Odds and Ends

Remember when I had something to write about every day?

Me neither.

Oh well. Writing has not been something for which I have had much mojo lately, for which I blame several stressful months at work. At least my terrible coworker is finally gone and the good coworker who precipitated the whole mess by going part-time in the first place is back to being full-time and I stuck him with my old hours and my old job. That’ll teach him to leave.

I have been playing WoW somewhere in all the odd moments of time to myself but there hasn’t been anything super exciting going on. Nothing that seemed to merit its own blog post, anyhow. But if I put it all together in one mess of a post? Well, it’s still not that exciting but it is what you get today.

The guild remains quiet and not raiding, which is still a bit sad but not enough to make me pursue those fleeting thoughts I have about starting up my own guild and recruiting and remembering why being a peon is so nice and being a guild leader isn’t.

Besides, my army of alts is still keeping me plenty busy. Franq is 87 and still spends all her time running around with At’s Druid. He’s a bear and she’s finally started to live up to her name by having gone resto. The spell I accidentally cast the most and at the worst possible times? Tranquility. I really ought to make a macro that points out in some clever fashion that Franquility is casting Tranquility. Again. Even though we’re all just standing around trying to decide what to roll on the loot that just dropped and no one is even thinking of taking damage.

In other news, my rogue went Gnome and changed her name. I just dislike the dwarf models enough that I couldn’t stand playing Alexxira any more and what use is a level 90 that I won’t play even long enough to do farm dailies and such? None. I haven’t done much more with her in her smaller state, but she sure is cute!

As cute as a Gnome can be, anyway, seeing as how they are vaguely creepy.

As cute as a Gnome can be, anyway, seeing as how they are vaguely creepy.

When I’m not on an alt, which is rare, I’ve been working on pet gathering on Alas. I’m working on the Raiding with Leashes II achievement, which has been slow-going with only three pets in the same number of weeks.

I did, however, somehow manage to finally obtain this:

Totally disappointed with the mount, to be honest.

Totally disappointed with the mount, to be honest.

And yesterday I finally managed to find the wherewithal to finish beating the Outland Pet Tamers. Pet battling is just barely manageable when I barely pay attention to it while I’m indulging my shameful Candy Crush addiction on the second monitor.

Naming pets is far more enjoyable, but that has also been a slow process. I was pleased to finally come up with a good name for my Lil’ XT yesterday. I was yelling “NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!” at the screen as he did his tympanic tantrum and then commented to At that I am always reminded of Tamarind’s having described Lil’ XT as a “histrionic little bastard” and… well…

Although "Lil' Bastard" would have been fun, too

Although “Lil’ Bastard” would have been fun, too

Last but not least, I’ve indulged in a bit of ‘mogging recently, tired as I was of Alas’ all-white look. The result of my careful planning and dedicated gathering is rather epic, if I do say so myself.

Now that your eyes are bleeding, I'll call this post a wrap

Now that your eyes are bleeding, I’ll call this post a wrap

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a long-neglected hunter who is waiting to finish up her Loremaster of Northrend achievement. Project QuATT will eventually see an end. Probably. Eventually.

Engineers. What a bunch of bastards.

One of the best things about having parked my boatload of baby alts in the Shrine is that they usually get a chance to be the toon to talk to the Blingtron 4000 and have a chance at getting 5 free profession skill-ups.

Profession skill points are one of those things you sort of grow to covet when you decide to make nearly every character you have a dual-production profession character. Like I did. When I decided I needed an army of alchemists, with 7/10 of my existing toons busily engaged in making potions and flasks in a bid to corner any current and future transmute markets.

But that’s another story and not a very exciting one. It’s just the reason why seeing this in the Shrine one day made me see red:

Rude

I ran around the Shrine for… a while, trying to track that sucker down. Was it downstairs and outside? Was it on the roof? Was it upstairs on one of those inside balconies, appearing to be more central on my minimap than it actually was?

No, no and no. It was on a random platform just inside the door, far out of reach for any of my baby toons who cannot fly at all anywhere, let alone Pandaria.

I sulked.

I growled a bit.

When At started laughing and saying he was going to find even more difficult-to-reach places, I declared that Engineers must have an inherent jerkishness that makes them quite unpleasant to even be around.

Out of reach

 

I mean, really. Don’t they know that Blingtrons are for me and my use?

Focus, several months later

I blogged towards the beginning of the year that I wanted to make my One Word for 2013 be the word “Focus.” I’ve been awfully quiet around here as of late, so here’s a quick post talking about my progress so far.

Let’s start with the good, shall we?

Writing

Not only have I been working diligently on my fiction, I’ve been working on the project I’ve determined to get finished this year. Just yesterday I took all the words from all the individual documents (I post it to ff.net so it’s been easier to write it literally a chapter at a time) and compiled them into one big document. My word count is sitting just a hair under 64000, so I’m pretty close to getting that finished up. It could be anywhere from 40-60k words more, but I am less concerned about that than I am in actually telling the story. Plot-wise, we’ve turned a major corner, so I’d put things at roughly halfway done.

Once I finish that, I’ll be turning to a more serious pursuit. Like, the book I think I could actually make a run at actually publishing. Whenever I can’t bring myself to focus on the JAFF1, I plot ahead for this other project. When I first got the idea for it last October, I immediately hurled some 17k words at it, so I have a decent beginning and almost can’t wait to write more.

All in all, my writing is in a good place. Possibly the best it has been in over five years.

The Social Life

I am very pleased to report that my real life social life has also been going rather well. I’ve made a few friends at work and those interactions have progressed to the point where we’re actually getting together outside of work and I’m actually going to open up my home to one of these women for three weeks while she is between living situations.

I’ve also gotten closer with my sister and a few people from her circle of friends, again, even hosting them on several occasions. As my home is very much my retreat from the world, these are big steps for me. What’s been great is that they haven’t felt like big steps. We’ve just been having stupid amounts of fun and it doesn’t seem to matter where.

I believe At is much relieved to finally have other people to interact with again. Poor little extrovert living with an extreme introvert!

On the downside, I feel like the more time I make for the people I actually see every day, the less I am inclined to socialize online. I’m sure that’s more of a downside for me than it is for anyone who might otherwise be willing me to shut up already on Twitter.

Weight Loss

Coming up in a grey area as having been neither terribly awesome nor terribly terrible is weight loss. My tracking has been out the damn window and with all the social events, I am not eating or drinking as little as I ought to be.

On the other hand, the job is keeping me very active most days. So, I have lost a few pounds but only a few. I keep telling myself to focus and to track and combine the activity with a rigorous approach to eating, but my best intentions keep getting swept away on the weekends when I share a meal and some wine with friends. Sometimes multiple days in a row.

All of that being said, I totally need to get out and buy some smaller pants and that’s always a good feeling.

WoW

Of all things, my focus in WoW that I had planned to be on my main is coming along the worst. To be fair, there doesn’t seem to be much point in working on my raiding skills when I’m not actually raiding. I’ve stalled out on the new rep grind and the legendary quest line. I’ve only been to the new raids two or three times and haven’t even seen past the turtle boss guy at all. See? I don’t have the slightest idea what his name even is.

My alts are getting most of my attention and time, as I’ve (somewhat ambitiously) decided to make most of them dual production professions. My rogue, who is a dual-gatherer, has been mining and herbing her little heart out and I’ve been trying to establish the flow of materials based on who is the highest level and who is the lowest. I also took the time to get all of my alts up to at least 75 points in both of their primary professions and all but one of the secondary professions (archaeology being too painful to level without flying, imo) in time for the Darkmoon Faire.

Next month, I will have to take care not to attempt to run all of them through the Faire in the same day as that got very tedious. But it is over and done for this month and I am blissfully ignoring the Faire dailies since I have all the mounts and pets at last.

Looking Ahead

As this year continues to turn, I plan to keep my focus on my writing and the weight loss issue. I feel that my social life is happening naturally enough at this point that I don’t need to push myself to get out there and do more. If there is a shift back towards raiding in my guild, I’ll worry then about really being diligent on Alas, but feel that it’s okay to be a bit lackadaisical about her now.

An area that I would like to add to focus on is in developing my career. What I said about my book above notwithstanding, I don’t want to work a succession of crappy, low paying jobs just to write. I am proving to myself that I can fit it in when I make it a priority and I’d like to transition to a career that will be an actual career.

The idea has stumped me until recently, since I couldn’t really think of anything I wanted to do that I had much of a prayer of getting into. After all, I’ve spent over a year watching my company’s postings looking for the “dream job” and the closest I can get to it seems to be a part time shift with crap hours.

I’ve at last landed on obtaining my PMP certification and hopefully breaking into doing Project Management for IT. It seems like something that my skills would complement nicely while also being something that would challenge me.

Anyhow, that’s how my year of focus is shaping up so far. Maybe in another couple months I’ll get desperate enough to blog again that I’ll give another update. I haven’t even posted this one yet (well, I will have by the time you’re reading it, but… whatever) and I can practically feel the excitement you guys have in all the boring details of my boring life.

  1. Again, a vaguely steampunk/urban fantasy Pride & Prejudice; ping me for a link if that is your cup of tea, though I will throw disclaimers at you first

Dreams really do come true

Oh, hello there! Everything around here has been on the quiet side lately, hasn’t it? I blame my job. Not the coffee making one, but the one I just recently got.

I’ve been super excited about it and have wanted to tell you guys, but there have been a few factors preventing me from doing so until now. The first of these is that I have been terribly busy just trying to find my footing and establish a routine. The second is that I signed an agreement stating that I wouldn’t talk about it until we were ready to launch.

Well, we’re finally ready to launch!

So here it is, guys: Dreams really do come true and I am now being paid to write! Like, for words and the typing them up in a certain order. Amazing, right?

There is a caveat or two. One is that this isn’t exactly writing the next Great American Novel. In fact, it’s a style of writing I’ve never expected to get into on a serious basis before. And the subject matter, while being similar to something else near and dear to my heart, isn’t what I am really passionate about.

I’m not complaining, truly. I mean, this is a wonderful opportunity and I’m so excited to finally get a chance to see my name in print. On something that has been really published on paper, and not just in an electronic format.

Anyway. That’s enough excited chatter from me. I’ve gotten permission to share the cover of this month’s issue with you all here. Hey, maybe some of you will even purchase a subscription! I’m tremendously excited about this and I hope you’ll love it, too!

 

 

Minipost: Stomp this!

I made an inadvertent discovery today1, squawked about it on Twitter and discovered that I was not the only person who didn’t know this before. So. Here we are. Halfhill. The daily in question is called Pest Problems and you have to stomp on marmots or mook mooks. This is tedious, seeing as how you have to avoid swarms of bugs and wait for the marmots to spawn and then be close enough to jump on them.

Well, not if you do it in these three easy steps.

1. Talk to the guy on the wagon.

2. Wait in the air for about a minute.

3. Land and AoE the crap out of them. It counts. You’re welcome.

 

Screenshot courtesy of my husband

 

  1. I just really hate those marsh fiddler things and so popped an Arcane Explosion to kill one and caught a handful of marmots by accident. It’s right up there with the discovery of penicillin!

Minipost: A possibly unpopular opinion

Several weeks ago, I saw a bit of a kerfuffle on The Twitters regarding the PvP stage of the legendary quest. I don’t actually recall who was involved in the discussion, so take my recap with a grain of salt. My takeaway was that one side was arguing that PvP shouldn’t be required for a PvE-centric quest line and the other side was more enthusiastically for it.

I knew I was coming up on that part of the chain and I wasn’t inclined to look forward to having to win a few battlegrounds. PvP and I don’t really get along very well in general, and if I am going to engage in it, I prefer to not have to do so on my mage. I favor being able to pick my battles, so I tend to prefer PvP on a rogue or a kitteh druid.

Still, I’ve been meaning to try my hand at more PvP on Alas, simply because I believe it will push me into honing skills that I don’t hone while killing ten whatsits for the sake of a daily. And then came a quest that required I win two battles. I went in expecting to lose a few times. I went in expecting to die a lot. I went in expecting to have to capture a base or a flag. I wasn’t expecting it to be fun.

Turns out, the mechanics of the battlegrounds I needed to win were different, easy enough to figure out on the fly and a whole lot of fun. Oh, and the Alliance waltzed in and won with ease.

The only Powerball I'll ever win

 

“I love this PvP!” I exclaimed to At after finishing the second battleground. “It’s so much fun!”

“War is only fun when you’re winning,” he observed in reply.

Way to encourage me to branch out there, babe.

The point is, I’ve resented Wrathion a lot along the way for the crap he wants me to do. But for the PvP portion of this quest line, I am grateful. I never would have tried the battlegrounds had I been left to my own devices, and I wouldn’t know that it really can be fun even for me.

And I wouldn’t have mopped up a few more achievements.

So if you are like me and PvP isn’t typically your thing, don’t get mad about it. Just try it. You might like it more than you could have anticipated!

On not raiding

It’s been over a month since I last raided.

Last week, I was thinking that it had been a month, and then I spent the whole week in between then and now trying to figure out how I feel about that. I’m still not sure I’ve pinned anything down, so you all get a pointless post wherein I put it all down on the page so that I can come to some sort of conclusion.

It’s just how I process things sometimes.

I do know that I am not terribly upset over this state of affairs. As I told the other mage last week, LFR has done its bit – along with Wrathion’s insane demands for me to earn 6000 VP assistance – to ensure that I’ve seen all the content multiple times, even if it is on ez-mode. I’ve seen it enough times to get sick of it and haven’t been able to bring myself to queue for LFR anything in the same amount of time I’ve been not raiding normal modes with my guild.

At the same time, I do miss raiding with my guild. It’s about the only time there are more than three or four people online at the same time and while raiding tends to happen in near-perfect silence, there is always some banter being typed into raid chat. Even without chatter of any kind, there is a camaraderie to raiding with one’s guild that comes from just doing something together.

Most of my game time is spent alone these days, and I tend to be okay with that. I’m enjoying my QuATT characters and deliberately seek out time on them each week, because I do value the solo questing time. If I am doing something with someone else, it’s typically with At. We do dailies together most days, and have a couple paired alts that we’re leveling. Just yesterday we spent an hour or two chain running LFD on our level 67 druids. We’re both bears and dual tank the instances, having fun with massive pulls and all that glorious AoE damage.

I’ve also been a bit more active in getting things going via BattleTag friends. I ran the holiday boss a few times with Psynister and Fynralyl, and had loads of fun each time.

My time in WoW is good. I enjoy what I am doing. I’ve definitely learned to not do things I don’t enjoy on characters I don’t enjoy or play with people that I don’t enjoy. But there’s still that something missing, and I think it’s the feeling of teamwork you get from working together with your guild. I think it’s doing something bigger than achieving goals that are only mine, and not shared by more people.

I’m hoping raiding will pick back up soon, even though I know I can be happy enough without it. I’m hoping Real Life will stop critting my guild mates in the face. And in the meantime, I might need to get back into big group activities in some format.

Ah, but that is perhaps a post for another day. My ideas about that are maybe a little less obvious than one might think.

And now for something completely different

As I’ve mentioned one or two million times before, I work in a law firm. It’s somewhat different than all my previous work environments, which have ranged from a warehouse/production environment to a lot of years in Higher Education.

One thing all my jobs have had in common though, is that people will buy some ugly ass “art” and hang it on the walls and call it good. The firm is no exception, although they apparently went the route of actually having all their shitty art insured and have it inspected once a year. They’re also about to spend an obscene amount of money on having interior designers come in and choose new paint colors for the walls (undoubtedly another exciting shade of beige or ecru) and move the art around.

But I digress.

I’ve been talking for a few months now about how the world needs a blog similar to cakewrecks, but for office art1. We could call it uglyofficeart.com and accept submissions from offices around the globe that have ugly art in them. Which I am starting to think is all of them.

At says I should quit talking about it and actually try it.

So here I am, taking a stab at a piece that hangs near to my cubical, and seems more like a poster than real art, but is somewhat rich with possibilities for mockery. I call it Downtown Types, because those are the words printed on the piece so that we’re not confused into thinking it’s Businessmen Next to Cactus or Two Dudes Standing Around Waiting for a Bus and Sharing a Paper.

(And I apologize in advance for the shitty quality of my phone photo. It was hard to get the picture without getting my own reflection in there and a bunch of people were walking by and giving me very funny looks2.)

Downtown Types

 

I want to start by saying that I don’t understand why anyone would pay actual money for this… this… “art.” Even taking into account that art appreciation is fairly subjective, I can’t begin to figure out who took a look at this and thought, “You know, this looks like something a 12 year old might create in art class, what with the wobbly knees and severely inclined angles at which those two douches in suits are standing. I should buy it and insure it and hang it up on the wall at work!”

And then there’s the question of what the artist was trying to say here. “Downtown types are faceless money-grubbers in rumpled suits that all look the same and who don’t actually contribute anything more to society than standing around and catching up on the news or the stock market. I will demonstrate their soullessness by having them be indistinguishable, crooked and standing on either side of a vaguely phallic cactus! Brilliant!”

Lastly, I think this is a pretty narrow slice of what might constitute “Downtown Types.” I work downtown myself, and in addition to all the people in various degrees of business wear, I also see the homeless, people dressed to casually stroll the city streets, people working out, people half dressed, that one guy in a kilt who was playing the bagpipes, a variety of hippies and a bunch of people in various uniforms, such as cops or city workers.

You know, maybe that whole Downtown Types thing is a typo. Because I could totally see this being a better and more accurate representation of Downton Types.

Downton Type, Reading the Paper, sans Phallic Cactus

 

What do you guys think? About the art or the feeble attempts at wit, here. I am possibly not the person for the job of lambasting ugly office art, but man, I do see a lot of it every day. Like the painting of a dead joker that hangs outside the president of the firm’s office. I am not sure what that says about him, but I can think of a few things I’d be willing to say about it.

  1. A very cursory Google F Search does not seem to pull up anything more than this post
  2. And not that I care a whole lot, but they already think I’m deranged for all the lurking I do outside of closed conference room doors, trying to determine if the room is actually empty before I go barging in.

Hitting a snag

Project QuATT is giving me problems. Outland is a major pain in my ass just at the moment.

Getting Hellfire squared away is easy enough, and I had no issues there. Ditto for Zangarmarsh. Terokkar was a bit more of a struggle, because you have to go into Nagrand and start a chain of quests there that will eventually take you back to Terokkar and allow you to wrap things up there.

I thought I was over the hard bits until I would hit Blade’s Edge, which I do recall being a major pain in the ass, way back when I did it on Alas. Turns out that Nagrand is being even more trouble than I had anticipated it would be.

While all the Nesingwary quests have been revamped so that none of it requires a group and while even Durn the Hungerer has turned into a giant pushover, the Ring of Blood quests still require a group. I soloed the first dude on my own. I am level 71 after all, and a hunter. But the twins? Not happening.

In vain, I searched Wowhead for other quests that would count towards the achievement. There was one that took me back to Terokkar and I thought it seemed promising…. right up until they wanted to send me into Auchindoun. Riiiight. I’m totally go to be able to solo a dungeon.

In fact, the only promising lead I have to finish up Nagrand for now is to head over to SMV and pick up a quest chain that will eventually lead me back to Nagrand to kill some demons and things. Jolly.

Faced with this set of circumstances, I think I am going to simply go ahead and leave Nagrand for now and head to the next zone: Blade’s Edge. When I get to SMV and get sent back to Nagrand, I’ll see if that will be enough to finish out the achievement for me. If not, I will at least possibly be a level or two higher and should have acquired some better gear along the way. Failing all of that, I will start begging Drenden residents that I know for help.

In conclusion, Outland Loremaster is the worst. The very worst. I am so looking forward to getting my undead ass up to Northrend.

A peppy message of hate

So, At and I have been marathoning Grey’s Anatomy lately. I blame my sister for getting me into it. While we watch, At farms ore and I’ve been spending time getting back to work on my massive cross stitch project of DOOOOOM. For that reason, and the fact that many of my favorite artists get a lot of play time  on the soundtrack, I’ve been listening pretty closely more than actually watching.

As a result of all this close listening, I found a new favorite song. There’s just something about peppy messages of hate that make me giggle uncontrollably.

So I wrote a WoW-themed parody. Feel free to add your own verses if you have some anger in your soul that needs to be released.

I Hate Everyone (in the World of Warcraft)1

Some stupid druid came swooping down
And ninjaed the herb for which I’d been fighting
And when I complained and started to cry
He yelled LOL as he took to the skies
All I wanted was to make some healing pots
But I couldn’t take it anymore so I logged

I hate everyone (4x)

All the hunters on the street, I hate you all
And the druids that I meet, I hate you all
And the shamans that I know, I hate you all
And the undead that I don’t, I hate you all
Oh, I hate you all

Some fucking griefer just came to town
And killed the quest givers who were standing around
As I attempted to finish a quest
He proceeded to firebomb all the rest
I targeted him before casting slash spit
When just trying to quest, I don’t need this shit

I hate everyone (4x)

All the warlocks on the street, I hate you all
And the mages that I meet, I hate you all
And the boomkins that I know, I hate you all
And the blood elves that I don’t, I hate you all
Oh, I hate you all

I bet you think I’m kidding
But I promise you it’s true
I hate most everybody
But most of all I hate
Oh, I hate you

All the raiders on the street, I hate you all
And the casuals that I meet, I hate you all
And the night elves that I know, I hate you all
And the pandas that I don’t, I hate you all
And the people in EK, I hate you all
And the goblins I hate least, I hate you all
And the people in Northrend, I hate you all
And the hordies I like best, I hate you all
Oh, I hate you all

  1. Not really. This is a joke people. If you don’t get that, I don’t get you.