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World of Warcraft Controversy

I originally posted this on Power Word: Totem, but thought it was worth another post. It may be World of Warcraft related, but it has enough real world significance that I threw it on here as well. Plus, I'm having some serious writers block. Give me a break. ^_^

The Art of Persuasion.

I was playing World of Warcraft and running my toon Härpy around the Borean Tundra powering through quests when she ran into that one. It took me by surprise. I carefully read the quest text, then re-read it.

"It is fortunate you're here, Troll.

You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain 'extreme' measures - even in desperate times such as these.

You, however, as an outsider, are not bound by such restrictions and could take any steps necessary in the retrieval of information.

Do what you must. We need to know where Lady Evanor is being held at once!

I'll just busy myself organizing these shelves here. Oh, and here, perhaps you'll find this old thing useful.... "

"WTF is THIS?!" I typed incredulously to my boyfriend. "I'm being told to torture a prisoner?"

Until just recently, America had a president in office who staunchly defended the use of torture techniques. Movies, television shows, and video games constantly glorify that barbaric approach to gaining information, and suddenly I was faced with my favorite game jumping on the filthy bandwagon.

I used to scoff at the idea that the entertainment industry was the cause of violent crimes. When the Columbine shooting occurred I shrieked in outrage every time I read an article that held metal bands responsible. "I listen to metal, and I'M not about to go shoot up a school," I snapped. "How about some personal accountability!" But since then I've seen our entertainment become more realistic and grim, and witnessed the emergence of the "torture porn" cinematic genre. When Hostel was released, I'm ashamed to say I went to go see it. Within the first half of the film I literally felt sick to my stomach, but worse than the film was the fact that I was surrounded by young men who laughed through the entire duration of the movie.

I am still reluctant to blame the media, blame entertainment. It still feels like a cop out to me, a way to dodge the personal responsibility. But I don't think there's any escaping the fact that we are building a culture of desensitization - perhaps have built. And I know that this quest seems insignificant. Click, click, the prisoner says a few cheesy lines, and it's done. From how I look at it, it feels like all Blizzard is doing is adding to the commonplace nature of torture, and not only that, promoting it. What does Librarian Normantis say to you?

"You see, the Kirin Tor code of conduct frowns upon our taking certain 'extreme' measures - even in desperate times such as these."

Even in desperate times such as these. I say that in desperate times such as these, and by that I mean the world we, as players, have to inhabit in real life, we need to stand up and object to this casual integration of brutality into our every day entertainment.

This is a smaller point, but one I'd still like to mention.

Children play this game.

I'm a twenty-four year old adult, I was raised with very strong moral values, and I know the difference between right and wrong. World of Warcraft is rated "Teen", and I know twelve year olds who play. Now don't get me wrong, I believe very strongly that parents should be involved in what their children are doing, and the games that their children are playing. But even if you're an attentive parent and you're watching your fourteen year old play WoW here and there, it seems all right. Cartoony graphics, bloodless battle. Odds are you probably wouldn't notice the quests to torture helpless prisoners slipped in there under the radar. What's next, torture in children's books?

And don't even get me started on Forsaken biological warfare.

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A Lack of Vehicular Mishaps

I've been extremely fortunate to have never found myself in a vehicle versus vehicle battle to the death, which is how I tend to think of car accidents. The closest I've ever come was running into a deer going 55 mph. The poor suicidal thing leapt right out in front of me, leaving me literally no time to react. Even if I could have swerved, I wouldn't have. Huge trees on one side and a steady stream of oncoming traffic also going 55 mph makes that decision pretty easy. The deer, a fairly small specimen, crunched in the hood of my car and nearly came through my windshield. My insurance barely covered it.

If a wee little deer could cause that much damage, then what could one of those giant behemoth trucks do to my small Suzuki Esteem? This isn't something I ever really want to find out, and I find myself shooting baleful looks at the huge trucks and SUVs whenever I see them. "You constantly park in parking spaces too small for your size almost blocking me in, you're bad for the environment, AND you'd probably kill me if you rear ended me," I think viciously at them.

Never in any of my imagined scenarios of death-by-behemoth-truck did I imagine that I would be the one doing the colliding. But that was nearly what happened this morning. Nearly being the key word there - I still have never been in a car accident.

When I got up I was profoundly irritated to find that it was snowing again. I've had enough of snow this winter, and I swear if I see one more flake come down before next year, there's going to be anger terrible to behold. And possibly tears. I swore, incredulously told my kitty to look out the window, then sighed and went about my morning routine. There was barely any snow on the ground and I knew it was supposed to warm up, so I figured I would at least try to get to work.

I drove slowly down my side roads up to the main drag, and everything seemed fine. The roads weren't slick, and I didn't detect even a hint of ice. Until I got up to the main road. There was an enormous truck in front of me, his brake lights coming on just as I reached the speed limit. I pressed my brakes. Aaaaand.... as I'm sure you've guessed.... nothing happened. I kept slipping and sliding along a huge, random patch of ice, yelling "stop, fuck, stop!"

I managed to get my car over to the shoulder where there wasn't any ice right before plowing headlong into the bed of the truck. I think I've said this before, but I have no snow/ice driving skills. None. I think it's pretty amazing that I managed to stop.

I almost turned the car around and went home, but I found I was absolutely terrified of that stretch of road. Better to continue on to work than to chance something like that happening again. Which really is too bad - I totally could have squeezed an extra couple of hours in bed out of that one. "It's to icy for me to get to work. I'll be in as soon as it warms up a little." Such a wasted opportunity.

I'm still convinced that somehow it was the behemoth truck's fault. I'm not sure how yet, but I'll figure it out. Don't worry.


Bits and Pieces: January Edition

  • I cleaned out my fridge two weeks ago, and it's taken me this long to be able to talk about it. It was terrible... the horrors... I just.... no. I can't. Not yet.

  • I went to go see My Bloody Valentine 3D opening day. Except... the 3D part? I wish. I was all excited about seeing flames and pickaxes and murder victims flying off the screen at me (and I'm not going to lie, I wouldn't have been upset about shirtless 3D Jensen Ackles), but apparently my town is small and backwards enough that my local theater didn't have the correct projectors to play the movie in 3D. If I wanted to see it in 3D my options were to either take the ferry into Seattle, which would cost an arm and a leg plus taking over an hour, or drive all the way to the next county. Because none of the theaters in my neck of the woods were playing the flick in 3D. ERRRRGGGHHH. But despite the disappointment, Jensen Ackles was still hot.

  • I've been playing a lot of World of Warcraft (I know, big shock) and I'm ready to kick my WoW blog, Power Word: Totem, back into gear. I took a deep breath and erased the 20-odd posts or so that were already there and decided to start fresh. The Matriarch of my collection of random toons, Harpy, dinged 74 the other day. She's slowly forcing her way to 80.

  • I spent some voluntary time at work this weekend working on my Adobe Illustrater training program. Watching the training videos made me feel like I was watching a bad stand up comedian. Mr. Illustrator Trainer made an attempt to be funny with this gem: "While holding down your mouse button, hold shift, ctrl, and alt to do xxx. But now we need to change this other thing. You're out of hands! Unless you're an octopus. But if you're an octopus, I guess you don't have any hands, just tentacles! HAHAHAHA!" Really? Who thought it was a good idea to record you while you're sounding like an idiot?


Ancient History

Once upon a time, before Becca had a Blogspot blog, she had a Livejournal. The year was 2004, which would make Becca 19 (but she turned 20 in September '04). During this period of time Becca was still living with her parents and two sisters. She hadn't yet made the move to her first apartment (and by apartment I mean glorified 350(ish) square foot garden shed in someone's back yard), and in fact didn't even have a driver's license yet.

Becca was having a blast dating a fantastic guy named Ian (whom she has remained friends with), and was working part time as a glass blower's assistant and as an office assistant at the real estate company where she still works - though now, five years later, she has her real estate license and the back of her business card says "Listing/Marketing Coordinator".

Becca posted intermittently in her Livejournal, and used a small JPEG of Tank Girl as her profile picture. Her posts were generally short and used more as a communication device with her friends, since when Becca had a Livejournal all her friends had a Livejournal too.

Perusing Becca's old Livejournal entries were somewhat amusing:

"March 10th, 2004:

I just finished watching the second disc of 'V'. LIZARD BABIES!! HAHA!!! LIZARD BABIES!!!"

Stellar entry. Becca conveyed her thoughts so intelligently, yet left her opinion open to disagreement and healthy debate...

What's next? Ah yes, parts two and three of "The Housesitting Saga".

"March 13th, 2004:

Still housesitting. Still watching bad movies on the Sci-Fi channel. Tonight it was 'Snakehead Terror'. I decided not to watch 'Shark Hunter' which was on after 'Snakehead Terror' because I've already seen it.

Wow. That's sad. "

"March 14th, 2004:

Sci Fi channel movies watched today include 'Return of the Living Dead 3', 'Day of the Dead', 'Route 666', and 'Dagon.' Still bored."

Absolutely RIVETING! Before Becca was posting her painfully amateur movie reviews, she was simply listing off the titles!

"June 28th, 2004:

"Post offices are evil! I've always hated post offices, maybe even been a little afraid of them, and Nils made me go into one! I knew something bad was going to happen because of this, and I was right! We walked into the post office, deposited the mail in the proper receptacle, got back in the car and started it, and the CD player stopped working!!! It won't even eject the CDs that are already in it, so it has effectively eaten my Therion CD! Post offices are EVIL!"

Apparently Becca was once superstitious about.... post offices?

"August 29th, 2004:

So I dreamed last night that we all went to Oregon, and when we got there Sean told us that his shower was possessed by an evil spirit and we couldn't use it. O_O So we decided that we all had to take a shower, so we hung like fifty crosses up in his bathroom. We came back later, and all the crosses were upside down, the shower was still possessed, and we still couldn't use it. XD"

Then Becca actually went to Sean's apartment in Oregon, and was relieved to find that his shower was not, in fact, possessed.

"September 9th, 2004:

Well, I'm being hired as an artist's model for $15 an hour for two weekends this month. The glassblowing studio where I work is hosting a head/shoulders sculpting workshop and one of the people I work with is taking it and asked me if I wanted the modeling job. O_o I've never even thought about doing something like this before, but hey, $15 an hour to walk around and look serious. I can do that. XD "

Becca has a slew of photos that she took of the roomful of clay sculptures that were fashioned in her likeness. It's sort of creepy.

Okay, I'm done talking about myself in the third person.

It was fun re-reading a year's worth of silly journal posts from 2004 (I can't quite make myself call that LJ a blog). It made me a little nostalgic for the days of no bills, staying up until 6AM playing video games, and dating Ian. Things were a lot easier back then, and I had a blast.

2004 was a good year.

Tomorrow I'm going to see if I can dredge up some photos from '04 - the days before I had a digital camera - and scan them!


Irritation of the day

I just have something quick. Something that's been bugging me since this morning.

WHY have they not invented panty hose in some kind of material that doesn't catch and tear on ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING???? ERRRGGHH!!!

If I'm wearing a skirt it's impossible to not wear them - it's cold outside, and feels vaguely unprofessional to show up at work with bare legs in the middle of winter. And even though I always do my absolute damndest to try to keep them from tearing, it's inevitable that within two hours of leaving my house they'll be completely destroyed.

I believe that the person who invented panty hose did so as an evil scheme to separate women from their money. And IT'S WORKING.



Resident Evil: Degeneration Movie Review

Resident Evil: Degeneration (2008)
**1/2 out of ****

Because I have a deep, abiding love for zombie movies/games and Resident Evil titles in particular (despite my disappointment in the last live action Resident Evil flick), when I discovered that Capcom had created a CG Resident Evil movie, I immediately popped onto the computer and added it to the good old Netflix queue. So now, because it's been about a trillion years since I added to my list of amateur movie reviews, I'm posting about it!

Premise: Zombies. This time in an airport. Enter the infamous Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield. After escaping the airport, they trace the outbreak to a terrorist organization and suddenly there's a guy who turns himself into a giant monster, and... umm... there were zombies. And stunning CG. Is it my fault I didn't pay attention to the plot?

Really, I don't even know why I'm bothering to review this. If you've played the Resident Evil games, you're going to get a kick out of seeing Leon and Claire running around killing zombies in mind blowing CG. This is hardly a film to showcase phenomenal acting or sharp writing. The plot is sort of incomprehensible (though that may have been because I was half asleep through the last third of the film) and the characters typically one dimensional. But hey! It's not only a movie based on a video game, it's a CG movie based on a video game that was produced by Capcom! You can't expect too much from that!

Confusing plot, poor writing, and over the top voice acting aside, I really enjoyed this flick. Really, my only complaint is that at 97 minutes it felt too long. I could have lived with a shorter version. There is only so much Capcom driven CG zombie/mutant madness I can handle without starting to get a little irritated.

Well, that and I kept reaching for my X-Box 360 controller because I couldn't shake the feeling that this was the new Resident Evil game and the intro was about to end.

Oh, did I mention the neat CG?


Split personality

This is me:

This is ALSO me:

They're going to lock me up one day.

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Why I've decided to keep a diary

I decided this year that I need to start writing in a diary again. I was pretty good about writing when I was fifteen and sixteen, and let me tell you, re-reading the things I wrote back then is freaking hilarious! The angst! The drama! In addition to the hilarity, it really makes me happy that I'm not a teenager any more.

Humor is not the reason I want to keep a diary again, although it probably will be pretty funny to look back in ten years at my twenties ("the angst, the drama!" my thirty-four year old self will giggle). No, the real reason is that if I'm unexpectedly murdered, I want the attractive police detective or FBI agent to have something juicy to search for clues in.

I get such a kick out of reading a book or watching a movie where someone is murdered and the investigator discovers the treasure trove of wicked little secrets - The Diary - in the victim's bedroom. Stories of stalkers, illicit affairs, furious parents... all held within the pages of The Diary, and inevitably leading to the arrest of the murderer.

Now, if I was murdered, the attractive cop or FBI agent wouldn't have a diary to read, thus lowering the chances of my murderer being caught. Clearly this problem needs to be rectified, because we never know when we might find a serial killer waiting for us in our coat closet.

My diary won't be a composition notebook like it was when I was fifteen, nor will it be a cute or pretty book with 'Diary' emblazoned on the cover. No, mine will be a forbidding, thick, leather bound tome that I'll keep hidden under the false bottom of a dresser drawer. The detective who finds it will feel a chill when he touches the cover, not quite able to bring himself to pick it up yet, because a book like that just screams 'scandal'!

Of course, it will be quite a let down when the detective starts reading:

"Jan. 6: Came home for lunch today. I had a peanut butter sandwich and some vegetable beef soup. SOOO GOOD! Kitty has fleas again."

"Jan. 7: I remembered to pick up some Advantage at the vet's office for kitty. Pat's coming over. We're going to play Grand Theft Auto and watch Resident Evil movies! Yay!"

"Jan 8: Forgot to set my alarm last night! I've never gotten ready for work so fast!"

Obviously I'm going to have to introduce some more scandal to my life to make sure my diary isn't a disappointment in the event of my murder. On the plus side, my blog will get a lot more interesting! Don't expect all the details of my new, scandal-filled life, though - I have to leave some secrets for The Diary!


It's not an obsession

I don't think I'm obsessed.

Do you?

Okay, so maybe that's a question that I don't actually need answered right now. Sleep on it. See how you feel in the morning. Then let me know.

Tragically, it's been over a month since I've been able to get my weekly Supernatural fix. Even though I'm not crazy about the direction the show is taking this season, and in fact spent the last two brand new episodes snarling futilely at Pat about how angry it's making me... I WANT TO WATCH A NEW EPISODE. You might be thinking this is mostly because Jensen Ackles is divinely beautiful, and you wouldn't be entirely wrong. Up until now the show has been amazing, and I've been singing it's praises since I first started watching it. I watched it for its brilliant writing, great acting, and magnetic story. Jensen Ackles was just a bonus. A huge bonus, granted, but just a bonus. Now, though... with the writing slipping so much, it is starting to turn into a 'damn, I really want to watch Jensen Ackles in something new' rather than a 'I can't wait until the next episode! SO EXCITED!'

I think the show starts airing again next week, and I'm clinging desperately to the hope that the writers will haul it out of its slump and make me fall in love with it again.

BUT! Even if the next brand new Supernatural episode doesn't grace our televisions next week, I have something else to look forward to:

Coming out January 16th!

Why would I be looking forward to My Bloody Valentine 3D? Aside from the fact that it's a horror flick in 3D, of course. Who wouldn't want to go see a 3D horror film?

Well, this:

Yes, Jensen Ackles stars in My Bloody Valentine.

Come on. You know you're excited!

I know there's not much substance to this post. But seriously, with two whole photos of Ackles, do we really need substance?


Learning to Knit

I really enjoy doing things with thread and yarn. I sometimes cross stitch, but not very often. I'm working on a pattern so epic that I really need to be able to sit down and work on it for a couple of hours to make dragging out all my materials worth the effort. But yarn... ahh, quick and easy, instant satisfaction.

I know how to crochet, or at least I know how to crochet one thing. It's called a granny square. When I crochet a granny square, I have a process. I assemble a huge amount of yarn of all different colors, work on it until it's big enough to cover a queen sized bed, and call it an "ugly blanket". TaDA! Finished!

My mom had been bugging me about learning to knit off and on for a long time, and I had been resisting. 'I'm not even remotely interested,' I told her. Two straight sticks that looked like I should only pick them up to eat Chinese food seemed a bit overwhelming compared to my single crochet hook. I couldn't fathom how knitting could possibly work. Then one random day I suddenly decided for no reason whatsoever that I needed to learn how to knit. So I went over to my mom's house, and she taught me the basics. A couple days later I had finished my first dishcloth (apparently I have perfect tension, yay!), and mom taught me a few more stitches.

There are just so many things one can knit! Sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarves, of course - but did you know there are also patterns out there for things like knitted penis (complete with balls) shaped chap stick holders?

I'm inspired to continue to learn about knitting. I never had any ambitions with crochet, I was more than happy with the one thing I knew how to do and had no interest in learning anything else. But with knitting I'm excited about learning more and being able to do more and more advanced things. You know, like penis shaped chap stick holders!