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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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I’ve been saying that I didn’t want to post a written “to do” list until Warlords was at least in beta. Now, even though there’s still no sign of a beta, we have that “on or before 20 December but hopefully by sometime in the fall” pseudo-release date. Furthermore, I’m currently applying for full-time academic jobs. Should I actually get one of them, the job itself would probably begin in late August, and I’d be busy with the associated moving during late July or early August. So I suppose I might as well make a small list of the things I most want to accomplish in WoW before the end of summer.

Alts still needing to reach 90
Warlock (currently 62)
Rogue (currently 46)
Pet Battling Monk (currently 82)
Any Alliance character — doesn’t have to be the Dwarf Shaman (currently 27), anymore, because I want to play her all the way through several zones for the stories, and either the Human Mage (currently 86) or the Draenei Mage (currently 73) could more easily rush to 90 in LFD
Male Tauren Warrior (currently 22) to 60+, will then be boosted to 90

Things to do at 90
Get shinies for Transmogrification from Mists LFR for Paladin, Priest, Pet Battling Monk
Complete Kamalia’s Pandaren, Mogu, and Mantid archaeology museums
Systematically queue for Scenarios until I have run each Scenario at least once — I don’t run Scenarios very often, and there are a few that I have not yet seen
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

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Hearthstone graduated from beta yesterday with what seemed to me to be a relative lack of fanfare — perhaps it had already been scheduled to “go live” this week, but got overshadowed by the hullaballoo surrounding the unexpected opening of Warlords pre-orders and boosts to 90?

In honor of Hearthstone going live, I’ve made some edible Hearthstones!

I used Millya’s Unconjured Cinnamon Bun Frost Cookies recipe, with a few modifications. I used 1/2 teaspoon each of vanilla and almond extract instead of a full teaspoon of vanilla in the dough. I replaced the brown sugar in the filling with blue sugar crystal sprinkles, and I used finely chopped almonds instead of walnuts or pecans. I also left out the cinnamon and didn’t replace it with any other spice, though I considered using ginger or cardamom.

I suppose I’ll try Hearthstone eventually; for now, I have way too many things I want to do in WoW to allow myself to get distracted by another game — even if it’s from Blizzard and uses a lot of familiar concepts from WoW. The Hearthsteed mount is not, at this time, a lure; to me, it looks kind of wierd and freaky, and I’m content (for the moment) with my total mount count.

The Old Ladies may be thinking, “but Kam, didn’t you tell us on Saturday that you were giving up junk food, including cookies, for Lent?”. Well, yes, I did — I made an exception for these cookies because I’d been planning to do this for quite a while. I don’t literally observe Lent, anyway — Mormons celebrate Easter but don’t do the Fat Tuesday/Ash Wednesday/Lent/Good Friday thing. Although we have regular fast days on the first Sunday of every month, the concept of voluntarily abstaining from a luxury or indulgence of some kind for an extended period of time is still a good one. For some years now, my Mom and my sisters and (sometimes) I have chosen something to abstain from during Lent, using the Lenten season as a sort of way to supplement or reinvigorate our New Year’s Resolutions. One year, I chose just chocolate ice cream. During Lent, my ice cream consumtion as a whole — which was, at that point in my life, rather excessive — decreased, and afterward, I continued to be able to exercise more restraint. Hopefully, once these cookies are gone, I’ll still be able to resist junk food for the remaining time until Easter!

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Dragonray is hosting an exciting new Transmogrification competition, and Navimie, Cymre, and I will be judging it!

This twelve-week-long event celebrates the nations of the world. During each week of the event, participants will create a Transmogrification kit to represent one of the countries whose independence/national pride day takes place during the corresponding month of the year.

For example, for the seventh week of the event, which corresponds to the month of July, I could use this red, white, and blue kit to represent the USA, which has its national pride celebration on July 4th.

Mog the World in 80 Days Rules
1) All 12 weeks must be completed to ensure fairness in judging and finals.
2) The national independence days given on the pages for each week of the competition are based on this list, which, though it may be outdated, is the official list for this event.
3) Transmogrification kits may be submitted using Mogit, ModelViewer or in-game screenshots.
4) Transmogrification kits must be complete, including cloak, helm, and weapons.
5) Please include a list of the gear used for each outfit.
6) Each event entry must be able to use the outfit as a proper end-game Transmogrification kit (e.g. no Gnomes in mail or leather/cloth wearers carrying shields).
7) The colors/theme of each outfit must match the current flag of the country being represented.
8) Entries that do not obey rules 4 – 7 will be disqualified.
9) Entries must be submitted to Dragonray (onyxiia at gmail) by email by 6:00 pm Friday night Australian Eastern Standard Time* of each week. For example, the deadline for Week 1 of the competition is 31 Jan at 6:00 pm AEST. This will allow us to collate/judge over the weekend and announce the winners of each week on the following Mon/Tues.
10) Entries for multiple weeks may be submitted at the same time, as long as it is by or before the time deadline for the earliest week included in the group. For example, a group of entries for Weeks 6, 7, and 8 must be submitted by the deadline for Week 6, or the Week 6 entry will be disqualified for being late! If submitting entries for multiple weeks, please indicate which country/week each entry represents. Consider using file names similar to [dragonray_Aust_week1.jpg].

Dragonray will be providing the images to Navi, Cymre, and me without contestant names attached, so we will be judging only on the style that we see, and not on what we might know or think about the person who made the outfit.

Judging will be based on 2 criteria with a maximum of 15 points:
Theme – have you used the correct colors for the flag/country? (5 points)
Flavor – Originality/style/combo. (10 points)
Numerical scores for all contestants will be released during the final week of the event.

During the Final Round, we will select the top three outfits from the entire event.

Navimie has already donated a Deluxe Digital Edition of Diablo III:Reaper of Souls as a prize. Donations for further prizes are welcome; please contact Dragonray directly if you’d like to donate a prize.

*Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST) is UTC+10. North American Eastern Standard Time (EST) is UTC-5. If it is 1:15 pm in Brisbane, then it is 10:15 pm in Boston and 7:15 pm in Seattle.

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I felt an odd sort of whiplash watching The Godmother’s #TBLIZ feed during the initial Warlords announcement. One minute, people were squealing in giddy delight, “look at all the ladies!”, while watching the trailer cinematic. The next minute, they were passing around this image –

– and complaining that it has no women in it.

Wait wait waitaminnit… first you’re glad that there will be many ladies in the new expansion, and now you’re sad that there aren’t enough? I R CONFUZZLED.

In retrospect, I suppose I can understand why, after seeing the trailer, they’d be disappointed that that image — or this one, for that matter –

– does not have any (let alone the same level of) female representatation.

In the days since BlizzCon, there’s been this implication in the blogosphere that the principal thought a Real Female Gamer “should” have upon seeing these images is where are all the women?

I don’t know if I would have thought that or not — I didn’t really get the chance. Because blogs and their associated Twitter feeds updated faster than the WoW Insider coverage did, I started seeing that first image with “why aren’t there any women?” commentary well before I saw the unmodified image in its original context. I did wonder why Draka was not alongside Durotan in the second image, though.

I recognize that this gal (Y’rel?) –

– is something of a “token female” in the Warlords of Draenor promotional material we’ve seen so far. I get that there are women who play WoW who feel left out and pushed aside by the emphasis on male characters in what we’ve seen of the upcoming storyline. I acknowledge that, for them, their concerns are real, legitimate, and deserve to be addressed… but I am not bothered much.

As long as the plot and the characters are engaging, and there are not any other aspects of the content that I find disagreeable, I have never particularly noticed or cared about gender balance in the stories I consume. If Harry Potter’s two best friends had been Ron and Neville, the series would have been a rather different story, but I think I still would have enjoyed it just as much. I hope that Blizzard will tell a cracking good story over the course of Warlords of Draenor, as they have during Mists of Pandaria, and I intend to enjoy it without worrying about exactly how many of the “badass people doing badass things” (to borrow a phrase from Anne Stickney) are male and how many are female.

The Aggra thing, however… yeah, that bothers me.

Although I have been culturally raised to believe that stay-at-home-motherhood is the most important and worthwhile lifestyle a woman can choose, I agree that it’s utterly ridiculous that Aggra should be left behind just because she’s had a baby. It’s just not consistent with her character at all. Until someone specifically asked the question about her, I’d been automatically assuming that she would be going along with Thrall, and it does seem, from what I’ve read, that the presenters’ way of answering that question was condescending and dismissive. Aggra is an awesome character in The Shattering novel, and I have been disappointed that her development in the game has not fully lived up to that potential. Akabeko, Anne Stickney and Rades have expounded upon this topic much more completely and eloquently than I could. It would be wonderful if the strong concerns that have been raised over Aggra result in the CDevs changing their minds and more fully including her in the Warlords story, just as the strong concerns that were raised about Ji Firepaw during the Mists beta resulted in positive changes to his character. If that doesn’t happen, though, I’m still going to play the expansion and enjoy the story it tells.

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The World of Warcraft is a world of heros. Individual heros roam the world, seeking fame and fortune and sometimes even genuinely desiring to help and serve. Heros join together in groups small and large to face down the greater threats against the safety and stability of Azeroth. It’s fun to imagine being a brave warrior or paladin, a wise mage or monk, a mystical shaman or druid, a sly rogue or warlock, a haunted death knight, a clever hunter, a resolute priest. The greatest hero in my life, though, will always be my mother. My mom never ceases to amaze and inspire me with all the things she does. And so, for the fourteenth Batinna’s Dress Up theme, I’ve made a “mom” outfit for one of my characters whose motherhood is a prominent feature of her RP story.

Role Model


Double-Stitched Woolen Shoulders, Seer’s Padded Armor, Nightwind Belt, Simple Kilt, Heavy Linen Gloves + Sage’s Bracers, Sandals of the Neverending Bridge
I like this style of bracers because they are so small and also because from certain angles they look sort of like a wristwatch.

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My plans for Alt Appreciation and Dress Up! related leveling and doing anything at all with my 90s this week were stymied when my home internet connection fritzed out on Tuesday afternoon. I’m not sure exactly when it happened; I turned my computer off for a couple of hours, and when I came back, my internet was gone. I tried resetting the router. I tried power-cycling both router and modem. I tried plugging my laptop directly into the modem with a network cable — still no connection, so the problem seemed to be in the modem, not the router. We then discovered that the land-line phone was out, too, so it’s taken awhile to get the problem fixed because BTH has had to call the telecomm company from his work. It would be nice if the problem was taken care of by this evening, but I would not be surprised if it wasn’t. I am writing this post from the chemistry department tutorial/computer lab.

As much as I have fretted at being unexpectedly internet-less for the past day and a half, it has in truth been good to have a bit of a break from WoW. I read the last of my library books on Tuesday night. I spent yesterday drawing in Photoshop, working up my earlier sloppy sketches for an image concept I’ve been thinking about for some months into clean lineart. My wrists, elbows, and left ring finger — the one I use to spam “2″ — have needed the rest. Around the time that Cynwise wrote about wrist RSI forcing him to retire from WoW in early summer, my wrists also began feeling rather sore. I staved off further injury by keeping them bandaged for a few weeks, and I continue to bandage them intermittently whent they start to feel sore again. More recently, I’ve started to feel a little of the same sort of elbow pain that Cadistra described in her recent WoW, Eh? update when I hammer 1 and 2 while pulling weeds and wrestling wild crops at Sunsong Ranch. I’m not quite sure what would be the best preventative therapy for that (other than not playing WoW or drawing for awhile) — perhaps an elbow brace? Furthermore, my arms are unusually sore this week because I beat whipped cream for a fruit salad and egg whites for an angel cake by hand, with a wire whisk, for our Canadian Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (we are living in a company-furnished apartment, and they did not provide a mixer). So really, it has been a good thing to have an enforced break from the game.

I just hope it doesn’t go on for too very much longer.

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Every day, when the Shado-Pan Trainee comes to pick up my green cabbages, he says,

I’m never quite sure if he’s being sincere or sarcastic.

On the premise that he is sincere, I decided to try to figure out just what sort of soup the Shado-Pan make with all those green cabbages I grow for them. This recipe is adapted from these two asian cabbage soup recipes that Google found for me.

Shado-Pan Green Cabbage Soup
4 servings

8 Dried Mushrooms (preferrably shiitake)
4 c Golden Carp Consomme, divided (or chicken or vegetable broth)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 head of Green Cabbage, chopped
1 Juicycrunch Carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 inch knob of Ginseng, peeled and thinly sliced (or regular ginger)
2-3 T Thousand Year Soy Sauce
Cindergut Pepper sauce, to taste (asian chili paste or Tabasco sauce)
2-3 Scallions, shredded, including the green parts

Heat 2 c of the broth and soak the dried mushrooms for about 15 minutes.

While the mushrooms are soaking, caramelize the onions in a dry pot over medium heat. When the onions are just starting to turn brown on the edges, add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another 2-3 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown and the garlic is starting to brown also.

Add the remaining 2 c of broth to the pot. Strain the mushrooms and add the mushroom-infused broth to the pot. Stir the ginger, carrots, and cabbage into the broth. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the stems from the mushrooms and discard. Thinly slice the mushroom caps. Stir the mushrooms, soy sauce, and chili into the soup and garnish with scallions immediately before serving.

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