Balance on a moving beach ball?

Ride a very tall bicycle without falling?

And finally, ride a chopper IN bear form?

I didn’t think so!

I now return your to your regular WoW blog  🙂

Cassie

Disclaimer to prevent the comments that I know will come if I don’t say anything – For those who find the circus and what they make the animals do offensive, I understand and partly agree.  But I also remember being a 7-year-old going to the circus with my mom for the first time and how great it was.  So that is the spirit of how I choose to view today’s event.  There will be plenty of time for Alex to think about the animal issue later on, but for today, we had fun watching all the fantastic human and animal talent.

A Cassie Post

BBB is having a horrendous week at work and hasn’t had time to write anything in between super long hours there and snow-blowing out the driveway every night for the last 3 nights due to the blizzard stuff that we’ve been having (and not the good WoW kind of blizzard stuff) 🙂  So he called and interrupted my lunch today to beg and plead with me to put some kind of post up.

I don’t have anything really exciting to share right now, so if you’re looking for cutting edge WoW news, you can pretty much stop here.

But in general here’s what I’ve been up to –

For several weeks I was doing the first random heroic on both my mains (rogue and ret/holy pally) every day, but that got old as I encountered all of the horrible behavior that people have been talking about with pugs. After I dropped 3 groups in the same day about 3 weeks ago (after never having left a group early), I decided to take a break from that. I still occasionally do a random here or there, but much less often. I’ve already become “the Patient” on both toons and have found that the experience of pugging with 200 random people has really used up most of my real world patience. 🙂 I’ve been messing around with some low level alts on occasion to just have some questing fun and not think about gear upgrades or serious stuff.

Upgrades and loot and the game are such a tough thing to balance.   I’m a list maker/planner in general, so all my 80s have detailed lists of what gear is the best that they have a hope of getting and where to get it and how many emblems of what kind I need. It’s so easy for me to get sucked into that mentality where it’s super important to always be working toward a goal and convincing myself that it’s ok to spend so much time in the game because I’m having fun and playing with friends or whatever my reason is that day.

However, after the guild went through some tough stuff during the last couple of months, I realized that I didn’t want the game to have such a huge place in my life anymore and that a lot of the reasons I’d been using for playing (friends, etc) weren’t really good ones. Because many of those people that I considered friends, I found out really weren’t and it soured me a bit on the game (and the random pugs with horrible behavior hasn’t helped).  There are many days I haven’t even logged in lately other than maybe a quick mail check or gem transmute for BBB. It’s still an important hobby in our lives, but I’m not letting it be more important anymore than other hobbies or interests that I had been neglecting in the past to put so much of my energy into the game, the guild and all the admin duties that I handle for the guild.

Back when Alex was born, my sister who is a total scrapbooking nut, started a book for Alex. I had done a family website back then where I’d post pictures and short notes about his adventures. I’d order prints of those pictures and give them to her and she’d do a book. Well, sort of….my sister is about the nicest person you’ll ever meet and just doesn’t know how to say “no” to anyone, so she’s always super busy and overcommitted. She did the first 6 months of Alex’s life and then I started getting into scrapbooking (ok, because she was hosting those parties and I’d feel guilty not buying something), so she turned the book over to me since she had so many projects going. I finished up that one and kept going with additional books. I’m now up to when he was 3 and a half (um, yeah, he’s going to be 7 next month, so I’m a bit behind). But I’ve been making that a priority to do at least once a week for an extended period of time because I want to get those important memories down and saved for him. I’ve definitely learned over the past few years that you never know what the future will bring and shouldn’t put off important stuff, so I’m making this project a key focus right now.

We’ve also been trying to get out of the house more with Alex to do fun stuff. There’s a climbing place nearby with all kinds of tubes and slides that he loves to go to.  Last weekend we took him sledding at a public golf course close to our house. That was a ton of fun, but next time, I want a sled too! Having to walk up and down the monstrous hill was a lot of work for an old person. 🙂

I’ve also been watching tv more again.  In addition to current shows,  I’m watching How I Met Your Mother through Netflix. I’m up to the end of Season 2 now. It’s a show I’ve always heard good things about, but didn’t start watching in the beginning, so I just ignored it.  I’m really enjoying that one now.   I also got the first half of Glee and am trying to catch up on that before it returns in the spring.

On nights I do log in and play, I sign off at 8:15 pretty much no matter what is happening because that’s my storytime with Alex before he goes to bed. He’s been learning to read in school this year (and is doing so great at it), but still enjoys having stories read to him. We’ve just graduated to chapter books in the last couple of weeks. We’re currently reading Magic Tree House books and also Magic School Bus chapter books. It’s a lot of fun for both of us (BBB even sat and listened to the story last night) 🙂

So that’s basically what I’ve been up to.   One other thing that those with kids in their lives might be interested in –  I’ve been following some of the news about the new Lego MMO that is being created and it sounds pretty cool. They’ve just started beta signups this week. It’s not a guarantee of a key if you sign up, but if you want to try, you can register here.  And it’s a game that is definitely marketed toward and protective of kids as when it asked for username, I tried to use various versions of Cassie and was not allowed to because that contains the word “ass” in it and that’s not permitted.  🙂

And now, I shall stop babbling and get back to work now.

Happy Father's Day to the Bear!

I wanted to say a quick Happy Father’s Day and share a special story from our vacation last weekend (which seems so very long ago already) 😦

As you may have read, we took Alex to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells.  It was a wonderful weekend!  Five days before we were scheduled to go, I got a confirmation email and a “looking forward to seeing you, check out these things while you’re here” newsletter.  In the middle of the busy newsletter, it detailed their plans to open a new interactive game/exploration center in July and then mentioned at the end “Wiley’s Woods will be closed during your stay in preparation for this.”   I was immediately NOT happy because Wiley’s is Great Wolf’s dry play center that is one of the things we were looking forward to Alex being able to do.  It was also one of the reason’s we chose the cheapest room to stay in.  We figured we’d either be in the water parks or Wiley’s and only in the room to sleep, so the extra $100+ for a Kids themed suite wasn’t going to be worth it.

I emailed the hotel and expressed my displeasure at having to tell a 6-year old that he couldn’t do the thing he had seen pictures on the website of and asked if there was any chance we could be upgraded to a kids suite (since I’d read in reviews that they frequently upgraded people anyway when capacity was low), so I’d have something to “sell” to him about how vacation was still really fun.    I got a call back the next day from one of the lead front desk people who explained that they didn’t have any of those suites available, but instead he was upgrading us to one of their condo units at no charge.   So instead of a hotel room with a king bed and sofa bed for Alex, we ended up in condo with full kitchen including granite counter tops and full appliances, kids themed bedroom that slept 3 (so Alex got to pick 2 different beds for the weekend), a master bedroom, huge bathroom, nice living room with 42″ plasma tv and gas fireplace, and a loft bedroom upstairs that came with a 1/2 bathroom (which was wonderful when you had 3 wet people wanting to change).  Yeah, mighty nice place to stay and has probably ruined all future hotel getaways since Alex now thinks this is the standard of vacation we should have 🙂

We had a wonderful time in the water parks.  Alex loved the kid slides and his absolute favorite was the wave pool.  He started out nervous about it by then was lying back in a tube while we helped steer him over the waves and by the end of the weekend was standing in the waves to body check them and punch them with his fists while yelling “got you wave!.”  🙂

But finally it was time to check out on Sunday morning.  We decided we’d hit the cub club and arcade after check out since we hadn’t got there during our stay.  So off to the arcade first.

(This is where my actual story comes in now)

Once we hit the arcade both BBB and Alex were in heaven.  BBB spotted Guitar Hero and found songs he doesn’t have on our games at home.  So you can imagine the 40-year old “rocker” playing in the middle of the kids arcade (I have a photo but in honor of Father’s Day, I will resist sharing it) 🙂

We all played some games for a bit, starting out with $5 in tokens that I grabbed from the machine.  We quickly finished that and BBB being a good daddy forked over $5 from his wallet this time to continue his…I mean, Alex’s fun.  He and Alex even played a game of air hockey together with Alex narrowly pulling off the game winning point and then jumping up and down and modestly yelling “I won. I beat you”  🙂

Finally, the tokens were gone and it was time to figure out what to get from the prize counter with Alex’s 153 tickets (while trying to explain the concept of “no, that costs too many.  No, you can’t have the 3000 ticket remote control car that’s worth $5 at Walmart).  I’m trying to steer Alex to the appropriate number of ticket items and pointing out good stuff (to speed the process along since we have a 3-hour drive yet and a t-ball game to attend in just 4 hours time at home).

BBB disappears and comes back with 4 more tokens.  He walks over to the big wheel game nearby (think Price is Right wheel) and says, “Alex come try this one.”  I’m immediately displeased because this is interrupting the time table of ever getting out of the arcade when we start the “just one more game” practice.  But fine, he’s already got the tokens, let’s get it over with.

Alex and I go over and he pulls the handle, the wheel spins and this is what we see at the end when it spots spinning:

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Yes, our little guy has it stop in the 1 inch spot on the entire wheel that awards you 1000 tickets (which spit out of the machine in two stacks of 500 and take about 5 minutes to come out) while lights flash and sirens play (think casino slot machines).   We explain to Alex what he has just done and he is now jumping up and down yelling “I did it. I won” while all the kids (and parents) in the arcade come to watch in awe and are congratulating him.

So instead of a mere 153 ticket prize to take home, he ends the day with 1153.  He chooses a full size kickball with little spikes on it and a set with 2 monster trucks with various signs and obstacles to get in their way.

So, it seems that sometimes, dads do know best and know when to push their luck with “just one more game.”

Happy Father’s Day dear!

Cassie

PS – Happy Father’s Day to everyone out there!

If your dad is still in your life, make sure you treat him nice today and tell him how much you love him because someday he’ll be gone like mine is (2 years to the day today) and you’ll wish you had “just one more time” with him.

Night Elf Cat Art Released!

Here’s what Blizzard had to say:

Now for the final installment of our preview of the new art for druid cat and bear forms, we’re taking a look at the new textures for night elf druid cat form. Here’s a comparative peek at the current look of cat form along with the five new textures, which can be selected by switching hair color in the barber shop.

From the Bear: Thank you to Cassie for posting this for sharing.

Okay… um, hold on a second. I have to stop laughing before I continue.

Oh, screw it. Look at ’em first, I’ll comment afterwards.

necatsmall

Just… oh wow, the freaking mind boggles.

Sigh. Let me get the obvious jokes out of the way.

Yes, yes… thank you. Now we can all proudly announce that we are playing our “Night Elf Mohawk”. Thanks Mr T, always appreciated.

And yes, we are a bit into leather. The wrist cuffs are quite… butch.

The necklace? Can the necklace bobbles GET any more phallic?

And do Night Elf kitties really need three dangling balls? Aren’t two enough?

Yes, I know “A Wizards’ Staff has a Knob on the End”, but why does “The Big Bad Kitty has Hanging, Dangling Balls?”

Yes, I like them. I’m not that hard to please, really. (Take that sentence however you’d like, I’m feeling generous.)

But good lord, I can see the tag line NOW, when a Tauren Kitty and a Night Elf Kitty meet in the Dalaran Bar…

“Butch up, Sally.”

Okay, and one last thing…

I looked at them, and as the implications of them sank in, I had this little image inside my head…

To misquote Monty Python… “They’ve got great, heaving… balls of lead.”

Tauren Cat Art Released

Here’s what Blizzard had to say:

For our third installment, we’d like to offer you a look at the new art for tauren cat form. Here’s a peek at the current look of cat form along with the five new textures. As a reminder, tauren will be able to change which look they use by switching skin tones in the barber shop –a new feature for tauren in the next major content patch.

Cassie posted this to make sure it got up for ya, but BBB here for just a sec… I do feel pain for those players that wished their female Tauren Druid cats didn’t have male lion manes… but I am truly impressed with the depth to these new kitty models. I think I’ll simply be happy with the new changes, and hope that with these new models and textures, they will be able to implement the female style mane some time in the future.


taurencatsm

Happy Anniversary to My Bear!

As you can probably guess, this is a non-WoW post from Cassie 🙂

I wanted to say a quick happy 8th wedding anniversary to BBB (10 years together now) and share a few photos from that special day with all of you (keep in mind we have a child now and no longer look as young, relaxed or peaceful as we did that day, lol).   🙂

Here’s the required formal shot (that we’ve shared before):

formal

One of my favorite pictures (the one we used for the 16×20 mat that we had guests sign (instead of a guest book), which now hangs next to our front door in the living room:

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BBB and his best man, the famous Mannyac:

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BBB and the Mannyac at the wedding rehearsal (yes, this is what I saw as I processed into the church from the back room and had to practice walking down the aisle toward – I probably should have run then) 🙂

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One of my favorite pics of myself from that day (humorously enough taken in the boy’s bathroom at the school where I went from K-8th grade because it had a better mirror that the girl’s bathroom):

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Here’s to lots more years together!  I love you Bear!

Cassie

Cassie Post

Ok, as usual, BBB felt like posting something that irritated him about a game that used to bring enjoyment to our lives, but lately has been bringing nothing but frustration and reflections about whether this is really how we want to spend our free time.

And before I start my actual post, I want to make it clear that this is ALL me.  BBB is at work and has no idea what I’m about to say or that I’m posting at all.  But since this blog is part of my life too and affects my family daily, I get to have an opinion (even if someone will then complain about the blog having too many “guest” posts and tell us they are leaving in disgust – yes, that has happened recently.)

So here goes.

Instead of people who didn’t agree with his Noblegarden post just moving on or politely sharing a different opinion or possible solution, the majority choose to send (and continue to send) comments that were vicious, ugly, filled with name calling, and several who announced that because this blog no longer focused on druids and had lost all of its “former glory”, they would be moving on and hoped BBB was happy to know that he had lost readers because he a) needed to grow up b) needed to stop whining, c) needed to only write about druids and not hunters, guild stuff or anything RL or d) he was ___ (fill in with an objectionable and childish name calling word of your choice since we pretty much received them all)

So once again, people seem to have the impression that this blog OWES them something.  That BBB is REQUIRED to spend all of his free time doing druid research and posting long step-by-step instructions about how to gear/spec/play a druid so that someone else who plays a druid tank or dps doesn’t have to do any research or think themselves about what makes sense for their class. They can go to a blog and get instructions on what to do instead and that it should be this blog.

And while BBB does sometimes do those types of posts, he also said LONG ago and has said frequently, that this blog was about anything he wanted to do write about.  Maybe one day it’s about a hunter, another day it’s about a guild leadership issue that we’re having, or about something in RL that he felt passionate about to share.  We receive many emails and comments from people telling us they enjoy that type of post.  That his story days are their favorite times. That they don’t even play WoW anymore, but they stop by to check things out and see what’s on his mind.  Those are the people that this blog is here for.  You are the people that BBB keeps writing for.

For those who feel that you are owed a certain type of content, that feel they have to right to offer “constructive criticism about content” (their term for nastiness about being entitled to different posts) or who feel the need to be vicious and nasty, I have a simple solution for you – GO AWAY and DON’T COME BACK.  You are not who this blog is for and if you write to say that BBB has just lost a reader, know that we are generally not sad or upset.  Instead we are thrilled to know that yet another person who feels it’s ok to be childish and demanding has left and won’t be commenting any more.

At the time this blog was started BBB, friends of ours were the ones that thought he should start a public blog since they were having so much fun with a yahoo group that was started among themselves where he’d share stories or rants or RL stuff.  So he started the blog and as he wanted to write posts, he realized that there wasn’t really anyone out there writing specifically about feral druids and he personally did SO much research and figuring things out so that he could better himself as a tank that he’d share that with others in case people were looking for help OR could make suggestions to him.  People began flocking to the blog and he somehow ended up the official “Big Bear Butt Blogger” and then got recruited to write for WoW Insider for the feral perspective. He wrote fantastic, long detailed class column posts that were not the norm for that publication and people loved it.  What they don’t know or often care about is that those posts for which he was paid very little, took, in some cases, 5 or 10 hours of writing and research for a single post. Instead of logging on to play the game, he would be spending hours doing math and linking to wowhead stuff and not enjoying the game that he was writing about because he’s naturally an overachiever who felt people deserved the best information; the information that he couldn’t find when he started.

However, over time, game play changes for everyone.  He started playing other types of classes and learning things about those (hunter, shadow priest, etc) and being the genuinely helpful person that he is, wanted to share that information here too.  Then we had guild issues and ended up forming our guild and we thought, “hey people might have advice along the way” so we wrote posts about that too.  And being a person who served in the military and has strong knowledge and passion for American history and issues, BBB would occasionally share posts in that area too.  And then since he’s led a crazy life (in the past), he thought he’d share some personal stories that had made that original group of friends suggest the blog in the first place.

That’s what this blog is about.  Anything that BBB feels passion about at the moment.  If that’s not what you want, go find it somewhere else. Or even better, if you can’t find it, do it yourself.  Start your own blog and get to say what you want whenever you want in whatever manner you want.

But don’t come here and feel that you have the right to be nasty, name-call or just be a jerk to my family.  In the past, we’ve literally had people get so wound up about a post, that someone took the time to figure out where we live, posted a google map to our house and the park where our son plays and say maybe someone should stop by and have a talk with us.  Yes, an actual threat to my family because of opinions about a virtual world and how they didn’t like what BBB said about something about that pretend world.

I’m all for free speech and I don’t and won’t censor opinions because they don’t agree with us, but there’s an adult way to share a difference of opinion and for the most part, we’re not seeing it happen in that way lately.  If you share something in a hateful, nasty way in the space that we PAY to have here and you threaten, demean or hurt us, we (ok, I because I’m much less tolerant about stuff like that than BBB is) WILL take away the ability to make comments and/or will yank this whole blog from the internet entirely.  You don’t get to hurt my family and call it “constructive” commenting.  You just don’t.

And if that offends someone and they leave the blog forever, delete it from their RSS, and move on, well then, I’m ok with that.  I totally am.

Cassie

PS – Yes, I’ve used my moderation abilities and I’ve locked comments on the other post because we get the point — lots of people disagreed, some did it politely, others didn’t.  But it’s a dead issue. BBB long ago moved on from his frustration about the event (like by the time he had posted the issue) and it’s time others do too, instead of just stirring up the hate and venom for weeks to come.

Cat Has a Name

Oops, so like 6 weeks ago, I asked you all for help in naming my hunter’s new cat and then um, never came back to tell you what I had decided 😦  I actually haven’t been playing very much the last few weeks.  Just been taking some downtime away from the game overall (you know, when I wasn’t building new forum sites, handling apps, helping to plan raids, etc) 🙂

I loved so many of the suggestions that it actually took me about a week of trying out different names when I’d play my hunter before I made up my mind and actually named him.

So here he is:

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The first  suggestion in the thread was Periwinkle, which I really liked (after all, we’ve been a Blue’s Clues household since Alex was very young).  It was a good description of the color that he is, which I’ve always liked (it was, in fact, one of our wedding colors).  However, this cat is much too manly and regal to run around and be called Periwinkle without it affecting his self-esteem eventually.  So I shortened it to Perry.

Some of the others I had tried out mentally were Royal, Morado, Regal, Prince and a few others.  Another of our favorites was Clawdius, which BBB actually ended up using for a bear pet that his hunter pulled out of the stables to play around with.

So thanks for all your suggestions and I apologize for the delay in announcing his name!

Cassie

Need Some Advice on Guild Forum/Sites

Hi All,

BBB and I need some help from other GMs/Guild Admins.  We’ve been using Guild Portal for our forums/calendar/admin stuff since we formed the guild last year.  We had been happy with them, but we’ve been having massive problems (as has everyone else) for the past month or so.  They were down for 3 out of 4 days in a row last week, posts no longer show as read even after you’ve looked at them many times, and the support is non-existent.  People are complaining in their forums and don’t even get a response.  So we’re considering switching to a new host.

It would be a massive project since we have pretty active forums and there’s no way to export posts, so we’d lose a lot or have to copy/paste into new posts.  Plus the nightmare of setting up accounts and permissions for the over 100 people that are in the guild now.  But we don’t want to pay for service that we aren’t getting and we’ve seen others that offer more features for about what we are paying now.

I’ve done some investigating and really like what I’ve seen from GuildOMatic.  They not only have a demo site that you can test out, but also let you do a free/adware version to try it out for your own setup, so I’ve done some playing around.  I’ve also looked at Guild Launch and MyGuildHost, but they don’t have free options to try out.

We’d love to hear feedback from other guilds who use any of those three or another one that I might not have found from web searches.  We do use forums a lot and we also use the calendar for instance/raid scheduling, so those are minimums that it needs to have.  We’d love a site that automated applications a bit (right now they send a forum mail to my inbox to apply) and we’ve seen features through GuildOMatic and the others that allow tracking of loot/attendance at raids, which would be nice from historical and tracking purposes.  But we’re not a raiding guild, so we don’t need full DKP and crazy tracking systems either.  🙂

Please let us know what you’ve liked/disliked, what kinds of service/support you’ve gotten if you’ve had issues or questions, etc.  Thanks!

Cassie