Archive for the ‘Brain Dump’ Category
The seemingly black and white nature that exists between the mindset of “hardcore” and “casual” is something that’s been on my mind for a couple of months now. I think the first time that it tickled my thoughts was a few months back when I was having a conversation with someone who said “if you aren’t hardcore, you’re casual” and it stopped me in my tracks. I didn’t agree with that statement at all. In fact, I completely disagreed with it. I guess where I kept getting caught up in the logic was the immediate leap to the opposite, the complete black and white nature of the thought, with no room for the vast grey that falls in between.
The Space in the In Between
I’ve never really liked the terms “hardcore” and “casual” because of the stigmas that the community has associated with them and the fallacy of such terms, but whether I like it or not, they are terms that everyone recognizes and associates with. When most people think “hardcore” they think of guilds like Vodka or Paragon and when people think of “casual” they think of guilds who are content plugging through content at a much slower pace, often times not seeing things like “hard modes”. This is the black and the white. The complete opposites on the raiding spectrum. There is nothing wrong with either of them – they are just on different ends of the spectrum.
But I believe that it isn’t as simple as just black and white. I don’t think you have to be limited to being strictly “hardcore” or strictly “casual”. I think that there is a lot of room in that in between, a lot of grey that isn’t black or white. In fact, I’d almost wager that a great number of people in progression raiding find themselves in this in between area. Where they enjoy pushing content, but aren’t pushing it at a neck-breakingly fast pace – either because they aren’t capable of it or just don’t have the time to do it.
As I think about it more – I guess the question is “what defines hardcore”? Is it how fast you progress? Is it what you demand of your players? For me, I want to play with people that I enjoy being around and who have a vested interest in improving every night - even if maybe they aren’t always the best of the best of players. Does that make me “casual”? On the same token, I also expect them to avoid making repeat mistakes, to actively work to become a better player, to acknowledge when they’ve made an error and who want to progress through content while its current. Does that make me “hardcore”? Progression for me is fun. But playing with people who make the game fun because of who they are and what their personalities offer to that experience is also important to me. So where does that leave me? Can I have expectations without being “hardcore”? Can I have friends without being “casual”?
Honestly, I think it puts me pretty squarely in the majority of progression raiders and raid teams who fall on the cusp - somewhere in that in between. Do I sometimes desire more? Absolutely. But I also question the cost of such desires and ponder if paying Charon’s toll would be worth it when all was said and done.
So what do you think? Is progression black and white? Is there only “hardcore” and “casual” or do you think there is somewhere in between?
I wonder if there is magic in the air lately. Perhaps it’s just in my mind – but I’m doubtful that I’m the only one who has been sprinkled by a touch of fairy dust. Admittedly, I’ve been a devotee of Once Upon A Time, and have found myself hooked on Grimm. But I think I’m probably not the only one, or two separate movie studios wouldn’t be venturing into Snow White’s world.
But that’s okay, I’ve always been a fan of the Fairy Tale. What’s not to love? Good always triumphs over evil, the guy always get the girl, vanquishing evil along the way, and you can’t help but feel good at the end result. I’m sure that you are wondering where I’m going with this. Or maybe not, but I’m going to tell you anyhow. You see, I’ve been suffering some insomnia the past few nights, and last night to try and fight it I queued up Tangled and joined along as Rapunzel journeyed through the outside world. Of course, it was sitting right there in my favorites pile right next to Beauty and the Beast, and I could probably recite either show from memory, I’ve seen them that many times.
But as my sleep addled brain continued to work, and Tangled played on, I started to wonder what it is about the fairy tale that draws in so many people.
Is it the happy ending? Is that what we all ultimately all yearn for? Happily ever after? I mean, obviously the thought has merit and people buy into it, as Disney’s been selling it for almost a century. But is that really all it is or is there something more about the fairy tale that makes little girls, grown women and Julia Roberts playing a hooker dream of being Cinderella?
At first I wondered if it was the escape from reality that makes fairy tales so tantalizing, but the more I thought about it the more I felt that wasn’t really true. I mean, sure, wouldn’t it be divine if everyone had a Prince Charming that would ride up and sweep them away from life’s troubles – I mean even Pretty Woman grasps at this desire. But I wonder if the draw isn’t more the thought that evil can be conquered and overcome, and that’s something that we subconsciously cling to as we navigate our lives.
I’ll admit that as I lie in bed watching Tangled last night I was looking for…something. I’d had a long day. I felt pretty beat up on, and good lord is that high road exhausting. But why is it that when I’m feeling a bit weary, my go to is always some version of the fairy tale? Is it because I want Prince Charming to sweep me away and tell me that all of my problems have been solved?
As we watched this week’s episode of Once Upon A Time, I couldn’t shut up at how deplorable I found the Mayor/Evil Queen. Brade advised me “You aren’t supposed to like her”, to which I naturally responded “well, good! Because I don’t!”. But the bad guy is what drives most fairy tales, when you think about it. Without that evil antagonist, there would be no princess in need of rescue, no realm to save, no children to free from the gingerbread house.
And you know, not only do the bad guys get the best songs, but it’s also very easy to incorporate the people in your life who you dislike or struggle with into those positions. It’s not a big stretch of anyone’s imagination to cast manipulative, difficult people into those roles. And in a way, I suppose it’s a little cathartic – because in the end the bad guy always gets his. And in a world where “good” is keeping your head up and walking the high road and “evil” is hitting below the belt, I suppose it feels good to think that what goes around comes around and think that good always triumphs. Even if that isn’t always true.
Perhaps in looking at this brain dump, my inner-child is screaming to get out, or maybe I just never grew up. And I will admit that if a complete stranger rode up to me and grabbed me, even if he was my Prince Charming, I’d probably mace him, not burst out into song. But in the end, don’t we all desire (and can’t we all see) a little bit of the fairy tale in our lives?
This topic is actually something that has been on my mind quite awhile, and in fact was something I brought up back in November when I was chatting on the Blessing of Frost podcast with Vidyala and Kurn. Back in November I questioned why Blizzard felt so strongly that they needed 10 and 25 man raiding to be considered “equal”. Which, frankly, has caused almost insurmountable problems as they’ve struggled with tuning and class/role balancing trying to meet this seemingly unobtainable goal – often times to the detriment of the player and their enjoyment in the game.
Put your torches away, and let me explain what I mean before you decide to torch me.
WoW has changed significantly since I first pulled those five CDs from the vanilla box and installed the game on my computer. One of the things that have changed for the worse, at least in my opinion, has become this focus on the progression “race” – which is heavily perpetrated by guild ranking sites like WoW Progress and GuildOx. But I’ve opined on that previously, and I don’t really want to go into a rant on my thoughts here as I’ve done that previously. However, I do think it’s important to acknowledge this change because it plays into what I do what to discuss: The “equality” of 10 man and 25 man raiding, or more specifically why there is such a push to make them equal. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s been a little quiet. There are many reasons for that, but one of them is that the Seattle area just had a big dumping of snow that kept both Brade and I house bound for 3 days. As such, rather than doing things like working on a Hagara guide or finishing one of the dozen blog posts in my draft folder, I spent some of that extra time with Brade. Amongst other things we discovered the glories of Castle and navigated our way through the first season. When he opted to play Star Wars, I spent some quality time curled up with the puppy, drinking tea and reading People. And…I enjoyed it.
Anyhow, we received 12 inches of snow, if the weatherman is to be believed – which is a ton for the Seattle area. We only lost power a few times, and in flickers, so we were fortunate on that front as many people in the area lost power for days (and some still don’t have it back). There was so much snow that after we walked the dog, we had to carry her back to the tub and use hot water to get the clumps of snow off of her feet. Here are some pictures of what it looked like at the end of last week.
Read the rest of this entry »
There is this delicious gelato shop a few blocks from where I work that I love. After I ate the (mostly) healthy lunch that I brought from home today, I decided that I needed some gelato and walked down to get some. Next to the gelato shop is a hat shop. Not a division of a store that sells hats, but a shop that is dedicated to nothing but hats. Every time I walk by it I stop and wonder how a shop that sells nothing but (high-end) hats can stay in business. I mean, I never see anyone in the store, and even though it’s always very rainy in Seattle, you don’t see many people walking around sporting hats.
I remember the first time I went by the shop, and there was the giant Stetson advertisement, and I sort of figured that it mainly sold cowboy hats – and while I didn’t really see a lot of cowboy hats around town, there must be a popular market for them in the Seattle area. Maybe Bill Gates was a huge fan of the Stetson or something. In the window next to the cowboy hats were “old man hats”. You know the ones I’m talking about, with the flat bill and the button that snaps down. My Great Uncle Ray used to favor them when he went out. But then came something I wasn’t expecting. In the window next to the old man hats were some of the most lovely ladies hats that I’d ever seen. I was mesmerized by the array of woman’s hats in the window. (And I had flashbacks of the Disney short, you know, the one with Alice Blue Bonnet and Johnny Fedora).
Anyhow, every time I walk by the hat shop now, in addition to wondering how the shop thrives, especially in this economy, I always look at the ladies hats in the windows. Not only the hats, but the hat boxes. I’ve never had a hat that requires a hat box or has warranted a hat box upon its purchase. In fact, I didn’t even know that hat boxes still existed. But the hats are beautiful and have so much personality and panache.
Today as I walked by the hat shop, I again stopped and looked at the ladies hats in the window. And even though I’ve never really worn hats (unless you count the baseball cap I threw over my bed head on the way to class in college as I was running out the door…), I decided that I’m going to buy a hat from that front window. One that warrants a hat box.
I haven’t picked one out yet, but just because I’ve never worn hats before, doesn’t mean I can’t wear one now. And I intend to wear my new hat gracefully, with personality and panache.
Last night I almost left my guild. I had to literally stand up and walk away from the computer to prevent myself from typing a phrase that I hadn’t typed in seven years: /gquit. I didn’t want to make a rash, emotional decision that I would regret in the morning. Only when I woke up this morning, after crying myself to sleep yet again, I regretted that I hadn’t done it.
Amongst other things, I had it out with one of our officers last night. And after feeling like I was being placed as a scape goat for everything, I flat out told him I would offer a simple solution: I would leave. I mean, let’s face it, I haven’t been happy in months, I’ve noted that in multiple venues, including my guild forums - if people were truly unhappy with me it seemed like a win/win solution for everyone. I advised him I wasn’t being melodramatic about it, I was truly miserable, tired of dealing with it and I wanted to leave. And I was told that if I did that everything would fall apart and I was needed to keep the guild alive. I found this odd, considering that I was supposedly at the root of all of these problems we are seeing in the guild at the moment.
Which lead me to wonder: If I’m not a replaceable member of our leadership team, why am I treated so poorly by the people I work so hard for day in and day out? Why is it that when I tell people that I’m at the end of my rope, and what is causing me to be there, they continue to perpetrate the exact things that drove me to where I am right now? Why do I feel unappreciated and outright disrespected by many members of our guild? Why do I not feel like I am not welcome or wanted any longer?
I was left with a heavy decision that I thought about while I was showering this morning, as I drove to work and as I booted up my workstation at the office. I was leaning heavily towards leaving, as I removed a few more of the “pros” from a pros/cons list that I’ve been building in my head for the past two months. And then came the PM that should have never been sent. From a raider that is equally, if not more, emotional that I am at times. A person that I had specifically directed to Brade because I couldn’t deal with it anymore. And my resolve eroded.
I wanted out. Now.
I responded less than charitably, because, well, I’m fresh out of charity to give. I’m tired of putting my feelings behind others, often to my detriment. And I’m tired of putting everyone’s needs and feelings ahead of mine. I’ve been doing it for seven years – and people (that I willingly invited into our guild) have unintentionally done to me what a group of people who set out to destroy our guild couldn’t do: they have made me want to leave my guild and look for a new place to call home.
I quietly closed my office door and started to weep in earnest. Ashamed and embarrassed that I was this upset over a recreational activity and couldn’t control my emotions enough that it was impacting my ability to work – especially when I have always prided myself on being able to bifurcate my personal life and my professional life when I stepped into the office.
I called Brade, looking for direction and advice. Hoping that the person who lovingly strokes my hair as I cry myself to sleep would offer me some semi-objective opinions. When he told me I should leave because I am clearly unhappy, I cried harder. The truth is, I still don’t know what I want to do. We talked about it a bit (well, mostly I cried and he tried to make me feel better), ultimately, effective immediately, I abdicated myself from all raid leading responsibilities going forward. (And you are probably learning about this change before half of our guild).
I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to stay and see if things get better with the guild or not. The truth is that my head knows Brade is right – when it gets to the point that I am crying myself to sleep at night and locking myself into the office for the same reasons, it’s probably time to move to something that is more healthy for me, regardless of where that leaves the guild. But my heart, lord my heart. It wants what it wants. It slaps on those rose colored glasses and romanticizes about the change that will happen with me stepping back, and tries to convince me that everything will be better now. It doesn’t want to walk away and abandon something that I’ve nurtured for so long.
I don’t know where I’ll land when this storm settles.
I know that I’m not done with WoW yet, but I do not know if I’ll be finishing out my love affair with the game with Monolith. Which is, quite honestly, not something I’d ever thought I’d say and may in the end kill WoW for me, as my guild has been a driving force for me in the game for so long. I have a lot of emotions and thoughts to sort through before I find an answer – and I strongly suspect the atmosphere of the guild over the next few days will play heavily into that decision.
In the end, is it so wrong to want to be happy and have fun again?
I debated doing a New Year’s reflection type post, but when push came to shove, my heart really wasn’t in it. Instead I thought I’d offer an update that touches on any number of things, and see where that went. I haven’t done a Monday brain dump in some time, so there is certainly enough floating around in my head, and I suppose relieving some of the pressure by releasing some of those errant thoughts would help. (I’ve also included our two most recent kill videos after the break).
On My Hands
I haven’t done an update on my hands in a while. The long and short of it is that I had a flare up around Thanksgiving that hasn’t subsided, and over the past week or two has been some of the worst that I can remember them being. I’m conflicted on this, as I started acupuncture treatment just before Christmas (going into my fourth appointment on Thursday) – and the timing of my most recent bout of pain times up roughly with the time I started the acupuncture. This, in turn, makes me wonder if it’s doing more harm than it is help or if it’s just a weird coincidence of events.
I see my Rhuematologist next Monday, and I intend to request a physical therapy referral. I mean, since the doctor who did my nerve conduction study indicated that her recommendation would be for PT, I would think that perhaps that is worth checking out. Of course, my Rhuematologist would have to a) remember she sent me for the test; b) actually read my file before walking into the door during my appointment; and c) actually reading the report from the other doctor. (In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty disgusted with my doctor). Read the rest of this entry »
I know I’ve been a lot quieter than usual. The truth is that this post has been sitting in my drafts folder for almost two weeks, and every time that I pull it up to try to put my current thoughts into words I stumble, not quite sure what to say. The truth is that I’m really struggling with WoW right now, a lot. And I’ve been spending a whole lot of time asking myself what I should do – what happens when you start to fall out of love with something that has been a defining aspect of your life for so long?
I think part of the reason that I’ve been putting it off is because I wasn’t sure if my thoughts are directly related to my time in game or if they are being colored by a plethora of other things happening in my life right now – and the truth is that I’m still not sure. While I do think that some of what I’m feeling with regards to WoW right now is my life bleeding in, I also think that it has only highlighted feelings that were already there - not creating new ones.
Where to start? I think I’ve laid out my love affair with WoW previously – so maybe I should talk about the bumps in the road. I suppose since I’m being honest, they feel more like giant mountains right now than bumps. Giant mountains that I’m not entirely sure I am capable of scaling. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve spent a fair bit of time this expansion doing nothing but flying around and digging in the dirt. In fact, there have been entire weekends when I’ll sit down in front of an NCIS marathon on TV and dig for hours on end…every day. I have dug until I have found myself literally asleep at the keyboard and putting myself to bed. Every so often I’ll come to my senses and say “fuck this bullshit” and give up on Archeology. I think of all the time wasted, and all of the fun things I’d rather be doing – like washing my hair.
I’m sure there is someone out there reading that is thinking “if you hate it, why do you even do it”. Well, I’m glad you asked (even if it was internal!). I first started doing Archeology because one of our early Best in Slot trinkets, Tyrande’s Favorite Doll, came from the profession. And as a raider, who wants to be as prepared as possible for content, I felt obligated to go farm the damn thing. And so I dug and dug and dug. Lo and behold, my last Night Elf discovery was Tyrande’s damn doll. I wore that doll up until I got my Shard of Woe, it was that good. In our early raids (before druids got buffed), I was getting enviable amounts of mana return from that one trinket.
I suppose I could say it was “worth it” – but the fun factor was pretty much in the red. Every time I came across a dig site that wasn’t Night Elf I was more frustrated with how I was having to waste my valuable time flying all the way down to Tanaris and Un’goro, only to have to make the five plus minute flight back north for the Night Elf site that would spawn next. Sure, I made use of things like Jaina’s Locket (fast trip to Tanaris every hour) and Teleport:Moonglade. But that only made things mildly less tedious. Read the rest of this entry »
Today I’m going to share a few things with you, not all of them pretty. The first of those things is that I’m a total consumer of trashy gossip magazines. And TV shows of similar ilk. I’m not sure I should tell you how many times I’ve had a subscription to People or that I’m considering snagging the e-publication version as we speak (don’t judge me!), I swear I buy them for the articles! And if E! has a True Hollywood Story on, you can bet I’m glued to the TV. Ok, ok, I’ll come clean – the same is true for any Behind the Music or Top 100 (insert something here) countdown. (Seriously, don’t judge!).
Anyhow, I have a point. Lest someone feel the need to advise my that my incredibly shallow taste in entertainment is…well, incredibly shallow (hint: I’m aware), I suppose I should probably get to it.
The other night I was watching a countdown of the 40 Most Shocking Moments. And one of the top ten moments was Britney Spears’ public meltdown – maybe it was even in the top three, I don’t remember now. But you know the one I’m talking about; the one where she shaved her head, completely fell apart and lost custody of her kids. Now in the commentary they actually had some people who were rooting for Britney talk about her meltdown, as opposed to the I’ve-never-heard-of-you-before comic tossing out jabs that is the norm. And one of the things that they said about her was that it was that moment she hit rock bottom. That in every crisis, there has to be a rock bottom. And once you’ve finally hit it you can start your climb back up.
Well, folks, I hit rock bottom. Read the rest of this entry »