Friday, July 8, 2016

This shouldn't be zero-sum

It should go without saying that yesterday's message does not, in anyway, justify Dallas last night. There are problems in the justice system and there are racist and power-hungry cops out there.  There are some people who should not have the level of power that police have.  There is racial bias that is endemic across many areas of public and private life. But, none of that justifies a death sentence for any and all cops.

We now know that these shootings were done by a black man who was angry about the "recent killings of black people and said that he wanted to kill white people — particularly white police officers".  Racial hatred gets us nowhere and this will only make things worse.

What makes this even sadder is that, the Dallas Police department is actually doing a pretty good job reaching out to the community.  The relationship between the police and the protestors was reportedly good that night.

 And when the topic of gun control measures comes up again, will the same voices that cry "NO!" be just a vehement when they realize that an angry black man can legally buy guns?  If not, the racism has won.  If so, their love of guns has won.  Whatever the case, the rest of us lose.

Monday, June 27, 2016

After the Brexit, a little, unrelated, good news.

I was planning to post about the Brexit (*shudder at name and results*) but I need to focus on some good news.

This news on Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt is so good to hear.

Across this nation, there are still far too many pointless and wrongheaded restrictions on a woman's right to make informed health decisions.  So many of these laws are dishonestly framed as being for the "health of the mother" when the reality is they do nothing to help the woman.

While pro-life advocates said these laws made abortion safer for women, their most significant effect was forcing roughly half of the state's abortion clinics to close. The overwhelming consensus from doctors is that the laws had no medical benefit, and actually made abortion less safe because they forced quality clinics to close for no compelling medical reason. 
Hell, the fact of the matter is, some of these women don't want to be mothers are all.  And the others already are mothers and would like to maintain their health, as is, thank you very much.

And the notorious RBG, as always, brings it home:

"It is beyond rational belief that H. B. 2 could genuinely protect the health of women." 

Love her.

For more smart words on abortion, check out Dr. Jen Gunter.  Powerful reading.

Monday, June 20, 2016


So, I got two comments on my previous post, apparently from the same person.  Someone named Anonymous.  I'll have to see if that name has any specific meaning.

First they said:

Should have stuck with wow.

Then they felt the need to come back and let me know that they were:


Seems like something they could have done the first time.

Maybe they'll make a third post when they find the "r" they are missing.

On a more serious note, I had actually hoped to avoid antagonizing anyone, despite how that post and this response seem.  I had my "announcement" post up specifically because I wanted people to be able to avoid a politics discussion if they wanted.  As I said then, I can appreciate the desire to keep politics out of escapism.  It's nice, in principle, to have a place to retreat when the world is too much.  But the thing is, that place of retreat isn't always the "neutral" place you think it is.  In many ways, the rigid structure of a game world makes the issues of the world more obvious.

Simple examples?

Skin tone variation is pretty limited in WoW
Body dimensions are even more restricted
In-game, NPC same-sex relationships not exactly common

Now, to the first two items - well, there can be an argument made about coding and the endless myriad of combinations that would need to be accounted for.  But while the coding argument has a fair basis and certain defaults must occur, it doesn't address where the line is drawn between what is included and what is excluded.  It doesn't acknowledge that the same default is used across so many games and how that can make some players feel, time after time after time.

And yes, not everyone cares.  Some people want to be the Platonic ideal of hero and there is nothing wrong with that.  But for those that do care and feel excluded, the world that you see as a place where we are "all the same" isn't the place you think it is.

But for Anonymous, I have to say, I'm kind of sorry you left.  Well, okay, not really as it seems like you are averse to others having strong opinions that do not match yours.  But, while I'm writing this for me, just me, and only me, I would like to be able to convince others to listen to my point of view and perhaps change their ideas.  I can't say I want to change my ideas and opinions about the world, but I hope that if I was convinced someone else was right that I would have the courage to re-evaluate myself.  I know I've done it before and likely will again.

Oh well.  Well, here's a bit of WoW for ya: Spouse and I are working on the Netherwing rep grind right now.  Oh, and the Shieldwall rep quests too.  Between the broken quests and the slow grind, whee those are fun.

Friday, June 17, 2016

I'm Just A $hill

Whew!  You sure gotta break a lot of ceilings to get to this White House here in Washington!  But I wonder who that sad little voter is?

I’m just a $hill
And I love that Hill
Is now headed off to Capitol Hill.
Was a long, long race against
Senator Bernie
And I know she’ll be the prez some day
Just ask the gays, if you will
But today I am still just a $hill.

Gee, $hill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage!

Well I got *this* far.  When I started, I wasn't even a *$hill* - I just wanted to vote.  Some folks back home said they wanted a skilled candidate, so they researched and said "Hill’s right, I’m with her."  Then I sat down and read about Clinton, and I became a $hill.  And I'll remain a $hill until Sanders decides to withdraw.

I’m just a $hill
Yes, I’ll fight for Ms. Hill
And we’ll get First Gentleman Bill
Well, I’m tired of “thanks,
for the record corrected
So bye to all that, I’m off to get her elected.
I’ll $hill for Hill with my prose
But today I am still just a $hill.

Listen to those berniebros arguing!  Is all that discussion and debate about you?

Yes.  I'm one of the lucky ones.  Most $hills never even get this far. Most stay quiet so they don’t get harassed and told to die.


Yeah: die or things more shitty.  Oooh!  But it looks like Hillary said something! Now they’ll go yell neoliberal or Benghazi.

If you defend her, then what happens?

Then they call me a $hill and the whole thing starts all over again.

Oh no!

Oh yes!

I’m just a $hill
Yes, I’m ready for Hill
and I’ll vote for her as President Hill
Then she’s off to the White House
cause it’s finally time
For a woman to join
the executive line.
She’ll inspire girls to show chutzpah.
How I can’t wait for that thrill
But first Trump must lose to the Hill.

You mean there are people out there that want that bigot for President?

Yes, they want the “cheeto”.  If Trump wins he’ll have 4 years to roll back healthcare, equality, gun control and more. And when the presidential vote comes again, by that time it's...

By that time, it's very unlikely that the damage can be undone!  It's not a chance we can take, is it?


So, how I hope and I pray that you will,
Join me and be just a $hill!

She won, $hill!  Now for 4 years of misogyny!

Oh yeah!

[In case you are confused: I'm Just a Bill]

Monday, June 13, 2016

So, where have I been? And what’s next?

In short, restricting this blog to just WoW made it difficult to post when other, more important things came up.  I wanted to talk about WoW (and what I was doing and what was going on in game), but there were also bigger things happening and they weren’t appropriate for what this blog was.  This really made it difficult to post at all, which then slowed all other momentum and then stopped me completely.

I’ve decided to modify this blog and open it up to more than just WoW and I wanted to let my readers know before I made the move.  I’ve always appreciated the attempt most bloggers make to keep politics and real-life to a minimum when talking about the game.  It’s not fully possible, nor is it a good idea, to completely avoid real-life concerns in a game though.  And I don’t just mean idiots talking politics in trade chat.  I mean topics that touch on real-life issues of the players.  Still, I do appreciate and embrace the need for escapism so that you can handle reality.  On the other hand, some never get to fully escape because our shared fantasy world is swimming in normative reminders of real life that may be invisible to most people.  And to pretend that we are all the same erases the issues some people face.

Whatever the case, I will still be posting on Warcraft and related whatnot, so I hope to be able to still have conversations with my readers.  But there will be other topics floating around as well and I wanted to give a heads up to readers and the people that added me to their blogroll in case they like to keep those lists tightly focused on WoW or at least gaming.

I started this post a while ago and have been trying to get it finished and posted.  I wanted to say more and edit it and refine it, but it is unnecessary and I need to make the switch soon.

The above was the summary of the navel-gazing below. 

When I first started this blog I briefly hit on the why of it:

There were a number of reasons but one, among the many, was possible depression*.  At the time, writing those posts was giving me an escape and a way of dealing with things. It was one tool that helped me cope and I think it did it well. 

One of things I have liked about having this blog is that I have tried to keep it focused on WoW as much as possible.  I was able to leave other things out and just focus on the game.  Now though, I’m feeling more and more confined by some personal limits I set that I think are preventing me from using this platform for what I want and need.

I’m in the US and as you are likely aware, we are having our presidential election this year. During the primaries I had quite a bit to say and as we move to the general election I’m sure I’ll have even more.  In addition, there are just too many things going on in the world that I'm not talking about and I want to.  While the internet doesn't really need one more opinion out there, I need to be able to talk about things.  I need to be able to talk about this letter.  I need to be able to talk about Orlando.  Even if there is no one to listen, I need to be able to write about it .

Moving forward

I was absolutely tickled when I was added to some side bars on a few blogs, and by people that I really enjoyed reading!

I guess that’s why I want to make this post.  I am planning to transition this blog to something less focused purely on WoW and be more of a personal journal, of sorts.  I still plan to post and talk about WoW, especially with Legion approaching, but I won’t feel like I have to edit myself quite so much.

And since I’ll be bringing in my opinions on various controversial topics, I wanted to make readers aware, especially those that added me to their side bar.  It's important to say that I'm not doing this because I'm mad at anyone that added me or any nonsense like that.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  It is because of my gratitude that people took an interest in my limited writing that I want to alert them as I change topics.

[And here is where I've been editing and deleting and revising. As I mentioned above, there is too much going on for me to keep waiting until this perfect.  So please forgive the clumsiness of this post.  I think the main idea comes across.  I'll leave this up for a few days so that anyone who wants to remove me from their reading can.]

* I was never officially diagnosed with depression, because I never went to a doctor about it.  Which I know can sound like a red flag, but I honestly never felt it quite hit that stage. A risky thing, I know, but I did talk with the spouse and we both kept an eye on things.  As a quick reminder, depression isn’t sadness.  For formal, clinical information, go here:

But for a good, deeply emotionally and resonant view, go here:

Friday, February 5, 2016

Is the gaming treadmill getting faster or am I slowing down?

The likely answer: probably both.

I play Hearthstone pretty casually (surprise) and usually hit, but rarely break, rank 20 each month. I put some effort to reach that level (in case I'd like the card back) but typically not great amounts. It can take me a while to hit 20 some months and I think my best ever ranking was maybe 17?  It is also something I can play on my phone or tablet to pass the time.  I prefer it on my computer but when there, I'd rather be doing something else.

Casual credentials established, the recent announcement about Standard Mode, Wild Mode, and the retirement of some cards kind of disappointed me and highlighted how out of sync I am with the game. It's not that I don't understand the issues with overly powerful cards or the need to keep the game "fresh" and also accessible to new players.  I just really dislike the way they are going about it.

Old expansions no longer being available for purchase means unless I craft them, which can be exceptionally hard to get the dust I would need, I will never have some cards. That's pretty disappointing. Not end-of-the-world, gnash-teeth, rend-garment but simply "oh, that sucks."  Being unable to collect items in a DIGITAL collection game is pretty weird and annoying.

The limited time* nature of future decks in standard play is also annoying. This is what really inspired my treadmill question. If you want to stay current and have a chance at winning, you'll likely need to have the most recent expansions.  And you'll need to stay current or you'll just be left with the basic cards.  It's not that you can't win with a basic set, but that you will be at a disadvantage most times.

The game is moving in a direction where you'll need to really keep playing and current with the decks or else be left pretty far behind.  And I really don't like that kind of game.  I don't want a static world per se, but this constant (and to me quick) change discourages me from investing myself in the game.

If I can't learn, explore, and experience the game at my own pace; if I have to rush through things and stay with the pack or get permanently left behind and miss out on things, that game is probably not for me.

I'm kind of this way about aspects of WoW too. I actually prefer the long gaps between major events and changes because it gives me a chance to play the game the way I like it.  I can try different classes and storylines.  I can be different races or specs.  I can spend time in the game, enjoying it without feeling like I'm permanently missing out on something.

I don't mind if I'll always be behind the pack in a game like this unless that means that I'll NEVER have the chance at something.  I have the Core Hound mount from the 10th anniversary event and I hated getting it.  Not because the raid was hard.  I had a very good and easy raid, actually, and was even lucky enough to even get the pet on my first run though.  I hated it because I felt I had to rush to 100 and then I had to get geared up enough to get into the raid.  All because it was for a limited time.  That wasn't fun to me.

Did anyone that got the mount feel like the fun part of it was the limited time?  Does anyone really feel extra special that they have the mount and others don't when it may simply be that the other person didn't have enough time?

I also happen to think that longer gaps give more time to produce good quality games when they finally are released as opposed to...well, Warlords of Draenor.

(Quick note: I, of course, realize that many people prefer a faster pace and want more content to consume faster.  This post is not intended to convince them they are wrong**.  I'm just examining my own relationship with current gaming and my preferences.)

I fully realize that if the gaming treadmill is speeding up, it may only be by a small amount and it's actually that I'm just slowing down more.  Nothing wrong with that but ignoring it or being in denial about it can cause problems.

And I guess that's what I'm trying to grapple with. The path that Blizzard is going with their games, seems to be one that I'm not very interested in following.  Obviously, once the multi-billion dollar company sees my post they'll change their ways.  Until then, I kind of need to come to terms with what it means that I'm not the target audience anymore and never will be.

Earlier this week, Fiannor had a post or two that also thinking about game audience. Just some more food for thought.

As I said at the beginning, I think it is most likely a combination of the gaming industry just moving faster and me becoming even more resistant to my leisure activities always being rushed. Still, as Blizzard keeps pushing new ideas that they think will keep the game fresh and pull in new people, it's a little sad for me because it seems to end up pushing me out of something I enjoy.

* The card backs are limited time too, which does bother me, but I've been thus far willing to work within that, since I can use Hearthstone to pass down time at work or wherever.  The card backs are also unrelated to game play.  I won't win or lose based on the card back.  Not having access to current cards, which often have new and more powerful effects, that does impact game play.

** Which of course, they are :P