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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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BTH and I are in Switzerland now. There are not words for how utterly gorgeous it is; every way you turn to look there are mountains rising up steep and high and green and rocky, or lakes shimmering the most wonderful shades of turquoise, with towns crammed into the spaces between. We are staying in a B&B in a little town north of Luzern, in central Switzerland. On our way there, we stopped at the Chateau de Chillon –

–this is the most postcard-worthy of the pictures I took there. The herds of cows everywhere actually started in south-eastern France, as we drove through the Charolais region, which is famous for its white cattle. We have seen white cows and brown cows and red cows and black cows and red-and-white cows and black-and-white cows. We have driven through many tunnels — the longest one was 9.25 km. I saw a herd of cows grazing on the greensward just above the entrance to one tunnel. The weather has been sporadically showery and sunny, giving us moments like yesterday evening when we were driving at just the right angle relative to the sun to see a double rainbow!

Presently, the angle of the road changed just enough for us to be able to see both sides of the arc of the rainbow at once! That was simply magical!
This afternoon, we visited Altdorf in the canton of Uri. Some of BTH’s ancestors lived there, as well as this guy whom you may have heard of named William Tell.

The symbol of Uri has been a bull’s head for hundreds of years. The town hall at Altdorf has a display of Uri war banners from the 14th and 15th centuries.

Modern Uri flags have the bull’s head in either black or red on the golden ground:

Perhaps this explains part of BTH’s love for Tauren (that I soon came to share)?

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Warlords has finally gone into beta, so it’s time for another To-Do List update!

I have not flagged my account for Beta Opt-In. I want to experience the new content fresh, for the first time, when the expansion launches — though I will happily devour any non-story/plot-spoiling information that those of you who are in the beta share. Plus, there’s this whole Real Life thing with moving and starting a new job in a few weeks and not having as much time for the stuff I still want to do in Mists content anymore…

Our hotel internet connection in Paris was just fine for me to play WoW, and with my authenticator, I didn’t have any problems logging on. I got a lot of leveling done during the first week, before I started doing a lot of sight-seeing, and during the end of the second week, when BTH fell ill and I didn’t want to leave the hotel room for too long. I walked my feet off doing sight-seeing in the third week. I did some more sightseeing in fourth week, but not as much; I also spent time with other alts doing the Midsummer Fire Festival. I don’t expect to be able to log into WoW much during the next week and a half while we are driving around Switzerland and Germany.

Alts still needing to reach 90
Draenei Mage
Male Tauren Warrior boosted to 90
Pet Battling Monk
Human Mage
Warlock (currently 62 75 86)
Rogue (currently 46 65 80)

Other Objectives
Run each level 90 normal Scenario at least once
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR with each of the healing classes: Shaman, Paladin, Priest (needs 1 more item), Monk, Druid
Get Shado-Pan Helmets and make Shado-Pan Transmogrification kits for Warlock and Rogue
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu (910/20), and Mantid (1/8) archaeology museums
Play through Operation Shieldwall storyline and Kirin Tor Offensive solo scenarios with Human Mage
Start Warlock on Green Fire quest chain
Start Rogue on Fangs of the Father quest chain

If I’d been at home, I would have started the Monk or the Druid on LFR once the Priest got down to needing only 1 item/boss/wing of LFR per week. Because I wasn’t, I didn’t want to bother with doing all the preparation to get ready to run LFR or spend the time to run several wings of LFR per week. Additionally, I’ve been having a bit of trouble deciding which of the leather wearers I should do LFR with first — the Monk who wants many things, or the Druid who wants only a few things?

Click through the cut for some pictures from Paris! (more…)

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In a few short hours, BTH and I will be on an airplane headed for Europe, where we will spend the next five weeks or so. We’ll be in France during the month of June on a business trip for BTH — a stint at the international HQ of his company, which happens to be in Paris. Then we’ll take a week and a half of vacation time to tour Switzerland and Germany. I may or may not be able to advance these goals very much during that time — it’ll depend on how reliable our hotel internet connection is and how much time we spend sight-seeing.

Alts still needing to reach 90
Draenei Mage
Male Tauren Warrior boosted to 90
Pet Battling Monk
Human Mage
Warlock (currently 62 75)
Rogue (currently 46 65)

For those who may be counting, I now have fourteen level 90 characters.
Getting the Warlock and the Rogue leveled is what I most want to complete before classes begin in late August. The other things I just would like to accomplish before Warlords launches. They are listed in approximate priority from most to least likely to actually happen.

Other Objectives
Run each level 90 normal Scenario at least once
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR with each of the healing classes: Shaman, Paladin, Priest (in-progress), Monk, Druid
Get Shado-Pan Helmets and make Shado-Pan Transmogrification kits for Warlock and Rogue
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu (910/20), and Mantid (1/8) archaeology museums
Play through Operation Shieldwall storyline and Kirin Tor Offensive solo scenarios with Human Mage
Start Warlock on Green Fire quest chain
Start Rogue on Fangs of the Father quest chain

Although I don’t expect to ever get past the “pickpocket Hagara” stage of the Fangs of the Father chain, I’d at least like to play through the introductory stages of it.

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For the past few years, I’ve been unemployed more often than not — and when I have been employed, it’s only been part-time. This hasn’t really been a problem for us because BTH has a good solid job that he enjoys that pays well enough for us to live comfortably on just his income. With intermittent employment and no children (yet), I’ve had a lot of free time, much of which I’ve spent either playing or blogging about WoW. What a fantasy life, eh? Being in limbo hasn’t really been as fun as it may sound, though. The longer it went on, the more shallow and unfulfilling such a lifestyle became for me. But no longer.

That job that I interviewed for a couple of weeks ago? I got it.

By mid-August, my spare time in which to play, think, and blog about WoW will have dwindled away to the same few hours as all the rest of you who already have full-time jobs. With that in mind, here’s an updated version of my pre-Warlords/summertime To Do list. Items that have been completed are struck out and items that I am dropping from the list are greyed out.

Alts still needing to reach 90
Draenei Mage
Warlock (currently 62 63)
Rogue (currently 46 47)
Pet Battling Monk (currently 82 87)
Human Mage (currently 87)
Male Tauren Warrior (currently 22) to 60+, will then be boosted to 90

Other Objectives
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR with each of the healing classes: Shaman, Paladin, Priest (in-progress), Monk, Druid
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu (9/20), and Mantid (1/8) archaeology museums
Fish for Flying Tiger Gourami, Alpha Spinefish, Mimic Octopus with Kamalia until she becomes Best Friends with Nat Pagle (currently Pal)
Farm Skyshards and capture Alani (7/10)
Run each level 90 normal Scenario at least once
Start Warlock on Green Fire quest chain
Level enough pets of each family to be able to obtain the Tamer title and the safari hat and do the Celestial Tournament.
Level Male Tauren Warrior’s Engineering at least high enough to specialize as Gnomish and acquire necessary recipes & mats for specialization quest before using free boost to 90

I do still want to do most of these greyed-out things — I just won’t be trying to do them by the end of the summer or even particularly before Warlords launches anymore.

I have increasingly had the feeling that Warlords may end up being my last expansion of playing WoW. This exciting new job is a full-time, tenure-track academic faculty position. Even though it’s only at a two-year school and I’ll be focusing on teaching rather than on research, I anticipate that I will be working my tail off many nights and weekends in addition to my normal work week hours. In addition to the disappearance of my free time, there’s also that no-flying thing (I appreciate the reasons for disallowing it, but I will dearly miss the convenience!), the uncertainty about how alt-friendly & leveling-with-a-buddy-friendly Garrisons will be thing, and, most crushingly for me, the no-Tier-in-LFR thing. I’ve always thought that I’d like to keep playing World of Warcraft at least until Kamalia reached level 100, and when Warlords finally arrives, Kamalia will certainly level to 100 and develop her Garrison and do as much other level 100 stuff as I feel like I have time for. I don’t know that I can (or should) make any predictions about how much I’ll be able to do on Draenor with my current high-level alts. The probability that I will eventually throw gobs of money at Blizzard to boost my junior (currently level 60-ish or under) Mages and Tauren has significantly increased — I want to Mog with most of those characters more than I really want to play with them, though I will still be leveling each of them to 60+ prior to boosting because Professions. We shall have to wait and see, however, where my career takes me and how I feel about Warlords when I am actually playing the game.

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tick, tock

Ironically, all my nattering on about how much I dislike the Timeless Isle caused me to go spend some more time there yesterday evening. Writing about it reminded me that I had not yet done either the Timeless Isle or the Path of the Last Emperor with my most recently-dinged 90, Kaelinda — who reached that magic level three months ago. Furthermore, with Kaprikka closing in on level 85 and well on her way to 90, I needed to restock on cloth Timeless armor tokens.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was in the process of applying for full-time academic jobs. Later this week, I have an interview for one of them! It’s just the first-round phone/Skype interview, and, from the number of timeslot options I was offered, it sounds like they’re considering eight, maybe ten, candidates — so no guarantees that I will actually get the job. Still, this small career progress is making the clock tick a little louder on getting my Warlock, Rogue, and Alliance (Draenei) character leveled to 90 not just before Warlords but also before my Real Life potentially becomes much busier. Time to buckle down and not let myself get distracted by things like brand new alts…

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As it turns out, I was also tagged for the Leibster meme by Chatmay — thanks!

1) How long have you been blogging? Why did you decide to start a WOW blog?
I began keeping a LiveJournal sometime in late 2001 or early 2002 to participate in the Harry Potter fandom. I began reading WoW fansites and blogs sometime around late 2009, when my Druid was reaching level 80 and I wanted to learn more about how to play the class well at the level cap. In early 2010, a healing survey was going around the blogs I was reading, and I wanted to participate. I was also, by that point, starting to have more to say about WoW myself than was reasonable to put in comments on other folks’ blogs.

2) What has been the highlight of your blogging career?
Running the Great Noblegarden Egg Hunt in 2011 and 2012, and having my “What My Characters are Wearing with their Shado-Pan Helmets” article featured on WoW Insider.

3) What games do you play besides WOW?
I don’t play any other computer games, though I am now quite tempted to ask for an iPad for Christmas so that I can use it to play Hearthstone! :P
I enjoy most table games, though I’m terrible at trivia games and don’t like Monopoly very much.
BTH, on the other hand, plays lots of other computer games. He enjoyed Skyrim so much that he jumped into the Elder Scrolls Online during the early access period and will be letting his WoW account lapse until patch 6.0.

4) What hobby do you spend the most time on besides gaming?
I used to spend a great deal of time crocheting afghans, most of which I made as wedding or baby shower gifts, but it’s been quite awhile now since any siblings or friends got married or had their first babies. More recently, I made dragons. I’m currently working on another WoW-themed sewing project that I’ll reveal when it’s finished.
Every few months, I treat myself to a book binge — I check out a pile of books from the library and mostly ignore WoW for a week or two until I’ve read them all.
I also enjoy baking and cooking. Borrowing an idea from my Mum, sometimes I check out a cookbook from the library, then photocopy out recipes that I tried and liked or recipes that looked interesting to try later.

5) What kinds of foods do you like and when do you snack the most?
I have a raging sweet tooth. I love chocolate, ice cream, cookies, pie, yogurt, fresh fruit, cake. I like fruit pies best — especially for breakfast! I tend to think of bread as a platform for butter, honey, and cinnamon — it’s a great snack!
I snack the most at the computer, when I am playing WoW. It’s a very bad habit that I have been trying to break.

6) What period of time/expansion have you enjoyed the most in WOW and why?
I began playing during Burning Crusade, so I’m rather fond of it. I’ve actually quite enjoyed Mists; deciding to drop out of guild raiding and just do LFR suited me and my altoholic playstyle really well.

7) What is your favorite profession in WOW? What is the rarest pattern you have made in a profession?
My favorite profession has been, at various times, herbalism, fishing, and archaeology. I’m not quite sure what it is right at the moment.
Probably the rarest pattern I own is the Black Belt of Knowledge; I saw it on the Winterhoof AH not too long ago and the price was low enough that I could actually afford it, so I snapped it up. I haven’t actually made one yet, though…

8) How often do you twitter about WOW? In one day?
Well, I don’t even have a Twitter account to begin with, so… never.

9) Do you attend any conventions for comics, anime, WOW, gaming, etc.?
I went to a couple of Harry Potter release parties — one for the Prisoner of Azkaban movie and one for the Half-Blood Prince book — but those were relatively small gatherings of a close-knit circle of LJ/fansite friends. Other than that, I haven’t been to any cons.

10) Tell about a close friend you have had in WOW and whether you are still in touch.
One of my first WoW friends was Kirina, one of the inspirations for me starting my own blog. By coincidence, she was on the same server that I was at the time, so we were able to meet up in-game a time or two. Eventually, we both transferred off that server. Sadly, we’ve lost touch. She stopped blogging sometime in 2012. It must have been before the advent of the battletag, because I don’t have her on my battletag friendslist. She’s still playing, though — I just Armory-stalked her, and she’s wearing a sweet Transmogrification kit that I might just have to borrow…

11) Random WOW fact or adventure you have been on.
Whereas I play WoW as a “breadth” game, BTH plays WoW as a “depth” game. He plays to raid, to defeat the bosses on the hardest possible difficulty settings and get the best possible gear. Thus, he always ends up being one of the best-geared bears on our server. In late Wrath, he decided he wanted to try to duo Naxx. We did pretty well until we got to Construct Quarter; though we squeaked through Patchwerk, we had to call in a couple of guildies to help us down Gluth. Now, of course, we can duo the whole place easily. Recently, we duoed ICC with his bear and my best-geared DPS, my Warrior. We had to bring in my Paladin for Valithria and the Lich King, though.

~*~*~

Prinnie, finding no-one on her blogroll that was yet untagged, wrote some free-for-all questions.

1) What’s one thing (other than sheer inertia) that could make you stop blogging?
I’m taking “sheer inertia” to mean the kinds of massive lifestyle changes such as getting a demanding new job, getting married, or having a baby that tend to derail playing and blogging about WoW. If I got tired of WoW and wandered off to do something else, that would probably spell the end of this blog, too — but it wouldn’t stop me from blogging in general, because I’d probably revive my LiveJournal to start talking about my interest in whatever that “something else” happened to be.
I try to not get involved in the kinds of controversies that get people flamed so badly that they decide to quit blogging altogether!

2) What’s your favorite word, and why?
I’m exceedingly fond of “miscellaneous” and its derivative “miscellany”. I think it’s a better word to describe a collection of not-necessarily-related items than “random”.
I’ve been fond of “eclectic” to describe my tastes since high school.

3) If you could choose to never ever write about a particular topic again, what would it be?
See above about trying to stay out of controversies as much as possible — but if I never felt like I had to respond in some way to a sexism-in-WoW discussion ever again, that would be wonderful. Preferrably, it would be because Blizzard had stopped even inadvertently giving people reasons to poke the coals.

4) Does your family know about your blog? If so, what do they think of it?
Some of my family know about this blog. I don’t talk about it much with them because they think I play too much WoW anyway and they think that blogging about it is rather silly. And, too be fair, much of the content of my blog is rather silly.

5) What’s the least realistic goal you’ve ever set for yourself?
The ones that seemed utterly realistic at the time, then failed to happen because they relied, in part, on circumstances beyond my control. Like, getting married before I graduated from university when I didn’t even date while I was in high school. I was about halfway through graduate school before BTH finally came along.

6) Have you ever played a game so much your eyes glazed over? What game was it?
When I roll a new alt in WoW, I like to try to play the character all the way through their starting zone in one sitting. Sometimes I stop halfway through, but when I succeed, I always feel pretty glazed-over by the time I’m done!

7) Let’s say I gave you 100 cupcakes that are super delicious. What would you do with them all?
Well, I’m a chemistry teacher, so I’d decorate them all with the symbols of the elements and make a periodic table of cupcakes.

8) Find the closest object to your right that has text on it. Find the third word in the first sentence. Tell us what it is, and then write a new, amazing sentence for it. (If it’s “the,” or something like that, I may cry.)
Immediately to my right is a pile of used computer games that BTH bought a couple of months ago. Looking at the text on the back of the cases, the third word in the first sentence on the top game in the stack is “to”. Boring! The third word in the first sentence on the next game is “Crysis”, the name of the game. No thanks. The third word in the first sentence on the third game in the stack is “legend”. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere. Let’s look at the last game, just to be sure… “nothing”.
In a time of crisis when nothing is certain, the seeds of legends both good and ill begin to grow.

9) Is a bad idea better than no idea at all? Why?
Yes, because at least then you are doing something, rather than nothing at all.

10) What’s one thing you’d like to write about on your blog, but probably never will?
Though I may occasionally mention it very briefly, in passing, I will probably not ever write much about how after nearly seven years of marriage, BTH and I do not yet have children because I have anovulatory PCOS and can only afford, financially and emotionally, about three months per year of the infertility treatment roller-coaster.

11) What’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked?
I’m sure I’ve gotten some real doozies from my chemistry students, but I guess none of them were so truly inane that they stuck in my mind. The dumbest questions, of course, are the ones that can be answered by pointing to a specific sentence in the lab manual and saying “it’s right here, didn’t you read this before you came to class?”

~*~*~

Likewise, Martha, finding no-one left to tag, wrote up her own set of free-for-all questions.

1) What is one quest/grind that you never want to do again?
I was so glad when mounts went account-wide so that I’d only have to do the Netherwing and Mag’har grinds once! I’m getting pretty tired of the Argent Tournament and the Shado-Pan by now, too. I’d also like to never do the Aldor/Scryer grinds again, but I’m a cheapskate concerning things that aren’t clothes for Transmogrification and would rather farm the rep tokens than buy them from the AH.

2) What is one quest you wish was repeatable?
I’m not thinking, off the top of my head, of a quest that I really wish was repeatable. I think that Mists did rather well at identifying the quests that people would like enough to want to repeat and turning them into dailies. They even turned some older fun quests into dailies for MistsRiding the Storm, one of the possible end-quests of the Shan’ze Dao sequence of Shado-Pan dailies, is, at least to me, pretty clearly a reworking of the popular Drakkensryd quest from the Storm Peaks back in Wrath.

3) What is your favorite critter?
the Armadillo Pup, though the Bandicoon/Masked Tanuki (raccoon) is a close second

4) What’s one thing Blizzard could offer a micro-payment for that you’d love to see?
Armor dyes. A permanent version of the Hallow’s End broomstick mount (though I would rather see that be purchasable with the in-game currency from the holiday). The ability to pick which boss of a variable boss encounter such as the Karazhan opera you’d get to fight. The ability for a max-level character to bypass the once-a-day lockout system for Heroics from past expansions — perhaps allowing you to run a given Heroic five times in a day, similar to how you can run five ten Normals within an hour before you hit the “you have entered too many instances recently” wall.

5) Name one blog you read every day (or at least every time they post).
Alt:ernative and The Daily Frostwolf — it continually amazes me how these ladies can make such thoughtful posts every single day

6) If you lost everything and had to start over again, would you keep playing WoW or quit?
I would certainly feel like just quitting at first! But when I was done sulking, maybe after a week or three, I’d probably start playing again.

7) Do you think WoW will exist 5 years from now? How about 10?
Five years from now? Certainly. Ten years from now? Maybe.

8a) For the older crowd: What did you do for fun before video games took off?
Well, I still love to read books and do textiles-related crafty things….

8b) How much money would someone have to pay you to disconnect all internet service (phones web-browsing included) at home?
They couldn’t pay me enough. I don’t have a smart phone, but I need a high-speed internet connection for my computer! Gaming and blogging aside, I value the internet-based services that allow me to stay connected with my family even though we are scattered all across North America. I recently applied for a job at a well-reputed, fully accredited online university, for whom I would work from home over a high-speed internet connection. Also, it’s so very pleasant to watch General Conference from the comfort of my own living room over streaming internet!

9) If you could have any animal as a real-life pet what would it be? How about as a WoW hunter pet?
I had guinea-pigs from relatively early in my childhood until I left home, and I would like to have them again — when I have a lawn to graze them on in the summer months. I’d love to have a guinea-pig battle pet!
I’d also be happy to have a cat or two, after we settle down.
I’ve wished for a long time that my Hunter could tame hooved mammals such as zhevras, giraffes, and the okapi in Sholazar Basin. I’d also like to be able to tame more of the really large animals such as kodos, clefthoofs, elekks, and mushans.

10) What is the weirdest/silliest skill that you have learned while playing WoW?
Recognizing the flight path landing sound effect when I am tabbed out or even, if I have my volume turned up loud enough, AFK

11) If the real-money auction house had actually worked and you could make a living just playing WoW all day -– would you?
No. I don’t have the patience to make in-game gold from playing the AH, so it would be even stupider and more frustrating to me to try to make real money from the game!

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Whenever a new varation on the “answer N questions and then tag N other bloggers to do the same” meme goes around, I always get a little giddy with anticipation wondering who is going to tag me.

This particular variation on the theme is called the “Liebster Awards”, and it works like so:

1) Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award badge
2) Answer the eleven questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3) Provide eleven miscellaneous facts about yourself
4) Nominate eleven blogs of relatively small readership that you think deserve to be better-known
5) Notify the bloggers that you’ve nominated them
6) Compile eleven questions for your nominees to answer

Step One
The lovely Amerence gave me the tip of the hat. Thank you, darling!

Step Two

1) When did you start blogging; What it’s all about and why?
I’ve been writing here at Kamalia et alia since March 2010, when I wanted to participate in a healing survey that was going around the blogs I was reading at the time. Prior to that, I’d been participating in the Harry Potter fandom and writing about my RL (mis)adventures using LiveJournal since 2001 or 2002. My poor LJ, it’s been so abandoned and neglected since I started this WoW blog and began using Facebook to keep up with my closest HP-fandom friends.
To me, blogging is partly a way for me to record the things I’ve enjoyed about the game and partly a way for me to share my love of the game with others. It’s also been a great way to make new friends, given that I am kind of shy and don’t tend to make friends or even just talk to new people IRL unless the other person approaches me. I have often, over the past decade or so, felt like I have more friends online than “in-person”.

2) Post your most favorite Screenshot of all time!
Ever since Cataclysm, my default answer to the “favorite screenshot” question has been this picture from when I was out exploring the newly-Shattered world, enjoying finally being able to FLY IN AZEROTH!, and got stuck on a tree branch that wasn’t just an ordinary tree branch…

3) Favorite city in WoW to hang out in and why?
Thunder Bluff, of course! It’s relatively quiet and peaceful. If I’m going to be tabbed out or AFK for awhile, I will often log into a character who is in Thunder Bluff because I find the Thunder Bluff music to be calm and relaxing, so I don’t mind listening to it looping.

4) Do you play other games besides WoW? Do you use any console besides your PC?
When it comes to computer games, I just play World of Warcraft. We don’t own a console, or even a TV. I’m very fond of table games such as Catan, Carcassonne, Dominion, Ticket to Ride, etc.

5) What’s your favorite Transmog gear?
There are so many sets I adore, but I’m particularly fond of the Shaman T4 “Cyclone” set because not only is it a very, very stylish set, Karazhan was also my very first raiding experience, and I was fortunate to be in a friendly guild for it.

6) How many WoW characters in game do you have? Do you play them all equally?
Hmm, let’s see… eleven on Bloodhoof, eleven on Winterhoof, eleven on Argent Dawn, and four on Thunderhorn makes thirty-seven. I’m usually only actively playing — leveling or doing dailies/farming/LFR at max level — three to five of them at any given time, and my Tauren get the bulk of my attention.

7) What’s your current achievement score? What’s your most favorite one and why?
I currently have 12600 Achievement Points. The two that are the most meaningful to me are having completed Loremaster before Cataclysm and, more recently, having completed The Black Prince, Chapter V and obtained my Legendary cloak.

8) What was your most memorable experience since you started playing WoW?
I don’t really remember my first Wailing Caverns run itself, but I do remember the nightmare-loop I was stuck in after I went to sleep that night, dreaming about being lost in the Wailing Caverns!

9) How many total deaths of critters do you currently have? What are your thoughts about these creatures since they can battle now with your own Pet collections too.
Kamalia has a critter kill count of 9721. I’ve always felt a little guilty about accidentally killing critters with AoE.

10) What is the first word that comes to mind when you think about WoW and why?
“Wonderful” sums up the World of Warcraft in one word pretty neatly, because I love the art of the game and because there are so many great things to explore and do within the game world.

11) Warlords of Draenor is coming up soon! It’s the new expansion everyone is talking about! What are your expectations?
I expect a breathtaking new world to explore, filled with interesting characters to meet and fascinating stories to experience that will encompass a wide range of emotions. I will play through the Horde storyline first, leveling Kamalia to 100 in tandem with BTH. I plan to play through the Alliance storyline next, before I level any Horde alts, because, like Matthew Rossi, I’m feeling rather bored of orcs and their turmoils and am more excited about discovering what the Draenei were like when they were a flourishing civilization. I expect to spend a lot of time managing my Garrison.

Step Three
* When I was very little, I was a strawberry blonde. As I got older, my hair got darker; it was never the true bright shiny new copper penny color, it was more like the color of an old dull penny. Now my hair only looks reddish in just the right sort of sunlight, and I wonder if it is the color called “auburn” or not.
* During my teens and early twenties, I collected every color of Crayola crayons that I could find. Crayola hasn’t produced any new or interesting crayon colors for several years, though.
* Shortly after I first started this blog, BTH got transferred to Halifax, Nova Scotia for work. We lived there for a year and a half, then returned to the Twin Cities. About a year and a half later, BTH got transferred to the Halifax project again, and we will probably have been here in Nova Scotia for another year and a half before he gets assigned to a different project.
* I had a great temerity about fresh hot peppers and only ever used the canned green chiles from Old El Paso until my Mom gave me a Mexican cookbook for Christmas this past year. Now I enjoy using poblano, jalapeno or serrano, fresno, ancho, and chipotle peppers — but I am still timid about the really super hot peppers!
* I enjoy baking and would much rather bake my own bread than have to buy it. I take pride in doing the mixing and kneading by hand. When I do buy bread, I prefer to buy it from a small, local-business bakery.
* My Mom used to think she was descended from Priscilla Mullins, who came over on the Mayflower. Now, she’s not so sure if that ancestry has been correctly traced. We do know for certain, however, that we are descended from Joseph Knight, Sr., who, with his family, was one of the most staunch friends and supporters of Joseph Smith, Jr., during the early days of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
* I’ve really enjoyed judging Dragonray’s Mog the World in 80 Days competition. I usually give 8.5/10 as my top score, but I have given a couple of 9.0s and even a 10! My favorite sets are the ones that effectively use both the colors and the motifs of the chosen flag while still being an oufit that I feel like I would be able to wear without having to explain that my outfit was inspired by the flag of a certain country and, more importantly, being an outfit that I would enjoy wearing myself!
* This winter, I’ve become addicted to Tim Hortons hot chocolate. I drink at least one cup a day, usually two and sometimes even three, and I go through about a cannister a week.
* Although the official timeline on pages 28 – 31 of the World of Warcraft Ultimate Visual Guide allocates only one year apiece to the events of classic WoW and each of the expansions, it’s never made sense to me that all the war campaigns and especially all the buildings and construction that happened in each expansion could really be done in just one year of time. My headcanon is that the events of classic WoW and each of the expansions took as much time in Azeroth as we spent playing those expansions in “real time”.
* Despite what I said before about the $60 cost being prohibitive, I am really quite tempted to just boost my nine sub-level-60 Mages up to 90. It would be quite the heap of cash if I boosted them all at once, but if I boost them one at a time, as each one reaches level 60…
* I love a good bad pun, especially when I’ve managed to come up with it myself, so here are some lobsters that I painted in June 2011.

Step Four
(in no particular order)
Manalicious
Martha
Parallel Context
Plenty of Paladins
That Was an Accident!
The Pixel Lives of Lorelei/Zazzy Mogs
Mog’s Addiction
Ironyca Stood in the Fire
Jaedia’s Menagerie
Awaiting the Muse
Azerothian Life
Pretty Fly for a Draenei
Red Cow Rise (Akabeko, I miss you!)

Step Five
Oh, dear, I guess this means I have to go make comments on all these blogs, don’t I? Perhaps I’ll just leave comments for the folks that don’t stop by here regularly, and leave it up to the folks who do stop by regularly to decide whether or not they want to play along.

Step Six
1) Tell me about a game or games — video or table or both! — that you are really enjoying right now.
2) What classes, races, or roles do you find yourself most drawn to in RPGs, whether in D&D, a single-player video game, or an MMO?
3) When you make your first character in a new game, do you try to make a character that is in some way an avatar of your RL self, or do you make someone entirely different?
4) Describe a typical session of playing your current favorite video/computer game.
5) What was the very first computer/video game you ever played? How old were you?
6) Do you have more than one blog? If so, what is/are your other blog(s) about? (Blog names/links not necessary, and you don’t have to include personal/family/work-related blogs unless you really want to.)
7) Name three non-WoW/game-related websites that you visit frequently.
8) What was/is your favorite animal to see at the zoo?
9) Cake or Pie? What is your favorite flavor of your preferred dessert?
10) What toppings do you like on a pizza? on an ice-cream sundae?
11) What is your favorite writing instrument?

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