standing at the back in my sissy robe

August 1, 2009

Silly Saturday: fuck off enormous dinosaur of the week!

Filed under: Diversions — Tamarind @ 7:49 pm
What do you get the fuck off enormous dinosaur who has everything?

What do you get the fuck off enormous dinosaur who has everything?

Excuse me, but I’m trying to get to the auctioneer, there’s a queue here you know. Just because you’re an enormous fuck off dinosaur doesn’t mean you don’t have to respect the rules … well … okay … maybe it does. Aieee!

That poor beleaguered warlock is my bank alt. I feel rather guilty about him. The Prettiest Elf was meant to fill the role but he has no brain to speak of, so not the best candidate for being entrusted with all your worldly wealth. Persimmon signed up to harness fel power but all he does his handle fel finance. Alas!

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July 26, 2009

Sin to Win!

Filed under: Diversions,UR Doing It Wrong,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:59 pm

Apologies in advance, but this isn’t about WoW. It’s also not about me failing to pull either, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that.

Spinks recently drew my attention to EA’s latest marketingfail, in which attendees at this year’s Comicon were invited to take pictures of themselves committing “acts of lust” with the booth babes as part of a promotion for the forthcoming Dante’s Inferno (I mean, a game spuriously connected to Dante’s Inferno, the original having already, err, come). As far as publicity goes, it’s certainly a winner in the “get lots of attention” respect but it is, of course, profoundly offensive on every conceivable level. They have since issued an apology which is so hilariously point-missing that I feel obliged to quote a large chunk of it:

We created this promotion as part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell). Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of Hell. This month is Lust. Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con. In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail. “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps. Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.

Again, I could go into why this is still mind-bogglingly offensive but this gives it too much credit. Let’s concentrate, instead, on the STUPID, which is present in equally generous quantities.

Basically what jumps out at me is this: so you’re doing a series of competitions based on the circles of the Inferno, one per month in fact. You do realise, don’t you EA marketing department, that the circles of Dante’s hell do not quite correspond to the seven deadly sins in the way I suspect you think they do? Um, do you think maybe you should have, perhaps, just perhaps, read The Inferno before you embarked on this doomed endeavour?

With this in mind, M’Pocket Tank and I hereby present our own take on the Sin to Win competition which we hope compensates to some degree for EA with its fidelity to the original text.

Circle 1: Limbo

In order to win, invitees must wear togas and compose epic poetry in dead languages.

Circle 2: Lust

Attendees are invited to perform such SINful acts as marrying for love, getting divorced or fancying someone against their parent’s approval.

Circle 3: Gluttony

Attendees are invited to send photographs of themselves eating in a manner which serves as a metaphor for the politics of 13th century Florence.

Circle 4: The Avaricious and Prodigal

Attendees will be encouraged to waste as much money as possible on useless crap they don’t need. We are currently re-thinking this promotion as it is functionally identical to the normal behaviour of punters at a convention.

Circle 5: The Wrathful and the Sullen

Attendees are invited to perform acts of violence on other members of the convention. We apologise for any misunderstanding this description may have caused. “Acts of violence” is just a tongue-in-cheek way of saying “have your photograph taken with.”

Circle 6: Heretics

Attendees are invited to tweet in support of interpretations of Christian doctrine which deviate from Catholic orthodoxy.

Circle 7: The Violent

Attendees are invited to commit suicide.

Circle 8: Malebolge

In order to win the Malebolge prize, attendees are invited to submit a photograph of themselves engaged in acts of pandering, seduction, flattery, simony, fortune telling, grafting, hypocrisy, theft, evil counselling, sowing of discord and falsification with other convention goers.

Circle 9: Cocytus

Attendees are invited to commit acts of treason.

In the event of fire, attendees are reminded that there is an emergency exit situated between Satan’s buttocks.

July 25, 2009

on behalf of the Goblin Office of Safety and Health

Filed under: Diversions — Tamarind @ 6:43 pm

A couple of posts back, I was talking about the WoW obscenity swwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwad and quite a few of the comments mentioned the effectiveness of the lifts in Azeroth in inducing a welter of swwwwwading followed by dying.

So, since it’s frivolity Saturday, I decided to send a highly trained field-agent on a whistle-stop-tour of Azeroth in order to investigate the situation on the behalf of the Goblin Office of Safety and Health (GOSH). Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a highly trained field expert so I had to use the Prettiest Elf instead. Having equipped himself with a diamond tipped walking cane, the marvellous madstone of immortality (which he only bought in the first place because he thought it was the marvellous madstone of immorality) and his cow bodyguard, our brave and terribly pretty elf set off on his deadly and vital mission.

We began in Shattrath.

The lift leading to the Scryer’s Terrace consists of a round platform that cunningly disguises itself as part of the ground, thus making it remarkably easy for the absent-minded, or visually impaired, traveller to miss it entirely. It is clearly operated by magic as it whizzes up and down to its own schedule. It is also silent which, though a vast improvement to all the headache inducing clanking and whirring of the Barrens lift technology, comes with dangers of its own:

La la la la

La la la la

However, despite having the lift land upon his head repeatedly (for science!) Cowfriend suffered no visible injury. The fact he was persuaded to stand beneath a falling platform several times in a row, however, may attest to some small brain damage not mitigated by his helmet. Agrimony asks me to remind all those not wearing a Serious Tanking Helmet not to try this under any circumstances, as it is terribly bad for the hair.

The lift itself is entirely open on one side. Although it does offer a lovely view of Shattrath, again, this is extremely perilous for the clumsy, large-hoofed or otherwise preoccupied lift-users.

Aieeee!

Aieeee!

Cowfriend suffered only minor wounds (one sprained fetlock, one bruised knee and a slightly crushed tail) from his unfortunate fall, indicating that a rapid, unintentional descent from the top of Scryer’s Terrace, unlike other locations around Azeroth, while not precisely recommended, is not deadly. So although the design of the lift itself is neither safe nor sane, it causes little harm to its passengers.

However, the Prettiest Elf was quick to spot the one thing the lift to Scryer’s Terrace has going for it:

So, how do you feel about customer service?

So, how do you feel about customer service?

In Summary:

Convenience:
Moderate
Accessibility: Low – easily missed due to the fact the platform camouflages itself
Technology: Good – smooth, silent, magic action
Danger: Very low
Attendants: Can attend me any day, baby…
Likelihood of hefty settlement following legal action: Low, as injuries caused by lift are rarely significant

The Undercity

Where to begin! The lift system in the Undercity is, of course, the handiwork of the famous, Forsaken architect, Incapability Brown. And, ye Gods, does he have a lot to answer for. Our crack team immediately spotted several significant problems:

Slight logistical hiccough

Slight logistical hiccough

Just look at those dreadful attendants! Err, and, of course, the fact that the lift cannot accommodate a mounted cow in full battle armour.

The lifts themselves consist of a spike-ringed platform (why, Incapability Brown, why? Are enormous spikes of bone ever a sensible addition to a heavily used public facility?) that judders up and down a sealed column of stone with access doors at both the top and bottom. While in motion the lift is arguably slightly safer than the open air style adopted by both the Scryers and the cows, but there are serious ‘Mind the Gap’ issues at the point where the lift encounters the exit door. And by serious, we mean fatal:

This seems neither healthy nor safe

This seems neither healthy nor safe

It is all too easy for the impatient lift-user, in defiance of all the laws of physics, to fall through the invisible gap between platform and wall, plummet down the shaft and then re-encounter the lift in a most painful fashion. The result of which is to find oneself both impaled on the bone spikes and decapitated. And, it goes without saying, deceased.

Alas, poor Agrimony

Alas, poor Agrimony

In Summary:

Convenience: Low – despite there being several of them, the lifts are notoriously difficult to locate and the doors have a tendency to close in your face just as you approach.
Accessibility: Terrible – do you know how long it took Cowfriend and the Prettiest Elf to extricate that kodo?
Technology: Frankly, I hate to speculate
Danger: EXTREME!
Attendants: For future reference, we should prefer our lift attendants to have their internal organs on the inside.
Likelihood of hefty settlement following legal action: Extremely low, not because you don’t have a case but because the Forsaken would just laugh in your face

To The Barrens

The lifts to Thunder Bluff and Thousand Needles have both clearly been designed by the same a stupid cow. They consist of two counterbalancing gazebos on a string. Although they are capacious in order to accommodate users of all sizes and offer gorgeous views (Cowfriend insists) of the Mulgore scenery, they are nevertheless seemingly constructed to cause the maximum frustration to users.

The platform is precisely of a length to ensure that, if you miss the ascending gazebo, no matter how fast and desperately you run you will also miss the descending gazebo on the other side. Naturally this means you’ll miss the previously-ascending-now-descending-gazebo, in a tragic cycle of lift missing that could conceivably last forever.

And, of course, it should by now be obvious saying that structures designed to transport a person a significant vertical distance should not consist of 5 doorways to death:

Goodnight my darlings, I'll see you tomorrow.

Goodnight my darlings, I'll see you tomorrow.

And although the lift attendants weren’t a patchwork of deadflesh and organs (for which everyone was thankful) they were far from the sterling guardians encountered in Shattrath, displaying absolutely no concern for their job.

Like ... whatevs ... dude

Like ... whatevs ... dude

We suspected this one was stoned. And on duty! Tsk tsk.

To give The Thousand Needles whatever small credit it is due, we can at least praise their efficiency. Although the ground at the bottom of the Great Lift was strewn with the bodies of the fallen dead, the graveyeard was extremely conveniently located, displaying a certain degree of foresight on the part of either the lift designer or the local undertakers.

I have no idea what it says about the world of Azeroth that 'proximity to graveyard' may be considered an advantage in a lift.

I have no idea what it says about the world of Azeroth that 'proximity to graveyard' may be considered an advantage in a lift.

In summary:

not so great actually

With that, the Prettiest Elf and Cowfriend, bruised, battered and partially dismembered, called it a day.

GOSH will be hearing about this. You mark my words.

Cowfriend then attempted to inspire the Prettiest Elf with the wonders of his home town, in particular The Randomly Wobbling Rock to which Azerothian tourists apparently flock:

*yawn* dear boy *yawn*

*yawn* dear boy *yawn*

The Prettiest Elf, however, had other ideas and ported straight back to Shattrath:

He learned from the best

July 20, 2009

North & South?

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Diversions — Tamarind @ 11:20 am

There’s been a fair few posts around here recently about What It Means To Be Horde and What It Means To Be Alliance. I’ve been thinking about it myself, recently, having for the first time in my WoW playing life, jumped to the other side of the fence, although I’ve been thinking about it in a slightly different context.

There are, of course, stereotypes about the sort of people who play Alliance and the sort of people who play Horde (which reminds me, I must level Genericus, Male, Human, Warrior!). The Horde apparently attracts people who like to root for the underdog and, it has been argued, more “mature” players. I do find myself wondering what this means – the sort of people who get a kick out of being evil are often not renowned for their, err maturity. I’m not saying it’s not a whole lot of fun to occasionally play the Machievel, especially in safe spaces like virtual worlds and computer games. But, ultimately, in the sweet bosom of Prentendlandia, wanting to be the hero or wanting to be the villain are both, I would argue, neutral propositions, there’s nothing more inherently sophisticated in wanting to be either. And I often suspect people who make a deal out of their attraction for the darker end of the spectrum have a tendency to believe that doing so makes them somehow cooler and deeper than their shiny shield sporting cousins.

One of the things I like about Azeroth is the fact that most of the races are, to an extent, morally ambiguous – the Night Elves fucked up the entire world, for God’s sake. The humans enslaved the orcs. The orcs are psychotic warmongers. And there wouldn’t be the Forsaken if it wasn’t for Arthas. Sometimes, when you play a game, you just want to feel like a hero. And, sometimes, you just want to be pretty. And sometimes you just want to be green (even though it isn’t easy, spending each day the colour of the leaves). It’s more than a little foolish to make assumptions about players based on the caprice of their inclinations.

But what I’m wondering at the moment is this: is there really an Alliance/Horde divide? Is it primarily social? Are there are different expectations of Alliance players, than Horde? Does the fact that the Alliance are nominally “the good guys” mean Alliance players are nicer to each other than Horde ones. Or is this entirely spurious?

Having only played Horde previously, I am genuinely finding the Alliance side of things a bit of a culture shock. On Emerald Dream, Alliance outnumbers the Horde 3:1. I used to think Org on a Saturday afternoon was carnage but it’s nothing compared to Iron Forge on a regular weekday evening. The first thing I saw when my tiny level 8 dorf staggered through the enormous gates was a six mammoth gangbang outside the bank. Okay, maybe it wasn’t a gangbang. Maybe they were just playing Twister. But it was still a sight to be seen. The thing is, I still stare a bit, Horde side, when I see ONE mammoth lumbering past, let alone SIX of the things.

But it’s not just the sheer volume, it goes deeper than that. In a bizarre way, it reminds me of the differences between Northern and Southern England. Stick with me here. This point is going somewhere.

Y’see, I hail from a pretty depressed area up in the far Northeast. I’m so working class that there’s still a part of me that believes Vienetta is the height of gastronomic sophistication. Before I came to university, the furthest South I’d ever been was York, and that was only on a school visit to the Viking Centre. I got off the train with the going-to-university-equivalent of all my worldly possessions stuffed into a red spotted handkerchief knotted on the end of a stick. I had a broad Northern accent that occasionally, helplessly, slipped into dialect. I thought ‘epitome’ was pronounced epee + tome, and that façade had a hard ‘c’. Don’t even ask what I did to Foucault and Nietzsche.

The worst of it was, I wasn’t entirely sure I was in Kansas any more, Toto. There was something subtly different here, and it had to do with the people. They didn’t talk to each other. They didn’t smile. They didn’t share newspapers or help each other with crosswords on public transport. If you held open a door for them, they eyed you suspiciously as they went through, tense and scowling as if they expected you were going to slam it in their face and laugh. Even the way friends interacted was different. Definitely no touching. No sharing of food. Up in the North, if you’re eating, or drinking, something good, the thing to do is load up your fork with a hefty sample and stick it in your companion’s mouth. Offer somebody a morsel from your plate in the south and they’ll leap away from you like you’ve offered them a dead rat on a stick. A dead rat on a stick with cooties.

I’ve been an honorary southern prick for over 8 years now. My accent is all but gone, except for my ‘a’s and, if I can think about it in time, I can paaaaarrrth and baaaaaaarth with the best of them. I know how to pronounce, and deploy, all manner of poncy polysyllable words (would you like fries with your weltanschauung?). I’m glad to report, though, that there’s been an element of cross-fertilization the other way though. M’friendship circle is a huggy bunch. And when we go out to dinner it’s a veritable forest of waving forks. I talk with strangers far more than the average southerner, and I’m much much nicer to American tourists. On the other hand, I was surprised at how deep the changes had gone.

The last time I went back North, which was a while ago because I am basically Pip from Great Expectations, I was, standing at the bus stop and the old-woman-in-a-headscarf (this is very North-eastern, the fashions for southern old women seem to have bypassed the trusty headscarf) next to me, nodded, smiled and said: “Afternoon pet.” I nearly jumped under the wheels of a passing motor vehicle, I was so shocked. This stranger. Was talking to me. Me! What did she want? Was this some kind of trick to get me lower to my guard? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HER?

And then I remembered: in a small town in North-eastern England, it was perfectly normal, indeed expected, behaviour. I was the antisocial weirdo here, not her.

Horde-side Emerald Dream is the south. People who don’t know each other are generally suspicious. They rarely talk unless they have to. Mainly they’re getting on with their own business, and think you should mind your own. Nobody will go out of their way to screw you over and if you were in terrible trouble somebody might help you but mainly we’re playing WoW like we’re on the London Underground. Sitting in our seats not looking at anyone in case, ye gods and little fishies, a stranger should take into it his head to acknowledge the existence of the other human beings around him. AND THEN WHERE WOULD WE BE?! THE THIN END OF THE WEDGE I TELL YOU.

Alliance-side though. Talk talk talk talk talk. And not just on the channels. People in the actual world have spoken to me. What is this madness? This strange white text floating above your head? The other day a gnome, called Deathbygnome which I thought was cute, scampered by.

“Hi :),” he said.

“Uh.” I said, “Hello.”

“How are you?” he asked.

“Fine,” I said, trying to repress my inner Southerner who was practically in tears of terror. “Good. How are you?”

“Great,” thrilled Deathbygnome, bouncing up and down happily. And then he buffed me, and was gone.

Not long after, three of the members of the Dwarvish Gentlmen’s Club ran into a pretty girl dwarf hunter on the path to Iron Forge. Needless to say they were thrilled. A filly! What what! So we danced at each other. For ages. It actually got kind of socially embarrassing after a bit. I mean how long can four dwarves keep dancing? Finally admitted she had to get on “wif stuff”, thanked us for dancing with her, waved and headed off.

Maybe I’ve been hanging out in the wrong places but that would never happen Horde-side.

It’s not just the talking, though. I’ve partied with randoms more in four days of being a dorf than I have in my entire life of wearing a sissy robe. All easy, low level quests, made easier by having two, or more, but perfectly simple to solo.

Horde-side, we only group if we absolutely have to in order to complete the quest. We’d rather wait for respawns or get in each other’s way than party. Horde players actually regularly quest-ninja other Hordies. Gah!

Alliance Barrens Chat the other night went something like this:

Random: I love WoW!!!

Next Random: me too!

Next Random: Me too!

Next Random: And me!

Next random: yay!

Nobody called anybody a noob, the response I’m pretty a pretty certain a similar spontaneous outpouring of enthusiasm would garner on a Horde-side channel.

Obviously these observations are only drawn from my experiences of the game (and not so many of those!); I’m not suggesting we draw conclusions about the The Way Things Are from them.

But … is it just me?

Or is it always like this?

Are Hordies basically a bunch of wankers?

I have to say though. I’m still a Northerner at heart, and this brave new Alliance world attracts me. Not enough to abandon my sissy robe, of course. Never that.

All the same … anybody fancy a Vienetta?

July 16, 2009

flogging a dead horse

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Diversions — Tamarind @ 9:56 am

Okay, I promise, I promise I’m going to leave Arthas: The Rise of Lich King alone. Any day now. Any … day … now …

I think I must have been badly traumatised by both its madness and its comically negative impact on my life because, for some reason, I just can’t stop picking at it. But since it’s a scab on the skinned knees of fiction, I suppose that’s fair enough.

I just want to share one more line before I set it on fire (since nobody wants it – but whyyyy? Did I fail to sell it to you somehow). Now, y’know Illidan Stormrage, right? Fantastically cool looking, half-mad, eyeless, demonic night elf. The betrayer, although it was he who was betrayed? The Lord of Outland? He for whom we are not prepared? That guy?

Well, would you ever write this about him: “Sweat gleamed on his massive, lavender-hued torso.” I’m okay with the sweat, I’m okay with the massive, I’m okay with the torso but what the fuck is with the lavender. LAVENDER? Illidan Stormrage is LAVENDER? Lavender is the colour of Grandmas. It is the colour of pot pourri. It is the colour of bath oil. It is in no way the colour of a fantastically cool looking, half-mad, eyeless, demonic night elf.

Goddamn you Christie Golden, is there anything else you’d like to WRECK around here?

Why don’t you take Darth Vadar and make him a whiny emo teenager…oh wait, somebody’s already done that.

Putting aside (for the moment, if it’s even possible) my accumulating rage and bile, I think the other problem I had when I was reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King was that I found it quite hard to let go of the game behind it, if that makes sense. I couldn’t quite suspend my disbelief. Now, I know that’s my own problem, but I suspect part of the reason behind it was the general awfulness of the book making me most unwilling to give it an inch, let alone start dangling my disbelief over a dark chasm of doom.

But it did make for some unintentionally comic moments.

Like this:

Book: [9 year old] Arthas flipped back the hood of his beautifully embroidered red runecloth cap
My brain: Hey, wait a minute, there’s no way Arthas is high level enough to wear runecloth

Book: He had thought he found well with his blessed hammer, now lying discarded and forgotten in the icy vault where Frostmourne had once been imprisoned but it was nothing to the damage he dealt now.
My brain: Well Frostmourne is clearly a legendary weapon, isn’t it? The hammer was probably only a blue.

Book: The dancer, a shaman by the name of Kamiku, missed a step and his hoof struck awkwardly.
My brain: *imagines the cow dance*

And once you go down that route, you can just run with it and run with it and run with it…

The herd of shoveltusk huddled together for warmth, their thick, shaggy coats protecting them from the worst of the storm. But not the group of PCs who charged in and randomly slaughtered them all, even though they were yellow.

Or like this…

Arthas strode down the cobbled streets of Stormwind, the air ringing with the cry of a thousand traders: WTS: Eternal Fire, cheaper than on AH!

And again…

The words died in his throat as Mal’Gannis began to shimmer and whirl in a familiar pattern. “No!” Arthas shrieked. He surged forward, blindly, recklessly, and would have been cut down in a heartbeat had the teleportation spell been completed. Arthas cried out incoherently, swinging his faintly glowing hammer at empty air. “I’ll hunt you down to the ends of the earth if I have to! Do you hear me? To the ends of the earth!” Manic, raging, screaming, he swung his hammer wildly at nothing until sheer exhaustion alone forced him to lower it. He propped it up and leaned on it, sweating, shaking with raw sobs of frustration and anger. “WTB port Northrend!” he howled.

And even…

“This entire city must be purged.”
Arthas’s statement was blunt and brutal. Jaina blinked. Surely he hadn’t meant that.
“How can you even consider that?” Uther cried, marching up to his former student. “Do it at 80, noob!”

Okay. For the sake of my sanity, and yours, I’m stepping way from Arthas now. I’m stepping away…

July 15, 2009

And to think darling, if I hadn’t been reading Arthas: Rise of the Lich King….

Filed under: D'oh,Diversions — Tamarind @ 1:23 pm

This post is a little bit less about WoW than usual – although it is, at heart, a WoW-themed anecdote. I apologise for the lack of a sissy robe.

On the other hand: Arthas: Rise of the Lich King just ruined my life.

There was an old British comedy show called Newman and Baddiel in Pieces – it’s pretty obscure these days because the critics spanked it to death and Newman and Baddiel discovered, during the making of it, that they hated each other and couldn’t work together. I mention it because one of Rob Newman’s sketches centred on the idea (and you’ll have to forgive me for vagueness, I can’t remember it very well and it doesn’t exist anywhere on the internet, that’s how badly this show sank without trace) that he was incapable of going to gatherings he knew he would hate because some part of him always thought it would be at the very same gathering he would meet the love of his life. His monologue goes something like:

It’s 3am in London, and my friends are all saying, yeah, let’s go to this place, you know, and I’m like, no, I don’t want to do it but then I hear the same voice in my head, and that voice is me, on the occasion of my ruby wedding anniversary, as I lean on the mantelpiece and raise a glass to my wife saying:

“And to think, darling, I nearly didn’t go to that nightclub, and we would never have met.”

Of course, from there it gets increasingly outlandish. “And to think darling, I nearly didn’t go to that satanic orgy, and we would never have met”. Etc. etc. Typical Rob Newman stuff, insightful, neurotic and very very funny.

I mention this, despite the fact it has little to do with WoW, because I think we all, secretly, on some level think like this. I am driven by, and attracted to, the shimmering possibilities of things that could have, but did not, happen. (Cresting a wave of profound self-indulgent here, I nearly quoted TS Eliot here, but I’ll spare you).

So, let’s take this out of the abstractionville: last night, I was walking home, and I was finishing off Arthas: The Rise of the Lich King. I don’t normally read when I’m walking along because, quite frankly, I lack the necessary concentration and coordination. So it amounted to a private insult aimed at the text. I was trying to let it know just how little I thought of it, and that I resented any real time given over to reading it.

While I was walking along, reading and resenting and not paying as much attention to where I was going as I could have been, I very nearly, very gently, walked into a Very Beautiful Person. The reason I didn’t collide embarrassingly with the VPB was because we were both reading books and, therefore, all that happened was that the spines lightly nudged against each other.

Our eyes met, and held, over the top of our respective, still-touching books.

Rob Newman went wild in my head. This was it! My ruby wedding anniversary was going to be along any day now. To think darling…

My eyes dipped to the book.

The world had long since stopped turning.

“You’re reading Roland Barthes,” I said, dreamily.

The VBP’s eyes did likewise.

“You’re reading…” a pause, a voice increasingly filled with incredulity. “World of Warcraft? Arthas? Rise of the Lich King?”

I have never seen attraction die so quickly in my entire life. Never.

It barely had time to gurgle.

Critted for 10k points of damage.

So, yeah, no Ruby Wedding Anniversary for me.

Fuck you, Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, fuck you.

And, actually, fuck you VBP, you elitist, judgemental meanie who probably smells. I’ve read Barthes AND Arthas: Rise of the Lich King. I happen to think that makes me a more balanced human being, actually. And I didn’t want to have a Ruby Wedding Anniversary with you anyway. So there.

So, anyway, does anybody want my copy of Arthas: Rise of the Cockblocking Lich King? I will happily pay postage for the privilege of no longer owning it, and I feel a moral quandary about giving it to a charity shop lest it fall into innocent hands.

July 14, 2009

Now I know why Kael’thas can’t get laid

Filed under: Diversions — Tamarind @ 9:12 am

In a moment of what I can only assume was utter utter, potentially masochistic insanity I started reading the Arthas novelisation. And, oh dear me, it’s terrible. I don’t know why I’m even remotely surprised.

It’s written in a weird mixture of rather modern English (to the extent that, in my head, Arthas sounds like he’s played by Keannu Reeves) and ye old fantasy clunkiness. Let me quote you a paricularly egregious line from the very first page: “long had he lived, the length and yellowness of his tusks and the wrinkles on his brown skin testament to the fact.” I’m sorry but nobody has the right to write “long had he lived” and then cruelly juxtapose it with the adjective-abuse that is “yellowness.” It’s also incredibly laboured. Every trite point is whacked into your face as if by the hammer of righteoness. Take this little discussion beween 9 year old Arthas and Prince Varian, whose father has just been assassinated.

“He was assassinated,” Varian’s voice was blunt and emotionless.


Arthas stared. Death in glorious battle was difficult enough to handle but this-

Impulsively he placed a hand on the other Prince’s arm. “I saw a foal being born yesterday,” he said. It sounded inane [no shit], but it was the first thing that sprang to his mind and he spoke earnestly. “When the weather lets up, I’ll take you to see him. He’s the most amazing thing.”

Varian turned towards him and gazed at him for a long moment. Emotions flitted across his face – offense, disbelief, gratitude, yearning, understanding. Suddenly the brown eyes filled with tears and Varian looked away. He folded his arms and hunched in on himself, his shoulders shaking with sobs he did his best to muffle…

“I hate winter,” Varian sobbed, and the depth of his hurt conveyed by those three siimple words, a seeming non-sequiteur, humbled Arthas.

Well, thanks for joining the emotional dots for me with a crayon. Otherwise I might not have got it and thought that was, heaven forefend, a genuine non-sequiteur

And could we please have a different description of Arthas’s eyes. I understand they’re sea-green. But can they be a different green sometimes? Maybe glass-green? Or grass-green? Howsabout cat-green? Or since you haven’t dodged a single cliche thus far, I’d settle for jade, or malachite.

One more thing while I’m at it. Arthas. Arthas. Arthas. Why the fuck did you call your horse Invincible? Seriously, do you have no understanding of dramatic irony, you silly silly boy?

But ultimately Arthas: Rise of the Lch King is an easy read, as effortless and compelling as slightly stale cinema popcorn. And I’m in it for Kael, anyway, which brings me effortlessly back to the topic of this post.

The one redeeming of factor of the whole enterprise is that I get to see Kael in action because, as we know, I’m a bit of a fanboy for the tragic, soliquising nutter. Unfortunately, I don’t think Ms Golden is quite up to the task because he mostly comes across as, well, I hate to say it, flouncy:

With an angry hiss, he scornfully tossed the book toward Jaina. The tome, likely invaluable, landed with a thump at Jaina’s feet and she started at the sound. Then he was gone in a swirl of violet and gold robes.

Kael’thas Sunstrider, Prince of the Sin’dorei, storming out the room in his sissy robes, while making a noise like a cat when you’ve stood on its tail. Way to go.

We first encounter him, he is attempting to chat up Jaina Proudmoore (why, Kael, why? Is she half your age plus seven, is she? Find yourself a nice belf boy) in the gardens of Dalaran and, quite frankly, the guy needs help.

“In Quel’Thalas,” came a smooth, cultured voice, “there are trees that tower over these in a glory of white bark and golden leaves, that all but sing in the evening breezes. I think you would enjoy seeing them someday.”

Oh Kael. What are you doing? In the immortal words of Dave Lister, you couldn’t pull a rotten tooth out a dead horse’s head with that one. Are you seriously trying to get it on with Jaina Proudmore by boasting about the size of your apple tree?

Okay, blogsphere, it’s evident to me – as I’m sure it must be evident to the rest of you – poor Kael’thas needs our help. I know his chances of pulling are relatively low, given that he’s canonically dead, but, from this example, I can’t imagine they’ve decreased by much.

I hereby present some alternative lines for him to try on future occasions, and invite you to do the same:

I’ll turn your world upside down

You are not prepared (for my penis)

Nothing of my homeland remains, but ash and sorrow – wanna shag?

Alas, sometimes one must take matters into one’s own hands, but I’d rather you handled it for me

Get your gilded thorium cloak, you’ve pulled.

Are you a rogue, because I think you just pickpocketed my heart.

I think Shattrath must be missing a Naaru.

I’m new in Dalaran. Could you give me directions to your bed?

Is there a dragonhawk rider nearby or is that just my heart taking off?

I’m the bloodsail buccaneer of love and I’m here for your booty.

Do you have a heavy netherweave bandage. Because I just hurt myself falling for you.

Do you have travel form? Because you’ve been running through my mind all night.

Excuse me, do you have any telaari grapes? No? How about a date?

Is it hot in here or are you just fire specced?

Did you use deathgrip, because you just pulled me?

Hi, will you help me find my phoenix? I think he went into my bedroom.

Alternatively, he could just give up on the pointless bintiness of Jaina Proudmoore and make a play for Arthas. In which case, I suggest he should open with this:

“Is that an ancient runeblade forged by the Lich King Ner’zhul to steal souls and free him from the frozen throne, that he may seek vengeance against the burning legion in your pocket … or are you just pleased to see me?”

July 10, 2009

The one with the pointless blog admin, the bunch of cool links and the complete lack of gay night elf porn

Filed under: Diversions,Real Men Wear Purple,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:15 am

Pointless Admin

The worst thing about having a blog is the tendency to pick at it obsessively when you have Other Things You Should Be Doing. I restructured it about twenty five times yesterdays and then put it back exactly the way it was before. Look, I know it’s a bit generic and hard to navigate but I guess that’s that. If there were useful resources to be found here, it would be a different matter but, as it is, I hardly think readers (which I am still surprised and gratified to discover I have occasionally – eeee!) are going to be trawling through my archives going “gah, I can’t find the one where’s going on about flowers as an off-hand weapon.”

I also suddenly realised it was Made of Stupid to try and classify my favourite blogs according to, well, anything. I mean who the hell am I to tell you what the theme of your blog is. So you’re now just all in a list over there. I’m very bad, by the way, at transferring blogs from my feedreader onto this list so if I won’t shut up on your blog I’ve probably just forgotten to add you. Feel free to prod me but, regardless, I will eventually notice.

I’m also concerned that some of my frivolous WoW-prejudices (I know the word frivolous and the word prejudices should not normally be conjoined but go with me on this) are unconsciously affecting my engagement with the blogsphere. As a Hordie, obviously one tends to view the alliance with a certain amount of hostility and M’Pocket Tank and I have a on-going joke that I am racist against dorfs because I get such a kick out of killing them. At least, I think it’s a joke. Equally, I’ve had such bad PUG luck with hunters and DKs that, even though I am completely indiscriminatory when it comes to the types of blogs I read (if it’s interesting, if you write well, if you make me think or make me laugh, I’ll be there) … I read precisely 1 hunter blog and a grand total of zero DK blogs (unless Zaphind counts).

So I am making a new resolution. I shall try to read more alliance blogs. I shall try to read more hunter and DK blogs. And I shall stop being racist against dorfs in the blogsphere.

Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Ever!

And finally … look … I’m really sorry whoever you are, it must be really disappointing for you, but I have to break it to you: there is no gay night elf porn here. Really. I promise. It’s not under the sofa or behind the fridge. I don’t know why Google keeps telling me you there might be.

And quite frankly the idea of gay night elf porn kind of makes me cringe a little inside, but then I just don’t like the look of the male night elf model. Maybe there’s potential there I’m just not seein’…

Japheth Moonbeard drew his friend, Rem’ras down with him into the long grasses, by the corpse of the young nightsaber they’d just mercilessly slaughtered for, like, nature or whatever.

“We should get back to Conservator Ilthalaine,” murmured Rem’ras. “Look, I can see his big yellow question mark glowing from here.”

Japjeth ran his long, archer-dextrous fingers through the other’s lengthy, green sideburns, marvelling at how rough and manly they felt.

Rem’ras made a sound of mingled pleasure and frustration. He really wanted to grind to level five but it seemed like Japheth had other ideas about grinding.

“It’s all right,” said Japheth, twining his rugged purple thighs around Rem’ras, “we have to wait for the thistleboars to respawn anyway.”

Okay. I’m stopping now. I’m stopping right now. It’s safe again. Well, as safe as it ever is around here.

Friday Links

Okay, here is some cool stuff from the week:

First, nepotism ftw, here is Temi on the writing out of Ner’Zhul from the Arthas story. Shamless nepotism aside, it’s a genuinely fascinating post. Definitely worth a read if you ever think about lore and, maybe, even if you don’t. The comments are interesting too.

As part of my “don’t be a WoW racist” campaign, I’ve recently discovered Gnomeaggedon – I know, what was I doing, blogging under a stone? Anyway, it’s the closest thing I’ve come to ever thinking maybe it’d be okay to think about rolling up a gnome. I really liked this post about bagspace and hoarding, and the silly items you keep simply because they’re a pleasurable, albeit logstically nightmareish, souvenir of fun times. I’m exactly the same. My bank is full o’crap. I’m even keeping a grey adventurer’s skull that Arugal dropped in Grizzly Hills – a momento for all the times he completely whupped me in SFK.

And don’t get me started on the fucking Scepter of Celebras. That thing as been taking up valuable and necessary space since I received it. I don’t need it, I don’t particularly want it but every time I try to get rid of the game comes up with this really ominous message asking, firstly, if I’m absolutely sure I want to destroy this priceless mythic artefact and, secondly, if I am, to type DELETE into a box. This seems so utterly permanent I always wuss out and put it back in the back “just in case.” And one my vanity alts has a bank absolutely bursting with different pairs of trousers… haliscan trousers, tuxedo trousers, silver-threaded trousers, David Bowie’s Goblin King style trousers… It’s like he’s aspiring to be Hugh Laurie’s Prince Regent in Black Adder the Third. Seriously, how many stylish pairs of trousers does one elf need?

From the ridiculous to the sublime, there’s a genuinely interesting post about the way Blizzard responds to rules exploitation in WoW over at Reflections from the Pond..

One of those it’s-about-time-somebody-said-this-and-people-listened posts about the dangers of over-reliance on Wow Armory figures over at Non Squishy Heals.

And, finally, from way back at the beginning of the week, Failure in Grey at Two Nation Army. It’s a rather archetypal fail-PUG story but I just love the term “failure in grey.” I really want to adopt it, and hug it, and squeeze it and use it often and ironically.

Oh, wait, on more thing. Given all the murloc enthusiasm that’s gone one this week in my little neck of the woods, the best macro ever courtesy of I Like Bubbles.

July 5, 2009

Moar frivolity!

Filed under: Diversions — Tamarind @ 1:16 pm

Inspired by Failure in Grey over at Two Nation Army, I proudly present (well, as proud as I can ever be at any of my cheapshots), for anybody unfortunate enough to be PUGing semi-regularly, Tardbingo.

tardbingo

Rules are pretty self-evident.  Anybody somebody says some variation on these catchphrases of moronism you can cross them out.  Five in a row wins prizes… or at least sympathy.

June 30, 2009

The Dangers of Cheap Laffs

Filed under: D'oh,Diversions — Tamarind @ 11:15 am

So this, post was going to be based on a “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” theme.  It was going to consist of precisely one joke, which I shall make now to get it out of the way because the deluge of trouble caused by the joke is actually far more amusing than the joke itself.

Here is the joke.

My WoWcock: let me show you it:

WoWcock

Yeah, I warned you it was cheap.  But it was going to have more of a build up, which would have made all the difference, I promise.  I was going to be all “admire the sleek and mighty beast that is my WoWcock.  Ta-daaaa!”

But, anyway, in order to facilitate this cheap joke, I took a lot of WoW screenshots last night.  My laptop was bought on the assumption of travel and libraries and Great Works of Genius, rather than obsessive MMORPG playing (yeah, who was I fooling) , so my screenshots always look like shite anyway.    But if you’re going to do a job – even if that job is taking pictures of a chicken in WoW – you should do it right.  I emailed the best of them from myself to myself, from the gmail account I use for the majority of my blogging to my actual grown up, I am a real person affiliated to an organisation email address.  So that, this morning, instead of doing any of the things I ought to be doing, I could instead wax eloquent about my WoWcock and post pictures of it on the Internet.

I don’t know in what world, at what late hour of the night, this seemed like even a remotely good plan.

Seriously, what is wrong with me?!

To partially account for my own rampant idiocy, I should emphasise that I’m not connected to the Ministry of Peace from 1984, or anything, so internet traffic and email is not what you’d called stringently monitored.

However.

If you email yourself about 20 large-ish JPEGs, all of which are called some variation on “wowcock”, (wowcock 1, wockcock2, wockcockagain, yetmorewowcock) it is liable to hit a few switches and cause even if the most lax and open minded of computer officers to raise a concerned brow.

I had a slightly awkward meeting this morning in which I found myself trying to explain firstly that I hadn’t been either virused or hacked and secondly why I was apparently trying to filter vast amounts of porn through the email system a world-leading university.

Or rather, that I was not.

“Oh no,” quoth I, “most assuredly, it’s not porn.  I wouldn’t do that.  I’m not that stupid.  I mean, err, I’m not into that.”

“Oh yes?” returned they, with a ‘pull the other one, it’s got bells on’ kind of look.  “What is it then?”

“It’s, um, it’s  … lots of pictures of a chicken. From World of Warcraft, which is often abbreviated to WoW.  It’s not like I was trying to say “oh, wow, chicken!”  Or err, “oh wow, cock!”  I should probably have named them chicken, really, shouldn’t I?  And maybe sent myself them to in lesser quantities.  Or maybe not at all.  Can I go now?”

So they looked at my WoWcock and, lo, did it look small and inadequate under the harsh glare of the Mean Computer Officer Who Hates Me And Now Thinks I’m A Total Idiot.

Credibility rating = 0.

Maybe even into negative figures.

But, on the plus side, I am flush in pictures of what I am now thinking of as my oh wow cock.

Nerfed

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