Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the end of the world as we know it

I'm recovering from that oh-so-predictable brief but intense bout with depression. Most people who, as they say, "have issues", get depressed at Christmas. I'm fine with Christmas, but my birthday brings me into an annual sharp, deep funk. This year I had just two bad days; in the past, it was the entire month of November up until the 20th, the actual day. So it was an improvement, but still a hard time for me.

There's a constant distraction, though, taking my mind off my own personal neurosis and troubles: the world as we know it is coming to an end very soon. The world has been racked by horrific earth quakes, and the residents have been struggling to put out the fires in their home cities. Everyone is keyed up and trying hard to prepare for what will come, because everyone knows there's no safety any more. It really is the end of the world as we know it. The World of Warcraft, that is.

Blizzard, the creators of Warcraft, made a barbaric yet oddly cozy land, Azeroth, where for many years I have journeyed, quested, fought, made jewelry for profit, and bantered with friends. And now they're taking that part of the world which was my home, the base of the Horde, and splitting it right open, destroying much of it. Entire towns, towns I used to call my home, will be lost. An entire region, one of my personal favorites where my paladin spent an untold amount of time, will be sunk permanently under water. My people will become refugees.

They are calling it "Cataclysm", and it's kind of pissing me off. This may indeed sound asinine or freakishly geeky, but I have a real affection for these places which are about to be destroyed. Spend a lot of time galloping on an oversized pink bird around a beautiful desert, a desert which reminds you of the ones you used to camp in before you gave birth to whiny urban children who hate road trips and bitch endlessly about the lack of television if they are removed from the city limits, and you'll become attached. Even the Sober Husband, a man who played for only a few months before getting over it, has affection for the Crossroads, a place where he quested as an orc warrior before quitting the game. Once my Alliance guild, when I crossed over the dark side to level a Draenei mage for Lola, raided the Crossroads, and the Sober Husband was weirdly and genuinely distressed. "Don't kill that guy; he was our friend! I used to buy from that guy!

If someone who only played for a few months can have a sentimental attachment to fictional characters in a computerized town, imagine how I feel. I know it's silly, I know I'm going to enjoy playing the new content that comes with this upheaval, but dammit, why'd it have to be the Barrens and Thousand Needles? Why couldn't it have been Silithus or Dun Morogh, places I would not miss one bit?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

the embarrassing state of affairs

Last night I announced as I was cooking dinner: "On December 6th, I'm going to stay up all night playing Warcraft. So just be warned. And don't expect anything from me the next day."

This was met with a lack of comprehension, so I explained. "It's Cataclysm! I'm going to the midnight release at Best Buy, and then I'm gonna come home and play."

Eleven year-old Iris was disgusted. "Momdude, why does everything you do have to involve nerds? Can't you do something that's not with nerds?"

My middle-aged husband was nonplussed. "You're going to a Best Buy at midnight?"

"Well, actually I will probably go there around 11:30, waiting for the midnight release, and yes. I am going there because that is where there is the midnight release."

"You'll be waiting in line with nerds!" jeered Iris.

"Hey! How come it was okay to go to the midnight Harry Potter release and stay up that night reading, and it's not okay to go to this one?"

"Because that was Harry Potter."

"You better watch out, or I'll wear my ears [prosthetic ears enabling me to take on the appearance of a blood elf] and I'll tell everyone I'm the mother of Iris."

"You'll be standing in line with a lot of jobless losers!" poked the Sober Husband, joining in with Iris at a bit of Drunken Housewife-baiting.

"Hey! I will not! All the people in my big guild have jobs; they're just taking a day off from work the next day! One guy is taking off all the way until the tenth."

Only little Lola, who has a soft spot for Warcraft, was kind (the other day Lola drew a comic strip featuring a blood elf and a night elf, making her mother very proud that a little second grader knows the distinction between these races).

Eventually the arrival of dinner shut them up, but again this morning my embarrassment rose up. The Sober Husband asked me what I was doing today, and I admitted shamefacedly, "I'm playing Warcraft. I've got a lot to do before Cataclysm."

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the accidental foot-in-mouth

Not too long ago I was talking on the phone to my mother-in-law, and I made a remark, innocently enough, that I had to keep an eye on the children "because depression runs in both sides of the family." I didn't think that was offensive, since I was putting the Sober Husband's family on the same level as my own family and because the very first time I met her, my mother-in-law had referred to two of her close relatives as "always so depressed", but my mother-in-law took quick offense.

"Who in my family are you saying is depressed? Are you talking about my mother? Because towards the end of her life, she really learned how to cope with her depression," she said hotly.

I was surprised that I had said something upsetting and said weakly, "Well, yeah, and [Close Relative]."

My mother-in-law said combatively, "[Close Relative] is not depressive! He's a sociopath!"

Friday, November 12, 2010

comment o' the week

The latest Comment O' The Week goes to Silliyak, for "Have I stumbled into a MENSA blog?"

Congratulations, Silliyak!

the patient complained of discomfort

Iris has been having knee and foot issues this fall, causing her to drop out of her school's cross-country team. I took her to a foot-and-ankle specialist (we went together on a Very Special Mother-Daughter outing and had our ankles x-rayed and our feet examined, as I was still in pain from my ankle injury from August). I ended up ordering her custom orthotics and buying her more expensive shoes (the specialist demonstrated to me how to pick shoes, showing me how to bend and prod them like they were produce).

This morning I complained how I'd gone out of my way to pick up the orthotics yesterday, but the receptionist turned me away on the grounds that the doctor was not in. "I didn't think I needed to see the doctor, I kept saying that they were supposed to be there, but no luck."

The Sober Husband once again ridiculed the idea of the orthotics. Hotly I stated, "Yesterday when I picked up Iris, she was walking weird. Upon questioning the patient complained of knee pain."

"Maybe we should get orthotics for her knees!" scoffed the Sober Husband.

"That's what the orthotics ARE for! They'll fix her knee pain!" I shot him a look.

We stood there in silence for a moment, contemplating Iris's pain.

Then I admitted, "Actually what I said to her yesterday was 'Why are you walking like a freak?'" and she said, 'Momdude, my knee hurts!'"

Monday, November 08, 2010

geeking in another language

In the World of Warcraft, you can sign up to be randomly assigned to a group to go into a dungeon, which is a part of the world with rigid boundaries (you can't just wander into one) where there are much more dangerous and difficult challenges to be faced than in the rest of the game. In olden times we'd have to round up help ourselves in order to be able to even try these things, but nowadays Blizzard has given us the power to request to be assigned to a random group, making it all so much easier. Normally the English speakers are all grouped together, but over the past couple of days I was lucky enough to be put in Spanish speaking groups. Not everyone enjoys that (there was another English speaker in one of those groups, who whined "I don't speak Spanish!"), but I do. My Spanish is rusty but serviceable.

Today I ran the Citadel on heroic setting with some Mexican players and a Brazilian (incidentally Portuguese is so similar to Spanish that I can read it). We ended up speaking a mix of Warcraft-English with Spanish/Portuguese. A player scolded another: "healer echame las maldiciones." I reached out for help: "Por favor tengo un quest aqui."

I loved the blend of Warcraft-speak and Spanish so much, that I started fantasizing about going to graduate school and doing a thesis on how language is used in gaming, examining how much English carries over into other languages. Why would a player who is speaking Spanish type in "ty" for "thank you", rather than "mg" for "muchas gracias"? I'd like to know. In reality, I'll just hang around the house playing Warcraft, sigh.

Friday, November 05, 2010

the forbidden toaster of mystery

"What did you buy with your allowance?" Iris asked me.

I thought. "Oh, I don't know. Not much. I didn't get that much allowance. Snacks, I guess."

"You know Chainsaw gets ten dollars a week?"

"Wow, she could save up for a chainsaw in no time." ("Chainsaw" is a friend of Iris's who likes to jump out and shout, "IT'S CHAINSAW TIME!" An urban child, she is fascinated by chainsaws).

"She's saving up for a toaster. She's obsessed with kitchen appliances."

"What, doesn't her family have a toaster already?"

"Yes, but she doesn't know where they keep it. She's not allowed to use it. She's not allowed to use most kitchen appliances. She asks for toast, and they make it, but she doesn't know where it is."

"How can she not know where it is? Can't she just watch them make the toast?"

"They keep it somewhere and won't show her where it is, maybe in the garage or something."

"Nobody keeps the toaster in the garage! It's got to be in a cabinet or something. She should just hang out in the kitchen and watch them make the toast."

"They won't tell her where it is. They make toast, and she just doesn't know where it comes from."

"They won't let her cook at all?"

"No. She's ten years old, and they won't let her use the toaster." Iris shook her head. "It's so weird."

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Today I did authorize Iris, suffering from a headache, to stay home from school. Her father was incredulous. "What? She can't go to school?"

Lola gleefully interrupted him. "It's like the cartoon!" She felt the animation I made yesterday for this blog had come to life. She shouted down her father: "You're not a Spartan warrior!"

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

a version of this happens very regularly

Rather than type in an account of this morning's marital debate, I decided to try my hand at animation. Enjoy (or not):

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

comment of the week & comment of the quarter

I hereby declare that Emma-Louise is our latest Comment O'The Week Winner for her charming anecdote:
I remember that my sister and I, on very long car trips from one end of the country to the other - which we were taken on, against my mothers better judgment, EVERY year, and upon which I partly blame my parents divorce - would talk in very nasal tones which we felt best embodied insurance salesmen, and would declare that just about everything was "very, VERY, UNproFESHunnawl!" and would not stop for bribe nor threat. My poor, poor mother.
And since I never got around to doing Comment of the Month for Aug, Sept., or October, I hereby declare Nonymousgoatsepants/Alan or whatever he calls himself these days as Commenter of the Quarter for the past quarter. Huzzah! If he dares, he may claim a prize by submitting a mailing address to drunkenhousewife@gmail.com. If he doesn't want to, then fine by me because then I won't have to trudge down to the post office to mail his fabulous prize.

Congrats to Emma-Louise and NonymousGoatsepants!