May 7 2010

Mans-ing, the return.

With the guys getting back into Warhammer and me playing LOTS of Dawn of War 2, I’ve had the itch to get back into painting.

It's shooty and stabby.

So, Sam messaged me the other day and asked if there was any way I could dig out the looted Ork tank that I had been working on for him.  This was just the excuse I needed.  So I finished it up and took some pictures.  I forgot how much I loved this tank.  I can’t wait to get back into painting my own army.  I’ve got a lot of mans that need a lot of work.

I'm not sure what that stuff is, but it can't be good.

It was really fun being able to put the little Grots in the little tank doors.  If they had been plastic instead of metal, they would have been easier to manipulate and there probably would have been far more of them all over the tank.

Both sides of the tank, now suitably Orky.

This was a really freeing model to work on.  Instead of having to worry about every little piece being put together just right, I got to make it look like Orks had put it together.  The doors hang off the hinges, the edges are all scuffed up, and the painting is messy.  I love it.  Hopefully I’ll be able to find a bit more time to work on this stuff soon.

A note on the term “mans-ing”.  When we all started getting into Warhammer, we would refer to our armies as mans.  Therefore, the process of putting together and painting them became mans-ing. I know, it’s silly.  But that’s how we nerds roll.

Apr 15 2010

[WoW] That’s Loremaster, baby!

Last night I achieved. I achieved hard.

That’s right, Loremaster.  It took several months of dedicated work and a lot of help from the internet. I had been rather enamored with the random dungeon finder, but as a DPS, I usually have a little wait.  I started working on Loremaster mostly as something to do while I was waiting for my turn in the queue.  Working through the lower level zones in Azeroth will really give you a sense of acomplishment, and that was when it started to look like a far less daunting task than I had originally anticipated. I also figured that if I was going to do it, I should probably get it done before Cataclysm.  There’s no telling what changes are coming down the line for that.  I already got Master of Arms and Did Somebody Order a Knuckle Sandwich since those will definitely be becoming Feats of Strength.  So, it was headfirst into Kalimdor.

Kalimdor sucked.  That’s all there is to it.  For being a Horde dominated continent, it sure is hard to reach that quest count.  I think Silithus was the biggest problem.  There were a fair number of quests that I was holding on since they required stupid amounts of work (Kill a million guys to get their outfits.  Use 5 outfits to get one crystal, use 10 crystals to get this other thing).  I knew from all the research I’d done that this was going to be the hardest part, so I got it over with first.  The rest really was a piece of cake.

I tried out a bunch of addons that were reported to at least help with the finding of missing quests.  The one that finally did it for me was the Wowhead Profiler.  This combined with their client made finding missing quests much easier.  I think that what they’ve done is that in order to get more people using their client to record drops etc, they’ve added the quest tracking functionality as an incentive.  Well, lemme tell you, it works fantastically.  Granted, WoW itself doesn’t always record that you’ve completed a quest when you have, so that information isn’t being reported to the Wowhead client.  For the most part, though, if there’s a quest on your unfinished quest list that you’ve done before, it may look familiar.  I used the list of quests mostly to located quest givers that I hadn’t yet visited.  Because the quests are in alphabetical order by quest title, it can be hard to locate the first quest in a chain that you still have to complete.

While I was working through all the zones, I also had the Seeker achievement tracking up.  It’s strange to note the differences between which quests count for Loremaster and which count for Seeker.  In the end, I wound up getting Seeker with four quests left for Loremaster.  I know other people have gotten Seeker well before that.  For a while, I was on track to get Loremaster first.  I’m not entirely sure what’s going on there, but I’d be interested to know if anyone else is noticing the same thing.

Now, however, it’s on to some rep grinding for us.  We need some rep reward mounts to fill out the stables. I also want to make sure that I hit up all the old world dungeons before the big boom.

Loremaster Daniora

Daniora and Thoothun hangin' in Dalaran.

Apr 9 2010

Gerp and Henry inspired projects

Now that these have been sent off and received by their intended target, I can make a post about the projects that have been keeping me busy for a while now.

I need to preface this story with a little background information.  For those of you who don’t know, Scott Johnson is a very talented comic artist and podcaster.  His shows are always of the highest quality and unbelievably entertaining.  I’ve been listening to all of his stuff for a while now.  He plays World of Warcraft, and his main is an Orc hunter named Gerp whose favorite pet is a tiger named Henry.  This has spawned all sorts of things, like the Obey Henry movement.  I’m a huge fan of Scott’s, which is where this crazy story begins.

Just before Christmas, I was working on some gifts with fleece.  I got this crazy idea in my head that I could make a pretty good Orc hat.  Oddly enough, that’s a perfectly reasonable thought for me to have on any given day.  Then I thought of doing a tiger scarf rather in the style of the old fox stoles.  You know the kind.  The ones with the feet that dangle off the end and such.  Now, I have ideas like this all the time.  Projects that I could do tend to flit in and out of my mind while I’m working on other things.  This one was different.  This one stuck.  I found myself thinking through the construction problems and details that would need to be worked out. I imagined what it would look like finished.

I got a basic hat pattern so that I wouldn’t be working completely blind.  I chose one with a band at the bottom that would serve as the separation where his mouth would be.  I got myself some screenshots of Gerp off of the Armory (which was much easier now that it’s new-and-improved with 3D goodness) and got to work.  The braid was pretty easy, the ears were a challenge.  I got plastic doll eyes and gave him eyelids (which I thought was rather brilliant, if I do say so myself).  All in all, other than a few snags, it came together pretty smoothly.

Detail of the Gerp Hat

The finished product.

He’s even got the sweet braid down the back.

Back detail of the Gerp hat

Sweet braid!

Alright, hat done.  The scarf proved to be much simpler. They tell me that tiger striped fleece exists.  It does not exist at any of the area Joann’s Fabrics, so I was unable to acquire it.  Besides, it was not quite the right colors for Henry.  I cut a big long piece of fleece and sewed all the triangle strips along it.  I made the little feet to hang off the ends.  To keep the scarf from getting too bulky, I opted to do a flat head and tail with only the ears sticking up.  Sadly, my pictures of the scarf aren’t quite as good as I would have hoped, but you’ll get the idea.

Overview of the Henry scarf

The scarf in all it's glory.

His face turned out a little sweeter than I expected, but I think it’s a little bit precious.

Henry's sweet face

So sweet!

On one of the episodes of The Instance (Scott’s World of Warcraft podcast), he mentioned that he wished there was a Henry plushie.  This was right after the Blizzard release of their new plush line.  Since Brian gave me a book on making fleece animals, I thought I’d try my hand at a tiger.  Now, again, I didn’t have any tiger print fleece, which is what they used in the book, so I had to improvise and add the stripes to the fabric pieces as I went along.  There are a few spots where they’re a little strange, but I think it turned out pretty well in the end.  I even printed out a custom “Obey Henry” tag.

Henry Plush with tag detail

And he's extra cuddly!

I had an absolutely fabulous time working on all these projects.  It was great to have a focused outlet for my creativity and something to fill the time.  And it was all worth it knowing that I was sending it to someone I knew would appreciate them.  Along the way, I figured out that the only possible fate for these items was for me to send them to Scott himself.  He got them today, and I’m really excited that he liked them so much.

Scott with his presents

He wears it well.

I’ve put up a flickr album with all the pictures of this stuff.  I’m excited to move on to the next big thing.

Mar 19 2010

[WoW] My pet peeve about pet classes

Hello. My name is Daniora and I am a demonology warlock.

Saying that always sounds like I should be standing in front of a support group for people who don’t know any better.

Some people are alt-aholics, I’m a main-aholic.  When I decided to make a character on Earthen Ring to join AIE, I made another warlock.  I had contemplated several other options, but I shuddered at the thought of leveling all the way to 80 with any of them (and I hate playing Death Knights, so that wasn’t really an option). So, my warlocks and I are pretty close.  We’ve been through some hard times together.  We’ve been called “Failock” in pugs.  We’ve heard “If you respec’d this way, you’d have a much better spell rotation for maximum dps.” We’ve been laughed at in battlegrounds. In spite of it all, we soldier on.

I leveled from 1 to 80 doing two and a half instances at level.  I’ve never been one for dungeon running. I wasn’t concerned with getting the best gear or having the highest dps.  It’s been a long time since BC, though, and I had to find something to keep me busy.  I did a bit of research and found information on stats that was easy enough for someone who couldn’t be bothered to do the math to understand and started suiting up my lock. Courtesy of the random dungeon tool, I’ve got myself geared up pretty well now.  I hold my own in DPS in heroics.  But here’s the thing.  Being spec’d out the way I am now, I could never raid. The same thing goes for beast mastery hunters.  In both cases, these specs are not viable for end game, certainly not if you want to be taken seriously.

So what.

I know there are plenty of you out there who would just say to change specs and move on.  I, however, want to play the game in a manner that I find the most entertaining.  For me, it’s demonology warlocks all the way.  I could move a few points from here to there and dramatically increase my dps.  The downside is that I would no longer be able to transform into a giant purple demon… and that’s just not okay with me.

A warlock that doesn’t take full advantage of the monstrous demonic powers drawn from the void is really not that different from other casters. Having demon pets and strange abilities is what makes them special and sets them apart.  There’s a similar situation with hunters.  I’ve been in a fair number of pugs where the hunter’s pet was just around for buffs and almost never attacked at all. By marginalizing these two specs, Blizzard is taking the thing that makes these two classes unique from any other and making them unsuitable for higher end content.

Now, before I’m attacked by all the destro warlocks and marksman hunters, let me just say that I have no problem with them.  As I have said, I’m all for playing the game in whatever manner you find most entertaining.  I also know that not every spec should be appropriate for every situation.  However, at least in the case of a full metamorphosis demonology warlock, that spec is not really great in any situation. The problem I have is with how Blizzard has taken the two specs that make warlocks and hunters most unique among all the other classes and made them completely nonviable for end game. If you want to a) raid and b) play a demonology warlock you are c) out of luck.

Small side note regarding marksman hunters.  I think it would be awesome if they made a hero class similar to Sylvanas’ dark rangers.  They would be like marksman hunters, but without a pet.  Sort of an Artemis thing. (I’d go so far to say that it should only be open to female toons, but I know that would never fly.)

All I’m asking, Blizzard, is to give those of us who play pet classes the ability to use those pets to our maximum advantage. I want my ability to metamorphosize into a demon to play as awesomely as it looks.  I’m hopeful that Cataclysm will fix a lot of these things with the whole mastery thing, but I truly believe it’s something they should think about.

Dec 31 2009

2009: The Year in Review

Alright, so I have way too much to do for the New Year’s Eve party that’s starting in a little over an hour to really do a post of this magnitude any justice, but we’ll hit the highlights, shall we?

  • Got engaged.
  • Played too much WoW… or maybe not enough.
  • Lots of people had lots of precious babies and I love them all.
  • Lost my job.
  • Several weddings.
  • Listened to hundreds of podcasts, most of them involving Scott Johnson.
  • Did a bit of artwork, some drawing and a bit of sculpting.

All in all, it was  a pretty great year, aside from the losing my job bit.  Brian is a wonderful partner to have in life and I look forward to spending another year with him.  There’s a lot of big stuff on the way in 2010, and I’m really looking forward to it.

I wish everyone a very happy and healthy 2010!!

Oct 25 2009

Think Geek Pumpkin Contest: The Portal Pumpkin

Decided to try my hand at designing a pumpkin for the Think Geek contest.

Behold!  The Portal Pumpkin!!


I’ve included two different versions.  One where all the pieces are simply cut out and one with a mixture of cut out and shaving down the skin to make it thin.  For best results, carve it on two different pumpkins and light one with a yellow light and one with a blue light.  I’ll post pictures of my carving as soon as I get it done.

Oct 7 2009

[WoW] Homegrown Figure Print

The Instance podcast had a contest this week to make your own FigurePrint.  I had a ton of fun, though there were definitely a few setbacks. Behold, Amelinda the Blood Elf warlock of AIE.


I found out yesterday that the cut off for entries was today.  So it was a long night last night and I wish I’d had a bit more time.  But I’m really pleased with how she turned out.  Because of my issues with indoor lighting, I had planned on taking the photo outside.  I woke up this morning to pouring rain.  Fortunately, rain stopped and the sun was out just long enough for me to get some great shots.  I took a bunch in the garden, but the best ones came from the wall of the cemetery across the street.  Very appropriate, I thought.  I’ve got some in progress shots as well as the finished ones in an album for your enjoyment.  Just click the image above. The in progress ones stop abruptly when I realize I only have one more day to finish.

Sep 27 2009

[Illustration Friday] Pattern

Brian found Illustration Friday and I think it’s just great.  After the fun we had doing the Super Art Fights together, these topics are rather more wide open and interesting.  This is my first shot at one of them; the topic just spoke to me.  As soon as I saw it was “Pattern”, I immediately knew what I was going to do.


Jul 17 2009

We’re up and running!!

Hello, fair readers. Behold, the brand-spanking-new Please keep in mind that I’ve only just begun working on the site, so it’ll probably be a little rough for a while. When I transferred over the Blogger posts, all the tags got converted to categories and it was a big mess. I’ll have to go back and touch up the old stuff. And I’m not crazy about the theme… But hey, we’re here.

Also would like to call to your attention a second project I’ve begun collaborating on. I am now a blogger at the newly revamped It’s covering all things SciFi and geeky. As of this posting, no posts from me there yet, but I’ve got about 3 of them partially finished. I’ll pull those together soon.

So, enjoy!!

Jul 13 2009

Another successful zoo trip.

I love going to the zoo. I love the animals. I love the photo opportunities. I love watching the people watching the animals.

On Saturday, Brian and I took a trip up to York Wild Animal Kingdom in York, Maine. Neither of us had ever been up there before. Aside from a little parking snag, it was pretty great. They have a big amusement park as well as the zoo.

Now, let’s face it. These are animals. There is always the chance that perhaps some animal or other may be engaged in… ahem, delicate activities. Of course, there are animals that you would be more likely to expect this sort of behavior from. I think anything from the ape family is highly suspect. Monkeys too. The big cats maybe.

But no!
For the first time, Brian and I saw animals engaged in such activities while at the zoo. And it wasn’t a pair of primates or the big cats. Not even the giraffes, though I feel that would have been an enlightening experience. No, it was the tortoises.

So as wonderful as the rest of the zoo was, there was just no getting away from the tortoises. There were several other highlights, especially the kangaroos who were SOOOOO close and the prairie dog Alamo. You can see the rest of my photos from this trip here.

York Zoo 7-11-09