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Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

You guys… I knew that this having a full time job thing would be a lot of work, and that it would be hard, and that it would keep me very busy, but ai yi yi… I managed to be prepared enough for the first day or two of classes, but I’ve had to spend some late nights on campus this week to stay even just a little ahead in my prep of where I am in class. I’m struggling with the pacing; I am about a lecture behind my syllabus schedule of topics in both my classes and will probably have to push back the dates for my first midterm exams. I’m going to have to put in some serious prep time over the next couple of months to get enough ahead that I’ll actually be able to afford to take the night off from work to go to Draenor and meet the Warlords on November 13th. I’ve also been developing a crisis of confidence this week as I’ve overheard what my fellow new-hire professor in the next office is doing with his students. I have to keep reminding myself that just because he’s set himself the goal of being the BEST chemistry professor on campus, this isn’t really a competition. I don’t have to try to do the kinds of things he’s doing — I just need to be the best I can be with my own personal teaching philosophy and style.

Classes have been in session for a week and a half now. Before that, I had a week and a half of various sorts of faculty meetings. I drew a lot of doodles in the notebook I was given at the first of those meetings… (more…)

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As it happens, I am giving exams — in both of my courses — on the weekend that Warlords of Draenor releases. The exams will be in the Testing Center, however, so I won’t pick them up to begin grading them until Monday or Tuesday. Of course, I will still have quizzes & lab reports to grade and lecture notes & handouts for the next unit to prepare…

I’m glad that I pushed myself to get the Warlock and the Rogue leveled to 90 during June and the first part of July, before I moved. I’ve been so busy these past few weeks with househunting and unpacking and trying to get ready for the semester to start –

Yup, Illidan, you got that right, buddy.
— anyhow, as I was saying — that I have barely had any time for WoW.

Thus, I’ve cut my “to do list” down to just these few objectives that I think are still achievable within the next thirteen weeks, even with my severely limited playtime:

Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR with each of the healing classes: Shaman, Paladin, Priest, Druid (in progress), Monk (in progress)
Get Shado-Pan Helmets and make Shado-Pan Transmogrification kits for Warlock and Rogue (currently 6K/21K Revered)
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)

This week, I have been drowning in faculty meetings… must… not… install… Hearthstone… on… department… iPad-mini…

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A World of Warcraft 10th Anniversary survey from the Godmother.

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?
I began playing World of Warcraft seven years ago (as of yesterday, in fact) as something to do with my new husband. We’d already spent the first month after our wedding playing through Final Fantasy III.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?
Kamalia the Tauren Resto Shaman was my first character, and I still consider her my main. Kamalia is the one who does just about everything — she gets the Loremaster acheivements for each new zone, she maxes out the most factions, she chases the most achievements, she does the most with the secondary profession skills, she raids first and most completely. During the earliest days of a new expansion, I spend almost all of my playtime with Kamalia. As an expansion draws on, though, I spend more and more time with alts, until by the the latest days of an expansion, I am spending almost all of my playtime with alts.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?
At the time that I began playing, BTH wanted to be able to play with some RL friends. They were already Horde, so we rolled our new characters as Horde. We did in fact play with those RL friends for some time; they made up part of one of the very first guilds that we joined.
I also quickly fell in love with the Tauren people, so I continue to play mostly Horde because I want to play mostly Tauren.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?
Many of my most memorable moments in WoW have a strong postive social component — my BC guild’s first Zul’jin kill; joining a new guild mid-Cataclysm and being delighted by how friendly everyone was; participating in Transmogrification runs of old content raids with blogger friends; helping Cymre to get her Val’anyr; tagging along with Navimie to Navispam Vidyala, Voss, and Rhidach.
Others involve challenging things that BTH and I did together — playing our Hunters through the pre-Cataclysm version of the Nesingwary quest chain in Stranglethorn Vale when we were still somewhat underleveled, so that it took us most of the day and we had to really learn how to work together and use our available abilities to their best extent; attempting to duo Naxxramas in late Wrath, when we were in partly-Heroic ICC gear, and getting through most of it before having to call in a few extra DPS from our guild; duoing ICC several months ago, wearing Mists raid gear, and succeeding by swapping out my DPS character for a healer character for Valithria and LK himself.
But perhaps my most memorable WoW moment happened before I even started playing the game. BTH and I were still just dating at the time. Burning Crusade had only been out for a few months, and BTH had talked enough about the game that I was intrigued, so when he suggested that he show me some of the gameplay, I agreed. I remember so clearly watching him playing his then-Dwarven Paladin in Terokkar Forest, marvelling at the strangeness of the warp stalkers and noticing how the male and female Blood Elf mobs at Firewing Point had different death animations. I liked the richness of detail in what I saw of the game world, and it was interesting enough that when he suggested, after we got married, that we play the game together, I readily agreed.

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?
I’ve always enjoyed healing. Kamalia wasn’t even level 60 yet when I began rolling alts to explore other classes and races. I’ve also been interested in in-game fashion from very early in my WoW career; one of the first WoW blogs I started reading regularly was an RP fashion blog. This blog has always been a little about healing and a lot about alts and fashion. Although healing and exploring the breadth of the game with alts are still some of my favorite aspects of the game, Transmogrification instantly became my most favorite aspect of the game as soon as it was introduced.

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?
I love how peaceful and serene Thunder Bluff and Mulgore are. It’s my favorite place to station a Horde bank alt, and other Horde alts that aren’t doing anything in particular often end up just hanging out there, too.
Almost all of my Horde characters have spent some time in the Ghostlands because there are some great items available there from quest rewards and the Tranquillien faction. Similarly, almost all of my Alliance characters have spent some time on Azuremyst and Bloodmyst isles for the unique quest reward items found there.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?
Kamalia’s current /played is 148 days, 2 hours (23 days, 2 hours at level 90). If I add up the /played of all my current characters, I get 449 days, 5 hours — and of course that doesn’t include all the time I’ve spent on the many alts that I’ve deleted. And yes, that has been more or less continuous. Though I’ve had some secondary accounts that have come and gone, I have never unsubscribed from my primary WoW account, and I haven’t taken any breaks from playing that were longer than a week or two.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?
I try to read the quest text completely the first time I play through a zone because I want to understand why I’m doing what I’m doing and because I want to know the story and the lore. In recent expansions, though, BTH has wanted to go-go-go so quickly toward the new level cap that I haven’t really been able to fully read all of the quest text with Kamalia. Then, I’ve had to remember to take the time to read the quest text with subsequent alts. By the fourth or fifth alt through a zone, I don’t read the quest text anymore — but by the eighth or ninth alt, I start reading it again because I’ve forgotten just why I’m supposed to be killing ten rats and collecting five gubbins.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?
During Cataclysm, I intensely regretted not getting my Druid leveled and ready for raiding quickly enough to participate in very many guild alt runs of the T11 raids before Firelands dropped. Thus, I wasn’t able to get the T11 Druid shoulders, which I coveted from the first moment I saw another character wearing them. I regretted it so much that last summer, when the Druid T11-lookalike shoulders showed up on the AH of a different server than where my Druid resided, I barely batted an eyelash at spending $50 in Real World Money to do a there-and-back-again transfer of my primary bank alt to that other server to get them for her.

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?
When I’m talking to my family about what I’ve been doing lately, I find myself glossing over the amount of time I spend playing WoW as much as I can. I try to avoid talking about the game with my Dad and try to hide my gaming time when I’m at my parents’ house because he disapproves of the amount of time I spend playing and thinks I should just quit entirely. My Mom and my sisters are more understanding, though they still think the time I spend playing could be better spent in other ways. I can talk about the game with my brothers, though we do it when Dad isn’t around. I also feel like my mind is a lot more shallow and frivolous than the rest of my family, due to the amount of time I spend thinking about the game instead of more serious topics — but then, that’s not really a new phenomenon. I’ve lived with my head in the clouds of fantasy worlds ever since I first read the Chronicles of Narnia and the Prydain Chronicles when I was seven.
Playing the game caused me to become even more distracted from my graduate school research than I already had been before I began playing. The allure of Azeroth definitely contributed to the overextension of the time it took me to complete my research and then my dissertation. This summer, I spent a lot of time trying to accomplish in-game goals before the impending collapse of my free time due to moving and starting my exciting new teaching job — a job that is exactly what I spent the last three or four years of graduate school telling mentors and fellow students that I wanted to do — at the expense, however, of preparing for said new job. Now, with just a week and a half to go before classes start, I’m feeling that I will not be as ready as I would ideally like to be for the first few weeks of the semester.
More positively, WoW and the friendships I have made through blogging about WoW have been helpfully therapeutic as I have wrestled with infertility over the past few years.

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Syrco’s What in WoW reminds you of your home? prompt brought to mind the “Ode to Orgrimmar” that I wrote early in the lifetime of this blog. In that post, I wrote:

I grew up in the great American West — Utah, Arizona, California. Zones like Mulgore and the Barrens remind me of different areas of the states where I grew up, the places I call home. My [maternal] grandparents live in the Red Rock country of southern Utah, near places like Moab, the Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park. I came to love their stark, arid beauty. Zones like Durotar, the Badlands, and Thousand Needles, which are clearly inspired by that part of the real world, evoke the same feelings of awe, wonder, and, yes, love in me. These places “feel like home”, if such a thing can be said about locations that only exist within a video game. This feeling of being “at home” in Horde zones is certainly part of why I enjoy being Horde.

Stonetalon Mountains and the Thistleshrub Valley sub-region of Tanaris also remind me of the landscapes of Utah and Arizona. Thus, most of central Kalimdor is, in one way or another, like the part of the world that is “home” to me. Somewhat surprisingly, I also found a reminder of home in Pandaria’s Townlong Steppes –

— these bushes irresistably remind me of the sagebrush that covers the valleys of Utah and Arizona.

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I am delighted with the new Female Tauren model, especially her face! The new mouth and bangs are huge improvements over the old ones, and the new eyes and ears are nice, too. I look forward to seeing reports and screenshots of the new model in action when it gets implemented on the beta servers.
I am cautiously optimistic about whether I will like what the upgrade does to my girls. The new face is such an enormous improvement over the old one that I really, really want to like my characters’ new looks — though I’m sure it will take me a few weeks to get use to them!

Meanwhile, folks are beginning to predict a September release date for Warlords. Even though I haven’t planned out my syllabi yet, I’m sure that if the new expansion does release in September, it’s bound to be on the same weekend that I will have given an exam in one or another of the classes I will be teaching, and so I will be stuck doing this and this instead of actually being able to play…

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Not so much that these outfits are intended to express the spirit of the summer season, or particuarly to be worn during summer, as that they are outfits I’ve created over the past few months, which happen to have been summer months.

Space Opera Jumpsuit

Shoulderwraps of the Enthralled, Vindicator Tunic Belt & Pants, Manaspark Gloves, Enumerated Sandals, Lavender Mageweave Shirt, Staff of the Skymagi
The Vindicator set has always made me think of the jumpsuits worn by spaceship occupants in stories from the Golden Age of early science fiction.
Races that cannot wear invisiboots might like to use the Vindicator boots or the Ethereal Boots of the Skystrider that match the gloves.

Bloodmyst

Resplendent Epaulets, Death-Speaker’s Tunic, Cloudscorcher belt & gloves, Darkweave Breeches, Hu’rala’s Slippers, Ermine Ruff Cloak, Swarming Sting-Staff
This chestpiece is the only Transmogrification-friendly item in the same style as the vests worn by level 1 Draenei hunters, warriors, and paladins.

Ternion Phantom

Cowl of the Ternion Glory (LFR), Shoulderpads of Pulsing Protection, Coldtouch Phantom Wraps, Beach Party Thong, Bolt-Burster Grips, Umbranse’s Staff
My primary motivation for collecting the Priest T16 LFR set was to be able to mix-and-match it with this lovely robe from Stratholme (Service Gate entrance). The Duskwoven robe is almost identical, except that it has elbow-length sleeves. The T16 belt itself was a little too much of the dark bronze color for my taste; the softly metallic tones of this belt harmonize with the metal trim on the shoulders without overpowering the robe.

Quiet Monastery

Feathermoon Headdress, Reporter’s Shoulderguards, Nimbletoe Chestguard, Green Belt of Hushed Wisdom, Leggings of the Vanquished Usurper, Craggy Handgrips, Colossal Treads, Monastic Cloak of Wisdom, Green Workman’s Shirt, Scar-Shell’s Scintillating Staff
This beautiful, unique cloak is sold only to Monks by the catch-up gear vendors in Mount Hyjal and Vashj’ir.

Crimsonscale

Crafted Dreadful Gladiator’s Chain Helm, Crimsonscale shoulders chestpiece & leggings, Mercurial Girdle, Lord’s gloves & boots, Jade Rifle
The Crimsonscale set is the Agility set produced from Timeless Isle mail armor tokens. I think it is the handsomest coloration of this style of armor.
The Jade Rifle may not be the most perfectly matching gun for this armor (I like the plainer Bhag’thera’s Roar better), but this armor is the best Transmogrification kit I could come up with to use with this gun.

Dark Runes

Greathelm of the Scourge Champion, Masterwork Spiritguard Shoulders, Darkrune Breastplate, Bogslayer Belt, Honorary Combat Engineer’s Heavy Legplates, Bloodbane’s Gauntlets of Command, Insubordination Boots*, Shroud of the North Wind, Hatred’s Vise
I’ve long wanted to use this chestpiece for a Death Knight Transmogrification kit, so when I found the pattern on the AH for an shockingly low price, I snapped it up as quick as a wink!
These Mists crafted shoulders seemed entirely appropriate for a Death Knight — they’re sort of like a bigger and better version of the Acherus Knight’s Pauldrons that every Death Knight starts out with.
I’d found the Treads of Savage Beatings on the AH for a decent price, but when I tried them in this set, they were entirely too bright. After looking at various other boots and several weapons, I liked the coordination between this mace and these unique boots from the Patch 5.3 Battlefield:Barrens event best.

Hellreaver

Faceplate of the Forgotten, Destroyer Shoulderblades & Greaves, Druidic Guardian Plate, Crafted Malevolent Gladiator’s Girdle of Prowess, Taldaram’s Plated Fists, Crafted Malevolent Gladiator’s Warboots of Alacrity, Orange Mageweave Shirt, Hellreaver
I’m not quite sure just what I was expecting to do when I set out to make Keija a set to go with her Hellreaver, as I’d promised after Hellreaver failed to work with her Shado-Pan kit. This certainly wasn’t it, but I like it a lot! The mostly-dark armor allows Hellreaver itself to be the star feature of the kit, while all those little bright orange accents both complement Hellreaver and keep the overall look from being too dark.

Shado-Pan Bulwark

Replica Shado-Pan Helmet, Shoulderguards of Empty Memory, Glory of the Defender, Ogre Beater’s Belt, Legguards of the Fallen Crusader, Grips of Arcane Imprisonment, Deathseed Crushers, Rescuer’s Cloak, Stylish Black Shirt, Firestorm Hackblade, Shield of the Void
As long as Mists remains the current expansion, items containing both red and black will always immediately suggest that they be used in a Shado-Pan Helmet kit. Mists was already well enough along when I leveled my Paladin that I saved these Cataclysm quest reward items for future use in a Shado-Pan kit. Although her first Shado-Pan kit didn’t need them, they came in handy to coordinate with this chestpiece, which dropped while I was farming the Hyjal raid for something else.

Tomorrow, I fly home to stay with my parents while I am looking for an apartment (or maybe even a house!) to rent near the college where I will be teaching. I’m not sure how long it will take to find a place and get internet and do all that other Grown-Up Real Life stuff that one has to do when one moves. It will be high time, too, to buckle down to the serious work of getting ready to teach this fall, writing my syllabi and planning out the first few weeks of lectures and in-class activities and homework assignments and whatnot. Hopefully I won’t fall so far off of the World of Warcraft that I never manage to come back…

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BTH and I flew back to Canada on Wednesday, only to find that our home internet had gone out. It took us until this afternoon to get it back online.

Among the many museums I visited while in Paris, I became particularly interested in going to the musee du quai Branly when I saw signs advertising that they had a temporary exhibition about the Plains Indians. I visited the wonderful Palais de la decouverte earlier that morning (it opens an hour before the Branly) and my camera’s memory card filled up just before I went in, so I was glad, when I finally got to the Branly, that I’d remembered to bring a sketchbook and some colored pencils.

This dress is based on a Lakota/Cherokee woman’s dress from around 1825, and the baby carrier is based on one made by the Dakota around 1840.

When I went into the museum’s permanent collection, these masks from Vanuatu, which apparently represent ogres of the local mythology, immediately reminded me of WoW’s Trolls:

The main body of the mask is a red clay, with designs painted in black. One mask stood out because it had a round face instead of an elongated one and bright blue paint instead of black. My sketches don’t adequately convey the strong dimensionality of the noses, eyebrows, and lips.

Our travels in Germany took us to Wurtzburg. Walking over the Alte Mainbrucke immediately reminded me of the bridge into Stormwind.


click on the images to visit the sites from which I borrowed them

Our last stop was in Freiberg, where we spent the weekend visiting with BTH’s parents, who have been there for the past 18 months as missionaries specifically called to serve in the Freiberg Temple. Senior couple missionaries have fewer restrictions on their activities than the young proselyting missionaries do, so on Monday (their day off), they took us to see the Terra Mineralia museum housed in one wing of the Freiberg schloss. The many huge crystal formations showcased in the collection — especially the amethysts — reminded me of the Draenei. They are also reminiscent of the areas of Outland where netherdrakes are found.

These aren’t quite the same thing as Syrco’s wonderful “What in WoW reminds you of your home?” prompt, though, so I shall have to address it properly sometime.

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