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Augh, writing peer-review committee and department chair letters for the interim tenure reviews of the other chemistry faculty who were also new the same year that I was is giving me all kinds of inferiority complex and existential insecurity about my own interim tenure review. I am acutely aware that I have this job because one of my high school friends didn’t get tenure, and I am terrified that I am so lackluster compared to my colleagues that I will meet the same fate.

I also have two exams to write by next Tuesday, so as much as I might like to play as much WoW this long weekend as my baby will let me, I shouldn’t. And then, of course, those exams will need to be graded, and the first piles of lab reports are incoming…

Not that I could go to Argus right now even if I wanted to. I know darn well that Kamalia did the pre-launch event Broken Shore scenario, but she didn’t get the breadcrumb quest to go to Argus on Tuesday. I hypothesize that it’s because she still has the breadcrumb quest for Armies of Legionfall in her log, never turned in from Patch 7.2 (and that she didn’t get the breadcrumb quest for the Whispers of Frightened World scenario for the same reason). Maybe I’d only have to turn in the first Armies of Legionfall quest to get the first Argus quest to open up, but I think I’d want to do at least enough of the Broken Shore to bring Magatha Grimtotem into the fold of the Earthen Ring before I went gallivanting off to Argus. That would be at least one night of gameplay, but with the amount of time I have for WoW right now, it might take two or three nights of play and two or three weeks to have enough nights where I felt like I actually could play that much.

So I might be pretty quiet for awhile until I’m not drowning in work quite so badly.

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Kamalia is TEN years old today!

In the first year of this blog, I made a post when Kamalia turned three in which I wrote:

When BTH and I were dating, he told me about this game he liked to play called World of Warcraft. He showed me the gameplay one night; it was a month or two after the release of the Burning Crusade expansion and he was leveling his Dwarf Paladin in Terrokar Forest. I remember quite vividly the strangeness of the warp stalkers and noticing that the male and female blood elves (at Firewing Point) had different death animations.

After we got married, we spent a month playing through Final Fantasy III together before he got me started on World of Warcraft. I wrote in my journal that night, or perhaps the next day, about having created my first character in this new game I was playing with my new husband — which is why I remember Kamalia’s “birthday” at all. I didn’t make note of, and therefore don’t remember, the dates upon which I created any of my subsequent characters.

BTH created an Undead Priest to level with my Tauren Shaman, but when I got stuck on some early quests, he brought in his level 16 Tauren Druid to help me out. Eventually I decided that I liked questing with the Druid better than with the Priest. By the time we got to level 70, the Dwarf Paladin had been abandoned and the Tauren Druid had become BTH’s new main. He wanted to try out tanking with his Druid, and hasn’t looked back since.

We’ve had a lot of fun playing this game together over the past three years. I’ve gotten a lot more involved and interested in it than I ever thought I would at the beginning — the world just has so much to explore, to see and to do. I don’t know if I have another three years worth of interest in the game in me, but I’ll enjoy it for as long as I can!

Well, here we are seven years later, and Kamalia (and her entourage of family and friends) is still a big part of my life. It’s been a grand ten years. I don’t know if I have another ten years worth of interest in the game in me — or even if the game itself has another ten years of longevity left in it — but I’ll keep right on enjoying it for as long as I can!

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While I was trawling through my Photobucket library looking for pictures that I didn’t have on the hard drive of my current computer and that I really wanted to keep, I found these screenshot + lyrics images that I’d created for a couple of different blogging prompts in years gone by. I wanted an excuse to repost them all together in one post, so I suggested this topic for Z & Cinder’s Blog Challenge:

What things in WoW always make you think of a particular piece of music? Show us a screenshot/s and share with us the music that it brings to mind.

I’ve had a special fondness for the following passage from Paradise Lost (Book II, lines 907-910) ever since my Physical Chemistry professor put it on an exam and asked us to write about how it describes the Second Law of Thermodynamics:

Unfortunately, I don’t remember P-Chem well enough to reproduce the explanation here (though I do still have the exam — it’s in my Honors portfolio).
It helped, too, that I’d already read Paradise Lost for the Honors literature class I took during my freshman year of college.

A love song to Miss Danna from her beau:

Wonderful World, Sam Cooke; my favorite recording is the one by Herman’s Hermits

The Horde in microcosm:

The Real Ambassador, Dave Brubeck & Louis Armstrong

One of the first really gorgeous WoW rainbow locations. Another is at the final falls of the Vir’naal river in Uldum.

The Rainbow Connection, Paul Williams & Kenneth Ascher, originally sung by Kermit in The Muppet Movie

I love these lines of relationship advice from the song “My White Knight” in my all-time favorite musical, The Music Man:
And I want him to be
More interested in me
Than he is in himself.
And more interested in us
Than in me!

Sadly, I had a much easier time thinking of counterexamples in Azeroth than I did examples of the intended sentiment, so I wasn’t able to come up with a good idea for a screenshot.
So here’s another of my favorite bits of the musical, instead:

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Oh, I am so tired of Blackwing Lair. So tired of Razorgore and the eggs, so tired of the suppression room. But Nefarian hasn’t dropped my Priest’s robe yet, and Chromaggus hasn’t dropped my Rogue’s shoulders yet, and Broodlord hasn’t dropped my Paladin’s boots yet, and Vaelastrasz only drops his shield for people other than my three shield users. And so I keep coming back, every Tuesday, hoping that this week, the things I want will drop so that I won’t have to come back again next week.

I’m still working on getting a few bits and pieces from other tiers*, too, and trying to get a couple of raid drops that aren’t tier pieces. I’m almost finished with Outland dungeons — I just need one item from one Heroic. I’m starting to say to myself, as I look through my list of things that might be nice to have, “ehh, I don’t really need that” or “meh, I’ll farm that if and when I think of a mog idea that would actually use it”.

After all, I already have so many fun-looking items** that I could probably do another year or more of “Sunday on the Promenade” before I’ve used everything in my wardrobe*** at least once.

Although my choice to ignore the Patch 7.2 content in favor of focusing on filling the gaps in my wardrobe was deliberate and considered, by now, I’m starting to feel like I’m really falling behind. Seeing that this week’s Legionfall quest is to kill three Elites, I wonder if there will be enough people still doing Broken Shore stuff to help me with that when I finally manage to catch up. I basically haven’t done World Quests since Kamalia got to 36 traits in all of her Artifacts. I haven’t been running Order Hall missions. Most of my characters haven’t even been to their Order Halls for weeks, except to change the color of their Artifacts. So I’ve been taking the baby step to ease myself back into Legion content of starting to spend time fishing up the coins in the New Dalaran fountain.

Just as I’m wanting to start doing current content again, however, my 10-week-old baby has decided that he needs to be carried. Last week, I could just hold him in my off-hand arm while I read a book, typed, or ran through a legacy content dungeon or raid using my main hand. This week, I can’t get away with that anymore. Being moving by being in the swing isn’t good enough; after a few minutes, he will start yelling. Being held isn’t good enough; if I sit still for longer than a minute or two while holding him, he will start yelling. I either have to be walking around with him or, if I’m sitting down, actively playing with him instead of just passively holding him. This new behavior is even worse for my summer plans to revise lab manuals and restructure my online homework assignments than it is for my WoW-playing goals…

* Well, all the legacy content through Cataclysm, that is. I’ll wait until my characters are level 110 and wearing at least World Quest-level gear to attempt the Mists raids and Warlords dungeons.

** Some collected recently, some collected not-so-recently (but I still haven’t quite gotten around to actually using them)

*** All the items that I actually like, at any rate. I’m not going to try to use the stuff that I don’t particularly like!

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Last fall, when BTH & I found out that we would be adopting, I negotiated a parental leave agreement for this semester that involved me teaching just one class — organic chemistry — instead of my usual load. I would take two weeks completely off when the baby arrived, during which time a colleague (who is also my Dean) would teach the class. For the once-a-week three hour lab component of the class, I would attend the first half-hour and get the students going, after which my Dean would “babysit” the students for the rest of the course.

Yesterday afternoon, for their Lab Final, I gave my students an assignment to use the chemical knowledge that they have developed over the past two years of studying chemistry to a) extract pigments from spinach, raspberries, and blackberries and b) use those pigments to dye hard-boiled eggs. I told them that I wanted to see pretty pictures of the results in their lab reports.

My Dean joked that instead of taking pictures, they should show me the eggs by hiding them in my office — with each student’s grade being dependent upon how cleverly they hid their eggs.

This morning, I walked into my office and saw this:


I burst out laughing. They actually DID it!

The rest of my morning was lost to finding the rest of the eggs:










I remembered that there had been sixteen eggs, but after I found these fourteen, I searched and searched all over my office and just could not find the last two.

When I went to class, my students were amused at my tale of how they had caused me to thoroughly waste my morning. They told me where to find the fifteenth egg:

The sixteenth egg wasn’t actually in my office. It was still in the lab because the student was trying to intensify the color by soaking it overnight in the dyebath he had prepared. He went and got it, to complete the set:

The eggs dyed with the natural pigments really quite nicely, especially the ones dyed with the blackberry pigment mixture. The really brightly colored eggs, however, were done with standard food coloring, which we keep in the lab for a handful of lower-level experiments.

I love my OChem students (and my boss)!

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As you might have guessed from the observation that the flow of my posting continued un-interrupted, the adoption that was supposed to happen at the beginning of January fell through.

Fortunately, the agency was able to match us with another birth mom very quickly. We just got the news that she’s been admitted to the hospital to have the baby, and we are in a flurry of packing our suitcases and the car to drive to the city where the agency is.

Serendipitously, it is also the city where my paternal grandfather, who will be turning 100 in a few months and is still hale and hearty and active, lives — and I’m super excited about getting to visit him, too!

So if I don’t manage to post again for weeks or months, well, that’s what happened XD

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Zeirah and DeezWurds and RepGrind have all tagged me for the latest iteration of the blog survey meme.

Aww, thanks, guys!

Zeirah asks:

If you couldn’t blog about WoW anymore, what would you blog about?
Before I began playing WoW, I blogged about Harry Potter on LiveJournal for several years. WoW came into my life at about the same time as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was published. By the time I started this blog, about two and a half years after I began playing WoW, I was barely posting in my LJ anymore — and by now, I haven’t logged into LJ at all for a few years.
Eventually, I will drift away from WoW, and maybe when that happens I will have drifted to something else that I will feel like blogging about — but for now, I really don’t know.

What’s the best and worst thing about blogging?
The best thing is the people I’ve gotten to know! Though I recognize that it’s not likely to happen, I would be delighted to meet you folks in person. For instance, if I ever manage to go to Australia (and to the right part of the continent), I want to do lunch with Navimie and Cymre 😀
The worst thing is when it’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve posted and I feel like I ought to make a post just to keep from having too long of a post drought, but I can’t think of anything to say.

What’s your favourite achievement in WoW?
The original “Loremaster” was my default answer to this question for years, because I worked hard to get it with Kamalia in late Wrath.
Maybe it’s really the one(s) to fish up all the coins in the Dalaran fountain, though. I wrote down in a notebook all the little tidbits of lore from the flavor text on all the coins when I did the original achievement back in Wrath. I’ve been meaning to set aside some time to do the new version of the achievement for the Legion Dalaran fountain.

How long have you been playing computer games?
We got our first computer at home when I was maybe seven or eight? It was an Atari, but I don’t know what version it was; it was the late 1980s, and the machine took two-and-a-half inch hard-cased disks, not five inch floppies. It had two external disk drives — one to put the program disk in to read, and the other to put a blank disk in to save files to. Donald Duck’s Playground was the best game! At school, in elementary school, I played Oregon Trail and various versions of Carmen Sandiego. As home computers got better, I played Jinxter and Matterhorn Screamer and Logical Island of the Zoombinis and the Animaniacs’ Variety Pack. I got really good at Smoocher and Barney’s Balloon Bop from the Animaniac’s Variety Pack while I was in college. We had Myst, too, but I never played much of it.

If you could have one day to do anything in, what would you do?
In the morning, I’d like to take a riding lesson and then go for a trail ride. I took English riding lessons for about a year and a half during graduate school. That was over a decade ago, though, so I’d have to start back at the beginning. After a picnic lunch and a siesta, it would be pleasant to go canoeing on a lake in the mid/late afternoon. Then I guess I’d want to go out to dinner at a moderately nice restaurant, maybe the sort that has a dance floor and a live swing band. To finish the day off, ice cream sundaes at a local business ice cream shop that makes their own stuff. But I don’t want to do those things by myself, or even just me and BTH. I’d want to do all that stuff with my whole immediate family. That would end up being a pretty expensive family reunion — but if I can really do anything, I have the funds for whatever I want to do, right?

What’s your favourite food?
Bread. Seriously. I mean, I thought about saying “chocolate, 60 – 70% cacao”, because I do love the stuff… but that’s so trite and boring. Give me some good bread and some butter to put on it — yum! As long as it’s quality stuff, I love all kinds of bread. There’s this faculty development lunch meeting once a week that’s catered by campus food services; one of the types of rolls they make are so good that when those rolls are on the menu, I might eat four rolls and skip dessert. I like to bake bread, too, but I don’t do that nearly often enough.

Where do you prefer to go, Mountains or Beach?
I’d rather go up in the mountains. The beach can be lovely, but I dislike how sand gets everywhere. I’m terribly out of shape and I huff and puff and my legs and feet get tired and I whinge and moan about those things when I’m hiking — but it’s worth it to see the rocks and the streams and the trees & other vegetation and to hear the birds singing and to get up to an overlook and see a magnificent view.

DeezWurds (Marathal, I think?) asks:

In the event of a Zombie Apocalypse, are you prepared?
Nope. When the Rash illness comes, hopefully I’ll be one of the ones who just dies quickly and stays properly dead…

Have you ever had someone you never would have thought would ever read you blog, mention something you wrote?
I was really tickled when Alternative Chat once metioned something that I’d written.

Of course I have to ask. Alliance or Horde, but also, One Main? or Army of Alts.
Horde; Army of Alts. Did you really have to ask that about me? 😛

Have you ever had the opportunity to attend Blizzcon, or some other large gaming convention.
No. I’ve been to a couple of American Chemical Society national meetings and to an Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, though. I should probably try to get to another ACS national meeting one of these years, or maybe the next Biannual Conference on Chemical Education.

Do you think Warcraft will ever end, and how do you see them ending it.
I kind of hope that Warcraft won’t go on “forever”. I know that I start to get tired of a book series when it gets longer than about seven or eight books; I stop keeping up with it, and when, a few years later, I see the books that were the newest ones at about the time I stopped actively following the series at the library, I can’t muster up enough interest to pick them up and read them. Ideally, I’d like to have WoW have the last patch of its last expansion at about the same time that my own interest in the game completely wanes, so that later on, I don’t find myself wondering if I want to get back into the game and trying to catch up on everything that I’ve missed.
I’m honestly wondering where WoW will go from Legion, however. If we’re actually going to go to Argus and take on Sargeras in 7.3, what could top that? I guess Sargeras could run away and we’d have to chase him down for the next expansion. But after that, what? If the plot takes a sudden dramatic turn from everything we’ve done so far, then I couldn’t say what that might be or how it might ultimately end — though I am a fan of Rossi & Stickney’s predictions that killing Sargeras will result in a “good job breaking it, hero” moment, after which we’ll have to spend the next few expansions taking care of the Old Gods for reals.
It would be nice to see how various dangling plotlines resolve and clean up and settle down on Azeroth. Although those kinds of stories might not make for very exciting questing, I think it would be a nice “closing the game” touch to have the last patch ever be “clean up/resolution” type quests that actually phase the world to leave Azeroth in a more comfortable and hopeful state before the final log-off… Things like seeing a partial restoration of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, taking all those places where the player’s actions are supposed to have saved a town and actually having the town be saved (instead of continually under attack so that the players who are still leveling have things to do), and so forth.

What in all the years you have played games, has been your favorite to play.
My favorite game ever? Oh, my, how am I supposed to choose?
My favorite outdoor game is croquet.
My favorite card game is SET; I also enjoy Dominion even though I’m really bad at it.
My favorite board game is Catan — the recent Explorers & Pirates expansion is especially fun to play; I also like Ticket to Ride a lot.
My favorite computer game is probably WoW, though the ones I mentioned above in my answer to Z are also games I really enjoyed during the periods of my life when I was playing them.

And a final one. Should Tauren be allowed to play Rogues? 😛
Well… yes and no. Not so long ago, I would have definitely said Yes. I think there’s plenty of lore precedents for Tauren Rogues of the Outlaw/Pirate variety. It would be fun to play a Tauren Outlaw Rogue. There’s not so much lore precedent for the Subtlety or Assassination varieties, though. I think I’d have the same sort of cognitive dissonance over the idea of a Tauren Subtlety or Assassination Rogue as I do with Tauren Shadow Priests. Tauren also have a rather boring Stealth pose and animations. If Tauren Rogues became a real thing, I’d feel obligated to roll and level one… but I am really happy with my current Blood Elf Rogue, and I think I’d want to keep her as my “main” Rogue.

RepGrind asks:

Do you have a favorite mount or type of mount? (horses, dragons, mechs, etc)
All of my major characters have unique mount macros for their specific mount preferences. Actually, they all have at least two mount macros — one for ground mounts and one for flying mounts. Some of them have more than that to sort different types of ground mounts or flying mounts. Kamalia has four mount macros: one for kodos, one for other ground mounts that I like that have a smaller profile than kodos, one for dragons, and one for smaller flying mounts.

Do your characters have individual personalities?
I would like them to, but I feel like the ways in which I have outlined differences in their personalities to myself are not very well developed — that I use those personality traits in a cardboard/type-casting/one-note kind of way. I don’t think I do very well at making their personalities truly individual when I write stories.

Transmog, yay or nay?
Yay Yay Yay!
Although I was into in-game fashion before Transmogrification, the feature took over my game goals — since Transmogrification debuted, I’ve only really cared about the looks of gear. I choose what content to do and what gear to try hard to obtain based on what it looks like, rather than what its stats are.

Do you have pets?
I’m so glad you asked! Here, have some pictures of my adorable cat being derpy.

What is more important to you, a good storyline or plenty of endgame activities?
A good storyline, because I’m going to be playing through it with a lot of characters. It’s a close call, though, because I also want a variety and abundance of endgame activities — preferably ones that continue to engage with the storyline — so that my lots of characters have a good range of choices of things to do at max level.

How did you get started in blogging?
I got into blogging originally because I wanted to write my thoughts about and post my drawings inspired by the Harry Potter books. I started blogging about WoW when I wanted to participate in conversations about and share my creative projects inspired by the game. Blogging provided an outlet to talk about and document my involvement with these fandoms in more detail than my parents and siblings care about knowing.

What kind of car do you drive?
My car is a 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer that I paid $4800 cash for in 2012. When I need a “new” car, I look for something 5 – 7 years old that I can get for about $5000 and is still in decent condition. And then I drive it until it is really truly dead — needs repairs that would cost more than the worth of the vehicle — before I replace it.

Most of the folks I would think about tagging have already been tagged by someone else, so I’m only going to tag three: Gnomecore, Syrco Owl, and Awaiting the Muse.

Tell me, tell me, would you please? —

* What locations in WoW have the best background music?

* Are there any ways in which WoW (or other games) has influenced or inspired things you do in your pay-the-bills career?

* Which calculator format do you prefer — TI (enter numbers and operations as you would write them on paper) or HP (reverse Polish)?

* What was the most memorable book that you read/movie that you watched last year? What made it so memorable?

* If you could take six months off from your current job and go back to college for a semester and study anything you wanted, what class(es) would you take?

* Give me a recipe for something that you like to make for dinner when you don’t have much time or energy for cooking.

* My current favorite chocolate bar is Chocolove’s “Holiday” bar, which is 55% cacao chocolate with pecans, currants, dried cherries, walnuts, hazelnuts, candied orange peel, and candied ginger — every square is a different delight! What’s your favorite sweet treat of the moment?

If I didn’t tag you but you still fancy answering any or all of these questions, please feel free to do so in the comments!

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