Archive for the ‘Beyond WoW’ category

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…

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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

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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

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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!