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Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

So I’m sitting here in my office on campus, late at night, working on the last couple of documents for my portfolio for my final tenure review, which is due on Friday.

The sound card in my school laptop, which is five years old, gave out during the spring, so I’d brought in one of my laptops from home to be able to show a video clip to one of my classes as part of my first day spiel. That other laptop happens to have WoW installed on it. So I’ve got that other laptop booted up, running WoW, with all of the sounds turned off except the music, and a character sitting in her Garrison, so that I can listen to a variety of WoW soundtrack pieces while I work without having to actually run about in the world.

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growly face


Between Bedtime for Frances and Bread and Jam for Frances in my childhood, the Redwall books in my tween and teenage years, Hogwarts’ Hufflepuff House in my young adulthood, and attending University of Wisconsin-Madison for my PhD, I have a certain fondness for badgers. This charming fellow is the wallpaper on my school laptop.

Lately, whenever I go to Pandaria, I can’t help noticing the similarity between Growly Badger’s growly grin and the snarl-grin of that imposing Mogu dude on the Pandaria loading screen…

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Objectively, I know that Kamalia should finish up the Horde War Campaign. I’ll need that done to be able to do the Zandalari recruitment scenario (though I don’t plan to roll a Zandalari character) and to get my Tauren Heritage armor. Subjectively, as well as that story is being told, I’m just not enjoying what that story is about, so I keep finding other things to do.

Like grinding old reps with alts.

Or starting to level alts in Battle for Azeroth content.

I’ve played Kaylynda through the Ashvane’s treachery storyline of Tiragarde Sound; she still has the Norwington Estate and Anglepoint chapters to go to finish up the zone Loremaster, plus a bouquet of side quests. I’m contemplating, however, leaving those things aside for awhile and going to play through the main storyline of Stormsong Valley instead, so that she can pick up the transmog appearance from that zone (she already has the Drustvar transmog appearance from the crafted gear). Kaylynda just reached 113.

I’ve played Kaelinda through about two thirds of Zuldazar; she has one chapter left of the main storyline, and then I’m thinking about going to do the main storylines of the other two zones (Vol’dun first, because I already have the Nazmir transmog appearance from the crafted gear) rather than doing all the Zuldazar side quests. She’ll definitely do Xibala, though, because Blood Elves and Nightborne (Oh, the things the Blood Elves at Xibala say about the Nightborne! They are so self-absorbedly oblivious to how the rest of the races of the Horde think the same things about them!). Kaelinda is currently 112.

There are some RL factors at play, too. About three weeks ago, we adopted our second child, also as a newborn. He came several days earlier than expected, so I didn’t have quite as much time between the end of the semester and when the baby was born to get my classes prepared for next semester as I’d anticipated. Thus, in the mid-evening hours when I’ve just gotten our two-year-old put to bed and the baby is also sleeping, I have a choice: do I stay up until the baby wakes up again playing WoW, do I stay up until the baby wakes up again working on prepping my classes for next semester, or do I go to bed and try to get some sleep before the baby wakes up again? I gave myself the first two weeks after the baby was born to just sleep or play, but now that those two weeks are up, work and sleep are winning over playing.

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This academic year, I’ve begun teaching a section of our general education physical science course. One of the topics in the geology section of the course is how the surface of the Earth has been shaped by water, including the development of caves in limestone areas. The extreme development of caves leads to landscapes categorized as karst. There’s a photo in our textbook of karst on the coastline of China. Over the holiday break, one of the pictures that Windows 10 put on my lock screen was a similar coastline karst picture, labeled as Ha Long Bay. I looked at it and thought, oh, wow, that’s the Jade Forest!

These pictures are from the Wikipedia article on Ha Long Bay and aren’t either of the first two pictures I mentioned, but they convey the same sort of imagery:

Another picture that popped up on my lock screen over the holiday break was a beautiful beach located somewhere in Portugal. I looked at it and thought, oh, wow, that’s Nagrand in Draenor!

Again, I couldn’t find the exact picture, but here’s something similar; the first picture is from the Wikipedia article on the Algarve region of Portugal, and I found the second in this travel blog.

Have you ever seen a photo of a place somewhere in our real Earth and thought, oh, wow, that’s a place in Azeroth?

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In the evenings, while we sit at our computers, our toddler usually sits in BTH’s lap watching music videos (he’s a fan of Oonagh and Lindsey Stirling) on BTH’s third monitor while BTH plays a game on his main monitor and writes posts for his RPG Crossing D&D games on his second monitor. This evening, all of a sudden the kid started banging his head on the desk in front of BTH’s keyboard.

“You can’t program computers that way,” BTH says to our son.

“No,” I said, “but you can Ret Paladin.”

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In mid-October, BTH decided that he was bored of all the games he had been playing, and the games he’s been looking forward to aren’t out yet, and so he might as well give Battle for Azeroth a spin. He’s already leveled his Bear Tank main to 120 solo, but we’ve found a couple of evenings to go questing with Kamalia and his Hunter. So Kam got to be the first to go to Zandalar, after all, and is now level 111.

Dazar’alor Daze

Death-Pledged Armor with Battleforge Shoulderguards, Fel-Chain Cinch, Zardax’s Tattered Drape, Mambo Hex Axe, and Loa-Binder Disc
I wasn’t initially a fan of the Zandalar mail leveing gear when I saw it in preview images, but now that I’ve seen it up close, I rather like it — as long as I swap out the helm, shoulders, and belt, that is. This coloration of the set comes from Nazmir.

Silver Hand Knight

Dojani Armor with Lighthammer Pauldrons, Crazy Cenarion Cloak, Tabard of the Lightbringer, and Ardent Warhammer
The Silver Hand Knights are the default 3-vitality troops of the Paladin Order Hall. I’d upgraded them to Templars… so then I had to switch to the upgrade for the 2-vitality troops to get them back to take pictures with this kit.

Silver Hand Blood Knight

Inferno Tempered Armor with Helm of Infinite Visions, Darksoul Shoulders, Goblin Girdle, Cloak of Blade Turning, Tabard of the Lightbringer, Blade of Exotic Magic, and Blood Knight Defender
Wouldn’t it be nifty if Blood Elf Paladin players could also get the black-and-red recolor of T1 worn by some of these Blood Knight NPCs? I wouldn’t want it instead of the classic white-and-yellow T1 look, though — I’d want it as a race-specific additional look.

Silver Hand Protector

Relentless Gladiator’s Scaled Armor with Tabard of the Lightbringer, Ardent Gavel, and Ardent Defender
Dwarves and Humans have the closest connection among the Paladin races; at the Sanctum of Light, Dwarf and Human Silver Hand NPCs are wearing the same gear, whereas all the other races have their own unique gear.

Ironforge Magma-Shaper

Volcanic Pauldrons, Wayfaring Tunic (stage 1), Lightning Well Belt, Sanctified Frost Witch’s Legguards (25H), Erupting Volcanic Handwraps (N), Decimation Treads (N), Ironforge Tabard, Ironfoe, Royal Treasury Courier’s Shield
Usually I name outfits after I create them, while I’m writing them up to post. In this case, however, I had the idea for what I wanted to call Kjerstin’s Ironforge Tabard kit before I started designing it. These shoulders worked perfectly for that thematic motif, and then I built the rest of the outfit around that item.

Empyrial Windblade

Empyrial Deep Crown, Arinor Keeper’s Spaulders, Wild Draenish Vest, Arinor Keeper’s Belt, Salamander Scale Pants, Mountainscaler Leather Gloves, Overgrowth Cutter Boots, Mana Wrath
I chose to use swords — and specifically this sword — for this kit so that it would be an outfit that could realistically be worn by a Draenei Windwalker Monk.

~*~*~

This series of posts began because I set myself a goal to document new Transmogrification outfits in a more timely fashion. As soon as I create a new outfit, I write it up in a draft post. As the weekend approaches, I start working on taking fashion screenshots, processing them, and updating “Things my [Class] Wears” posts. On Sunday — though not every Sunday — I publish the collection of my recent efforts. Then I begin the next “Sunday on the Promenade” draft post.

Occasionally, I have ideas for themed Transmogrification collections that take several months to completely assemble. Thus, some of these outfits might get re-posted at a later date as part of such a themed Transmogrification collection.

If any of you, my dear readers, have kits that you’d like to share, I’d be happy to add you to the show! Just email me your picture(s), along with a list of the items in the outfit. I don’t regularly check my blog email, though, so if you’ve sent me an outfit, please make a comment on the most recent Sunday Mog Show post so that I know to check my blog email for your contribution.

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The latest challenge from Z & Cinder is a list of questions to answer out-of-character if you’re comfortable enough to talk about your real life, or in-character if you’d rather not talk about your real life. It’s a long-ish list (26 questions), so they’ve said that you don’t have to answer them all if you don’t feel so inclined — so I’m going to cherry-pick the ones that have easy answers 😉

1. How do you drink your tea?
I’m a Latter-day Saint. I don’t drink tea.
Well, I don’t drink black tea or green tea. Herbal teas, though, I like when I’m not feeling well in the winter. I drink more hot cocoa than herbal tea, though; from about October to March, I go through great volumes of hot cocoa. I make my own hot cocoa mix using a recipe developed by my mother.
I tend to drink hot cocoa and herbal tea tepid — not much warmer than room temperature — because I set the mug on a corner of my desk where I won’t accidentally knock it over and then get absorbed in work (or blogging) and forget about it for awhile. I’ve gotten to the point where I actually prefer my cocoa tepid because I can taste the chocolate flavors better that way. When it’s hot, I mostly just taste the sugar.

3. Favorite season
Spring or autumn, especially those lovely few weeks on the cusp each way when I can regulate the temperature of my house without needing either the furnace or the air conditioner simply by opening and closing the windows. I love all kinds of spring flowers — crocuses, daffodils, tulips, lilacs, irises — but I am also rather fond of my roses and California poppies that bloom and bloom and bloom all summer long.

5. Dogs or cats?

7. How many kids do you want?
I used to say “no less than four, no more than six, in other words, five” — but now that I’ve spent the first ten years of my marriage wrestling with infertility, I’ll be happy just to get to three by adoption.

12. What is your family ancestry?
English, Scots, Swedish, and Norwegian

13. What scares you?
Student evaluations. I always put off reading them for as long as I possibly can on the excuse that I can’t ever afford to lose a day of productivity to being in a state of emotional turbulence over the negative things my students have said about me.

14. What are you most grateful for?
My family. I have awesome parents. I have good relationships with my siblings. I have a wonderful husband and a darling child.

15. Dream job?
I’ve got it! I teach at a small two-year college where teaching is my only responsibility — no expectation whatsoever that I will do research. It is exactly the kind of job that I imagined and told my mentors and peers was my career goal to get myself through the long difficult years of graduate school.

16. Do you believe in aliens?
There’s a bit in one of the Narnia books where Aslan tells Lucy that there are many people’s stories in the world, but he can only tell her about her own. There’s a bit in Latter-day Saint scripture where God tells Moses, “And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them for mine own purpose… But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you. For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; but all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.”

17. Favorite sport?
Quidditch? Nah… even if I were a Wizard instead of a Muggle, I’d probably not pay any more attention to Quidditch than I do to Muggle sports.

20. If you could be a teacher, what subject would you teach?
I am a teacher, and I teach CHEMISTRY!

24. What superpower would you choose?
teleportation and telekinesis

25. Favorite animal?
I am quite fond of horses, but realistically, I will never be a “horse person”.
I adore guinea pigs, and I look forward to when my son will be old enough that we can get guinea pigs “for the kid(s)” as an excuse to get them for me.

26. Biggest accomplishment?
Getting my PhD, I guess. I still marvel sometimes that I didn’t get kicked out of my program for being an underperforming student and that my thesis committee let me get away with a doctorate even though my research project only produced one paper that wasn’t published until some months after I finished my dissertation.

27. Do you dare to show a real-life picture of yourself?
I suppose I dare. This is cropped from a picture of BTH and myself taken a few years ago — that’s his shoulder in the bottom left corner — and is rather more glamorous than I usually look.

~*~*~

As long as I’m answering survey questions about myself IRL, I ought to answer these questions that Alunaria gave me for the latest round of the Liebsters couple months ago…

1. Which World of Warcraft quote is your favorite?
I like to use this on my students after an especially bad exam:

2. If you could bring back one NPC in World of Warcraft, which one would it be, and why?
I can’t think of anyone in particular that I’d like to bring back from the dead. I guess I’d like to find out where Wrathion disappeared off to during Legion and what will happen when he meets Spiritwalker Ebonhorn, aka Ebyssian.

3. What is your favorite thing about the blog of the person who nominated you for the Liebster Award?
Alunaria always takes such beautifully framed screenshots with such wonderful character expressions!

4. What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome in World of Warcraft?
I think I might be in the middle of it right now… This semester is being utterly exhausting, and while I want to finish my Legion solo-play goals, I’m also feeling more and more behind the Battle for Azeroth curve. I’m wishing now that I’d gotten all my alts to level 110 and through their Order Hall Campaigns much earlier, instead of waiting until the 11th hour to do those things, so that now they’d be further progressed on their Legion rep grinds.
In-game, the Lightning Forge and Chi-Ji’s Challenge scenarios for getting the Legendary cape during Mists.

5. If you could give someone 5 million gold in the game, who would it be, and why?
You mean, if I could ask the Devs to give someone 5M gold? Because I sure don’t have that much moolah myself. Uhm… probably BTH, because maybe I could convince him to re-sub to WoW and come run dungeons and old raids with me occasionally if he could perpetually fund it with the WoW Token instead of with our bank account.

6. Which one of your own blog posts is your favorite, and why?
Oh, gosh, I can’t possibly choose. Everything on my Stories page, and everything on my Drawings page, and everything on my Transmogrification page….

7. If you could bring one World of Warcraft creature into the real world, which creature would you pick?
Kodos! Or maybe faerie dragons.

8. If your World of Warcraft-friends had to describe you with 3 words, which words, do you think, would they choose?
Altoholic Tauren Transmogrification

9. What is the best advice someone has ever given you in World of Warcraft?
Play what pleases you.

10. What is your ideal way for World of Warcraft to end?
A lasting peace between the factions is finally achieved, removing the “War” from “Warcraft”.

11. If you could change one thing in the game, what would you choose – and why?
More hairstyle sharing between races — and more new hairstyles for everybody!
On the one hand, I get that a unique set of hairstyles is part of the appeal of playing a character of a different race.
On the other hand, there are so many hairstyles that are unique to one race, or only shared by a few races, that I would love to be able to use on characters of the races I play the most.
Right now, I really really want to use the long-braid-pulled-over-the-shoulder style that Night Elves, Dwarves, and Blood Elves have on my Human because of how Jaina is wearing her hair that way in Battle for Azeroth.

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