Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

Moist lips touched Eldric’s dry ones, and he heard her voice, as if from far away.
“Beast! Oh, my sweet Beast! Wake up! Don’t be dead. Wake up! I love you. I will be your wife. Wake up! I need you!”
A weight lifted off his chest, and he heard her sobbing.
His breathing eased. His head cleared. He opened his eyes and slowly, achingly, sat up. He felt… lighter, somehow.
Corinne was turned away from him, her face in her hands. Her honey-colored hair fell in a disheveled tangle down her back.
“Corinne!” Eldric’s voice sounded strange in his ears. “I’m awake. I’m here. What do you need, my love?”
Corinne turned around. The joy on her face flashed instantly into horror, through revulsion, and settled on rage.
Eldric!” she snarled. “How did you get here? Where is my Beast? What have you done with him? If you have killed him, I will kill you.
She reached into the saddlebags flung on the grass beside her and yanked out a smaller version of the rifles that Eldric had, in recent years, been seeing the hunters in the woods surrounding the castle carrying more and more frequently. She held it out in front of her with both hands, leveling the barrel at his chest with a terrible expression on her face.
Bewildered, Eldric looked around. His gaze caught his hands. They were… small. Hairless. Clawless.
He was human again.
“Corinne!” He backed away from her, hurriedly pulling off his vest, his shirt, his undershirt. “I am your Beast. Look! Here are the scars I showed you, from the years I spent learning my way through that maze of thorns around the castle!”
They were still there, pale ridges criss-crossing his now much smaller, much less hairy torso and arms.
She dropped the strange small rifle, one hand going to her heart and the other to her mouth.
He — was — you — all that time? You — were — him — all that time?” Her voice was hoarse with grief, rage, horror, astonishment.
“Yes.” Eldric looked down at his hands again, feeling suddenly ashamed. “The sorcerer cursed me, too. I couldn’t figure out how to tell you. I was afraid that you would throw away everything you’d come to know about who I am now and reject me. Must I win your heart again? Must I prove to your mind that I am no longer the spoiled prince you tried to escape?” Without conscious intention, his voice had turned pleading.
Emotions fought in Corinne’s face.
“Yes,” she said, after a long silence, “and when you have, I will marry you. Now put your shirt back on. We need to save our kingdom.”


This is a story that I’ve been iterating, off and on, since I was thirteen. I could never quite decide at which point in the timeline of the story the presentation of the story ought to begin, and there were large chunks of the middle of the plot and character development that I couldn’t quite work out. After the kids’ bedtime tonight, I was thinking about my almost-two-year-old’s current favorite story, Interrupting Chicken, and its version of fractured fairytales started me thinking about the fractured fairytales assignment in the interdisciplinary first year experience course that I team-teach with two colleagues during Fall semester, and that started this story unspooling in my mind again — with a few new tweaks. Perhaps inspired by Kaylriene’s post about his month of Twitter streaming — and perhaps because I am procrastinating putting together the last OChem unit exam of the year — I decided to just write it up here on WordPress and post it.
As it happens, the story is beginning where it originally began when I first started composing it at thirteen: at “The End”, with the rest of the story to be told in (probably non-chronologically-sequential) flashbacks.
No guarantees about if/when other installments of this story might appear!

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My oldest has been doing well in kindergarten. He’s gotten good at figuring out a word by putting together the letter sounds, and he knows most of the “high frequency” words in the caterpillar that’s been growing on our living room wall. He can read words in simple stories.
He is by no means literate enough yet to read quest text*…
He discovered Transmogrification, but his lowbie toons didn’t have any money. I told him he needed to do quests to get money. I taught him the elementary skills of questing: talk to the person who is sparkling**, pick up things on the ground that are sparkling, loot your kills, the silver arrowhead on the minimap is you and the yellow arrow is pointing where you need to go and when you get to the right place the arrow turns into a yellow dot. I’ve given him occasional help with specific quests that have trickier requirements (such as the one to /wave at the ogre chef in Exile’s Reach).
I’ve been amazed by what he’s managed to figure out how to do on his own.
He can get all the way through Exile’s Reach, the Demon Hunter starting zone, the Dracthyr starting zone, the Warlords of Draenor Dark Portal to Garrison introductory scenario, the Legion Broken Shore introductory scenario, the Battle for Azeroth rescue of Talanji from Stormwind introductory scenario, and the Shadowlands escape from the Maw introductory scenario.
Without reading***.
I’ve shown him how to take the skips for the expansion introduction scenarios, but he likes to play through them. He plays through them over and over, deleting a character he already has# to roll up yet another new Zandalari Troll or Nightborne to do it again. He peppers me with questions about the characters and the storylines (I am so tired of answering questions about Sylvanas…) and I tell him, “kid, you know that better than I do by now.”


*Or, thankfully, city chat channels. I ought to teach him to leave city chat channels whenever he comes into a capital city for the first time with a new alt now, so that he’s already in the habit of automatically getting out of them by the time he’s literate enough to know what they’re saying….
**I don’t use Outline mode because I’m too lazy to turn it off and then back on again when I want to take Sunday Mog Show screenshots. I still have to contend with sparkles in my screenshots, but I think they’re less distracting.
***He doesn’t go out and do any regular zone questing, though, so perhaps it might be better to say that one doesn’t need reading to do an on-rails scenario questing experience.
#My account only has about 8 slots that aren’t filled with my own toons, so I had to teach him how to type “delete” soon after he started wanting to make his own characters instead of just playing with my Night Elf Druid and the Orc Hunter I’d created for him when I first began allowing him to play WoW.

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Well, that was easy.
Even with spending a couple of days away from Azeroth while I attended an academic conference last weekend, I still got the Trading Post all done in the first week.

I did go a little out of my way to /love the Dragon Aspects in Valdrakken and /love things at the Trading Post itself — but even if I hadn’t done those things, I’d have picked up the final reward for the month in another week-ish just from going about the activities that I ordinarily do in the game. I think it’s probably tuned about right. I like that there’s such a good variety of things to do that can contribute to getting Trading Post points; that really helps it feel like a reward for just doing whatever you’d be doing anyway — with nudges to do one or two things that are off-routine, just for fun. Having all four of my mains in Valdrakken doing this and that definitely helped the Trading Post go fairly quickly; they all contributed something to it. I approve of the extent to which it is, in fact, an account-wide progression system. I’ve delegated one of my alts who is chilling in Orgrimmar anyway to hang out at the Trading Post and be in charge of picking up currency from the chest and buying things with it.

I’d put the Swashbuckling Buccaneer’s Slops, which are 650, on layaway. I kept being tempted by the Shattered Voidspire seeing it being carried by casters all over Valdrakken. Thinking that it was 750, I thought that maybe I would put it on layaway and just buy the pirate clothes. Then when I went to look again, the Shattered Voidspire was actually just 500, so I decided to just get it. I still have a little over 1100 to carry over to next month.

A downside of the Trading Post being account-wide, however, is that I did have to tell my 5-year-old quite sternly that he is NOT allowed to buy things from the Trading Post. I don’t want him spending all my Trader’s Tender on stuff I don’t want, so that I end up being unable to afford something that I want very much!*


Kamalia is at 12/11/14/13 with the Major Factions and 5/6 with Wrathion.
I am really liking how Reputation-Renown — and Reputation in general — is working in Dragonflight. I am so glad that it is linear — the same increment from one rank to the next — rather than exponential — twice as much work to get to the next rank as it was to get to the previous one.
My other three co-mains have been leveling from gathering, first crafts, and the occasional World Quest with surprising speed; I do want to do at least the Main Storylines again with each of them (I liked them that much!), but I’m getting a bit concerned that I might ding 70 before I manage to set aside the time for serious questing! Kaelinda is level 65** and 2/2/3/2; Kaelyla is level 65 and 1/1/1/3; and Kaurinka is level 64 and 3/1/3/2.


*He plays on my account and has filled up all the remaining character slots with a revolving door of Zandalari Trolls, Darkspear Trolls, Nightborne, Vulpera, Allied Race Death Knights, Demon Hunters, and Dracthyr (I went to un-delete a toon the other day and was astonished at the number of deleted Dracthyr on that realm). Several times, I’ve considered the idea of RAFing an account for my son so that I can get the Renowned Explorer’s transmog set, but I haven’t quite yet been able to bring myself to do what would essentially be paying $180 for a Mog, and so he plays on my account.

**Well, actually, they’d all gotten to level 61 or 62 already doing stuff in Shadowlands by the time I got them out to the Dragon Isles. And yes, though I’d been saying that I was afraid that if I moved on to Dragonflight, I’d never go back and finish my unfinished business in Shadowlands, a couple of things happened. One, Kaelinda completed her Kyrian Cosmetics shopping list, so she wasn’t feeling tied to doing Shadowlands WQs and dailies for Anima anymore. Two, Kaelyla started working on the Kyrian Campaign and almost immediately got stuck on the Spires of Ascension dungeon quest. She was already too high level to LFG queue for it, so she was going to have to level to 70, then come back and see if she could solo it on Normal.

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After sitting out Shadowlands, BTH decided to give Dragonflight a try. A few weeks ago, he reinstalled the game, subbed up for six months, and blasted through the Shadowlands. Now, for a short time, at least, we can play a game together again while we level through Dragonflight with Kamalia and his Bear Tank.
Due to a confluence of RL factors, we’ve only managed to play Dragonflight for three nights so far. We’ve reached level 63, so BTH thinks we must be mostly done with The Waking Shores by now, right? Um, no, sweetie. He has a tendency to pick a cardinal direction and go do whatever in our quest log is in that direction, then move around the compass clearing out quest markers, and with that approach, we’ve been doing so many side quests that we haven’t even finished Chapter 2 (of 4) of the main storyline yet. From past expansions, I’ve learned that when I am leveling together with BTH, I can only look at quest text long enough to identify the objectives as we barrel along; I’ve learned to save savoring the lore unfolding for my second, solo trip through the leveling experience.
There was no place in the Shadowlands that I really truly loved; it is such a relief to be back in Azeroth. I’m enjoying the sappiness of the side quest stories we’ve been doing. I’m liking Dragonriding, though we haven’t made any effort to collect glyphs and so my poor drake is still so easily tired out. I think my Druid might sit out Dragonflight in protest of not being able to fly with her own wings, however, and if I want to collect Dragon Isles leather transmog, I might have to end up leveling my Monk or my new Rogue (during the end of expansion lull, of course).

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About a year and a half ago, I began allowing my oldest to play WoW occasionally. I made him his own character, a male Orc Hunter. I also let him play with my Night Elf Druid, thinking that shapeshifting and birdie flying would be fun for him.

An evening or two ago, he wanted to change how his Orc looked, so I took him to a Barbershop and let him play with it. He thought the different hairstyles and especially the tattoos were very funny! Then he wanted to play with changing his clothes, since he has occasionally watched while I’ve been making a new Mog for one or another of my characters. Problem was, his Orc has no money. So the next time he was playing with the Night Elf Druid, he wanted to change her clothes. I let him have at it, and this is what he came up with:

Some of these pieces are what she was already wearing; he mostly played around with the helm, cloak, and shoulders.

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It’s been about two months since I finally got started on Korthia.
Today, I finished collecting the Korthia questing versions of all of the 9.1 Covenant sets.
I’m about halfway through Revered with Death’s Advance.
I have 14K Stygia, which is enough to buy both of the Death’s Advance Venthyr sets as soon as I ding Exalted… but I also want the Death’s Advance Night Fae set. I am dreading having to just flat out grind the remaining 4K Stygia for it.

The worst part of Shadowlands, for me, has been the punishing Stygia mechanics. Even with completely ignoring Ve’nari as I did, Stygia is so agonizingly slow to get, and you need so much of it for the Death’s Advance Cosmetic sets, and you lose so much of it when you die in the Maw that it is very, very, very discouraging. Before Patch 9.1, you got 20 Stygia every time a soul entered the Soulkeeper while doing Return Lost Souls, so you could get 400 Stygia per week and that felt like a decent reward for the time invested doing the quest. Then Patch 9.1 removed that, and although I understand why the introduction of the repeatable version of the Return Lost Souls caused the devs to make that change, I still haven’t forgiven them for doing it.

At the time that I first went to Korthia, I wrote, “I think I’ll go do the 9.0 Covenant Campaigns for Night Fae and Necrolords with Kaelinda — putting Chapters 5-9 of Korthia on hold until I do — so that I can do each of the Covenant story-advancing chapters of Korthia as a member of the appropriate Covenant”. Then I spent the past two months feeling completely psychologically blocked about playing through the 9.0 Necrolords and Night Fae Campaigns again. It took being halfway through Revered and realizing that if I wanted to get any Death’s Advance reputation from doing the rest of the Korthia Campaign, then I needed to start working on it for me to finally push past the block. I did Chapters 3 & 4 of Necrolords, then swapped Covenants and did Chapter 3 of Night Fae yesterday night. Now if I can just keep going…

So, I’ve still got to do the Korthia and Zereth Mortis story Campaigns. I’d like to get a few pieces (definitely belt & robe, perhaps also cloak pants and boots?) of the Sepulcher of the First ones set via items purchased with Sandworn Relics and upgraded using the Creation Catalyst. I have 54K Anima left of Kyrian Cosmetics to acquire. I’ve also got to finish the 9.0 Night Fae Campaign with my Druid (she’s stalled out at the beginning of Chapter 5).
Of course, my current state of lagging has arisen almost entirely from my own play decisions, which have in turn been influenced by the circumstances of my out-of-Azeroth life. I’ve learned from the last several expansions, though, that I’ll need to stay in Shadowlands until these goals are Done, because if I leave, I won’t come back later to complete them.

But then, it might not be so bad to already have the first round of catch-up mechanics in place by the time I finally get to the Dragon Isles 😛

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I’d been thinking that Blizz had better give us a release date for Dragonflight sometime soon, but this date for the release date — November 28, the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend — is somehow sooner than I’d thought it might be.

I’d already been thinking that I had so much I still wanted to do in Shadowlands that I probably wasn’t going to be heading out to the Dragon Isles on Day 1.

In 9.1 content, Kaelinda’s still got Chapters 4-9 of the Campaign to do, over 3/4ths of the Death’s Advance reputation grind, and Korthia dailies Mog collecting — both Venthyr sets, the Night Fae set, and the Kyrian set — but when it’s the Necrolords set, I’ll stay one of the other Covenants and take the Anima, Catalogued Research, or Death’s Advance reputation tokens instead.
As for 9.2 content, I’ve still barely begun it — and while I plan to ignore almost all of it except finishing the Campaign and getting the base pieces with Sandworn Relics to upgrade into Tier pieces, that’ll still be quite a bit to do.

Kaurinka and Kamalia still need to get through the Night Fae Campaign, too. And depending on how Zereth Mortis goes for Kaelinda, I still might want to try to take Kaurinka there, as well.

And the other day Kaurinka was suggesting that when she finishes in Shadowlands, instead of going on to Dragonflight, maybe she’d rather go back to Uldum and the Vale of Eternal Blossoms to work on getting the second appearance upgrade for the Shroud of Resolve, so we can use that Mog appearance for reals, and not just temporarily from Wrathion’s box of fancy cloaks.

Last week, I was all excited about having finally started doing Venthyr Travel Network Broken Mirrors, and Covenant Twisting, and Korthia, and the Ember Court, and I was staying up way too late too many nights… This week, I’ve been wallopped by this awful cold and I’ve haven’t had the energy to do more than collect my Anima Conductor Treasure Chest to slowly replenish all the Infused Rubies that I spent rerolling the Guest List for my next Ember Court.

So, when everyone else is gleefully leaving the Shadowlands behind to ship out for the Dragon Isles, I’ll be waving goodbye to them from Oribos and then going on my way to Korthia or Zereth Morthis.

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Normally, I try to save Sundays for Sunday on the Promenade. Sometimes, it’s nice to make exceptions 😀

This is the computer I’ve been using since January 2020:

My preschoolers broke the right lid hinge after I began I letting them play Bloons Monkey City during Summer 2021 as a babysitting device when I wanted some mid-day quiet time (both before and after Baby’s birth); then I busted it further while toting the poor thing back and forth from home to campus and from one building to another on campus to use it for teaching during Fall 2021*.
It only has a 256 GB harddrive, so after it began continually complaining of being out of memory during the past several weeks, I decided it was time to buy a new computer.

After nearly 20 years of using a laptop exclusively, I decided to buy a tower, hoping that it would be more robust toward use by small children. It arrived mid-week, but I saved setting it up for Saturday night as a treat for myself after getting my classes fully prepped for the First Day of School** on Monday.
The laptop I was replacing was an ACER and I’d been happy with it, so I bought a $1K pre-built ACER with a 1 TB harddrive:


* I began using my personal computer for school in Spring 2020 when Covid threw education into disarray; the sound card on my 5-years-old campus laptop had died in Fall 2019, and I couldn’t teach over Zoom without a working sound card! Late in Spring 2022, I finally got around to asking my Dean to buy me a new device for school use. I got a Microsoft Surface because I have loved writing directly on my presentation slides using a Wacom Tablet with my laptop — and because all the Cool Kids among my colleagues are using Surfaces to do that.
** For me and for my Kindergartener! My stress levels are going to be sky-high tomorrow!

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Meanwhile, in Shadowlands

For awhile, I had all four of my mains in the Night Fae doing the Queen’s Conservatory. Kaurinka recently got hers upgraded to Tier 4. The others waited until they’d gotten their Conservatories upgraded to Tier 2 before beginning to nurture Spirits so that they could use 2x Wildseed Root Grain for every Spirit. Collectively, we’ve gotten the pets multiple times and a few of the other things, but we’re still trying for the Spirit Tender’s Bulb. Kaurinka has restored all of the Spirits she collected before she began actively doing the Conservatory and is only getting new ones from Fair Exchange for a Soul and an occasional Return Lost Souls, so she doesn’t have any active wildseeds right now. Kaelyla and Kamalia both have collections of Spirits that they are actively nurturing, but they’ll run out in another week or two. Kaelinda hadn’t even done the Conservatory Tier 1 activation yet when she was in the Night Fae before, so after she got it going, she only had a few Spirits to nurture. I only really need one Mage to upgrade the Conservatory to Tier 5; while Kaelyla is working on that (recently upgraded to Tier 3), Kaelinda began using the Anima she collected to buy the Renown version of the Faewoven set. Kamalia also began using her Anima to buy the Renown version of the Runewarden’s set; she decided the autumn/fire orange of the Renown version of the set was more interesting to her than the green of the Conservatory version of the set. But having four active characters was exhausting, and having all of them in the same Covenant was, quite honestly, boring. Kaurinka and Kamalia are therefore currently resting; I’m only checking in with Kamalia to turn over wildseeds.

After Kaelinda had restored all of the Spirits she’d gathered (she had only gotten 4/9 of the Night Fae Renown pieces, but she can come back for the rest later — or Kaelyla can get them), she went back to the Venthyr and began doing the Ember Court. And my goodness, the Ember Court is a lot of work!

Kaelinda and Kaelyla are in what I have been thinking of as “Anima Vacuum” mode — trying to get as much Anima each night as I can with both characters — though I don’t do all the available Anima WQs, just the ones I feel the most like doing.

I’m also attempting to get ready for Fall Semester, which will be beginning all too soon. It didn’t take long to get my GE courses ready to go for Fall semester. It’s taken me awhile to get mental traction on reworking my Organic Chemistry course, for which I am doing a substantial overhaul, though. OChem will continue to occupy a lot of time and attention as the semester progresses because I’ll be working on updating my day-to-day course materials as I go along.

With all of this, I’ve been routinely staying up until about 2 am — which isn’t good for my physical or mental health…


I sorely need a new computer to play WoW. My current laptop has a 256 GB harddrive which is somehow almost completely full, to the point that every night it complains about being out of memory and sometimes I can’t take screenshots or the game crashes. I’ve also been getting an annoying lua error which keeps resetting all the UI tutorial banners on some of my characters. I’m getting tired of turning them off every time I log in. I definitely need a new computer before Dragonflight — and before I do Korthia, Zereth Mortis, or the 9.2.5 Blood Elf questline, so that I can take lots of story screenshots that I will probably never look at again! 😛

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Lately, I’ve been faffing around with my Warlock, grinding her Undying Army rep so she can use the Necrolords bone wings and Death Fetish backpieces; she’s about 20% of the way from Revered to Exalted. I’ve been doing Queen’s Conservatory with Kaurinka and being disappointed by the RNG. I got my Tauren Paladin and Priest to level 51 with Bastion WQs and the Bastion Threads of Fate quest, and then I was just Done with leveling in Shadowlands by any method and have left them idling, dormant, at Heroes’ Rest. I’ve been attempting to work on prepping my classes for Fall and have not made nearly as much progress as I could or should have. After fizzling out on The Wheel of Time earlier in the year at about 70% through Book 4, I decided to skip to the end and read the last three books (the ones co-authored by Brandon Sanderson). Although STUFF obviously happened between Book 4 and Book 12, there has been so much resolution of plot threads that began in Books 3 and 4 just now happening in Books 12 and 13 that I understand the criticism I’ve heard of the middle section of the series as being 800-page books in which nothing happens.

Sleepers’ Keeper

Nordrassil Headpiece, Living Wood Spaulders (H), Faewoven Pack, Nether Shadow Tunic, Rich Purple Silk Shirt, Springrain Bracers, Replica Wildheart Belt, Replica Wildheart Kilt, Mok’Morokk’s Beat Stick
Although the bone wings were fun for a little while, soon Kaurinka wanted something more recognizably Night Fae. She hadn’t used this Night Fae backpiece style yet, so that was the starting point for this kit.


Gormhusk Armor with Dazzling Spectacles, Shadowlace Cloak, Steelscale Crushfish, and Extinct Turtle Shell
Mail World Quest set from Ardenweald. I’m not quite sure why I wanted to put the silly weapons with it, other than that they had good colors.
Other colorations of this set:

Forgehand’s (Bastion), Fleshscale (Maldraxxus), Darkwing Rebel’s (Revendreth), Shadowscale (Crafted)

Undying Exemplar II

Fel-Proof Goggles/Mag’hari Ritualist’s Horns, Spirit Tender’s Mantle, Death Fetish, Master’s Vest, Master Builder’s Shirt, Colors of the Undying Army, Prime Conjurer’s Gloves, Ruthless Gladiator’s Cord of Accuracy, Shrouded Cloth Pants, Prime Conjurer’s Slippers, Gorewrought Wand + Frigid Invoker’s Focus/Shard of Azzinoth + Lambent Plaguetouched Focus
An upgraded, Cloth-Class-agnostic version of an outfit originally designed for my Warlock (#77), using Necrolords set pieces instead of Warlock set pieces.
The Lambent Plaguetouched Focus is a nicer match for the Shard of Azzinoth, but the Frigid Invoker’s Focus is a nicer match for the backpiece.


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.

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