Elf In Real Life: Love And Cancer

elvish love ringTonight I was working on the cover art for my third novel. I needed elvish script. I found a translator at jenshansen.com.

I also found rings, so a screened one. This is the beautiful ring I’d want for my Arwen, if I lived in some alternate reality where I’d spend $1100 on an elf ring instead of chocolate and video games.

My priorities in life are pathetic.

Jens Hansen and studio created the rings for the Peter Jackson movie in 1999. He died of cancer later in 1999, reminding us that man is mortal.

Companies like Juno Therapeutics and Kite Pharma are currently hard at work developing cures for many different types of cancer using Car-T technology.

Today I practically won the lottery by holding stock of Biogen Idec, which announced shockingly promising results for a new drug that fights Alzheimer’s disease.

So I’m halfway up to an elf ring, but I’ll probably save the money and spend it instead on one week’s worth of Alzheimer’s medication, unless I forget what I was saving it for.


Hearthstone


This week I’m still playing Hearthstone in my spare time, enjoying being alive. Apparently ‘cancer’ is a cool word to use among the youth of America right now, based on how often it’s dropped as a metaphor when complaining about Hearthstone in the forums.

There are drugs to fight game forum toxicity, but they are currently under-prescribed or illegal in most states.

This week I pre-ordered the Blackrock Mountain adventure pack for Hearthstone. I also watched some twitch streams of Final Fantasy ARR and Elder Scrolls Online, snooping to see if I wanted to go back to either.


Elder Scrolls Online


I was very dis-heartened to see the landscape of no nameplates in Elder Scrolls. This still isn’t working for me, and it’s lunacy to still not have this as an option. I googled Elder Scrolls nameplates just now, and I got crickets. My rant post here a year ago is on the first page of results.

“Nameplates in an MMO are cancer.” – Paul Sage

Ok, he didn’t really say that. I just thought I’d try the cancer metaphor thing, and even for a good cause it’s still lame.

So I could go back to Guild Wars 2 for the druid, as I mentioned last week, but I’m 200% disengaged from the GW2 story and gameworld, and I can’t imagine how going back can solve that. Somehow MMOs and my brain are just living on different pages. Elder Scrolls holds a significant edge because it’s the only MMO still on my hard drive aside from Rift.

Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing this weekend. Don’t forget to hug your loved ones.


Elf In Real Life: Aleister Crowley

Aleister CrowleyThis week I created a new piece of art, which depicts a Woman in Red, who was called the Scarlet Woman by Aleister Crowley.

While researching the symbolism, I came across this picture of Aleister Crowley. His ears look very, very pointy! The word hobgoblin comes to mind.

So I’m reminded that not all elves are good, and elves are fey, and not all fey are good.

Nonetheless, I made a piece of art straight from my subconscious mind showing a red woman riding a great two-headed beast, holding the reins in her left hand, and an umbrella in her right.

And then the Woman In Red made the connection with Aleister Crowley in my head, so I started googling. I’ve read a lot of Crowley in the distant past. Magic can’t be babbled about too much without risking ruining the magic, which I will hope to avoid at this point.

I play a mage more often than an elf, truth be told.

I looked at Diablo 3 again this week, but didn’t buy. It’s sitting right there, reminding me daily thanks to the Battle.Net launcher and the power of the Blizzard “ecosystem.” I even sort of want to play WoW again.

This week I purchased the Naxxramas adventure pack for Hearthstone, and I really enjoyed it! I completed the $25 expansion in about 8 hours. This isn’t expensive if you account for the many hours of free play and dailies.

I only wish Hearthstone had more female heroes and viable themed decks. I’d like to play a pirate deck on my Rogue, but I don’t think it’s viable. So I won’t even try for the cards. You should mostly bring critters, mechs, and Doctor Boom now if you want to win. After Blackrock Mountain releases, we should see a lot more dragons.

Blizzard is surely still feeling their way through handling the card progression. Off to get some exercise and sunlight. Happy gaming, whatever you’re playing!


Weekly Wyrm: The Weather Outside Is Frightful

guild wars 2 class changeIt’s a warm 82 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix in the first week of March. Summer is coming soon–the season to crank up the air conditioning, close down the blinds, and play games in the half-light.

Summer is winter in the desert. Instead of freezing, we blister.

A few days ago, Angry Joe posted an interview video on the upcoming Guild Wars 2 expansion, Heart of Thorns. Colin Johansen mentioned major class and advancement restructuring–a Mastery system.

Colin also mentioned the Hunter profession being able to swap to Druid spec or back again, as well as to others if/when more specializations are added to the game.

Suddenly the Guild Wars 2 buy-to-play game is a lot more interesting than Elder Scrolls, which seems more flexible in theory but just doesn’t click with me. Too much flexibility means generic, overlapping, and useless skills, a criticism often mentioned in Rift.

My druid is probably my favorite class in World of Warcraft, although my WoW characters have always seemed limited compared to Rift. I never wanted to stick with just one.

Maybe this class-swapping will be the answer, and I can put a hunter/druid on my very short list of dedicated, lifetime-favorite characters. So speaking of World of Warcraft.


Return To Hearthstone


For now, I’ve returned to Hearthstone on Android. This was released just this last December, and thanks to my new 8″ Tab 4, I’m good to go. The game runs smoothly and beautifully, and is just barely sharp enough and large enough to read the text and enjoy the experience.

I can play Hearthstone in bed, on the toilet, in the kitchen, or even standing on my head. Really only in bed, since I’m way behind the curve on legendary cards, and it’s easier for the poor kitty to take it in the tail while lying down.

So Blizzard just announced a new expansion at PAX East a few days ago, entitled Blackrock Mountain. I skipped the first two Xpacks/Adventure things (Goblins vs. Gnomes and Naxxramas), but Blackrock Mountain has always been my favorite place in WoW, and I spent a lot of good times farming the Spire and Depths.

This might be my first pre-order of a game in quite a while. We’ll see. I’m reminded that I promised to buy Diablo 3 since Blizzard made both genders of each class, but I still haven’t. Anyway, if you haven’t tried Hearthstone on Android, it’s worth a look on a compatible device.

It’s hard to feel like you’re progressing and not just wasting tons of time playing Hearthstone, but it’s a lot of fun in those odd moments, or if you really go hardcore. That’s about it for this week. Thanks for reading.


Elf In Real Life: The Importance Of Mindfulness

hypnosis graphicLast week I was served an inedible sandwich at Wendy’s. The horror. I took it back and complained, and I was given an edible sandwich–but not what I ordered, and zero apology.

My first-ever tablet (Samsung Tab 4) was delivered Thursday, and the UPS guy dropped it hard on the concrete. It still works, but I could hear the loud splat through the door.

Last week I also realized GoDaddy cut my website storage from 100GB down to 10GB without telling me–barely more then I’m currently using. Meanwhile, my plan and their advertising says I should get 100GB.

I called and complained, but they said my plan was outdated, and I needed to upgrade and pay more. They already raised my domain rates by like 50% in the last few years. I’m leaving and going to a competitor, obviously.

Can you imagine if your cable provider cut your TV channels by 90% suddenly, or your internet speed by 90%, and when you called to complain they said – oh, your plan is outdated, and you need to upgrade to get your channels back? Are you serious, GoDaddy?

Yes, serious about profit and exploiting their market position just like Apple, whose gross margin on their phones is a whooping 40%.

Syp at Biobreak recently wrote a scathing post about elves and their elitist, snooty attitudes in LotRO, but why wouldn’t they be irritated when a big group of stinky, hairy humans goes trampling the ferns in Great River, cutting down trees, making a lot of noise, and killing all the animals so they can eat twice as much as they really need?

So the topic of this post is mindfulness. I’m guilty of mindlessness and callousness just like anyone, but serving bad sandwiches, dropping my new tablet on concrete, and sneak-raising my rates while cutting my services 90% isn’t acceptable. First world problems are hard on elves.

Mindfulness is defined as “the intentional, accepting and non-judgemental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment“, which can be trained by meditational practices derived from Buddhist anapanasati.

Mindfulness is an essential element of Buddhist practice, which means it’s super-important for cutting through illusions and being compassionate. It’s also super-important to be mindful of human impact on the environment, in terms of destruction and over-population.

I really need to meditate, but this week I’ve been lazy and resorted to programming my brain instead, using hypnosis. So I would recommend this wonderful hypnosis video if you want to be more like an elf.

And who doesn’t want to be more like an elf? That’s self-evident!

Kim Carmen Walsh sounds a ton like Galadriel (at least to my ‘merican ears – maybe someone should recruit her for voice over), which makes her hypnosis videos even more magical. In addition to the below self-help video, her video Hypnotherapy For Relaxation And Mindfulness also helped me a lot during my kidney stone suffering last summer.

So good luck, and may your ears turn pointy before you reach enlightenment.


Weekly Wyrm: Feb. 21, 2015

Last week I wound up Rift for a while. I have a raid-ready set of gear. I joined a large guild full of really nice people. I also successfully healed several expert dungeons as a Chloromancer for the guild group. They said I was really good!

Those were all of my goals. It’s time to focus on the novels. In recent weeks, I polished off ten years of work on my first two manuscripts. My second book is even better than the first, I think. I brought in more thoughtfulness and philosophy. It’s up to the readers to give the final verdict.

Now I’m trying to finish my third book so I can publish the trilogy all at once. I can’t publish only the first two because the second book throws such a tragic ending and cliff-hanger in the reader’s lap. It’s The Empire Strikes Back on crack.

The third book resolves the main romance arc (not the overall main story arc, which ends in my manuscript for book five, concerning vampires), and also addresses big questions in my head about love and desire.

Is it a good idea to hold love above all things? What sorts of love exist, and how can fictional characters be properly tortured by these sorts of love? Fiction writers are sadists at heart.

I shy away from too much horror. It’s a fantasy, after all. I don’t like books to be too depressing. We have real life for that. We also have old school, when things were more grim, when we had plagues, wars, and fires that destroyed entire sections of cities.

Actually, my books have a stereotypical world-ending plague, lots of fires, and the greatest war of all, the one between good and evil, so never mind.

On that topic, I’m also wanting to get back to the elven spiritual path. I want to read poetry and spend more time in the woods. I’m house sitting out near the mountains in a few weeks. I might have to take a few long walks.

The motivation to make this post was to try Tumblr’s new “EMBED” feature for HTML and Javascript. Surely this can’t possibly work on this free WordPress blog, but if it does, then the GIF files will show below. The question in this kitty’s head is: Why hasn’t anyone done a cats and dogs MMO? Would it be so much more boring than pirates and wizards? You heard it first here on Kitty Kitty.

(Ok, it looks like they give you a link if the script fails. So there you go. As if boys needed more encouragement to act like animals.)

http://thinkthroughtheheart.tumblr.com/post/68887226991/10knotes-kiggor-what-if-your-friends-acted

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