Summertime

Summertime

The post exam entry is always a nerve wracking thing to write because reflecting on myself in an exam isn’t easy and I worry about being too over confident, about jinxing myself. They went ok, pretty sure there is no failures in there. As for actual marks? We’ll see.

So that is the end of year three and there are no resits in sight for the first time in 3 years. It is a glorious feeling knowing that my summer is completely free. It’s even better knowing that I go on holiday soon for two weeks in Tenerife. I can’t remember the last time I was away for two weeks. One week always feels too short, so really looking forward to the longer break – and after this year it feels very needed!

I have a lot of things I want to do this summer; explore, make home made ice cream, write, online projects – and I’m doing my best to do things in my own time without getting totally overwhelmed. One thing I do plan to do is blog more often; hopefully once a week and I have a growing list of topics I want to write about. The biggest of course being the new Star Wars films and the debunking of the Expanded Universe – but I won’t get into that now. It deserves and requires it’s own entry. So while I have lists of things to do this summer I am trying to spread them out and not stress when I don’t get things done.

I will still be working in the school until about the 20th June when the year ends and all going well will be back in August for the new year. I need to confirm it with the department head but I really want to continue doing it if I can. I’ve gotten so much out of it and I love it.

And just like that it’s December…

I don’t even know where to begin. That is what happens when you don’t blog for several months at a time :-/ /facepalm. Let’s start with the simple stuff; I’m now 28, I am just finishing my first term of my honours degree in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. My birthday was lovely with a great night out with friends and spoilt rotten as usual. The notable presents include a brand new gaming pc which is awesome – my last one was on it’s last legs and was dangerously overheating constantly. It has been great to be able to finally play games on high quality and see them all in their beauty. The downside was windows 8 which is slowly growing on me; the handy way to view pdfs while keeping other windows open is very useful for studying and essay writing. But the lack of a traditional start menu is just ick.. that got changed straight away thanks to an addon.

The other notable present was tickets to see Nickelback live at the new Glasgow hydro. I’m still a little annoyed at the level of sneakiness employed by my fiancé Chris to ensure I didn’t get the tickets for him. During a concert related discussion in the summer he swore blind that he really didn’t want to see them, even though they were one of his favourite bands. That’s how early he was planning this! Yes, I am a very lucky girl to have someone who puts so much effort into presents and knows me so well. The concert was on 27th November and we had amazing seats. Right in the middle of the first tier facing the stage. And the concert was fantastic!

University has been a mixture of good and bad, the bad mainly being health related. It has been a constant struggle with a lot of things going on but despite that the grades for assessments have not been too horrific. My first two assignments, an essay for Medieval Literature, and a mid-term for Victorian Literature, were rushed to say the least. I ended up with a C1 for the essay which was far far better than I imagined and a B3 for the mid term. The mid term was a mini-essay comparing two recent articles on one of the texts we had covered. The aim was to evaluate and summarise while showing our own voice and the later I did pretty well according to my tutor. I am currently working on the second essay for Victorian Literature which is due next week, and I’m really enjoying it because we got to create our own questions. It feels less stressful and more of a fun challenge compared to previous essays we have had. My question is “The emerging voice of the late Victorian ‘new woman’ in the work of Rudyard Kipling and Arthur Conan Doyle.”.

I have no exams for either modules until the spring, so that just leaves this final essay. I am supposed to have two and I have chosen not to do the second one for medieval literature. As much as I would like to refine my essay, to gain a better grade, I have realised that I would be mainly doing it to prove something. To prove that I am capable of better and that despite missing so many classes I can still do well. But who do I need to prove this to? By choosing not to do the second essay – the best grade of the two essays is chosen – I am saving myself a long period of stress before Christmas. A C1 for something worth 25% is pretty good and right now I would rather relax and get better. Next term is going to be as difficult, if not more, because I will be also doing a teaching placement. This time also gives me the chance to start looking for that placement and also preparing my reading for term 2 so I can get ahead.

My health has not been disastrous, and some of it has been improving. Primarily my hypermobility syndrome because I have been seeing a private physiotherapist who has worked wonders with me. I have begun to get better muscle strength and have been working my way up from the lowest weights to about the 3rd now. And I FEEL better. I am actually able to walk now without having to constantly use my asthma inhaler due to the pain, and I don’t have to stop every few minutes. After 8 years someone has finally been able to offer me hope and help to something I thought would never get better. It’s a long journey and the next step is to begin to loose some of this weight now that my body can actually handle exercise again.

Once that essay is finished that is me done for christmas and we’re going away for it this year. We’re visiting some relatives in Harrogate before spending the Christmas period with both families in London. I also get to see my best friend who is pregnant and expecting in January! I am so excited :D I’m taking part in three secret santa this year; the TFL one, one over at Obsidian Butterfly an RPG I’m in and the RPG secret Santa we’re running over at Distant Fantasies: RPG Resource. We’re also currently working on a massive move and overhaul of Distant Fantasies which should be ready for the new year.

This will probably be the last topic for 2013, I may sneak another one in after Christmas. But if I don’t; I hope you all have a wonderful holiday period and new year!

A – Z Book survey

A - Z Book survey

Found this thanks to Li, the original survey creator is Jamie @ the Perpetual Page-Turner :)

 

Author you’ve read the most books from:

I’m going to guess that it is Laurell K Hamilton as there are currently 23 books in her Anita Blake series, 8 Merry Gentry novels and various other books of hers that I have read and then there are the marvel comics as well. So all in all we’re looking at over 30 books :)

Best Sequel Ever:

Oh wow this is a hard question. I read a lot of series’ and trilogies – basically after the first book I tend to get hooked and devour everything else. I can’t actually pick just one, and so narrowing it down I have four. Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet – books 2, 3 & 4 were all amazing and I have re-read them so many times. Next up is Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy series, namely book 2 and 3 about Phedre (Kushiel’s Dart and Kushiel’s Chosen). They literally rocked my world.Those two are probably the top 2 for different reasons, so neither is first or second, both equal :)

The next one is relatively new to my book shelf – Michael Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles. Chris and I are just devouring all of these books right now. Each book is amazing, each following book manages to get even better. Then finally there is Gail Z Martin’s Chronicle of the Necromancer series. I was blown away by the first book and the sequels again were just amazing, brilliant writing.

Generally any series you see me reading on my good reads account must have a decent sequel because otherwise I’d have given up after the first or second book.

Currently Reading:

  • Dates from Hell (Anthology)
  • Tricked (Michael Hearne)
  • Goddess of the Sea ( P C Cast)

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Anything actually, I don’t have a particular drink associated to reading.

E-reader or Physical Book?

Sadly physical problems with my hands mean that holding books is quite painful and carrying them even more so. So e-reader wins for me right now.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ha.. where do I start?! Probably Jonathan of Comte or George Cooper from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

This could apply to any book I’ve ever picked up really. So many incredible authors started with just trying one book and now I have/want to read everything by them.

Hidden Gem Book:

Anything by Marianne Curley or Catherine Fisher. Curley is an australian author and Fisher is British and so both tend to kinda get lost in amongst all the really well known authors. I always find their work to be unique and fascinating. They’re both fantasy/sci-fi/magic genre, but they do tend to mix and match a lot.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

I didn’t recognise this one until applying for my English literature degree at the University of Glasgow, and I had to think about WHY I wanted to study that course. I realised then that the most important moment of my reading life was due to my dad. When I was a kid he read Roald Dahl’s George’s Marvellous Medicine with me and from that moment the world of fantasy opened for me. It was my first introduction to the world of literature where anything could happen, anything was possible and it has influenced me as a reader and a writer.

Just Finished:

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I have to have some elements of fantasy or supernatural in my books. So anything just historical, or just romantic don’t interest me. Crime I love in TV shows but as a reader it doesn’t interest me. The only exception are some classics; I love Alexandre Dumas and the Bronte sisters.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

I honestly have no idea! Probably something non-fiction for one of my degrees, or Lord of the Rings. Maybe Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift or   As I was writing this I realised what specific book claims this title, well books as there are two and I can’t be bothered to check their length :P  Both were for comparative literature. One is the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (which also wins the weirdest book I’ve ever read award as well) and the second is one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez.

Major book hangover because of:

Probably one of my current books; Goddess of the Sea by P C Cast. I’m kinda enjoying it and want to know what happens, however, I’m having some major issues getting into it as well.

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Two (only one is for books, other is dvds) and I think there’s at least 2 big crates full of books under the bed :P That isn’t including my digital shelf aka my kindle ;)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

Alanna, the first adventure by Tamora Pierce.

Preferred Place To Read:

I can read anywhere; bed, sitting at my desk, while travelling. Give me a book that I enjoy and I’m lost in it for hours.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

A couple from Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series which really helped me grow as a person in many ways:

“Love as thou Wilt.”

“All knowledge is worth having.”

“That which yields is not always weak.”

“When Love cast me out, it was Cruelty who took pity upon me.”

Reading Regret:

Possibly not reading some books sooner? Although I’ve promptly caught up to date ;) As is the case with Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and Gods of Olympus novels. And definitely not having enough time to read all the books I want to read!

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Most of them are all ongoing, so I’m either working my way through or waiting for the next book. I did just start the Mortal Instruments series though and so I’ve got the rest of that. I think I’m also one or two books behind on Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel legacy series (it’s comprised of three trilogies, I’m on the third trilogy but not completed it).

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

  • Old Magic by Marianne Curley
  • Hounded by Michael Hearne
  • Survivor’s Quest (Star Wars) by Timothy Zahn

Just three is evil by the way :P

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

Laurell K Hamilton’s novels, Jacuqline Carey’s Kushiel Legacy, Anything by Marianne Curley and LJSmith, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series, Kelley Armstrong’s women of the otherworld… hell I could keep going for ages!

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

Probably the next Heroes of Olympus book, House of Hades by Rick Riordan. It’s out a day before my birthday so guess what list that’s going on! The way the last book ended… to say it was a cliffhanger is the understatement of the century. GIVE ME IT NOW!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Probably ignoring everyone and everything while reading. My mum banned me from reading books in the kitchen before dinner/while dinner was being prepared because she’d ask me stuff and I’d just totally ignore her. Chris would probably say I have no ability not to squeee or talk about books I’m excited about.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey, the first book on the second shelf. The top shelf is dedicated to all my Laurell K Hamilton books, so yeah she’s definitely my most read author!

Your latest book purchase:

City of Bones and City of Ashes (Mortal Instruments book 1 & 2) by Cassandra Clare. We knew the movie was coming out so we got them to read before seeing it.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Oh wow… most likely one of the Anita Blake books by Laurell K Hamilton. I was ill at the time and was reading three books a day, I was totally hooked. Now a days it tends to be MOST books I’m reading for pleasure ;)

Summertime begins!

Summertime begins!

Well, not if you go by the weather, which in Scotland changes every five minutes. But my exams are now finished and so for now it is officially summer time for me. It means that the great big mental to do list has now been put down on paper with everything I can remember at the moment. I’m sure I’ll find more stuff to add to it as time goes on. For now though it keeps me busy and stops me worrying about exam results and finding out about my creative writing application.

I’ve already been busy and completed one of my tasks. I’ve imported everything from livejournal to dreamwidth which was remarkably easy and I can see now why people love dreamwidth, it has so many awesome features. I’ve also got my blog importing to dreamwidth, insane journal and tumblr. All profile info and stuff has been updated at all three journal sites. The list below is mainly online stuff, computer realted and/or creative activities. I have a munch of stuff to do around the house and loads of out the house activities planned for summer. We’re off to Majorca in May and Devon in July. But no one needs to read a list of my household chores :P

I also intend to catch up on some much needed reading and will probably blog more about this another time. Ditto for stuff in World of Warcraft.

Continue reading

Hello 2013

Hello 2013

The post Christmas and new years entry is always a pain to write, and even worse when hindered with illness. I have (or my body does, I’m beginning to think it is it’s own person) an annual habit/date/whatever you want to call it of being ill. By being ill I mean more so than the normal health issues because they’re part of every day life. For the past 3-4 months I’ve had sinus problems on and off;  antibiotics sooner would have probably helped nip that in the bud but I’ve ranted about that before, I’m sure. What I haven’t said is that a cough came along with this and has stayed with me. I’m on my third bottle of cough mixture and the little bugger will not give up. My doctor is pretty concerned that it’s been going on since she saw me at the beginning of December – I didn’t see the point in saying it’s probably been longer – and has given me antibiotics to shift it. I have some sort of other virus/infection in my throat so two birds with one stone.

Anyway; why is this entry so hard for me to write? For one it can be quite depressing. While my life is moving on and I am moving closer to my goals, I am also in another year of being constantly ill. Every year is going to be like that and the start of a new year just tends to hammer it home. It wasn’t helped by reading a news article that said that the Disability Living Allowance is being completely scrapped. I think this is old news, but I tend to keep my head buried in the sand – I have to, I don’t have the energy to deal with everything else in the world. I’d love to solve the worlds wrongs, help everyone that needs help, or save the tigers… I just can’t right now. That’s one of the reasons I want to become an author and/or a teacher; to be in a position to make a difference.

I’ve written more than I intended; this entry was supposed to concentrate on my online projects. Before Christmas my muse decided to pop back from it’s long vacation and it has been singing to me ever since. The result was my personal site finally up and running at Ruby-Wings.net as well as my online portfolio HLTrend.com. I also changed the joinables directory to Ruby Wings Listings and created a plug site, Ruby Plugs. There is also the Great Gift Exchange which is a gift exchange site similar to Secret Santa but all year round. On top of all this I have gone back to role playing finally, although I am not running them which takes a lot of stress out of it and I am taking it slowly.

 

Future Projects and Associated Tasks

Ruby-Wings.net

  • Affiliates
  • Take photos of collections
  • Switch coding to php includes

Blog

  • Finish exit page
  • Create link back buttons
  • Join listings
  • Affiliates

Ruby Plugs

  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings/directories
  • Switch coding to php includes

The Great Gift Exchange

  • Create website front/portal
  • Contact people to spread the word
  • Offer featured spots on my Deviant Art account
  • Affiliates
  • Advertising

Queldorei.net

  • Switch coding to php includes and affiliates to script
  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings
  • Check for dead links
  • Add note to remind people it is a video games listings, not an RPG listing.

Twi-lek.net

  • Switch coding to php includes and affiliates to script
  • Affiliates
  • Join Listings
  • Check for dead links

Distant Fantasies

  • Catch up with RPG Reviews
  • Trouble Check directories

Bookworm Clique

  • Finish link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

Fighting Everyday Clique

  • Find old members list
  • Create website layout
  • Create content
  • Create link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

Secret Project – Webmaster Links @ Mind-Blast.net (clickie!)

  • Create website layout
  • Create/find content
  • Create link back buttons
  • Code website
  • Open – find affiliates, join listings

It seems like an awful lot but most of them are pretty quick jobs and all of the new sites won’t take that much time once completed. Everything is automated and all I’ll need to do is click a button somewhere.

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Holiday Wishlist Meme 2012

Holiday Wishes @ livejournal.com

STEP ONE
Make a post (public, friends-locked, filtered… whatever you’re comfortable with) to your LJ. The post should contain your list of ten holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fandom-related (“I’d love a Snape/Hermione icon that’s just for me”) to medium (“I wish for _____ on DVD”) to really big (“All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV”). The important thing is to make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.

If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it’s your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) can get in touch with you. Your home address is not required!

Make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ so that the holiday joy will spread.

STEP TWO
Surf around your friends list (or friendsfriends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now, here’s the important part…

If you see a wish you can grant, and it’s in your heart to do so, make someone’s wish come true. Sometimes one person’s trash is another’s treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you won’t use – or even know where you could get someone’s dream purebred Basset Hound for free – do it.
You needn’t spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn’t to put people out, it’s to provide everyone a chance to be someone else’s holiday elf – to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not – it’s your call. There are no guarantees with this project, and no strings attached. Just… wish, and it might come true. Give and you might receive. You’ll have the joy of knowing you made someone’s holiday special.

 

My List

1) Art featuring my World of Warcraft Characters – I would love to have art work featuring my World of Warcraft characters. The game has been going for 8 fricking years now so I have a very close relationship with them, especially my main character Kaelea and my main alt Aleassa. I have an obsession with taking screenshots so there’s plenty to use for reference over here. Art can be any media; pencil, paint, digital, pixel etc. Both characters tend to be quite sassy, and if you want to know any more please just ask!

2) Icons/Avatars – I love icons :D I’d love any for my favourite things/fandoms, which you can find by browsing my website. I’d also really love some quote icons using my favourite quotes; best place to find them is my goodreads profile.

3) E-books – I’m a disabled student studying two literature courses and e-books are a blessing as I can’t carry heavy books around all day. Any books on my ‘to read’ list or any urban fantasy/fantasy/supernatural books you think I might like would also be extremely appreciated!

4) Postcards, magnets and key rings – I collect all of these and so any weird/wonderful ones or from local places would be awesome.

5) Amazon Wish List – I have a smaller specific list I’ve given to friends and family, so everything else got thrown together to make this list hence why it’s so long.

6) Some love – I’ll be more specific ;) New buddies on livejournal or twitter would be great. I’d love to meet some new people. A small warning though; I suffer from depression and other health problems so if you’re put off by these etc. then probably best not to add me.

7) Deviant Art watchers, faves and general love – I’ve been working all year on adding stuff to DA and updating it with new photography. So any new watchers, faves, group submission/requests, comments, recommendations to friends/family etc. = awesome and will make me smile :) My account is here.

8) Link back buttons for some sites - I’ve opened a few new sites recently and would love to have some link back buttons or banners made for them. Namely Ruby-Wings.net, Ruby Plugs and Ruby Wings Listings :)

9) MP3s/mixed tape playlist – In ye olden days a mixed tape was literally a cassette tape with a selection of songs especially made by someone for someone else. Now we’re in the digital era so technically it’d be more like a playlist. No one has ever made one of these for me so this would be a really special gift for me. If you don’t know me personally then just create a playlist of songs that make you happy, that you love or for a particular emotion. No heavy metal, rap, hip-hop or dance music please!

10) Invisible illness awareness – I’m someone who looks healthy on the outside, but really I’m in pain and feeling like crap. This is called an invisible illness and one of my goals in life is to spread the word about it. I talk openly and honestly about my health problems and hope one day that people will be understanding rather than judgemental. So next time you see a young person sitting in disabled seat, or someone who looks healthy says they’re really not well; remember that disabilities and illnesses come in all shapes and forms. Don’t judge someone because they’re too ill to go out, or they keep blowing you off. In today’s society we’re almost taught to automatically believe the worst, not to recognise what’s going on beneath the surface.

WoW Bucket List

WoW Bucket List

Sam did a Cataclysm Bucket list not long ago which I thought was a brilliant idea. So here’s my list of things I want to accomplish before Mists of Pandaria is released.

All Alts level 85

I have nine alts, my tenth character spot taken up by my bank character. Despite having so many alts I absolutely suck at leveling them all to max level and I’m especially bad at actually gearing them. So among other alt related goals the first one is to get them all to 85. At the moment I have my Death Knight Frostya and Shaman Thistalee at level 82, my Warclock Roisin at 69, then my hunter Arasse at 40 and finally my little warrior Tempstia at level 9. I’ve recently been actively leveling Thistalee with Chris’ mage and leveling Arasse on my own as I need to get her to level 50 before I can level her engineering some more.

Alts Geared

I really need to get my finer out and get them geared in tier from valor points before MoP.

All Professions maxed

I’m not bad with professions and most of them are maxed. There’s an achievement in MoP to have all of them maxed so this has made the bucket list. Been working one some of these recently and I feel confident that I’ll be on track before MoP comes out.

Dungeon Achievements

I still haven’t completed the Glory of the Cataclysm Hero achievement so I need to try and get a group of friends together to do them. I don’t think it’s a wise idea to try in a pug.

Archeology

I have archeology on two characters my main Kaelea and my druid Aleassa because she’s an alchemist and I’m trying to get the Vial of the Sands recipe. I have done most of the achievements and have most of the items on Kaelea, however, there are some that refuse to appear and I have been slacking on Northrend and Outland ones. I want to have everything on Kaelea before MoP because there will be even more to get when that comes out. Aleassa I’ll be satisfied just getting Vial of the Sands :)

Finish Fishing Achievements

Again, something I have been working on and have just had really bad luck on; the Dalaran rat and the turtle fishing mount. I also need to go to Ogrimar to fish up the fish there for the achievement; this one I’ve just been slacking on :P

Tol Barad & Darkmoon Fair Rewards

I’ve been doing Darkmoon Fair dailies religiously every month to get tickets for the mounts and pets, so far I’ve got one mount. I have the 150 pet achievement thanks to my awesome Secret Santa guildie Sara who got them for my gift! So I’m aiming for the other mount and then I’ll go for the pets. Tol Barad I go through phases of doing, I was doing it every day for a while and then decided to farm the fox pet. That took ages and I’ve not been back since :P I’ll have to get back to doing them soon as I still need a mount and a pet.

Old Runs for Transmog Gear and mounts!

I love the ability to transmog into old Tiers so Chris and I have been running old raids for gear. We’ve b0th completed Tier 5 and are on our way to having other sets too. Kaelea is my priority with my druid next. I will probably end up with at least one Tier set per character to transmog into but only those two will have multiple sets. I also really want the mounts from Magisters Terrace (yes, I still haven’t got it, Kael is reusing to drop it!), the one from Karazhan and the one from Sethek Halls. I’ve had terrible luck with the bags for signing up as a healer; when I actually get one it’s always got crappy gems in it. Chris and I would also both like Baron Rivendare’s mount but considering everything else we’ve been doing that is on the back burner.

Responsibility as a friend & a blogger

Responsibility as a friend & a blogger

One of the things I wanted to do with this blog this year was venture out from under my scared little stone and talk about issues that might be considered controversial. I’ve been struggling to put together something that worked rather than sounding like a rant. I wanted something that made myself and others think. And I finally found a topic that did that and helped me piece my thoughts together; Responsibility.

 

The word conjures up a lot of different thoughts and feelings, ranging from our responsibility as children, parents, lovers, as well as to the environment. Despite the title none of these are what I wish to discuss. I want to focus on the growing responsibility I have found connected to the growth of social networking; the responsibility we have to those we meet online. There are and always will be those who will never care if what they say offends others. I’ve removed old school friends from facebook for exactly this reason on more than one occasion. It is in my nature to try to get people to understand, to see where I’m coming from, and of course I have been met with adversity. Other times I have witnessed times when others have reacted to something said in a blog or on facebook/twitter in a way which could be considered the same, yet it irritates me and I find it oppressive. So just how much responsibility do we have when we speak online? How aware should we be of what offends others?

 

I like to think that what offends me, such as prejudice, animal cruelty and ignorance, are key issues that are universally known as being a bad thing. So if I call someone up on them they should feel guilty for their actions. I’m sure some of you are probably nodding your head to at least one of those causes as you read this. The problem is that we each individually have a unique view of how far someone ‘should go’. We also react to humor in different ways. An appropriate example would be the show Top Gear. I know that most of the comments I find funny could be considered racist and sexist, but in that context I see them as harmless and therefore do not feel guilty for laughing at them. It is entertainment, it isn’t there to cause harm. Yet at the same time when someone says ‘that’s so gay’ I find myself filling with anger at the connotation of gay being a bad thing.

 

I have to admit that as I have grown older I’ve stopped trying to change people out of bad habits like that. Have I just grown cynical? Or perhaps I am simply maturing and recognising that the slang people use doesn’t necessarily reflect on their moral character. I think that as friends/followers of people on social networks and readers of blogs that we also have a responsibility; not to push our own “issues” onto others. On more than one occasion I have seen someone’s happiness marred by someone commenting in such a way that the original poster is made to feel guilty or depressed. Sometimes it seems that as a friend we are required to censor our own thoughts and opinions because it might offend someone else, or cause them to remember something negative. Of course, it is your responsibility as a friend to recognise that some subjects will cause your friends further harm i.e. talking about domestic abuse when you have a friend who was abused in such a way. There is also the ‘nettiquette’ of putting major spoilers of films, tv or books behind a cut in blogs as to not ‘spoil’ it for others.

 

Remember as a friend reading someone else’s facebook, twitter or blog that they deserve the right to be able to express themselves. Don’t rain on their parade simply because something they say causes a negative reaction in yourself. If they are your friend then you should know them well enough to understand that they meant no harm. Likewise even the most brilliant of friends can not remember everything that may trigger an unhappy thought or feeling in someone. Of course there may be some things said and done that are unforgivable, that show someones true colours so neither am I saying that we must never speak up. It’s a difficult balance to find and one I think many people online tend to forget.

Blizzcon Thoughts

Blizzcon Thoughts

I know there will be a few people reading this entry (and having seen my comments on facebook regarding Blizzcon) that may have absolutely no idea what I am talking about. So before I begin a small breakdown of what Blizzcon is and why it is so important. It is a yearly convention held in California by the video game company Blizzard Entertainment. This company is responsible for games such as World of Warcraft, Warcraft 1-3, Diable 1 & 2, and Starcraft 1 & 2. The first of these I have been playing since it came out in February 2005 and is a passion of mine. It was the first game I started to play, however, other games I’ve played just don’t quite live up to WoW. I love the game play, the art, the worlds, the quests and especially the Lore.

 

Blizzcon is where the company announces it’s new games and expansions, along with hosting several Question & Answer pannels where lore geeks like me can learn answers to questions that have been bugging us for years. For example, I was desperate for someone to ask whether Moonkins would be getting their own different forms like druid cats and bears. Last year no one asked it, however, someone finally did! As usual many questions got the answer of ‘we’re working on it’, which doesn’t bother me as I understand from being a writer that you cannot throw every idea out to the public straight away. People seem forget how much the Blizzard team love the characters and storylines; they are their babies. It must be killing them not to be able to tell us all the awesomeness that they have planned for us!

 

This year’s Blizzcon was no exception and as many WoW players expected the new WoW expansion was announced; Mists of Pandaria. I won’t lie; I was extremely cynical about this since the rumor mill began suggesting that Pandarians would indeed be the next race. On the first glance they do look very cute and very anime, which is something I really dislike. The more I watched, via the virtual ticket on our awesome HD 24 inch TV screen, the more I recognised just how much detail the Blizzard developers have gone into. I stopped covering my eyes in disgust and starting watching the trailers in awe. My dad is a major Japanese enthusiast, especially when it comes to their history, culture, religion and martial arts, so I can see from watching the trailers that Blizzard have incorporated a lot of that culture into the new race.It’s a beautiful and spiritual culture and I wish people would give it a chance instead of whining – the favorite pastime of the majority of WoW players it seems.

 

One only needs to browse the forums to see the outrage and to be honest quite ridiculous  arguments for why this expansion is going to ‘suck’ or is a ‘joke’. There have been quite a few Kung Fu panda jokes which is a joke in itself considering the Pandarians existed in the WoW universe years ago in Warcraft III. Once again as a lore geek and a history geek I find myself chaffing at the bit to yell at people who quite evidently are looking at the physical evidence (art, trailers, gameplay) and being entirely oblivious to the culture it is  based on. The age old issue of the Western world being so ignorant of the rest of the world. I won’t get into that too much more and instead will comment on one particularly argument that I read; ‘there’s no main enemy so it’s going to suck’. Different doesn’t always mean bad! Blizzard have given us such amazing storylines and game play previously, so can’t we just trust them to do this well too?

 

Enough of the ranting, what are my thoughts on the new expansion I hear you wondering. I am excited by it, I really like the idea of a melee healer and am curious to see if they heal via a kind of pressure point/Tai Chi healing method. i.e. you heal by ‘melee-ing’ a friendly target. It’s really interesting to see a cross-faction race and the implications of what we, the players, have brought with us to their previously tranquil world. Plus a world on top of a tortoise? That’s just awesome. The talent changes are awesome, especially for someone who long ago grew sick and tired of being told by people what the right spec or right talents were. I like the way they have set out these changes by asking players to pick between three options that do the same thing in different way. It is much more customizable on one’s own play style. As my main is a priest I was particularly happy with the additions to their talents, and the new spells. There was an awesome part in one of the Q&A’s where the developers pretty much admitted that they gave priest life grip knowing we could use it to kill our GMs during raids. At that point I doubt I was the only priest that cackled with glee knowing we now have two ways to do it. My poor GM James will soon stop inviting priests to the raids I think :P

 

The other big news that I loved was the announcement by Mike Morheim regarding the annual pass. Yes it’s a brilliant marketing strategy by the company in the face of several new popular RPGs being released (Star Wars and Guild Wars 2), however, they are also giving something back to their devoted players in a major way. They are giving us an awesome mount and another game free, and on top of that beta access to Mists of Pandaria. The catch? You need to devote yourself to a 12 month contract to play WoW, which you pay monthly. Let’s be honest; if you’re a raider (and not sick of the game) you were probably going to play for 12 months – and longer. So essentially myself and my fiance Chris are getting loads of bonuses for the same price, all we have to do is click something different under payment.

 

The last thing to talk about is the pet battle system… which we all know is very close to being a rip-off of Pokemon. Only the fact that they have announced it tells us that they’re already cleared any copyright issues. You can level and fight with your companion pets, and they will finally be account bound. You can also name them and find new pets in different settings i.e. in zone A at night and only if it’s raining. That sounds like so much fun. I’ve never been a huge fan of pokemon because it was a stand alone game and it was a style I disliked. So WoW pokemon? I’m up for that!

Officially a student

Officially a student

Thank you to everyone who tuned in for my last entry, I was surprised to hear so many people read it, so that was great to hear :)

Hopefully the majority of this entry will make sense as right now I’m quite tired, although in a good way. Today was my first day on campus as I chose to miss out on the inductions yesterday. I surmised that they would be rather boring and full of stuff I had heard before, and it seems I was accurate in that assumption. I had a moment of panic today when I heard that one useful thing told in the inductions was the times we had to pick up our student cards, however, the pick up point was really quiet when I went to see if I could get it. So panic was averted.

I unfortunately missed a meet up of freshers on Sunday, so today was my first time meeting people I had befriended on facebook. They were all lovely, and I made some new friends. I just hope that I wasn’t too annoying as my nervous chattering kicked in several times. Other than picking up my student card and having a wander around the campus  learning where everything was, today was the freshers’ fair. Which is basically a bunch of stalls handing out leaflets, information and free stuff! It was supposed to be outside, which would have been much more spacious. Instead because of the downgraded hurricane Katia hitting Scotland the fair was crammed into two tiny halls. Despite the cramped space I did thoroughly enjoy the fair and everything that was on offer. I was even a good girl and signed up for some job searchy type places.

The one thing I like about Freshers’ fairs is the chance to chat to all the societies, and some were really great. I had a nice chat with the guys at Io, the Sci-Fi and Fantasy society which I am most definitely planning to join. It was the society that I feel I’d be the most at home at and fits with my personality and interests. I was curious about the two gaming societies as well, one for Video Games and one for RPGs/card/dice games. I was disappointed to find that the first of these two seemed to look down at me, whether it was because I said I was a World of Warcraft addict or because I was female, I don’t know. I just got the feeling that they didn’t think I had a clue about games, and was just a silly little girl dabbling in WoW because her boyfriend made her play it. End of that rant for now anyway :P

I had an awesome chat with the other gaming society though, the guy I spoke to was very friendly and so welcoming that I am seriously considering giving it ago. I keep getting told by friends that as I already love online RPGs, especially creating them, that this would be a good and enjoyable activity for me. They have a few ‘newbies’ nights so might go check them out. The other society that really stuck out as being super nice was the photography society, one that interests me but something I’m going to leave for this year. I don’t want to take on too much as I already have responsibilities online, need to find a part time job, and have studying.  Plus socially I don’t want to overwelm myself entirely.

Tomorrow I am staying at home again simply because there is nothing I want to go to at Freshers week. I feel a little bad that I won’t be on campus socialising as much, however, I know my own personal limits. I have a very busy day Thursday with inductions for my 3 classes, and Freshers’ events I’m interested in, so tomorrow I will rest and relax.