Archive for the ‘Beyond WoW’ category

Treasured Memories from the Calgary Expo

May 1, 2012

It was touch and go there for awhile. Will I go? Will I not go? Calgary is quite far and with the tension sky high at work, I didn’t dare ask to adjust the schedule. But I did have Sunday and Monday off. Turned out the boy had those days off too. I asked him if he wanted to come to the Expo with me. He said sure. And thus we found ourselves arriving in Calgary early Sunday morning, tired from the long drive but excited to get our geek on. (It’s times like that I wish I lived within reasonable distance of an airport. My life would be 100% more time efficient if I could just fly places.)

Calgary Expo-what?

What a time was had! The guest lineup was intense. The entire main cast of Star Trek TNG reunited. Stan Lee. Billy West. Adam West. James Marsters. Dave Prowse (also known as Darth Vader). Adam Baldwin. Commander Sheppard Mark Meer. And those were just some of the super famous people present. Yet, for some reason, convention organizers were surprised when more than 50 000 fans from all over the world showed up.

On Saturday, convention goers discovered why most other major conventions have limited tickets. The inside of the convention centre was packed like a Tokyo subway car at rush hour (considering that a lot of geeks get nervous in crowds, I can only imagine how much panicking must have occurred that day) and the outside grounds, crawling with those who’d been locked out, were overrun. Going on Sunday ended up being the best idea ever.

We got there early in the morning and I had pre-bought and printed tickets for the two of us, like the wise convention goer that I am. We had a last minute addition to our party who didn’t have a ticket but, fortunately for her, I was at a pub crawl in Winnipeg about this time last year.

That’s right. While getting drunk in Winnipeg last year I befriended a fellow backpacker. A backpacker from Calgary. Who happened to text me on the way to the Expo, asking if I needed an extra ticket. After I pulled some sophisticated lineup strategy maneuvers, my Calgarian friend found us just as we were reaching the front of the line. We yanked him in, I paid for the ticket and, yep, all 4 of us got our passes. The moral of this story? Never turn down a pub crawl.

The WoW Crowd

The WoW community meetups are often the best part of these big conventions. Vidyala and Vosskah hosted a potluck on Friday night (I couldn’t go, unfortunately, since, well, I was at work 7 hours away) which I heard great things about. I did, however, make it to the supper on Sunday. The early planning went kind of like this:

Vid: Oh you’re coming! We should go for supper!
Me: We should! Can I invite people?
Vid: Um, ok.

A few days later, Vid, Voss, Darthregis, Chawajen, Kalesti, Rades, the Fannon family and the Bossy Pally party found ourselves seated at the downtown Milestones sharing Expo stories, WoW stories and housecleaning stories. Also drowned a donkey and a mermaid in Peach Bellinis. The night was too short, too short, too short. I could spend an entire week with these guys and still want to be around them.

I say I start planning my own conventions, just to draw out awesome WoW friends.

Undergrads

Unlike the rest of my party, I planned ahead. I printed out the panel schedule, studied it, rated the panels based on my interest in them and came up with a plan. One panel title was “How to just barely survive as a Hollywood writer“. It caught my eye. I’ve no ambitions to become any sort of pro writer (if I got offered a paid writing position, I’d turn it down). But while my personal goals aren’t in the field, I love reading or hearing about writers. Oddly, I kind of relate to writers.

So I read the description. Andy Rheingold, Josh A Cagan and Pete Williams. Pete Williams sounded vaguely familiar…

I got to the next line: Undergrads.

OMG Undergrads!!

How many hours did my friend Val and I spend in high school expressing our appreciation for Gimpy? How many times did my brothers and I make each other laugh with Cal imitations? How many family nights did I spend with my siblings, watching Undergrads reruns on Teletoon? How many friends did I force to watch introduce to the show? How many flashbacks have I gotten of Rocko reading Cosmo and saying “I think we’re all feeling a bit… *flips pages* premenstrual“?

I sat up-straight throughout the whole panel, drinking in every word. I squealed when Pete Williams did a Cal line (he sounded way better than my brothers and I ever did due to, you know, being Cal’s actual voice actor). I really, really, really wanted to run up to them after the panel and give them a hug.

Undergrads was one of the rare shows that played a huge part in my young adult life and I never in a millions years expected to meet the writers. Especially not in Calgary, 10 years after the show was cancelled (after 13 episodes). And if the experience was surreal to me, it seemed to be surreal to them too. They made my day when they said (I think it was Josh who said it, but I’m not sure) “It’s like we’re in Sliders, in a parallel universe where people have actually heard of our show.

Of course, they were bombarded with questions about the eventuality of a season 2. It sounded like they were absolutely ready for season 2 but the usual red tape (show rights and financing) was holding them back. But the attachment they showed toward their show, even 10 years after being forced to move on, made me very happy. It was wonderful to be sitting in that room with about 30-40 other fans (another upside to Sunday! Saturday’s panel apparently packed 250 people in the room and turned 100 away. Much less intimate.) and the 3 main writers, sharing our love of Undergrads.

If only I hadn’t been too shy to go to their booth afterward and talk to them…

Video Game Voice Acting with Mark Meer and Quinton Flynn

Do you know who else is awesome, besides writers? Voice actors. They’re the stars you never get to see, who you don’t often think of. In fact, if the better job they do, the less you recognize them. They don’t get the screaming fans and the big bucks. But when you do meet them in person, you’re quickly smitten, so much their passion and talent is captivating.

Mark Meer, I was familiar with. I’m playing a lot of Mass Effect these days. I didn’t, however, realize he lives and works really close to me and that I could go see him act all the time. Which I totally plan to. He’s hilarious. You know else who is awesome, besides writers and voice actors? Improv actors.

I didn’t know the name of Quinton Flynn, but the second he started talking and doing impersonations…oh yeah! As my friend Skip puts it, Flynn is “one of those 12 voice actors who are in everything“. It was just incredible to listen to him. From his normal speaking voice, you wouldn’t guess that he was a voice actor, but the second he slips into a character…wow! Suddenly you’re sitting in front of Timon (I totally watched Timon & Pumbaa as a kid!) or Raiden or Axel or Johnny Quest.

In was interesting having them give the panel side by side since they both have very different careers. Meer does a lot of impov and theatre acting, as well as consultation work on designing voices, while Flynn has been voice acting for cartoons and video games since I was a kid, and has a lifetime of experience. They had different elements to bring to the table and it made for a very enriching panel. But like all panels, it was way too short.

And again, I wish I had had the guts to go up to their booths after and ask for an autograph and a hug.

Moments of Awesome

Vid called me while I was hanging out by some booths. “Can you pick up Volumes 1&2 of Questionable Content for me? I didn’t think to get extras for my brother.

“Sure!” I said.

I was familiar with the name. But not being a fan of webcomics, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. A few moments later, I’m standing in front of Jeph Jacques (I totally interrupted his lunch too), knowing that I’m in the presence of someone amazing, but not knowing exactly the extent. He was super nice to me, autographed the books while I felt like a total poser.

I flipped through the books a bit before I turned them over to Vid. Definitely looked like something I’d enjoy. I was half tempted to keep them…

I’m now hooked. Questionable Content has a new fan. And that’s what conventions are all about.

Asked Vid and Rades if From Draenor with Love was going to have a booth next year. Conventions are about that too.

As the day was drawing to a close, a girl, maybe a few years younger than me, walked by, excitedly yelling on her cell phone: “I got hugged by the voice of Axel! You know! The voice of Axel! He gave me a hug!

Conventions are definitely all about that.

Not necessarily about getting hugs (since I was too shy to ask for any), but about getting excited with other people, notably strangers and celebrities, about things you’re not usually allowed to be excited about in public. I can’t wait until next time!

Remember that one time I BUILT A COMPUTER? – Part 3

January 26, 2012

Part 3, otherwise known as The Neurotic Pally and the Evil Windows. If you want to get caught up on the earlier parts, the beginning of the story is here and the middle of the story is here.

Software; or How I discovered that I prefer Hard Things

I’m out of pictures, so I’m going to recycle the “Computer is complete and running” photo.

Pretend you haven't seen this before.

Last post we ended with me powering up my computer for the first time, after a smooth hardware assembly process. I’m the queen of hard.

What you want to do as you power up your computer for the first time is access your BIOS. To access your BIOS, you hit “delete” shortly after you turn the computer on.

I give it a try.

I hit “delete”.

Nothing happens and my computer stalls, trying to find an operating system.

I restart my computer.

I hit “delete”.

Nothing happens and my computer stalls, trying to find an operating system.

I restart my computer.

I hit “delete” “delete” “delete” “delete” “delete” “delete” “delete” “delete”.

Nothing happens and my computer stalls, trying to find an operating system.

I’m freaking out here. Panicking, crying, threatening to throw my computer through the wall. I turn to Twitter and 5-6 people scramble to find a solution to my problem.

They link me tech support thread after tech support thread. They share their own computer building problems history. They do everything they can to lend me some insight into what’s going wrong.

It took about an hour of ripping my hair out (hey, I promised hair-pulling drama!) to find the solution. In the end, I found it on my own. Not because I was smart, but rather because of the opposite. No one else thought of the solution because they overestimated me.

Curious?

As I was browsing through a tech support thread (that I pulled up on my own), I came across this: “I’ve tried everything,” the poster wrote, “delete, F12, even escape…

Escape.

DAMMIT.

ALL THIS TIME I WAS PRESSING ESCAPE INSTEAD OF DELETE.

I blame it on the long day (or if you want some encouragement: if someone who confuses “delete” with “escape” can build a computer, you can build a computer too. If you don’t get the joke, you forgot to read part 1).

More Problems with Going Soft

The next step is installing Windows. I set my BIOS to boot from CD, I pull out my Pirated copy of Windows, plop it in the CD drive, restart my computer. And nothing happens.

Off to Twitter I go.

Fannon gives me a call. “When using a Pirated copy, you need to make an ISO image you can boot from. Copy it onto a DVD and use that as your boot disk.”

I own no blank DVD. It’s 8:45pm. Walmart closes at 9pm. I can totally do this.

I get home with my blank DVDs (after getting pulled over by a cop… he must have sensed I was about to engage in illegal computer activity). I do the disk copying. It doesn’t work. Fannon calls again. After a 50$ conversation (I have a pay-as-you-go phone. Long distance calls are about 6$ a minute), we come to the conclusion that illegal software isn’t for me and that I should go out and buy Real Windows.

Walmart opens again at 9 am. I’m there, ready to purchase my Real Windows.

I plop Real Windows in the CD drive and it all works brilliantly. I’m overjoyed.

Until Windows couldn’t find my hard drive.

Stupid Windows. My hard drive is RIGHT THERE. You know, like, right under my CD/DVD drive. How can you miss it?

I try to fix it on my own. First, I look in the Windows manual.

Have you ever looked in the Windows manual? One would THINK that most of it would be about “How to install Windows“. And it would include a section on “How to install Windows when Windows doesn’t want to be installed“. And it might also have a section about “What to do when Windows is about to cause you to throw your brand new computer out the Window, then rip off all your clothes and run out onto the street screaming.

But noooooooooo. The Windows manual is all about “Windows is wonderful and lovely. Look at all these happy families sitting together, looking at Windows 7 and its heartwarming new features.”

It’s frustrating that there are so little options when it comes to operating systems. Rich non-gamers can use Mac systems. Programming geeks can use Linux. And for the rest of us, there’s Windows. Windows, which kind of does what it wants, when it wants.

It was someone on Twitter (I can’t remember who for the life of me, which I’m hugely apologetic for because I probably owe them my life) who found the answer for me. I had to do this “part disk” command to make a partition on my hard drive. Now, WHY that’s not in the Windows manual or on the Windows website, I have no stupid idea. But, yeah, “part disk”.

After that, Windows booted up just fine.

No, wait, I lie. Windows found my hard drive, but refused to do anything with my hard drive. I solemnly make my way to the closet and close my hand around the hammer hilt. Thankfully, at that moment, Vosskah calls me on Skype.

Vosskah: Take a deep breath, it’s ok, lets go through it together.
Me: *sob* Ok.
Vosskah: Let start over from the beginning so I know exactly what you’re doing at each step. I don’t want you to feel like I’m underestimating your-
Me: You realize you’re talking to someone who mistook “escape” for “delete” right?
Vosskah: … It, um, happens, now lets take it from the beginning.

Obviously, AS SOON AS I’M ON THE PHONE WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP, Windows works just fine. It installs itself, I can use my computer, I download SWTOR (yay!) and I redo my WOW UI.

Don’t Worry, The Soft Tails Tales Go On

I bet you thought I was home free, you did you did you did!

I did too. Until I turned my computer off for the first time. Ok, no, that’s not true. It turned off just fine. Turning it ON again…

Apparently Windows lost my hard drive again. Desperately wanted to boot from the Windows CD. No matter what I did to my BIOS, it wanted its CD like a baby wants its mommy. Yet, when I gave it what it wanted, it tried to install Windows again.

Install Windows again, AFTER I spend 2 days downloading SWTOR and getting WoW ready?

I think not.

As usual, I turn to Twitter. “Very weird,” the experts tell me.

Some suggest disconnecting my CD/DVD drive, other recommend fiddling with my harddrive connection.

My dad was a computer geek and computer destroyer. After watching him wreck several machines in attempts to “fix them”, I learned that the solution rarely involves disrupting sleeping wires. Deep in my soul, I knew my CD/DVD drive AND my hard drive were fine. Google led me to believe that it was a partition priority problem. However, I did not know what partition priority was, or how to fix it. My thoughts returned to the hammer in the closet.

Before I could destroy my property, it was time for work. I turned off my computer again, and marched out the door.

The End

When I came home from work that day, I tried turning my computer on again. And Windows loaded normally. As if it hadn’t taunted me to destroy it earlier.

I then realized that my computer was male. Because when an inanimate object gives you grief and seems to do what it wants, when it wants, it is a sign. A sign that said object is of the opposing gender.

I don’t usually name things, but I’m thinking of “Joel”. It’s a guy, so it needs a guy name. My latest infatuation is JL – Jaime Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire (most of the crushes I’ve had in my life have been on fictional characters. Fake people are so much more alluring than real ones). JL sounds a little like Joel. So Joel it is. Even if my internet connection thinks the computer is named Eloise, after my WoW mage.

Epilogue

I never got my computer bug free. It still refuses to load sometimes.

But, you know, when it happens, Joel and I sit down and have a talk about our feelings. Usually, all he’s asking for is to be turned off, to be allowed a minute to prepare himself to be turned on again. And I’m ok with that. Our relationship. It isn’t perfect, but it works. I listen to him, and in return he lets me run WoW and SWTOR with the settings on ultra.

I’d say our relationship is pretty healthy, would you not?

Remember that one time I BUILT A COMPUTER? – Part 1

January 20, 2012

This is part 1. Part 2 (with bonus hair pulling drama) will follow when I feel like it.

As I’ve been going on and on and on and on about on Twitter, I built a computer. All by myself!

My overall observation: “The statement ‘building a computer, OMG aren’t I awesome’ is somewhat misleading. The building part is by far the easiest and fastest step of the process. Building is a joke compared to the challenges represented by getting the parts from the shop to your small, isolated town and installing Windows.

I went through life, living each day, never considering building my own computer. My dad used to like to put computer parts together. A lot of my guy friends (many of them actually having JOBS that had to do with computers) used to build their computers. And their machines USUALLY turned out to be poorly functioning, virus-loaded bundles of junk. If these people who read computer magazines and who know what the letters CPU stand for aren’t very good at it, what the heck would I do with two boxes of computer parts?

Well. I made a discovery. I discovered that you can totally build a computer if you don’t know anything about computers. In fact, I highly recommend that you build your own computer BECAUSE you don’t know anything about computers.

I learned a lot from my experience. Words that made no sense to me (I knew a “motherboard” was something you had to get changed after smoke comes out of your laptop, but otherwise I didn’t have a clue) suddenly became part of my vocabulary. I even had a REAL conversation with a guildy the other day about graphic cards and their power supply requirements. Where I ACTIVELY PARTICIPATED! Hey, if I can talk about the Geforce GTX 500s series and voltages, so can you.

Oh, and by the way, I’m very annoyed by the fact that most of the savy and helpful people had to say things like “Ah yes, I built a computer for my girlfriend/wive/sister/female cat”. No one, not one person, said anything along the lines of “I built a computer for my boyfriend/husband/brother/male cat” Technology is power, fellow ladies. Take power into your own hands and stop letting penises control the technology in your household. I did it and you can too.

The Workbench

This is where we drool over the goodies I got to work with.

Here’s what we’ve got:

Intel Core™ i5-2500K Processor, 3.30GHz w/ 6MB Cache (Processor, 230$)
Zalman Z9 Plus Case w/ Fan Controller (Case, 60$)
Gigabyte GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 w/ DDR3 2133, 7.1 Audio, Gigabit Lan, CrossFireX / SLI (Motherboard, 135$)
Corsair Vengeance LP 16GB DDR3 1600MHz CL9 Quad Channel Kit (4 x 4GB), Cerulean Blue (RAM, 90$)
Seagate 1TB Barracuda SATA III w/ 64MB Cache (Hard drive, 160$)
LG Super-Multi 22x DVD Writer, SATA, OEM, Black (CD/DVD drive, 22$)
Cooler Master Silent Pro M 850W Modular Power Supply (Power supply, 150$)
eVGA GeForce GTX 580 1536MB GDDR5 PCI-E w/ Dual DVI, HDMI (Graphics card, 510$)
Asus VW224T 23inch (Monitor, 212$)
Windows 7 (Operating system, 220$)
Basic Microsoft Keyboard and Mouse kit (Keyboard – I couldn’t find one without a mouse – 30$)

Typically you’re supposed to go with a budget, but I tend to be more of the “best I can get with less” type. And I had no idea what computers cost. In the end, I spent a little under 2000$, including a monitor, Windows 7 and keyboard. I looked at premade gaming computers with similar parts, and they seemed to be within the 3000-5000$ bracket. So not only did I learn a lot from my adventure, I got more out of my money too.

How I learned to never order stuff online before Christmas

Picking out parts was pretty straightforward. I’m lucky enough to have a friend who knows what all those gibberish numbers and letters mean (GA-Z68A-D3H-B3 w/ DDR3 2133, really?) so for about 10 hours (in 3 sessions) we scrolled through my options together, part by part, talking about each piece.

If you can, I highly suggest getting one of those smarts friends, especially one who knows when to explain and when to wait for questions. And who ultimately leaves the final choice up to you. (I know, I know, those friends are a hard to find. That’s why I hang onto mine fiercely!)

On December 15th, I submitted my order. Memory Express, a relatively local computer store that came highly recommended by local friends, delivers for free, so I went with them. There was also the option of picking up the parts at the store, but I live 3 hours away from the city and figured delivery would be faster.

10 days before Christmas… Yes, sometimes I am really that stupid. (Which bring me back to this post’s theme: if a person stupid enough to order online 10 days before Christmas can build a computer, you can build a computer too.)

- On December 17, UPS had my package.
– On December 19, UPS took my package from Calgary (starting point) to Edmonton (the city nearest me).
– Delivery scheduled on December 22. Yay!

- On December 22, there was a message saying UPS was looking for my address. I double checked the address I gave Memory Express. It’s my address. No phone number for UPS, so I let them sort it out.
– December 26, still no change. I call Memory Express. UPS is closed for the holiday, but they promise to look into it.
– By December 27 the websales customer service staff at Memory Express recognizes my voice.
– On December 30th, I’m finally in touch with UPS. The address thing should be sorted out, but they won’t deliver until the New Year. I have some time off so I ask if I can pick it up in Edmonton. They say sure and point me to Purolator who will be handling the final delivery.
– December 30th in the evening, I get to Edmonton. Purolator gives me one box, my computer case. Tell me they’ve lost the other box.

That’s right, they lost a 1400$ box of computer parts that I drove a total of 6 hours to pick up.

- During the first two weeks of January, UPS calls me 3 times. Each time they ask for my address.
– On January 12, I receive my box of computer parts.

And that’s why I’m only level 16 in SWTOR.

If you’d like to hear more of this absolutely riveting tale, hang tight and part 2 will be delivered you to in 3-7 business day (read: in a month).

Is this growing up?

November 28, 2011

A few days ago, or maybe it was a few weeks ago, my guild decided to take a look at our loot system to see where we can makes some tweaks. We do, however, need to accommodate our More Focused, More Disciplined For More Kills attitude with a modern, attitude-appropriate loot system.

What happens when you bring up loot issues in a guild like mine?

That’s right.

Tumbleweed.

After about a week of poking and prodding, a few people finally spoke up and we got a bit of discussion going after last Tuesday’s raid.

I had no loot related photo, so I selected our other heated topic: the ethics of football talk. (Know that if Dralo and I agree on something, its gotta be srs bzn!)

To a group of people who don’t like to rock the boat, it was probably shocking, but I enjoyed it. The resulting dynamics were wonderful to discover. I felt like it was the first time I really got know my guildies as actual people and not just fellow raiders, and I love them all the more for it. Plus, some of them are kinda sexy when they yell. (But shhhh don’t let them know I said that! Can’t afford to be sued for sexual harassment.)

And me? The general me?

I’m playing once in awhile, still getting critted by work. I love my job, but dammit there is a lot of job. I’d estimate I do at least 2 hours of unpaid work a day, on top of my normal shift. I’ve become very fast, very efficient, but I can’t stop to think. Stop and you drown.

It’s still better than school. Don’t get me wrong. It’s WAY better than school. Those people who talk about how college is wonderful, a joke, the life? Liars or idiots.

Or people who didn’t do enough college to know what it’s really like beyond the first four undergrad years.

Ah, Nunu helping me with blog post research. Over 2 years ago. I wonder what's become of him.

I’ve always felt like college was sacrificing 10 years of my life. 10 years without significant romantic relationships (I know, I know, some students manage to have significant others while in college, but I couldn’t manage it. Us stupid people have to dedicate 100% of our energy to the books just to get by). 10 years of limited friendships. 10 years where I couldn’t start a family. 10 years of not being able to afford a car/a smartphone/the kind of food I like/having my own living space.

I love Nerzhul

You know, I get a half smile when I hear someone talk about gaming making them/their friend/their spouse/their cousin/their pet drop out of college. Gaming is what got me through school. Castle of Doctor Brain, Super Mario Brothers, Zelda, that NHL game where you can make the guys fight and Commander Keen got me through grade school. Kings Quest, Space Quest, Might and Magic and Final Fantasy got me through high school. Final Fantasy and WoW got me through college (10 whole years of it, sdsfgklsdjflsdkj).

Good ol'Conquest days

Thank goodness for gaming. And for the Final Fantasy message boards, the Red Tears, the Conquests and the Team Sports of this world.

It is worth it in the end. Even though it took forever to get where I am, and where I am is still a bit rough, I love the freedom that comes with having a secure job, and a job that is in high demand. And even beyond the job, I’m happy for the lessons I learned. I had to sacrifice a lot to get where I was, but it taught me to persevere, to live on very little, and it taught me to be patient.

I raid two nights a week. I level an alt for a couple hours sometimes. I plan on giving Star Wars a casual run. I might get Skyrim. But generally gaming is something I think about and say “…oh yes… I liked that once…” I say that about chocolate too. Gaming and sweets. The two things I’ve lost appetite for.

Nothing like the pewpews of 25 raiders

Now that I finally have somewhat a shred of control over my life, is it that I don’t need gaming anymore?

Is this growing up?

A String of Bad Luck; or, Even Seasonned Travellers Screw Up

November 13, 2011

Maybe this would fit better on the personal blog as it’s kind of a travel story, but it is Blizzcon related. And yes, I’m only sitting down to write about it now. But hey, I spent 2 weeks traveling then went back to working 7 days a week AND I’ve been sick with NOLA germs. (Damn NOLA germs. I blame boys.)

Besides, this story, or this string of stories, gives you the opportunity to laugh at me. Who doesn’t love an opportunity to laugh at someone? (And to those who were thinking of replying with a comment along the lines of “I don’t enjoy laughing at people“, I will point it out now: you are a big fat liar.)

Random picture of a murloc ancestor. (Was taken at the Heard Museum in Phoenix after Blizzcon. I *think* it's an artifact from Northern Mexico.)

So lets flashback to Wednesday, October 19th, 2011. I was to leave for Blizzcon that night.

I live 3 hours away from the airport. 3 hours. I was working until 6 pm. And that was the only night we were able to book our guest for the Casual Raid Leading episode of the Double O Podcast (Thespius, of course. You regular readers probably know all about him by now – he’s become somewhat of a reoccurring character in my WoW stories).

The plan was perfect: get home at 6pm. Record the podcast until 9 pm. Rush to Edmonton. Check into hotel I had booked (and already paid for) at around midnight. I’d get a good night sleep before my flight 7 am and I’d be all rested for Blizzcon.

It flowed smoothly. (And if you haven’t heard for yourself yet, the podcast turned out AWESOME. Go listen now! Like right meow! This post will still be here when you’re finished listening to the episode.) After a three hour drive (in the dark, through the countryside where deer and moose constantly jump in front of your car), it was midnight and I was pulling into the hotel parking lot.

I was going over my next day in my head: I’ll check into the flight, I’ll go through customs, I’ll show them my boarding pass and my passpo-

My passport.

MY PASSPORT.

I didn’t grab my passport.

It was one of those moment where you think “this can’t possibly be happening, this is totally a dream, stuff like this doesn’t happen in real life.

But it was happening. I knew exactly where my passport was. It was in my filing box, along with my birth certificate and other Very Important Documents. My filing box, which was in my apartment. My apartment which was 3 hours away.

My brain combed through the different options. I have no way of getting through customs without a passport. I don’t know anyone who’d be willing to drive halfway to Edmonton to meet me in the middle with my passport. Besides, no one has the key to my apartment anyway.

It wasn’t looking good.

I turned the car around and spend the next 3 hours driving home. I got home at around 3 am. I grabbed my passport and a few fiber bars (my evening schedule had not included supper and I don’t get a lunch breaks at work, meaning that I hadn’t eaten anything since my two packets of instant oatmeal at breakfast). I got back to Edmonton at 6 am. There was no point in going to the hotel at all so I dropped my car off at the airport and waited for my flight.

If you’re thinking that I’ll end with “and then everything picked up and the rest of the trip was perfect“, you clearly have not been introduced to my luck.

I landed at John Wayne later that afternoon. The flight itself went pretty well – my little adventure that night guaranteed me a nap on the plane – but when I came down the stairs to the baggage claiming area, no one looked like they were waiting for me.

I’m used to sticking out in a crowd. I’m pretty tall. I’m on the scrawny side. I have a weird face. If that wasn’t enough, there are enough photos of me floating around the internet that I’m sure random strangers see me and think “I have no idea who that chick is, but I’ve totally seen her on the internet.”

So I stood by myself. I’ll be found eventually. I will, I will, I will.

I struck up a conversation with guy who was waiting for someone who wasn’t me. He also played a holy pally. Was pretty cool.

20 minutes later I wasn’t found.

That’s the problem with these video game conventions. You don’t know what your friends look like.

My US phone had failed me so I didn’t know what my number was (my Canadian phone is too cheap to work in the US so I have a travel phone that assigns me a new US number every time I cross the border). I did have a number for Juvenate, who had kindly offered to pick up, and I had texted him a few times but he had no way to text me back. I took a deep breath and decided to call him. (I hate phones, and it’s especially scary to call someone who’s real name you don’t even know).

No reply.

I waiting about 10 minutes, then tried again. A girl answered. Yeah, not good.

Was Juvinate waiting for me at a different part of the airport? Did he leave, thinking I wasn’t going to show?

I was getting close to panic. I hadn’t been able to get the internet to work in the airport, but maybe I should try harder. Twitter always saves the day, doesn’t it?

Twitter did save the day. I found a corner upstairs where there internet worked. With the help of a few spectators (both on Twitter and in real life – apparently Ophelie the Freaking Out Pally is rather entertaining), Juvinate and I did find each other.

Of course, never two without three. After we left the airport, I couldn’t find my phone.

Yep. I got lucky and my phone ended up in the lost and found.

I was less lucky at the end of Blizzcon. After I checked out of the hotel, I realized my e-Reader was missing. I quickly gave them a call.

“We already cleaned the room. We didn’t find it sorry.”

I insisted, went back in person, called back a few days later, but nothing. I had read from my reader the night before I checked out, so I knew it hadn’t left my room. Either it was stolen by housekeeping, or it fell out of my purse. Considering that’s never fallen out of my purse before, I’m thinking housekeeping. And I had even left them a tip. Douchebags.

BUT!! After these misfortunes, my post-Blizzcon trip was pretty smooth…

This Is Me, Getting Mushy About Blizzcon. While Sober.

October 30, 2011

It’s been more than a week since Blizzcon. Since then, outrage has, well, raged, on all fronts, from the game-related announcements (what cute, zen pandas aren’t badass?), to the step backward in the evolution of gaming culture taken at the closing ceremony (I honestly didn’t notice the slurs until someone pointed them out to me- contrarily to what some bloggers wrote, the closing ceremony nerdrage was heavily censored- but yeah, I agree that there are ways to express nerdrage without hatespeach). And I believe I may have been drawn into, without my active participation or even knowledge, a social outrage (I feel so famous and important now).

So much excitement, and I missed it all.

Curse you, internet drama, for only happening while I’m busy looking out of train/bus windows instead of at my computer screen!

While the rest of you have discussed Blizzcon to death and have moved onto the bigger and better things, I’m just getting started.

Yep, only picture I thought to take during Blizzcon. Too busy to take pictures!

I had a great Blizzcon.

I really did. Blizzcon exceeded my expectations by millions and millions of…whatever it is you measure expectations in.

Oh, I’m not sure what I think of Pandaria. I got to play it a bit – the world is gorgeous and I love the Asian feel, but, um, I like me some epicness. Place me in the “wait and see” crowd.

Otherwise, I’m excited about Diablo and I’ve felt stirrings of an urge to fire up Starcraft 2 again (how awesome was the Blizzcon tournament finale? I’m not sure what impressed me most, the competitors or the emotional involvement of the audience). And the cinematics panel! How I love the cinematics panel! Again this year I squirmed in excitement, admiring the work that goes into making a game cinematic (in this case, the Diablo III trailer).

And, of course and as usual, the community was the greatest attraction at Blizzcon.

Really, what a great group of people! Not perfect by any means, but to me, our imperfections only make us even more awesome. We come in all shapes and sizes and colours and ages and social backgrounds but we’re all gamers, and proud of it. We do great things and we do stupid things. Geeks we may be, but we’re all so totally human.

I met so many fellow bloggers, podcasters and twitterers. I won’t attempt to list them as I’ll likely forget several and I don’t want to play favorites. But there is one encounter I do have to share!

Why I wouldn’t make a good socialite

It was early in the WoW Insider party. Not quite warmed up yet, I was chasing after my friends, trying not to lose them in the big, scary mass of people. I’m shy and it’s been awhile since I’ve come face to face with a crowd. I was debating sketching off early. Too many people, too many nerves, feeling sick and lightheaded.

Then out of nowhere, I hear: “Hi I’m Theck!”

I was a little confused for two reasons. One, I was kind of expecting Theck to be a sort of ethereal godlike creature, not a normal-looking human being. Two, how on earth does someone like him know who I am?

I stood there with my mouth open, speachless and starstruck. All I could squeeze out was a lifeless “I’m such a huge fan”

Yep, I’m just an endless reserve of social grace. I hope he forgives me.

The 1 Year Guild Reunion

In case you enjoy emotionally-charged guild stories and were waiting in anticipation with big bowls of popcorn… I did see my old guildies again. I was expecting to run into them at some point, but I had no idea what would happen. What impression did I leave behind? Would my hard feelings cause me to make an ass of myself? And most importantly, would they even remember who I was?

Well.

All I can say is this:

It was perfect.

Or at least as close to perfection as all our personalities would allow. I had some great moments at Blizzcon. Some engaging conversations with interesting people. I had a lovely dinner with my ex-guildie, conveniently named X (to whom I certainly owe one). But the highlight was Friday night, after TNB, after hanging out at the Hilton for a bit.

I found myself in the same hotel room I partied in last year, sitting on the same floor I sat on last year, watching my friends play the same drinking game I watched them play last year. It was also reminiscent of all those nights I spent idling on vent/mumble listening to their banter.

Yeah, I know I’m stupidly sentimental, but I don’t think I can be happier than I was at that moment. It wasn’t quite the same gang as last year – some were missing and there some new faces, but the feel was exactly how I remembered. Though Conquest sort of branched off into two separate guilds a few months after I left, my ex-guildies from both sides were hanging out and getting along great. I savoured the moment. For that little snippet of time, I was home.

I think it did help a lot that I’ve grown to love my current guild and I really enjoy working with my raid team. Seeing my former guildies made me realize how much I missed them, but it wasn’t a “I wish I could play with you” missing. It was a “I’m so happy to spend time with guys again” missing. I could really lean back and enjoy the night without any bitterness.

They were also nice enough to walk me back to my hotel at 5 am (which took about an hour!), to put up with my guild history blabber, help me look for my ereader (which was likely stolen by hotel housekeeping, grrr) and even drive me to the airport on Sunday.

The Uncomfortably Sentimental Ending

As I float from city to city on my post-Blizzcon tour, I spend hours (and sometimes days) gazing out of bus and train windows with nothing else to do but think. And the thoughts that surface the most are about those fellow gamers all over North America (and sometimes beyond!) that I’ve had the honour and privilege of being acquainted to.

My awesome ex-guildies of course, but also my awesome current guildies, and the many others who’ve given me kindnesses without asking for anything return. Fannon and his family, Voss and Vid who, though we’ve only met a few times feel like a brother and a sister to me, Oestrus, my eternal partner in crime, all those who’ve supported my silly little WoW projects, who’ve read the blog or listened to the podcast, who’ve emailed me, who’ve talked to me on Twitter.

I have no idea what I’ve done in my past lives to deserve such kindnesses and the company of such wonderful individuals, but I am grateful. So, so, so, so extremely grateful.


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