what’s that sound?

through a convoluted series of events that span almost an entire year and include writing classes and comic book fans, i’ve been invited to participate in a closed beta for an up and coming …um… let’s go with “conversation site.” they define themselves much better and it’s probably better for me to just quote them instead of plagiarize:

Murmur is not a blogging platform. We are not a social networking site. We aren’t your home on the web. We are your soapbox, your flyer on the telephone pole, your crazy man at the bus stop, your pulpit, your reviewer’s seat, your talking head on the TV and your radio show.

got it? anyway, it’s a closed beta which means that while you can’t participate in the site yourself (by creating content or commenting on/rating existing content), you can read what others have written.

including me!

a few days ago i posted something that rumbles around my brain every time i hear that someone intelligent has read and on some level enjoyed twilight. i did my best to keep my utter distaste of the series at a minimum, and it looks like i’ve succeeded. feel free to judge for yourself.

it was so well received that i mustered up enough courage and free time to post another just now. since it’s primarily about how much i enjoy Warcraft, it likely won’t get the same reception as the first. i tried to make it as “approachable” as possible, but in the end, it’s still about warcraft. together though, they paint a pretty accurate picture of what i might bring to the site as a regular contributor, so no regrets.

how fab is all of that? almost a year after saying “i’m going to be a writer when i grow up!” i’m sort of kind of taking a step towards it. granted it’s a beta site and there’s no money involved and at some point anyone will be able to do exactly what i’m doing there, but hey, i’m doing it! even if this experiment ends up not going anywhere for me, it’s been an incredible confidence booster. i’ve always glossed over the praise and encouragement of family and friends because that’s what you do for people you care about. does this mean any praise i’ve given is false? of course not. i have a complete double standard on the concept and do not care. :)

the whole endeavor has been a great learning experience for me. i didn’t expect my writing style to change much from here to there, and even it hasn’t to the overlapping audience, it certainly has inside. i’m analyzing the words i chose more and culling out a large percentage of my rambling (but not all, it’s still got to be me, you know). random lessons from english teachers past have come creeping back in. i don’t want to be arrogant and say i didn’t realize how much better my raw talent could be with a bit of tweaking and purpose, but i think that’s probably the best way to describe it.

see? confidence! yay me!

silly blizzard, tricks are for kids

yes, yes, i’m sure that the people who put together the absurd amount of april fool’s jokes for your website(s) today are not the same ones that might have wanted to spend a bit more time with the patch you installed this morning, but still.

spending all that time on jokes only to have your entire network of servers go down not once, but twice (possibly more) after you “patched” them, makes you look very silly.

seriously?

so i quit WoW almost 2 months ago, but hadn’t gotten around to killing my account. every time i thought about, it wasn’t near my computer. tonight, i logged into their website to cancel it.

coolest part: i’d forgotten my password.

second to least coolest part: they give you a dropdown menu of reasons for quitting. when you select an option, you get a customized “we’re sorry you’re quitting” message. the addiction reads as such:

We are proud that we were able to make a sucessful, enjoyable game. And as much as we’d like you to keep playing, we understand that there are certain cirumcstances which may prevent continuous game play. Currently, we have no plans to delete World of Warcraft accounts regardless of their activity history. Provided that the characters do not get deleted by the account holder, we will retain all character information on our servers indefinitely.

no other option has a comment that even comes close to this. they’re all “we’re sorry you don’t like X, but you know it’s always changing,” or “we’re sorry you don’t think you can play because you’re too busy doing X, but have you considered that it might still be worth it for reason Y?”

least coolest part: under the personalized message (even when your option is addiction) is this:

The peon is full-on weeping now. We hope you’re happy.

accompanied by a few very sad character animations. such bad taste. i mean, i know they’ll get in trouble big time if the give an inch on the whole “we didn’t intentionally try to make it addictive” issue, but still. poor taste if someone’s got enough will power left to cut themselves off.

(and i totally linked to my quitting post in my detailed comment)

second opinion

another reformed WoW’er weighs in on life after the game. while his article is interesting in its own right, the comments thread is disturbing and fascinating. for every 4 or 5 posts from a recover(ing) addict, there are 2 or 3 from people who have lost or are losing loved ones, and one person so defensive of their own investment of the game that they attack the post and comment authors for being the real problem.

the gamer doth protest too much, methinks.

cold turkey

while multitasking at work yesterday, steve and i started chatting on a broad range of topics. i do not understand why he doesn’t read more books. he doesn’t understand why i consider participating in nanowrimo to be a guilty pleasure. this led to a more refined discussion about how for me, it’s about the story. i like absorbing stories. tv, movies, reading, writing, and playing the type of videogames i play (rpg’s) are fundamentally about the stories involved with them. whether it’s extremely passive like tv, movies, or games, or an act of creation like writing, that’s the primary reason i do it. for me, videogames (WoW, specifically) are that sort of perfect balance of interaction and passivity. so we started down the path about the danger of liking mmorpgs too much,and i started thinking about how i don’t actually write all that much anymore and i haven’t picked up a decent book in…oh god, it’s october so almost 10 months, right? and that’s when it hit me:

WoW is cheap vodka.

sure it gets me drunk well enough (in this analogy “getting drunk” means “satisfying my need for story”), but since i’m filling my belly with the cheap stuff, there’s no room in my life for the good stuff. for the finely aged merlot, for the champagne, or even for the really great martini made with grey goose instead of the grocery-store label vodka. it’s been keeping me from experiencing the things i enjoy not just because they’re minimally satisfying, but for the quality of the experience as well.

in that one instance i lost all desire to play.

so, dear reader, on this fine thursday that i’ve take off to detox and prep for a whirlwind of a weekend (there’s a wedding), i encourage you to indentify the cheap vodka in your life and dump it down the kitchen sink.