Caturday September 26

calais

This is the third of my cats, Calais. She’s Barlow’s big sister and boy does she let him know it! Seen here as a kitten in the window, checking out the squirrel tree in our backyard. God, that’s a filthy window!

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

So, this is how my Wednesday went down.

The Good: I did my Brewfest dailies on my priest, got 351 beer tickets, and got my achievement! Look!

The screen is fuzzy because it's Brewfest

The screen is fuzzy because it's Brewfest

Loooooook! So pretty! My Flying Purple People Eater!

Do I eat only purple people?

Do I eat only purple people?

The Bad: Word got around that there was going to be an Onyxia raid. So our 25 signups dwindled to 19 (mysterious!) plus two late people. So 17. Enough to do a 10 man, though! If one of our late people (a healer) had shown up, we very likely have been able to do two ten mans. But, it was not to be. I gave a stern lecture to everyone on the importance of signing up up for raids (novel idea!) and expressed how disappointed I was in the people who declined over the last 24 hours. (Except for the one guy who had a good excuse – he got a new job today! Yay for gainful employment!) and then stemmed the flood of QQ.

Now look, I know that there is going to be QQ no matter what happens. I know that I could magically give everyone GM powers and let them loose on the world and there would still be QQ. (Whaaaatt? I have to type in .kill to take down Arthas??? But that’s tooooo haaaaarrrrd.) But Christ on a candlestick people – don’t complain at *me* when the signups dwindle. Complain at the selfish bastards who decide that if the raid isn’t going to be something they’re crazy excited about or need anything from that they don’t care enough to go anyhow. And also: STFU about the fact that when we post raids, we just say “25 man raid” and not specify where we’re going until right before raid. You know why we do that? This is why. This is also not my fault and I respectfully direct your attention to the “Not A Team Player” section of the guild.

Anyhow. One ten man raid. We have an earnable rank in our guild, based on people who go above and beyond what is expected of “typical” raiders. One of the perks of this rank is that if there are limited raid spots, they go to these people first. I do not have this rank, because there is a pretty strict attendance requirement and I havn’t managed to quite make it yet. So, I got to sit on the sidelines for our very first (New! Improved! Now with more whelps!) Onyxia raid. It made me pretty bummed, but hey I guess them’s the breaks. I make the rules, I have to live by them, too. No matter how much my squeeing Ony fangirl heart longed to be in there, pew pewing, and handling the many whelps.

The Ugly: Look, the other night (Monday, maybe?) I had talked to our late healer. He said he was going to be late. I asked him to send me and/or our Raid Leader an in game mail about it, because I was unlikely to remember five minutes from now that he was going to be late. Let alone two days. He gave me some guff about it (but, but, but I doan waaaaaannnnnnnnaaa) and I reminded him it was actually part of our policy, could he do it please? He got pouty about it, and huffed off, but I assumed that he had done it. He evidently had not because I didn’t have a mail last night and neither did our Raid Leader. And I – of course – had forgotten that he had mentioned it.

Half an hour into our raid time, our late healer comes onto vent and in an insolent, sassy-bitch tone says, “Oh, Ori, I’m sure you noticed I didn’t send you an in game mail about me being late tonight like you asked. I’m *soooooooooo* sorry,” and then brightly, “Well, arewe doing anything tonight?”

First: You know what? I didn’t much like your pushing the boundaries and your “tee hee I am so disobedient and naughty” attitude when you first came into this guild. My liking for it has not increased with exposure.

Second: YOU SIGNED UP FOR A RAID! YOU KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO BE LATE! FOR A RAID! WHAT IN THE FUCK DID YOU THINK THAT WE – A RAID GUILD – WERE DOING AT HALF AND HOUR AFTER OUR RAID START TIME!?? ON A RAID NIGHT!?

Third: That there is the final straw.

To the guild: I’m sure you all saw me spend the night in the officer channel on vent where only officers could come talk to me. And I’m sure there are people amongst you who thought I was ‘off sulking’ and honestly, if you want to think that, that’s fine. The reality is that I didn’t feel like being in your company. I was embarassed at my reaction to our healer’s jerky attitude on top of the QQ about raids and the lack of concern for my feelings about the Onyxia run. I didn’t want you all to hear that in my voice. I also didn’t want to listen to you guys try to re-learn the Ony fight. I didn’t want to be a part of you last night.

I didn’t feel like you wanted me to be a part of you.

Post Scriptum: Titled “Insult to Injury or Here Is Some Salt For Your Wounds.” The computer ate this post and I had to re-write it. Prolly a good thing as there was a lot more “fuck” involved the first time.

Beer Tickets

So, it’s Brewfest again! This is one of my very favourite Warcraft holidays and this year is extra special, because this is the last of the holiday set of achievements that Maegwen needs in order to get her Voilet Proto Drake and the What A Long, Strange Trip It’s Been achievement. I’ve seen one of the violet drakes around already, and I’m only 45 beer tickets short of getting all the ones I need – which means I’ll have it done tonight! I shall be Brewmaster Maegwen and Her Flying Purple People Eater!

There are a couple of tips that I have learned over the years (I think this marks the third year of Brewfest) so I figured that I’d pass them along, even though some of them have been floating around the blogsphere anyhow. In order to get the Disturbing the Peace and the Brew of the Month achievements, you will need 550 tickets! This little gnome here is located at the back right hand side of the Brewfest grounds, and she’s the one you’ll want to see for all of your ticket redemptions.

Also sells Beer Goggles. You've been warned.

Also sells Beer Goggles. You've been warned.

Tip #1: There is a two hour buyback period on the clothing. You will need three articles of clothing for the achievement (one from the ones marked 1, one from the ones marked 2 and one from the ones marked 3). This will cost you 350 beer tickets. If you’re swift about it, you can purchase all three articles of clothing, head to Dalaran, get shittered, /dance, come back to the Brewfest grounds, return some/all of the clothes, and buy the Brew of the Month membership (marked as 4). Saves you 200 beer tickets!

Try some of Column A, try all of Column B

Try some of Column A, try all of Column B

There are two dailies you can do, and one “hidden” daily to earn beer tickets. The first is the barking quest where you have to run around the loop of Ironforge, touting the benefits of either the Thunderbrew or Barleybrew drinks. Easy enough, and you get 15 beer tickets. Just stay on the “yellow” (canter) speed until you incurr about 50 or so fatigue stacks, then drop down to the “green” (trot) speed to let the fatigue debuff stacks wear off. You don’t have to actually turn the quest in on the loaner ram, you can turn it in on your own mount. So you can always complete the barking at top speed, then dismount from the loaner ram and remount on your own if that works better for you.

The second daily quest you can do for beer tickets is the Dark Iron Attacks. Every half hour, the Dark Iron Dwarves will attack the Brewfest grounds. If you show up just after the attack is over, there will be a large gear on the ground near the back of the Brewfest grounds. It gives you a daily quest which you can turn in for another 10 beer tickets.

There is also a “hidden” quest that is not a really real daily, as you can do it every 12 hours or so. If you head to this dwarf, who is the fellow you got the This Is Ram Racing …Almost quest from, you can ask him if he has any more kegs to deliver. He will give you another loaner ram on a 4 minute timer, and you can try to deliver as many kegs as possible.

O hai! I can has beer tickets?

O hai! I can has beer tickets?

You will get 2 beer tickets per keg delivered, and an additional 30 seconds of time added as well. I’m good for about 12 or 13 runs. Some of my guildies have timed themselves and report about 45 seconds per delivery, but there have been reports of delivery times taking as little as 35 seconds. Your mileage quite literally may vary.

Here is the route I use to maximize my beer ticket income! (Which, with the two dailies, is about 50 tickets a day. Not bad if I do say so myself!) Pick up the quest, and head out of the beer grounds and along the road to Kharanos.

*skiddddddd*

*skiddddddd*

Beside the bridge is your first apple basket. This little bushel of treats will reset the fatigue buff stacks on your ram, but they can be a little buggy. I reccomend going along the right hand side of this one and then hopping over the stone wall. (Ram: “om nom nom, apples.”)

Hey, are those apples? I love apples!

Hey, are those apples? I love apples!

From here, you can either go left a bit into the trees and hills and hit the second bushel basket, or you can head (mostly) straight down the road. If you’ve reset your debuff stacks at the bridge bushel, you should be good to head down the road and skip the bushel in the trees.

Two roads diverged

Two roads diverged

Here is your quest giver. As long as you are on the right hand side of the stack of barrels, he will Donkey Kong you a big ol keg.

It's on.

It's on.

Once you’ve got your keg (I reccomend keeping your first bag open, so you can see if it ended up there or not. If there’s lots of people doing the quest, you might not get it, and then you’ll have wasted a trip. *sadfase*) hop on over this little stone wall and run past the left side of this bushel basket of apples to reset your debuff stacks. (Ram: “nomnomnom, I love apples!”)

*hop*

*hop*

Again you can go right into the trees and hit that other bushel basket, or straight down the road. You do have enough time to skip the one in the trees and head towards the bushel basket at the bridge, but you’ll be up to 75 or 80 debuff stacks. Don’t miss that one!

I chose the one less traveled by

I chose the one less traveled by

brew9

It’s easiest (and very stylish) to leap over this basket and head off to the left a bit towards the quest giver.

*hophop*

*hophop*

You don’t have to get too close to him, just pull a hard left, make sure you’ve recieved your beer tickets, and head back on down the road to get your next keg.

Once more, with feeling!

Once more, with feeling!

…hic!

YARR!

So, today is the Autumnal Equinox and I was trying to come up with some deep way of connecting the idea of the balance between night and day and the balances between Horde and Alliance and maybe work in some waffle about the factions transfers and how they’re affecting recruitment and all that good stuff.

Then I thought, fuck it, it’s Monday and my brain isn’t even nearly ready to deal with that nonsense. Plus, nothing I could write would compete with Jov and Seri’s Big Day!

So here are some pictures from my pirate misadventures this weekend, instead. YARRR!

Eqqie and I meet some oddly dressed folks in Stormwind

Eqqie and I meet some oddly dressed folks in Stormwind

I see a ship in the harbour

I see a ship in the harbour

I obtain the proper Pirate Acessories. I shall call you Squawkers McCaw.

I obtain the proper Pirate Acessories. I shall call you Squawkers McCaw.

I spend some time going all Fangirl on two very famous pirates.

I spend some time going all Fangirl on two very famous pirates.

I meet up with the Dread Captain and her First Mate. The grog is flowing freely by now.

I meet up with the Dread Captain and her First Mate. The grog is flowing freely by now.

Thar she blows! KA-BOOOM!

Thar she blows! KA-BOOOM!

I get my dance on with the Dread Crew

I get my dance on with the Dread Crew

I meet some new friends. There were all shades of pirates there.

I meet some new friends. There were all shades of pirates there.

I have a bit too much grog and stumble off the roof into the harbour. Likely a good thing, before I got too disorderly and they made me walk the plank.

I have a bit too much grog and stumble off the roof into the harbour. Likely a good thing, before I got too disorderly and they made me walk the plank.

A good time was had by all! I headed back home to rest up for Brewfest – these alcoholidays are tough on the system!

Caturday September 19

mika

This is Mika. When we first got him, we called him Mika Kittensoft. But now that he’s grown, he’s Mika Cattinen. The unholy mess you see surrounding this new kitten is me putting all the Christmas decorations away.

His momma was a barn cat and his daddy was a stud Siamese who got out of the house one night … half DSH, half Siamese and all noise. That’s our Meekers.

Mika was a gift – not something I’d reccommend to anyone, btw. Animals make very very bad surprise gifts. The shelters are full enough.

Friday I’m In Love

growing_heartI love Warcraft a whole lot. (I should think that that would be obvious by now tee hee.) But there are actually other things out there that I love too! Really there are – and there are other things that I make time in my life for (not always the easiest thing – curse you raid schedule! – but I do try). One of the things that I love that is not Warcraft is the PopCap game Plants vs. Zombies.

I’ve been a fan of PopCap since way way way back in my younger days (I can conclusively date my Bejeweled addiction to early Fall, 2001. At least.) I like a lot of their games and I like that you can play them online for free. Fun! Diverting! Why write this biochem paper when I can match animals against the clock? When I was away earlier this summer (Field Season 3: The Search for Scotch) I had no internet connection on site and loads and loads of free time. So when I was back in my hotel room I downloaded the demo versions of all of my favourite PopCap games. And then this new one that sounded like it might be ok.

It was way, way more than ok.

I think I played the 60 minute trial at least four times the first day (I figured out how to re set the settings on my computer so the game would think it was a new trial.) When I got to the hotel that night, I willingly (eagerly!) shelled out the $20 for the full version and it was fabulous!

The little plants are just too damn cute! The gravemuncher “om nom nom” sounds and animations had me totally giggling out loud. And the corn-apults and watermelon-apults were such an unexpected delight. The zombies were hysterically funny and the game play clever and intuitive. It’s pretty much a tower defense game but the way it is packaged is a singularily unique joy. I love the mini games (I’m a big fan of Zombotany and the one where you play as a zombie and nom cardboard plants). The in-game alamanac that has descriptions/biographies of all the plants and zombies is really clever and witty (with only one concern – what the hell is with the vast, vast majority of all the plants and zombies being male?) The little Zen Garden mini game you can acess after playing through the game once is pretty cool too because it lets you collect all the plants – awesome!

I used this site for some good advice (yes, I hacked my game to give me lots of money. *shifty eyes*). GameFAQs has a few other good resources, to. There’s also a PvZ wiki! Otherwise it’s pretty straightforward and addiciting gameplay. One piece of advice: using garlics to channel the assault into the middle three rows is a pretty solid strategy.

Two last things about PvZ – 1) Check the music video out here. So catchy! 2) PopCap has my undying gratitude for their way of dealing with this shit (which disgusts me on several levels – as a gamer, an internet surfer, a female, a human being with more than two functioning brain cells.)

I love Plants vs. Zombies. And I’m not the only one!

Post Scriptum: I have heard that the makers of the crappy game linked above (I’m not providing them with any extra advertising. All my links go to sites that are criticising their shittacular ad campaing) are associated with gold spammers/farmers/sellers. I can’t find the link atm, but I metion it just in case you needed an additional reason to not give them your clicks, links or money.

Post Post Scriptum: Tomorrow is (yay!) Talk Like A Pirate Day! (In addition to Caturday) There is even an in game event, so don’t miss out! Arrr, ye salty gopher!

And the Horse You Rode In On

So, we had to guild kick someone the other day. I don’t generally like to guild kick people because I’m a) kind of soft-hearted and sentimental and b) afraid that if I start I won’t be able to stop. We at Imposs like to use gkick as a last resort and we like to make it stick. In the past year I think we’ve only asked about four people to leave and it’s mostly been without seeing hide nor hair of the Drama Llama. Well, after the kick that is. (One of my biggest fears is that someone who has been kicked will get all disgruntled and start some serious shit. Not happened yet, but I worry. I always worry.)

We have a policy in place that details the behaviour that the guild community expects from its members. Generally, if someone is transgressing, a simple whisper from an officer is enough to get them back on the right track. Sometimes two reprimands are needed, but there’s never been a guild kick over it until just recently.

In the case of our erstwhile guild member, they decided that calling our raid leader “gay” several times over vent was an appropriate way to express their displeasure. Seeing as this was coming the day after a late-night vent conversation between this guildie and one or two others where the offender also used “gay” as a synonym for “stupid” enough times to warrant two unhappy emails in my inbox the next morning (and neither of them from any of our openly gay members, btw), our homophobic slur-slinger got a whisper from me post-haste.

“Hey, I know you’re not intending to do any harm with your word choice – but I just want to let you know that you are. There are people – real people – in this guild who identify as gay and they don’t appreciate you (or anyone) using ‘gay’ to describe something you dislike. I know that you don’t want to hurt any of the friends that you have in this guild, and I know that you’re more than clever enough to come up with another way of expressing yourself, so please do so. Thanks so much.”

That was met with a surly silence and a marked display of ‘pouty’ behaviour from our former guildie.

Later on that night (after I had logged off, tellingly) there was a rehash of the earlier vent conversation. Not one, not two but three members and three officers (not including me) told this ex-Imposs member that his language use was well over the line and that he should just stop. Please stop. Please, please stop. His response was to gquit on his alt. The response of the officers was to gkick his main. My response was to post this on the forums, under the title “The Language Police.”

Yup, they’re here. And I am them!

I think it would behoove everyone to take a look at this post again, maybe check out some of the finer points on it, including the bit that goes:

The final thing I want to say to you all here is to reiterate something I’ve posted on these forums before:

your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.

The general channels are open to any form or topic of conversation, but that freedom is granted on the grounds that it will be administered with a respect for all of the members of the guild. If someone voices an opposing viewpoint, or someone requests a change in topic or language, then – as long as those views or requests are presented in a respectful manner – they must also be respected. I don’t mean “respected” in the form of “obeyed” but in the more literal sense of treated with compassion and dignity.

Because we all live in an imperfect society, and we all drop the occasional sexist, racist, homophobic or otherwise unacceptable comment through a combination of laziness, ignorance or just plain thoughtlessness. It happens, and I’m not here to scold everyone or make them watch every word they say at all times.

But when you start dropping a sexist, racist or homophobic slur like it’s on your fucking Word of the Day Calendar, and you’re asked politely by several people to stop – stop. Stop using it, and start thinking about how maybe there are actual people who are gay, female or people of colour – and who are people who don’t appreciate being compared to all that is stupid or worthless. Maybe there are people in the guild who are not directly affected by your words but who are nonetheless tired of you using them anyhow.

We’re all adults here. We’re a community here. Let’s realize that we should act like one. And acting like an adult within a community of adults means being able to use the phrase “whups, my bad” and move on when you’re respectfully asked to stop offensive behaviour.

There has not (as of yet) been one reply on the forums to that post.

The post script to this story is that over the next few days I had a series of conversations with our former member. The first conversation did not go well. It basically consisted of a non-apology along the lines of, “Well, I didn’t mean it in that way. I’m sorry people are upset.”

Dude.

I’d like to make it clear that intent does not bloody well matter. It doesn’t matter if you meant to hurt someone with your words – you did. It doesn’t matter if you meant to be a douchecanoe – you did. The big boy response here is to say “I’m sorry.” Just, “I’m sorry.” Not, “I’m sorry you were offended” – which is about as meaningful as “I’m sorry I got caught” btw. But, “I’m sorry.” Period. Full stop.

I suggested to our no-longer-raider that because his offense was pretty public, and that most of the guild was hurt and or pissed off, then the appropriate response would be to make some sort of public apology. Not just to try to get your way back into the good graces of everyone, but because our ex-member had been a member for a long time. And had made many friends and many connexions within the guild. A forum apology would reach everyone and show that even though you’ve been asked to leave, you still value the Imposs community, its members and the history you shared.

Surprisingly, he did.

I was actually shocked by it. He made a real and genuine apology to the guild, and the n server transferred with quite a respectful and remorseful adieu. I was impressed by the fact that he realized his behaviour had been sinking lower and lower over the past few months and that with his homophobic rant he had finally hit rock bottom. In the end he bid Impossibilium and ThoBro a graceful goodbye.
There is a lesson to be learned here.

Caturday September 12

boxcat

This is Barlow. He loves him some boxes. I put the label on after he’d spent most of a Sunday lounging in the box from my new boots. (That’s me hand-writing on the box, not a photochop, btw)

Friday I’m In Love

starry_heartSo, I loves me some Warcraft. I love Warcraft with the heat of a thousand suns. I really, really love it. But! There are things that are not Warcaft that I also really, really love. In an effort to provide a little more of that work/life balance that I jabber on about all the time, and to share some of the things that someone (like me) who loves WoW a whole heap also loves with some of you folks that love WoW loads ‘n loads, too. Here is the first installment in my (hopefully!) weekly series – Friday I’m In Love. Subtitled: Set Your Phasers to “Squee”.

Folks, I love (rebooted) Battlestar Galactica. I don’t think it’s possible to accurately describe how much I love this TV show. (Not loved. Yes, I know it’s over but MY LOVE WILL NOT DIE.) I used to want to be an astronaut very, very badly when I was younger and I remember so vividly the night that I was driving home and staring up at the stars and I realized that Star Trek wasn’t real. It was a pretty crushing realization and I remember shedding actual tears in my disappointment. I was highly unlikey to ever go into space – and even if I did it would not be as I had imaged it. So I love Space Operas. Mmmm … living vicariously.

I did a lot of performing arts when I was younger too. It was a hard decision to make – but there came a day when I had to decide whether I was going to pursue acting or science. I ended up chosing science for various reasons, but it was a close call. So, I’m pretty critical when I watch TV or movies. (I’m also really critical when I read, but that’s because I worship the written word like the Ancient Egyptians did. Well, almost.) I loathe poor acting, I won’t abide shitty scriptwriting and I’m highly picky about what movies I donate my $12 to. They also have to pass my pretty strict standards in terms of social justice. (I had a tense conversation with a co-worker about Bruno. Don’t go there.) So, the finishing point of all this rambling is that I’m very, very picky. I’m hard to impress. I’m even harder to woo.

BSG did some serious wooing.

After being badgered by my better half to (Please? Pleeeeeease? C’mon, please? Once? Just once? Today? Now? How about now? Is now good?) watch the miniseries I broke down on one of our raiding off weeks and watched it. I was fucking entranced. It was like three hours of scotch and catnip. It was amazing. Beyond amazing. Fabulous acting, (omg, Edward James Olmos, omg Katee Sackhoff, omg James Callis O.M.G. Mary McDonnell) delicious dialogue, superb characterization, epic storylines and very very little of the (dreary and common) scifi waffle. So many Canadian actors! All so very very good. (Why are they not on more Canadian TV shows? Why do they not have better roles on Canadian TV? CBC YOU OWE ME AN EXPLANATION!) Fabulous. Fablulous!

There were some limping episodes (hissssss Michael Angeli) later on in the series and I’ll say up front that I felt that the final episode was not enough of a crowning glory to such an amazing show. But I suggest you check out this post from Sady Doyle, a Lady Blogger who I also love with an epic love, and these recaps (Be warned: they are by three seperate authors. The first is quite good, the second very good and then there’s Jacob. Oh my dear sweet and gentle Jesus, thank you for sending the literary world Jacob. Amen.) over at TV Without Pity. (Honestly, some of the recaps were more moving than the damn series. It’s like BSG is a Russian Doll and each nested figure contains even more scotch and catnip. The more I see about BSG, the more I find to love.)

I love Battlestar Galactica.

Kara_Thricestar

Post Scriptum: If you’re not doing anything tomorrow, check out the first in my series of Caturday posts! (Seriously. I have them already written and scheduled until well into November. Which says a. that even if I stop blogging – again! – there will still be posts and b. I have a LOT of pictures of my cats.)

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