Archive for the ‘Beyond WoW’ category

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.

It’s All About Teh Blizzcon (and the subsequent vacation)

October 16, 2011

I was half tempted to use a picture of the lineups, but I was worried that no one would understand the image choice.

It’s almost time to stand in line with ten thousand other geeks to pick up my Blizzcon package! I had so much fun last year that the bar for this year is set high. I’m hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

All my guildies suck and aren’t going, so I will be looking for a foster guild for the weekend. I assure you that I am not too whiny (as long as I’m fed) and won’t get into fights (unless it’s over food). If you see me and recognize me (I’m easy to spot: I’m a tall, skinny blonde chick and I’ll be hanging out with a tall, loud redhead), don’t be shy. Come on over and say hi. Don’t worry about seeming creepy or anything. I can’t recognize faces, ever, so I’ll be all polite and act like I know you regardless.

Parties!

The best thing about Blizzcon is, of course, the parties.

The plan is to hit WoW Insider/Wowhead at the Anabella on Thursday night and Twisted Nether on Friday night at Bar Louie. Both parties are usually a hit – WoW Insider will be PACKED with geeky goodness, and TNB will be a tad more intimate, with friendly, familiar faces all around.

Saturday night is still up in the air. Maybe we’ll hit the Hilton party, or maybe we’ll take off for some booty-shaking at a local dance club. I haven’t been dancing in what feels like forever! It’s time we remedy that.

Post-Blizzcon Odyssey

I wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t decided to turn Blizzcon into a two week backpacking vacation! Here’s the plan:

1- Phoenix
2- El Paso
3- San Antonio
4- New Orleans

Two weeks is short, so unfortunately thats as far as I can get before having to head back to work. But if you find yourself in one of those cities shortly after Blizzcon and would like to go for a drink (or even better, if you find yourself with the irresistible urge to buy ME a drink!), give me a holler!

See you at Blizzcon!

Shared Topic: Making a WoW Cooking Recipe IRL

July 30, 2011

When I saw this week’s Shared Topic over at Blog Azeroth, I knew I had to join in. A food topic? Yes please!

Kallixta from Kallixta’s Notes suggested the topic, possibly inspiring herself from Edenvale’s The Gamer’s Fridge and I scrambled to find a WoW recipe that Edenvale hadn’t already tried.

I’d been wanting to try a beer-based dish for a long time, and I felt like ribs, so I picked the recipe that had been making my stomach rumble since my very first days playing WoW:

Beer Basted Boar Ribs

Before getting started, I did a bit of research on cooking with beer and checked out several beer-based ribs recipes. From what I could understand, you can cook with beer pretty much the way you’d cook with any liquid, but that the bitterness of the beer is highlighted when heated (due to the water evaporating and the beer concentrating). To keep the dish from getting too bitter, you want to counter it with something sweet like brown sugar or honey. Beyond that, you can add whatever you want to get the flavor you’re looking for.

Here’s what I used:
- Ribs (about 3kg… it was a lot! I don’t recommend using that much.)
- Beer (I didn’t notice that the original WoW recipe called for a malt, so I used a maple stout from Cannery Brewing, a BC beer from Penticton.)
- Honey
- Soy Sauce
- Dijon Mustard
- Onion (not shown in picture)
- Garlic (not shown in picture)
- Lemon Juice
- Worshestershire sauce (most of the beer ribs recipes I checked out called for it, so I tosses some in.)
- Cayenne Pepper
- Bay Leaves

(more…)

This Post is Brought to You by My Internet Connection

July 13, 2011

It took almost two weeks from the time I ordered my internet to the time those fateful lights on my modem lit up, but I am back, again, with The Internet.

The first thing I did was log onto Twitter. It took me about two minutes to remember that I find Twitter very irritating. So the second thing I did was shut down Twitter.

I accomplished my second move of the month (one month exactly between moves), this one a major cross-country, 2 timezones move. My parents decided to sell the house (actually that’s old news, but it didn’t sink in until I was packing) so I had to move everything, everything, everything. And I’ll tell you over the course of 20 years of schooling, a person sure accumulates a lot of papers and textbooks. I tossed as much as I could into the recycle bin.

And thats only about half of it.

And I still ended up with about 30 boxes. Boxes that won’t come for another 2 weeks or so, but it’s ok, I’m having a pretty cool time. Camping in the living room FTW.

That photo was taken shortly before the second night. The first night looked more like this.

As you may conclude from the pictures, my internetless time was probably the period of my life were I drank the most. I also played tons of Civilisation V, and when I couldn’t handle Civ V anymore, I finally got around to watching Season 1 of House, which I had downloaded months ago. The first few episodes were difficult: I kept yelling out that “HOSPITALS DONT WORK THAT WAY!!!!“. But once I got over how unrealistic the show is, I was completely captivated by “Will Cameron get House into her bed?

I also, while going through internet withdrawl, starting writing a story about The Internet. I suspect that the next time I touch it will be the next time I’m internetless.

Then one day a technician came to my house and magically lit up my modem.

Because I Have To Include WoW In This Post

I got to play WoW a bit over the past 2 days. I live across the street from my job which frees up an incredible amount of time. So I FINALLY got to check out 4.2. I did some Mark of the World Tree dailies, I polished up my tanking set (don’t tell my guild) and I ventured into Firelands. We haven’t killed anything yet, partly because I spent the first hour and a half wiping the raid, (I hope I’m just rusty and not losing my touch) but we made good progress on Shannox.

No, I’m not excited to be playing WoW again. I assume it’s just the usual: whenever I’m away for a long time, I don’t feel like getting back into it.

Silly how I’ve been spending the past 6 months talking about what I want in my Perfect West Coast Guild and now I’m wondering if I should keep playing WoW at all.

Thing is- I love my job. Yeah, it’s just the honeymoon phase, but the hours are a lot more flexible than I expected, the store needs quite a bit of organizing (my specialty!) and I have plenty of opportunity to travel around and do relief work all over Northern Alberta. Suddenly raiding doesn’t seem so exciting. Everything raiding (and being in a guild) gave me, I can get from my job.

Plus I’m sorta liking this having money thingy.

Of Guilds and Guild Searching

Those who speak to me on a regular basis (all two of you) are probably very excited for me to find a new home. Mostly because that means I’ll stop talking about finding a new home.

I’m a little worried about losing yet another month of boss kills, but I think I will keep with the casual route until my schedule gets sorted out. I don’t want to make a commitment I can’t keep.

What I miss the most about having a guild- a real guild that feels like home- is being dedicated to something. Remember that post I made about relationships with guilds? Well I quit lying to myself. For better or for worse, I have a relationship with my guilds that compares to romantic relationships. Maybe because I’m so uninterested in relationships with actual people. Err. Anyway. I like having a project to commit to, to be constantly thinking about improvements, about pretty trinkets I can buy it, about lovely conversations I can have with it. I miss that. With my current guild (or guilds, though I’ve probably been kicked for inactivity from my Horde guild by now) I’ve kept my distances. I didn’t want to get attached (plus they tend to like status quo, I’m not sure my enthusiasm for evolution would be warmly welcomed).

And even though I get hurt when things eventually don’t work out, I don’t really care. I look for somewhere else to focus my energy. I think work might fill that gap now, but if you asked me what I miss the most from WoW, the answer would be “being actively involved in a guild“.

Anyway, I should catch up on my 4.2 holy paladin reading. Rohan and Adgamorix have both written some interesting stuff that I (and some of you) might want to brush up on.

PS. I promise I’ll update my blogroll. You know who you are.

Settling Back in After a Wild Journey

June 22, 2011

Here’s a secret: it’s hard to get back into things after being gone for so long.

Ok, it’s not a secret, just one of those things I don’t consider until it happens to me.

I have lots of blog post ideas but no desire to sit still long enough to write. Instead, you should all just tap into my brain and absorb anything you wish. If there happens to be anything there you wish to absorb.

So I’m back from my epic backpacking trip. I wish I had more time to travel, but at the same time, I had my cross-country move on my mind, so toward the end I was having more trouble concentrating on having fun. I know, I’m a sad person. I need to work at having fun.

Needed to go all the way to Buffalo to get my wings fix

(more…)

Greetings from Milwaukee!

June 14, 2011

Rumours of my abduction by scary Americans have been greatly exaggerated. Oestrus has been treating me quite well and she’s not scary at all.

We made cupcakes!

I *finally* got around to answering all the comments I received. I’m behind on a couple of emails, but I’m hoping to get those done today, before I get kicked out of this cute coffee shop.

My trip has been awesome so far. In Edmonton, Fannon was a wonderful host, actually his whole family was amazing. The dwarfling was just as adorable and sweet as she is in her photos and Fannon and Mrs Fannon really went out of their way to make me feel at home. Also, did you see the pictures Fannon took of me? I had no idea I could look like that in pictures! My mind is still blown!

I also got to meet up with Corath one night, which was tons of fun. Meeting up with other WoW players always has this magical feel: no matter how little we know about each other outside the game, we always seem to connect and it feels like I’ve known the person forever.

In Calgary I met up with Vidyala and Vosskah and had a blast. We gossiped about blog and twitter people (if you’re reading this, chances are we talked about YOU!), ate some delicious food and chitchatted about the game.

I hope to write some more words on the meetups in the future, but in short, I’m so glad that I have such wonderful future neighbours!

I didn’t meet up with anyone in Winnipeg, but I still really enjoyed myself. Winnipeg was the city that most caught me with my pants down – in a good way. I had always known the city as “lolWinnipeg” and “Winter-peg”, so saying I was impressed when I arrived in the gorgeous, sunny, friendly, clean, lively city, would be an understatement.

I also promised I’d give the hostel I stayed in, HI-Winnipeg, a plug. Fantastic hostel, and the Thursday night pub crawl was loads of fun! Had great drinks with great people, and made a few friends out the event (including another Albertan!).

I’m in Milwaukee, raiding Oestrus’ couch right now. It’s been another fantastic meetup, putting a face to the voice and to the person who’s been such a huge support to me over the past few months (and who always forgives me after being a victim of my crossfires). Milwaukee was another lovely discovery as well. Whenever I’d tell people I was heading to Milwaukee (it was a 3 day bus ride so I had to tell a lot of people), I was told again and again that there’s “nothing in Milwaukee”. It’s lie! There’s so much in Milwaukee! Lots of festivals, lots of cool coffee shops, lots of great food, lots of great art. Oh, and lots of breweries. As a matter of fact, I’m hoping to get in on a brewery tour this afternoon.

Then tonight I say my goodbyes and head off to Chicago!

This Just In: Student 4 Life Graduates

June 1, 2011

After 10 years of post-secondary education, including:

- 2 years of community college general sciences (graduating with a DEC – Sciences de la Nature and an IB Diploma)
- 3 years of psychology (graduating with a B.A. Psych)
- 1 year of easy courses to qualify for pharmacy school
- 4 years of pharmacy school (graduating with a B.Sc. Pharm),

I finally get to step out into the real world. Within a few months, I should be able to live in a real apartment, take cheap ramen out of my diet (upgrading to expensive ramen), quit obsessing over money, and work no more than 37 hours a week.

I get asked the question often, so I’ll answer it before it comes up again. No, I didn’t start young. I’m just really immature for my age.

The last month, simply put, sucked. I knew it would be rough, but knowing it and living through it are, yeah, two different things. My licensing exams, all three of them, were in the last week of May, mixed in with graduation formalities and a cross-country move. For a month, I put my life on hold and reviewed everything I had learned in the past 4 years. And ate a lot of fast food. Like tons of fast food. As in, I’ll be doing sit-ups for weeks to recover from all the fast food.

Of course, nothing ever goes as planned and, because clearly I wasn’t going through enough hell, my roommate came up with the wonderful idea of re-doing the kitchen as I’m trying to study and pack. (Which didn’t help in resisting the fast food cravings.) So while I’m stressed out of my mind, I was woken every morning and kept up every night by noise, dust, kitchen supplies all over the place and strangers breathing down my neck.

By the night before my first exam, my room (and state of mind) looked like this:

Please don’t tell any future landlords.

My lowest point, however, I think was on my last day in Newfoundland. I had my grad party that night (a big formal affair), and spent all day packing boxes. I was stressing because I was nowhere near done, but needed to get ready for grad. I stepped into the shower, only to discover than the renovation guys had cut off the hot water. I tried washing my hair in cold water, but it didn’t work out for me.

I’ll leave the scene of me sitting in a ball on the floor of my room with my wet hair sticking up, boxes and unpacked belongings scattered around me, to your imagination. It’s funny now, but I probably would have yelled at anyone telling me it was funny at the time.

Mixing Raiding and School

There’s enough I can say on the topic to write a series of stand-alone posts, but the end of it is, and I might change my mind a few years from now, that it was worth raiding throughout pharmacy school.

I raided late at night (mostly because that’s when my guilds raided, but it did help since I’d usually study until 9:30 or 10pm) and was therefore tired and cranky all day. I missed a lot of class because I was up late raiding. Heck there were courses I never went to outside of exams.

But I don’t regret it. My grades were average. Maybe they would have been slightly above average if I hadn’t been raiding. But even now that I don’t have to be in denial anymore, I still don’t regret it.

I know it sounds weird coming from someone who just did 10 years of college of, but I’ll say it: I hate school. I hate it. I’ve always hated it. I like learning. I like the fields I studied. I like being around intelligent and inspiring individuals. But I hate the pressure, I hate the competitiveness, I hate grades, I hate having to sit still all day, I hate having no money. School has always been a waiting game for me. Bite the bullet, do what they tell you and the ordeal will end eventually. (I also hated being a kid and can’t understand people who miss being kids. Being a kid was another, awful, waiting game. I’m thankful every day that it’s over.)

Raiding kept me sane. It let me be around like-minded people (I both adore and admire all of the classmates with whom I’ve had the honour of sharing several years of my life, but I had very little in common with the majority of them. I was cursed with the personality of an engineer but the brain of a liberal arts person.) It gave me something to look forward in the evenings. It gave me something to work at for my own pleasure, something on which I was never graded.

I know some people take raiding and competition very seriously, but not me. I raid because I love to raid. I do a good job because I like doing a good job. Oh, I’ll joke about healing meters, but that’s all it is, joking. Same goes for my blog. I’ll jokingly brag about stats but blogging is really where I get away from the numbers and the mediocracy that’s so often rubbed in my face. The blog does what it wants. I don’t do adds, I’d never accept to write about WoW for money. The blog and raiding are the two places where it doesn’t matter if I do well or not. The blog and raiding are where I can sit back and enjoy the journey, without worrying about whether or not my life will be screwed up at the destination.

When I Stopped Concentrating on Raiding

I quite raiding seriously at the beginning of January. I miss a lot. You guys have no idea. No amount of emo whining can really translate how much I miss it.

You know how some women get to about 30 without every wanting kids, then suddenly starting hating everyone with kids and can’t live with themselves until they get pregnant? (I really hope this doesn’t happen to me. Pregnancy is just uggg. I’ll adopt, thank you very much.) Anyway, that’s what it’s like. I can’t read Twitter during general raid hours anymore. I fight back tears whenever I’m asked about my WoW life. I rage at anyone who complains about seeing raid content too often. (I wish I was in a position to be in raid burnout!)

Still, I grit my teeth and tell myself it was for the better. It was nice, not being exhausted during clerkship. I did a good job because I wasn’t tired. Not good enough to be “above average“, but hopefully I made a difference in a few people’s lives.

I got to meet a lovely guild who welcomed me with open arms and understood that I was only going to be with them for a few months. (I’ll have another post dedicated to them later this week.) I actually plan on leaving my alts with them when I move on. While I missed raiding in a more intense environment, their jokes, their familiarity, their rich lives outside of game and their laid back attitude made my hiatus enjoyable. I tried to stay distant – no use in getting attached when I know I’ll be leaving – but they managed to break me a few times. By now my raid leader, Thespius, probably knows more about me than he ever wanted to. He’ll be spending his next few months trying to erase his memory.

I’m terrified that I won’t find my ideal guild after I move. Working late hours on the West Coast isn’t conducive to progression raiding.The fact that I don’t have any end boss kills (lets not even talk about heroics) doesn’t help either. I know that a lot of guilds are recruiting, so if you’re running a late night, 25 man progression raid team and are looking for a dedicated holy paladin, hit me up.

My Grad Present to Myself: Traveling Across the Country

In a couple of hours, I’ll be taking a flight to Edmonton, to look for a place to live. I decided to turn my trip back East into a (well-deserved, if I do say so myself) vacation. I picked up a Discovery Pass (no, I can’t take the train. I’d love to take the train, but trains in Canada are waaaaaay more expensive than trains in the US!) and plan to make full use of it. Cities on the itinerary are:

Edmonton
Calgary
Winnipeg
Milwaukee
Chicago

If you’re in one of those cities and care to buy me coffee (or let me buy my own coffee if you’re a cheapo) let me know! Fannon is also planning a meetup in Edmonton this Friday (June 3), so if you’re in the area and want in, give him a shout.

Oh, and in case you were wondering what my room looked like after exams were over with and my move was under control…


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