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What "lives" in houses.

Ace has been looking for houses. As a born digger who can practically find every little last scrap of information about things, I’ve been helping out as best I can, going through records, ownership histories, looking for bargains…just an all-around real estate gal Friday.

Well, he received an automated listing from his real estate agent.  In Las Vegas, in a very posh neighborhood to boot, a 4,000 square foot house on a half acre of land was available for the dirt cheap price of (get this) $99,000.
You do realize we all just did the same thing, right?  We all said, “Okay, what’s the catch?”
Here it comes.
When he saw that great big house on 1700 Bannie Ave listed for $99,000 he told me about it and we both kind of cocked our heads sideways. Over 4,000 square feet for $99K? 
I went straight to work on it.
It seems that house has a name.  It’s called “La Palazza” and oh boy does it have a history!
The house “La Palazza Mansion” located at 1700 Bannie Ave. apparently seems to be haunted, and it’s not good spirits either. Apparently the mafia owned the house and installed a secret room where they would kill people in it. 
Malevolent spirits apparently drove out the last owner in 2009 and it has sat vacant ever since.
I found the first clue on a Travel Channel show called “Ghost Adventures.” Here is the link to the episode on YouTube.
Here is a synopsis if you don’t want to watch it:
Okay, now we all know that I don’t fall easily for reality show hype with my disdain for Bunny Foo-Foo and that kiddie beauty pageant stuff, so I went over to the City of Las Vegas Website and to the Clark County Assessors Office and started to dig through public records. 
Originally it looks that the house was 2600 sq. ft. built in 1959.
The last time the house was sold was in June of 2009 for $340,000.  (Remember, it’s now listed as available for $99,000. I mean the economy tanked, but it didn’t tank THAT bad.)
Here’s where I got freaked. The house was originally built in 1959, right?
Well it doesn’t show to be owned until 1962 when it was purchased by a Doyle E and Lenore M Jordan.
Apparently it was changed over to a trust, the D&L Jordan Trust in 1989.
After that, it doesn’t show any changes until 1994 when it was purchased by a Jonathan A. Allen.
Four years later, in 1998 it was registered as owned by a mortgage fund, Goodrich and Pennington.
In 1999, it was sold to a Jefferey Talley.
In 2004, it was sold to a Ronald Nocum on July 19.
Almost one year later exactly in 2005, it was sold to a Nicholas Joseph Santucci on July 1.
Then again, almost one year later, on August 10 of 2006 it was sold to a Diane Martinez.
This time it lasted a little over a year when it was turned over to HBSC Bank on December 6, 2007.
The final entry for this house is a little over a year later again…June 6, 2009 it was sold to a Keith Resnick.
The current parcel number for the house is 162-04-210-020 when Mr. Resnick (who now lives in Santa Monica, CA) sold to the the Interstar Land Company LLC almost exactly three months later for $10 on September 15, 2009 and has been unoccupied ever since.
Buy a house for $340,000 but sell it for $10?  Doesn’t sound like good real estate savvy to me, but can you blame him?
Here’s the link for my source and you can flip through the building sketch, and ownership history yourselves.
Oddly enough, for the vesting of this house it is shown as “no status”, since listed as “Joint Tenanacy” for Mr. and Mrs. Jordan in 1962.
When it became even freakier was when we looked at the comps: all of the houses surrounding it have all been sold within the last two years. Transactions 1000 feet from the house start at $72,000 for 1213 Charmast Ln. which is in foreclosure and go all the way up to $1.5 million for 1250 Shadow Lane. 
Here’s the odd part about the one for $1.5 mil…it’s new registered owner is DTP Shadow House LLC, but records are only available up to 2000 where it was owned by the Fox family the entire time.
When I started to want to run, not walk, and snuggle my entire body into Ace’s armpit and never come out again was when I discovered that the house on the opposite end of the street, the opposite corner to it, isn’t even a house anymore…it’s been demolished. 1415 Westwood Dr. is worth $125,000 and sitting vacant having gone through a similar churn as 1700 Bannie.
You know, I used to work at Disneyworld and I knew plenty of folks who worked over in the Magic Kingdom and had a blast putting on their costumes to work at the Haunted Mansion. Well, now that I’ve actually found one, Walt can keep it. 
I told Ace after digging through all those houses that I will be damned if I set toe one in that neighborhood, I don’t give a rat’s tinker how gorgeous the neighborhood is. I’m a white girl that is now whiter than a sheet. I grew up in a haunted house. I don’t like ghosts even though the ones I grew up with watched over us very politely.
Yikes. So before I get even more freaked out, I’ll leave you with that. I’m just glad I’ve got good digging skills because when Ace asked me to look into it and the Google Search came up with “haunted” with the address, the hunt began and sure enough, it’s too good to be true.
Oh and btw, the guy who’s in charge of the listing, has it listed as “no show.” No wonder!
Even if Ace begs, I am NOT letting him set toe one into that house. 
I mean I know I’m a real handful sometimes, but I ain’t nothing on what’s currently “living” in that house.
Mmmhmm…and some people complain about their leaky faucets or having to replace a water heater.

Bookworm Rising

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog.  It’s been busy, busy around here.

Let’s start with a catch-up on what’s happening this semester, then onto today’s entry:

Spring 2013 marks me being just a few credit hours away from my degree after this semester, so I’m in the middle of the hunt for my minor, Family Studies, or as you’ll be seeing it abbreviated, MFT for “Marriage and Family Therapy.”

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking with a minor in family studies. Given my background, I might as well have signed up for electroshock treatments, but I’ll tell you this, it’s a sight better than the fascists over in Communications.  Don’t ask, I’m not even going to talk about it.  Just sufficed to say my experience with the Com staff was bad, actually, really bad, so let’s just leave that alone.  Still in need of a minor, I hollered at a famous face here on the Sophomore, the incredible Doc Cat, and she’ll not only be taking me through therapy techniques in MFT 428, but also acting as my adviser for the rest of my time at UNLV.   So, give a cheer, Doc Cat is back, hopefully she won’t have to tow me across the finish line in a big heap. Cross your fingers.

With MFT, all semester has just been one, long, triggered nightmare.  I actually had to beg out in the middle of my MFT 350 class two weeks ago because my triggers became so bad I actually had a puddle at my feet with how hard I was crying because my triggers went off so hard.  Of course you know what happens when my triggers go off that bad, right?  Through no choosing of my own, I literally want the blood of the people who hurt me. Given the topic that day, people better be thanking their lucky stars or whatever deity they fearfully worship, because it would have turned ugly really fast if I would have had proximity to a single soul responsible for my illnesses. Doc Cat has been telling me for years that I’ve been too lenient on the people responsible for my wonderful illnesses and that it is only natural that I am violently P.O.’d.  Trust me, if you think I wake up like a 2-ton bear with sharp claws and an attitude, you don’t ever, and I mean EVER want to see me triggered to the point I was a few weeks ago, it makes that bear look like a wimp. ‘Too lenient’ is keeping me out of trouble.

See, when I’m triggered really hard, all bets are off because nothing on this planet (outside of heavy sedation) will begin to control my defense mechanism which manifests as an uncontrollable flight response. If anyone gets in the way, purposefully blocking me from escaping, that person has taken their life into their own hands; because at that point, my illness doesn’t differentiate: it becomes extremely violent because all I comprehend is the raw, unbridled rage of my intrusive memories. Think of it this way, it doesn’t matter if it were Santa Claus or the Virgin Mary standing in front of me, I wouldn’t be able to tell. All I would see is my intrusive memories and given that I’m a lot stronger than I used to be, things go flying and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if some idiot got in the middle of that, they’d come away with an actual limp.  If I’d be coherent enough to realize it was someone who was actually responsible…oh gods, I don’t even dare want to think about what would happen. I’d probably end up in jail.

The worst part of it all? I have yet to see the extent of what’s hiding down really deep. With the taste of it I got two weeks ago, then another incident that followed, I actually fear how much anger is in there; and the gods help whatever dumb-ass decides to pull the Darwin Award-winning maneuver of turning it all loose.  I’ve become Bruce Banner in The Avengers. If you can’t quite remember, just take a glance back at Bruce Banner’s answer on how he controls his anger. I have the exact same answer.

The best part of it though? Ace. I’m so grateful for him, I can’t even begin to describe it because he’s helping me with the anger thing. Latent, repressed, all sorts, by now it sounds more like ordering a cup of coffee at Starbucks than an emotional management issue…”Yes, I’ll take a Grande Passive-Aggressive Cappucino in a Venti cup with two add shots of latent hostility, fill the rest with the milk of human kindness…mmhmm, that’s to-go.”

Oh, and here’s the funny part…seems as more folks from my adolescence have decided to friend me on Facebook. So, welcome to them.  Coffee, anyone?

Yes Hephaestus, my dear Editor, I hear you…I liked the coffee joke!  That was a good one! I can’t help but hear the cat with Sylvester in ‘Birds Anonymous’, “One little bird! Just one little bird! I gotta have it!”  No iLemming jokes? Oh come on, just one little iLemming? What about a medical spoof about how vicariously living through others leads to ill health effects? No? Oh Pbbbt.  You’re no fun.  

But, let’s get on to more fun things…like today’s fabulous post!

As I’ve written about on numerous occasions, I’m a really big fan of Sherrilyn Kenyon.  In all the years I’ve been reading her books about all of her PTSD-afflicted heroes, I’ve never resonated completely with a singular one of her Dark Hunters. Understood all of their stories perfectly? Yes. Knew 110% where they were coming from? Heavens, yes! Each and every book has been like a trip to the therapist and then some. Nobody writes about what I struggle with every day like she does.

My first Dark Hunter novel was one I actually got as a Christmas gift and it only took me about a week to finish it. Still to this day though, Acheron is a character I consider to be like a brother. I whooped, hollered and cheered my head off when Soteria handed out a long-needed talking-to; I’ve cheered many an hour for the Kattalakis boys, AND was just tickled pink to find out Zarek and Sundown loved playing Myst Online together!!! I love how she just spins all of her characters up in this huge, paranormal, dysfunctional family. I, like many of her fans, wait with bated breath to see which character is going to be next in the series.

Well, until we delve into the next part of the Chronicles of Nick with Inferno, her latest hero to step up to have his story told is Ren in Time Untime which I’m currently enjoying as my spring break pleasure read. Okay, I can now say there is a Dark Hunter that could easily exchange their story for mine.  I’ve never cried so hard in my life through parts of a book like this. Some pages are verbatim straight out of my life; so much so that I had to put it down at the end of chapter 7, wiping my eyes with my umpteenth Kleenex, saying to myself, “I can’t take anymore right now.”

I won’t lie, each of her books is really draining for me but really awesome with a healing upside…it’s one of those moments where you get to let out a sigh of relief and say,”It’s good to know I’m not alone and wasn’t the only one who went through something like that.”

So if you ever decide you need an adventure and Ms. Kenyon and her books seem appealing, have a ‘surgeon general’s’ type warning: When people call Sherrilyn Kenyon ‘author goddess’, they ain’t lying! Good to the last sniffle and bit of runny mascara, except with Bond cars and gadgetry, along with action packed portions that will leave you wishing you’d have learned a classical weapon or some type of martial arts fighting style.

Okay, enough of this weepy, girly crap already. Time to stow my C-PTSD whines and put on my cape so I can go do my ‘average, ordinary, everyday superhero’ routine.  The problem is…Edna Mode says, “No capes!” So I’ll just have to go with the Kill Bill “Clark Kent” analogy. That should lock up more than a few minds for the day.

Double-header of vid for you today, like the description of me turning into the She-Hulk wasn’t frightening enough…

First, that little analogy I mentioned earlier (which my ex-husband swears it’s so me):

And for those of you who know me really well and have been around for me leaping over tall buildings with a single bound, gimme a ‘damn straight!’ my sweeties, even with parts that are still broken, this one has been a long time in coming.  The second, by Smashmouth, is the song of the day:

Hey Momma Kitte…this one is for you:

God and His Sense of Humor

Last night I had the weirdest dream.  Now, y’all know me, I’m not one to talk about religion, well unless those pesky “do as I say, not as I do,” Sunday Christians show up beating their bibles but sin their pants off all week long…*shrug*  I might have my opinions and they may not necessarily mesh with yours, at least I can say I’ll sit and give you a polite listen.

Well, that dream last night was one of those that well, it’s like the Ant and the Boulder. Now I don’t know what’s up with me and ants except maybe that I admire them because they can carry hundreds of times their body weight without a single complaint in the world.  Maybe I gravitate towards ants because they work together as a cohesive team, one big family making sure everyone makes it through one more day.

But enough about all that, let’s get to that dream:

*Ahem* (as I get into a Paul Harvey/Andy Rooney mode…)

Yesterday was nothing eventful or special, so as I laid back into my pillows, I drifted off to a peaceful sleep.  Before I knew it, I was standing on a roadside in Texas watching the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes waving in a warm spring breeze.  As I was taking in a scene I hadn’t thought of in years, I heard a man clear his throat, and to my surprise I turned around and it was God.

Anyone who knows me knows the first thing I’m going to say, and of course he looked into my eyes and said, “Yup, it’s me.  Now before you say anything, I know you have your misgivings and you’re prone to doubt, but I figured just once I’d show up and give you that proof that you’ve longed to see with your own eyes.”

And with that, God waved his hand and day turned into night.  Something about the surroundings gave me a start and God said, “Do you know where we are?” To which I replied, “Hey, we’re on Texas Avenue!”  It was then in the far distance my eyes could make out just barely the beautiful letters that spelled “K-Y-L-E F-I-E-L-D.”

I turned to God and said, “Hey, I’ve been up and down this road all my life, we’re not a stones throw from my family, cousins and kin.”  And God said, “Yep, this I know only far too well, I was there at Central Baptist the day you got dunked and I have to say I loved your giggle when your mom slipped in the baptismal.”  We had a quick chuckle, then his face turned solemn. “But I’m sad to see your faith completely slipped away, so I’m here to restore to you a little bit of goodwill.  You see, you could say I’m not a very ‘hands-on’ kind of guy, so I’ll beg your forgiveness when I didn’t show up as you cried and cried.  But for you, just this once, I want to show you how special you are to me.”

Just then we saw a pair of headlights driving up the road, and well, the worst caterwauling you’ve ever heard was coming out of the passenger seat.  It was a man and a woman driving along in this little sports car with the woman and one of those little purse dogs both just a-yowling, singing along with the music on the stereo, the woman praising herself for the magnificent voice she had and how incredibly beautiful she was.  As we watched God leaned over and explained the scene to me.  The man who was bunched up and uncomfortable  in the driver’s seat had been deceived by that caterwauling thing – and he had begun to see that her claims of love and fidelity were just a ruse to get through to his pedigree (and his family fortune no less).  The poor guy, he just looked miserable in that driver’s seat.  Just then God produced a phone from his robes and made a call to a gal who seemed to owe him a favor.  Well, just as God hung up his phone, Mother Nature called on the driver, begging him to pull over and ease his aching bladder.

Yup, you guessed it, they stopped right in front of the home of our beloved Aggies, great ol’ T.A.M.U.

Well, as the driver tried to quickly get his embarrassing problem quickly taken care of, that prideful gal went on a sort of well ‘verbal tinkle’ of her own, I guess you could say.  She scoffed and sneered and made it very clear that she didn’t have much respect for the Ag’s.  She ranted and raved, saying that her school and A&M had been rivals for years, and how A&M was low class, how the school was awful and so forth.  It was then God reached down and hit his ‘Mute’ button for us, at which point I looked at God and said, “For Uncle Bill’s sake!  Excuse my question, but that accent of hers doesn’t sound anything like she went to T.U. in Austin, does it?”  It was then that God gave me a wink and said, “You’re absolutely right, that gal’s from Indiana, and to blasphem like that, not but a hop skip and a jump from where Tex Schramm made sure I could see my Cowboys play every Sunday!  I’ll fix her wagon for being so prideful and vain, she’s taken her snide trickery too far I say!”

He wiggled his finger right where her tantrum was the worst.  As she kicked at the ground with her bellows and wails, her foot sliced through a mound of fire ants so red they looked like they had sprung from hell itself!  Those ants went to speedy work not only stinging that prideful gal, but her vain pocket pooch as well! The driver of the car, finally figuring out what was happening, just stepped right to the trunk of that little scrunched up, uncomfortable coupe and fished himself out of his ice chest a cold Shiner Bock.  He popped the top, took a long swallow and chuckled to himself as he witnessed the debacle.  That prideful girl howled and the dog sang along with that too, until a campus cop arrived to find out what was the matter.

That poor man stuck behind the steering wheel for the sake of those two ant-covered monsters, reached back into the ice chest in the trunk and offered that nice officer a beer.  He said,”As you can see, these two have made the acquaintance of a whole mound of fire ants.  I think I can handle it from here.”  Well, as the campus cop had a giggle, he turned down the beer and took off wishing the man well, laughing his way down the road away from that caterwauling girl and her silly pocket pooch.

And as the scene wrapped up, the man looked down at his frosty bottle of beer and sighed, “What a waste,” as he drenched that poor pooch from fur to skin in fine Texas beer.  With the pooch shivering and quiet, he looked at that vain, selfish monster he had married, looked toward God and said, “What have I done?”  God said not a word, he just looked over at me and then back onto that dreadful scene.

It was then that the poor driver reached back in to the trunk of the car, grabbed two cold ones, popped their tops, sighed,”What a shame,” and began to hose down his vain and malicious wife, with one of the few laughs he’d have while married to that terrible thing.  He stuffed both woman and dog smelling of wet canine cologne and marred Texas brew to take them to a hotel where he’d sleep with his head under his pillows to escape those evil two.

It was then God turned and said,”I’m glad you listened when I sent word to you to greet everyone you meet with a smile on your face and love in your heart.  I’m grateful that you’re trying your best to lead your life as one of humble service.  But most of all, I’m so glad you know the price of pride, greed, and envy.  For that, dear girl, is why I’m here with you today.  As you could tell, those ants were no accident.  So since I gave you that one chuckle, I think you can have a little faith just this once. Because remember, I might not be very hands-on, but for those who are doing their best, not just talking about it, but really doing it…being their very best not just on Sundays, but every day of their lives.  So I know you’re into this little thing called ‘a-theism’, but do me a favor, one day when you need me the most, give me the benefit of the doubt.”

As God turned and walked away, I heard him gently say, “Keep your chin up, I’m never far away and remember…I’m always watching.”

Dun, Dun, Dun…midterms

Do you know in the entire time I’ve been going to UNLV, I think this is the ONLY semester where I’ve actually had mid-term exams?  Yeah, if I recall correctly, I’ve not had a mid-term two weeks like this ever.  This sucks!

Mid-terms started with the wonders of Virtual Worlds.  Ok, you guys can just shut up with the “That’s not fair…” business.  Yes, I took my mid-term in 447, “Survey of Virtual Worlds and Social Media.”  Hey, I’m learning Unity!  Okay, yeah…I’ve had to play Second Life *barf*, those who know me know how I disdain that relic, but then I got to play WoW, and Minecraft…and oh, let’s see…URU!!!!!  Oh yeah baby!  Two weeks talking about my homeworld and my people!  Cavern Blood Runs Deep with Uru Pride!  (Doesn’t hurt I’m in the textbook…)

Next was my mid-term in Mass Media and American Politics…that was, okay….

After that was my Philosophy 102 exam…critical thinking….hmmm, wonder when I do that….hmmm….

But, the killer is on Monday.  Com 216 – Survey of Communications.  Plato, Aristotle, Burke, and a whole bunch of guys who make up the Humanities Tradition in communications.  I actually really enjoyed the lectures in this part of the semester, so with some reading and a whole ton of studying, only to take breaks to focus on World Concept, I should be good and busy until at least Monday afternoon at 4pm.

Speaking of…I have got to go out to vote…get it done early so that the campaign people stop calling my house.  At this point, I don’t care if the candidate is blue, red, indigo, purple or damn aquamarine…if those doodah’s don’t stop knocking at the door and ringing my phone, something nasty is going to happen to all those mud slingers, and I won’t be responsible for my actions.  Last week a republican vote solicitor wore my front door up his nose because he pulled the ultimate faux-pas…he woke me up.  Each and every one of you just cringed…I saw it!  I know you know what happened to that poor fella, he got eaten, first because he did the one thing you KNOW not to do, which is wake me up with startling or loud noises (moron just had to pound on the door), the second was just on general principle because he was a republican and touting a known town charlatan.  He actually had the audacity to shout through my door, “Won’t you even consider a republican for a local race?”  Sweeties, the guy could have been made out of money and hopping up and down like a jackrabbit with two golden rabbit’s feet, but if I am rudely woken up, all bets are off and you’re lucky if you get away with skin still attached.   When I first wake up, you better pray to whatever diety you worship that I’m in a good mood, otherwise, run for the hills because I have all of the tone, manner and demeanor of a large, lumbering, ticked off 1000lb Eurasian Brown Bear!  Ever seen the size of the paws on those guys?  Ask someone who has rudely woken me up, they can tell you from first hand experience. LOL!

But I had a laugh yesterday as 216 was wrapping up…Do you know that one of my professors purposefully watches the Weather Channel all during September-November?  He does it because it’s the only channel that DOESN’T show political ads.

I’m curious about winter storms, aren’t you???  Maybe they’ll put on some nature show so I might spot a bear while I’m studying and working.

Have a great rest of your week!

The Comeback, Part II

I am starting to believe that comeback stories are, for the most part, a collection of moments that detail great momentum forward, followed by small setbacks.  Okay, sometimes tall, handsome, blue-eyed setbacks.  Nonetheless, it’s an ever constant need to put one foot in front of the other.  At times like this I fall back huge to my Myst teachings, Rand Miller as Atrus always makes me feel better at times like this, especially when I can watch the ending of  Myst IV: Revelation:

I can’t watch that without bawling my fool head off.  On sooooo many levels… but the part that is the most important to me is the part where he says, “Endings are just another form of beginning, I guess. And the harder an end is to face, the more hope we bring with us to the next beginning.” Welcome to week one of the six-week long epic suck. I remember when my ex hit the door, so do you.  Oh gods, I did not want to do this again, but it comes with the what-should-be reassurance that my heart, however broken it is, still works.  It’s capable of giving and it’s still capable of going once again through what is sure to be a six-week epic suckfest.  It’s going to be six weeks of bone-jarring fun from discovering all of the little little things left behind by Ace and the moments of burying my face in my pillow to keep my neighbors from hearing me cry night after night. It sucks, but it has to be done.  Like Rand says, endings are just another form of beginning, and I get to begin again, tightening down on everything in my life that has been neglected after a year of taking my eye off the ball.  And, just because he’s down the road doesn’t mean I get the luxury of caving.  I was just standing in the bathroom, looking myself in the mirror telling myself, “We know the first six weeks are going to be hard.” It was then that I opened a drawer and found Ace’s shaving cream.  What happened next wasn’t pretty because I just collapsed next to my bathroom vanity in long sobs.  I’m not pretty all puffy faced, but that’s why I’ve got y’all and my daffy blog, trying to remind myself that hopefully, like Mary says, ‘this too shall pass.” It’s been three and a half days.  I can do this.  I can get up off my rump and tackle things that need tackling. It’s like what Marcus Aurelius said, “it’s up to you.”  Yeah it is up to me.  So, I’m going to dry it up, get myself together and go to bed, try to sleep, which we already know isn’t going to go well, but hey, eventually I’ll fall asleep.  At least I’ve got a new Kenyon novel.  The story of another beaten and battered soul made whole when it’s given enough love…oh hell, I can’t even read that.  I might just snuggle up with my philosophy book, maybe that will help.  Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow a bit more stoic and able to handle the next six weeks not-so-horribly. To relax, I’m going to stick to an old standby, it helps me sleep.  Hopefully it will do the same for you too.

The beauty of being the boss…

If you’d ask anyone in my huge, extended, real life family who “The Boss” was while we were growing up, 9 out of 10, you’ll get back the name of one very special woman.  My Aunt Sissy, or to my father she was “Babysis”, or if you just preferred first names, she was Helen.

Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you that being “the boss” is one of the world’s hardest things.  How she did it after my grandmother died, I have no earthly clue.  She was literally keeping up with family in at least four different states, knew everyone’s name and knew the details that even the CIA couldn’t dig up.  She knew who was who, who was married to who or who was even dating who. J. Edgar could have used a woman like her because I’m convinced she knew everything.

Well, when you’re wrangling 50+ people, you’ve got to have a special talent for it. The only other person I know with the genetic code able to pull off what Aunt Sissy did all the time is Nan.  You want to mobilize an army?  Talk to Nan, she’s got a whole army up her sleeve because she knows so many people and keeps track of that many more.  (Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if my nephew had a tracking chip in is boot…nooo, I’m just kidding…Ryan, stop looking in your shoes, I was playing!)

No, but seriously, it takes a lot to be the boss.  You have to make sure that every day you remember that “leadership is about support”.  You have to remember that when you speak, you have to make sure it’s kind, gentle and tasteful.  Most of all though, your diplomatic skills are in high demand if someone’s just stepped on their whatevers because it’s left to you to remember that it’s your job to hear them howl, then remember not to decapitate them for being so incredibly silly as to masochistically pulverize their own private parts out of sheer stupidity.

I know you feel me on this.  I can not be the only person in the universe that watches people day in and day out and wonder what hell goes on in their heads!  Well, the one upside when you’re the boss is that when things like that happen, all you need to do is give them “the look”.  I know you know which look I’m talking about…it’s the one that you’ve received from your mother or your wife or your boss, wondering what the hell are you thinking???

Which of course makes you want to curl up under the nearest piece of furniture in the fetal position.

No, see, those things are going to happen.  It’s just part and parcel of being the boss. Everyone but everyone at one time or another just “dummies it up”, you know what I’m talking about.  Dummies are everywhere, hell they even write a series of books for people who admit to being one.   Like it or not though, no matter where you work, dummies are a fact of life.  I’ve learned how to accept it and move on.  Hell, I even got to retire one recently, but that’s really not the beauty of being a boss, but it sure does give you a Cheshire Cat-sized grin when you get to do it.

Keeping track of people, shaking your head at the dummies, being supportive, those are all really the nuts and bolts of being the boss but…

Today I’ve found out the world’s best perk about being a boss.  You get to delegate.  Well holy shit…this one is a new one for me because I’ve never done it before.  I actually delegated today.  I took one of my six jobs and whittled it down to five. I finally found someone to take over one portion of my workload. Ever since I have, I just may melt into a big pile of goo because of the tremendous weight that it has lifted off my shoulders.

Tell Babe Ruth to move over, shove ol’ Giambi and Jeter aside, I’m coming through – calling my shot and swinging for the fence because I actually found someone who is basically telepathic and understands where things need to go and how it needs to be done.  I tell you, sometimes it’s the hardest damn thing to find someone who is a perfect fit for a job, but once you find them, the overwhelming joy is well worth the trouble you had to go through to find them.

It’s like being able to be at home and work whenever I want without being pulled this way, that way or the other way.  The head rush of oxygen I’m getting because I’m getting to the point I can almost breathe is almost overwhelming.  Feels damn good for a change.

You know what, since it’s Friday night going into Saturd’y…I’m going to take myself out for a treat!


The evening afterward…

Okay, so we’ve made it through the world’s worst birthday.  Which means it’s time for me to kick it into gear and start writing again.  And I mean daily writing not this “hit and miss” bull I’ve been putting us all through just to save the feelings of a guy who treated me badly.

This is the point where I’m sure my editor would tell me that it’s time to brush off my sense of humor and start using it again, which I think he just might be right.  PTSD or not, this is one moment I’m not going to use my avoidant behaviors to get the better of me, I’m facing what’s happened to me head on – and I’ll be damned if I don’t laugh about it in some way, shape or form.

Don’t even get twisted, Ace (as usual) is reading along and he’s going to be commenting behind the scenes…my quandary is whether or not to post his horrible grammar, lack of spelling skills and overall inability to coherently communicate for all of you to see. Seriously, every time he writes he embarrasses himself, so I don’t know whether it’s more fitting to just delete his incomprehensible English composition skills which denote ‘his hurt feelings’ (yeah, right, like he’s got any, well, none he’ll express unless no one is looking) or let you guys see what I’ve had to put up with for the last year and three months. It’s so tempting to just show the world how bad it really is, but rather than be his sole judge and jury, I’ll let you post to the Facebook comments his fate…I’ll leave it to y’all on whether or not we pull his shorts down around his ankles and let you guys have at him full out.  It’s like my boss told me, “You’ve got a pack of big brothers that are just dying to get a hold of him for treating you badly.”  Not to mention a whole lot of other people who are just drooling to use him as a pinata in effigy.

Now that my phone hasn’t been ringing off the hook telling me how awful I am (when the truth is, I haven’t had the heart to pull my phone from my purse to read the text messages from Ace berating me for actually telling the truth about him on my blog) I’ve spent the day doing my laundry.

I’ve also spent today grateful for HBOGo.  Hey, when you’re a single girl and you’re breaking down every five minutes into heart-wrenching sobs over the fact that you allowed yourself to get treated like dirt and constantly disappointed for the last year, a Sex and the City marathon is just what the doctor ordered.

While watching the show, peculiar moment after peculiar moment has been popping up, ones that sit there and scream “since when did Ace get a role on Sex and the City?” as I’m zooming around my house cleaning, doing laundry and so forth.

The first peculiar moment came while I was watching the end of Season 2, you know, where Carrie finally tells Big to get lost and she revels in the fact that once you’re single again, you get time to do your laundry, clean your apartment and wail to all of your friends how awful your ex-boyfriend was?  Being that I don’t have any real friends in town, I get to skip all that, except to write it here, and just like Carrie wails on about Big, I just don’t have the heart to emasculate Ace one more time except to say that to outline all of Ace’s shortcomings wouldn’t be my style.  He’s really a great guy, he’s just got too much on his plate to actually be emotionally available.  Well, that and the fact that his ex-wife has broken him beyond repair doesn’t help his case much.  That he’s got an ungrateful, feral kid to boot just wraps it up in one big package that says, “Don’t go there.”

Anyway, as I kept watching, I was reminded what it was like to be in my early 30’s again, married to the ex, completely miserable, and then it dawned on me…was I so much like Carrie that I just kept picking the wrong guys?

I’m 41, which if I listened to another film from my early 30’s Sleepless in Seattle, I have all of the likelihood of finding a real relationship as I do being killed by a mugger on the street. Which I have to say, that thought isn’t remotely reassuring, so I’m just going to refrain from dating altogether.  I walk away from Ace with only one thought in my mind:  Dated, done it, have the t-shirt, don’t need to go there again.

But, between episodes, and between one Sex and the City epiphany after the next, I sat here drying my eyes as sometimes I’d have to hit pause just so I could have just one more heart-wrenching sob, use up another half-box of tissues before I could get up, move my laundry from the dryer to the top of the dryer to be folded, and the clothes in the washer either moved to the dryer or be hung up to air dry.

After about the 20th thing I put on a hangar to air dry, I suddenly looked around my laundry room and thought, “When did I get so many clothes?” when the truth really was, “When the hell was the last time I did full on laundry, ironing and all?”

The answer:  “Before I started dating Ace.”

What was worse was trying to make myself a pot of coffee, looking down and realizing that the plug next to my sink wasn’t working.  Ace, during all the months that I dated him, wailed on and on that he couldn’t do anything for me; he couldn’t fix my car, he couldn’t do any home repairs and so forth, so the one moment I needed him?  I found the GFI switch in my kitchen, pressed the ‘test’ button and reset it.  The plug my coffee pot goes into is just fine, I just needed to reset the breaker.  Yep, he was right, I don’t need him to fix anything in my life, I can take care of it just fine, it just would have been nice for him to look like Superman for a moment.  I guess I’m Supergirl, because I can fix things just fine on my own.

Which reminds me of something I told my pal Haley not too long ago, “The first six weeks are going to suck, but results may vary, please check with your doctor.”  And even though I’m not quite up to going through the next six weeks of epic suck, at least all of Ace’s laundry that has been left here or brought home with me is adding up in one neat little pile by the front door, just waiting to be picked up.  I’ll be damned if I drive another inch for his benefit, but at least the clothes he’ll pick up from here will be clean, folded and ready to wear.

Yes, I know, I’m so pathetic.  I should have dumped them all in the toilet and cleaned with them. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, so they’re neatly folded, smelling like Downy by my front door.  I’m praying I don’t have to look into Ace’s eyes when I give them back, it would be a moment of weakness where I would either cave and take him back or what I fear most, it will illicit a complete reflex response that would see me literally kick him square in the balls.

So, as I look over at the clock with it reading almost midnight, I’m going to put on my cordless headset back on, press play and enjoy watching Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda act out more parts of the last year of my life.

Viagra and all.

Oh well, at least I’m getting things done, right?  It’s my time well spent.

For the song of the day, I’m going to invoke the right to be selfish, so this one is for me.  I’ve come to the point where I realize that my oldest personal adage is true:  “There is nothing in the world a man can give me that I can’t give myself.”

Forty, plus one more…

As usual, it’s time once again for my annual birthday post.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I’m so far behind in posting anything, I’ll be surprised if one person reads this.

41. They say after 40, life just keeps getting better and better.  At this point I really feel like grabbing whomever “they” are and knocking them on their butts because from my viewpoint, they really don’t know jack-bupkus about what happens after 40.

But let’s start our little tale on Monday night, the 24th, the night before my birthday.  I’ve not been keeping everyone up on what’s been happening with me, so let’s do a quick catch-up before we start in on the disaster that started at 7:40 on Monday night.

The semester at school has started (and at writing that I do a facepalm knowing that I didn’t do the semester preview like I usually do).  I’m taking Philosophy 102, COM 216, and Journalism 447 and 484.  But, the semester started out as a disaster as well because on top of the six jobs I’m doing at work (Ad/PR, Asset Management, Shop Management, Quality Assurance, Head of Asset Creation and World Concept Design), I’ve had to take care of Ace and his son full time.  I’m not sure but I’m pretty positive that creating whole worlds out of my imagination is a tough job, add the other five and breathing gets pretty tough, add on 12 credit hours and two men who have absolutely no concept how much harder they’re making your life as they ungratefully suck your soul out and give nothing back in return? It just equals one giant disaster that I’m not even sure that Mother Theresa or Gandhi could see their way clear to forgive.

So, just out of sheer exhaustion I’ve been missing classes, falling asleep during them, I’ve got my teams at work looking at me for answers I don’t have time to give and one concept artist who I can’t trust to do a single drawing without describing it to him word for word even though I’ve described it all in great detail in I don’t know how many e-mails.

But then, I ‘m expected, without even a consideration to how rough my world has become, to neglect my home, my life, my work and my studies for a man and his son who have no idea how to give anything back other than more stress, more heartache and just more and more trouble. I guess it was all summed up in my birthday card I received from the both of them that LITERALLY read:

“Hope you like the card, I pulled it out of my ass.” 

Yep, that’s how my day started, with me passing out on my couch out of sheer exhaustion Monday night only to open my door at 7:40 p.m. and have Ace tell me he had nothing planned on top of the fact that if I wanted to do anything, I’d have to pay for it myself and a card that read that he had no other consideration for me than that.  Of course the other card that came with it was written by Hallmark with an intelligible scrawl for a a signature that left me wondering who it was from.  No personalization, no nothing, just some scrawl attached to “oh how I’m so lucky to have you,” oh yes, sure, he’s lucky enough to have me around to shit on.  Gee thanks.  He actually had the audacity and nerve to sit there and tell me that the “card pulled out of his ass” was something he thought I would think was funny.  I can’t even sit and think about it without wanting to throw something.

At that point, I just threw him out.  I couldn’t take anymore.  If I was expected to take humiliation after humiliation, neglect after neglect then pay for his dinner too?  No.  Enough was enough.  He needed to go.

After all that, I got on the phone with KP, told him what happened and when midnight hit, KP and I were headlong into the latest WoW expansion Mists of Pandaria together.  Just like four years ago when I thought the world had ended, there was KP, as always backing me up.  We created two new pandas, mine by the name of Choppiestick and his by the name of Slapyouface.  At that point I was so grateful to hear the voices of KP, TJ, Drewbie and Kai, I didn’t realize how much I had missed by wasting the last year on Ace.

While we were leveling our new pandas, KP and I discussed the last year and how Ace was just my way of bouncing back after my ex bailed out with the Bassett Hound Faced Bitch, and how it was important for me to know that being alone wasn’t the end of the world, after all I did wait two years before even trying a relationship on for size.

At about 2 a.m. I passed back out again, happy that I could spend the beginning of my day with the one guy who’s been with me and EXTREMELY supportive come hell or high water for the last five years.

The next morning, I woke up on my couch and opened my laptop to find out that one of my best pals, a woman named Darla Lamb had been killed in a car wreck, the exact same moment Ace walked in my door the night before.  While I was being insulted by a card pulled out of his ass, Darla, in a moment of despair  drove her Toyota RAV4 head-on into a Semi and died on the way to the hospital.

So let’s count it up shall we?  I’ve got a boyfriend who treats me like shit and then one of my close friends drives her car into a semi, oh and on top of that, it’s my birthday.  I’ve got no support nearby, I call my mother and she tells me I need to be strong, but then, oh, let’s just light the candle on top of this whole thing when my boss tells me I can’t buckle under all of it, that I have to remain strong for everyone else.

Meanwhile, everyone’s knocking down my door for answers, e-mail addresses, and everything else that I’m just supposed to keep churning out without an ounce of support, no help and the one guy that could give me an ounce of relief 2500 miles away.

It’s hard not to sit here and cry inconsolably, it’s almost impossible to breathe but at least I found joy in one thing:

I took myself to Spago.  This year, they made sure to have a coconut Cremé Bruleé waiting for me, along with my glass of champagne.  Peter was even nice enough to make me a chocolate orange shot.

So, if anyone is reading, which I doubt, if you feel like trying to repair my birthday in some way shape or form, keep that jerk Ace away from me and someone put together a little package that sends me to Hawaii for a week, just so I can say hi to KP.

And that was 41.  By far the worst birthday I’ve ever had.

Me…and my new laptop

Everyone knows that I’m pretty thrifty when it comes to buying things.  Actually, it’s a freaking miracle if I get anything for myself at all.  But, with work heating up, and me needing to be sitting in front of the machine all the time with school and so forth, I just stood up and hollered, “Damn it, it’s high time I got myself a laptop.”

And with Ace in tow, on Friday I did.
Just to put all of my iLemmings nerves to rest, nope, still no iAnything.  You keep trying to infringe, but I resist! I refuse to put myself in debt just to keep up with your trendy butts.  Oh yeah…what’s that, your iPhone 4S who lets you talk to yourself without looking nuts? Awww, poor Siri, her time is up…she’s being replaced with a quad-core, which is…what was that? YES, exactly what I’ve got in my little laptop.
Go!  To the cliff with you, hand over your first born to pay homage to Steve of the Hereafter! Um, entry-level iPads are actually just a hair less expensive than the actual LAPTOP I can do everything I do on my home computer, with the convenience of having it with me at school and it weighs the same as a Mac Mini but has three times the RAM.  Homogeneous iCulture.  While you sell out to own a piece of fruit with a bite already taken out of it, I’ll skip down the road, laptop paid for in cash money.  No bill left over.  But I can’t believe people actually take out FINANCING to pay for an iAnything.  Just goes to show how far people are still going to keep up with their neighbors.  Still shoving themselves in a financial hole while I run on winged shoes hollering,
But, now I must leaving the iLemmings to their plug-and-play bliss, saving up every last dime as they salivate and step on each other, to get rid of their perfectly fine, babbling brook of a phone who has all of the sense of humor a piece of styrofoam for a new iPhone 5.  If they want to be broke, that’s their business and they can morgage themselves to their eyeballs for their iWorld, it’s none of my business.  What I did get though is reminds to my favorite black-clad ciphers from The Book of D’ni.  The true example of what it is to live without pride…my beautiful relyimah.  The Unseen.
At only around 3 pounds, my new baby is light as a feather, perfect for lugging around campus for the beginning of…
So, now on top of work, I’ve officially taken on a crafting project.  My new laptop. 
Yes Barry, she’s an HP.  An M6 series to be exact.  Hey, shush!  I got a good deal and I shan’t have any iLemmings besmirching my new little darling.  She integrates perfectly with my huge desktop machine, except guess what, I’ve got an easier time working with my Wacom tablet because I’m not bound and shackled to my desk!
I will admit though, I was a bit disappointed at first when I found out it only came in black.  But, hey…after praying for one for a while now, I’ll take what fits within my price range and desired specifications.
Not to sound ungrateful, but it wasn’t until I got her home, unwrapped her and really took a look at her appearance that a grand idea hit me like a ton of bricks.  As the Book of D’ni said, “Clad only in black, they appeared to be more like ciphers than men,” so since she’s skinny as a rail, and clad all in black, shiny in some places and so forth, I started searching all over the Internet for a Myst-themed laptop…a skin of some type.   You know what I found?
Oh yeah…Dance with me…going to make my groovy laptop into something my Myst family will love!

What is incredibly ironic about all of this is that, well, the Myst franchise was born on the MacOS. Yep, a PC girl who digs on a game that was born as an iLemming.  Who knew.  LOL!

But, it doesn’t matter to me.  Myst is Myst and just like good people, it wouldn’t matter if it was blue, green, aquamarine, an apple or an orange, it’s good stuff, so I love it just the same.

Now how on earth do you start a process like this?  Well, easy really. First things first, is you have to get what you’re working on to look right, so you start by customizing your desktop.

  1. Start over at  Over there you’ll find Myst desktop wallpaper aplenty, if you’re like me, you grab them all and save them all into one folder.
  2. Then you  right-click the desktop and hit personalize.
    We’re concerned with the four little options at the bottom.
  3. Then just click on the desktop background and click on “Slideshow”.  Navigate your way to your folder with all of those great images created by the wonderful fella over at and select the folder. Don’t forget to choose how you want it to fit on the screen and how often you want the picture to change.  In my case I can’t ever get enough Myst so I set mine to five minutes.
  4. Then go to the next button “Window Color.”  For me, I picked a very nice, reminiscent of Channelwood rusty brown.  Everywhere in Myst you’ll find a rusty hue, so that’s what I went with.
  5. For the sounds, I’m not done yet.  I’ve got my game soundtracks that are just waiting for me and Audacity to sit down and make a few cool sounds.  I definitely want to see if I can make a bahro shriek my error noise.  LOL!  OR how about the logon sound being Yeesha’s voice saying “Shorah” in Uru!  Omg!  That’s hot, I GOTTA do it.
  6. Then for the screen saver, hey, you have to be inventive and a problem solver if you’re a Myst fan.  I went over to and picked up Sim Aquarium 3.  No, there’s no Whark in the aquarium. Sorry to say, but there is a setting to create what looks like rain hitting the water, making these groovy ripples that go over the screen when you move your mouse, kind of like in Eder Kemo near the book room to go back to Gira.

    Like this:


  7. The only things left?  The desktop icons and the external skin.  Those are works in progress.  I’m trying to figure out what I want to use as the D’ni equivalent of the recycle bin, my computer, and other icons I want to change or make uniquely Myst.
But, on top of all of that good stuff, I’m going to give it the final shove to make it feel like falling into the Star Fissure.  Here, let me give you a clue…
Custom D’ni numbers on the top line and the 10-key keypad.  That’s right!  Envy me. Combined with D’ni glyphs spelling “relyimah” on the cover skin with a few extra flourishes?  Oh yeah, now that’s MY laptop.
Wanna see how the desktop looks right now?
And yep, those are earthquake occurrences from the US Geological Service.  I’m such an earthworm!  Atrus would be proud.

Point of Genesis

Have you ever sat back and wondered where things come from?

Have you ever sat down in a movie, behind a video game or heck, just looked at the clothes in your closet and wondered, “Hey, who came up with the idea for that?”

Think about the guy who came up with the line, “The Cake is a Lie” and how many people when they hear it now scream, “PORTAL!”

Think about the guy somewhere out in the world who came up with the battle cry,”For the Horde” that now engenders thousands upon thousands of screaming fans to get up out of their seats in applause.

Those are just two examples of individuals sitting at the point of genesis creating something entirely new.

Here, let’s put it into your lap and have you think about it for a while.

What is a point of genesis?

Well, it’s where you sit and watch an entirely new concept take shape, but it takes shape according to YOUR ideas, YOUR judgement calls and otherwise everything YOU throw into it and it starts to brew and bubble on its own.  Imagine putting all of your imagination in a pot, then stirring and out comes a finished concept to present to the world.

I guess you could exchange “point of genesis” with the phrase “hanging your ass out on the line” because it’s not only risky, but highly taxing on the mind, body and spirit.

Do you have any idea how much pressure is on someone who sits at a point of genesis? Let’s grab Hottie #9 from my list, Chris Metzen, as an example.

Chris Metzen sits at a constant point of genesis. He’s a guy who comes up with characters, story arcs, whole places, continents and worlds that all spring straight from his brain.  From there, programmers, artists, modelers and a whole cast of working folks take his ideas and present them in digital format, i.e. the latest expansion pack that’s coming out for World of Warcraft, The Mists of Pandaria that just so happens to be launching on my birthday, September 25th.

Here, take a peek:

Now, after all that, I want you to sit in his chair for a minute:

Before they even began to make the announcement for what the players have now dubbed as Mists, Chris, Alex Afrasiabi and a whole crew sat down and pondered what they were going to do.  As he said, they had been through plenty of supervillains throughout the history of World of Warcraft, namely Ragneros in Molten Core, Illidan in Black Temple, Arthas the Lich King in Northrend, Deathwing over the skies of Cataclysm, I mean they have gone through the baddest cats on the block…who were they going to go after next?  Who was left?

Well, that left them sitting at the point of genesis where they had to come up with something entirely new.

Before the pandas showed up or the entirely new “continent” that those pandas call their home had been created, the guys up at Blizzard might have toiled for hours, days, weeks and months trying to figure out who the latest bad guy was going to be; or Chris Metzen might have a brilliant moment of inspiration as he stood in his neighborhood grocery store checkout line at the same time thousands of gamers were running to their nearest video game shop to tear Wrath of the Lich King from store shelves. We’ll never know.  But, having to think an expansion ahead, or even down to a content release ahead requires him and his team to sit at a point of genesis on almost a daily basis.  And folks, that is a very hard place to sit because the demands, and stakes, are extremely high.

I have always been one to sit back and have appreciation for what comes out of creative people’s heads. But, let’s face it, not everyone is that way. Not everyone sits back and looks at the creative process with a set of eyes that realizes that someone sat at their desk late into the evening, trying desperately to find that one brilliant creative spark that gave birth to what they now can use to fly, swim, ride or glide. In an online worlds sense, people don’t think that the design for their flying mount, hoverboat or other aerial conveyance had to come from someone’s brain before it hit the desk of the modeler, texture artist, QA tester, alpha tester, beta tester then finally to them. To be honest, I really don’t think a lot of people think about the creative process that went into the keyboard they type on or the smartphone they carry around in their pockets.  People have a tendency to forget where things come from, and to be honest, I think it’s pretty sad and for the most part, ungrateful.

For more YEARS than I can count, I have heard individuals tear into ideas. Heck, I’ve even laid into some of the more Darwinian mistakes with unbridled venom. I’ll be the first to say that I freaked out when they took out my beloved perma-tree form and replaced it with a Tree-Fro.  Come on, who ever thinks that the newest incarnation of a druid’s tree form is the least bit feminine, put your hand up so someone else can slap you for me. It wasn’t the brightest move, but still, the idea for that new tree form had to come from somewhere. Yes, I put up my hand and asked to look like a walking Wisteria, but come on, I thought for sure they’d at least make us gals look half way feminine.

Ok, here’s the before shot:

Now here’s the after, along with the Wisteria I was talking about:

Ya think maybe I’m feeling a little bit responsible for that? I actually posted, “I’d definitely go for a walking wisteria look” in public. To my shame, I’m the ONLY one who ever said anything about a wisteria…yet, there’s the tree form to prove it. I honestly feel like I’m responsible for both the tree form disaster and the “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign catastrophe because my winning entry over on the now-defunct Myst Movie site had in very large type at the bottom “Cavern Blood Runs Deep” six months before those commercials began to air, on top of the fact I had been using that phrase since 2004. Coincidences? Maybe, but from where I’m sitting, it’s very plausible that I could be very responsible.

My problem with sitting actively at a point of genesis is that I’m used to failure. Hey, I’m used to people thinking they know more than I do and shoving me out of the way, that’s why becoming Phi Kappa Phi was such a damn shocker! Over the years I’ve become quite accustomed to just taking rejection with a grain of salt, hoping for success on the next one. Come on, even the guy who I’ve been seeing doesn’t even think I’m worthy of emotional reciprocation because he thinks my emotional needs are okay to be shoved out of the way too, so I’m not seeing where I can draw a lot of confidence at the moment.

But let’s go back to hottie #9, he gives me some comfort because Chris Metzen didn’t make the hotties list just because of his face and his voice…it’s because he sits squarely at the point of creation, gushing out idea after idea, concept after concept, for millions of players to look at, enjoy, tear into, ridicule and put through the collective wringer all of the parts of the world he creates solely from his imagination and his knowledge of the Warcraft universe.  Do you actually want to sit there and think it’s easy?

But, forget whole continents filled with content from structures to “NPC’s” (non-player characters) running around. Terraforming alone will bake your noodle, from forests filled with trees to snowy cliffs and breathtaking waterfalls. But let’s go further, to the avatar. An avatar from the ground up is one of the hardest things to create. From something as basic as height or body shape to skeletal rigging, animations (which include emotes, dance moves, idle animations, poses, how you sit, stand, jump, swim, how you swing your sword or cast your spells, anything that requires movement), to how external assets sit on the skeleton, even down to the most miniscule of nose wrinkles as the avatar goes “Eww”, there’s a ton of stuff going on. All those things are great, don’t get me wrong, but one detail that most people don’t put any thought into is how the actual skin of their avatars came to be. You know, the fleshy part? The part that gets goosebumps if the action gets thick?  Yeah, just the actual skin, no more, no less. How much thought do you think goes into it?

Let’s have a little fun:  Including the newest race, the Pandaren, how many races are there now in World of Warcraft?  Any takers before I let the answer out of the bag?


How about this, let’s list them out.

For the Alliance you have:

  • Dwarf
  • Draenei
  • Gnome
  • Human
  • Night Elf
  • Worgen

For the Horde you have:

  • Blood Elf
  • Forsaken
  • Goblin
  • Orc
  • Tauren
  • Troll

So, that’s six a piece, plus the Pandaren equals a whopping 13 different races.  Don’t run away so fast, there’s more.  Now, multiply that by two because why? Two genders.  Now we’re up to 26.  Oh no, you still don’t get away because guess what? How many different shades of skin tone does each race have? Some have seven available, others have more than 10! Oy veh.  Get out your calculators because guess what, take that 26 and let’s multiply it by the race with the highest number of skintones I found, 12, which happens to go on the humans.  Now hit the equals button.

I heard that swear!  That’s right!  Holy Cow! That’s approximately 312 individual skins, and that’s not counting eyes, hair, facial markings, facial hair, earrings, lips, eyebrows, eyelashes or anything else that is a part of the physical essence of the avatar. You want the extras? Do the math! If there is one variable, say the eye color, it has at least five permutations for avatar customization by itself.   And some dodo birds out there actually have the nerve to think that the buildings are the things that are hard to make.

Have you gotten nauseous yet? Have your knees started to buckle under all that yet?  Oh, come on ya wimps! You can take more than that!

Who do you think came up with the idea that Orcs should be shades of green, yellow-green and all the way to brown, or said the skin of a Tauren needs to look exactly like a cow’s?  But one better yet, the universal truth throughout WoW: who in the hell decided to leave the joints exposed on a Forsaken (undead)? Because from Silithus to Silvermoon City, Booty Bay to Icecrown Citadel, everyone agrees, it doesn’t matter what you put an undead in, all the armor looks pretty much like shit. Someone though, way at the point of genesis decided that those joints needed to be showing to create the unmistakable presence of an undead in the raid, the battleground or wherever that undead wants to be.  You can’t miss them from a mile off, and it is also why the folks that play undead love them to pieces. I’ll be the very first to admit, when you’re in Undercity and your joints are showing, you feel right at home. But that was the genius of the person sitting at the point of genesis who decided that Undercity from the grotesque stitched abominations down to the skull-laden cages and scenery would make those tendon-showing characters feel right at home, even though their queen, Sylvanas would probably look more at home in Teldrassil or Silvermoon City amongst the elves.

But, from skin tones to eyecolor, avatar assets such as clothing or armor to weapons, vehicles and transportation hubs, it all came from someone who had the guts to sit at the point of genesis.

You want to talk about a hard job? Try coming up with a whole new world, then sit and dream up the names of the places, the architectural style, the foliage, every last detail on the avatars, NPC’s, critters and the list goes on of all the things that must, at one time or another spring from someone’s head as an entirely new idea. Every day I sit very grateful for guys like Chris Metzen, Alex Afrasiabi, Will Wright, Will Harvey, Jeffrey Ventrella, and every single person who ever sat behind their desks late into the night with just a map of some freshly terraformed terrain, knowledge of a physics engine, and just their imagination.  My hats are seriously off to them.

Think of it this way: If you sit at a point of genesis and do well, then everyone praises you. Do it wrong and there aren’t enough nails, hammers and planks of wood on the planet for the 10 million ways you’re going to be crucified. To put it in a very intimate way, imagine having to pick the skin tones, then present them to your friends then wonder how they are going to react to them, then the public’s reaction, and then after having screenshots, movies and all sorts of other media capture what you’ve picked and okayed be chowed down on, insulted, and possibly praised, even down to it influencing the buying decisions of the public.  Think about the Pandas. Now, WoW is not your typical “warm and fuzzy” world, now imagine it filled with Pandas. A Panda?  With those bloodthirsty thugs?  Well yeah, Chris Metzen seems to think so, and being that he’s sitting at the point of genesis for them, he has to take responsibility if it succeeds or fails.

Imagine that going into launch day for him.

And people say online worlds are just games.


Good luck with that one.

For the song of the day, I’m going to dig up a tune I was lead to just out of sheer serendipity by a band called Kings of Leon, a tune that is very helpful playing in the background, no matter what song it is, so I just picked an uplifting tune I liked: