But This is Where It Ends, This is Where It Ends

But this is where it ends
This is where it ends
Call the police and call the press
But please, dear God, don’t tell my friends

– This is Where It Ends, Barenaked Ladies

I’ve had that song stuck in my head all weekend. The summer is ending, of course, not the blog. The blog, hopefully, will actually pick up now that I’m back on a regular schedule and will have plenty of hours of staring at a computer screen at the library.

The whole song actually does feel appropriate, though, after last weekend. I knew it would be rough to spend my last few days on the West Coast- and my birthday- alone in a city that likes to violently scrape the thoughts from my mind the way you’d scrape burned egg from a frying pan. What I wasn’t accounting for was when Life nailed me to a wall and hurled Herself (Life, of course, doesn’t have a gender, but I always call Her “She”) at me until I gave up. One day I’ll tell those stories, but not today.

Still, in the end, I think it was worth it.

As I was walking east on Georgia, following the overpass, heading back to my hotel one last time to pick up my luggage and get ready to go to the airport, I looked to my left. The setting sun lit up one particular building. Just under the roof it read Everything Is Going To Be Alright. Do you ever feel as if Life actually tries to converse with you?

Over my summer spend adventuring the West Coast, I’ve found comfort in two novels, one by Elizabeth Gibson, Eat Pray Love (which I swear I read before I knew it was going to be a movie!), a tale of the world traveling adventures of a recent divorcée in her 30s and one by Alice Steinbach, Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman, the Europe traveling adventures of a long divorced woman in her 50s. I love how they’re so different from myself age-wise and lifestyle-wise, but as solo travelers, the lessons we learn about ourselves and the internal challenges we face are the same. And the mornings where I woke up sobbing in my pillow, wondering why the hell I was doing this to myself when I could be back in my hometown living a NORMAL AND SIMPLE life, it helped to know that I’m far from the only female solo traveler who’s felt that way.

You meet a lot of people when you travel alone for months at a time. But most of all, you meet yourself.

All the Blogging I Missed!

I think I’ve read most of the major discussions, but my time was so limited that I couldn’t participate much. I loved reading all the feminism posts- I’ve taken part in (and started) a few WoW-gender trends in the past, but this was by far the largest and most elaborate discussion on the topic I’ve seen so far. Since I’m the ultimate people watcher, I especially enjoyed hearing about everyone’s personal experiences.

Some of it, I admit, was over my head. I was impressed by how many bloggers are actually qualified (as in university trained) in the fields of sociology, anthropology, women’s studies, politics… So much for the gaming community being reputed to consist only of computer geeks!

It forced me do some homework! I went and pulled up some extra readings on the feminist movement to learn more about it. I consider myself a feminist by lifestyle and attitude, but I’m not very familiar with organized feminism. I was quickly overwhelmed by what I found! I do have a decent background in general philosophy and, yet, sometimes, I swear, it’s like reading a completely different language.

Chastity wrote something in a comment in response to “men aren’t welcome in feminist discussions” that struck a chord with me.

Part of the problem is that feminist discussion tends to be quite high-level, and tends to assume a lot of common ground, coming to a discussion *without* that common ground can lead to behaviour which often looks like (and sometimes will genuinely be) trolling. It’s like if somebody who hated MMORPGs tried to comment on a post about Cataclysm Talent changes – no matter how well intentioned they were they simply wouldn’t be able to usefully comment, the only perspective they could give would be one of somebody who is fundamentally hostile to the whole basis of the game.

Even someone who isn’t fundamentally hostile to the basic concept could easily make a fool of themselves in that level of discussion. Anyone who’s not familiar with the lingo and the many past discussions, with their reoccurring arguments, would have a rough time jumping in.

Me, I’ll admit, I’m more concerned about practical application than rhetoric. What matters to me, as a female gamer, is having the same right to raid, the same right to play the class I want, the same right to loot, the same right to be part of the guild social life and the same right to being myself as my male guildies.

I was questioned a few times as to why I linked to some hardcore female players and to some female GMs. No, they’re not “better” women! They are simply women who play the game in a way that is often thought to be unwelcoming to our gender. I wanted to make a point that just because these playstyles are considered unwelcoming doesn’t mean they’re impossible to adopt. And many of those I linked to, especially the female GMs, were actually surprised by the link, not realizing that gender is commonly believed to be an obstacle to acceptance as an advanced player or a leader within the gaming community.

As for “gaming rights for women”, I don’t really believe in asking for them. No. Not asking for them…

I don’t ask for my right to raid as a woman, I just raid. I don’t demand the right to talk on vent in pugs, I just talk. I don’t remind my guildies that they have to let me hang out with them even though I’m a girl, I just show up and be myself.

This doesn’t apply everywhere or work for every situation, but in WoW, most of the time, you don’t ask for a right, you take the right.

Social Reciprocity and Delicious Blogroll Politics

Byaghro actually wrote about this back in April, but since emotions weren’t flaring at the time, his post, unfortunately, went rather unnoticed. Social reciprocity on the internet is a fascinating topic (if only for yummy Facebook drama!) and I’m enjoying seeing everyone talk about their blogroll, even though, we’re, um, all kinda saying the same thing.

Me, I’ll subscribed to pretty much any blog I come across. When I go through my feed, I look at the different titles. If a topic interests me, I’ll read it, if it doesn’t I’ll skip it.

My blogroll is mainly for my readers. When I started the blog, I thought of my guildies at the time, casual players who didn’t really follow the WoW community. I wanted something they could look at if they were searching for paladin information or were just after some entertainment. I’ll link pretty much any regularly updated paladin blog I come across. I leave it to my readers to decide what they like and what they don’t. With the “other” blogs, I keep the list short, diverse, general and accessible. My mentality is “if I had never read a WoW blog before, which ones would I read first?“.

I notice when someone links to me when I see incoming traffic from a site. It’s very flattering. I don’t, however, leaf through people’s blogrolls to see if I’m there. If someone unblogrolls me, unless it’s someone who sends me a lot of traffic, I probably wouldn’t notice. I’d also rather they not tell me. I find it awkward when someone mention that another bloggers emailed them to let them know they were getting the blogroll boot. There are a million reasons to unblogroll someone, but does anyone really care?

Same goes for Twitter. I find it confusing to see people tweet when they unfollow someone. It’s like, um, good for you? Same when people complain they’re being unfollowed. Unless you have less than 20 followers, short of compulsively checking your follower list (creepy!), how would you even notice?

And Now Back To Our Regular Program

Now that I’m quietly settled back in Newfoundland for a semester, I can finally get around to writing those World of Logs posts I promised. And maybe some more guild posts. And some posts on communication differences in a raid setting… I have a ton of ideas lined up, I don’t know where to start!

And for those of you who enjoy mocking my travel mishaps, I plan on fixing up the personal blog so it’s readable and not filled with inappropriate bra shopping stories.

On a final note, here’s a sample of a spam comment I got lately:

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Them spam bots are getting fierce!

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14 Comments on “But This is Where It Ends, This is Where It Ends”

  1. Kurn Says:

    I love me some Barenaked Ladies. 🙂

    Glad you’re all settled back in, too. I vote for communication differences in raids! It might give me the kick in the butt I need in order to write my post on my 9-10 months of raiding without vent.

    • Ophelie Says:

      I’d love to hear what it’s like to raid without vent. I can see the appeal in the challenge, but I love being able to talk with my teammates.

      I’m going to wait a bit on mine. I’m playing a bit with gender-related communication breakdowns and I feel like everyone’s either on edge about or just sick of the word “gender”.

  2. KimboSlice Says:

    I think you should write a blog about why women love Kimboslice

  3. Grimmtooth Says:

    (a) Heart-stopping title and lead-in. /quaffs bourbon Much better.

    (b)”Everything Is Going To Be Alright” – and you’re aware that’s also a line from a BNL song, yes?

    (c) Taking versus asking for the right to ______. It’s very much like any right that’s taken for granted. The minute we start taking it for granted, we give it up. That mirrors a thought-fragment that I ineptly tried to convey in one of my own posts. Nobody’s gonna *give* it to ya, or, at least not what you actually wanted.

    (d) Byaghro’s post – wow, good memory!

    • Ophelie Says:

      a) Sorry 😦 Couldn’t help myself.

      b) It’s a line in a lot of songs, but I didn’t think of BNL when I saw it. Since you mentioned it, I looked up on google and it’s sort of part of 2 songs: Shopping (Well you know that it’s going to be alright I think it’s gonna be alright Everything will always be alright) and Get in Line (Everything will be alright if you play along)

      c) I’m not sure I understand what you mean…

      d) I remembered it because it was such an awesome topic. I really wanted to discuss it, but I think he posted it during finals so I was too busy with real life.

  4. leah Says:

    “I don’t ask for my right to raid as a woman, I just raid. I don’t demand the right to talk on vent in pugs, I just talk. I don’t remind my guildies that they have to let me hang out with them even though I’m a girl, I just show up and be myself. ”

    my absolute favorite part of your post. To me that pretty much describes what feminism should be.

    • Ophelie Says:

      It’s a lot of how I see feminism too.

      The discussions and debates *are* important, but the end result should be practical application.

  5. Jaedia Says:

    Personal blog? Where? 😮

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