Rediscovering old hobbies and addictions… (Warning: Warcraft content ahead. Tread carefully.)

I’ve rediscovered WoW. Some might say that is usually the case before a new expansion, but in my case the reasons for not playing as often are less obvious. I certainly can’t claim to be gear-capped – I only just got my King slayer title on my priest (Oraiya) last night – and my priest is my best geared character.

My reasons have to do with the myriad changes that my life has gone through in the last year. Living in a new (and not so weather-friendly) location, coping with an extra 30 pounds that I put on in a short space of time, getting ready for this deployment, losing a friend on whom I was preparing to lean heavily on during this deployment, coming to terms with being alone in a strange place for a whole year, a new job of a whole different kind of persuasion … and finally the reality of the deployment itself.

Oh this deployment has floored me in ways that I can’t even begin to describe to you.

Friends have saved me – saved my sanity and saved my emotional state. With their constant nagging and support, I got the help I needed and it seems I am back to my “old self”. Reclusive, WoW- addicted, full of energy for nothing productive and ready to take on the next 5 months.

But I digress…

With the upcoming expansion, I am telling myself that I must find and focus on 2 characters (toons) only. No more of this skipping around amongst alts anymore, it’s time to focus on a goal and actually reach it … dammit! But here’s my problem with that: I am a healer at heart. I do nothing else really well – and I don’t deny that this is probably because I don’t do it for long enough. I always get a hankering after healing and want to either try a new healer or go back to my main healer.

Each expansion has found me starting off with one healer and finishing up with another. This one saw me with 3 healers! No less!

It’s time for that crap to stop!

I am putting my foot down and forcing myself to choose 2 and stick with those 2 until gear-capped or bust.

The warlock and paladin are the obvious choices being they were my first and have been with me the longest. And this whole expansion is all about going back to the beginning, isn’t it? Sort of… However, my warlock has become my fun toon, the one I can just shoot the breeze with and have fun without pressure. I don’t want to spoil that.

It feels like the paladin might be a keeper … she is a fun healer, versatile, tough and Blizzard has bestowed on them the ability to emergency heal like a pro. I am enjoying gearing this pally up and find that no matter what other toon I get on, I yearn to get back on the paladin and heal some more. That’s a good sign.

I think I’ll stick with the hybrids, because I can run with them and gear their main spec up while scarfing whatever leftovers for their off-spec with a view to gearing that next. It’ll provide me with that variety I so crave. So that being said, do I choose the druid or the shaman as my “main alt”?

Being a healer, caster classes are my best fit, I think. Which potentially leaves the paladin’s ret spec as a grinding spec rather than a viable off-spec. That leaves me with needing my alt to provide me the variety I need without leaving my healing behind. Both the druid and the shaman have caster dps specs. Both can be trolls with the upcoming expansion. So which am I going to choose? /sigh

Frankly, I’ve always enjoyed the elemental shaman – over and above the balance druid. Aside from “feeling” a lot less cumbersome due to the immense size of the moonkin form druid, the elemental shaman seems to be a snappier caster now. With the ability to be truly useful – more so than the “boomkin” – with her totems if nothing else.. I rather think that a realm transfer and a faction change is in order for my shaman for December 7. The druid … she can take 3rd place for now.

So – the votes are in: Talie – reborn as Lillithe – shall take the lead; Kamelle reborn as an as yet to be decided name shall shadow her footsteps; Banshie – never to be reborn, ever to carry on as she was begun – shall make potions and provide sweet enjoyment for those days when I’d rather do absolutely nothing else. Faelynn – reborn as Alecksandra – shall wait in the wings for her moment, if and whenever it does arrive. The rest shall moulder – serving where they can but never to take center stage, destined for supporting roles … forever.

Exeunt.

My childhood and some of the things it taught me…

Today was a day of links about child-rearing and parenting in healthy, instructive ways. First, my friend Adrian linked me an article discussing the best way to encourage boys to read as much as girls and we had a brief discourse on that issue on Facebook.

Then came a link on how to encourage children to seek out healthy relationships and to avoid the toxic ones which got me thinking about my kids and how I hope to empower them the way my parents empowered me.

These days, I see more and more parents opting to distract rather than instruct their children. It lends to the general vacuousness that pervades our society. And it doesn’t help that the school system is doing very little (if anything at all) to counteract this trend.

I admit that I am being supercilious. I freely admit it. You can call me a snob too. I don’t care. My mother once told me that snobs are discerning and tend to be the ones who don’t end up jumping off the cliff with the other sheep.

“The true definition of a snob is one who craves for what separates men rather than for what unites them.” –John Buchan

So go ahead and label me. But I digress….

That last link got me thinking:

Were you the child who hid well or were you better at seeking? Does it mirror your ability to hide from toxic relationships and seek out healthy friends today? What about for your children? What do you want them to hide from and what would you like them to seek?

It brought out a memory of playing hide and seek at one of my two birthday parties as a child. I was the one who hid. The thing is, that the other kids stopped seeking when they’d found everybody else. If it hadn’t been for a power-outage at that very moment, I would probably still be hiding today. No one remembered to look for me.  I know it’s because I was already more of an introvert than anybody else… one of those kids you know are there, but never see or hear them. Regardless, the fact is that I was the odd-one-out – every single time.

My friend Adrian stated that he thought that greater parental-involvement (than what we see today) is most definitely a required factor in rearing healthily socialized and equipped children. My response to that was that with my own parents being as involved as they were in my life, I felt smothered and disadvantaged as a child, but now, as an adult, I see that they did me a great service. The trick, then, is balancing the indignant child who feels smothered with the grateful adult I am today and find a way to pass that balance onto my children.

Yes?

It feels like a TALL order right now. It feels like I am setting myself up to fail. It feels like there is just no way I am going to be able to do all I want for my children without overdoing it or just being completely lame.

My parents taught me additionally, that example is as big a teacher as anything else … but kids nowadays aren’t as observant as their counterparts in previous generations. There are far too many distractions now.

I can see now more than ever that parenting is going to demand great sacrifice from us. Great sacrifice with delayed rewards. And that goes against our generation’s mantra of instant gratification, doesn’t it?

Oh it’s going to be an uphill battle all the way. I wonder … are we ready for it?

 

Becoming more cynical as the years go by

When I first moved here to the US in July of 2008, I thought it’d be so cool to get involved in celebrations such as Halloween and Independence.  Having grown up in Jamaica, Independence means something FAR different to me and is celebrated a lot differently. There is more thankfulness than there is pride.

Come to think of it, that might be part of our problem in Jamaica … pride. How many of us have real PRIDE in our country and its independence? But that’s a whole ‘nother story and blog post. We’ll leave that one for now.

Here in the US, there is pride bordering on arrogance and which quite often than not ends up spilling over, trampling upon those who don’t necessarily share the same perspective or experiences. (That, too, is another post for another day).

This post is about Halloween. Halloween which symbolizes the time of year that is my favourite – the fall, autumn, the transition from living to dead. My mother would say that I am morbid were she to hear me speaking like this. But if you think about it, it’s not un-true.

The leaves fall off the trees, the grass stops growing tall and lush, the animals fly south to warmer climates, those that aren’t leaving snuggle down in their nests and dens for the winter.  It’s when the heat of the summer takes a break and the cool temperature return. It’s actually my favourite time of year because while it’s still relatively warm, there are nice cool mornings and evenings with the occasional day when blankets and jackets are used. And I love to snuggle into blankets, long-sleeve blouses/shirts, jeans and boots.

Autumn puts me in a good mood … at least it does under normal circumstances. This year, the mood isn’t AS good as it was last year. ;)

To get back to the matter at hand, though, the whole concept of Halloween and getting all decorated and dressed up and participating in this big festival.  I thought it’d be fun. The first year, we got decorations and put them out on our lawn – a headstone, skull, hands and feet for the illusion of a semi-buried corpse, spiderwebs and spiders …

The demotivation started when kids start dismantling our stuff. Continued when the wind blew the headstone away. And finally hit rock bottom when I realized what it is that kids are wanting when they come to your door and say “trick or treat”. They want candy!

When I think about all the candy they can amass in one night if they visit every house in the neighbourhood, and superimpose that on my own kids … I have heart failure just thinking about it. NO WAY are any of my kids going to be eating THAT much candy at ANYtime.

And if my kids will never eat that much, then how can in good conscience encourage other kids to do so?

So the whole idea of tricking and treating? Out the window. My porch light went off that first Halloween night in 2008 and it has remained off since.

Of course there are the retards who ignore that and ring the doorbell anyway and I WANT to say “There is no way in HELL I will give you more candy. Want an apple instead?” but what I say instead is “I’m sorry – I am not participating this year.” and close the door.

Call me cynical, but somehow the whole concept of Halloween – whichever folklore tale or historical explanation you choose to use – has strayed. It is now as much commercial and superficial as Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving is; all about how much money the merchants can get from poor suckers like us.

Ha! I refuse to give in! You may NOT have my money which will only serve to rot the mouths, hearts and minds of children everywhere.

Bah humbug!