A Little Light Writing Challenge

I was watching a review of a movie recently.

I read and watch reviews, but I have little respect for those that write the ones that are extremely critical of story flaws.

Simply put, when I see someone dissect a story, tear it to shreds and be a snot about it, my first thought is, “If nothing out there measures up to your standards or is worth a shit, then by God write one that is great and show us all how it’s done. If you can’t, then stop tearing apart those that actually try.”

OOOH! Now I remember what I was reading, it was a feminist tearing apart Disney’s Brave as being a horrible piece of shit. That’s what it was, got it.

Please note, I’m not labeling the critic a feminist, it is what she labeled herself. I don’t tend to slap labels on people, myself.

Except asshat, that one I throw around quite freely. Perhaps too freely.

Anyway, the saying goes, “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, criticize.”

Actually, it goes “Those that can, do. Those that can’t, teach. And those that can’t teach, teach gym class.” But never let the facts prevent you from delivering a good line.

So, I really liked Brave. And I didn’t understand a lot of the reviews I saw about it. Mostly when I heard refrains along the lines of “Tired old princess story I’ve seen a million times before”, and I kept wondering, “When did we see that same movie? Ever? Because I want to see those, too.”

Many reviews about it mentioned “this type of story.” Meaning the princess story.

And I’ve been looking around, and noticing other such terms and labels used in criticism. Talking about types of stories.

“Oh, this was a decent example of the buddy story.”

“Oh, this was a fairly boring version of the classic fish out of water story.”

It’s been making me wonder about writing, and where people are coming from.

This may surprise you, but I tend to be very analytical about some things. I examine beliefs, my own and others, I examine how things work, I try to get at the understanding of the why, in order to better appreciate the how.

I also write a lot. Some of this, which you do not see, is the writing of fiction. Stories. Stuff what I done put on this here hard drive.

When I write, I do not set out to write a certain kind of story. I don’t really even know about that stuff. I don’t chart it all out ahead of time.

I’ve heard before that there are no new stories, everything has been done, and it’s becoming clear to me that a lot of people have spent a lot of time doing the dissection and analysis of the structure of the story.

Perhaps that is what some folks think it takes to write a story, or maybe it’s what critics use to prove something isn’t original, by comparing it to similar things the author might never have even heard of. Who knows. Maybe it’s very helpful to know what everyone thinks are the only types of stories in existence, so you can choose which one you’re doing this time. Again, really? Okay, I’m not that educated, what do I know. I’m winging it every day, what do I really know.

When I write a story, it’s because I get an idea for something that seems cool to me, including a vision of the people or personalities involved. I want to know more about that story, so I write about it. If it turns into one of these tired old devices, then that’s just the way it works out.

Just because that’s how I’ve been doing it, doesn’t mean I can’t try something else.

What if I actually tried to write a story the way critics describe them?

What if I picked a format, and then intentionally tried to write a story like that?

That’s when I thought to myself, “I haven’t seen fresh creative writing from some of my blogging friends in, like, forever. This feels like a joint venture. Writing challenge time!”

So here is the challenge.

You pick a type of story, and then once you have the type picked out, write a short story of that kind. Then critique yourself.

How did writing that way feel? Was having a structure or framework in mind helpful to you in bringing the story to life, or did you feel restricted or hemmed in by self-imposed rules?

I am going to pick the fish out of water type, and if you’d like to do the same, go for it. Or pick any other type of story structure that suits your fancy.

I am going to sit down at some point this weekend, and try to intentionally write a fish out of water style short story.

When I’m done, I’ll post it here along with my own self-critique.

See, the thing is, I think critics are full of shit. I don’t believe that writers sit down and go all coldly analytical about what they’re going to write about, create flowcharts and graphs, count numbers of male characters versus female characters, brown lizard people versus green lizard people, dogs of small size versus dogs of large size, numbers of night time scenes versus daytime, inclusion of types of food or whatever the hell kind of bullshit I read about.

I think writers get a story stuck in their head, and sit down to get it the hell out of there and onto a surface, any surface where they can look at it in peace.

Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe most writers do sit down and graph everything out in advance, try to write something to cater to a particular audience, then go back and flesh it out.

Really, what the hell do I know? I just peck at the keys, and you can tell I’m a Druid by how well I can mangle.

If you’re interested in taking part, just for fun, I think it would be great to see some more of the wonderfully creative, powerful writing that I saw last time we did a challenge. I also think there is a good chance I’ll learn something new from this exercise, about myself and my writing. So, fuck it, it’s worth it for that alone.

As always, if you do write something, please let me know so I can link to it and feature you here.

Good luck!

P.S. Just to be clear, it doesn’t have anything at all to do with World of Warcraft. Whatever inspiration guides you… once you pick a structure, that is.

I’m actually leaning towards doing a storytime. It’s been a long, long time since I’ve done up a proper storytime. We’re about due for more personal anecdotes and embarrassment around here.

Stay Tuned

The Bear family and I are afk, vacationing at the Walt Disney World Resorts.

Sadly, the blog shall be quite quiet while we’re gone.

This vacation shit is hard work. For those of you who know me well, it should come as no surprise that we have theorycrafted the optimum multi park timeline to gain the most fun without wasted resources.

So far, we’ve nailed the objectives, but the blister boss is taking multiple tries (and nightly lotion) to down, and we experienced our first wipe when Cassie was so stubborn she made herself pass out.

True story, I thought she had died right there in animation class at Hollywood Studios this morning.

Side note, Cassie says the EMTs at Hollywood Studios are very cranky people.

Anyway, stories are what you get when life happens, and we’re in some interesting ones.

I am not idle, this is a working holiday. I am diligently gathering research data for the most epicest Big bear Butt post ever seen.

When the post goes live, I’m not exaggerating when I say it will draw millions of pagehits all on its own.

Millions.

It might also bring jail time, I’ve still got to check on that.

Still. Millions.

To use a favorite movie quote, “You just let your imagination run riot.”

In the meantime, if you find you miss your daily dose of Bear, you can find me on Twitter, I’m on it each day until the phone dies.

Just look for @bigbearbutt and follow the bacon jokes. You can’t miss me.

Happy Veterans Day!

For all of you who have served in the American Armed Forces, doing your part to protect and defend our country, our honor and our way of life, please accept my thanks and my gratitude.

I’ve been in the service myself, and I’m going to take a moment for a ‘no shitter’.

When following the news, I can remember so well that it can seem like nobody really cares, they just say they do.

You look at the headlines, and it’s all about crowds of squatters demanding something or other, democrats and republicans fighting over control of the country like two dogs worrying both ends of the same bone, millions of people without jobs or a means of income being reduced to a bullet point stat for purposes of debate, talking heads arguing over who America should invade next, or police for the next couple of decades, and all sorts of other “WTF” stuff to wade through.

Craziness.

Sometimes it feels like Veterans Day is just another opportunity for people who 364 days out of the year couldn’t give a shit less about you to stand up and wave the flag and say “Oh yeah, I’m patriotic, love those troops! You go, guys and gals! Give ’em hell!”

It can seem like that, and maybe in a lot of cases it is that way.

All I can tell you is, from one veteran to another, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you, one and all, for your service.

I don’t care why you chose to enlist in the armed forces. It does not matter, at the end of the day, whether you enlisted for benefits, a steady job in an uncertain economy, educational opportunities, world travel, adventure, to live the dream, or from a genuine desire to serve the country that gave you birth and preserve the freedoms we hold dear.

It doesn’t matter, because once you’re in, you’re in. As my Drill Instructor once told me (okay, shouted at me), there are no White Marines, Black Marines, Red, Yellow, Brown or Purple Marines, there are only Green Marines. Wherever you came from, whatever originally brought you together, you made that commitment.

What does matter in the end is that you stepped forward and you have done or are doing your part for the benefit of us all, and because of the combined efforts of each and every single one of you, I and my family continue to enjoy the freedoms we possess.

It is thanks to you that the conditions in America exist that give me the opportunity to have this website, and to continue speaking my mind EXACTLY how *I* choose to do it, without repression or censorship. I enjoy my freedom of personal expression thanks directly to you and the continued efforts of all veterans.

So, thank you. Thank you all very much.

And remember… when I go off the rails here, this website is all your fault.

Okay, NOW my journey to the Feral side is complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Still…. behold the power of creation!

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

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

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

I don’t know what it is, but it has Aggro

You remember that post a few days ago, where I laid out my son’s wish for a special kind of pet?

Well, Tesh, being the master of video game art that he is, with sidelines in Mad Science and Fun Stuffs, took that as a challenge.

I hereby present to you his interpretation of that dream!

Upon seeing that, my son said, “Wow, that’s even BETTER than I imagined!”

High praise, but I agree. That’s just amazing.

If you think that is good, though, you should see some of the other creations he’s done, and hey, why not go buy A Kingdom for Keflings, and play a game that is infused with his artistic genius?

There will be a shirt soon, since as usual, I want to wear shirts with Tesh’s art on them, and he won’t start his own store. But it’ll have to be after this weekend, since right now I’m at the North American Discworld Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, and I’ll be taking pictures, livetweeting and having fun basking near the brilliance of Sir Terry Pratchett.

Well, truthfully I’ll be spending my time having fun meeting other fans of the works of Sir Terry, but I’m sure he’ll be in the building somewhere.

If you happen to be near Madison, Wisconsin, you ought to come down, I hear they have one day passes. I’m going to be there all of Friday and Saturday, so maybe you’ll see me there! And, you know, be able to throw fruit at me or something.

Merry Christmas to you, blogger style!

I wish you all a very merry Christmas morning, wherever you may be.

May you all find yourselves safe and sound and full of hope, and if you are not home with the ones you love, may you be held close in their hearts and be home to see them soon.

In the spirit of sharing Christmas wishes on a blog, I leave you with this message of the day, in a form we can recognize all too well.

Again, Merry Christmas to you all, and God bless you and keep you safe from harm.

Welcome to the month of Movember!

Movember? Is that like move to the groove?

Well, I’m sure you can move to the groove all you’d like, but, no.

But if you do, I bet you look fabulous!

Movember is this event originating in Australia that I have never, ever heard of before this week, but that I am embracing with both hands and a big ‘stache.

Are you confused? Would you like some explanation?

I’m not going to give you one.

However, I WILL say that if you’re dying to have some kind of clue before telling me I’m an idiot, you need to go here and all of your questions will be answered

Yes, all of your questions. You can ask Gnomer any question, and he will have an answer for you. AN answer.

Wait, you wanted a right answer? Geez, what do you want fer nuthin’… a rubber biscuit?

Those of us that are Feral are at least part cat, so is it mean of me not to satisfy your curiosity myself?

Yes, of course it is. I’m part cat, I like toying with people.

Getting back to Movember, now that you’re on board with the concept and all of your questions have been answered, I want you to know that I am throwing all of my support behind Team “Gnomes Get The Blues Too!”

Normally, I walk around completely clean shaven. That wasn’t always the case, though, as my wedding picture clearly proves.

I have to walk around clean shaven now, because the last time I grew facial hair, well, I attracted a supermodel who demanded to marry me. After we were married, she forced me to shave it all off, because she knew that other supermodels would continue to throw themselves at me if I didn’t.

It’s not that she was jealous, you understand. She just didn’t want my ego to get any bigger than it already was. 🙂

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

So, anyway, I’m clean shaven now and have been for years. But it’s Movember, and while I’ve never heard of it before, I care about my good buddy Gnomer, and I’m a gonna support him in his endeavors!

That means I am going to grow a moustache this month.

Or at least, I announced Saturday night that I was intending to support Gnomer and allow my facial hair to grow unfettered.

To which, Cassie replied, “No you’re not.”

I stood fast. I was adamant. I was going to grow a face full of ‘stache.

And this ain’t an idle statement, because my Bear-like nature is so powerful that if I don’t take a machete to my face every day, by the end of the weekend I start getting calls from ZZ Top asking me if I can play backup guitar on their next tour.

So Cassie resorted to reason.

She bribed me.

Seeing I was determined to show my support for Gnomer and Movember, she told me that if I DON’T grow my facial hair out, she’ll let me donate money to Gnomer’s Team. Also, she reminded me that I have to sleep sometime… and she has scissors.

Hey, whatever works, right?

And I call it reason… because extortion is such an ugly word.

Go thee and see the awesome of a brave Gnome!

Looking for more than Group

Last year, on November 14th, quite a few of us within the WoW community took part in what we called the Raid for the Cure.

It was an in-game event for both factions on the Kael’thas-US server intended to increase awareness of the importance of early testing for breast cancer.

A lot of wonderful people, including many of my readers at the time, all got together that Saturday afternoon and took part in the event. It was an amazing experience to be a part of.

All cheesy BS aside, I know that I felt really choked up by how many people came out to take part in the run across the realms, and wore Pink Mageweave shirts and /danced and generally had a great time together.

Several people took the time to whisper me during the event, and email me both before and after the event, to share with me their own personal stories of how breast cancer had touched their lives, and how they were taking part in the run as a way to once again feel closer to the person or in some cases people in their lives that breast cancer had taken from them.

Being a part of something like that, even for just one day, really reminds me why the “massively multiplayer” part of this game makes such a difference. We do have the power, all of us together, to transcend the programmed intent of the game and make of it something else, something with great personal meaning for each us, if we decide we want to.

And then we go back to the serious business of smacking Arthas upside his head.

I was asked yesterday by Kit in an email if we intended doing another Raid for the Cure again this year, a RftC2.

Sort of, kinda, but not really.

Yes, we do intend to try and organize a charitable event in-game across both factions on the Kael’thas-US server.

What we are not doing is continuing with the Raid for the Cure theme for a second year.

Last year, we had a very personal reason for organizing the Raid for the Cure. Julie’s diagnosis, and her battle with breast cancer, caused within us a desire to show our support for her. It was a personal cause, not a general one.

This year, Cassie and I want to show our support for a different cause, one that has intense personal meaning to our family, one that is really never far from our thoughts.

Our own personal lives have been touched, very deeply, by Heart Disease.

Cassie’s maternal grandmother died of complications arising from her battle with heart disease on June 4, 2007, and within less than three weeks, her father had passed away very suddenly from heart disease as well on June 21st.

Cassie was devastated by this, she was just torn apart. I really don’t have the words to describe how close her relationship was with her father, a wonderful, caring, loving man. He was such an incredibly warm-hearted man, I felt so welcomed by him into his home and the incredibly warm extended family that he had helped nurture, that even within the brief time that I knew him, I have only ever felt pride in choosing to take her family’s name instead of keeping my own when Cassie and I married.

The biggest factor that caused Cassie to begin playing WoW was as an attempt to find a means to distract herself from her grief at her father’s passing, and though several years have passed, it’s been clear to see that her grief remains as fresh today as it was when he passed years ago.

That is why this year we’d like to organize an in-game event meant to heighten awareness of the risks of heart disease, and to be a time of remembrance and celebration of the lives of those of us we loved, and still miss, that have been taken from us by heart disease.

It’s a very personal cause for us, and I know that I would feel joy in thinking that I had done something, however small, in helping to support organizations that are working to find solutions.

What we’d like to do, starting now when there are still months to go before October/November, is to ask for volunteers who would be willing to work with Cassie and I in planning the event, organizing it, and running it when it happens.

The event we will work towards and take part in will be on the Kael’thas-US server, both Alliance and Horde side. If someone likes the idea, and wants to organize one of their own on a European server, I’ll certainly be happy to advertise it on my blog if you let me know the details.

We’ve got some ideas, but now is the time to really get a plan going, and we can’t do it without your support.

This event is going to completely driven by the individuals that want to come forward and take an active part, a true community activity, and everyone that wants to participate in the planning stages or wish to offer their services as event volunteers are not only welcome, but needed!

So if you’re interested in taking part in this with us, with a planned event date somewhere in the end of October, or early November, please email me at tigerlordgm AT yahoo DOT com.

I can tell you one thing… Cassie pointed out that the Red Linen Shirts look quite attractive, and the mats are certainly a lot easier to come by than the Pink Mageweave ones. Cassie told me she could see a vision of the event, and a scene of dozens of players wearing bright red shirts, forming the shape of a big old heart in the middle of Barrens. Is she the only one that sees that vision?

Limping into Children’s Week

Another year has passed, and another opportunity for collecting non-combat pets (or vanity pets, or whatever you’d like to call our little friends) comes around again.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I blew this off the first couple of years on my main. I’m still chasing pets from doing Orphan quests.

This year I was fairly excited to begin the runs. I was determined this time that I’d grit my teeth and persevere through the PvP achievements to complete the overall week as one step closer to “What a Long Strange Trip”, and also, this would be the first time doing it on the Horde side.

Of course, the pets you can get are the same, but I’d never dragged the Orphan around Barrens before.

It didn’t take long to complete both Shattrath and Orgrimmar Orphan quest chains. I ate a bunch of sweets in front of a wanna-be rocking Blood Elf brat, and I even killed a King in front of her.

Not exactly sure what message I’m supposed to be trying to send her by killing a King before her very green eyes. That this too must pass? That no matter how important you are, a dagger between the shoulder blades will really crimp your style? That 5 max level and geared players can kick one person’s butt if you all gang up on him at the same time?

Hmm. Those are all pretty good lessons to learn after all.

Regardless, I turned in the Orphan chains, I completed all the quests, and picked two new pets, leaving only one more left to collect next year, Mr. Wiggles. What can I say, if I get a pet pig, it’ll be bacon a week later. Might as well leave him for last, prolong the pleasure of anticipating a fine lunch.

So, every achievement except the PvP ones are done, every Orphan quest chain except the Oracles turned in. Time to go to Dalaran, right?

I was well prepared for the PvP. Thanks to Cynwise’s outstanding guide to the event, I felt that I had at least a fighting chance to get it all done… IF I started early, of course. And if I went in prepared and determined to kick ass.

All set, ready to rock, queued for Arathi Basin and gonna kick some massive Gnome butt.

47 minutes in queue for AB later, and it pops…

1 minute after I finally decided to turn in the Orgrimmar orphan, and 2 minutes before I would have picked up the Dalaran Orphan chain. Or thought I would have.

Not the most auspicious of beginnings.

Okay, this time I’m going to make damn sure I’ve got my Orphan, and THEN I’ll queue. I just didn’t expect the delayed queue for a BG when PvP was a big part of Children’s Week achievements.

Off to Dalaran, and I talk to the fine lady who provides such a wonderful parenting example, as the Oracle and Wolvar children chase around, trying to kill each other.

She… she doesn’t want to entrust me with an Oracle orphan. /shocked!

I is a sad bear. But… but I can be good to him! Is true! Why wouldn’t you trust me? Look at this huge horny face! How could you not trust these horns!

And I really need that kid, lady, because there is this massive war going on between Horde and Alliance, and I need some little kid following me around, to watch me carve my name into the shattered, broken carcasses of a million little gnome bodies…

Hmmm. The light, it begins to dawn.

Okay, next time, I don’t mention Battlegrounds. And I hide the massive Harpoon I carry around. It needs the blood cleaned off again, anyway, before it rusts. And, umm, the armor. Okay, so it smells. I’ll clean it next time, I know how that Ick stench really does penetrate leather, but hell, after a few weeks of wearing it without a bath, you kinda stop noticing. 

I made some inquiries, and now the word is that it’s just a mistake. That really, the Orphan lady is supposed to be willing to talk to me, but that she might just be confused after the, um, good job I did watching that Wolvar brat last September.

Hopefully, she’ll get the word from on high that, no, really, it’s okay, his clothes were just in for cleaning, that’s why I turned him in naked (hey, he had some fur left! And the burns will fade sooner or later, the little crybaby. Won’t kill steal my ass.) and I already TOLD her he had those bruises when I got him, and oh yeah, it was his fault in the first place, I TOLD him not to stand that close to the edge of Aldor Rise. And by the way, what kind of a kid just runs right off the edge when you’re flying over in flight form?

And sure, so he got a little nibbled when I was fishing up Bull Lion fish for the Kalu’ak, I didn’t expect the kid to just leap in the water and swim after me. And boy, who knew the kid could swim that fast? No matter how far out into the ocean amongst the sharks and icebergs, no matter how fast I turned around, there he was, moving like a little furry torpedo. If he wanted to keep those toes, he should have used the shark repellant.

Ah well. I’m sure she’ll talk to me again. Just as soon as the bribes kick in.

Until then, I’ll be lonely and sad, for there are gnomes to extinguish, and it’s just no fun without an audience!

The Week of the Phoenix

This is going to be a slightly different post for me, but I’d like to ask that you bear with me on this one for a few minutes, because the feelings behind it are very important to me.

I’d like to start, by asking you to try and remember back a few years to 2008, and the story of a young boy named Ezra Chatterton. 

Ezra Chatterton, for those that might not have played WoW back then, was a charming ten year old boy that suffered from a very serious brain tumor.

His story came to light in the WoW community when, through the works of the Make a Wish Foundation and Blizzard, his wish of meeting the designers and developers of his favorite game, World of Warcraft, and spending a day AS a developer was made real.

World of Warcraft was Ezra’s favorite game, because according to the story related by WoW.com, Ezra’s parents were divorced, and Ezra’s main method of spending time with his father was through playing together, and talking together while they were both online in WoW.

WoW was a bonding experience that helped bring father and son closer together, even though they lived quite far apart. 

The story of a father and son brought closer together through a shared love of video games did strike a very personal chord with me, and it was only too easy to imagine how I’d feel if it was my own son that suffered from a brain tumor, and an uncertain future. My little wabbit slayer. 🙂

During his visit with Blizzard, and his day as a guest designer, Ezra, whose in-game name for his Tauren Hunter was ePhoenix, took part in helping design many small features that are still to be found in the game.

He helped design and do voiceovers for a new NPC, Ahab Wheathoof, that can be found in the Tauren starting town of Bloodhoof Village near Mulgore, and also designed the quest Ahab gives you, which is to help find Ahab’s pet dog, Kyle, modeled after Ezra’s own dog Kyle.

Ezra also gave input on, and helped design the Season 2 PvP weapon, the Merciless Gladiator’s Crossbow of the Phoenix. A weapon that still looks really damn cool, and that my Hunter has in the bank. How can you get rid of the Phoenix bow?

Why so many references in Ezras’ story to the Phoenix? It’s because Phoenix was actually Ezra’s middle name, and he took the name his father Micah and his mother had chosen for him, and it’s mythological background, close to his heart.

The lengths the Make a Wish Foundation and Blizzard went to, to bring his dream of feeling what it was like to be a game developer for a day, really was an inspirational, sweet gesture full of heart. 

Towards the close of his  day with Blizzard, he was given one parting gift from the development team; the Ashes of Al’ar that drop from Kael’thas in The Eye, the 25 man raid instance in Burning Crusade. He was the very first person to have the Ashes of Al’ar in all of the game, the exceedingly rare drop that becomes the lovely Phoenix mount, and I think it was very appropriate and wonderful to have thought of.

Not too long after the story of Ezra and his day with Blizzard came to our attention, WoW.com shared the news that Ezra had passed away on October 20th, 2008, after complications resulting from a stroke.

So, why am I bringing this up now?

Well, here’s the thing.

One thing that is talked about a lot these days, here and elsewhere, is how things feel like they’ve changed recently in the game.

With the addition of random Battlegrounds, random Looking For Dungeon tools, weekly Raid quests that get advertised, filled, knocked off and then party abandoned, even pug ICC raids, it’s become increasingly easy in the game to log in, join a series of groups, play in group content for hours, and then log off without ever having shared an actual moment of personal interaction with anyone else.

For me, the story of Ezra is, at least in part, the story of how a video game that is designed to make it easy to bring people closer together CAN be a place where families and distant friends can get to spend some valuable time together that they might not have had otherwise.

Yes, it’s time spent in a virtual world, but it’s time with REAL people that you know, love, and miss, people that you can’t be near in real life at that moment.

The distance between people in game, the ease the random group systems make it to slip away into isolation from other people… these are things I think about often, and Ezra’s story stays there in the back of my head, as counterpoint to what the game can be.

I’d like to try and do something with you, the readers of the blog, as a joint effort to remember Ezra. A little event where we could each get together and remember him, and the joy he took in having the game help him be closer to his dad, by doing something with friends and family.

What I’d like to propose is this.

If you read this blog, and if you are willing to take part in this with me, then approach your guild leaders, raid leaders or officers, and ask them if they would kindly put up a raid sometime during the next week or so to go into The Eye, the 25 man Burning Crusade raid, and try for a Phoenix mount drop, in honor of the ePhoenix.

Make it a special occasion that holds the spirit of the game to heart; you and your fellow friends and guild members, and of course your family if they play, getting together to have fun, to bond, and to spend time doing something just to be together as friends in the game.

I know it must seem corny, but it would bring a smile to my face to think of people playing WoW all across the world, seperated by physical distance but together in the game, having fun and giggling and doing silly crap, all inspired by the memory of the young boy who loved the game and the closeness it brought his family so much.

Now, here is the part that will probably sound wierdest, but I’m really serious.

Please, don’t advertise it with my name on it. Please don’t link to me, or refer to me, or have it be attached to me in any way. It’s not a Bear thing. It’s an “all of us” thing.

If you do want to spread the word, please do not mention me in any way. Just take the idea on your own, and mention it as something you’d like to do.

Where the idea comes from isn’t important.

I want this, for the people who agree that it’d be a nice thing to do, to be all about the idea, and about Ezra, and about playing together with friends instead of alone in LFD.  

If the idea of taking a few hours out of the week to remember how precious it is that we can get together with friends and most especially family members from all over the world and have fun appeals to you, just bring the idea back to your guild, and try to make it happen.

Any of you that do this next week, whether you get a Phoenix mount or not, I’d just like to know how it went for you. Whether you had fun, what craziness you may have gotten into. Just drop me a line at my email, and let me know.

If by some chance you do have a Phoenix mount drop, send me a screenshot if you think about it. Cassie and I would love to see it. 🙂

I don’t know, maybe it sounds stupid on the outside. Maybe folks just have much more important things to do, or things to think about. But the older Alex gets, the more I think of Ezra and his father… and of how precious having these few moments to spend together really are.