You have my heartfelt apology

If you are a reader who visits through a cell phone, truly…

You have my most sincere apology for the heck I put you through on a regular basis.

Yes, I installed a smartphone-friendly plugin for the blog that was supposed to improve the appearance of the blog when viewed from a smartphone.

That doesn’t mean I’d ever actually visited the blog that way.

Tonight, we went ahead and both bought LG Optimus-V phones on the Virgin Mobile network. These are Android 2.2 phones, and our monthly plan has unlimited internet and text.

Obviously, the second thing I did was visit the blog. (First was to check my email).

The blog loaded up looking… interesting. No banner picture, just post titles.

I made the mistake of visiting my most recent Bearwall diatribe.

The page opened easily enough, and I scrolled down the text.

And scrolled. And scrolled.

And scrolled.

I’m serious. I’m really sorry. When I check my Bearwalls on a widescreen monitor at my desk, they seem annoyingly long but reasonable.

Trying to read them on a smartphone, they are an offense committed against both nature and God, and should be struck down with heavenly fire.

I promise, I will try… TRY to rein myself in henceforth, and drive myself to greater heights of brevity.

Good lord, after reading that massive textbomb, I’m lucky nobody ever visited one of my “Greet the Bear” events and just walked right up and punched me¬†square in the mouth without saying a word.


Help a Bear nom chatta chatta!

The Bear family is taking a vacation in a few months… to Chicago.

Cassie is pondering getting a new family cell phone. We’re seeing tons of reviews, but sometimes nothing beats expert advice… and you’re my favorite bunch of experts.

What we do, being a family of budget-conscious type folks, is use T-Mobiles’ pre-paid phone plans. Our minutes last for a year, there are no monthly charges, it works really well for us. The people we generally call are each other or close family members, or use them for emergencies. A $100 time card lasts a looooong time. We don’t text, either. ūüôā

What Cassie is interested in are a few of the new internet-capable touchscreen phones T-Mobile has available. Their plan for pre-paid is that if you use the internet on the phone, it costs $1.49 for the 24 hours you used the internet. So, if you were on vacation for, say, a week, and you’d like to be able to do map searches, find places to eat, bus schedules, museam times, whatever, we’d only be out $10 or so and have full internet that whole week. On top of the cost of the phone, of course.

What makes it hard is seeing pictures of phones and reading descriptions of features and checking out the reviews written by people we don’t know. We’d like some actually knowledgeable people to give us their thoughts.

The two phones Cassie is liking at the moment are the Nokia 5230 Nuron, and the T-Mobile Comet with Android browser. They’re both in the $100 price range, which, again… we’re a family on a budget.

There is also a Samsung Gravity at the moment, which looks to me to be a really pretty phone.

The Nokia is an older phone touting built in GPS and the ability to save maps on the 2 gig internal memory. There is also mention that with a Nokia downloaded app, you could use it connected to your laptop for internet browsing on the go. The Comet is Android based, and has a capacitive touchscreen, and built in WiFi internet, which presumably means that if we were in areas with Wi-Fi hotspots, we wouldn’t have to use paid minutes to browse the internet.

I put it to you folks… any of you familiar with any of these three devices? I’d sure hate to buy a pig in a poke, and then find out we chose…. poorly.

Various forms of navel gazing

I just wanted to let you know I added something to the website, just for fun.

I’ve got an addon enabled now that let’s me update and track the various books I’m reading.

I’m fairly certain none of you have any interest from day to day in finding out what I’m reading, but the addon is pretty neat in that it lets me track by currently reading, intending to read and¬†finished reading categories. It also keeps all of my entries, with start and finished dates, in a virtual library that anyone can search by visiting the blog.

I could even update the books when I’m done with ratings and mini-reviews, if I were really happy (or pissed at) a certain book.

If I use this diligently, then over time it’ll be pretty fun… for me.

For you, probably not so much. Although in a year from now, I’m sure searching through my reading habits, so long as I keep myself dead honest, should be worth a laugh or two.

For the WordPress bloggers who may agree with me that this sounds really neat, the one I’m using is Now Reading Reloaded

I’m not an Amazon Affiliate, so clicking through any of those books in the sidebar will NOT make me any money whatsoever. But I’m thinking that this might be one thing I wouldn’t mind going ahead and setting up as a paid affiliate… Cassie has clients that use the Affiliate program on their websites, and she assures me that if someone were to click through to Amazon from a book I listed, AND were to buy it, I might see a penny or two.

I think I can live with that kind of income and keep my street cred. Maybe.

I’ll think about it.

We’re Back

If you visited the Big Bear Butt website this morning while the redirect virus was still active, first, I apologize for the trouble. Our website was not directly targeted; we enjoyed the results of someone globally attacking WordPress installations hosted on GoDaddy because GoDaddy has crap security. Yay us, we just payed for our hosting through the entire next year. That doesn’t change the fact that, once again, we thanked you for visiting by trying to make your computer sick.

You’re welcome.

Second, I ask that, if you did get redirected, please make sure you clean the following cookies from your system, and then as an extra safety measure, run a viruscan.

The cookies you should make sure you remove are “bb2_screener_” and one called “s9aerzero”.¬†Many thanks for the assistance from Nick aka Foxpaw for this info.

The site has been restored from one of our daily backups from before the hack, after the last hack a year ago¬†we added a daily backup of the entire site as a security feature. Go Cassie! It took a long time to figure out how to actually USE the backup, as GoDaddy’s backend doesn’t play nice with, well, anybody. But she did it.

It’s amazing how frustrating it can be when you’ve diligently been backing up your work for a year, and the first time you really need to use that backup, you find out you don’t even know how, there’s no documentation, and the hosting site doesn’t like the file format anyway. Grrr.

Lastly, if someone happens to still have a copy of the text from my more recent post, “Hunters and Druids and fun”, possibly from a feedreader edition, I’d appreciate your emailing it to me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com, so I can repost that one. I’ve still got the picture of my Hunter, I may repost that as well, i like that pose. ūüôā I don’t need that mailed to me, though. It was short enough I got it covered.

Thanks for all the well wishes, my friends, and happy holidays to you this fine week. God bless.

I’m sorry

I tried to give you storytime today.

It reached over 3 thousand words… and I haven’t gotten to the camping bit yet.

I’m either going to go insane and post this monstrosity right before I nuke the site from orbit, or I’m going to fall back and punt, and just start over.

I have no idea what happened. This is ridiculous.

I’m gonna put the question to you

I’ve got two things I could write. Well, two big things, and probably continue with a bunch of this small crap.

I’m waffling over which of the two big things to commit to. I don’t know why; I don’t like waffles. But I am, and it’s keeping me from writing either one.

So I’m gonna put it to you.

Which would you rather I committed to actually writing next, a Storytime about camping as a kid, or the next installment of Converging Forces?

Sorry, you don’t get a third option. Those are the two that have bubbled to the top of my brain.¬†

I don’t have writers block, dear God I don’t even understand what that¬†is. I sit down, and the fingers start putting words one after the other across the screen.

A QUALITY block… those, I know well. Oh yes, I most certainly know the name of that daemon and I’m¬†familiar with¬†the feel of his foetid breath hot on the back of my neck.

So – A Storytime, or a Converging Forces turn?

You decide. I need to bust up this damn logjam.


Announcing changes to the Big Bear Butt blog

I have a few announcements for you, my friends.

First, I want to thank all of you who have read my writing here on the blog, whether it be just once or for months and even years. I may not have been the most consistent writer in terms of topic or mood,¬†but I have always tried to be honest with myself and with you.¬†Even in the most grumpy of my posts, I’ve always tried to be entertaining.¬†Failing that, I’ve gone for distracting.¬†Failing even that much, I’ll settle for irritating.

I’d especially like to thank everyone who has ever commented on the blog, or who has taken the time to email me with questions, or just to say hi. You may not understand how it feels unless you’re a blogger, but when someone takes the time to go out of their way to say “hi !”to you, it really does lift up your spirits and help you feel connected to the people on the other side of your writing. Talking into a vacuum becomes akin to talking to yourself… and I’m crazy enough already, thank you very much.

Verily, if your commenting here has helped me maintain¬†what passes for stability, you’ve performed a valuable public service.¬†Thank you.

Second, I want to let you know that the Big Bear Butt blog, written by me, the BBB, will continue. It’ll be right here. I ain’t going anywhere. I like you folks, and¬†I love writing. I’ll keep writing posts, and they’ll go up here. Sometimes, if I pester her enough, Cassie will hopefully post as well. I don’t foresee there being many changes in the tempo, OR the length of my bearwalls. Just so you know.

Third… what KIND of posts I will write ARE changing. This is my big announcement.

If you come here to read the randomness that goes up, well and good, nothing will be really changing for you.

Storytime, trucking stuff, WoW stuff and life in general, RPG stuff, my Converging Forces story, whatever happens to be my enthusiasm¬†that particular¬†day, basically exactly what I’ve been doing here¬†for the last year. That’s going to continue.

Here’s the deal. If you only have me in your feedreader because every once in a blue moon I put up something about World of Warcraft Druid Bear Tanking, if that is all you are interested in, if¬†you’ve been¬†getting tired of all these “offtopic” posts… now is the perfect time to take me off your feedreader.

Keeping me on your feedreader is just like trying to teach a bear to rappel down a mountain without tempting him with bacon first. All it does is irritate you, and if you get angry and demonstrative, piss off the bear. Nobody wins.

So if that’s what you’re here for, theorycrafting posts and the latest news about WoW Feral Druid Tanks, it’s been a wonderful run, but it’s time we said our farewells, and our courses began to diverge.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog, and I hope that you have, at least once or twice in the past, found my site useful for preparing to tank in general and as a Bear Druid in particular.

God bless.

Why the sudden change. It’s pretty much a change that’s been coming for a long time.

I originally started writing guides and tips on Feral Druids¬†in the beginning, years ago, because there was nothing whatsoever out there for Bears. I loved my Bear, everyone said you COULDN’T be an effective Bear, and I knew that was hooey. I loved it, and I felt that with some encouragement and a few tips, others would discover it was super fun awesome time too.

Sure, it was presumptive of me to assume that the advice I felt I had to offer would be either helpful or welcome, but what the heck. I didn’t really expect any audience except for my small circle of friends. So, no worries. I figured maybe 7 to 10 folks would see what i was writing, and we could chew the fat over this or that.

The biggest thing really was I wanted to have fun writing and I really did feel¬†that I could fill that need, and help folks wanting to get started if someone somewhere had actually Googled “How the heck do I bear tank?”

It’s been a long time since those days.

Heck, it’s been a VERY long time since I was the lone Feral Druid voice in the blogosphere. A VERY long time. It’s been so long, that entire new MMOs have gone through beta, went live, and then hit the bug zapper since anything I wrote was fresh or relevant.

Nowadays, if you’d like some theorycrafting tips or advice on playing a Feral Druid, there are many people out there not only writing useful blogs, but who really want to be the person you can rely on for your Feral Druid knowledge.¬†Sure, some of them¬†are craving attention, desperate to be noticed and admired for their big brains, but others are genuinely nice people that are coming into their own voice and have new, fresh ideas and experiences to share. There are a lot of really valuable, wonderful writers out there that would love to help you.

All of them are out there, both the arrogant asshats and the super-considerate helpful writers, and more are beginning their blogging journies every day. I am now far from alone, and you no longer need my ancient experiences to guide you. As if you ever did.

You need a fresh perspective and a new vision. 

If I’m going to be totally honest, I was never really cut out to be the “mentor” website person¬†in the first place. I tried my best, but in time I did discover that a lot of people that read theorycrafting sites, and write theorycrafting sites, and comment on theorycrafting sites are driven by a desperate need. A need for what, I genuinely don’t know, but there is a lot of competitiveness in the theorycrafting arena, a lot of arguing for the sake of trying to score points, or be “right”, or whatever. A lot of ego on naked display.

It’s out there among bloggers, too. I’ve seen¬†bloggers that never say anything unless it’s to comment about how someone else is wrong and start arguments and link back¬†to themselves, and I’ve seen bloggers that comment in other’s blogs that if you want to read a “real” theorycrafting blog, go back and see them instead of this crap you’re looking at. No lie.

I’ve seen¬†enough in dedicated theorycrafting sites to know I’ve seen too much. I have nothing personally to prove to anyone,¬†no desire to be the big bear on campus, just a delight in writing and having fun.

Back when I saw the ever increasing rise of nastyness in the comments here and in the blogospere in general, I¬†decided to let the theorycrafters and elitists¬†go jerk themselves off and¬†stopped writing those kinds of posts. I’ve never regretted it, not one single day. Many of the most offensive I simply blacklisted. The tone around here improved overnight. If you feel you have the right¬†to piss in other people’s pools, don’t be surprised when they don’t invite you back for the next party.

I’ve never really thought of myself as being smarter or more knowledgeable than anyone else. I never considered myself a “theorycrafter”. I’ve always figured, if I could do it, anyone could,¬†and wouldn’t it be nice¬†if someone was there to offer some help and suggestions so they didn’t make the same stupid mistakes I did?

With that in mind, I always tried to write guides and tips and suggestions and lists aimed to help encourage people to be confident, to learn the fundamentals, to be brave enough to get out there and find their own path, and to understand how everything works together well enough on their own to make informed decisions, relying on no one, and certainly not on any website to tell them what to do.

I’ve never wanted to be the guy that does a guide that says “You must¬†do what¬†I say, follow this checklist, and come back here so I can tell you what to do next.”¬†I’ve wanted to be the guy that says, “Here, these are the tools that will help you get started. Go, learn how to use them, and become a greater Bear Tank than I ever was. Discover your true potential, and be the best you can be. Now go forth, and rock the joint. And if you think of me… bounce.”

I’m looking around the blogosphere now, I’m reading Elitist Jerks, I check out the Druid column on WoW Insider (love you, Allison Robert!), I see the new posts going up daily on the Inconspicuous Bear and The Bear Flank and others too numerous to mention, and I can see that the function I was once covering is¬†taken care of very well these days. I am an archaic heirloom of times gone past, and¬†there are now plenty of¬†non-asshat Feral Druid bloggers that write for normal people,¬†not just to impress other elitists with how mathy and special¬†they can be.

For me, the final decision to stop writing guides and Feral Druid rules posts came when I knew that I will not be raiding or even running instances come Cataclysm.

I do think that a person that is going to be assuming the mantle of authority for writing tips and strategies¬†about performing your role in group events should actually be performing that role in a group in the latest content. The writer should speak from personal experience about what works, and what doesn’t work.

That ain’t me right now. And it won’t be me.

And so, to the wonderful people that have come here for Feral Druid guidance in the past, to you¬†I truly do breathe a sigh of farewell. It’s been a wonderful journey together, but you have many more miles to go yet ahead of you, and many more adventures to share. Here by the fire is where my bones wish to lie, sleeping warm and snug while the cold of winter rages on outside, but you hear the wind howl, and feel not the cold, but a delicious excitement at the prospect of a new dawn, and a clear horizon.

Go you on your journeys, discover the adventures that yet lie in wait, and know that I begrudge you nothing, and I wish for you only the best in all that life and WoW has to offer. There is nothing more that I will have to give you, no guidance, no teachings, no wisdom. All that I have to offer you now are my well wishes and prayers that your journey will be a prosperous one, and as you do head out into the Cataclysm of tomorrow, know in your heart the truth that your journeys are yours and yours alone.

Thank you all, so VERY much for allowing me to feel that¬†I have been of help to you in the past. My own journey with you has been fun, but there is bacon on the fire, and I’m so very tired…

When you find yourself in the front of the pack, charing into the enemy, if you happen to think of me,¬†I only ask…

Do it on the Bounce!