Three Poems

My RL self did National Poetry Writing Month in April; 30 poems in 30 days. I thought I’d post three (at least) of them here, because they have some Virtual World content.

This first one, from the 29th, is notable for having inspired a machinima as noted the other day.

Dactyls are Dharma, too

Here in the midst of the ten thousand thingummies
Hearing the voices of ten million throats,
Feeling compassion for those who have aching knees,
Those who build bridges and those who dig moats.

Sitting in zazen and counting the in-and-out
One and a one and a one and a one,
Mind somehow caught in this insistent rhythm, I
Tick like a clock sitting here in the sun.

Dharma is silent but Dharma is noises and
Dharma is stillness but Dharma is speed,
Why should I think that the circling second-hand
Isn’t precisely the sound that we need?

One commenter (commentor? commentator?) somewhere said they’d learned two new words from it; I’m guessing “dactyl” and “dharma”; both good words to know.

The second one, from the 9th, is very relevant to lil Spennix:

A long way from Kharanos

Well it’s a damn’ long way from Kharanos
To th’ Gate o’ th’ Settin’ Sun,
But the beer is good an’ the beds are soft
When th’ daily slaughter’s done.

I left a dagger in Thermaplugg,
All those long hard years ago,
Took a bit of his gear as a souvenir,
Of Gnomeregan below.

But that crazy old coot was nothin’,
‘gainst the things that they’ve got ‘ere,
Bugs an’ Mogu an’ lizard men,
And hungry ghosts o’ fear.

Someday I’ll go back t’ ol’ Col’ridge,
An’ sit on the porch with ‘em all,
But ’til then I’m out here in the Vale,
Killin’ bugs up on the wall.

Well it’s a damn’ long way from Kharanos
To th’ Gate o’ th’ Settin’ Sun,
But the beer is good and the beds are soft
When th’ daily slaughter’s done.

… and here is an Action Shot of “Killin’ bugs up on the wall”:

Fightin' bugs up on the Wall

(Click through to the shockingly-redesigned flickr for the same picture larger, and in a confusing interface.)

And to close, this one from the 17th. Note that it’s not actually about Second Life, since that has real people in it, not just simulated ones. But still…

Walking Cross-Country

He says he’s writing a computer program
to simulate
walking cross-country
in an unknown place.

Where you might follow a brook upstream
and be surprised by
a forest lake
sparkling in the sun,

And follow a path around it
to a ramshackle house
at the end of a dirt road
where a woman with dark hair and soft eyes
opens the door
and smiles a welcome.

And I say that that sounds cool,
and I also say,
that the real world has surprises like that, too,
and even soft-eyed women,
and he should maybe go for real walks sometimes.

He turns to me,
like he’s about to say something,
but then he just shakes his head
and goes back to the keyboard.

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Bored with WoW again :)

So the periods during which I get interested enough in WoW to play it relatively regularly seem to be getting shorter, and less frequent.

The latest one, of course, happened when the Kung-Fu Pandas expansion came out. Spennix got to level 90 pretty quick:

Spennix in Pandaria

At least I think she’s level 90 there; anyway, she is now! And she got to 90 without doing a single instance, or very many dailies, just questing about. More of the “everything in WoW up to but not including advanced raiding is now dead-easy” effect.

She also has maxed-out Engineering and stuff now, and is very fond of her Mechanical Dragonling pet:

Spennix's Mechanical Dragonling

One new thing I haven’t yet done in WoW is the “Pet Battle” stuff. ’cause, I mean, y’know, sheesh?

I also have a Pandaren Brewmaster, as seemed pretty much required, considering.

Chiuling

He’s level 50-odd now, and wow Brewmaster tanking is easy so far! :) But since after the first rather fun Pandaren start zone he’s just doing the same old levels, I find it hard to get really interested.

Spennatrix has also been Holy Priesting around the first few levels of Pandaria:

Spennatrix in Pandaria

But again I find it hard to be fascinated, since Spennix just did all these areas not so long ago. Instance healing might be fun, but I dunno shrug.

Spennix has done some Golden Lotus and Tillers and insect-dudes dailies, and they can be diverting, but I always come away feeling like I’ve just wasted a big chunk of time.

Whereas in Second Life, when I look at the clock and discover it’s hours past bedtime, I almost never feel like it was a waste. :)

So expect to see me around the grid a bit more than I have been! (Except of course that this weekend is Thanksgiving so there are RL things going on, and then next week I’m out of town on business and may not have connectivity, and and and…)

Bunnies vs Argaloth!

Just to show that WoW isn’t all battles and fighting and stuff, here’s a moment of silliness, where most of the 25-person guild raid waiting for the last two members to show up before taking on Pit Lord Argaloth decided to turn each other into bunnies and get out our Spring Rabbit pets, and hop around for picture-taking.

Bunnies vs Argaloth!

(I really should have turned off all of the floating nametags, ’cause they sort of clutter up the picture…)

I am happy to see that the picture has already been favorited once on flickr. :)

I wasn’t actually planning to be in this raid at all, I just happened to be doing Tol Barad when it was time for my guild‘s weekly “Raid Boot Camp” run, so I got included in the invitation, and I thought “What the heck!”.

The raid was fun (even not counting the bunnies), and the Boot Camp part consisted mostly of following directions (something I am generally pretty good at). And I was rewarded richly, in that as the only rogue there I pretty much by default got the nice rogue PvP legs that dropped, and they were a good upgrade to my PvP set.

(In fact they’re enough better than the legs currently in my PvE set that I’m thinking of swapping them in there also; but wearing PvP for PvE, even when justified by the numbers, is sort of a WoW Fashion Faux Pas…)

So see! What WoW is really about is (a) silliness, and (b) fashion. Now you know! :)

Cataclysm!

So RL has been crazy busy, but we did get ourselves the new WoW expansion, and I’ve been having some fun (during boring conference calls and things heh heh). Mostly with ol’ Spennix, although I’ve also made a Worgen mage (that was interesting while he was in the new Worgen part; now that he’s in the usual lowish-level parts of the game, not so much).

Anyway, Spennix!

Just before Cataclysm came out, there were various one-time events, like the retaking of the above-ground parts of Gnomeregan from the bad guys.

Here is Spennix on her gnomish battlestrider, accompanying the King of the Gnomes just before the attack.

Spennix at the Battle for Gnomeregan

Gnomeregan Shall Rise Again!

One of the funnest new things about Cataclysm is that you can fly in the old classic parts of the world. So much easier getting around major cities now!!

Spennix and the Prince, over Stormwind

That is Spennix up over Stormwind on one of her gryphons (griffins?), with the Prince of Stormwind, questing together for a bit.

(Another thing about Cataclysm is that they’ve ramped up the whole “the player is a world-reknowned hero” aspect; NPCs are forever saying very validating things about how you are the world’s only hope an’ all. And on the other hand, asking you to pick up a dozen apples for them to make pie.)

Here we are standing in the Keep in Stormwind.

Spennix and the Prince

He is clearly far too tall.

However, he has a tiny little horse.

Spennix and the Prince on horseback

Eat your heart out, Prince of tall persons!

Cataclysm has changed lots of the old classic areas of the game (well, not counting Outland, mostly). Here’s Spennix riding the new Caravan in Eastern Plaguelands.

SpennixCaravan

I haven’t actually figured out what, if anything, it’s for, but it was fun to ride.

I finally got Exalted with the Kalu’ak walrus folks, which means I can buy the egg of the adorable Pengu, and also the magic fishing pole that both improves your fishing and lets you breath underwater. While you’re holding it, that is. So not really great for battle. But good for exploring!

Spennix, Pengu, and the magic fishing pole

Just to prove I’ve actually been to the new Cataclysm areas, and not just playing around in old low-level zones, here I am in the subaquatic 80+ area, with a squid on my head, in order to disguise myself as one of the mind-controlled underwater goblins and infiltrate…

Spennix in Squid Disguise

Well, long story. Anyway, squid on the head.

Archeaology is the new profession in Cataclysm. Not only does it give you an excuse to fly all over the world and explore the history and lore without necessarily killing things, but you also get some fun accessories along the way.

Spennix and Fossilized Hatchling

I assembled this guy from a bunch of fossil bones, and poof he woke up an’ started following me around. Woot, eh?

(Oh yeah, and I’m level 85 now. No one’s higher-level than me! :) Also I am an Illustrious Grand Master at all my professions except Archaeology, and I got the “3000 Quests Completed” achievement, unlikely as that sounds, which lets me make it say “Spennix the Seeker” over my head. Yay, me!)

And I have freed the Orgres of Blade’s Edge Mountains from the oppression of, umm, those big giant guys. Anyway, now Spennix is their Queen, and they won’t attack her anymore. Here they are paying her ‘omage:

Spennix, Queen Of The Ogres

(Click through to Flickr to find the actual Spennix.) After this they had a big ogre party, with lots of ogre drinking and the amusing and memorable orge dancing.

And finally, on a more quasi-serious note:

Deathwing

Spennix isn’t actually in this one, ’cause it’s from the cutscene just before the big battle with Deathwing (well, one of ’em).

Cataclysm has tons o’ cutscenes! I’ve been enjoying watching them. In general this expansion is emphasizing the heroic / lore / epic storytelling aspects of the thing, rather than the just flying around randomly killing monsters aspects. Which is fun!

Now excuse me, I hafta go heroically gather some more apples. :)

Spennix acquires objects

Pictures of Spennix, for no really good reason!

My oldest WoW character and still my ‘main’, Spennix has been level 80 for quite awhile, and is now accumulating various of the hard-to-get things in the game. For instance, this cool motorcycle mount (which is -incredibly- expensive, like 50 times as much as mostly anything else in the game), and the special fishing hat she is wearing, that is a rare and random prize in the daily Dalaran fishing quests. (Not only does the hat look cool, but it contains an infinite number of special lures that improve your fishing.)

Spennix on her Mekgineer's Chopper

Next, she’s working on saving up for the materials to get the Mongoose enchant on her weapons. Also pricey, but nothing like the chopper!

You know they’re making things easier in WoW when Spennix, who has never been any good at PvP, has the 50,000 spare Honor Points required to buy a PvP mount:

Spennix on her new Black Battlestrider

But doesn’t it look neat? :)

(Click through to flickr for access to larger sizes of all of these pictures, suitable for framing.)

Oh, and in showing off some of Spennix’s gradual acquisitions, I shouldn’t forget the Crimson Felt Hat!

Spennix's Town Hat

This drops from one of the Stratholme bosses, and Spennix solo’d Strat a time or three while (rather belatedly) getting Exalted with the Argent Dawn in order to get the Argent Champion title.

This is now Spennix’s standard in-town hat. Completely inappropriate for her class combat-wise, but as everyone agrees, it is pimpin’! Which I gather is some modern slang for "elegant"…

(That enormous red thing on her left hand is the Hand of Nerub, which she personally sliced off of some icky boss in Naxxramas sometime back, and now uses as a weapon. Kinda gross, really. :) )

As well as the Mongoose enchant for her weapons, Spennix is also working on reputation with Netherwing (to get a cool riding dragon) and the Wymrest Accord (to get, um, a cool riding dragon) and the Kurenai (to get a cool riding ungulate).

Really, WoW is all about the vehicles… :)

The Classic Dungeonmaster

Another WoW posting; feel free to complain. :)

In the relatively recent Word of Warcraft achievement system, there’s an achievement called Classic Dungeonmaster, which involves getting nineteen sub-achievements, each of which requires defealting the last boss of (or otherwise completing) some classic (i.e. included in WoW even before the first expansion came out) dungeon.

Spennix has been taking a break recently, since I’ve been having fun leveling lower-level characters like Deminestia, and since Spennix is mostly a soloer and so isn’t all that enthusiastic about the new easier group-forming stuff in the latest patch. But it occurred to me / her / us that it might be fun to go for this achievement, since as a moderate-geared 80 she can probably solo each of these dungeons, it will give me a little experience with them so I will be better prepared when Deminestia or someone gets to them, and if we are going to do it ever it would be good to do it before the older parts of the world are torn apart by Cataclysm.

At the moment we have just a few left to do! Here is Spennix doing a victory dance over the temporarily dead body of evil Archmage Arugal:

Spennix defeats Archmage Arugal

She is modelling a female-gnome-sized copy of his robes, which for some reason he was carrying on him when she defeated him. :)

Here she is during the cleansing of the Scholomance, temporarily turned into a skeleton by some rude bad guy:

Spennix as a skeleton in the Scholomance

And here she is at home in K3, showing off the Bad Mojo Mask that she got from the boss of Zul’Farrak:

Spennix and the Bad Mojo Mask

Pretty silly, eh? :)

The next one on her list is Sunken Temple (actually the Temple of Atal’Hakkar, but no one remembers how to spell that). The final boss of that place is a big phantom dragon, but he’s asleep and you can’t defeat him until he wakes up. He doesn’t wake up until the big High Priest guy is defeated. And you can’t get to the big High Priest guy until you bring down the glowing green barrier, which you do by defeating five or six little sub-priest guys who are scattered around the instance. And the instance is a flippin’ maze and we are always getting lost.

So here is Spennix taking a little nap with the sleeping final boss, getting up the energy to take care of all of that:

Spennix and the Shade of Eranikus

Zzzzzzz…

The main reason I’ll never be a Serious WoW Player is that I like having fun doing silly easy stuff like this at least as much as I like going on Big Serious Raids for Awesome Gear, which is what the Serious Players do.

(Click on each picture for the flickr page for a larger version.)

It’s not just about killing dragons

It’s time for another Spennix update!

Since hitting 80 and getting the Explorer title, Spennix has been doing the usual sorts of heroic things, standing on the wing of an airplane fighting off attackers while the pilot struggles to get them out of the Engine of the Makers:

Spennix on the Wing

Hunting fierce dragons on mammoth-back:

Spennix on the Hunt

Venturing into the occasional mysterious dungeon in the company of other hardened adventurers:

Looking Tough

Hanging about with kings and other royalty:

Spennix and the Bronzebeards

And gathering armies of loyal followers about her:

Spennix's Penguin Army!

(Wa ha ha ha! The squad of penguin minions was for the Critter Glitter achievement; and it makes a great picture.)

But WoW is not all about combat and dragon-slaying and penguin minions! Some of it is about, for instance, bunnies!

Who says WoW is all about combat?

That title “the Noble” is from the Noblegarden spring event, which is all about bunnies and chocolate and things.

One bit of it involves using an item to put bunny ears on a female (sexism!) of all of the primary races in the game. Having a tough time finding a female Orc, Spennix snuck into the heart of Orgrimmar, one of the capitals of the Horde, and sat invisible by the flightmaster, hoping an Orc lady would happen by.

Spennix in Orgrimmar

(That didn’t actually work, and I eventually ran into one in a square in Dalaran.)

And just for grins here’s Spennix, as a pink bunny herself, sitting on the back of the throne of the King of Stormwind, just because:

A bunneh may look at a King

And well this is getting sort of long :) but finally here is evidence that even WoW can have its quiet idyllic moments:

Idyll

Sitting on a mossy bank in the Marshlands of Un’goro Crater, with one’s town-hat on against the rain, a cozy fire burning, lazily fishing with one’s pet moth flitting around one’s head.

And if the hook is baited with nightcrawlers taken from the decaying bodies of zombies in the Western Plaguelands, well that just adds to the sweetness of the moment…