Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Travel with me back in time...(Wow entry)

In Wowland, our group of heroes like to visit the Caverns of Time to defend events of the past against those who wish to change it. In other words, a core group of us guildies like to run the Culling of Stratholme instance and make fun of Arthas.

So travel with me back to a time when Prince Arthas was a noob who reigned with a marshmallow mace. The instance is actually depressing, but our running commentary on the Prince more than compensates for the dreary overtones.

For those of you who are new to Wow and to those who tolerate these entries, I'll give you a brief history of Arthas and Stratholme. The main character in this story is Prince Arthas, paladin, soon to be king of Lordareon. Uther the Lightbringer is the head of the Silverhand Paladins and mentor to Arthas. Lady Jaina Proudmoore is his, ahem, lady friend. They're not really a couple for complicated, young people drama reasons. During this period of time, the Dreadlord Mal'Ganis unleashed a plague of undeath to turn the unsuspecting citizens of Stratholme into an army of zombies (aka The Scourge). Arthas wants to stop the Scourge at all costs and orders Uther to destroy the people in Strat. Uther refuses and Arthas disbands the order of the Silverhand Paladins and sets about the task of burning down Stratholme and killing the citizens to stop the plague.

Back in the present time, you begin with Chromie, who tells you agents of the Infinite Dragonflight want to kill Arthas before he destroys Stratholme but Chromie believes for better or worse, the timeline must be preserved.

You come in right before Stratholme is destroyed, meeting up with the Arthas, Uther and Jaina.

It is here you get an inkling that Arthas is an idiot. He's got that whiny, chip on the shoulder attitude and he throws a hissy fit when Jaina and Uther refuse to do his bidding.

This is where we come in. We become Arthas' minions. Luckily we are assigned to kill the existing Scourge and not kill the innocent people, which Arthas seems to enjoy a little too much.

We briefly part ways with the prince to kill zombies ala rodeo style and we meet up again with Arthas in the City Hall. This is where the Infinite Dragonflight begin to interfere and you are increasingly tempted to aid them in their task.

Here's a portrait of Arthas.

He looks like an okay guy until you zoom in on his face.

We all think he's ugly, but Prom says it best. Quoting her verbatim. "His face is all fat and the wrinkle between his eyes makes him look like a Cromag."

I said I hated his fat lips and his smug look. Jha makes fun of the way Arthas' hair flips up when he runs. And his mace! It looks like a marshmallow and when you see the way he fights, you begin to believe that it really is a marshmallow.

Then you begin running with Arthas and fighting the Infinite Dragonflight agents and zombies. YOU are fighting, Arthas is noob-pulling. Noob pulling is grabbing one group and rather than fight that group, you run ahead to grab another group, shown here.

This is when the name-calling begins. To me, this is the best part of the game. I came up with "Art's ass". Prom calls him "Noobthas."

Here's a typical conversation during the Arthas portion of the dungeon.

"Well, there he goes, running off again."

"Is he ass pulling again??"

"Lich King my ass. He doesn't even fight the mobs! Look how he just stands there or runs back to his starting point. Dumb ass."

"What a noob paladin. Noobthas."

Recently I took my rogue in and during one of the fights, I inadvertently ended up helping Arthas fight a mob.

"Hey!" I barked accusingly over vent, "You left me alone with Art's ass to fight this zombie!"

"No, I helped...for a second." Mal replied before breaking off into laughter.

"I hate you guys!"

The dungeon concludes with the appearance of Mal'Ganis, the Dreadlord who originally released the plague upon the city. Arthas claims he's going to fight Mal'Ganis...alone. Look, I have proof.
I took a screenshot

This is what I'm looking at as he claims to be the only one fighting Mal'Ganis.

Yeah, the only one Arthas. Mal'Ganis would pawn your butt if we weren't there.

Maybe we should be fighting with the Infinite Dragonflight Agents. They've got the right idea.

Dumb ass.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 Things About Me

This has been going around the Facebook community. I decided to post mine on the ole' blog.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1) I am a quotation hound. When I'm in the bookstore, card store or any type of gift shop, I will look for quotes and write the ones that resound within me.

2) I'm also a TV rerun junkie. Right now Fraiser, Seinfeld, Stargate SG-1 and King of Queens are on the roster but I also love Matlock, Bernie Mac, King of the Hill and Star Trek Next Generation.

3) Everyone knows I love birds but my Grandma was indirectly responsible for my passion. She had parakeet that we played with growing up.

4) I keep lists, phone numbers and dates of events on scratches of paper, notebooks, the back of receipts and whatever paper I can find. And then I wonder why I lose them.

5) I am the QUEEN of procrastination. The bigger the project or the more intimidated I am by the project, the longer it stays on the backburner.

6) I have ADD. I think this explains #4 and 5

7) I love traveling. A few of my dream destinations include Alaska (again), the Galapagos Islands, Australia, Scotland and Ireland.

8) I'm a SciFi/Fantasy girl, always have been, but didn't realize this fact until I met my husband. Growing up I had so many Star Wars figurines, played Star Wars with the boys in the neighborhood. In my early adulthood I picked up reading fantasy books.Then I was introduced to the world of D&D gaming and it all fell together.

9) I have a secret dream of getting my fiction published.

10) I am a spiritual person though my relationship with my Creator and the spirits ebbs and flows.

11) I hate wearing makeup because it makes my face look oily. I've tried all types and brands of makeup over the years and it all has the same effect. So I only wear makeup during special occasions.

12) I can't decide which habitats I love more; the desert, mountains or the ocean. It is truly a tug of war within my soul. LOL.

13) I am very much a loner. I love my alone time and find it difficult to explain why being with friends/family for more than a few hours becomes emotionally draining.

14) I HATE talking on the phone.

15) If I'm reading a good book, sometimes I will skip ahead and read passages and yes, read the end. :P

16) If the book I'm reading is REALLY good, I will plow through it, but slow down something fierce the last 30 pages or so. I don't want the story to end!

17) I shower with the lights off. I usually shower in the morning and there's a window in the bathroom that throws out enough light. Why waste electricity?

18) I hate Wife Swap and American Idol-type reality TV, but gobble up programs like Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and Ice Truckers. Are those programs considered documentary reality TV?

19) I enjoy reading career (medicine, teaching, etc) and family-type blogs. The teacher and parents with small kids bloggers usually have funny stories.

20) I wish I could have been more accepting of my sister and her lifestyle before she died, instead of acting judgmental and trying to change her. Maybe things would have been different.

21) I used to hate eating fish but now enjoy the taste of it.

22) I LOVE chocolate and HATE sharing it.

23) I admit to enjoying burp and fart humor. I know it's juvenile, but the sounds get me howling with laughter.

24) I am a worrywart and can sometimes worry to the point I make myself sick, though I don't do that as often as I did when younger.

25) I LOVE taking naps. But who doesn't?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oh the things we talk about at work

I'm sure many of you have had the experience of the evolving conversation. You know, the conversation that starts on one topic before it turns to another topic and so on. Bug Lady, Hippy Girl, AJ and I were in the office this afternoon when Hippy Girl was asked what she and her husband did with their free (childless) time last weekend. (No, the conversation didn't take THAT turn, at least not at that moment in time) She named a few things a few things and mentioned they downloaded and watch a few Burn Notice episodes.

"Oh I like that guy from that show," I interjected, "He's hot."

"Do you watch Burn Notice?" Hippy Girl asked.

"Naw, but I appreciate him from the commercials." I laughed.

AJ, who also watches the show (and is a married heterosexual) agreed. "Yeah he is a good looking guy."

"But he looks like he's full of himself." I commented.

"Well he is, but that's his character." Hippy Girl explained.

By this point Bug Lady is looking at us like we were from Mars. "What is this actor's name?"

"Jeffrey Donovan." Hippy Girl says.

As Bug Lady is typing in the actor's name into google, AJ adds "And he doesn't have the typical classic good look, you know with the chiseled cheekbones or roman nose or anything. But he's still good looking."

She pulls up his picture and standing next to him in the photograph is his costar Gabriella Anwar.

I wrinkled my nose and mentioned she was on the Today show a few weeks ago and she seemed to really like herself a little TOO much.

"Yeah," Hippy Girl said, rolling her eyes, "She's a bitch on the show too."

"And she's not even that pretty!"

"She's way too skinny. One time she had on a bikini in the show and - ."

"Man I know what episode you're talking about," AJ interrupts, "It looked like her ribs were a xylophone."

"And she's ORANGE. Her skin is orange! Oh! And she NEVER wears a bra."

Somehow the conversation went from Gabriella the bra less whore to our personal bra wearing habits. Bug Lady wore hers to bed while Hippy Girl and I took ours off as soon as we were home and AJ was proud to tell us he NEVER wore one and was happy to let them fly free. We were on this subject for quite some time, naming exceptions to the bra rule (Hippy Girl and I will go bra less in public if we're wearing a sweatshirt or baggy shirt. The only time I wear a bra to bed is when I go camping and when I was working out of town during my internship days. Bug Lady said she didn't really wear a bra to bed but one of those sports bras instead)

Somehow the topic turned to our "top 10 list" of stars we were allowed to sleep with and not get in trouble. AJ didn't' have a top 10, but rather a top 5. Jenna Fischer was number one on his list while Hippy Girl and I decided we were going to have to fight over Hugh Jackman.

The conversation was very entertaining. I couldn't decide which was more entertaining, the fact that we were having the bra less conversation in front of AJ, or the fact that he was participating in it without blinking an eye.

And did I mention that Hippy Girl emailed our conversation to WoWman?

Now THAT should be an interesting conversation tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January Book Club: Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk

The book read and discussed at last night's monthly book club meeting was Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. This was Laura's pick and just from reading the back of the book I had an odd tug-of-war reaction. This was sooo not my type of book to read, but yet the plot had my interest.

So I began reading the book, expecting to dislike it but I had the opposite reaction. You meet Tender Branson, a man sitting alone in the cockpit of an airplane about to crash, talking to the blackbox about the events that led him up to this moment in time.

Tender is a survivor of a religious cult (I'll try to limit the spoilers as I give the synopsis and my thoughts on the book.) who by day, works as a personal assistant of sorts for a rich couple and mans his own suicide hotline. The odd catch with the suicide hotline is that he encourages those desperate enough to call him to commit suicide. Of course the author does not reveal the reasons behind Tender's preoccupation with death right off the bat and Tender comes off as an insensitive, callous ass.

Tender meets the sister of one of the people who called his "hotline" in a mausoleum where he collects silk flowers for his employer, and to keep it short here, they develop an odd friendship. The sister, "Fertility" knows things about people and can predict the future. (For example Tender and Fertility are sitting in a cafeteria and she knows the waitress taking care of them has cancer. Fertility also mentions the time when she took a cab and paid with a bad credit card because she knows that the cabby is going to die in a car accident before he turns in the charge)

As the book progresses you meet the other cast of characters and gain additional insight in Tender's background. You learn that the cult Tender was born into keeps the firstborn children in the cult and sends all other offspring out into the world to earn money for the cult. The leaders of the cult educate the children in such matters as home economics, mechanical repair and the like so they are prepared as adults to enter the working world. Tender works for a couple who have his day planned down to the last minute but yet call him on such matters as how to properly eat certain types of food, who are they meeting and when.

Then there is Tender's social worker. When the cult is exposed, those in the compound commit suicide and every cultist on the "outside" is assigned a social worker to prevent him or her from committing suicide, as they were trained to do so in the event of the reckoning (or whatever they called the mass suicide. I don't' remember the title). However, outside cultists begin committing suicide and as time progresses, murder is thrown into the mix. If the cultists are not killing themselves fast enough, someone is killing them.

Within the span of 10 years, Tender is the last surviving cultist and after his social worker dies in a suspicious accident, becomes an overnight celebrity for being the sole survivor from this cult. In my opinion, this is where Tender's worst flaw shines along with him in the spotlight. Tender cannot think for himself. He absolutely cannot think for himself. The leaders in the cult have told him what to do, how to think and behave all of his life and he continued on with his employers telling him what to do (yet they were nearly as stupid as he was at times and relied on him heavily to tell them where to go when and how to do this and that.) that suddenly he is lost. He has no one to follow. In the hours following his caseworker's death, an agent assigns himself to Tender and reassures him that life will be fine and even wonderful and he is going to be a superstar.

We are into Tender's next phase of life as a religious leader. While behind the scenes Tender is getting pumped full of steroids, botox injections, climbing the stairmaster to improve his image, his agents are writing scripts for him to read during his revivals, TV appearances and conventions, having him blindly sign contracts that create religious artifacts and tactless books of prayer (yes, there is a few pages on Tender's book of prayers. Prayer to get a parking spot, prayer to grow hair, prayer to make more money. I laughed out loud over some of the prayers. I don't have the book as it is with my brother-in-law in Chicago. Otherwise I would have included some of them in more detail) All through this period in his life, you see him bumbling along, following his agents instructions. He sometimes questions the actions and accountability of his agents and of his own actions, but he is quickly squelched and he continues to follow along.

Fertility pops in and out of his life and his twin brother Adam, reappears. He is not the sole survivor of the Cult after all, but his brother keeps mum on the secret. Eventually the FBI/police suspect Tender for murdering his social worker and during a televised event, one of his agents drops dead and Tender is on the run with Fertility and Adam.

I'll stop the detailed synopsis here as there are too many spoilers. If you really want to know more, you'll have to comment or email me.

Initially I did NOT like Tender and it was odd that I did not like the main character of a book I was reading. But as I continued reading, I began to understand some of Tender's actions, or his lack thereof. His inability to think for himself or to take actions for his own interests confounded me, but I believe this was one of the author's satires on the way our society functions today. It does seem the masses will believe almost anything and not question what they are told in a wide range of topics that include religion and politics to something as simple as the claims made on infomercials.

And the author gave a glimpse (albeit an exaggerated one)to the other side of the media and how the "superstars" primp to perfection and perhaps too they follow instructions blindly as well, not knowing or understanding their choices and actions affect the masses, especially those people who cannot think for themselves. But of course there are those superstars who know exactly what they're doing and aren't as naive as I hope them to be. *Shrug*

It was a good book and someone in the club asked a good question last night as we were wrapping up. She wondered if people reading the book 20-30 years from now would be able to relate to the terms, fads and issues posed in the book. And what issues will society face in the future? Hmmm

February's book will be In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

He's in!

Ok, I didn't want the last post be the first thing you read (if you read it from top on down)

So I will post this.


What a neat speech, neat prayers, neat poem neat neat neat!

I'm excited and hopeful. I really believe he's going to be the positive change we need. Not only for the issues I care most about (the environment) but for our economy, relations with other countries and homeland security.

Some of the things on his agenda (courtesy of The White House website) include:

The Obama-Biden Administration will create a Military Families Advisory Board to provide a conduit for military families' concerns to be brought to the attention of senior policymakers and the public. Obama and Biden will end the stop-loss policy and establish predictability in deployments so that active duty and reserves know what they can and must expect.

Obama and Biden will reform NCLB, which starts by funding the law. Obama and Biden believe teachers should not be forced to spend the academic year preparing students to fill in bubbles on standardized tests. They will improve the assessments used to track student progress to measure readiness for college and the workplace and improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner. Obama and Biden will also improve NCLB's accountability system so that we are supporting schools that need improvement, rather than punishing them.

Obama and Biden will recruit math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession and will support efforts to help these teachers learn from professionals in the field. They will also work to ensure that all children have access to a strong science curriculum at all grade levels.

Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions so all Americans regardless of their health status or history can get comprehensive benefits at fair and stable premiums.

Reform the insurance market to increase competition by taking on anticompetitive activity that drives up prices without improving quality of care.

Obama and Biden will create a program to directly engage disadvantaged youth in energy efficiency opportunities to strengthen their communities, while also providing them with practical skills in this important high-growth career field.

Obama and Biden will create 20 Promise Neighborhoods in areas that have high levels of poverty and crime and low levels of student academic achievement in cities across the nation. The Promise Neighborhoods will be modeled after the Harlem Children's Zone, which provides an entire neighborhood with a full network of services from birth to college, including early childhood education, youth violence prevention efforts, and after-school activities.

Make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible. Improve care for polytrauma vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.

Fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it. Establish a world-class VA Planning Division to avoid future budget shortfalls.

President Obama and Vice President Biden believe that we owe it to the American public to explore the potential of stem cells to treat the millions of people suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases. Obama is a co-sponsor of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, which will allow research of human embryonic stem cells derived from embryos donated (with consent) from in vitro fertilization clinics. These embryos must be deemed in excess and created based solely for the purpose of fertility treatment.

I won't cut and paste his Environmental plan, but you can read it here.

Let's hear it for new beginnings. Let's hear it for President Obama!

(Oh! Did you see it? He just signed documents and he's left handed. Woot!)

Not to rain on anyone's parade this morning...but this is worrisome to me.

First of all, let me begin by saying how EXCITED I am about Barack Obama's inauguration. I'm sitting here watching the TV right now with goosebumps and tears as I type this. I truly believe he is going to change our country for the better.

I've been so focused on learning what Obama wants to do for our country that I failed to read up on the those he has picked to work with him in the White House. It appears Ken Salazar may be at best, a shaky leader for the Interior Department.

I peek in on this blog once or twice a week and was dismayed to find the following post, which was taken from:

The incoming Interior Secretary must address Endangered Species Act (ESA) enforcement with the highest dedication to science and to affording prompt protection to the many species in need in the U.S. Unfortunately, Sen. Salazar’s track record indicates, at best a lack of interest, and at worst, open hostility to ESA enforcement, particularly where species listings may impact agriculture.

While Colorado’s Attorney General, in 1999, Salazar threatened a lawsuit against the Department of the Interior if the Service listed the black-tailed prairie dog under the ESA. Rather than respecting the ESA’s requirement that listing decisions are to be based solely on science, Salazar and his co-authors complained about potential impacts “to its citizens” of protecting the prairie dog from extinction. Earlier this month, even the Bush administration admitted that the black-tailed prairie dog might require ESA protection.

While Colorado’s U.S. Senator, Salazar continued to be very clear that he would not back ESA listings if they affect agribusiness. But many of the state’s vanishing species, including the black-tailed prairie dog, mountain plover, Gunnison’s prairie dog, lesser prairie-chicken, and others, are threatened by agribusiness. Nationally, agriculture is a leading threat to imperiled plants and animals. We fear that they would remain unprotected under an Interior Secretary Salazar, given his deference to agriculture and his lack of zeal on ESA enforcement.

If appointed as Interior Secretary, Salazar would be the final word on ESA listings. Approximately 300 species await listing as formal candidates or species proposed for listing. The Bush administration has slowed the listing program down to a glacial pace, with only 8 species listings per year. We are hoping the incoming Interior Secretary will tackle this backlog of endangered but as yet unprotected species by seriously ramping up the listing program. We are not confident that Salazar possesses the will for this important work.

So I did a little snooping around and found this article on the LA Times website:

The Interior Department has been criticized by lawmakers and environmentalists in recent years over a sex and drugs scandal in one of its bureaus and an auditors' report saying employees manipulated endangered species decisions to advance a political agenda.

"I want to clean up the mess," Salazar said in his opening statement.

But he offered few details on his plans and sidestepped several subjects, including protections for gray wolves, the relationship between global warming and the Endangered Species Act, and whether he would continue to allow guns and snowmobiles in national parks.

In some areas he was more direct, promising to reform the nation's signature mining law and to consider numerous options for energy independence, including offshore oil drilling and, under the right conditions, oil shale development.

He pledged support for renewable energy development -- a cause he championed as senator -- and promised a balanced approach to energy and land-use policy.

I like that he's active in approving the search for renewable energy resources,but he seems to cast a blind eye towards conserving those ecosystems that support endangered species, especially when it comes to matters of agriculture.

We can only continue to champion our cause for those animals and ecosystems we care about and hope to make a difference in our actions and words.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Oh it's on!

My husband and I are not normally competitive except when leveling our WoW characters. When we initially bought the game, there wasn't much competition as we were creating our characters, getting to know their classes and the nuances of the game. But as we grew competent, the competitive edge grew as well. There was the race to level 60 between my rogue and his hunter and then when the Burning Crusades expansion came out, there was the race to 70 between my rogue and his warrior . The competition was light hearted and took form in teasing and looking over each other's shoulder at the experience bar while the other was playing.
Once we hit 70 we started raiding and my restoration druid became my primary character and my rogue was demoted to the "alt" status. When Wrath of the Lich King came out in November, Dan was in love with his shaman and I knew there was no way I was going to beat him to 80. I was right. My husband blew me out of the water. Not only did he level his shaman to 80, but his paladin as well. I was slow in getting my druid to 80, but I was herbing, enchanting, thoroughly reading the quest lines, not just plowing through them in order to reach 80. For me it was about quality. I was also piddling with my rogue in fishing, cooking, skinning, questing and doing dailies.

Once my druid hit 80, Prom was poking me to do dungeon runs and the two of us were off in the worlds of Nexus, Utgarde Keep, Pinnacle, Halls of Lighting and Stone. Within the last few weeks we began doing the heroic mode of dungeon runs and it's not uncommon for us to hit 3-4 dungeons each night. I have also discovered the wonder of Wintergrasp and like a junkie, need to have my "Wintergrasp" fix at least once a day.

So with the heroic dungeons, pvp battles and now Naxx, Obsidian Sanctuary and Eye of Eternity raiding, my rogue had dust settling on her shoulders, though she is a respectable 78. Earlier this week I decided to brush the dust off and begin questing again. Dan has been questing with his warrior as well and yesterday I commented that his warrior was beginning to catch up to my rogue and I had better get cracking. Yesterday his warrior was 77. I came home from work this afternoon and found him at 79. What the hell? How long was I gone?

Tonight Dan logged off and looked at me with a mischievous grin and commented that maybe he would work on his warrior tomorrow and get him up to 80. I narrowed my eyes and reminded him that he WAS supposed to be going out of town tomorrow and pointed out that he hadn't even begun packing.

Oh it's on flyboy. It's on.

No sir you are mistaken. *I* am the QUEEN of brats!

Today was the first day of my scout badge program. As some of you may know, either by following along via facebook/blog or those who talked to me personally, I have been worrying about this for quite some time, and rather excessively this past week.

It was a good but bumpy ride for all of us; 8 adults (2 den mothers) , 10 cub scouts and 2 additional siblings. There were segments that were a bit dry for the kids and the program went a little too long, and parts that were chaotic (like figuring out who had to pay admission and who didn't. And why was it so hard to assign partners for activities?) There were segments of the program I omitted on purpose due to lack of interest or they just didn't seem to fit in but worst of all were the segments that I forgot to discuss. Sometimes I caught myself in time and was able to backtrack, but there were pieces of information relevant to their badge that I completely forgot and I can't believe that I forgot and OMG I could just smack myself up the head for forgetting.

Overall the boys were pretty good but there's always that one kid. You know, the one who is never happy with where they are sitting, not happy with the activity at hand, the one who is too hot, too cold, is bored. The one who is probably catered to at home. I had an inkling that this was "that kid" when the following conversation took place. The boys were investigating a "crime scene" in which the victims are several crickets in a garden. The boys needed to figure out who was eating the crickets (not to mention leaving body parts around the garden.) They were provided a "detective kit" which included a magnifying glass, tweezers, baggy (for evidence), notebook, pencil and ruler. I had number cards and when the boys found evidence, they could request a card to take the place of the evidence, or to place next to evidence that could not be removed. I kept my hands on the cards, lest the boys get carried away with putting number cards down, play with the number get the idea.

"Give me a number card." said That Boy in a demanding tone.

"Give me a number card what?" I asked pleasantly, hoping he would pick up the hint that he needed to say please.

"I need a number card." He replied with a hard stare.

"You need a number card what?" I replied

"Give me a number card."

"Give me a number card what? You need to say something else."

I did NOT care for his tone and I was not going to let him get away with his tone of voice and attitude with no consequences. We both knew he needed to say please. He stared at me and I returned the stare until a den mother interfered. She admonished him until he finally caved and said please.

Oh it gets better. The boys return to the "crime lab" and meet the "suspects" which are a millipede, praying mantis, spider and grasshopper. The spider and grasshopper are both mounts, but the millipede and praying mantis are alive. I brought out the Millipede first and held it in the palm of my hand above the table. The boys were allowed to touch the millipede. As soon as I pulled the millipede out, That Boy wanted me to put it on the table, but given the attention span and activity of the boys, I was not comfortable allowing the bug on the table. I had too many near death or near harm experiences when an animal is allowed off my hand in the presence of children who are overly excited. The other boys chimed that request in as well and I smiled and told them they could touch the millipede but it was to stay in my hands. The other boys accepted the compromise, but That Boy would not let up. Put the millipede down. Why won't you put the millipede on the table. I want to see the millipede on the table.

The Praying Mantis was worse. I was given strict orders to keep the Praying Mantis inside the container at all times due to their tendency to jump and scurry without warning. I barely got the container on the table when That Boy was demanding that I open the lid. I told him and the other boys about this behavior, how they could just jump and run with no warning and because of that nature, I could not open the lid. I said that I would feel terrible if this praying mantis jumped off the table and got lost or someone accidentally stepped on it. I moved on to talk about the other features of mantids. I had just started talking about their grappling hook hands and the "deathly spines" on their arms when he gave me that same attitude and demanded AGAIN that I open the container. I looked him straight in the eye and told him it wasn't going to happen.

"This is stupid and a waste of my time." He fumed at me.

"If you don't like it, you can sit over there with the adults." I said calmly, motioning my head towards the adults who were sitting on the other side of the room against the wall.

He sat back against his chair, crossed his arms and pouted. He sulked for the remainder of the program.

Honestly I don't know how else I could have handled him. When he misbehaved, I was polite and smiled but remained firm. I tried to include him in any observations I made at the crime scene mat and made frequent eye contact with him. I'm not sure what other positive actions I could have taken with him.

I related this story to my husband when I got home. When I finished I said, "Yeah, like he was going to win a brat contest with me. I am the QUEEN of brats."

Wisely, my husband only smiled and laughed.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I'm freaking out. FREAKING OUT!

My first scout program is tomorrow and I'm freaking out. FREAKING OUT. Freaking out in the sense that I look at the clock and wish I could fast forward to the time 24 hours from now, long past the event of the program. Freaking out in that I look at my lesson plan and feel panic wash over me as my brain shuts down. The same thoughts are ricocheting around in my brain in the same painful pattern. OMIGOD-there's-so-much-to-remember-what-if-I-forget-all-of-this
-I'm-going -to-look-like-an-idiot-because-my-boss-is-going-to-be-there

which leads to


It's not like I've never created programs in the past. I'm comfortable speaking to people, handling small live animals during presentations and winging it with unforeseen challenges, odd questions and the like, but this is different. Different in the sense that this program had to be incredibly detailed to meet the requirements for a scout badge. I'm not exactly a detailed person. I am mediocre at best in the organization and detail department. My boss, on the other hand, is incredibly detailed. In fact she has filled in a lot of the details that I glossed over or didn't imagine. She is also the other reason I'm freaking out because she scares me a little bit and she's going to be there.

I'm familiar with my lesson plan and script, but I've been so wrapped up the other aspects of this program that I have not devoted time to MEMORIZING it. I went over it this afternoon and wrote an abbreviated cheat sheet. I'm comfortable enough with the knowledge of the insects that are in my program. However, I am not comfortable with all the questions and terms and the order I need to throw this stuff out at the kids. I've been working on this lesson plan for MONTHS. Sadly, I don't expect this program to flow as smooth silk, but I'm hoping once I get going with the kids, all that info that has been stored and refined in my brain will jump forward and I can kick it into gear.

Once I can get over tomorrow's hill, I hope I can look back and say it wasn't as bad as I thought and learn from the program, what worked and didn't work.

Just thinking about it and typing this out is making my stomach queasy.

I think I need to go pace.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Feet?

Danno gave me a pair of Happy Feet slippers for Christmas. They're great! I love my little penguin feet. They're cute and comfy.

But the kitties aren't happy with my new happy feet. Amelia jumps when she sees them and Samantha runs when I start walking down the hall. Romeo is well, I dunno what's going on in his little empty head. Olivia was initially weary of the penguin happy feet, but now they are hers.

Had a boring day. Spent 6 hours painting a canvas cloth prop for my Scout Program that will take place this weekend. I spent 12 hours on it last week and it looks like I have at least 6 more hours worth of work on the dang thing before I'm finished. There's no easy way to paint a 7x9 piece of cloth. It's hard on the back, knees and neck. (and the back doesn't appreciate a 10 pound purring cat while it labors away)

I skipped out on gaming because my neck and head were hurting and I just didn't feel like going. I'll post an entry later this week on this prop and how I'm freaking out a bit about the last minute details. I've been so focused on painting the prop and other last minute details that I haven't sat down to REVIEW and MEMORIZE my own script.

Yet another example of why it doesn't pay to procrastinate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I hate you Malygos!

As I mentioned in my previous post, last night was the 25 man Naxx raid. Since there was only one boss left to kill (I wasn't slotted for the previous run. The raid leaders are rotating as many people in as they can) the raid leads mixed things up a bit and we hit Archavon first. Easy peasy.

After killing the last Naxx boss (Don't ask me the name. I dunno. But it looks like the first boss you encounter in Hyjal. I'm terrible with boss names unless the boss is a bastard-o to kill) we headed for Malygos. The raid lead told us to practice the Aces High daily to get a feel for phase 3 of the Malygos encounter.

I will give an abridged version of Malygos to those unfamiliar with him or his encounter. Malygos is a big blue mean dragon who has incredible magic powers. The fight has 3 phases. After you tap Malygos on the shoulder to get his attention,

the dragon flies in and begins phase one of the fight.

He will periodically breathe arcane magic at a member or members of the raid. Every 60 seconds he'll create a vortex which sends everyone flying through the air.

You cannot control your movement but you can cast instant spells, which is a blessing because everyone takes 2k damage every second you are in that vortex. The most challenging aspect of phase one of this fight are the power sparks. Every 20-30 seconds Malygos summons power sparks from the sky and the party has 30 seconds to kill the spark before it reaches the dragon. If the power spark reaches the dragon, his damage is increased by 50% for 10 seconds. But if the party successfully kills the spark, they receive the 50% damage bonus.

When Malygos drops to 50% of his health (he has 19.5 million hit points in a 25 man raid and 7 million points for a 10 man raid) he flies up in the air and sends in his minions to do his dirty work. There are Nexus lords that run up to fight you and there are Scion guys hovering around on discs who blast you from the air. You kill a Nexus Lord or a Scion guy, you get a disc. You jump on the disc to fight the other scion guys to free up more discs for other dps players.

Meanwhile, Malygos is flying around throwing up arcane bolts that turn into anti-magic shells for you to hide in. These are handy because the scions are blasting you with nasty arcane barrages that can keel you and the anti-magic shells absorb half the damage.

When you kill all the Nexus Lords and Scions, the floor drops and an army of good dragons come in to aid you in your quest to kill Malygos. Each dragon has dps and healing abilities that are the same from the dragon you use in the Aces High daily quest.

We fought and wiped and fought and wiped for an hour-and-a-half. We didn't go in there expecting to kill Malygos but to learn the fight. We made it to the beginning of phase 3 when the raid lead decided to stop for the night after wiping again. He said he wanted to end on a high note. I'll bet we get that damn dragon next week.

Tonight is 10-man Nax. I'll let you know if anything fun happens.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lessons I Learned This Weekend

I had an interesting weekend and I figured the best way to sum it up was to share the lessons I learned Fri - Sun. In order I learned:

1) Watching 8+ hours of a Stargate Atlantis Marathon on SciFi will result in strange dreams.

2) It takes longer, waaaay longer than 12 hours to paint a 7x9 canvas cloth that will serve as a prop for a scout program. I'll let you know when I learn how long it takes to complete this project.

3) When you have teenage volunteers it is sometimes necessary to spell every detail out to them that would otherwise be common sense, such as, "Please call me if you are not going to come in during your scheduled time." and "When you agreed to come in every Saturday afternoon, that means you will need to come in every Saturday afternoon. I will not call to remind you of your responsibility." and "You need to wear brown or black pants. NO Blue jeans. Blue jeans are not brown or black pants."

4) There are parents who do every little thing for their teenage child. (See #3) Apparently I have been living in a cave all this time and was wrong in thinking that parents allow their teenagers to be responsible and think for themselves. (*author's note. I will amend this and say that I am surprised there are parents who treat their teenagers like small children. I know not all teenagers behave irresponsibly. In fact I have met some incredibly intelligent and self aware young adults.*)

5) A long, brisk paced walk during a cold windy day will get you heated up but after the sweat evaporates you're cold again and it takes a long time to warm up.

6) It's funny how during World of Warcraft (WoW) dungeon runs with your friends, innocent comments such as "Ooh I hope we don't get that boss who wants us to look at his magic balls" (uttered by me in Heroic Violet Hold) and "I'm used to doing it only with girls" (by Prom) may be misconstrued in all sorts of perverted ways.

7) It's unfortunate timing to be caught looking at a Cats That Look like Hitler website with your coworkers when your boss walks in to start setting up for her program that is scheduled on her day off.

8) Do not use poor or improper grammar (such as the phrase "Oh noes!") in front of a 2 year old while helping out during a program (see #7) because that child will pick an inopportune moment to utter said phrase in front of her father and my boss.

9) It is not wise to drive on fumes because you will inevitably pick the gas station that only has 4 pumps working and all 4 pumps are occupied by people who are in the midst of writing the next great American novel, balancing their checkbook, applying makeup or telling their life story on their cell phone.

Tonight is 25-man Naxxaramus! The last 25 man raid didn't go very well and there was a bit of drama and fit pitching. But ruffled feathers were smoothed (read, mine and the other healers of the raid) and feelings soothed. Will the drama continue? Or will it be a quiet and smooth night?

I'll post tomorrow!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Plastic Bags

A few months ago, someone at work emailed this slide show on plastic bags which began a long thread of conversation on reducing, reusing and recycling plastic bags. The facts on the slide show (not to mention the photographs) and consequent emails on additional facts and suggestions on what to do with plastic bags really struck a chord and I've since made an effort, albeit an imperfect one, to bring my own bags when shopping at the store.

The EPA has reported that 500 billion to a trillion plastic bags are used world wide EACH YEAR (over 380 billion are consumed in the US annually) and only 1% of those bags are SUPPOSEDLY recycled. There is a growing trend is to ship plastic bags to Third world countries like India and China where they are cheaply incinerated under more lax environmental laws instead of being recycled. (

Plastic bags are created from polyethylene (thermoplastic made from oil) and photodegrade (a process where sunlight breaks the plastic down into smaller pieces) into smaller, more toxic petro-polymers which contaminate our soil, rivers and oceans. It is estimated that one plastic bag will remain on the earth for 1,000 years.

Plastic bag litter account for the deaths of over 200 different species of sea life including birds, turtles, dolphins, whales and seals. Not only do these animals get fatally trapped in plastic bag trash (again, look at the slide show, photos are an eye opener) but many mistake this litter as food and die after ingesting the plastic.

Using one cloth bag will save 6 plastic bags each week/24 plastic bags each month and 288 bags a year. If one out of 5 people used their own bags, we would end up saving 1,330,560,000,000 bags over our lifetime.

So what can you do? Get into the habit of taking cloth bags to the store. Schnucks, Dierbergs, Walgreens, Target and many other retail stores now offer recyclable bags at an affordable cost, usually just a dollar per bag.

Try biodegradable bags such as Biobag. Biobags offer an array of trashbags made from corn instead of oil. I recently bought a box of biobags. I'll let you know what I think of the product soon!

And for the craft-minded, there are some websites that offer creative ideas on what to do with those plastic bags sitting in the corner of your kitchen.

Again, I want to credit Poconorecord and They provided me with the eye opening facts on plastic bags.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

My Heroes Are Space Cowboys

There's Mal from Firefly.

And Sheppard from Stargate Atlantis

Watch the video links.

'Nuff said.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For the Alliance!

Most people who know me also know that I'm a bit of a World of Warcraft junkie. I've done the raiding, dungeon running and even some pvp and another guildie and I had a little bit of fun Sunday night. She whispered in chat that a pick up group (pug) was forming to attempt to slay all the horde leaders for the achievement For the Alliance!

I was skeptical that a pug could accomplish such a feat, as breaking into the major horde cities and overcoming the elite guards, not to mention any players and THEN the epic bosses would be challenging. Well, I was wrong or lucky, or perhaps it was both. Most of the people in our group of 40 were experienced raiders, the leaders were organized and knew exactly where to go to hide to get ready and any shortcuts into the cities. I know of several people who successfully made this achievement, but I also heard horror stories of players not cooperating with instructions, bosses bugging and party wipes.

I took several screenshots and as you will see, my screen was filled with a glob of green names, bolts of lightning, flamestrike explosions, and lag lag lag! Running into each city was fun and it never failed to elicit a big case of the giggles every time we ran in past the city guards and through the town.

Orgrimmar was our first stop.

I couldn't' even see Thrall through this mess but it was a challenging fight as one of his men frequently polymorphed us and there were horde players as well trying to take us down.

Then it was off to Thunderbluff. I especially got a kick of the way all 40 of us were able to get on the lift at the same time.

This time the fight took place outside and I could actually SEE the boss.

After Thunder Bluff it was off to the Blood Elf city (Silvermoon)

The boss was a loooong ways into the city but thanks to the Wrath of Lich King expansion, the town was nearly deserted, undoubtedly most players now have made their homes in Dalaran.
Again, I could not see the boss through the chaos of magic, but it was still fun!

We saved Lady Sylvanas for last and there was some concern that she would bug and evade on us. She did briefly teleport, evade and went up to full health, but it was towards the beginning of our fight so we were still fresh. She was a stinker to say the least with her frequent teleportations and fear effects and a few players died during this fight but we did get her in the end.

Prom (toon name only to protect the not-so-innocent. hehe) and I talked on vent during the event and had a blast. She even got to tank Thrall and Cairne, and I of course, kept her up with my uber Druid healz.

Has anyone else tried any city or worldwide pvp events? Tell meh!

A New Year, A New Blog

So I've decided to start blogging again. Some of my friends have renewed or refreshed their blogs and posted links on their Facebook page. And seeing their blog has made me want to write again. It's been a while since I've blogged, probably over a year, so I thought it be best to just start over with a fresh one.

I've made a few resolutions with the New Year but I have found that for me, changing habits is not an all or nothing activity, but rather a gradual process. One thing I want to work on this year is my weight, eating and exercise habits. I've gained a little more weight than I'd like over the last few years, my cholesterol is high and I have borderline hypothyroidism. My doctor encouraged me to try exercise before drugs to jump start my metabolism but have I exercised this past year? Mmmm, no.

I jumped ahead a bit to the lack of exercise because I"m rusty at the writing and changing my eating habits also ties in a bit with my next New Year's Resolution.

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted to somehow make a difference in the world. Time and life experiences has helped me refine my definition of making a difference and I've learned that doing the "little things" may not be as small as they seem and do add up, especially when they become a part of your lifestyle.

I acquired The Better World Shopping Guide a few months ago and have used it on a regular basis. It's a small book providing the reader with information on products and companies that are socially and environmentally responsible (or irresponsible). The book is neatly organized into categories ranging from Banks and Dairy Products to Paper and Supermarkets. Each company is graded A - F on their commitment to environmental and social responsibilities.

Most people know that I'm a "hippy" so to speak. I recycle, volunteer with the Conservation Department and Bird Sanctuary, educate the public on ecology and conservation. Over the last few months, I have been gradually changing my buying habits. While I don't' think I'll ever be able to go hardcore organic or buy only from those companies who are socially responsible due to costs, time and availability, I think I will be able to manage to make at least half my purchases costs less to the environment.

So back to my eating habits and how this ties in with my purchasing lifestyle. I eat a LOT of candy. I love my chocolate. I do not like to share my chocolate. If I've had a bad day, chocolate comforts me. If I'm raiding on WoW, or tabletop gaming with my friends, chocolate is always nearby. But as we all know, chocolate is not always good for you. Excess chocolate can *gasp* make you gain weight. If I am to lose weight, I need to give it up, or at the very least cut back on it... a lot.

Back when I got my little Better World book, I looked at the Candy and Chocolate categories and was dismayed to find M&Ms and Nestle with the grades D and F. I will freely admit I've been in the dark about the human rights issue in the cocoa industry. Evidently this is a very big issue.

According to the Global Exchange website, "The six largest cocoa producing countries are the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Cameroon. Cocoa has especially significant effects on the economy and the population in these countries. The Ivory Coast is the world's largest cocoa producer, providing 43% of the world's cocoa. And in a US State Dept report (2000) approximately 15,000 children aged 9 to 12 have been sold into forced labor on cotton, coffee and cocoa plantations in the north of the country. An estimated 284,000 children are working on cocoa farms in hazardous tasks such as using machetes and applying pesticides and insecticides without the necessary protective equipment. Many of these children work on family farms, the children of cocoa farmers who are so trapped in poverty they have to make the hard choice to keep their children out of school to work...about 12,500 children working on cocoa farms had no relatives in the area, a warning sign for trafficking."

According to my handy little book, M&Ms suppliers use child slave labor. This fact broke my heart.
M&Ms are my absolute favorite candy. I LOVE LOVE LOVE M&Ms. I've devoured those little candies since I was kid. But this is unacceptable. I do not want to contribute my money to another party who is responsible for the hardship of some child taken away from his family and who is forced to work 12 hour days. Not to mention this child does not have the opportunity to go to school, play, be creative and well...just be a kid.

Giving up the candy will be hard, but in doing so, I will be shedding pounds and feel a little better about myself, knowing I'm not supporting some large corporation trying to save a few extra bucks in supporting their suppliers who do not adequately pay cocoa farmers and use child labor.

Anyways, the book is awesome and is a good beginner's guide for those people (like me) who are interested in buying socially and environmentally responsible products. This book's website and the links in the book have been my gateway into this new world. I will continue to read on this matter and pass on the tidbits I learn.

And for those of you who also want to lose weight, eat better and exercise, let's make a support group of sorts here on my blog. We can chat through email or via the comments. I know I'm going to need encouragement and a good shove every now and then. How about you?