The Great Gnome Race

The minute that I saw the micro holiday event of “The Great Gnomeregan Run”, I knew that was something that I needed to do. For the most part, I don’t really bother too much with these micro holidays, especially after the first time. This one? This one needed to happen. I imagined the rows of RPers taking this a little too far, but isn’t that part of the fun? I got on my Dark Iron, in hopes to squeeze out a little extra XP to get to 110 for my heritage armor. (So far, 106. Not bad in the short time I’ve dedicated to her.) It granted 20k, which was a bit more than a single Legion quest and I received exploration XP. Not too bad.

I admit that I used my flying mount to cheese my way through it. At some point I joined a group, but they were moving at a turtle speed to the finish. (No seriously, they made everyone mount up on a turtle.) I quickly decided that this went far beyond my RP limit and left to hurry up with this event to see if the XP was worth my time. It may not have been, but it was an interesting break from the grind.

What this micro holiday did accomplish was showing how much detail the design team is capable of adding into anything. The fireworks every time that you cleared a gate. The tables with water for the “runners”. The road blocks and rows of gnomes cheering you on as if this were a serious marathon. It was cute. It was really really cute. (I wish I had time to stream myself completing the event, because it was hilariously fun.) As I described how cute it was to my husband, he said “well, maybe the guy in charge of that team should be leading the WoW Development team.” He’s a reformed WoW player, who gave up after the 1st raid of Legion due to raiding again turning him off of the game. I haven’t actively raided since defeating the Heroic Lich King and received both ICC achievement mounts. Things happened, completely turning me off of the hardcore raiding thing. I nearly quit the game, feeling it was ruined for me. I didn’t. I went back to a core of players that were genuinely fun to be around and who have also been reformed raiders.

He may be right. I love BFA, but I wondered if I could love it more. I love the Allied races, as someone who is a confirmed alt-aholic. I love the island expeditions, but I gave them up for the sake of alts. Because I love alts more. I do the warfronts and the quests because those are also fun, but my character has hit a point where aside from going back to raiding there is nothing really for me to do. I’m exalted with all the new factions. The only quest zone I found fun to level in on the Alliance side was Drustvar. I haven’t played Horde yet, (but I just may level my Nightborne all of the way to despite swearing not to touch 110 alts until flying) so I can’t say whether or not the Horde side had a better story. From what I saw in Beta though, the Horde side had a more cohesive and entertaining story. Though listening to Bwonsamdi every time I die is not something I want to experience again.

I’m not even sure what they could have done to improve the experience. The time-gating is lame, but I get why they do it. Could it be less annoying? Sure. But I’m happy with it since it gives me more time on alts. Maybe give a cooler story line for Stormsong, which was the most annoying zone for me. Maybe they could have also made getting turtle rep more worth it. The Jaina storyline was awesome, and Taelia’s was also pretty interesting. I can’t wait to see where that goes. But Stormsong was meh, at best. It could have been more interesting if it didn’t feel so disjointed. Drustvar was all about the witches. Every quest revolved around the Heartsbane. The story with House Waycrest was interesting and the instance that completed it was also well-designed. Tiragarde Sound was about fighting pirates and Lady Ashvane, as well as Jaina’s and Taelia’s story. But Stormsong? That was all about Tidesages who turned evil. And fighting the Horde. And fighting the Naga. And helping the turtles. It was like they had all of these things that they wanted to do and just tossed them together in Stormsong. It makes sense, in a way. They had to introduce the Queen Azshara story somehow. That was the main storyline of the zone, but I thought that gets lost in every other storyline they tossed in the zone.

With new content coming in the near future, maybe things will turn around. But for now, I still stand loyally by this game that has offered me way too many hours of entertainment.

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Being Taught Your Place in the Gender Roles Game

How many times have you heard, “You’re a (insert gender here), that’s not how you’re supposed to behave…”? “Boys will be boys.” I even roll my eyes muttering “boys…” at my children. It’s a conditioned reaction that we’re just used to. The gender roles are very clear. Women tend to women things and men tend to man things. That’s just how it’s supposed to be.

I have been given awful looks when I mention that as soon as it was age appropriate, I taught my older son to do laundry. “But, he’s a boy…” Yes, but he’s a boy that’s going to be self-sufficient. His wife will thank me. I’m not going to do my adult son’s laundry if he never gets married nor do I think his wife should be forced to do it. My younger son now helps with laundry for the same reason. I get the same awful lectures when I mention how I’m teaching my older son to cook. I give the same reasons of self-sufficiency. How do I know he’s going to get married? I don’t believe in marriage so why should I force him to be?

I thought we had moved away from these ideals of traditional roles, but they still seem alive and well. “Why did you fix your screen window? You should’ve waited for your husband to do that.” Why should I have waited? It never would’ve gotten done and I wanted to be able to let fresh air in without bugs. I’m more than capable of it. My Mom never taught me to be demure. Or maybe she tried and my Dad told me to ignore her. I don’t even remember. But I definitely don’t remember ever wanting to be a princess waiting for a Prince Charming. Though there was a time when I wanted to be Phoebe from Mystic Quest. My Mom taught me the basics of sewing. I could hem pants, patch clothing, and fix buttons. My Dad, Mom, and older brother taught me how to cook. My Dad taught me about tools and bought me a tool set for a Mother’s Day present shortly before my husband and I bought our house. I was fortunate that my parents never really pushed those roles on me, though I have no idea how to mow a lawn but I’m not sure if it’s because they thought I was too weak as a girl to do it or because I’m so clumsy that they didn’t want to bother. It’s probably the latter.

I don’t believe in teaching my children about those traditional gender roles. Sure, they see that Mommy works from home and takes care of the kids while Daddy goes to work. Mommy cooks supper for everyone. Mommy is the one that comforts everyone while they’re sick and Daddy does yard work. Daddy handles the pest control situation of removing dead mice that our cat destroys or killing the earwig that scared Mommy out of the shower. But I will teach them everything that I can to turn them into modern men. They will be able to do their own laundry, and even offer to take care of their partner’s as well. They will learn to respect women, that they are not there to be their slaves. They will not raise their hand to a woman or disrespect them when they say “no”. They will learn about consent. They will learn that being manly isn’t about knocking a woman down or “putting her in her place”. Women are not to be controlled or manipulated just like women should not control and manipulate men. Relationships are partnerships, not ownerships.

My boys will learn to be self-sufficient, respectful men who are going to change the world for the better. I want them to know that being sensitive and compassionate isn’t a weakness. That Dads can cook, do laundry, and take care of babies. That around the home, there’s no such thing as “man’s work”. That in the real world, they need to respect a female boss just as they would a male one. My hope, is that other parents do as well. There is such a focus on “teaching little girls”, but I feel like there’s not enough about “teaching little boys”. All kids should learn to take care of themselves. Girls should know as much about cooking as they do about fixing a pipe in the kitchen (within reason; some jobs are better left for professionals). Women shouldn’t have to wait for their husbands to fix a clogged toilet or a cabinet door. Kids should all have a well-rounded education in “how to function and be self-sufficient” no matter what their gender is.

 

 

I Watch for Talent, Not Politics

Over the weekend, the talk of the town was how dare/how brave Taylor Swift was for finally speaking out about politics. How she has lost/gained fans for voicing her opinion. How awful/great celebrities are for using their platform to brainwash/inspire the masses. Taylor Swift is a disappointment/true role model for the masses. You can easily circle the way you feel on the topic. I, personally, take a route of “I don’t really care” and “This has no real impact on my life”.

I love Ron Swanson GIFs. Spare a few Gir (aka: the Best Part of Invader Zim) GIFs, I only use Ron Swanson GIFs unless I couldn’t find the perfect one. I usually do and it makes me very happy with life. One time, like usual, I nailed a perfectly timed Ron Swanson GIF on a political post. A family member responded back with “too bad he’s a total liberal IRL”. My response: “I don’t care what he is, Ron Swanson is hilarious. I watch things to be entertained and if I’m entertained than I don’t care.” A person’s political ideals outside of the context of a show has no impact on whether or not I like them. Do I dislike Kanye’s music and personality because he is Pro-Trump? Nope, I dislike him because I think he’s an arrogant, jerk and I think his music sucks. Do I hate “Last Man Standing” because Tim Allen is a Republican? I dislike it because it’s a rebranded “Home Improvement” only less funny. Do I agree with everything John Oliver believes politically? Nope, but I die laughing every time I watch his show. I didn’t want “Newsroom” because I found it preachy and poorly written. I don’t agree with a lot of Tom Selleck’s politics, but I love him in “Blue Bloods”.

Maybe I’m just weird, but I like to watch things that entertain me. I get enough of politics everywhere else in the world. That’s not to say I don’t like watching sitcoms address serious topics or express opinions. But I want to be entertained while they are doing it. The opinions themselves have no impact on me. (I suppose, to a point. If someone does something completely off the rails, like spewing hateful comments or proudly displaying their Nazi gear I may be less inclined to want them to support them in anything that offers financial gain.) In general though, I don’t care. I barely listened to Taylor Swift as it is, aside from maybe 1 song (unless I’m working out. She does some great high energy music.) Will I listen to her more now because she made a political stance? Nope. It has no effect on me.

Now, if Taylor Swift had gone on a tangent about how anyone who was a Republican should be lynched and white people should be ashamed of being white and formed a group that was just as hateful as the KKK but was violent against people who didn’t agree with them, then yeah I would totally be all about destroying her career. But who cares? I love seeing comments from 65 year old people going “Well Taylor Swift just lost this fan”. Seriously, you probably didn’t even know who she was until either your grand-daughter idolized her or you saw the article on Fox News about being outraged for her spreading the liberal agenda. On the other side, “This grandma is going to start listening to Taylor because she’s so brave” because of the praise from the left-leaning media. No… no you won’t. This won’t affect her career at all. In fact, more kids may like her because some households will actually ban their kids from listening to it and if Mommy hates her then I have to do whatever it takes to listen to her. Because we’re a divided nation that can’t separate opinions and entertainment.

She never said to only vote Democrat. She never said that you had to vote the same way she did. If people bothered to read what she said, she made a clear case on a fundamental level why she was voting the way she was voting. She used facts and said “She voted against this, this, and this and doesn’t stand for the same things I do”. She then went on to say that you should vote for whoever candidate best represents your ideals. If you’re going to go political, that’s the way you do it. You encourage people to vote however they want to, but they have to vote. They have to vote for their ideals, whatever they may be. Hers in this case happened to be Democratic. I don’t see them complaining too much when Republican celebrities do the same. In fact, I remember they applauded celebrities for their “bravery” when it suited them.

Am I more inclined today to listen to Taylor Swift than I was? Nope. I wouldn’t have even known had it not been plastered all over the news or social media. A celebrity is just as entitled to have an opinion as everyone else does. Should they tell their fans that they need to listen to them or stop being a fan? Absolutely not. That crosses a line. That shows they are interested in spreading an agenda. Telling people they need to go out and vote and then mention who you are voting for? I do that all the time. I don’t care if the person that listens to me goes out to vote and votes a different way. It just matters that they vote based on facts and conscience. This election season, go out and vote. I will vote for Republicans and Democrats on my ballot, based on the job they have done in the past and if they align with my beliefs just like I’ve always done. Maybe things would be a lot better out there if people did the same.

Do We Really Want WoW Vanilla Back?

I was at the grocery store recently and I noticed that they had Count Chocula in stores. (And Boo Berry… and Franken Berry…) I was excited to have a taste of my childhood, though I was always a bigger fan of Honey Nut Cheerios. Those other cereals were way too sweet for me and even today I tend to avoid overly sweet treats, since I feel so nauseated and lightheaded after eating them. Naturally, I bought them for nostalgia factor. I sat down while knitting and decided I wanted to try them to see if they were exactly how I remembered them. After a quick, small handful, I decided that they were exactly how I remembered them. Which was sad to me because they were completely disgusting to me now. I actually spit it out. The kids loved it. Maybe I had just outgrown this treat that became extinct in my childhood or built it up to be something better in my memories than it actually was.

I may have gotten into the World of Warcraft game late, but I did manage to get in before the game had any expansions. After trying a few characters, I settled on a Human Priest. I struggled through quests as a holy priest, making a lot of friends along the way because everyone loved a pocket healer that could actually heal. Eventually, I made it into a top guild on the server as a healer and got to experience the magic of end-game content at a competitive level. It was intense. The content was hard. I missed the “Opening of the Gates”, but I spent countless hours wiping on raids even clearing the original Naxx. I can reminisce with the sentiment of “I remember when content was really hard”. That’s not to say that the Burning Crusade content wasn’t difficult, but when compared to the original game it wasn’t really that bad.

As the game went on and after a couple of less than stellar expansions, people began lamenting for the “good ol’ days” of Vanilla. Vanilla servers popped up, giving people the ability to relive the time before the game was tarnished by “casuals”. These were short-lived as Blizzard quickly shut them down. Then Blizzard listened to the masses: they promised us Vanilla servers! The veterans of the game rejoiced, excited to relive the game. Everyone who played the original was excited to relive the glory days. New players were excited to see why people kept saying “I miss vanilla”.

But is this what we really want? We’ve grown from those days. I’m certainly not the same person I was 10 (::cough:: or so) years ago. Will I be as disappointed reliving this experience as I was when I took that bite of Count Chocula? Or will it be as natural and entertaining as it can be watching classic 90s cartoons like Rugrats? In about a month, we’ll find out. People who are at Blizzcon, or who purchased a digital ticket, get to try out the demo of WoW: Classic when Blizzcon starts. Yes, I will be streaming the experience. I’m afraid to go back because I don’t want my memories of the original game to be destroyed. But, what if it really is as good as I remember?

 

Today’s Controversial Political Post: The Supreme Court

I’m a writer. I’m a student of literature. I’m not a Poli-Sci major from an elite school. I’m just a writer with an opinion. That’s a scary thing to be in such a divisive world today. While some pass their opinions (often ill-informed ones, at that) off as facts, I very clearly point out that I write opinions. If I had to separate myself from personal bias to write a piece, I could easily do so unless I’m told to write something that is absolutely against my beliefs. I won’t lie and I won’t lie about something I so passionately believe in. These scruples are what led my journey away from the world of journalism.

Today, I’m theorizing based on my own opinions about the recent events in the Supreme Court. I’m theorizing what I think the Supreme Court should do and be. Opinions. These are opinions that you don’t have to agree with. I’m certain that some will be angry and post about how I’m just a dumb writer, a pawn for the liberals. I’m not a pawn for the liberals. You may have a point with the “just a dumb writer” thing though. I concede that point.

I watched part of the Brett Kavanaugh testimony. I watched enough to pick up on tells, where he was obviously lying. The thing about writers is that they have a keen eye for observation, something very useful when you are delving into creating characters. Every sip of water, every bit of body language sang like a bird. I won’t argue whether or not he did it. If he did, he has no place on the Supreme Court. (If you want my opinion, my instincts tell me he definitely did it. Still opinion.) This is about whether or not he was lying, which I could say with a fair amount of certainty that he was. When asked a question he was nervous about answering, he sipped from his glass of water. In the short time I watched, he easily drank 3 bottles of water. (exaggeration, but that was a lot of water.) He resorted to yelling and evasion tactics when he was trying to avoid the lie. Then when he lied, his face contorted. He lied. I don’t think that innocent people can’t lie. But a Supreme Court nominee is held to a higher standard, as should anyone in such a powerful position including our President should be held.

If this was a temporary position of power, I probably would let the lying thing slide. It’s not. The problem with the Supreme Court is that it is a lifetime appointment. If he goes through, we will have a (again, my opinion) questionable human being who doesn’t seem to have any concern about the law on the seat of the highest court in our country. If the people of the Republican party were smart about this, they would have cut their losses as soon as they found out (potentially months ago) rather than back a sub-par choice. They would have found someone better fit for the position. I would have respected it if they did that. The Supreme Court justice is not supposed to represent a party; they are supposed to represent the constitution. More and more, the job that they are supposed to be doing is coming down to party lines much like the rest of the country. It’s not supposed to be that way. It wasn’t intended to be that way. This fact makes it even more important to consider maybe not having lifetime terms.

The end result, and I could be very wrong here, is that they push Kavanaugh through and rile up the masses. Some, not as logical as I am, would be pissed based on the fact that Occupy Democrats told them to be pissed. Me? I’m bothered because I think he is unfit because of how this whole thing happened. The masses will fight and any Republican that was teetering on the edge of losing will probably lose. In fact, that may be exactly why they are rushing this anyways because they know that things may not be looking so great for them right now and they need to get a guy in before midterms take place. Ultimately, this could be a huge downfall in a country were people are already getting bored with the current way things are getting done.

As an independent who has been very vocal about my stance on getting rid of the 2-party system in place, this does make me a little happy to watch the world burn. Maybe now people will realize that maybe this 2-party system isn’t working out, that neither party gives a crap about. them. 3rd party candidates might not either, but at least then you have more viable choices than some talking head from one of 2 parties. I hope Kavanaugh doesn’t get confirmed not because he was nominated by Trump but because I want someone that is trustworthy, someone who upholds the law of the land not a party’s agenda. I fear that Kavanaugh is a party man, not a law man.

Just a Girl’s Opinion on Question 3

I don’t like to get too political here. Why? Because I have enough stress in my life, I don’t need randos on the internet telling me what I think and why I’m wrong in an aggressive manner. If people were more polite, engaging in thought-provoking discourse rather than slinging whatever awful words first pour from their mouths, I’d consider it. Sure, I broadly discuss things without the intention of convincing people to think like me. I don’t voter-information-2018want people to think like me. I want people think. For themselves. Without caring about what other people think.

Today may be the day that I change that. Yesterday, we received our election year booklet of information: the Massachusetts Information for Voters booklet. The one that discusses what’s going to be on the ballot and the for and against arguments for each question. While I keep debating whether or not I’m going to do a series on these with my opinions (OPINIONS, not facts. These are 2 very different concepts.), I had to say something about Question 3:   A subject that I feel very passionately about and will stand up for every single time.

To brief people who may not be aware of it, Question 3 addresses Transgender Discrimination (rather, Anti-Discrimination). Unlike most questions, something that I think was made to confuse voters purposefully to deceive them, a “Yes” vote actually leaves the current law alone. The “No” vote undoes a very important piece of this law: prohibiting discrimination against Transgender individuals. In short: If you feel as though people should use the bathroom for the gender they identify as, then you want to vote “Yes”. If not, you want to vote “No”.

I know how I very clearly stand on this topic, so I could have utterly convinced someone who doesn’t agree with me to vote a certain way through misleading text. Instead, I clearly expressed that “Yes” keeps the bill as is, while “No” repeals this anti-discrimination section. See? I did it again.

If you have followed my blog, you know how I stand on the issue. (See: It’s All About the Bathrooms) I’m very much pro-itsnoneofmydamnbusiness. If no one is getting hurt and it doesn’t have any effect on me, I really don’t even think about it. Am I pro-life? Absolutely. Would I get an abortion? Not a chance because it’s not something that I could do unless there was some very extreme circumstance. Will I judge someone who does? Absolutely not. It’s not my business. I support the right to choose because I thought that being American, you had freedoms or something.

mvimg_20181002_075413I bring this up because I did the responsible thing. I read the booklet. I read the laws in great detail. I closely read the for and against arguments to help. I have never, ever had the reaction that I did when I read the “Against” argument for Question 3. Yes, I have included it here. I was incredulous. Stunned. Normally the arguments are articulate, straightforward about facts. This was hate and fear mongering. The “In Favor” argument was dripping in sarcasm, saying phrases that I would have used like “Sexual assault is already illegal”, “lets transgender people use the bathroom, which we all need to use”. I’m in complete awe over this “Against”. Complete. What does waxing have to do with using a bathroom? If a person doesn’t feel comfortable waxing a body part on another person, that’s their choice. See, freedoms. I don’t understand what that has to do with a trans woman sitting in a stall, doing their business while minding their own business.

First of all, I’m pretty sure a sex offender doesn’t care about things like “laws”. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t be on a sex offender list. Unless they weren’t caught. Unfortunately, there are no “sex offender” only bathrooms. They do know that men/women can sexually assault people of the same gender, right? So this law wouldn’t affect that. In fact, had an incident happened where a trans woman assaulted another woman in the bathroom, I’m sure it would have gone national as a way to show just how dangerous transgender people who need to pee really are.

I have made this argument before. Should there be “LGBT” bathrooms, ones that are separate but equal? That is something that has worked very well in the past and I’m sure we should seriously consider this. (Total sarcasm, in case you didn’t get that.) Obviously all transgender women are into women since men can only be into women, so this is a very serious issue. Since that’s the case, maybe lesbian women shouldn’t be in the bathrooms with straight women either because who knows what’s going to happen. They may share… lipstick. The horror! Can you catch trans like you can catch gay, through touch or a fabulous shade of red lipstick?

I will fight for people to live their lives in a peaceful manner every time. I fully support the LGBT community. I fully support my friends and family within it. I’m voting “Yes” on Question 3. I don’t care how you vote; I just want you to be aware of facts not someone telling you scary (and ridiculous) stories for the intention of deceiving you based on their own personal bias.

 

The Thing About Alts

The reason why I have a great time playing WoW is that I like the grind. I like leveling alts up. I don’t necessarily have the taste or desire to do anything really hardcore anymore. Time and real life responsibilities can get in the way of that anyways. I’m a very goal oriented person. I like setting goals and I get an incredible high off of completing them, in both real life goals and in games. That’s why I like doing challenges like NaNoWriMo. I like the challenge. I like being told that I can’t do it, only to not-so humbly shove it in their faces when I do. That’s just who I am.

The thing that is so great about alts is that you can relive an experience. Maybe when you speed through the levels to get maxed quickly, you don’t stop and experience the game. With alts, there’s no rush or pressure to get up there quickly. You can enjoy content anew. You can speed through areas you hate. The new system where you can choose where you want to level rather than being forced into one area is awesome. I never have to level in Burning Crusade ever again. If only I could get out of leveling in Warlords of Draenor, which is in my opinion the worst of the expansions to level in. Even if I do have flying, it’s still annoying. The instances are awful. The zones are well-designed but the whole place is boring with annoying quests. The only redeeming quality is the XP pots you can use to level quicker and the ability to use garrison missions to farm up XP for you. And that you can now farm herbs/mine to level up quicker. Which is why all of my toons now have mining/herbalism. Should they all get to level 120, I may end up rolling in the gold from the ore/herbs.

You can make the game into any experience that you want. I like Allied races because I like how I feel there’s this incredible story to them. Sure, I used to kill Dark Irons while leveling in Vanilla but now I can be a Dark Iron killing the same Vanilla Dark Irons. I can be a Nightborne, something I have been dying to be since first meeting the race in Suramar. I can be an Alliance character one day and the next see the other side of the story on the Horde. I don’t feed into this us vs. them mentality that a lot of players immerse themselves in when they play. (Much like I don’t feed into this in real life politics.) And I still have fun.

My first alt order of business, if you’ve been following my stream, is my Dark Iron. I was on my Nightborne, until the Dark Irons were able to be unlocked and now I’ll work on that until at least I get my heritage armor set. I’ll probably go back to the Nightborne to at least get my heritage armor for her. Then I’ll have to make a decision of which Horde character I need to start farming on so I can be ready for the Zandalari troll release because I need one of those in my life. I don’t want to go priest again. So my choices will end up being my BELF Pally, my Troll Furby/boomkin, or my Undead or Nightborne Mage. My instinct is one of the mages, but we’ll see when I get there. If you have any suggestions for me, let me know. Otherwise you can see me failing my way through WoW (and sometimes Overwatch) on my stream, which is linked on the sidebar.