So it’s “Aliens” quote day, so sue me. (Best Movie Ever by the way.)
ANYWAYS! For those who missed it, this blog has been infected with a nasty little bug the past few days, so I nuked the site from orbit to try to kill it. Backed up my posts/comments/images, deleted everything, and spent the last six hours trying to bring this back online again after some issues.
Everything, for the most part, should be back– obviously some of the stuff on the sidebar and some theme stuff needs to be fixed, and images are in the middle of being uploaded and probably won’t finish for quite some time, since I have a truck-full of them… but all posts and comments (aside from those comments that were posted in the last few minutes before D-Day, after I’d backed everything up) should be good to go.
Since I’ve pretty much been working on this all day, though, I’m gonna go relax for the rest of the night and finish polishing up the blog tomorrow!
I would like to thank everybody for their patience and for doing things like leaving cheery or silly messages on various phases of the reconstruction process when I was frustrated as all heck. I would also like to thank everybody for your patience regarding the fact that the blog post content here has been pretty craptacular while I’ve been dealing with this problem. =P Hopefully, though, it’s behind us now (if not, it won’t be pretty). Onward and upward~
So, soldiers, here’s the scoop. I thought I got rid of the nasty bug causing site redirect issues and the like last time, but apparently I’ve yet to root out the Queen Alien, so the issues have returned. I spent some time searching around but to no avail, and since I don’t want to waste my time on this crap when I’ve got stories to write and pictures to draw and WoW to play, (to paraphrase a wise man, “I’ve had it with these motherfrackin’ snakes on this motherfrackin’ plane”) I’m gonna attempt something crazy.
Namely, I’m gonna back everything up, delete EVERYTHING, and reinstall WordPress from scratch.
Then I’ll make all my passwords like three times longer, which means they’ll probably take about ten minutes to type out, but ya know.
If THAT doesn’t fix the problem, then… well, I’ll probably lose it, but we’ll deal with it when we get there.
AS SUCH, you may, over the course of the next few hours/days/whatnot see reduced site functionality, missing themes, the site not loading entirely, random 404s, etc. while I try my best to completely reboot the blog. All comments and posts, as well as the entire site itself, will be backed up in multiple ways so I can always revert it if I mess something up entirely.
Until then, wish me luck– I’m takin’ this thing to the airlock.
I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this but it must be done, because this blog is about honesty: it appears as though my site has been compromised. Again. As such, I must extend my deepest apologies to anyone who has heard weird music on my site the past few days, been redirected to spam sites, been lambasted with popups, had their Antivirus tell them terrible things about me, etc.
Now not everyone appears to have had this problem with my site– I think Adblock Plus kept a lot of the gunk out– but I know many people did, and since I have, from Day One, maintained a strict “NO ADS” policy on this site, it was rather distressing to me that this all happened.
Furthermore, I find myself wondering what I’ve done wrong. See, I’ve always been of the school of thought that if something like this happens, much more often than not it was preventable. And so you can imagine how embarrassed I am when I feel all secure with my hugely long letters-n-numbers-n-symbols passwords, and my Firefox and NoScript, and crap somehow manages to get past it all anyway. It’s frustrating.
Anyways, you did not come here to hear me rant, I think! Mostly I just wanted to offer this apology and also ask for blog readers to be on the lookout: I think I got rid of the parasitic code that was causing the problem but if you’re still getting weird redirects or popups, let me know. Heck, I’ll back everything up and rebuild this blog from the ground up if I have to in order to maintain the integrity of this site. I want this to be a safe, ad-free place on the internet.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY (because I like those, and I like excuses to make them): If you are a blogger, you can’t be too secure. Change your passwords frequently, make backups, use Exploit Scanner (awesome plugin), and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. The internet is like the “wild west” of today. Wild and untamed and ready to be claimed, but bandits abound and you gotta know your self-defense. And not die of dysentery. /nod
Long-time readers can probably guess what this post is gonna be about. Newer readers, let me introduce you to a little raid called Karazhan:
Let’s start from the beginning: entering this place. Let’s see if I can properly do this justice.
You hit 70. You do a bunch of regular instances. You get all your rep up to Honored (or, for a little while, Revered) by doing said normal instances. You try a heroic but it kicks your butt so you do more regular instances for a while. Then you finally start doing heroics.
And then you start to think about Karazhan.
The questline for the Karazhan key– which at one point, everyone in the raid needed to have to get in– sent you flying all over the place, solving puzzles and mysteries about this mystical tower.
Then you have to do an instance. Shadow Labs. Not a huge deal, everyone is doing this instance.
Then you have to do a second instance. Steamvaults. A slightly more irritating instance (for me anyway), but still not bad.
Then you have to do a third instance, called Arcatraz. The catch is that you have to be keyed for Arcatraz, and to do so, you have to complete two other instances: Botanica and the Mechanar.
Done yet? Oh no. Then you get to go do Black Morass. Meaning you get to go back in time and help Medivh do bad things, like let the orcs into Azeroth.
Then, and only then, do you get the key.
Oh, and what an adventure awaits you then, and what further quests, because that’s right, the quests don’t stop with the key. They send you into the tower, and then they send you in again, and again, and again. They’re there to help you get keyed for the later dungeons and get you your Violet Eye rep ring, but in my mind, they were fantastically interesting in their own right.
Everything about this place is magical. Not only are the aesthetics and design beautiful, but the bosses are, as well. An undead horseman. A castellan entertaining his dinner guests, just a bit miffed that you barged in unannounced. An opera, featuring three completely boss fights of which one was chosen at random each time you did it. A chess game wherein you took control of the pieces. The ghost of Medivh’s own father, mad with grief and guilt. A giant arcane guardian, reminding you in painful fashion that you are not where you should be. And these are just a few.
And the fight mechanics themselves were, in my mind, unparalleled. I hadn’t seen any of this stuff before, and most of it I haven’t seen since. Moroes involved an ungodly amount of crowd control; priests shackling and hunters trapping, gloriously trapping.
Curator, a gear check if there ever was one, and the source of more in-jokes with my longtime WoW friends than pretty much anything else in the game.
Shade of Aran was, without question, my favorite boss in the instance. Explaining it to somebody who had never done it before was always hilarious, because it took so freaking long and you knew the new person probably wasn’t going to live anyway. Flame Wreath jokes abounded, and the ceremonial “Playing of the Chant over Ventrilo” before the fight was held sacrosanct.
Prince Malchezaar, that infuriating fight that liked to drop infernals on your head, and quite arguably one of the most difficult raid bosses I’ve ever bumped up against for an appropriately geared group. Oh gosh. I remember the first time my guild downed him. At the end of the fight one person was still alive: the tank. We had a priest in Spirit of Redemption form, and the tank. That was it.
Sadly this promptly turned into massive quantities of loot drama and QQ regarding the T4 helm, but we won’t speak of that.
Have I mentioned though that Prince is still fiendishly difficult at 80 sometimes? Sheesh.
And chess, good ol’ chess, the one fight that actually gets harder as time goes on because you tend to bring fewer people into Kara these days so you have fewer people controlling the pieces. Chess, which once pooped me out into Curator’s room after the piece I was controlling died, and since I was the loot master and didn’t get back in time we couldn’t loot the chest. Everyone had their loot a few days of GM tag later, including a new pair of boots for me.
And the best part is that somehow, the magic of that place hasn’t disappeared. Oh supposedly Medivh sucked it all up at the end of “The Last Guardian” and all that’s left are specters of the past and some other bizarre creatures. I call shenanigans on this. Because somehow after all this time I go in there and Karazhan is just as magical as it was the first time. The mere music makes me teary-eyed.
A few of my sisters, who have actually played WoW for longer than I have, but considerably more casually, recently transferred servers to Silver Hand; one of the things that I think enticed them over the most was my promise of “I’LL TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN. I WILL SO TAKE YOU TO KARAZHAN.” because they had never been. And the other day I did just that; took one of my sisters (the other isn’t quite a high enough level yet) through the entire place with the help of some buddies. She made out like a loot bandit, since she’s sitting at level 70 but WotLK-less, but even better, she got to go on a tour of My WoW Happy Place. (And no, Attumen didn’t drop it.)
(Yes, she’s in a guild called < Tawyn's Pet >. No, it was not my idea. I swear. Why are you looking at me like that??)
And after all this time, even when I am in my temporarly Tree disguise rather than my hunter one, I still stand by my man:
My oldest group of friends in WoW is about five- or six- people strong and we all met in some random Zul’farrak run a long time ago when we were all level 40ish. Burning Crusade was our fifteen minutes in the sun and Karazhan was our peak. Some of us have stopped playing WoW, or play it much less, but we all keep in touch outside of the game, and the near-mythical status that one raid– just one raid– has reached within our little group is undeniable. Scarcely a group AIM chat goes by where someone doesn’t bring it up, and one of my friends has started posting a weekly Karazhan “comic” (more like a graphic novel, really) starring our characters on a forum that we frequent; it’s quite amazing so far and has me awaiting each Friday the way a kid would await getting his comic books in the mail.
There are other really good raids.
But there is only one Karazhan.
P.S. What was your personal “ZOMGAWESOME” raid or instance? Comment about it here or post about it on your own blog– I’d love to hear! ^_^
“Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 10^23), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry.”
If this blog has an official holiday, it’s Mole Day. I know I’ve announced it on this blog at least once before, and I’ve been annually announcing it on my LiveJournal for years.
However, rather than simply announce it this year and then move on, I’ve decided to actually go into a little depth on why I take note of this day every year, since I know the vast majority of you have your head tilted and are scratching your scalp. Get ready to enter the bizarre little world of Pike…
DISCLAIMER: This is a non-WoW post. If you are here for the WoW, it won’t hurt my feelings if you skip it.
A long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away, I was about ohhh, four or five years old. My mom was in pre-med school, and she was taking a biochemistry class. And at some point she realized that I could be her little study buddy. So she sat me down with some paper and told me about this magical world that was so tiny that nobody could see it, and it was made up of atoms and molecules. Then she started telling me about them and drawing little diagrams on the paper. About how “H” was hydrogen and had one bond, and “C” was carbon and had four bonds, and “O” was oxygen and had two bonds, and so long as I remembered those rules, I throw a whole bunch of letters onto the paper and connect them with lines and make my very own molecule!
So I did. And my mom looked at it and told me what molecule it was. I was in awe. I drew a new one, and she did the same thing. I’m pretty sure this was my mom’s clever method for studying for a test or something, but what she didn’t know was what she had unleashed in her little girl’s brain. See, I found this molecule world to be absolutely fascinating. For days after that I would fill up spiral-bound notebooks with giant sprawling molecules that I had “invented”. One day I found out that since “H” had only one bond, it could bond to itself, like so: H – H . I showed this to my mom, proud of what I’d discovered, and she informed me that that was how Hydrogen worked in its natural state. I was just floored by this all. It was the coolest thing ever. My mom even milked my new little obsession by getting me chemistry kits and letting me leaf through her huge textbooks. I soaked it all up.
So flash forward several years to high school when you could choose to take either physics or chemistry and I, of course, chose chemistry (unlike pretty much the rest of the high school.) I vacuumed everything up; it was all just amazing to me. Combining chemical elements to make new substances? It was so magical to me.
The next year I went even further and took Advanced Placement Chemistry. Now, those were the days. We had a lab class once a week and a lecture class on the other days and I just poured myself into that class. Balancing chemical equations was my favorite thing in the world. It was like my version of Sudoku or something. I also took about a hundred index cards and made “Reaction Prediction Flashcards”– Various chemical substances are mixed together under a certain circumstance, what happens?– and I memorized those things the way a kid would memorize his Pokemon cards (or the way I memorized my Pokemon cards, for that matter… /cough) My excuse was that it was “practice” for the big scary AP Chem test at the end of the year, but really I just loved doing it.
It was also about this time that I first read the book “Uncle Tungsten“, a collection of memoirs written by the famed neurologist Oliver Sacks, about his childhood love affair with chemistry, and I identified poignantly with it. I was sure that this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to play with molecules and chemicals and make things.
…but there was something else competing for my geekish heart.
I have long told people that I am too sciencey to be an artist, but too artsy to be a scientist, and that would rear its head several times throughout my journeys in chemistry. As much as I loved the technical side of everything, I also found myself taking an unusual position in science: seeing the art in it all.
In the margins of my notebooks I would sketch up anthropomorphic caricatures of each of the chemical elements. Carbon was represented by a diamond, and Mercury was a crafty shapeshifter. Helium was a large red balloon who was rather self-conscious about being a noble gas despite having only two valence electrons. I wondered about their lives and their stories. Did the noble gases, I wonder, feel terribly lonely that they couldn’t naturally bond with any other element? Did the halogens go through their life filled with a longing and aching to be filled with that missing electron? I didn’t think they felt this way for real, of course, but all I could think of was how great of a story it would make.
I wrote up dorky chemical love poems.
I’ll be sodium if you can be chlorine
And together we’ll form a
Binary ionic pair;
On second thought, you tend to be
More positive than I so
You can be sodium there.
And made dorky chemical jokes.
“What’s another name for a ring of steel? A Ferrous Wheel!
I marveled at how beautiful the Periodic Table of the Elements was. Everything all aligned and in its place. It was a tool, but to me, it was also a work of art.
And thus it was that at some point I decided that instead of making things, I wanted to tell their stories, and so that other love of my heart– my love of art and fiction and stories and little film reels in my head– finally carried me away. I hung up my lab coat and my goggles (I really did own both of those, and loved wearing them,) and went to college and majored in Media & Theatre Arts. Originally I wanted to double-major in chemistry as well, but there is literally no overlap between the classes in those two completely different majors, so it would have been expensive and time-consuming, and so other than one chemistry class freshman year (that I didn’t have to take but I took anyway because I wanted to), thus ended my formal training in science.
In the years that have passed since then, I sometimes wonder if I made the right choice. Sometimes I want nothing more than to dig out my lab coat and goggles and run away and become a scientist, the way other “freaks” would join the circus. Alas, life is a little more complicated than that, and going back to school is expensive, so I sit here and I dream. I dream about chemical elements with emotions and feelings who live and play in a gigantic laboratory, and the adventures they have.
And I carry a Periodic Table of the Elements in my wallet. Because it’s beautiful. And quite loveworn with use. (And cause you’ll never know when you’ll want to work out exactly how many sodium atoms are in the bag of chips you’re eating on break.)
So Happy National Mole Day.
…and yes. I’m the biggest geek of all time. We don’t have to beat around the bush here…
I have been invited to participate in a special chatroom session at the Hunter’s Mark Chatroom. Lassirra of that site will of course be there as well, as will Mania of Mania’s Arcania, editor of Petopia!
If you want to chat it up with the three of us you are welcome to attend; it is tonight at 9:00pm Eastern Standard Time (or 7:00pm Pike Standard Time). The chatroom is located here. Now let’s just hope this isn’t one of those things that my browser randomly decides to mess up…
I’m pretty sure we’re all clear on the fact that I enjoy rolling hunters. I can’t help it. It’s relaxing. It’s nostalgic.
Alongside this, it means I have tamed a lot of pets in my WoW career. The level 10 pet is very important to me, because I consider it to be the pet that particular hunter will have their entire life– oh sure, they’ll tame others, and may even use others in raids or PvP, but all of my hunters keep their first pet.
And one of my little quirks is that I enjoy taming the… more challinging to obtain pets.
I’ve ran level ten Hordies to Teldrassil. Twice. Once for the owl and once for a cat.
I’ve ran a low level Hordie to Azuremyst for the moth.
I’ve ran a level 10 Hordie to Dun Morogh for the snow leopard.
I’ve ran a level 10 Alliance character to Durotar for a raptor.
A good chunk of those were on PvP servers.
I’ve also done safer but still lengthy trips on other characters: dragging a Tauren to Eversong Woods or Trolls and Blood Elves to Mulgore. (It has occurred to me that an unusually high percentage of my lowbie hunters are Horde. Hmm.)
This was all in my mind yesterday when I did something crazy and made a character on one of my non-“Home Servers”. Thus it was that I made a female tauren hunter (yes I have a billion of those, shuddup, Azeroth needs more, dangit! /shifty eyes) on Wyrmrest Accord, so I could say hello to Faeldray and Tzia, two people who have been a part of the Aspect of the Hare commenting community for a very, very long time and who both have awesome blogs of their own.
We hung out for a while and did some really nifty RP (which I may talk about later, in its own post), but always in the back of my mind as I did the tauren starter quests for the umpteenth time was what pet I should get. It had to be special, something that I could tie in to my developing character story, and preferably something I hadn’t ever tamed before.
Then I had an idea.
Snoeken (Dutch for “Pike”, albeit the fish and not the weapon =P) went on a little adventure.
First, the ride from Thunder Bluff to Orgrimmar.
Taking the zeppelin to Undercity…
And getting on a different zeppelin and going to a very scary place for a level 10:
Then came the ceremonial removing of all the clothes (except the shirt and pants– I’m a decent tauren!) and a deep breath…
And then the corpse hop began.
So, rez timer, we meet again.
The run to Utgarde Keep wasn’t that bad though, and I soon found myself where I needed to be…
Well well well, what’ve we got here?
Brand New Birdie:
The fishertauren and her sea hawk:
My new druid-birdie has a few bugs, it would appear. He flies extremely low to the ground (as opposed to, say, an owl, who flies much higher), and when he flies after you, he remains leaned back in his “hovering” position. The way a druid would look if it was just flying in place. I’ve actually had this happen to me in my druid flight form, if I time myself carefully and jump right when I enter flight form. But it seems to be a perpetual problem for the Daggercap Hawk, and it looks kind of silly. In addition, he doesn’t “highlight” when you click on him, the way other things do.
Regardless of these issues, he is a gorgeous pet– and certainly unique, as well!
Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope Blizzard eventually fixes these issues, rather than conveniently deciding that a level 10 hunter shouldn’t have a bird from Northrend =P
So the Sitemeter on my site is almost at 400,000 and as is tradition here, I want to give out a “kiriban” prize to anyone who can screenshot the number and e-mail it to me *points to e-mail on the left sidebar*
However, I’m going to try something a little different this time: instead of a custom avatar, you’ll get to pick one of your characters to star with one of mine in a short RP story! Cool, right? Maybe? …hopefully…?
Anyways, it doesn’t just have to be one of my hunters either. Wanna be in the very first story of my druid, warlock, or paladin? I haven’t done stories of any of them yet, and they’re all open game.
Here’s how it will work:
1.) If you screenshot the counter saying 400,000, send it my way!
2.) All winners (there will probably be several, due to the way Sitemeter works) will receive e-mail instructions including brief bios of all my characters so you can pick which one you’d like to be in your story, and directions to send me back information about whichever of your characters you choose. In addition if you have any particular plot ideas for the story, you can send me those as well (or I can spin one up, if you’d like!)
3.) Your story will soon appear on the site for the whole world to see, and your character will be immortalized in PikeLore~! (I’ll spread the stories out a little if there’s a lot of them, so as not to crit you with them all at once.)
If that sounds like something you might be interested in, keep an eye on the hit counter! It’s on the bottom portion of my right sidebar. Currently I get a little over 1000 hits a day so I’m estimating an ETA for this in about four or five days. Save the date!
The Fine Print:
-Yes, you can enter if you’ve already won a previous Aspect of the Hare prize
– Yes, I’ll be doing an avatar prize for 500,000 if you’ve got your heart set on one of those
– Special thanks to Rilgon for the contest idea <3
This might sound funny, but I noticed that a few of the winners from last time’s avatar contest never sent me screenshots of their character after I sent out the post-winner-instructions. It is possible that you forgot, or that my e-mail simply got lost in Junk, etc. Whatever the case, if I owe you an avatar from some point feel free to hook up with me again because the offer doesn’t expire!
Questions/comments/suggestions? Ask away! And good luck to all!
Firstly, I want to thank everyone for all the billions of comments I got on my “Brutal Honesty” post yesterday. It was one of those posts where I basically reached into my inner psyche, pulled something out, threw it at the computer screen and then ran to work as fast as I could since it made me late. I write those sometimes, and I’m never sure how they’re going to turn out, but I’m glad it seemed to strike a chord with so many people.
I do want to make a couple things clear, since I worry I may have caused some confusion.
** I did not “reroll”; I made a new alt. The point of having the alt be a central feature of that article was that said alt was what reminded me why WoW was fun. I have no idea how much this alt will be played. Maybe I’ll player her a lot, and maybe not. Who knows! I had some people concerned that this alt would eventually reach endgame and I’d have the same issue, to which I respond, she’s level 15 and when you take my leveling speed (or uh, major lack thereof) track record into account, I give two years as a rough estimate of when she’ll reach endgame (if it ever happens), so I’ll worry about it then =P
** I don’t really feel too pressured by the blog itself or by my readership or by the shadow of BRK, etc. Oh sure, my closer friends have no doubt heard me gripe about the pressures of sometimes feeling shoehorned into being the new BRK. And there have been times when I’ve wished for the blissful anonymity of my past WoW life. So, I’m not going to deny those pressures are there. They tend to just show up if you are a “bigger blogger”, as was eloquently stated by Rip. But these are only very minor gripes, in the long run. They aren’t what caused me to “snap”. What I was trying to express in that post was that the pressures I was feeling were internal more than external. I am a perfectionist when it comes to certain things (those things do not include the state of my apartment /glances around and coughs) and it happened to come to a head one day. So I wrote about it.
A wiser person than I might say that the internal pressures are the result of external ones, and hey, who knows, they’re probably right. I don’t see a reason to think about it too deeply though. /shrug
** I do think some of the internal pressure is possibly a byproduct of blog growing pains. There are times when I’m not sure what I should write in this blog. See, I know people are going to tell me “Forget about the readers and write what you want to write about”, but I’m really strongly into themes and subject matter and whatnot and even if I didn’t have a single person reading this blog I’d still want it to have a strong theme. That’s just how my mind operates with my creations. I can never tell if this is a hunter blog or a having-fun-with-WoW blog or a personal-anecdotes blog or what. There are even sub-categories within those. I have been called a Beast Mastery specific hunter blog, (although I tend not to like that title), or a hunter blog that focuses on guides, or on the flip side, a hunter blog that focuses on stories. What am I, really?
In the past, I’ve called myself a blog for anyone who has ever rolled a hunter, tamed a pet, shot something with a ranged weapon… and got a little smile on their face for doing so. it’s a broad category, but in the end, I think that’s what I am.
Thus, the question of “what happens if I stop liking hunters?” lurks in the back of my mind because it means I’d have to redo my blog, and my blog is something I take a lot of pride in. Hence the “panic attack” when that question actually seemed to surface the other day. It’s not really the potential to lose readership that I’m worried about (though I do love all your comments), as much as the simple fact that I don’t like breaking my own rules. That’s why I also have a real-life blog and a recently-started Linux blog (which I should really update again) in addition to this one. Everything in its place.
** I still 100% love raiding with my guild and am planning on doing so a lot this weekend. =P I have just never been a raider before so the work involved caught me off-guard. I am determined not to let it burn me out.
** I do dailies because I suck at the Auction House. Not so much because it’s hard, but because I lack the dedication to do all the research and et al. The closest I ever got to “playing the AH” was a brief period where I cornered the minipet market on the neutral AH with Lunapike as a way to make epic flyer money. This provided a small but steady source of income and I’m pretty sure the other people that were also trying to do this hated me because I was always undercutting them. I stopped doing it primarily because it didn’t really interest me. Dailies at least have you flying around and you can level pets and stuff.
As it is now I toss Alchemy stuff onto the AH every so often and call it good.
I still think the depth of the WoW economy pales in comparison to the Neopets economy. Giggle at me all you want; I’m just sayin’ it like it is. =P I spent one whole year restocking and reselling and keeping an eye on market prices, just to reach a single goal. That’s hardcore.
SO! There you go. I just wanted to dissipate some of the concern I was hearing, and approach the story from a more logical standpoint as opposed to the pure emotional one that I poured out on you all the other day.
IN OTHER NEWS:
I am getting close to 400,000 page views. As long-time readers know, I usually hold a contest where people who screenshot the big numbers can get free personalized avatars. I’m hesitant to do it this time, because I’ve run into an issue with getting these avatar prizes done in a timely manner due to how busy I am all the time now, and it makes me feel bad (this applies to all the e-mails I get as well, I swear I do read them all!) So if you have any ideas for a different sort of prize, I’m all ears and open to suggestions!
As always, thank you all for being a reader. Why anyone reads my rambles, I have no idea, but it has enriched my life and I hope I’ve enriched yours a little <3