Oh, Not This Again

So, the lure of the wild has called. The call of the wild has lured. I am heading back into the frontiers and wilderness to experience this physical, natural science we call geology in all it’s glory. Oh, and there will be potash.

I won’t be gone long, (Field Season 3.5 The Search for OH GOD THIS CAMP IS DRY OH SWEET JESUS WHYYYY????) but I don’t know exactly what kind of time and internets connectivity I’m going to have. There is likely to be some blogular whining about how I can’t play Warcraft and how much I miss my guild and how my attempts to reach the gold cap are falling behind.

I will miss the Good Ship Imposs. I will try and stay connected via out forums, and hopefully someone will take the time to say “hey” every now and then. I will miss the blog communities that I have become a tangential part of. I will miss my my home and my cats and my better half.

On the plus side, I now have both coveralls and a winter coat with my name stitched on them. 8 years of University have finally paid off!!

Real Life Crushing Blow

So, I guess I’m not anywhere near my RL def cap. Might be that I’m BM specced IRL and I don’t need a bloody def cap! Might just be that I’m kind of clumsy, too. Or might just be the RNG boss critting me.

I was washing dishes last Monday (I know, so long ago!) night right before bed and there was (unbenknownst to me) a broken glass in the sink. One bone-deep slash down the inside of my thumb, two bloody dish towels, one nearly fainting Significant Other, four hours in the Emergency room and three stitches later, I’m trying to drive myself back home through a terrible rainstorm in the wee hours of the morning and thinking that it’s a damn good thing it’s our week off raiding cause I won’t be able to play WoW for a while. (I also got the tetanus shot buff. Thankfully they’ve changed to tooltip from the last time I got it. “Tetanus shot now applied discreetly in the arm.” is such an improvement.)

I’ve always had a morbid fear of losing the use of my hands. It’s likely because so much of my life as I know it is tied up in the use of my hands – I’m a gamer, a writer, a craftsperson. (It’s also highly influenced by cultural attitues towards disability – but that’s more than I can tackle right here, right now.) I could likely still end up doing quite a few things in my chosen field if I became permanently disabled, but if I intended to continue to pursue my hobbies, I would have to make some series changes. It’s easy for me – from my temporarily able-bodied place of privledge – to not really think about these things. I don’t have to worry about how I’m going to manage to raid, to write my notes at work, to be able to properly dress and groom myself. Something that I had always academically realized but never viscerally understood -that my able bodied status is something that I both take for granted and something that could be revoked very easily – was re-emphasized to me this week.

I have often stated (indeed a large portion of the blog is based on the assumption) that “gamers” are people too. That the label is no longer one applied to pale-skinned, poorly socialized doods living in basements and consuming vast amounts of processed foods. I am a gamer. My better half is a gamer. Many of my very best friends are gamers and we represent a pretty accurate sampling of the variations of humanity. (Well, some of them. We’re all from a pretty small range of socio-economic classes.) So it stands to reason that there would be people of all ranges of ability who would also identify as gamers and my injury prompted me to wonder what the gaming industry was doing to make sure that the dollars of people with disabilities were as well spent as the next person’s. (I’m not going to be so naive as to say that game developers should be accomodating people with disabilities due to some altruistic notions. It would be a wonderful world if they did – but it’s not and they don’t. Approximately 20% of the general population is disabled in some form or another, so it’s a sensible assumption that a company would in some way want to try to capture a portion of that market niche.)

I know that Blizz had recently come out with a colour blind setting. Poking around on Able Gamers I saw that there was general approval for Blizzard and their efforts to make the game more acessable. (I also like this suggestion by Gamasutra of having a “sound radar” available for people with hearing difficulties.) Bizz looks like they’re making taking to the community of gamers with disabilities a priority – I was very interested to read this interview of Tom Chilton aka Kalgan by Able Gamers. It makes me very happy to see Able Gamers getting a lot of very good face time with some higher-ups at Blizzcon. This particular interview does open up some good conversations about how to balance the game in terms of difficult level that will challenge and engage players of all play styles as well as being inclusive towards gamers with disabilities.

I’m glad to see Blizz taking an interest in making their game appealing to an ever wider demographic. I know that this is often bemoaned as “catering to the casuals” and “making the game too easy” but it’s a sound market strategy on Blizz’ part. It also leads them to think about people who are too easily marginalized and forgotten about in the gaming world and to consider the fact that people of all abilities may want to play their games. (It also highlights Blizz’ clever strategy of letting mod developers do their R&D for them. I likes.) I applaud Blizzard in their efforts and I encourage people to continue to give their feedback to the Devs. Its seems that they do listen and they do have the time and the resources to act on some of the suggestions.

Maybe I should email them my list of suggestions. Certainly couldn’t hurt!

Post Scriptum: The gold making business is going well. Thanks to a guildie I have a good supply of eternals and my income is stable and high. (ish.) When I decided to strive for the gold cap I had just over 5k gold on my bank toon. (I keep about 500g on each of my “working” toons. So there’s ~2k scattered around that I’m not really counting in my quets to get the gold cap.) I’m now up to 17k!

Green Eggs and Spam

So, I usually get the regular run of the mill crap in my spam box. People leaving “Hey, I like this blog! Buy my shit!” type comments. Very uninteresting. But, in the 435 spam comments I’ve recieved in the past year, there have been a few that stand out – and they’ve been getting better lately! In the spirit of a lazy Monday, following a busy weekend (read: very little WoW time) I don’t have much to talk about, so I’ll do a lazy ass meta post.
There seems to be a trend in “feel good comments.” I guess the spam filters are getting more and more clever, and being able to filter out web addresses put into the comment itself. So, the workaround is to put an innocuous comment and then have your name link back to somewhere that you’re selling things.

Polite Computer Guys 1 and 2: “This blog rocks! I gotta say, that I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,
A definite great read.. .. – Computer.Dood@computerstore.com” (I got this post twice, from two different user names. It was spam blocked the first time! Thanks for playing, though.)

Polite Console Gamer Person: “Your blog is so informative … ..I just bookmarked you….keep up the good work!!!! – XBOXshitforsale@gmail.com” (Not a console gaming website, but good idea on the cross-niche marketing!)

Polite Sales Lady: “Really nice posts. I will be checking back here regularly. – SalesLady@wikipedia.com” (Wikipedia???)

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Then there’s the more blatant sellers. Some of whom are not obviously native English speakers, lending inadvertant entertainment to my spam-checking activities.

Buy My Book Lady: “OMG you are a great writer! You might want to check out my book. You can buy my autobiography on almost any website that sells books, just search for ISBN # ________ – BookLady@newblogwithoneadvertisingpost.com” (Congratz on using the search WordPress tags and finding “books” here. I did check out the ISBN. It’s really real book but I have *no* idea what it’s about, the author has left a crazy breathless runon comment on Amazon that does not in any way make me want to read her book. Sorry.)

Game Hacker: “Best choice of the week about Crack, Vdts crack, Chem3d crack and War3tft_117a_english crack here http://crack.notakeylogger.iswear.comCrackerHackerNotAKeyLogger@honestly.com” (I was tempted to check this one out and see exactly what cracks were available, but I doubt it’s anything interesting. And I like my keys.)

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And where would a Warcraft blog be without the goldspammers? Ahhh, goldspammers. So much enterainment, so little time. (Bonus points for the broken english.)

Gold Spammer: “used to be? hardcore in wow. but you guys actually farm them yourself? you should check out http://www.ohgodmykeys.comGoldKeySpamLogger@mwahaha.com” (You keep using that punctuation mark. I don’t think it means what you think it means.)

I do honestly feel bad for these guys, because I know that they’re often regular people just trying to make money for their families. I know my job sucks sometimes, but at least I don’t have to spend all day searching for Warcraft related stuff and leaving my Goldspammer droppings everywhere. Which is why I don’t abuse in-game spammers. I just report them. (Also because they’re often automated – no point in abusing a bot.)

The runner up for best spam comment ever is this one, from a foreign interest:

LadyRussia: “Блог отличный. Вручить бы Вам награду за него или просто орден почета. =) – imanokov@CheapComputers.ru” (I plugged that into Babel Fish and got: “[Blog] is outstanding. To entrust to you reward for it or is simple the order of the honor.” Why, thanks! I’m still not going to buy your Eastern Bloc rip off computer equipment.)

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But, the best spam I have ever gotten (to date) is this:
Pr0nD00d: “Best choice of the month: Creampie, Clit creampie, Creampie mpg and Vagina creampie http://pr0n.popupsatwork.loseyourjob.com/” (I can’t wait to see my search terms now.)

How did that guy even find this place??

Talk to me about your spam comments – I’m a pretty small fish in a pretty big blogging fishbowl, other people must be getting much,much more interesting things than I am.

Hardcore or Not?

So, I think I may have found mah muse again. I just have been so apathetic about WoW and WoW blogging lately, mostly due to the eleventy bajillion RL asplosions I have had to deal with. The biggest one was my beloved chicken getting very ill. She had to spend the weekend in Birdie ICU and has to take meds twice a day (which is no fun for either of us, let me assure you) but she’s on the mend. She’s certainly feeling well enough to scream at the cats and to yell over the sound of me and the SSO trying to watch Apollo 13, so I think she’s going to be just fine.

Also: you can’t claim vet bills. Why?? My benefits policy needs to change!!

But I have been cogitating upon my two new projects, the Portrait of a Raider series and of course WoW!Geology! The hardest part has been making logos for both – I’m (obviously) a digital image editing n00b. But, I present to you the WoW!Geology! logo:

WoW!Geology!

And the very first post in this series! I’m doing this post actually as a prelude to the Portrait of a Raider posts, because I will need to be able to refer back to it while I’m describing guilds and guildies and types of raiders and all that fun stuff. And so, without any (more) rambling preamble, here is Ori’s Guild Hardcore-edness Scale!

In geology, we use an ordinal scale known as the Mohs Hardness Scale to determine the hardness of a mineral. Hardness is an important method of identifying minerals (and those mineral assemblages also known as “rocks”) in the field and in the lab. It’s possible to quantitatively determine hardness in the lab using machinery, but it’s typically done as a rough-and-ready field test, generally by scratching and/or banging rocks together. Most geologists will carry a few items like a pen knife and perhaps a large quartz crystal with them into the field so that they can quickly do these comparisons and determine just what in the heck it is they are looking at.

The exact same principle applies to guilds.

(It should be noted that this is an entirely made-up and subjective scale. If you want to go for some sort of pre-Galileo sort of thing where your guild is exactly at the center of the hardcore-edness scale and everyone else is either a slacker or a loser with no life, you go on with your bad self- I won’t judge. But it doesn’t give us much of a common ground to talk about things like guilds and raider types, sadly.)

How to Use This Stupid Thing Scale: I’ve put a question at each item on the scale. Answer each question in order (sort of like a flow chart) and move along the scale if you answer yes. Each stage on the scale is inclusive of all of the ones below it.

Are you a guild?
Hardcore-edness 1. Congrats! Being a guild is awesome! There are other people! You have a witty/punny/intimidating/obscure fantasy novel reference above your head. You can have a tabbard and some vault tabs! Welcome to the ‘MM’ part of the Warcraft MMORPG.

Does the guild raid?
Hardcore-edness 2. Yay for raids! Raids are a fun and exciting thing that you can do with your guild. There are lots of other things guilds can do together, but if you’re doing endgame raiding, then you’re working your way up the Hardcore-edness Scale.

Do the raids progress?
Hardcore-edness 3. Yes, this question is very low on the scale, but if your raids aren’t progressing, then you can’t really be very high up on the scale anyhow, can you? If you’re raids don’t progress, that’s cool and can be a load of fun for you and your guildies, I’m not here to tell you you’re bad raiders or bad players, just that there are guilds out there that are more hardcore than you!

Is there a set raid schedule?
Hardcore-edness 4. Raiding on a whim can be loads of fun, but if you’re really going to be hardcore about raiding, you need to have a set schedule. Maybe this is something like “any three days a week” or “every Mon/Wed/Fri at 7pm ST” but whatever it is, you’re serious enough about raiding to make a set date and/or time for your raids.

Are there raid performance expectations?
Hardcore-edness 5. This generally means that there is someone in the raid watching dps and healing meters or just generally keeping and eye on things to make sure that everyone is doing a good job and no one is slacking.

Are there other explicit raid expectations?
Hardcore-edness 6. This can range from anything like “you must have food buffs” to attendance expectations to all of the other things that guilds explicitly demand of their raiders. The more expectations there are, the closer you are to the next level!

Are these expectations punitively enforced by guild leadership?
Hardcore-edness 7. It might seem like a very fine point to make, but having expectations and having a leadership that is capable of and willing to do something when those expectations are not met are to me two very different things. And of course, two different stages on the Hardcore-edness Scale.

Are raid achievements a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids and raid progression?
Hardcore-edness 8. It may seem verbose but I worded it this way for a reason. Doing raid achievements willy nilly or by accident or just on some night that the raid seems to feel like it or even where you try really hard to do raid achievements but can’t are different things from deliberately setting out to do raid achievements and doing them. And of course there are raid achievements and there are raid achievements. But there are a universe of decimal places between 8 and 9.

Are Hard Mode boss kills a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids and raid progression?
Hardcore-edness 9. Similar story here. Wanting and trying to do hard modes are not the same things as actually downing those bosses on hard modes. And which bosses and which precise modes you down them on can be even finer distinguishing levels within Hardcre-edness Level 9.

Are server firsts a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids?
Hardcore-edness 10. Pretty self explanitory. Guilds that aim for and achieve server-first boss kills are pretty much at the top of the scale. They also have all of the requirements to meet every other stage on this scale – cause the scale is inclusive, remeber!?

Are you Ensidia?
Hardcore-edness 76. What more can I say about this? Really?



Post Scriptum: In the spirit of edumacating the readership of this blog about geology, each of the little pictures is of the corresponding mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale. And as an added bonus, each picture links to something about that mineral! Look, learning!

Thirsty

So, this is my brain.

The one on the right, full of lemons? Yeah, that’s what I know about Shell Oilsands geology.

These are my co-workers.

Actually, more accurately, this is representative of the sum total of time and interest that my co-workers have to learn about Shell Oilsands geology. Putting what I know into what they have the ability to learn has been exhausting on all count. I’ve had to delicately distill and decant the lemony essence of oilsands geology into their shotglasses in the short time they had before they flew off up north to do their jobs – the jobs that I should be going to go do but I can’t because I’m at a course all next week to refill one of those pitchers. (Likely the one in the back, full of cucumbers. Cucumbers are good. It might be more apples, though, the course description wasn’t clear. Either way there will be even more stuff in my brain, and I’m actually pretty happy with that. My mind is a Crazy Cat Lady. Except my mind collects thoughts and facts not tabbies. And my thoughts won’t eat my corpse if I happen to keel over dead and no one notices for over a week. I hope.)

The point is that my brain feels like a dishrag that has been wrung and refolded and wrung again to get every last little drop of moisture out of it before laying it out on the clothesline to bake in the hot sun and dessicating wind. In the Gobi. I keep looking at my drafts folder and thinking maybe, maybe I should write something but I’m so tired from writing what is basically a summary of everything – everything – I’ve learned in the past two years so that my northward-bound colleagues have something to do on the plane instead of watch some crappy movie that I just don’t have the energy.

I’ll try harder, I really want to get some of these posts out there but the only thing I can think right now is how to tell an engineer that the defining feature of the MM1/LM2 contact is a scour feature that is sometimes pyritized and also to make room in my head for what he’s trying to tell me about slip circles and swamp muds but slip circle information is somehow completely immisicble with lemon-flavoured water and it just didn’t stick. I’m sorry Mike, it’s not that I wasn’t listening, it’s just that my brain was busy pouring at the time.

I think the pitcher on the front left is vodka, not water. So the weekend might be ok. I wish you all well and I hope all you Amurricans have a happy long weekend and don’t get into too much trouble!

Post Scriptum: The full shotglass I think is one of the students. Everytime I try to tell them something, all they have on their minds is beer. I miss those days.