Painting With Shotguns XXXVIX

Why I Should Not Play World Of Warcraft

Couple days back, the announcement hit that Lord of the Rings Online (LOTRO) was going to go “free,” so I threw a pebble and asked if anybody had any opinions. Confession time: that question was a bit of an experiment for an upcoming article, though I should also note that the question was a serious one.

See, I really love MMOs.

I first played Ultima Online and adored it, because I was a gen-yoo-wine whore for the Ultima series. (Still am. Someone please, please do more games in that series? I will love you forever.) Of course, my adoration for that game waned fairly quickly when I got ganked every five minutes by some dickbat in Uber-Evil Armor. He’d just run up, pull my peasant shirt over my head, rape me with a halberd, and then steal all my shit. It was really great. By which I mean, it was kind of awful.

Then came Everquest.

And that was like a dream. I was this little halfling asshole, and I’d run around and have stupid adventures with other people, and it was a hoot. Totally changed the way I envisioned the play experience, and ever since I’ve been hungry to recreate it.

I played a little Eve Online, which theoretically I loved, but at the time found the game as cold and icy as a distant moon; the learning curve was basically a brick wall.

I also played City of Heroes for a while, and boy howdy did I love that game. I could spend hours on the character creation alone. I liked flying around. I liked teleporting. I liked thumping enemies and going on raids and all that shit. I liked it so much, it ate my time in giant, airless, gulping bites. Chomp, chomp, chomp. And it didn’t just take up my time in the game. It took up time outside of it. As discussed a while back, it siphoned away my Intellectual Energy with a big fat straw. Seriously. I’d be consumed with what was the best build or best zone or best server or best costume. It’s also a social commitment: it’s not exactly peer pressure, but it’s like, hey, all your friends are getting together and they’re going to go do this awesome mission, and if you’re not around for it you’ll miss out. Oh, sure, they’ll “do it again,” but… yeah, probably not. And hell, you can’t blame them. You missed out. They shouldn’t be punished for that. So, you go.

Back to the LOTRO question.

I asked it, and Rick Carroll (He Of Wordasylum) said, “Hey, I got this free code thing for World of Warcraft, and you should play, and also, I’m wearing a dress right now, and I really want to lick your beard.” And I was all like, “Whatever with the beard-licking. But, World of Warcraft you say?”

I’ve always pondered it.

I’ve always quietly noodled the thought and secretly hoped for the opportunity to play The MMORPG To Which All Other MMORPGs Must Kneel. Those who play it — all 80 billion of them, including those Romanian goat herders that acted as gold farmers on the side — seem to enjoy it quite a bit.

And that’s good, right?

Alarm bells. Klaxons. Red lights and sirens. Awooga, awooga.

Dude, I got shit to do. I don’t know that I can play the game as “casually” as I want. Again, see earlier problems: time consumption, brain consumption, social (over)engagement. Would I like it? Dang, probably. But I’d probably also really like heroin if I gave that half a chance.

So, for now at least, I think I’m writing off the game. I know what will happen. I’ll write less. Playing computer games on my work machine is already tricky; I associate this PC with Getting Shit Done. If I’m sitting here writing in the morning, WoW gives me all the excuse I need to quit early and miss the day’s target. Can’t happen, so, I don’t think you’ll see me prancing and dancing my way across Azeroth.

By the way, I sometimes confuse “Azeroth” with “Azathoth,” the blind idiot god, the noxious demon sultan, he who is chaos and destruction. Oh well.

Stuff For Your Ears

Whenever I do a music post, you people flee for the hills. My lowest hits ever come from the days when I talk about music. Well, get ready to bail like rats from a sinking ship, because it’s time to talk tunes! (Or, even better, just skip to the next section!)

Here’s the stuff I’m cramming into my earholes:

Band of Skulls, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey. I love this album. Solid rock, leans a little toward The White Stripes in that bluesy way, with a dash of Yeah Yeah Yeahs– some songs are pretty catchy, others are just sodden with mood and grinding goodness. Take, for example, “Blood.” Or, for catchy, “Death By Diamonds And Pearls.” Their latest, “Light of the Morning,” is on that car commercial — it’s the new Mustang commercial, I think, the one with the V6 that gets like, 31 MPG.

The Dead Weather, Sea of Cowards. I call this “evil swamp rock.” Has a great malevolent, muddy, sodden feel to it. Once more, a White Stripes comparison — but that’s because, a-duh, Jack White is part of the band. Really moody stuff. I think I like this album better than their last (which was their first), but I’ve grown to love that one, too. Anyway: check out “Hustle and Cuss.”

Reggie Watts, Fuck Shit Stack. Actually, I listened to the album, and ehhh, it’s too short. It’s live, too, which means the tracks aren’t as produced as the core hook, “Fuck Shit Stack.” Still, that track’s a winner winner profanity dinner. Video, in case you missed it when last I posted it:

LOOSEWORLD x Waverly Films: Reggie Watts in F_CK SH_T STACK from LOOSEWORLD on Vimeo.

The Bird and the Bee, well, pretty much anything. I’m so digging these crazy kids right now, it’s nuts. Once again, like Dead Weather and Band of Skulls, we’re looking at a male-female combo pack, but Bird & the Bee are nothing like those other two in terms of sound. Their most recent endeavor is a Hall and Oates cover album, and it’s delicious. “Rich Girl,” if you want to hear it. Really, though, my favorite track of theirs is the catchy (and cute, and funny) “Polite Dance Song.”

Kate Nash, My Best Friend Is You. Like yourself some Lily Allen? Some Amy Winehouse? Some… er, whoever the other British poppy chick is that I’m thinking about? Dusty? Dusky? Dustface Killah? I dunno. If you like them, you’ll love Kate Nash. Her new album has some misses, but also some resounding hits. Less quirky, more rock-poppy, but still solid. “Do-Wah-Doo” is a good example of an earworm.

Elizabeth and the Catapult, Taller Children. Quirky fun stuff, a great companion to Bird and the Bee. Have a listen to the title track: “Taller Children.”

Other quick hits (singles, really):

I know, I’m a sucker, but I cannot get Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” out of my head.

A while back, someone recommended Cage the Elephant’s “No Rest for the Wicked,” and damn, I’m glad they did. Groovy. Good video, too.

Sleigh Bells: “Infinity Guitars?” Yeah. Yeah. Yes.

New Sarah McLachlan hitting soon. Hey, shut up. I’ve seen her like, eight times live.

The new Nine Inch Nails-flavored Reznor experiment, How To Destroy Angels, ain’t doing it for me. It’s okay. Odd, as I’m a pretty huge Reznor fan. Haven’t heard all the tracks yet, though.

Finally, the M.I.A. single, “Born Free” is so fucking awesome, it makes me want to run around and kick things. Or better yet, write a movie that’s 100% wall-to-wall action. Video embedded below.

M.I.A, Born Free from ROMAIN-GAVRAS on Vimeo.

This Codpiece Johnson Story Won’t Write Itself

Hey, I told you. You people get me to 1000 followers on Twitter by June 20th, you get yourself a free Codpiece Johnson short story. That’s cash money. And by “cash money,” I mean, “not actually cash money but actually a short story that cannot ever be used as legal tender.”

I’m at 941 now on the Twitters.

That’s good, but by golly, I got 69 followers (hee!) to get. But, only 12 days to do that. Which means I need, like, what? *gets out the abacus* I need about six new tweeps a day. That’s not including the fact I lose followers, usually one or two a day (more if Twitter goes through and executes spambots, because Lord knows half of my followers are probably self-aware viral memes).

So, you people want a short story featuring the MOST AWESOME SUMBITCH EVAR, then, damn, you best get to work.

Shake your booties. Promise sex. I don’t care what you do. Just do it. Like Nike says. No, not the shoe company. The Greek God. Nike was the god of motherfucking victory and shit.

Chop, chop! Snap, snap! Clap, clap!

Man, I like making noises.

Bwoop! Beep beep! Honk! Brrrbt! Ring, ring! Zorb! Meep!

Where was I?

Right. Get me more followers. This I command!

*crack of thunder*

*the howl of three wolves*

Chain Link Fence

Links to chain around your heart, coming right up.

Are you familiar with Operation: Awesome? Jason Blair lays out his own personal manifesto for becoming a better writer, and damnit if it isn’t something everybody — new writers and experienced ones — should read. I’ve read some of Jason’s stuff, and it’s killer. With the plan he lays out, I think he’s got what he needs to knock this baby out of the park. And for the record, I do not condone knocking babies out of parks. Out of high chairs, maybe, but out of parks? That’s egregious.

I don’t know what Iron Sky is, exactly, but I want it to happen. Two words: MOON NAZIS. That’s all you really need to get you interested.

I spoke of music earlier, but I need to point you toward game designer Gareth-Michael Skarka’s Designer Monologues website — the guy, besides doing up compelling posts on all manner of media-related awesome, does this “Friday Music” thing where he posts links to new music he’s digging. (Yep, just like I did above.) I’ve been digging on this for… well, years, now. I think he’s why I started listening to Lily Allen, actually. Come for the Friday Music, but then stay for, well, the rest of the site.

Lady Gaga continues to be a compelling lunatic, and for that, I love her. I also love that she’s reminding us that music videos are still something really cool. In related news, eat a dick, MTV.

Hey! Companies are trying to avoid hiring the unemployed. Which… is about as insane and discriminatory as it sounds. I guess the logic is, if you do not currently have a job, you’re about as worthless as a dog’s asshole. You stay classy, big business. High-five. Fuckheads.

Dan O’Shea reminds you that The Muse is his bitch. He is not hers.

Finally, hey, weird. This Mortal Kombat video (embedded below) is… apparently a teaser for a movie they want to do? Well, hey, they’ve hooked me. I want to see more. The really weird thing is, the other day I was looking for videos of pugs in chicken outfits (don’t ask, just blame Stacia Decker), and I came across this video and then this one featuring a disease called Harlequin Ichthyosis. No, I don’t know why my “pug chicken” search took me there, but it did, and then a day later I see the Mortal Kombat teaser, and it features that same disease, so I think, ah-ha, viral meme! Invented disease! Except, holy crap, it’s actually a real disease. Which is tragic. And kind of weird that they’re using it for entertainment purposes (the “serial killer” Reptile suffers from it). Maybe poor taste. Still, it’s a compelling fake teaser. Video, below.


  • I played Everquest for all of one day. My impression? “Hey, this is exactly like DikuMUD, but with graphics! I got bored with this two years ago!”

    I attempted to play Guild Wars. I really did. For Ree’s sake. When I got killed because I bumped something wrong and my POV ended up *under* the bridge we were fighting on, I gave up.

    Guild Wars 2 looks really awesome. And should have kick-ass story. The teaser articles say they’re doing awesome, cutting edge stuff with integrating the story. But, I seriously doubt I’m going to get it, even to support Ree.

    What I’m saying is, I suck at video games. And I don’t enjoy them. Doing that in front of an audience sucks even more. I hate MMO’s.

  • Glad to see another BatB fan. I got into them about a year ago in sufficient time to catch them when they played Carnegie Hall. The combination of the Bird/Bee sound and Carnegie’s acoustics (they played the smaller space in the basement) was tremendous.

    At one point, Inara was fiddling with a piece of equipment at the back of the stage and made an off-hand comment to herself. With the venue’s superb acoustics, we heard what she said and laughed. She was amazed (as were we) and marveled at how the experience was different from the bars she normally played.

    The highlight of the show was a stripped-down, slowed-down version of “Broken Heart.’ Played slow and clean, the song’s poignancy pushed its way to the fore.

  • Kat did a sculpture back in 2005 that was inspired by Harlequin Ichthyosis ( and was part of a series that heavily influenced the stories I’m working on right now. Her name is Mira.

    The crazy thing about that Mortal Kombat video (I mean, besides how shockingly good it was) is that the videos of the harlequin baby at the beginning are real news footage.

    • @Chris —

      Yeah, I guess that’s what I was getting at — not the fact they’re using a real disease (obviously fiction must use reality as a basis), but that the news footage contained within is the same footage to which I linked. And since those babies usually die within a year or two, it seems doubly creepy that, “Hey! Look! Real news footage of a baby that probably didn’t live past the age of two! MORTAL KOMBAAAAAT! Fatality!”


      — c.

    • @Peter:


      Uhhh. Yeah, what you said.

      See, this is why I write books. With words.

      Though, I did work for a while on both the Hadron Collider and the Hubble Telescope.

      … those days… didn’t go so well.

      — c.

  • I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t get Wine (the Linux Windows emulator) working on the laptop. If I have to install Windows on a different partition, when I boot it up I have to make the conscious decision to go into the grub and select Windows if I want to play WoW. Otherwise it’ll boot into Xubuntu, who reminds me in its cute but minimalist way I need to get shit done.

    Desktop offers me no excuse, though. Unless Danielle’s on it.

  • Like I was very clear to point out, many times over, don’t do this if you think you will Become It’s Bearded Bitch Slave Boy. WoW will fuck you up if you’re unprepared. With that being said, think of the ten days like this – it’s like renting a game without having to pay for it. As always, you need to be your own judge – but this game is seriously addictive and will take over if you let it.

    Music posts on my site are the same way. I get maybe two views. Overtime, my Guns’n’Roses post (the first music post I did) has gotten a total of I think eight views. However, music kicks ass. I feel comfortable saying that.

    I am going to be doing a big “Newbie’s Guide to WoW” here soon. I got the outline laid out, but I have about ten other things to do first (you know, when not playing WoW). The first post is going to be all about “Don’t Do This If You…” type stuff, I think. Flanargan and stuff.

  • I hear ya. I played EQ hardcore for about 3 years straight. College ruled. Then WoW came along and I played it half heartedly. It was fun and a much better version of EQ, but that’s it.

    Usually about once a year I think about playing WoW again. Then I remember it’s the same old shit. Plus it’s such a time whore. I’m already selling my ass to the day job so I just can’t justify the time a MMO requires if I want to be productive with writing.

    But, damn, I miss EQ. I loved that game.

    Dude. DUDE. That M.I.A. song. I loved it (had to look up the lyrics), but jesus fucking christ, man. The video made me sweat. Powerful stuff.

  • You had me at HI (Harlequin Icthiosis) ;) heres a genetics anecdote for you: reportedly very few families have additional children after getting this dx. Poor babies.

  • By the by, if you haven’t listened to “Ghost Rider,” by Suicide, the original song that M.I.A. song samples, you should. Suicide is one of those bands that very few people remember, but influenced a LOT of modern music. (The Henry Rollins cover of “Ghost Rider” on the Crow soundtrack is very nice, too.)

  • Let’s see… American band, American band, anglophone Sri Lankan singer and loads of people who I do not know, but have Anglophonic names. Nah, not checking them out – I’m on an Asian and European artist kick, but that’s because I want my newest writing attempt, Phantom Reader, to be as different as possible. Part of that is achieved by subversing myself in new and exciting stuff.

    Here, have some Swiss beats sampling Asian influences:

    They allow me to channel this decidely Kamer Rider flow into the fight scenes.

    • @Marek —

      Why would you tell me that you’re not going to check out the music I just recommended?

      I’m obviously fine if you don’t, but once again I marvel at People On The Internet who must confirm the negative — “Hey, is this a post about Joss Whedon? I don’t like him.” Then why comment, exactly?

      It seems exquisitely internet-specific. I don’t walk into a coffee shop, marvel at the menu, then walk to the counter and declare: “I will not buy any of this.” And wait for… presumably, a reaction.

      — c.

    • Dude, you can just brag. Brag away. No need to drag anybody else’s stuff down — just step in here, thump your chest, and say, “Hey, look, here’s some music, and this music is cool because I’m rocking them for my fight scenes.”

      Be a fountain, not a drain, as the cloying cliche reminds us.

      — c.

  • I’m on the Steamwhedle Cartel server when you change your mind, playing with a casual guild full of middle-aged husbands and wives. Mostly wives, I think, but who really knows. Anyway, everyone eventually changes their mind. Hell I’ve quite the game forever half a dozen times.

    I now know pretty clearly how long “forever” is, though. About three months.

  • I played Warcrack for about 4 years or so before I retired. Ran what ended up being the largest guild on Kirin Tor, which is still going strong in my absence. So long as you don’t end up raiding or in any kind of guild leadership position, WoW is perfectly easy to run around all casual like.

    I plan on picking up Cataclysm, and coming back for a few months just to see the world.

    I’d say give it a shot. You may not dig it, but at this point I’d play it just to get an outsider’s view on the phenomenon.

    If you do play, I’ll suggest rolling a character on Kirin Tor, and then typing “/join rpgnet”, there are great guilds on both the Horde and Alliance side. I’m biased towards the Pig and Whistle Society on the Alliance side, because again I was the founder and guild master for a looooooong time.

  • Brad, I took off for about a year, then came back for a couple of months just to run around a bit and catch up. I’ll be back for a while when Cataclysm comes out, but there’s nothing too pressing drawing me back until then.

    Good news is, I have a comic to make these days, so I don’t have time to get sucked in to playing WoW for ages. ;)

    • New Spoon, you say? I loved the first album, even though it was far outside my wheelhouse.

      And WoW — man, trust me, I want to. But I don’t do MMOs all-casual like.

      @Rick warned me proper, and I think I’m listening to him. Y’know, for once. :P

      — c.

  • Oh man, if you haven’t listened to the last several Spoon albums, you are in for a treat.

    Girls Can Tell is great, but Gimme Fiction is probably my favorite, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga isn’t quite as deep imo, but still has some amazing songs. The new one is Transference, and it’s currently my second favorite album of 2010.

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